Former PL referee claims ‘Soyuncu was lucky’ in penalty incident

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has claimed that Caglar Soyuncu was lucky that Luke Thomas was where he was otherwise he would have been red-carded against Arsenal.

The Gunners appeared to be denied a goal when VAR showed that our headed effort towards goal was blocked by the hand of Soyuncu inside the Leicester six-yard box, which you would have assumed would have been a straight red card and a penalty, but only a yellow was given with the spot kick.

Alexandre Lacazette calmly slotted that away for the 2-0 lead, and that was how the game finished, so there was little reason to complain, but the job could well have become easier had a red been given. Hackett agrees with the on-field decision however, simply because the full-back was behind him in line with the goal.

“Soyuncu was lucky that Thomas was behind him,” Hackett stated to the FootballInsider.

“I’m going with the referee on this one. I am not red carding him.

“If you watch it closely, Thomas is on the cover and clears it off the line. It is for that reason that it’s not a red card. The covering defender saves him. That is the nonsense of it.

“What the referee has to ask himself is, ‘Did that handball deny a goal?’ In this case, it didn’t because the defender kicked it after a slight touch from Soyuncu.

“I thought that was really good use of VAR. Darren England did really well coming in because first time round I did not see that.”

It’s a little debateable to be honest though, as the ball took a clear deflection off the hand, and may not have fallen to Thomas on the line in the way that it did, but I can understand Hackett’s point. With the win in the bag, and us closing in on a top-four finish however there isn’t cause for concern or to distract us with the situation.


Tags Caglar Soyuncu Keith Hackett


  1. How are these people referees?
    If it was intentional, it was a red, but if it was unintentional, what is the justification for sending him off? What did he do? Have his arm in an “unnatural position”? Is that worth a red card on it’s own?
    The penalty was correct, but that was enough – I was shocked he got a yellow.

    1. How? Because they know the rules which state that deliberate hand ball (anywhere on the pitch) is only a red card if denying a scoring opportunity (last man) and as there was someone nearer the goal, was not a red. Anyway, double jeopardy is somewhat harsh anyway.

  2. He could’ve easily seen red for that:

    Goal-bound shot blocked with hand in “unnatural” position”

    Debatable is if his team mate could’ve saved the header if it didn’t hit his hand but Soyuncu did block the shot with his arm stretched out, denying clear goal scoring opportunity

    Seems like everything referees do against Arsenal is correct but everything they do in Arsenal’s favor is ‘debatable’

    1. Well if it wasn’t intentional, why should it be more than a penalty? What are we punishing?
      It reminds me of one of luiz’ red cards if you want an example where it was unfair on us – think it was against wolves where he clipped someone completely unintentionally in the box, and the refs decided that it wouldnt have been a card if he was trying to make a tackle, but because he didn’t try to do anything it was a red. I get that you foul someone by mistake, but is it really fair to send someone off for something like that?

      Surely the red card should be reserved for intentional cheating and seriously dangerous play? Otherwise it’s just punishment for punishments sake

      1. If the arm is in an “unnatural” position then the question has to be: “why is his arm there at all?”

        Personally I don’t buy the “it wasn’t intentional” story.

        Even if it was a reflex movement, it was still deliberate and thus worthy of a red.

        1. It’s hard to say what is an unnatural position in reality when someone is off balance. In this case, see any evidence for it being intentional- looked like there was a reflex movement once he touched it, which indicates to me it wasn’t expected and therefore not intentional.

          In any case, its a game of football – if the ref thought it was intentional (cheating) he should have sent him off. If not, a penalty is enough. No reason for a yellow imo

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