Everton have themselves to blame for implosion, lucky West Ham, and a well-managed cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea – Mark Halsey column

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Quiet FA Cup final means a job well done for Craig Pawson

There wasn’t really anything of note from Craig Pawson’s officiating. I think in fairness to him he did well to let the game flow. He probably could have cautioned players for some of the reckless challenges we saw, but he managed the game and managed the players well. And I think that’s all players and fans want – consistency in those situations.

It’s a massive game, it’s the FA Cup final, and it’s great for a referee to take charge of a game at Wembley. All the players want to be involved in cup finals and play at Wembley, and it’s no different for the match officials. On the whole I think Craig did a good job, no one’s shouting about his performance and that’s what you want as a referee. Well done to Craig and his team.

Everton can have no complaints over implosion against Brentford

It was a vital game for Everton at home to Brentford, and they can have no one else to blame but themselves as they lost and finished the game with nine men.

Things clearly boiled over, and I’m not surprised that manager Frank Lampard is going to be spoken to about his complaints regarding the officials.

Regarding Richarlison having his shirt pulled – perhaps some will feel that was harsh on Everton, but I think both of them were at it there. Having said that, if the referee had given it we wouldn’t have seen VAR overturn it.

As for Rondon’s sending off – he can have no complaints, it was a silly challenge, with excessive force. It was good to see Michael Oliver take a moment to think about it and then issue the red card. It was a bad day for Everton, but they have only themselves to blame here.

West Ham threw away a two-goal lead, but it could’ve been even worse

West Ham got a bit lucky with a penalty decision that wasn’t given at the London Stadium.

There is definite contact from Kurt Zouma on Gabriel Jesus but it’s just one of those that is subjective. VAR has had a look at it and deemed it not a clear and obvious error by the match referee, so they haven’t got involved.

But if Anthony Taylor gives that as a penalty, it stays given.

In the end, the Hammers will be frustrated to lose a 2-0 lead against a Manchester City side that seemed there for the taking, but it could’ve been worse if that penalty had been given, or if Riyad Mahrez hadn’t his effort saved for the one that was given.

Tottenham getting a bit lucky at just the right time?

Harry Kane scored the winner against Burnley to take Tottenham a step closer to the top four, but should that penalty have been given in the first place? The handball rule certainly seems to have divided a lot of fans and media commentators alike.

Should that count as a deliberate act from Barnes? The distance proximity of the player and the ball, the pace of the ball. You could say it’s harsh, but you could also ask why was his arm up that high?

As much as we all think it’s harsh, you can’t argue that it was correct in law. The players should know these rules by now and maybe just need to adjust so they don’t get caught out like this.

We also saw Spurs benefit from the decisions in their win over Arsenal, but in fairness, this has to go down as the Gunners’ own fault.

When Rob Holding committed another offence, he deserved to be cautioned for consistently infringing the laws of the game.

He can have no complaints and he can have no complaints with his second yellow card.

I actually think he should be thankful to Paul Tierney for giving him a second yellow for reckless use of the arm because it could have quite easily been a straight red for violent conduct.

Had he been sent off for violent conduct, he’d be banned for three games, instead of one match for two yellows.

It’s a very, very poor challenge, a challenge that endangers the player’s safety with excessive force. Anthony Taylor was in an excellent position, took his time, thought about it and then produced a red card, was absolutely spot on.

He was sent off for serious foul play and will face a three-game ban, no ifs or buts about it.

More Stories Anthony Taylor ashley barnes Craig Pawson Gabriel Jesus Kurt Zouma Mark Halsey Michael Oliver Paul Tierney Richarlison Salomon Rondon