Dermot Gallagher dissects flashpoints from the weekend’s action and discusses whether Everton should be awarded another penalty against Brentford for Richarlison’s shirt-pulling behaviour.
TROUBLE: Richarlison’s shirt was pulled in the penalty area by Brentford defender Kristoffer Ajer before Jarrad Branthwaite was sent off for denying a scoring opportunity at the other end. Will Everton get a penalty? And does that mean Braithwaite is still on the field?
DETERMINED: VAR backed the referee, but would also overrule his decision if he were awarded a penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: From what I get back, they feel that both players are pulling. They felt Richarlison pulling on Ajer’s shirt and Ajer pulling on his shirt. I suggest that if Michael Oliver considers this a penalty, the VAR will go with him. But since he is of the opinion that both players are struggling and let’s not forget, the referee is returning to VAR what they see. He thinks both players are struggling. If you look, I can understand that to a certain extent.
What happens then, as the game goes on, the VAR checks that monitor and while they’re checking to see if it goes on, Branthwaite is then sent off. So you have this hiatus where he gives a red card, that has to be checked and yes, that’s OK, then they come back to that and decide not to penalize. When they did, Brainthwiate’s red card stood. Ironically, if they had turned and taken the penalty, Branthwaite could have stayed on.
When anyone pulls a shirt, they are taking a huge risk, but the referrer feels Ajer is being pulled as well. That’s the vagaries of VAR, it’s assisted the referee here, but if he had given a penalty, I’m one hundred percent confident that VAR would break it.
TROUBLE: As the first half drew to a close, VAR instructed referee Kevin Friend to look at the screen when he spotted a potential handball by Ashley Barnes, who was grappling with Davison Sanchez in a Tottenham corner. The ball hit Barnes’ arm in an unnatural position but the Burnley forward had little time to react to the bounce. So is the decision right?
DERMOT SAYS: When it happened, I never thought about it: the minute I watched a replay, I said: ‘This is going to be a penalty’. We’ve watched it all season and we may not like it – the teams certainly don’t like it when we’re in the final stages of it – but any player who puts his arm out too high like so it’s all a season punishment [after the rule change which declared extension of body position is handball].
If it hits the arm, it’s as clear and obvious as the referee doesn’t see it. Handball is a realistic decision. The directive this season is that if the height is shoulder height or higher and away from the body, then [it’s] a punishment [and they have] was launched all season.
The intention is completely taken out of the law. It’s not a pretty rule, but the referees have to apply them.
TROUBLE: In the first half, Gabriel Jesus crossed under the control of Kurt Zouma in the penalty area. Video replays show Jesus being kicked by Zouma but referee Anthony Taylor refuses to kick in and VAR decides not to play. Clear contact, so why not be penalized?
DETERMINED: No penalty. I don’t think it was a foul.
DERMOT Speaks: There is a connection, there is no doubt about it but for me the contact is most made by Jesus coming back. The connection was made because Zouma was trying to block the ball, Jesus was turning his body and he was turning back with his foot. He didn’t kick him. VAR didn’t feel it was a foul or an obvious error.