The 2023/24 Premier League season has been clouded by several contentious refereeing calls. The most recent one occurred in the high-profile Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur game, in which the referee, Simon Hooper, stopped the game for a foul on Man City’s Erling Haaland when Jack Grealish had a clear advantage.
Here, we examine the five most controversial refereeing calls in the ongoing Premier League season.
Wolves 2-2 Newcastle
Referee Anthony Taylor on October 28, 2023, awarded Newcastle a penalty right at half-time, which helped Newcastle secure a point from the encounter. However, a replay showed Hwang Hee-chan’s kick on Callum Wilson was a rather soft one.
Wolves manager Gary O’Neil later said, “It was a terrible on-field decision, and terrible that VAR didn’t intervene, so I thought they got it badly wrong.”
Manchester United 1-0 Wolves
A league match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 14, 2023, at Old Trafford saw United goalkeeper Andre Onana slammed into Wolves’ Sasa Kalajdzic, which would have been a penalty, but all appeals by the Wolves’ players were ruled out by referee Simon Hooper.
Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool
In one of the most controversial decisions of VAR in recent years, this heated match between Tottenham and Liverpool, took place at Tottenham Stadium on September 30, 2023.
The Reds were already down by one man and saw a clear-cut goal by Luis Diaz being disallowed by Simon Hooper, who was the officiating referee
Again, VAR did not step in to correct the decision as well. The situation worsened for Liverpool when they lost another player at the fag end of the match, which led to Tottenham scoring a late winner.
Newcastle 1-0 Arsenal
Another controversial game of the 2023/24 season was this fixture between Arsenal and Newcastle on November 4, 2023., which left Arteta fuming in the post-match conference. Among the many disputes in the match, the most contentious was Anthony Gordon’s goal.
The referee and VAR had to decide on three different calls: whether Gordon was offside, whether Joelinton had fouled Gabriel Magalhaes, and whether the ball had gone out of play.
To Arteta’s dismay, the latter was rather simple, but for the first two, there wasn’t much clarity. At the end of it all, Newcastle’s goal stood, leaving the Arsenal manager fuming.
Fulham 3-2 Wolves
Also, in another controversial match when Fulham hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Craven Cottage on November 28, 2023, Referee Michael Salisbury had acknowledged that he had erred in awarding a penalty to the Cottagers following a challenge by Nelson Semedo on Tom Cairney in the penalty area. It was just one of several injustices Wolves have had to deal with this season.
Tim Ream also appeared lucky to escape a second yellow card for pushing Hwang, and Carlos Vinicius may also have been sent off for violent behaviour after his collision with Max Kilman.