Dermot Gallagher reviews controversial decisions in the Premier League after each round of games, on behalf of Sky Sports, but has now been asked to review the whole season and pick out what the very best and worst decisions were.
The former top ref has gone back eight months, when the season was only a few weeks old.
The very best and worst happening on consecutive days back in September 2017.
The games were when Manchester City hammered Liverpool 5-0 on Saturday 9 September and then Newcastle winning 1-0 at Swansea the following day.
Dermot Gallagher believes that it was a great decision to send off Sadio Mane for his high foot that injured Man City keeper Ederson.
However, he thinks it was totally inconsistent to not then send off Matt Ritchie, the Newcastle winger only getting a yellow for a high foot on Swansea’s Alfie Mawson.
I would argue that no two incidents are ever exactly the same and just as two relatively similar tackles can have different outcomes, it is the same as Sane and Ritchie. The Liverpool player’s actions were more dangerous and reckless than those of Matt Ritchie.
Dermot Gallagher asked on Sky Sports what the best and worst refereeing decisions of the season were.
Sadio Mane is sent off by Jon Moss for a high boot on Man City goalkeeper Ederson in Liverpool’s 5-0 defeat at the Etihad in September.
Did this set the tone for the rest of the season regarding high boots? Yes and no. When this happened, it came out of the blue. I look at it and think Mane has gone high, leading with studs, with speed and intensity, the goalkeeper has gone to head the ball, no doubt.
I don’t think for one minute he has gone to hurt the player, but he has caught him. It’s indefensible to expect to keep him on the field.
It still split people on that Saturday morning. I looked at it and thought: “How can you keep a player on for doing that?”
And the worst…
Matt Ritchie’s high boot on Alfie Mawson in Newcastle’s 1-0 win at Swansea in September is punished only by a yellow card by Mike Jones.
This came just a day after Mane’s challenge. In my opinion, having worked so hard on the Saturday to explain why Mane’s was a red card, I find it difficult to explain on the Sunday why the referee hadn’t given a red card.