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Gallagher: Penalty Decision Justified But Cats Lucky With Larsson

People are actually talking about stuff Sunderland have done.

Mike Hewitt

Former referee Dermot Gallagher believes Mike Dean was justified in awarding Sunderland the matchwinning penalty at Stamford Bridge, but Gus Poyet's men can also count themselves fortunate that they didn't concede one themselves.

Dean pointing to the spot after Cesar Azpilicueta appeared to trip Jozy Altidore in the box has dominated the headlines, thanks mainly some vintage if petulant deflection from Jose Mourinho in his comments after the Blues' 2-1 defeat. Gallagher has defended the decision, though.

He told Sky Sports News:

I can understand why it was given. The assistant raises his flag. I thought he had taken him with his trailing leg.

I thought his left leg took the back of his ankle, that was my first impression on Saturday night. The assistant thought the same. Mike Dean was guided by his assistant.

What I will say is that was not a stonewall penalty. You can watch it 100 times and you will change your mind 100 times.

Gallagher's comments echo those of another former ref, Graham Poll, who described it as a 'grey area', but it seems that just about everyone is in agreement that it wasn't strictly a wrong decision. It was just one of those that sometimes you get and sometimes you don't. There have been plenty in that category that we haven't been given this season, so we'll take this one thank you very much.

The other two major talking points from a refereeing standpoint involved Seb Larsson and Ramires. Gallagher didn't try to defend the latter's forearm smash late in the first half because, well, you can't, but he does believe Larsson was very fortunate not to concede a penalty shortly before that when he appeared to jump into Ramires as he was about to head into an empty net.

I did think that was a penalty because Ramires was about to head the ball into the net - and it would have been a red card. The referee did not deem that to be a penalty for whatever reason.

Ah well, we'll take that one too!

All about results at this stage. The how and the why is unimportant!

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