What a result we saw last night: a great achievement for Patrick Vieira, who played for Arsenal for so many years. He has made Crystal Palace formidable, particularly at Selhurst Park. I know what it can be like after many years of refereeing there, there is no break with their fans, I think they are some of the best fans and most intimidating atmospheres in the Premier League.
As for the match, it was actually a tale of two penalties. First it was one that Arsenal wanted but didn’t get, with Saka alongside the Palace defender. For me, it’s not a penalty: if Saka is in front of the defender and then there is contact, it’s a different story. But here they are side by side and it’s a fair challenge.
However, Odegaard’s offense was a clear penalty. Paul Tierney is in a good position and initially it looks like he’s not going to give the penalty: he backs off, but then thinks “oh no” and calls the penalty. There seemed to be some hesitation there, I don’t know if he maybe he got a yell in the ear from a fourth official or someone at Stockley Park, but it didn’t look good.
In the end it was the right decision, but it was strange that he seemed to dismiss it before changing his mind. Still, it was the correct result, so there can be no complaints really.
As for the Liverpool-Watford game, I’ve seen some comments about the penalty Liverpool took towards the end of the game, and it was another case of a referee not acting decisively enough.
In my opinion it is a clear penalty, it is a clear foul by Cucho grabbing Diogo Jota, Cucho doesn’t even look at the ball, he has thrown it down as if it were a rugby tackle!
I was surprised that Stuart Atwell never saw this in real time, because he was looking in that direction. In those situations, some referees spend too much time looking at the ball, but when does the ball commit an infringement? You have to stay focused on those danger zones and what’s going on there. The VAR was right to recommend the review.
The only thing I would say about that decision, though, is that we’ve seen similar offenses quite often this season that weren’t reviewed, so once again we’re seeing too much inconsistency with VAR.
In West Ham’s win over Everton, I think Aaron Cresswell can consider himself lucky not to have been sent off for his smug kick at Richarlison.
You can argue that it is an act of violent conduct, there was no need to do so.
He is lucky that both the referee and the VAR did not see it as a red card. I thought he was very lucky: if Cresswell’s referee had ejected, there would have been no review.
Finally, I have to pay tribute to Mike Dean after he announced that he will retire from arbitration at the end of the season.
I worked with Mike many times, he was my fourth official, I was his fourth official. Sometimes we also work together abroad. In my opinion he is a great referee. A lot of fans don’t like it, but we joke around a lot on the field of play, we didn’t mind taking jokes from players and returning them. You can imagine the language, some people don’t like it, but that’s what happens.
I would have liked to referee for as long as he did, but with my illness it was not possible for me to continue with the rigorous training regimen necessary to stay fit. For Mike to do that at the highest level for many years is tremendous. I started in the Premier League when he was 39, Mike was a bit younger than me and to be able to referee more than 500 games is extraordinary.
For me, he will be greatly missed, he is an experienced referee and I am not sure we will have someone with the same knowledge and handling of men. We have some very good umpires, but I think we are missing the same great umpires like Mike.
It will be interesting to see what path he takes next, I know he is an excellent golfer! His knowledge of his golf is almost better than his umpiring! He is a loss to refereeing, I know a lot of fans will be happy to see his back turned, but he is a great man and a quality referee.