By Daniel Feliciano

28th Dec, 2022 | 9:50am

Dermot Gallagher shares verdict on controversial incident in West Ham United defeat v Arsenal

Dermot Gallagher believes the referee made the right decision in awarding West Ham a penalty against Arsenal on Boxing Day.

The Hammers were given a penalty when Jarrod Bowen was tripped by William Saliba but still managed to get his shot off, leaving people wondering why a penalty was still given.

But speaking on Sky Sports News’ “ref watch” segment (27 December), former Premier League referee Gallagher recalled an incident from several years ago that was very similar to justify why it was the correct call from Michael Oliver.

“This is history being re-written in many ways because I think it’s a penalty,” he said.

“I feel Saliba has caught him and it’s knocked him off his stride.

“That’s why the ball has run away and it’s ironic as when I was watching it last night there was an incident involving Matt Jarvis many years ago at this very ground when he tried to stay on his feet and the referee didn’t give it.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“We don’t want to force players to think they have to go to ground, and that is what referee Michael Oliver has done here.”


As Bowen raced clear and Saliba slid through him, it was clear as day to anyone that wasn’t an Arsenal fan that it should be a penalty to West Ham.

When it was given there was little surprise, but Gallagher’s comments and his recollection of that Matt Jarvis moment shows exactly why there is some even after the fact.

What is lacking most from officials in the sport is consistency across decisions from different referees. The amount of times we see two near identical decisions go different ways means it’s impossible for anyone to have a firm understanding of whether fans and clubs are right or wrong to feel aggrieved.

West Ham got what they deserved and cooly collected in a game where they didn’t play that well ultimately, but hopefully this type of decision is given consistently so we all know what to expect going forward.

In a relegation battle, which is seemingly what we’re in this season, that could make all the difference.