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Was Howard Webb Correct in Giving Manchester United a Penalty v Liverpool?

howard webb Was Howard Webb Correct in Giving Manchester United a Penalty v Liverpool?

The weekend’s biggest match saw some great, some solid and some absent performances from both sides. I believe the 2-1 scoreline in favor of Manchester United was a good indication of how United dominated possession and created more clear cut chances than Liverpool. That said, Liverpool impressed me throughout the afternoon as they refused to gift United the space they crave in attack to crush opponents by 3 or 4 goals. Liverpool were quick to close down United in midfield, stayed organized, and the ever-dangerous Fernando Torres probably should have equalized for Liverpool late in the game.

One could argue that Liverpool set up slightly negative against United implementing more defensive tactics than earlier in the week when a 5 man attacking front saw off Portsmouth 4-1. Such is it that Old Trafford isn’t Anfield, so Liverpool, more specifically, Rafael Benitez trudged onward with the formation he saw fit.

Early on in Sunday’s match, the tactics implemented by Benitez seemed to be working when Liverpool snatched an early 1-0 lead from a Fernando Torres header in the 5th minute. It was only the opening moments of the encounter, but with a 1-0 lead, Liverpool seemed to be in the ascendancy as United struggled with cohesion.

Big matches always seem to create moments of controversey when both sides are evenly matched and not looking to give even the slightest advantage to their opponents. Cue the 10th minute of the match when Liverpool defender Javier Mascherano bundled over United’s Antonio Valencia in the box prompting England’s #1 Howard Webb to award Manchester United a penalty.

In real time, the foul looked like a blantant penalty and Mascherano must have felt lucky not to have been sent off as he was the last defender between Valencia and the Liverpool goal. Replays due however show that initial contact was in fact made outside of the box while Valencia’s momentum took him into the box where contact continued and where he was eventually felled. The Liverpool players immeaditley pointed to a spot on the field directly outside the penalty area hoping Webb would award United a free kick outside of the box instead of the game changing penalty.

Rafa Benitez has since come out criticizing Webb for his decision stating Valencia took a dive to win the penalty. Although Benitez was quoted as saying he thinks Webb is a “good referee”, his statements of displeasure with the penalty being awarded originate from Webb’s decision to give it in the first place. As we all know, Wayne Rooney slotted home his own rebound when Pepe Reina saved from the spot thus leveling the score. The damage had been done for Liverpool when both teams were again on equal grounds. United went on to win the possession battle and found the winner in the second half while Liverpool were left to rue what could have been had the moment of controversy not originated.

Manchester United returned to top of the league while Liverpool sit 18 points behind in 6th with their potential 4th place finish hanging by a thread.

Do you think Howard Webb was correct in giving the game changing penalty? How do you think Webb will perform this summer at the World Cup Finals? Is Howard Webb really the best English referee who’s just having an off season?

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Liverpool, Manchester United and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

123 Responses to Was Howard Webb Correct in Giving Manchester United a Penalty v Liverpool?

  1. HaggsTheRed says:

    More importantly, why was Torres not shown a card for his petulant defamation of the penalty spot?

    • Simon BUrke says:

      I am no Liverpool fan but the outcry over this – thankyou Jon Champion, was daft. He kicked the spot in frustration. He didnt kick a player, he didn’t leave a 4 ft divot in the pitch – he was pis*ed off. Not a yellow.

    • PeteNutz says:

      Defamation of the penalty spot? WTF?? You’re probably a Manc so wouldn’t know how to use a dictionary even if you could afford one. Ask someone with a brain what defamation means and then have a little think about how it can apply to a spot of paint on a football pitch!

  2. Mike says:

    It was a clear foul and a denial of a scoring opportunity. The foul may have been outside the box. If Webb had awarded a free kick rather than a penalty, he would have been compelled to send off Mascherano. Awarding the penalty and leaving Mascherano on the pitch probably made for a better game. I think Webb got it right.

    • PeteNutz says:

      Your argument doesn’t even make sense. Talking sh*te! You should probably refrain from posting comments about things you know nothing about.

  3. Adeel says:

    hi, i really actually thought that it should have been a free kick, valencia did get fouled but dived and it started ouside and he fell inside.

  4. Peter says:

    The foul continued into the area which means it was a penalty. It doesn’t matter where the initial foul occurred. I thought he got it all spot on, penalty and a caution. Carragher was still behind him which would negate the send off.

    • Tomy says:

      The fouls was outside the area, Valencia kept going so he could fall over IN the area.
      There was a last man so no sending off.

      My Spurs friend reminded me last season when they were at Old Trafford, 2 nil up at half time.

      5 mins into the 2nd half utd got a penalty that even their players & crowd said wasn’t one, who was the ref.??? Howard Web

    • PeteNutz says:

      Concur with Tomy, the fould didn’t continue into the area. Valencia opted to stay on his feet until he was in the area thereby deceiving the inept referee into awarding a penalty. Valencia should have been booked for simulation.

  5. sidney says:

    webb got it terribly wrong as usual, the foul if any was outside the box,webb cant change the rules , but he is a munu homer anyway.dont remember vimto nose moaning when vidic did a far worse foul and should have walked in the carling cup final.

  6. sidney says:

    valencia dived all the slowmos showed that he has learned well off ronaldo

    • Jeff says:

      He never even played with Ronaldo.

      • OleGunnar20 says:

        jeff, jeff, jeff. you should know better than to use things like facts and reality with folks like this … :)

        • wozza says:

          I think it’s time we all stopped feeding the trolls…

          • The_NZA says:

            the main point everyone is missing is we watch football to see big, strong, fast, players playing a game we can all play. So why should we discredit A.Valencia for his big, strong, fast play? Instead everyone taking the side of the slow(er) player that was fouling him before and during A.V. getting into the box? You wanna watch a bunch of people get beat by speed and then have to foul watch league Un. For every if and but about this pen we can do another for Stevie G’s ghost ban for elbowing a stoke(not 100% sure on team) player within the last 3 games, Rio gets a ban after the fact but Stevie G doesn’t, wheres the consistency?

            If your sick of loosing stop blaming the refs and start looking at Rafa’s weak tactical planing. Also Rafa has bought more duds than a western movie set, lets just use Aquilani as an example, 5 league appearances, thats 4mill a appearance. Thats money well spent…

            Although as much as i hate liverpool you guys at least have history and didn’t just buy your way into the upper echelon, heres looking at you Man Shitty and Chelski.

            My favorite part of this whole page is that United STILL won the game and are STILL on top of the table so everyone complaining about it can do so till your face turns blue, its not gonna change anything.

  7. James says:

    Mascherano committed 3-4 separate fouls on that sequence. Advantage played until there’s no advantage. Webb is under no obligation to go back to the first foul. Who says he even saw it as outside the box. When you haul on someone for 10 yards you get what you deserve. Just because the same player committed the fouls doesnt make it a lump sum of one foul.

  8. OleGunnar20 says:

    Let me quote from the FIFA Laws Of The Game, Law 12 Fouls And Misconduct, pg 110:

    “If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee MUST award a penalty kick.”

    (http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/federation/81/42/36/lawsofthegameen.pdf)

    End of discussion.

    Liverpool fans quit whinging. You suck this year. Accept it and try to focus on not getting overhauled by Everton and knocked out of the Europa Cup spots.

    • wozza says:

      Seems pretty clear – no need for all this debate! Or this article…

      • Jesse says:

        Wozza

        Thanks for the feedback,

        Clearly the point in this article was to take a look at the incident and revisit the debate the day after the match to see if Webb’s decision held up or not.

        I persoanlly believe that Webb made the correct decision, but he also could have not played the advantage and blown his whistle upon first contact from Mascherano.

        When a call is made that effects the outcome of one of the biggest matches of the season, I think articles of this nature are appropriate.

        • wozza says:

          Well, you’ve certainly made your advertisers happy!! Did Webb actually play advantage?

          • Jesse says:

            He definitely let play continue for a moment after initial contact was made to see if Valencia had an advantage or not.

            Had Valencia continued on towards goal and scored, you wouldn’t have heard a whistle.

            Such it was that the combination of fouls felled Valencia inside the box and the pen was given.

    • Josh says:

      He didn’t continue to hold him in the penalty area…….he let go, and then they went into the area, and the Valencia fell down

      • Miak says:

        Not true. Wacth again.

        • johnsy says:

          very true

        • Josh says:

          Just watched it again, he pulls him for about 3 hours, and then Valencia takes a step into the box. Mascherano lets go, and then Valencia tumbles to the ground. It is clear that Mascherano had been touching Valencia inside the box, but based on how much he was pulling up until that point, it’s fairly obvious (to me at least) that Valencia went down under his own merit. If Mascherano’s contact would have caused him to fall down, it would have been outside of the box because that contact was a lot more significant than the hand holding that occured inside the box for .1 seconds. I still think it wasn’t a penalty, it was a free kick

    • Yespage says:

      Well, the hold was outside the box, the dive was inside the box. All and all, Man U deserved the 3 pts, but the guy dived in the box. It was a penalty, but should have been a spot kick, not a penalty shot. Possibly a red card however for the pull of the arm.

      • wozza says:

        just FYI, a spot kick is a penalty kick…

        • Yespage says:

          My bad. It should have been a kick from outside the box. My intent was clear however.

        • KingKenny says:

          Wow, there are some idiots out there, “It was a penalty, but should have been a spot kick, not a penalty shot. Possibly a red card however for the pull of the arm”…what sport do you watch, penalty shot? It was a spot kick, what d you think the ref gave?! And red cards don’t just get given for the pull of an arm either.

          • Yespage says:

            You’ll need to forgive me. I’m not the sort of person that never makes a mistake. I can only hope that you can forgive my inability to put the proper term in my post. I bow before your complete awesomeness.

            That said, the defended grabbed the arm of a person who had only the keeper between him and the net. That probably deserves a red card as it impeded what probably would have been a goal.

      • PeteNutz says:

        It was a penalty but should have been a spot kick not a penalty shot? Are you American? WTF are you banging on about? You clearly know nothing about the game so should leave well alone. I hope never again to see your comments about a proper sport ruining what should be a sensible discussion!

    • Tomy says:

      He took his hands away from him and he dived, you know it, you won it wont change the result, but at least be truthful about it.

    • 7Spink11 says:

      yeah exactly right mate if the foul CONTINUES but it never he jus jumped into the box just because he jumps into the box doesn’t mean the foul has continued Well Done United you finally beat Liverpool after losing to them for like 4 times in a row and you had to cheat to get back in the game you know fine well Fergie would be kickin off if the situation was reversed.

    • Tyson says:

      Well said there is no debate at all here it was a clear penalty the referee had no choice at all he followed the law to the letter.

  9. Kishore says:

    Interesting one this one…1st of all…im a Man Utd fan…but my initial feeling was tht it was a free kick since the offence started outside the box…so a free kick appeared a fair decision…but then why i say this is interesting is because if im not mistaken…we’ve seen the exact incident in two other matches this season…one was involving the man city vs united carling cup game where the exact thing happened involving bellamy and rafael and the other game was involving everton and again man city i think…in both cases penalties were given….but im not totally sure it was a penalty in all the cases…but that is something i think the referees have to clarify for us…we need to know their view and why they decided to give penalties and not free kicks for the initial fouls…so rafa calling valencia a diver is a bit far fetched…

    • Jesse Chula says:

      Kishore,

      Good observations about the Manchester City v Manchester United Carling Cup match. I forgot about that one, and yes, a pen was indeeded awarded in favor of Man City.

  10. James says:

    Gaffer. Listening to you on podcast about the penalty. I would say you guys are spot 9 out of 10 times in your views. However, I would say you are off on the rules on this one. Doesn’t even matter if there was a foul outside the box. Mascherano committed multiple fouls. If there a 4 different guys or 1 guy commtting 4 fouls it remains the same. Nothing requires returning to the spot of the first foul. That’s not the rule. I would have done the same thing as Webb. I will gladly admit to being wrong if someone wants to rule on this from a FIFA book but I believe I am correct.

    PS. I didn’t care who won. Fulham fan here.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Hi James, just to clarify, that wasn’t me on the podcast. It was a discussion between Richard Farley, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna. I’m the one with the Welsh/American accent, but I haven’t been on the pod in a few weeks. No worries.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • James says:

        Sorry Gaffer. I meant “you” in the plural and the podcast in general. I addressed to you cos you always respond. You think I don’t know your voice after 9687697854 Audible commercials? I hear it in my sleep, which is disturbing. lol.

        Take Care

        • The Gaffer says:

          James, “Hello, I’m The Gaffer, and I’m here to tell you that the EPL Talk Podcast is brought to you by Audible. For one free audiobook…” ;)

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

  11. SFGooner says:

    It did appear to me to be the right decision, as much as I’d like the opposite to be true.

    That said, Webb is not the best of referees, and very few (if any) visiting teams get a fair shake at Old Crapford.

  12. doros says:

    i am sure that Webb wanted to give the penalty no mater in or out. the assistand ref did not give a penalty. mr Webb is a good ref but he likes man utd

  13. Mish says:

    Perhaps some of you whiners quoting FIFA rules should listen to this:

    h**p://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1259679/Graham-Polls-Official-Line-Desperate-Liverpool-pay-price-unsporting-behaviour.html?ITO=1490

    Mr Poll has noted here that Mascherano let go of Valencia as they approached the area which shows the foul to be cynical but not a penalty. Seeing as Poll has 26 years experience as a top-flight Ref and you lot have um..let me see..no bloody experience at all, you should consider listening to his perspective.

    It wasn’t a pen, United got handed a leg-up in a game they were looking shell-shocked in, as per usual.

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      or you could actually watch the replay yourself with working eyballs and see that mascherano still clearly had a hold of valencia’s left arm INSIDE THE PENALTY BOX and with a final tug and release upset his balance. if that guy says mascherano let go outside the box then he is either blind or a moron.

      but feel free to cling to whatever one washed up and apparently blind ref is spouting off in the daily rag.

      you know, either way. liverfail still on the verge of being out of Europa and another year with no English Title. the decades just seem to be ticking by don’t they.

      • The Ultimate ABU (Anyone But United) says:

        “you know, either way. liverfail still on the verge of being out of Europa and another year with no English Title. the decades just seem to be ticking by don’t they.”

        –You know, you were actually making a fair point until you mentioned that last statement. It must be difficult for you to live in this world with that large (still growing) chip on your shoulder!

        I don;t know why I am even surprised and why most of us even bother. I mean, most Manyoo fans are nothing but arrogant b*stards and wouldn’t know class even if it slapped them in the face.

        • OleGunnar20 says:

          uh? man utd fans do not need a chip. 11 titles in the premiership era, and going on a record 4 in a row and 19 top english league titles overall sort of speak for themselves.

          it isn’t arrogance if you are simply pointing out that you are the best and it is in fact the truth. unlike Liverfail that continue to maintain that they are the best in some deluded parallel universe where it is still the 80s.

          and if you are suggesting we do not have pity for the lousy, haven’t won a title in 2 decade, scousers you would be wrong. we do pity Liverfail. not as much as we pity poor old Man sChity, 34 years and counting with no hardware at all. at least Liverfail have won something this decade, their impotence only seems to be domestic.

  14. Fish says:

    if the foul continued into the area, then it was definitely a penalty. However, Maschereno’s hand was off from Valencia before entering the penalty area, therefore, it’s only a freekick. More interesting was that in the second half, when Kuyt fouled Fletcher at the midfield area, Fletcher kicked Kuyt with his two foot. The referee just a step away but did not send him off. That’s ridiculous!!!

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      wrong. he clearly still had a hold of valencia’s left arm inside the box. nice try tho. i suggest Pearl Vision Center.

      • The Ultimate ABU (Anyone But United) says:

        You just can’t help yourself can you OleGunnar20, can’t you??

        You just love being a miserable b*stard!

  15. Bishopville Red says:

    Silly question. What should really be asked is, why was Mascherano allowed to continue playing? Red card are supposed to be given out if you professionally foul someone, especially if they have a clear scoring opportunity. No way on earth fat Carragher was getting there in time to stop Valencia.

    • Jesse Chula says:

      Bishopville Red,

      Thanks for the feedback,

      I agree with you that Mascherano should have received a red. The fact that a yellow was given says Webb knew it was a foul, but the rules state that denial of a goal scoring opportunity is an automatic red.

      I would like to hear Webb’s reasoning as to why he only have Mascherano a yellow. Good observations.

  16. Chris from Texas says:

    The penalty wasn’t a penalty because there was no foul inside the box. It happened OUTSIDE the box, making it a free kick. The yellow card was warranted, but Valencia took his time stumbling into the box looking for the PK.

    In fairness to Webb (who is always god awful), it would have been tough to make the right call. He wasn’t on the best angle. However, when Neville almost took Maxi’s head off it should have been a card. Instead, nothing was called.

    In general, Howard Webb was a horrible ref because the game stopped being about Liverpool v. United, and started to focus on a poor official. He became a twitter trend topic even. My favorite fact uncovered by twitter users:

    Howard Webb has awarded 4 penalties in his last 7 games at Old Trafford. The funny thing? They were all for United and a few were responsible for getting them back into the game. Anyone remember the Hotspurs game last year? This penalty now makes it 5 penalties in 8 games, all for United.

    That says something about Webb.

    • Bishopville Red says:

      Rubbish argument! Proof that a few stats are a dangerous thing!

      Why wouldn’t United get penalties? They dominate possession, and constantly attack. people whine about United getting penalties, and never giving them up, but why wouldn’t United earn the majority of penalties when opponents rarely spend time in the United box?

      • Josh says:

        Ok, I just watched it again. Mascherano tugged at Valencia all the way until Valencia got into the box. He then let go, and then Valencia fell over. If one were to make the case that Valencia fell down because of Mascherano, they would have to ask themselves why Valencia didn’t go down until the contact was minimal at best, as opposed to at the beginning of the foul, where he was legitimately mugging Valencia. In the box, they were essentially holding hands, so I really can’t believe that this contact is the reason why Valencia fell down. I still think it’s a dive, and a FK on the edge of the area, and a yellow card as Carragher is the last man back

  17. Mike says:

    It was definitely not a penalty – it was a blatant fandom by Webb. Utd got lucky and they know it. Again. this WILL come back to haunt them as they are an average side with one great player.

  18. Xile says:

    Freekick, no more no less. Carra was the last covering defender hence the yellow card, just another example of a referee making a big mistake in an important game, it just always seems to happen at Old Trafford, funny that.

  19. OleGunnar20 says:

    do you understand what the world “average” means? i hardly think you can classify a team that is in the final 8 of the Champions League and currently leading the toughest professional league in the world “average”.

    and if united are average that would make whatever team you follow below average by definition. unless you happen to be a barcelona fan of course, all due credit to the current world champions.

  20. Kuyts reflection says:

    It was certainly a pen and the bucked tooth ninja was lucky to stay on the pitch. I didn’t hear the kopites complaining about Howard Webb when he disallowed a pefectly good goal from Defoe at Anfield and when Liverpool defender Kyriaokis wrestled Crouch to the ground in the area in the same game….nice to see he is learning his trade from the ever slowing Carragher.

    • RVPFan says:

      I thought it was outside the box, because the foul started the box. Look nobody is denying that its a foul, the only argument is outside or inside. Carragher was behind so there is no luck involved in whether or not he can be sent off. He simply cannot. The rule outlines this very well. Yellow card was fair. But if you haven’t noticed, this is a clear pattern for teams playing at Old Trafford. United is a good team but looking back at several incidents favoring United over the past years at Old Trafford, you would think this is nothing new. Decisions donot go against United there and no matter how good you play, teams will be at the losing end. Ferguson smiles and United fans are happy. That’s the way it is there ol’ buddy.

  21. wiuru says:

    Mascherano is a liability to his team there would of been no controvacy if he had not tried to impede Valencia . He did and the pool paid for it . Blame him not Webb.

    • Josh says:

      Why not blame Webb for making an incorrect decision? It’s his job as the ref to make the right call. You could blame Mascherano if it was a clear penalty, but it wasn’t

      • Andrei says:

        Well it was 50-50 call and even after looking at the replays the debate is still going on. Referee didn’t have a luxury of replay and as OP stated in real time it looked like stone dead penalty. So the blame should definitely go with Mascherano. It was a childish mistake and a player of his caliber should know better than that.

        Man U is going to get 50-50 calls in their favor at Old Trafford. It is part of the game – other teams get similar breaks. Just accept it and adjust your tactics accordingly. Penalty was not the end of the game Liverpool could still win it or get a draw if they played better or used their chances.

        • Josh says:

          I agree that they had plenty of time to get back into the game, and that these things happen. When I first saw it, I thought it looked really soft, but that’s just my opinion.

        • Jesse says:

          Andrei,

          Thanks for the feedback,

          You seem to have hit the nail on the head in that Webb had to make a split second decision in front of 75,000+, hundreds of millions watching aroung the world, and 11 potentially furious players (depending on the call) without the benefit of replay.

          Also a correct observation (in my opinion as well) is that Javier Mascherano has to know he’ll get called for a pen if he makes that kind of contact against a player who is in on goal.

          He definitely made a terrible mistake, and if I remember correctly, his lack of protest after the decison was made leads me to believe he knew his guilt.

  22. man99utd says:

    If Reina hadn’t sent the ball right back to Rooney and LFC defenders not fallen asleep maybe things would have been different.

    If Torres hadn’t bottled a gift late on maybe things would be different.

    However, that didn’t happen, so please scousers stop blaming everyone else for your lack of imagination on the pitch. Have fun in Europa again next year.

  23. The Ultimate Abu (Anyone But United) says:

    2010 Manchester United = 2005 Juventus

    That’s a FACHT!

    There’s no difference between the two clubs mentioned above except one was caught with their trousers down for match-fixing and cheating! It’s just a matter of time Manyoo fans. Your time is coming. I wonder how many of you will stay Manyoo supporters when the FA decides to actually grow a pair and sends your corrupt club to the Championship!

    I hear Man City could use the extra support!

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      ahhh. the wiff of delusional desperation. i know it must be hard for your club’s glory to be so, so long ago that it can barely be remembered and to have what fading memories there are so thoroughly and completely superseded in every conceivable way by a new era of dominance that puts your’s to shame. but look on the bright side, you might win the league again … someday. once you get rid of the fat maitre d’ as manager. and maybe even before Man Schity does, because you must know as Man Utd fans even we wouldn’t wish that sort of embarrassment on anybody. and it isn’t like we are hoping you pull a Leeds Utd or anything. although, that would be funny, we would miss putting you to shame every season like we miss doing with Leeds.

      so, here is hoping you miss out on the Europa League for next season so you can concentrate on staying up because we would hate to see you relegated. it would take what little satisfaction there is left in reminding you your club is a has been if we had to phone the coca-cola championship to do so.

      hugs and kisses,

      man utd (aka the best english club in history not still living on the delusions of past glory)

      • The Ultimate ABU (Anyone But United) says:

        “we would miss putting you to shame every season”

        You mean like the 4-1 at Old Toilet last season?
        You losing the last two times visiting Anfield??

        The fact that you lost to a League One outfit in the FA Cup this season was pretty hilarious to me. OH and if an investigation won’t be the reason you will be docked points, relegated, etc etc, then it will definitely be because you have three times the debt that Liverpool have! Rumour is that your lot will have a fire sale this summer! lol

        OH and the best part is the fact that you clearly haven’t denied getting some extra help for the past several years! lol

        • Gaz says:

          You beat me to it.

          Don’t all you United fans get too smug about this without recalling the fact that United has only won one in the last four games with us (two games at Old Trafford and two games at Anfield). :)

          Seriously though – United deserved to win but with what is probably going to be our worst season in 10 years, I think we did well.

          • Tyson says:

            Gaz what do you think United are more concerned with winning the Premier League or beating Liverpool?

            Liverpool fans are petty because the highlight of their year is beating Manchester United. If Manchester Uniteds one goal was to beat their rival and they failed to capture trophies, United wouldn’t have very many fans left.

            Fact of the matter is when you win something then you can talk but right now you guys are miles behind.

          • OleGunnar20 says:

            @Tyson:

            clearly it is Liverfail fans still suffering from delusions of grandeur. they still think that they are relevant and somehow victory or defeat to them is supposed to be of more importance than actuall winning the league. of course you cannot blame them having most likely forgotten what winning the league is like so you can understand their distorted view. pity the poor Liverfail fans.

          • Gaz says:

            Touchy, touchy! :)

            Tyson, the comment was tongue-in-cheek and was in supposed to be all in good fun. You guys are so easy to wind up.

            OleGunnar, I would say that beating Liverpool is very important to Manchester United (and vise versa). Even if we were relegated to the Championship and met in the FA Cup it would be a huge game. Not trying to make my team “important” here just the nature of the history of these two clubs. This is one of the biggest rivalries and a huge derby.

            As I said, United deserved to win but we did well considering we are having our worst season in 10 years.

  24. man99utd says:

    ABU,

    you’re funny mate. Looks like you get your “facts” from Rafa and we see where that got him….

    So go support “anyone” and let us get on with knocking the scousers of their perch.

  25. Pat says:

    Liverpool fan here, sure looked like a penalty to me. I can see how there can be an argument, but I agree with Josh above. Let’s all remember it was Mascherano who grabbed his arm close to/if not in the penalty area, he deserved a penalty.

    I’ve seen some bad calls from referees before, this was close enough to at least be justified if it was in fact the wrong decision.

    As an aside, I am shocked Mascherano stayed on the pitch the rest of the game as he usually gets sent off when cautioned early.

  26. Xile says:

    These posts are funny. Everyone who has posted FOR the Valencia dive has + rating under their post, those who are saying that the ref dropped a huge bollock have – ratings, seems like a lot of glory hunters are posting on here and voting respectively, but I suppose that is approx 95% of the population!

  27. Kishore says:

    As i said again…pls refer to the matches i mentioned….same cases…man utd were the victims in the other game in fact…so its really a grey area…these things has to be clarified…and dont look too much into what graham poll had to say…lets not forget Mr.Poll gave 3 yellow cards in a world cup match…

  28. James Milnerr says:

    It was the assistant referee that flagged the incident and indicated that it was inside the penalty area. I think he got it wrong as the infringement occurred outside the box. In cases like these a free kick is always awarded instead of a penalty. That said, Man U deserved the victory because they were more adventorous and they controlled the game from start to finsih having more than 63% of the possession. Benitez once again got it wrong by trying to contain United instead of playing attacking football. Torres was isolated in front and Liverpool only had two shots on goal all game. That’s why Liverpool lost, not because of the wrongly-awarded penalty (in my opinion).

  29. Gaz says:

    I do feel that he let go of the shirt as he entered the box but really it doesn’t matter. If you stupid enough to grab another player’s shirt as he’s sprinting towards the box, you’re asking for it.

    Love my Liverpool but hate our choices at the back this season. Masch didn’t need to make that foul. I don’t think Valencia would have made that shot without something very, very special. Reina had the near post and Carra had the far post.

    Rooney was really lucky on that penalty kick, though. :)

  30. iangnu says:

    Based on the same FIFA rulebook …… why did Gary Neville stay on the pitch? …. or for that matter why the hell didn’t Maxi get a free kick for nearly being decapitated?

    “Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary
    use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.
    • A player who uses excessive force must be sent off.

    ManUre down to 10 men then maybe Liverpool would of not been cheated …….

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      i don’t know? would it be considered “excessive force” to blatantly elbow another player in the back of the head away from the ball for no reason whatsoever other than being a git scouser and having it caught clear as day on camera?

      maybe we should ask michael brown?

      or watch for ourselves ….

      http://i43.tinypic.com/34hbd77.gif

      • The Ultimate ABU (Anyone But United) says:

        Oh lord, not this sh*t again. I mean, you must be the most BITTER Mancunian B*stard on this forum (that’s if you are really from Manchester, and not Surrey, or Asia, etc etc etc).

        The ref gave a free-kick for that incident, and thus Gerrard got lucky to get away from it. It’s too bad that coke-head Rio Ferdinand couldn’t get away from his, but then again Rio is your typical thug so of course refs will always watch him.

        As for you little sh*thead: do you not have a life to live? Have you spent all day hitting the refresh button on this article so that you can smear your skidmark opinion(s) on this after every anti-United comment left on here?? Grow the f*ck up already.

        • OleGunnar20 says:

          i was simply pointing out that the poster’s quoting of the “excessive force” portion of the rule book was a bit ironic given the violent and thuggish nature of captian scouser recently. personally that brown guy probably deserved it, he has a history of being a right twat himself.

          are you suggesting i should follow your highly evolved and mature example?

          i would but i am afraid i can read, am not delusionally stuck in the past and have full use of my sight so i’ll just have to stick to being me …

          as for responding to your drivel, it is easy thanks to the “notify” button … your utterly rubbish posts just pop up in my email inbox and ad a bit of levity to my day … when they are not leaving me agog and aghast with their mind numbing stupidity of course.

  31. iangnu says:

    James Millner …. the assistant did not flag the incident …. he raised his flag after the whistle had been blown for a penalty. Watch the replays.

    As for comparing the penalty to the one City got against ManU. There was very little outside the box on Bellamy but when inside the young ManU defender didn’t use his head. Mascherano tried to do enough to put him off, let go at the edge of the penalty area (watch it again!!) and the new ‘gelled’ tumbler went down. Howard Webb is a disgrace to give the decisions he did yesterday. Lucky team, lucky manager ……. or just crooked?

  32. scouser says:

    what an idiot to grab someones shirt when that player is running into the 18 yard box, torres is getting more pissed off every game and should have been shown a red card for trying to mess the penalty spot up, he will not be at liverpool next season unless they offer him £160,000 a week, the same applies to gerard who like torres does not look interested at times, they can both see rafa is taking the club backwards and while he remains in charge liverpool will not finish in the top four. as for penalties liverpool had had the luck to get quite a few of them over the years and also got away with not conceding what where 100% penalties, we all remember carragher trying on lescott’s shirt in a derby game not too long back

  33. The devil says:

    if i was the ref i would’ve given it too.reason being,that we as fans who watched it on t.v had a second,third and fourth look to be sure whether it was penalty or not.yes, i too (being a utd fan),after watching replays believe it shouldve been a freekick.but at the time i honestly thought it was a clear penalty.even my united haters friends thought it was one.but to answer the question whether it was or not,i think no, it wasn’t a penalty.

  34. Fred M says:

    By the way, where was Webb on Gary Neville’s RIDICULOUS challenge on Maxi. That’s a yellow card at a minimum if not a send off. Similarly , I’m recalling the incident (MU v Chelsea) where Fletcher kicked Drogba in the chest…full cleats… no warning, no card, nothing. MU seem to be living well.

    All this being said.. MU were the better team… sublime goal by Park…and Liverpool had their chances… who would imagine Torres missing a clear shot to equalize on goal with the game on the line… wasn’t meant to be.

  35. the anti-scouse says:

    wow, you bin dippers sure are sore losers arent you? match fixing allegations? really? it doesnt matter if howard webb was right, wrong, a man utd supporter, or otherwise. he made the decision, not man utd, and we took advantage of it. poor save by pepe wasn’t it?

    let us not forget that steven gerrard was gifted a spot in that game by the FA. he should not have been playing due to his violent conduct in his last league encounter (you know, the same conduct the FA suspended Rio for?) we get our fair share from the FA so don’t argue bias here.

    • Tyson says:

      Are you serious? Liverpools season was going perfectly up until the fake penalty. Everybody knows this little incident has derailed Liverpools entire season but until that moment there wasn’t a second that Liverpool f**ked up.

      As usual everything is Uniteds fault. Liverpools flawless season has been ruined for one reason and one reason only and that reason is Manchester United. It’s important to focus the entire blame for everything up until this point on United and not accept responbility for all the other numerous fuck ups during the season.

      Down with United the whole reason that Liverpools season has been bad. This is ALL Uniteds fault every bit of it this season.

  36. Mish says:

    ‘OleGunnar20′ you want to try and have a decent conversation with people for once, instead of acting like an aggressive little peanut-head?

    The fact is that you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter how loud you gripe about your statistics and other assorted bollocks, you’re still wrong. Mascherano’s hand was off Valencia before they carried into the area, use your own bleedin’ eyes and watch it for yourself, that is if you can see through your ‘Glazers Out’ Norwich United scarf.

    As for the years ticking by, yeah they have. I’m a true fan and being one means that I’m able to be subjective about my own clubs successes and failings. I’m not too worried about the years ticking by though, these things are cyclical and we’ll be back on top within 5 years. I know it, other reds know it, I think even you know it (which is why you come on here lashing out like a man with a little dick in communal showers.

    Grow up, lad.

  37. Mish says:

    h**p://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5H3_BmtaP8

    Watch this and tell me it was a penno!

    If you think it was you’re either even more of a *&%$ than I already think you are or you need a white stick.

    • wozza says:

      “If you think it was you’re either even more of a *&%$ than I already think you are or you need a white stick.”

      Mish, in the words of a great man (at least in his own mind), “try and have a decent conversation with people for once, instead of acting like an aggressive little peanut-head”

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      you really do make it too easy. look, you have clearly proved you cannot read with your comment on the FIFA rules below.

      so i will put it in pictures for you and anyone else ….

      http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j164/jcole042/MascheranoPenalty.png?t=1269303255

      that is mascherano’s hand, still on valencia’s arm, in the frackin’ penalty box. the hold started outside the box, continued inside the box … according to the FIFA rulebook, PAGE 110, the ref MUST award a penalty.

      (the must is capitalized for emphasis just so there is no confusion again with your apparently illiterate self)

  38. Petzl says:

    OleGunnar20 has highlighted it quite clearly – “If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee MUST award a penalty kick.”

    I believe that Mascha holds him up to the line and then thinks that he cannot cross the line or it will be construed as a penalty. So you have 2 issues. 1 – Where is the hand in relation to the line. Camera views are not right on the line so it is hard to tell. 2 – Valencia’s body is clearly over the line when Mascha is still holding him so the above ruling should apply and a penalty correctly given….

    I think everyone is getting caught up on the first point and not even thinking about the second point.

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      thank you. and in case anyone would like proof that mascherano was holding valencia while he was in the penalty box feel free to look at the screen capture

      http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j164/jcole042/MascheranoPenalty.png?t=1269303255

      • Gaz says:

        He looks outside of the penalty area in that screenshot. He’s almost in the penalty area but not quite yet.

        Am I missing something? Does the placement of the ball come into play?

        I’m not disagreeing or agreeing it was a penalty (see my opinion above – #72). Just not sure what that picture proves.

        • OleGunnar20 says:

          you are actually forgetting a little thing called perspective. seriously. look at the foot that is out of the box. it is a foot at most from the line. are you suggesting that antonio valencia is only 1 ft wide?

          look at it again. remember you are looking not directly down the line but from a front perspective. look at his left foot that is outside the box, see how close it is to the line, ask yourself if half of valencia’s entire body width could fit in that narrow space.

          the answer is, unless you are entire blind, his body has clearly crossed the line of the box and he is still being held.

          how is this so frackin’ hard? seriously? it is like people are being purposefully obtuse.

          • Gaz says:

            Try to have a conversation with someone that (surprise, surprise) doesn’t share your views without insulting them. Seriously… try it.

            It’s not clear to me that he is in the box – I’m trying not to let my alliance cloud my judgement here – though I admit it may come into play (but I’m sure it would for you too if the roles were reversed).

            I guess my point is that this shows us that video replay will never work. Even with the use of a still picture / video two people can disagree on how to interpret that picture / video.

          • OleGunnar20 says:

            @Gaz: i wasn’t really trying to insult you. you have seemed reasonable all things considered. but you really need to look at the foot of his that is still outside the box. look how close it is to the line. the only way for valencia to be outside the box is if the entire rest of is body could fit into the width between his left foot (outside the box) and the line. that is 12 inches of space at most. it is literally physically impossible.

            if that were a picture of torres and fletcher holding him as much as i am a united fan i would be forced to acquiesce to the laws of physics and admit that he was still holding him when he crossed into the box .. however briefly or however little of him was in the box. it isn’t a matter of allegiance it is a matter of reality.

          • Gaz says:

            What is the official FIFA rule on when to consider a foul inside the area and when to consider a foul outside the area?

            To me, the rule can be interpreted in various ways:

            As soon as any part of the body crosses the line and a foul is committed (Masch is guilty).

            When the ball enters the area (in possession) and a foul is committed (Masch is guilty).

            If 50% of a player’s body crosses the line and a foul is committed (not sure about this one).

            At least one foot must be in the area and a foul is committed (Masch innocent).

            Just like with a goal or ball out of bounds, the entire body must be in the area and a foul is committed (Masch innocent).

            Etc, etc, etc, etc… :)

  39. Mish says:

    It seems like a lot of you are content to take ‘OleGunnar20′s word for things without reading the rule book yourself. For want of a nicer phrase, he’s talking total bullshit. THERE IS NO SUCH QUOTE AS:

    “If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee MUST award a penalty kick.” (OleGunnar20)

    IN THE RULES OF THE GAME .PDF HE LINKED TO.

    The actual quote reads:

    “If a defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty area, the referee must award a penalty kick.”

    And there you have concrete proof, not only in words (from FIFA) but also video evidence (via my Youtube link posted above).

    • wozza says:

      What’s the difference between the quotes?! The capitalisation of the word MUST?

      • Tyson says:

        wozza I’d ignore him hes made an ass of himself already with the inflammatory crap hes been targeting at people that disagree with him. He singlehandedly makes the case for abortion being a legal option.

      • OleGunnar20 says:

        yeah. that was my question. it takes a special sort of spastic to claim what i quoted, directly from pg 110 of the FIFA rule book, is not in there by quoting the exact same thing, word for word. i mean that is just sad. i am not going to have to start to question the ethics of winding up Liverfail fans, it would be like abusing the mentally disabled apparently.

    • OleGunnar20 says:

      are you a complete moron? you just said that what i quoted was not in the book, and then quoted the exact same thing. you literally proved my point for me. i am taken aback at how stupid you are. did you even read your own comment. it was obvious by using all caps the emphasis was mine but other than that what i typed and what you typed are exactly, word for word, the same thing. it comes from pg 110 of the FIFA rules.

      man. and i was starting to feel a bit bad about giving you such schtick for Liverfail sucking for so long. i retract all misgivings about mocking you i had in light of your complete idiocy.

  40. EastTerracer says:

    It is clearly a foul by Mascherano on Valencia but it was outside the box – a free kick would have been the correct decision. However, as there is no way that Carragher would have intercepted (based on his position) then Mascherano should have been sent off for the clear denial of a goalscoring opportunity.

  41. Simon Burke says:

    Its a pen – Mad Masch fouls him outside the box no question but continues fouling him into the box. MAsch should have had the brainpower to stop tugging him while going into the box. As soon as he gets in the box, the United player immediately goes down but he is being fouled. I’d say a reluctant penalty. Masch had plenty of time to stop fouling him but stupidly kept at it.

  42. David Summers says:

    It appears after watching the replay several times he may have released his grip on Valencia just as they entered the penalty box, but my first take on it was a penalty,when your running at full speed at the toward the penalty box and you decide to foul the player you are going to get penalty kicks calls against you.The Ref gets one look at it and given that he was correct.But what about the question should Macherano have been given a red card ?,also should Torres been given a yellow for kicking the grass over the penalt spot ?

  43. Jeff says:

    Regardless of whether it was a penalty or not (I still think it was) United were the better team and they deserved to win the game.

  44. Gaz says:

    By the way, why did Valencia fall forwards if Masch was holding his arm.

    • Tyson says:

      If you are pulling somebody back while they are running forward they will fall away from you when you let them go as all you did was take their balance out. This is why it was such a stupid foul. For one fouling is in the wrong in the first place but the problem is if you pull somebody like that you never know when or where they will go down as momentum is being shifted and the balance could go either way.

      • Alistair Hendrie says:

        Great article.

        My Dad utterly loathed football but after a while, I managed to wear my Mum down and get her to take when I was about 10. I got into football through primary school friends. Now, my Mum and Uncle are really into Reading FC through my influence and they go a lot without me as well. So I guess our family did it the other way. I passed football UP my family haha. I hope my children are big Reading fans and carry on this new-ish tradition

    • Petzl says:

      Pulling his left arm behind him from the right hand side and behind him……it doesn’t really take rocket science to figure that one out does it Gaz??

      • Gaz says:

        Justin (below) got it right.

        Masch was an idiot for holding a player that is sprinting towards the box. That’s a given here – he deserved the foul and could have been red carded easily. However, he seemed to fight so hard to stay on his feet until he got to that magic line in the grass.

        Also, Tyson said above:
        “…if you are pulling somebody back while they are running forward they will fall away from you when you let them go as all you did was take their balance out…”.

        Does that mean this indicates that he did let go of him as he entered the box? If he was still holding his arm in the box he would be held away from the ball not fall towards it, right? Again, he deserves the foul for poor defending but I think there is more than a hint of pulling-the-foul here.

  45. Justin says:

    Valencia didn’t dive, but he was definitely fishing for a penalty. He fought to stay on his feet and magically lost his balance as soon as he got into the box. It is still a foul and the ref has to give a penalty, but it doesn’t mean have to like it.

  46. Petzl says:

    Even if you accomodate the dive theory it wasn’t a patch on ‘Starfish Stevie’ or ‘Air Babel’ :P

  47. James says:

    You will never get a Liverpool fan to admit on the side of a penalty here. If it was Fulham I doubt you’d get me to agree either. Denial breeds discourse which is fun! Regardless, Webb BELIEVED Maschy conitinued to foul inside the box and CORRECTLY applied the FIFA rule. Or he’s a fan and he waited til they were in the box and knew it was dive and STILL applied the correct rule. Either way he used the correct rule so that’s something right?

  48. StevieM777 says:

    OleGunnar20, It seems you quote the rulings when it suits you, and then when you are making wild accusations you seem to lose the ability to refer to your “Quotes”….

    You stated Gerrard was gifted a place in this game…Have you read the rules on this matter ? and why the FA did not act, and indeed the incident at Wigan when he apparently made a gesture towards the referee ?

    The FA can only act on video evidence, if the referee has stated that he was unaware, or did not see the incidents concerned…On each occasion the referee has confirmed he saw the incidents, and felt they acted accordingly.

    Hell, what chance do you have of knowing these rules, your own manager seemed to forget about this one when making his wild accusations..Or was that just for Howard Webb’s benefit !

  49. ugk says:

    Disgrace!
    The authorities have made it clear that they want Man Utd to win the league. This is the 3rd season in a row that Mancs have got game changing penalty/free kick decisions (which were awful calls) at the most crucial stage in the season. And Howard Webb is by far the worst culprit (Steve bennet possibly the next worst). This nonsense has gotten so predictable that i can safely say that the same damn thing will happen next year also.
    But then again, Torres scuffed the ball twice. He could have put it past Man utd even with the terrible penalty.
    So there is some comfort in knowing that even if the refs want Man U to win, the other teams can still cancel it out if they work hard enough/show enough sharpness. Torres really ruined a great chance to ruin Man Utd title chase.

  50. ridic says:

    webb was wrong, just like : ars-liv, bra-egypt, spurs-manu, aut-pol, olimpiakos-bordeaux, all the game he was refereeing… he should stop in charge of every important game!

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