Dermot Gallagher described Leeds’ controversial opener against Aston Villa as the “worst-case scenario” after their refusal to stop play led to chaotic scenes at Elland Road.
In one of the most bizarre incidents of the Sky Bet Championship season, Aston Villa players were left infuriated when Leeds opted to play on after Jonathan Kodjia went down injured during Sunday’s 1-1 draw.
Speaking on Ref Watch, the former Premier League referee provided his view on an astonishing sequence of events, and gave his verdict on each of the weekend’s big talking points in the Premier League.
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Leeds 1-1 Aston Villa
INCIDENT: Controversy ensued in the 73rd minute as Leeds scored while Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia lay injured. His team-mates had stopped while asking their opponents to put the ball out of play, but the calls were not heeded.
- Villa to appeal El Ghazi red
Mateusz Klich duly curled Leeds in front after Tyler Roberts opted not to put the ball out of play.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Referee Stuart Attwell correct not to blow his whistle.
DERMOT SAYS: The referee is closest to it (the Kodjia challenge). He doesn’t think it’s a foul so the game goes on. The thing that angered the Villa players is that they had kicked the ball out earlier when a Leeds player was injured.
The referee has no power as it’s not a head injury so he has to allow the game to play on. The obvious worst-case scenario is that a goal was scored, and that infuriated everybody.
The referee is powerless as the player (Tyler Roberts) gives every indication that he’s about to kick the ball out. He didn’t and the consequence of the goal was what infuriated everybody.
If it had gone wide, it wouldn’t have been nice and every one would have still argued, but we wouldn’t have had the aftermath that we had.
INCIDENT: Anwar El Ghazi was sent off for apparently hitting out at Leeds forward Patrick Bamford during the melee following Klich’s goal – although replays suggested there was no contact.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Referee Stuart Atwell incorrectly showed El Ghazi a red card.
DERMOT SAYS: El Ghazi reacted as if to tell Bamford to get away from him. He certainly hasn’t elbowed him and he certainly hasn’t punched him. He hasn’t caught him in the face.
The ramifications may well be that the FA look at that as El Ghazi has appealed. If El Ghazi wins his appeal, then Bamford could receive a two-match ban for deceiving the referee.
INCIDENT: Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa instructed his players to let Villa walk the ball into the net and Albert Adomah obliged as he rolled the ball in at the other end, despite the efforts of Pontus Jansson to stop him.
DERMOT SAYS: There’s nothing wrong with what’s happened and there’s nothing in the laws of the game that say the Leeds players have to tackle him. There’s no doubt in my mind that Leeds have done the correct thing.
Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea
INCIDENT: Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri claimed Marcos Rojo was “very lucky” not to be sent off after he caught Willian with his studs in a rash challenge on the Brazilian with 10 minutes remaining.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Rojo should have received a red card.
DERMOT SAYS: I think you could’ve given the first free-kick when the damage was already done, and then you wouldn’t have had the second foul. The first (on Gonzalo Higuain) was enough to give a foul for as there’s enough intensity in it.
But the challenge on Willian is just not acceptable. It’s a red card, and the referee just hasn’t seen it or is too close and right on top of it or how he’s got him, as the referee’s played an advantage.
I know Martin Atkinson well, and he’ll be absolutely livid with himself. He’d be the first person to hold his hands up and say, ‘if I’d have seen that, I’d have sent him off’.
INCIDENT: Nemanja Matic catches Cesar Azpilicueta with an elbow as he tries to shield the ball.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Yellow card.
DERMOT SAYS: I think it’s a foul and a yellow card, but I don’t think it’s a red card. I think it’s the difference to when it becomes reckless and violent.
The players are very close so it’s like he’s being fended off. There’s a big difference. Because they’re so close, there isn’t the power in the contact. This is a straight arm.
INCIDENT: Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic – already on a yellow card – caught Ander Herrera after 53 minutes with referee Martin Atkinson ruling it to be a foul, but was the Croatian fortunate not to be sent off?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Kovacic fortunate to escape red card.
DERMOT SAYS: He’s lucky because he takes a gamble. He’s had a yellow card so I don’t think the referee sees it for what it is. The intensity of Rojo’s is so much more, and it’s a risk he runs.
If he got sent off, he couldn’t have argued. I looked at Mike’s position, and he’s on top of it. Sometimes, you don’t see where the player has come from.
Huddsf’ld vs Man Utd
May 5, 2019, 1:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Leicester 3-0 Arsenal
INCIDENT: Unai Emery was left frustrated with Michael Oliver’s decision to dismiss Ainsley Maitland-Niles during Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Leicester.
Maitland-Niles, who made two fouls during his time on the pitch, received his second booking in the 36th minute for a late challenge on James Maddison, having been cautioned earlier for a foul on Ben Chilwell.
Replays showed there had been no contact with the Leicester midfielder.
- Analysis: Arsenal in urgent need of an overhaul
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Maitland-Niles unfortunate to be sent off.
DERMOT SAYS: The first yellow he can have no complaints as if Ben Chilwell gets past him, he has yards of space to run into. I have to hold my hand up and say I thought it was a second yellow (for the Maddison incident).
From the referee’s viewpoint, it looks like he lunges in and takes him down, but when you see it from the other side, he hasn’t actually caught him, so he’s unlucky.
But I can understand what the referee’s seen and why he’s given it.
Arsenal vs Brighton
May 5, 2019, 4:15pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Burnley 0-1 Man City
INCIDENT: Manchester City also had strong penalty appeals turned away when David Silva’s shot struck Ashley Barnes on the arm with the score at 0-0 in the second half.
The Burnley forward appeared to move his arm towards the ball but referee Paul Tierney waved away the protests.