"Wtf." That was Erling Haaland's take on referee Simon Hooper's failure to play advantage after he'd threaded Jack Grealish through deep into second-half stoppage against Tottenham on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.
Initially, it looked like Hooper had waved the play on after Emerson Royal clattered into Haaland just inside the City half. However, just as Grealish was scampering through on goal, the official blew up, sparking explosive - and meme-spawning - reactions from the City players.
Haaland's X post, which voiced bewilderment at the decision, has been liked almost 500,000 times at the time of writing. The reception of the Norwegian's outrage is indicative of the feeling around Premier League refereeing currently.
This season, officials have been subject to a previously unheard of level of criticism, with beleaguered PGMOL chief Howard Webb being forced into numerous apologies. The implementation of VAR remains the hot-button issue, particularly among match-going fans, but as the Haaland example proved, the technology is not the only problem currently facing the current refereeing cohort.
GOAL has ranked the most controversial decisions from the 2023-24 season so far...