Chelsea made it five wins in succession after defeating Newcastle United by one goal to nil on Sunday.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw before Kai Havertz’s sublime first touch and finish in the 89th minute following Jorginho’s exquisite forward lofted pass. The victory puts the Blues another step further towards Champions League football, but the result did not come without controversy, with Thomas Tuchel’s side appearing to ride their luck, at times through certain referring decisions made.
Speaking to Sky Sports News on ‘Ref Watch’, Dermot Gallagher gave his thoughts on two controversial decisions, one of which was Havertz dodging a red card after catching Dan Burns with his elbow. The other was David Coote not awarding the Magpies a penalty following Trevoh Chalobah bringing down Jacob Murphy in the 18-yard box.
Regarding the former of the two decisions, Gallagher agreed with the on-field referee. “I agree [it was a yellow, not red] for a number of reasons,” he said to Sky Sports.
“If you look at it, both players’ arms are up, Dan Burn’s arms are up as well. They are both challenging for the ball, going towards each other. There is inevitably going to be a collision, there is no doubt about that.
“I think the key for me, is what I was being taught as a referee, if somebody throws an elbow in malice they are going to clench their fist, they are going to force impact. If you look at Kai Havertz, he never clenched his fist. It is almost the flailing arm if you like, it does catch him. I think it is a yellow card. I didn’t think it was a foul that was that bad.”
Gallagher however did argue that both the onfield referee and VAR made the incorrect call, regarding Newcastle’s penalty shout.
“Penalty,” he said, bluntly. “Grabs his shirt, trips him, shoves him. I also think that there is a caveat for the VAR to send it.
“Their feeling was, that was fed back, was that they didn’t feel that the fall was commensurate with what happened on the field. Well, I think that is probably because they looked at the upper body, rather than the lower body. The referee gives a corner, Chalobah doesn’t play the ball, should have been a goal kick or a penalty.
“So with the referee giving a corner, he is telling everybody, ‘I think Chalobah has played the ball’, so therefore I feel the VAR could have said to the referee, ‘Well, he didn’t play the ball, you might want to go and have a look at this’. And if he had gone and had a look and seen what we have seen, he would have given a penalty.”
Certainly, it looked like a stonewall spot-kick to the majority watching the game and the side from the North East can feel unlucky that a key moment in the game didn’t go their way according to Gallagher.