'It’s a physical contact game' - Ex-Premier League referee delivers verdict over Callum Wilson’s 'controversial' Newcastle United opener

Newcastle United’s opening goal in North London wasn’t without controversy on Sunday.

The goal, which was checked by VAR for offside, a foul and a handball was eventually allowed to stand and gave Newcastle a first-half lead, one that was quickly doubled by Miguel Almiron’s superb solo effort. Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher revealed he believes Callum Wilson did very little wrong in his challenge with Hugo Lloris and that VAR made the correct call to stick with the referee’s decision.

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Gallagher said on Ref Watch: “It’s a physical contact game and I don’t think he [Wilson] has done too much wrong. I look at that and I don’t think there is enough evidence for the referee to give a foul against it.

“It gets checked by the VAR and certainly when the referee gives a goal on-field, the VAR isn’t going to overturn that. The referee has an on-field tolerance level and once it goes to VAR, that tolerance level has to be higher so once the referee decides a goal on-field, it’s never, ever going to be changed.”

However, former Leeds United and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson does have sympathy for his fellow goalkeeper. Robinson believes that had Lloris ran into Wilson, then a free-kick would have been awarded to the striker.

Robinson said: If that’s the other way around and Callum Wilson chests that around and Hugo Lloris puts his arm around him, that’s a penalty in the other direction.”

Newcastle also had a second-half shout for a penalty turned down by Jarred Gillett after Joelinton’s header struck Emerson Royal on the hand. Although four Magpies players were convinced a penalty should be awarded, once again, VAR did not step in to overturn the decision. And Gallagher believes that the technology and Gillett made the right call on this occasion:

Callum Wilson celebrates after scoring first goal against Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

“I think it hits him but that’s all I think it does. He’s got his arms in what we would call a natural position, where do you expect his arms to be?

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“It hits his [left] arm, if it hits his other arm, I can understand a penalty being given because it’s outstretched but it’s so, so close and he’s jumping for the ball so I can’t see a referee giving a penalty for that.”

United also had an early first-half shout for a penalty which was waved away by the referee - a decision that turned out to be a very good call from the man in the middle. Once again, it was the same duo involved in the action and Galagher believes that, despite appearing to be a penalty on first viewing, that the referee got the call correct.

“Brilliant refereeing.” Gallagher said. “On first viewing, watching it live, I’ve gone penalty.

Hugo Lloris clashed with Callum Wilson for Newcastle Unitd's opener on Sunday (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
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“But when you see the replay, you see that Joelinton actually catches Emerson Royal in the back of the leg with his own foot and that’s why he goes to ground. Great spot by the referee.

“I think that’s one of the real referees for the future. Since he’s came over from Australia, he’s started so well, he’s unfussy, he’s a safe referee and he’s just gone on and on and on.”