Of the numerous talking points thrown up by the weekend’s Premier League games, my verdict is firmly on the side of the officials and the decisions they came up with, especially the call by Craig Pawson that kept the sides even at St James Park on Sunday afternoon.
Yes, the boot of Liverpool’s Joe Gomez was high as he crashed into Newcastle’s Christian Atsu, but he was entitled to go for that ball in my opinion, so he went for the ball and he even got some of the ball.
The contact might have looked bad, that goes without saying, but it could not be helped and at least there was none of the force we have seen in other recent incidents featuring Sadio Mane and David Luiz, to name but two.
Therefore the yellow card was the correct sanction and we should be glad no one was seriously hurt.
My sympathy really is with those boys having to make such calls with the action now at the speed it has reached, and even though Danny Simpson’s third-minute handball should have resulted in a Bournemouth penalty in their home match against Leicester City, if you don’t see it you really can’t give it, simple as that.
All our top refs need the best teams out there with them in cases like this and on the whole, I am satisfied that the assistants are having a good season so far, even if they need even more help, as this offence, missed by the unfortunate Graham Scott and described as “clear cut” by Eddie Howe, only underlines.
At Goodison Park things continued just not to go for Ronald Koeman’s disjointed Everton team, but they have far bigger problems to worry about than a couple of decisions that could really have gone either way.
The frustration can get to the point where it clouds your judgement, and if we take the example of young Matt Lowton’s handball, he was clearly trying to head the ball himself when he went up with Wayne Rooney, so it would have been a harsh one for Jon Moss to give.
As I said, there are plenty of other things to address before they start blaming their lack of points on a lack of less than obvious penalties. At least we were again saved the need for the FA’s retrospective panel as Moss punished Scott Arfield on the spot. Once that panel does kick in, by the way, I’ve a strong feeling those referrals will just keep on coming.
And finally we come to Dele Alli and his own piece of play-acting which got him into more bother up in Yorkshire, when there was absolutely no need. He was already a lucky boy for only having received a one-match ban for his gesture on international duty, and for me his dive at Huddersfield suggests he is not learning any lessons.
If he is not careful, Alli will find that he has become a marked man, and the day that happens he will certainly have no one else to blame but himself.
Until next time you can catch me on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast every week day on TalkSPORT, 6-10am.