Crucial Referee Mistake Ruins Chelsea Against Man United Match

Oh, what a joy it must be to have the job of a goal-line official. Free admission to Champions League matches. One of the best views of the game from alongside the goal. And an opportunity to watch some of the world’s greatest footballers a mere few feet away. What’s that, you say? I have to help out the referee? Pfft! I’ll just pretend I don’t see anything. It’s got to be the easiest job in the world.

Of course, I jest. But after watching the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final between Chelsea and Manchester United Wednesday night, it makes me wonder what the point of having a goal-line official. I mean, how many times have you seen a goal-line official get involved to help the main referee? What’s the point of having two extra blokes on the pitch if they miss obvious fouls.

To me, the decision by UEFA to have two extra assistant referees on the pitch during Europa League and Champions League matches is a cop-out. They obviously know that the current officiating system is not foolproof, so instead of enacting a rule that would transform the modern game (i.e. video technology), they chose a system that relies on more officials. But it doesn’t get to the root of the problem which is that humans sometimes make errors. They will still make some even with video technology, but the reality is that there would be far fewer mistakes made and the game would end up being much fairer and democratic.

It’s a shame that the match between Chelsea and Manchester United ended the way it did with Patrice Evra’s foul against Ramires in the box not being called for a penalty. Chelsea supporters will feel cheated. Some Manchester United fans will feel vindicated after referee decisions went against them in previous matches between these two clubs. But the fact of the matter is that the game, and the sport, shouldn’t come down to this. Mistakes happen. Referees aren’t perfect, but when it comes to a tournament that is so monumental to both clubs, it would be a travesty for a side to progress to the next round if the difference was one poor decision by the referee.

Editor’s note: Don’t forget that you can win Champions League gear signed by Torres, Giggs, Fabregas, Rooney, Gerrard and Ronaldo.

117 thoughts on “Crucial Referee Mistake Ruins Chelsea Against Man United Match”

  1. Where are these articles when Chelsea are the ones to benefit from these decisions? Gaffer, I know you’re not a Blues supporter, you don’t have to jump on the bandwagon…

    1. Ok, this is what it comes down to, we all love the game and its integrity. I am a nutso Chelsea fan and don’t care much accordingly for the Red Devils, but what I and I think most of us care most about is the game. Without the game there is no Chelsea or Man. U. That was a penalty no doubt. While if the boot was on the other foot, I would not have been at first personally upset, a stolen or unfair win is really no win at all. While I do not support Man. U. we must all support the institution. Someone, must be accountable for these kinds of mistakes, regardless of whom they go against.

  2. Completely agree. There is no vindication. There is a HUGE difference between an EPL regular season match and a Champions League quarter final.

    1. not if it’s a title deciding match as was the case last season when chelsea won by a single point. granted it was a penalty, nobody is denying that, but what goes around comes around. fergie said it best when he mentioned that they’ve benefited from calls for about 7 yrs. now, so united were due a break. let’s not forget chelsea had their chances, but failed to capitalize – that’s football.

      1. Mr.Eric you are a hox,what do you mean by what goas arround comes arround? are you now telling me that chelsae has done wrong to man u before in football history?

        1. In last season’s league game at SB, Chelsea was awaded a free kick even though Darren Fletcher’s tackle was fair and square. Chelsea scored even though Drogba was offside and interfering with van der Sar. Chelsea won the game 1:0.

          If that game was fairly refereed Chelsea would have had 2 fewer points and United one more. You could figure who would have won the PL title then. (hint: not Chelsea).

          1. Ummm…. Fletcher went through ( fouling A.Cole ) to get to the ball that resulted in the free kick and Drogba was played on by Wes Brown that resulted in the goal as also United should have been down to 10 men with Johnny Evans karate kick to Drogba’s chest. if you knew what you were talking about you would realize that the correct team won the Title last year ( hint: not Manchester United )

          2. Stop dribbling sacto, chelsea can’t win games against United without the several terrible decisions that always go in their favour. If it weren’t for biased officials like Atkinson bailing them out Chelsea would be shown up for the creaky average team that they have become. In the last 3 games against United at SB Atkison has incorrectly awarded 2 penalties to chelsea (zhirkov’s dive and carrick’s non-handball), failed to show a red card to luiz for several terrible fouls, given chelsea a free kick for a fair tackle from Fletch, failed to spot the foul of VDS and the offside, failed to award two stonewall penalties for United (the tug on Valencia by Terry, and Terry’s handball this season). Get over it and enjoy another trophyless season, incorrect decisions and 2 non-goals against tottenham won’t save you from your fate.

  3. Contact started outside the box. They made the right call. MAYBE a foul but in no way should that of drawn a penalty kick.

  4. I think the ref made the right call, Evra was initially in front of Ramires and I it transpired to a 50/50 going for the ball where they both got tangled up and fell over. I might be slightly biased being a ManU fan, however watching the replay in slow motion, I see it as a fair call.

    1. lol WHAT!??!

      No contact on the ball, Ramirez had it in his possession as evidenced by his touch which took it away from Evra.

      You sir – have not a clue about this game we call football

      1. Thats funny, I too thought it was a 50:50 ball. There was no intent to bring down Ramires. Evra did not going in studs up and no way did Ramires have the ball under control. Just 2 players going for the ball.

        The game is being ruined by over zealous refereeing and by divers. There is no middle ground anymore. At least this referee knew the difference between real intent and a last ditch challenge.

        1. indeed no intent to bring him down, but he totally missed the ball with his kick, and as a result he took down ramires, who DEFINITELY had a good touch which brought the ball into his control. As he falls forward the ball hits him in the side – because he trapped it and it was within inches of his feet had he stayed up.

          INTENT is only useful to the referee when deciding which card to pull out for particularly poor challenges. I just sawed through your shin because I was intending to get to the ball which was on the other side – but no intent to injure or foul so that’s ok right? LOL “At least this referee knew the difference between real intent and a last ditch challenge.” WTF kind of BS is that? IF ever there was a clear foul denying a goal scoring opportunity, this was it – if you cant see that then you’re blinder than a bat

  5. That non-call, penalty or not, is karma coming back around for that bs penalty called on united at the bridge a month ago. So deal with it chelsea fans.

  6. Gaffer: You’re right, it was a penalty, in my opinion. But where were the howls of protest when Drogba was incorrectly adjudged to be onside last season at Old Trafford, and United lost the title due to Mike Dean’s mistake? It’s easy to say these things sort out over time, but the truth of the matter is that Ramires should not have been on the pitch when the penalty occurred. He was already carrying one yellow, and should have been booked for his clumsy targeting of Rooney’s ankle earlier in the match, as well. There’s no tragedy here — mistakes are made all the time, and Chelsea has benefitted from them more than United has in the recent history of this series, as I’ve blogged about multiple times on my website. You’re posting begs for the use of instant replay — something which is sorely missing from our game. When that much power is in one person’s hands, some oversight is clearly necessary.

    1. I’m sick to death of hearing Utd fans talking rubbish about this game (Utd 1 Chelsea 2 2009/10), yes Drogba was off side but in the very same game Macheda clearly handled the ball into the net for their own goal!! The hilarious thing about this how Utd fans have totally blotted this out of there memory banks. They ignore the very suggestion of it as if handball should be allowed for Utd. Next time one of them mentions Drogba’s offside (as they tend to every 25.30 min on average!) tell them about how it was ‘sorted out’ not ‘over time’ but in the very same game! Then sit back and watch the magic happen as they just totally blank it out it’s as if you have only thought it and not said it! Watch them turn into Goldfish in seconds it’s comical. Drogbas offside was equalled out in the very same game yet they still think they should have got something. This is typical of the Fergie mentality in the fans.

      1. ok, so let’s go back to their most recent meeting at the bridge. did chelsea really deserve that win too? super soft penalty at the end of the game against smalling and no second yellow for luiz after all of those late challenges? we’re talking years that this goes back to, not just this season or last. go do the research and take a look at the archives. either way, there are always going to be bad decisions in football for all teams at some point, but the fact of the matter is that chelsea had plenty of decent chances that they didn’t capitalize on and the result reflects that. give me a break man, yawn…

        1. Eric so you don’t think Smalling gave away a penalty? Or that it was soft? Smalling didn’t complain one bit as didn’t any of the other Utd players if that doesn’t tell you something nothing will! Here are the words of the commentator ‘I don’t think Martin Atkinson has any choice but to point to the spot’ granted he didn’t kick him out the park as is usually needed to give a penalty against Utd, but never the less it was still as clear as day. Take those old red specs off matey, things may seem clearer then.
          If Luiz would have been sent of it would have been harsh and by no means near a clear cut decision. Don’t get me wrong Luiz could have been given a 2nd yellow but people would have said that was harsh not that it was a foul or a definite card just that he was a tad unlucky.
          Just because Fergie moans and groans if they don’t get 100% of the decisions that he wants and then carries on to the press afterwards doesn’t mean it’s right. He is just very much used to most things going for him if they are deserved or not and this obviously is carried through to the fans. Who knows if he does it enough some Refs may actually take this on board.
          I’d love for u to go through these archives because for every bad decision against Utd I’ll show u four for them. They always seem to get the rub of the green much more than any other team, granted Chelsea don’t do to bad either but in general no where near Utd.

          1. Smalling did actually oppose it, just didn’t show it as much during the match. Afterward he was quoted saying, “I still don’t think it was a penalty.” If you’re going to take the word of commentators as the end all be all, then that’s your own mistake. Either way, I try to look at each situation individually from a footballing perspective and control the bias, so there have been plenty of times that I’ll gladly admit when United have been fortunate. But that being said, yes Chelsea get far more penalties than any other team in the prem, which is why fat Frank has scored so many goals over the years being that half are from the spot.

          2. Smalling opposes nothing he simply looks resigned to the fact he just gave a penalty away. If Utd thought there was any injustice you know as well as I do they would be all over the Ref showing it. Smalling moved his left leg in front of the attacker tripping him. I don’t think he meant to hit him but he did, that’s why it’s a penalty. The attacker would have been through on goal without the Smalling miss challenge.
            I never take the words of journalists or commentators (I think most are comical) because I have my own brain and they are not any knowledgeable than the next man. Don’t get me wrong I do listen to, or read some of there stuff but they mostly do not really impress me. In ge they have never had anything to do with playing/Managing or Refereeing and even if they have it‘s no guarantee they don‘t have a clue. You have to admit thought that his comments are an indicator to it being a penalty to say the least.


        1. Why..You are wrong and the video itself clearly shows Smalling’s left leg remained stationary immediately prior to and during Zhirkov’s beautiful piece of acrobatics in the penalty area. A great example of a penalty “won” as opposed to deserved. Wrong decision by the referee.

          1. Yeah of course it does. I’ve heard of selective hearing but selective vision? Gotta think of a name for that, hmmm how about Fergitus! For the very definition of beautiful pieces of acrobatics see Nani.

          2. Clearly, your eyesight is in need of correction. Smalling’s left leg does not move as Zhirkov comes through and if you can’t see that, I can’t help you. The concensus of opinion is that it was not a penalty, unlike the clear penalty on Ramires by Evra most recently.

            Introducing Nani’s theatrics is irrelevant and further undermines your case. I don’t see how that directly relates to the Zhirkov/Smalling incident though I’m sure you can enlighten me.

          3. Do you know what a ‘Devil’s advocate’ is? Have you taken a position you do not agree with for arguments sake? The consensus of opinion is that it was not a penalty, is it really? Then why does Eric above say ‘super soft penalty at the end of the game against Smalling’ Eric knows it was a penalty (Super? He is a red though,) all be it a tad soft one I’ll give him that but it’s still a clear penalty, should these not be given against Utd? Only the other teams because they are unlucky and Utd don‘t like being unlucky? I personally myself also think Smalling was unlucky in this case as the ball took a bounce and he moved his leg to where he thought it would be but only managed to trip the attacker, who incidentally didn’t do a Nani. By the way I bring Nani up because he is a real cheat and well known for it to boot where the Chelsea player is not. Yet you think it right to tar him with the same brush by making a point in your clearly wrong argument that he dived, as if this will some how make you correct, he did not dive. Is it also the common consensus that he dived only because you said so? Do you get that now?
            Man Utd fan’s need to stop taking everything Fergie says a the Gospel because he is the biggest moaner and worse loser in the Premiership (even though he agrees with me on this 1 😉 ) to be fair though it’s in part that this probably helps to make him the best Manager in the Prem but you gotta admit he is the most bias, moaning Manager around.

            This is just for you clearly leaning to the RED side Devil’s advocate LOL.


            I’ll translate it for you as I understand some Americans can struggle with the Scottish accent.
            “moan, moan bad defending (and not a top quality finish by Luiz)moan moan. It WAS a soft penalty (did ya get that bit? if not he said it was a moan penalty) moan moan grumble moan, we didn’t get most of the decisions. Moan grumble grumble moan moan. The ref was a disgrace, and yet he’ll keep his job (nice touch that) moan grumble moan grumble moan moan moan. Eye Gigsy is great.”

            I think your ‘concensus of opinion’ is only your own and that means you are no Devil’s advocate, Change your name mate! Case 100% proved me thinks.

          4. Yes, I am well aware of the notion of “devil’s advocate” and no I haven’t adopted my stance for this reason. It is my genuine belief that this was an example of gamesmanship by Zhirkov and should not have been rewarded as explained previously. It is not a question of gifting United “soft” decisions to the exclusion of others. Faking a trip in the penalty box or feigning injury generally has become endemic, is wrong and leads, quite rightly, to calls of “cheating”.

            Introducing Nani for comparison purposes does nothing to bolster your argument. You are surely not suggesting that because Nani has practised gamesmanship that Zhirkov’s actions were in some way “justified”. That is plain ridiculous. I am referring to a specific incident in a particular match and you decide to go off on a tangent. The penalty awarded to Chelsea was the product of gamesmanship, no question about that.

            You have an odd concept of the term “concensus”. This term refers to the balance of opinion from a variety of sources. In this instance, the concensus comprises various media reports, newspaper, tv, blogs etc. and supports my viewpoint. For that reason, I find it difficult to take the remainder of your post seriously.

            Finally, you wrongly assume I’m American but given you have made incorrect assumptions elsewhere, your case has hardly been proved. I suggest you brush up on your English vocabulary and grammar whilst you’re there. I can see now how appropriate the name “Why” is.

          5. Gaffer I have replied to me old mucker the Devil’s Advocate but it doesn’t seem to be being shown. I have changed the e-mail address a& change some words but still nothing is it a problem with the site?

          6. Basically the ‘common concensus’ that you mention for it not being a penalty is exactly the opposite! The Media, Neutrals, and even many Utd fans have said that it WAS a penalty albeit a soft one but still a penalty never the less. Because the word soft is used doesn’t make it not a penalty. In this case ’soft’ is referring to the fact (IMO) that Smalling didn’t mean to foul the player and was a bit unlucky but never the less it was still a trip, (penalty) accidental maybe. In your Fergitus attack where you apparently didn’t see him move his left leg into the path of Zhirkov (but he clearly does!) for some reason only known to yourself you accuse Zhirkov of diving, or in you oh so clever words ‘gamesmanship’ lol, which is Naniesque in style (typical diving or cheating) this is why I make the comparison with Nani or brought him up so that you could think how a real diver behaves and see that Zhirkov didn‘t. You said ‘Zhirkov’s beautiful piece of acrobatics’ implying that he was skilled and practiced at diving which he is not. So I felt that it was valid and that I had every right to mention the true ‘gamesmanship’ master that is Nani, even if you don‘t! Zhirkov did NOT use any actions that needed to be justified. Not one of the reputable Newspapers, News stations, Man Utd Manager, Man Utd’s Assistant Manager or the Chelsea Manager agrees with your opinion that he dived. Was this also the common consensus or is this again just your opinion? As if so your wrong about that as well in that it‘s not even the un-common consensus! If not please provide the evidence!

            In your view the common consensus is that it wasn’t a penalty and maybe that Zhirkov dived , well none of the below take your view, funny that with it being the common consensus and all! Here is my evidence. I could add many more just ask!

            The sources have been put below as the may have not let me post.

            Not one of these sources has said that it shouldn’t of been a penalty or that it was a dive or ‘gamesmanship‘, that’s pretty much the same as those involved in the match (see post match interviews).
            So it would seem that it’s you who has the ‘odd’ idea of the meaning consensus. As for the blogs you mention they are notoriously bias especially when your reading Utd blogs on this subject, obviously! You have only pointed to there being sources that back you up but haven’t sourced them why? Could it be that it’s only your opinion and that of a few other’s who can’t seem to grasp the meaning of soft when it comes to penalties?

            I think it’s reasonable to assume you’re an American as this is an American site and your knowledge seems to be that of somebody that does not hold football as their first sport (no offence to Americans but for many football is the second, third or even fifth sport they follow behind the NBA, NFL, MBL and maybe even the MLS etc.). What the other false assumptions I have made are I don’t have a clue.

            For someone who has wrote ‘I suggest you brush up on your English vocabulary and grammar whilst you’re there’ (whilst I’m where? It makes no sense, is this your good grammar?), failed to use capitals, and misspelt consensus. So all in all you make a very poor grammar Nazi!! People who live in glass houses should not throw stones as I‘ve said to people on here before! I am not writing for a Man Booker Prize entry. It’s a football blog for god sake not the Writers Guild!.
            You know your dishing out a good old fashioned Ass whoopin when people resort to this kind of tactic! If your are writing, then triple checking everything I suggest it’s you who’s in need of a brush up on your grammar and vocabulary (although we just improved it a bit as you now know the meaning & spelling of consensus!). It’s your football knowledge that is the real concern here though as you seem not to have a clue what you are writing about. Try the Football For Dummies book, you may find it very hard going at first but don‘t give up to fast lol! Oh and if you do come back do so with some evidence to back yourself up this time as being upset and bitter doesn’t make it penalty or dive.

  7. This is a non starter in my world. Take the good with the bad. Lord knows United have had their share of misfortune when playing Chelsea. Move on you Chelsea fans.

  8. I completely agree with the gaffer that the goal-line officials are useless. I haven’t seen a single game where they have made a correct call that was missed by the referee. Use of technology is the way to go. It will reduce by a considerable amount the number of bad decisions made by officials.

    1. Richard, take it easy on him. no where did he mention whether the call was correct or not. I actually agree with him and the gaffer on this point: that the 5th officials are aboslutely useless. I have never once seen them interact with the rest of the crew. Put in goalline tech. And get rid of these useless clowns.

      And just so my allegiance isn’t questioned: I had never once seen United win at the Bridge (I have been a United supporter as long as I have followed the league: late 2003). That excruciating wait finally ended today. It has easily made my week

      1. Matt–I have been an avid United supporter for 44 years and have seen my share of good calls and some very bad calls. I repeat, let it go as history has a way of righting bad calls.In the end, you will likely get as many going in your direction as you have going in the opposite direction. And for the record, Chelsea have been very fortunate with officials against United in your very short tenure as a United fan. Penalty decisions included.

        1. Yeh nice bullsh** richard.

          your argument is to leave footballing decisions to karma? I appreciate that Chelsea have been pretty lucky in the league against Man U but to lose 3 Champions League chances due to f*cking penalties is absurd

          Inter with about 4 stone colds, Barca before… not forgetting Man U in the final when Terry slipped – that on its own cancels out all the luck Chelsea ever have had

          Havn’t yet see it go the other way for us but if Chelsea win the next 3 on the trot maybe i’ll believe in karma too.

  9. Even its a foul, its not a penalty… Some guy post it on twitter and we can see clearly that the challange made JUST outside the box…

    1. That’s silly – think about the rules.

      The foul started outside the box but continued into the box – the referee can award a penalty.

      Fouls are not definitive points on the field that you can freeze-frame to determine the exact position. Fouls are more like lines where the contact started and ended.

      If I started to pull a defender’s shirt just outside the box but didn’t successfully pull him to the ground until inside the box, you wouldn’t pull that back to outside the box.

      In the Manchester United foul, the defender probably left the ground and made contact with the player just outside of the area. However, the foul continued into the box and, most importantly, the goal-scoring opportunity was denied inside the box.

      1. Any one can interpret the rules they way it suits them best.

        In my view, contact began outside the box, after that, it was a 50%-50% call and the referee saw it Man Utd.’s way. End of story.

  10. First…I’m a die-hard Man-Utd fan. The title: “Crucial Referee Mistake Ruins Chelsea Against Man United Match” makes it seem as if Chelsea were the better team and lost because of a referee mistake. While I do believe that it actually was a penalty, I think the numerous dives Chelsea made throughout the match influenced that decision…especially being in the last two minutes of play.
    I also would like to know how technology would be used in situations like a tackle. Instant replay after a coach’s challenge like American football? I’m all for technology…goal-line technology and maybe an ‘off-side chip’ in the ball. Situations in which the ball is dead. But when it comes to tackles, and the use of the ‘Advantage’ by the referee it would ruin the nature of the game. I think a referee can be ‘fair’ by allowing both teams some leeway. I’ve been thinking about the Torres dive….and if a penalty was given, I’d be upset, but I wouldn’t want the whole game to be stopped for the 1- 2 minutes for the replay/ decision to be made.
    Essein, Ramires and Torres were all lucky to come out with only one yellow.

  11. Those denying this non-call are kidding themselves.

    It was the very definition of a penalty. Accidental or not, Evra played the man not the ball and prevented a goal-scoring opportunity. Also, the foul continued inside the box even if initial contact was made outside of the box.

    What about Fernando Torres? Thanks for the 50 million quid, Chelsea!

    1. Stop talking as if you know football rules when you obviously don’t. Only “holding” can “continue” inside the box, but fouls (such as a tackle) cannot. Difference between holding and fouling lies in whether or not the event is controllable. Once Evra leaves the ground and collides with Ramires (outside the box) the foul is called… hence not a penalty.


          1. I know the rules about as much as you do since football rules are so open. Find me the citation in the Laws of the Game that definitively says “only ‘holding’ can ‘continue’ inside the box”. I, admittedly, can’t cite my argument either without it being full of holes.

            I just argue that most referees would say they see any foul (a hold, tackle, or other) as having a start and end – not as a point. If it’s just simply a point that you can reference with a freeze-frame, what point is it? Is it when he left the ground? When he made initial contact? When he stopped the goal-scoring opportunity? When the forward reacted to contact?

          2. The rule is generally when the contact is made, this is to stop a player getting kicked outside the box and then taking a few steps before falling over inside the box. As such the point of the foul is taken when the defender makes contact with the attacking player

  12. Sure, it was a bad call. But that’s football. United gotten the short end of the stick many-a-time, especially against Chelsea but they keep fighting through it and, despite the bullshit calls on March 1st at the bridge, remain 8 points clear at the top of the league. The difference is that Chelsea will fume over this, get thrashed at OT, and use this as their scapegoat for crashing out of the CL whereas United take the bullshit and continue forward. Second, even had Chelsea gotten the PK and scored, United still would have taken an away goal to OT and I was predicting a United victory in the return leg even after a narrow loss at the Bridge (fortunately I was proven wrong in the first leg, hopefully that doesn’t continue in the second) so Chelsea would still have had a large hill to climb. Lastly, to say that the difference between progressing and not is one bad call by the referee is borderline blasphemy. United were by far the better side and really the difference was that they finished their chances, something Chelsea couldn’t do despite the fact that they had more clear-cut chances than the visitors. Had they finished their opportunities, the non-call would have been merely a blemish on a good performance. Such is football.

  13. The gaffer’s point is a good one. I am an Evertonian so I had no team in his match. But, it’s a flat out penalty. No question. Not even close. But, the Gaffer is making the point not abour karma or what goes around comes around, but what are we doing with the fifth and sixth officials? Why exactly are they there?

    BTW, Chelsea didnt deserve anything from the match, and United was ok…not great. Rooney’s goal was well taken, and the Giggs pass was nice. Will we ever see the likes of Giggs again? The money is too big now, and the pace of the game is something else all together. But, for Giggs to be playing TOP level football at his age is truly remarkable.

    1. definitely agree about the extra officials – they’re pointless if they’re just standing there doing nothing. is it just so that they can say that they’ve gone the extra step and have tried to better things by adding an extra body?

  14. To you SLUGS -PPFFFTT a bit like the time FA CUP final 94-95 – The United player CLEARLY fouled outside the box….MR Ellery awards a Penalty!!!

    To you Brandon – They were CLEAR Penalties….just take off your RED, BLACK & WHITE Glasses! Most neutrals agree the Penanlty a month ago was fair… get over your self.

    Keep crowing SCUM U fans…. Not over till the fat lady sings!!! Only half time and CHELSEA have the BEST record v SCUM U at OT…. Look up the STATS…. by the way CHELSEA won their FIRST FA CUP THERE!!!!!

    1. You just got absolutely outclassed by a superior side. You’re down at the end of the first leg. You’re 4th in the league with nothing else left to play for. Now is not the time to be opening your mouth….

  15. I live in Sydney and also follow the great game of Rugby league. We have had video replay technology for years and it has been exceptional and officials rarely get it wrong. What the naked eye can’t see in an instant the camera in most cases does. Even to the point of a try being scored in the very corner of the field 1 inch from the dead ball line. FIFA should have it at all levels of senior football. Where there are camera’s there can be instant video replays and the right decision made and it takes just seconds. You could then get those useless goal line referee assistants off the field and behind the video replay unit. The solution is so simple. i watched the incident replayed and Evra went right through the players leg, didn’t get a touch on the ball and brought him down inside the box. The commentators said an immediate penalty and it was clear on the replays. Judge each one on its own merits and those who say it wasn’t a penalty should put their red glasses aside.

  16. I don’t understand the Manchester United fans, I mean why do you guys always have that Fergie crybaby talk about pens against us. If you watch the Manchester defensive line they are very physical and they have no consistency at tackling just like that West Ham game lol 2 pens in first half you do it to yourselves and yes it was a pen I was so pissed. That game should have ended a draw, Chelsea attacked more, more shots on goal and better chances.

    1. fine, i would have been ok with a draw at the bridge w/the crucial away goal going back to old trafford. but you can easily argue that it should have been a draw at old trafford in the league last season and at the bridge this season. next match will definitely have some fireworks, so let’s just all wait and see…

  17. Where was this story when a reffing decision cost United the title last season, Gaffer?

    This is karma plain and simple, 3 times in a row bad reffing mistakes gave Chelsea a win over United. I’ll be shedding no tears for it happening to Chelsea now.

  18. I’m a United fan but Evra’s tackle was a penalty. No ball contact and brought down inside the box. Clear cut in my world, and I also agree that the goal line officials are worthless if they are to stay muted in these circumstances.

    One I will say though, is that Chelsea are their own worst enemies with this crap. They have the two most blatant divers in the League in Drogba and Torres, which I truly believe hurts them in these types of decisions. Referees won’t give them the benefit of the doubt when they know that most of the time, they are being duped.

  19. What Goes Around Comes Around. YES it was a penalty, its about a decision goes our away. Chelscum has benefited from decisions against us, chelscum won the league by a sin point.

  20. Hey james. Manure united has class? hahah elbowing playera and swearing at the camera and your manager getting a long ban for being an idiot. Listen
    Manure buys players too you have some of the best players I the world idiot. Its not our fault you guys are broke.

    1. What a completely senseless and irrelevant comment regarding United’s financial position. I cannot see how this relates to the topic under discussion in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, only a fool would suggest United are broke given their turnover worldwde. I can only assume you know little about the business of football for your comments as a whole display a high degree of ignorance.

  21. The penalty itself isn’t the main point. After all, the penalty kick might have been missed. But of undeniable significance would have been Evra’s sending off and absence from the return game.
    Ferguson rants about fair play one week,but the next describes bad decisions IN FAVOUR of his team as “justice”.
    Either people want good referees or not. What Ferguson wants is referees who get things right for him, but wrong for his opponents. Laughable.

  22. poor officiating is what kills the game of soccer. If officials were to take games like those of the champs league seriously, the game would be enjoyable. i guess it happened and the doomed ones had to benefit.. poor chelsea i pity with you. that ref must be fired and no longer be allowed to officuate again in such high profile games. MADRID FOR LIFE.

  23. What I want to know from Gaffer isn’t why we don’t hear about these things when Chelsea benefit from the bad calls, but why do we hear about them when United directly or indirectly get the rub of the green? So far this year I’ve read articles where the ref takes it in the neck when Chelsea don’t get the call they want, and I’ve read articles about how Arsenal’s title run was derailed by a terrible missed offside call. Not that Chelsea and Arsenal have been crap and deserved the results they received.

    Nothing of note on David Luiz’s fouls that should have had him sent off at the bridge. Nothing about the shameful acts of simulation from Torres that should have earned him two cards last night. Nothing about the shin smashing foul by Carragher on Nani, or Essien on the Stoke player this weekend…

    Nothing about the absurdity of a two match ban at this stage of the year for swearing despite all the thuggery that’s been allowed on the pitch this year. No mention that the Chairman of the FA has ensured the most in-form player at the moment will miss the FA Cup Semi Final against the chairman’s former team and #1 love…

    It’s getting predictable and boring, Gaffer. Like the referees you seem to selectively blast, it’s time for something resembling consistency in your positions. If it’s good when it goes against, United, it’s OK when it goes for them.

    1. Bishopville, EPL Talk has been harping on about how Man United were the unfortunate victims of poor refereeing during last season’s Chelsea game. Kartik took up the mantle on that one.

      I’ve written about a few of the incidents you mentioned above such as why Carragher should have been sent off for his foul against Nani. My first inclination was that it wasn’t a red card, but I later said he should have been sent off after I saw the incident more closely.

      I’m not going to be able to write about everything injustice committed in the Premier League. There are far too many. But I have nothing against United or any other team in the Premier League.

      The Gaffer

      1. That Carragher tackle was horrible, when is Nani supposed to return, I hope it’s before Stuart Holden, who ran full bore into Jonny Evans’ innocent spike and gashed his leg.

        1. ummm, nani has been back from injury and even came on as a sub yesterday. he’s been back for a couple of weeks now, they just opted for valencia over him.

          1. That’s good to hear, since that Carragher tackle obviously flayed him from stem to stern, based on the ManU supporters crying and whincing for the last month about the HORROR TACKLE!!!!111!!!1!!!!!We’ve been hosed!!!!!!!11!!!ONE!!!!!

            But silence when their own guy nearly ruins Stuart Holden’s career with an even MORE BLATANT challenge, that one’s OK, give him a medal! Knight the b#@#ard! Crowning achievement, severing a guys ligaments in his knees, just as long as he doesn’t play for ManU!

          2. For someone who contributes to this site semi-regularly, it’s astonishing how much of an obnoxious prat you are. I don’t see other EPL Talk contributors trolling the boards and constantly lumping an entire fan base into such black and white terms. While your writing is decent, your trolling is second to none.

          3. I thought that was funny Earl. After all the tripe on here regarding Nani you would have thought that he needed his leg amputating. It was strange that he was fine after all and Utd didn’t release any news on his supposed terrible injury for days, did they want the FA to ban Carragher?
            I don’t think Evans meant to hurt Holden the same as I don‘t think Carragher tried to hurt Nani. Indecently Nani’s stitches were apparently taken out after four days (what kind of stitches they are god knows plasters/band aid?) he was in training after seven days. Guess he is just an amazing healer!!

          4. trolling, black and white? please man, i was simply bringing him up to speed on the nani situation, so take it easy. as for the holden challenge by evans, definitely not as blatant as carra’s on nani. carra’s was knee high w/studs up and late while evans was in a 50/50 w/holden, who unfortunately got the worst of it. if you look at the replay both went it hard with the tips of their studs up at the end, so it very well could have ended up the opposite.

            i’m always the first to point out how much i dislike evans and don’t think he belongs in a united shirt, so yes, it was an unecessary challenge in my opinion. here’s wishing a speedy recovery for holden who was in great form up until that incident. he recovered before from much worse, so i think he’ll recover just fine again.

            if being direct/blunt is deemed being a trolly prat, then you’ve hit the nail right on the head my friend! i speak it the way i see it. take a bow son, haha.

          5. Don’t worry, Roi Cantona, he’s referring to me.

            Perhaps “trollling” is appropriate. The shoe always wears difficult on the other foot, and as Gaffer was trying to console Chelsea fans, the Manchester United fans come out and troll these boards to “rub it in.” I do think that David Luiz should have received his second yellow in the match at Stamford Bridge, but if you have a right to come around and rattle Chelsea supporters’ cages, then turnabout should be equally valid, correct? You guys won the game, remember? You guys are 8 points ahead of everyone in the league, remember? Instead United fans seem to have to rub it in, right? Like an obnoxio…well, never mind.

          6. haha, yeah it looks like the reply button has failed to go under each comment, so hard to know which comments are directed to which. either way, yes it’s just all in jest really and fun banter. take it with a pinch of salt. of course united fans are going to show up, just as would chelsea fans had it been the reverse scenario. it’s a huge match-up with both sets of supporters waiting on the wings for an excuse to have a go at a rival.

          7. Earl,

            I’m glad you brought up Nani. He seems fine now but I’m sure they’ll have to monitor the terrible scab he still has. Hopefully, he’ll be back soo… Oh, wait – he was back for the next league match. Against Bolton.

          8. Sorry to get you riled up Eric. You know how I roll. I probably should have specified who I was talking to.

            Earl, you make some very valid points. It just disappoints me to see you stoop to that level to banter with that, because when I read your stuff, I know you’re better than arguing with people who come on here just to get other people riled up. It’s not worth your time. For the record, I 100% agree with you on much of your response to my last post and appreciate the fact that we can have a civil conversation about it.

  24. Why is it that every time I wish to point out bias or unbalanced reporting, the comment manager eats my comment? Funny that. Very FA of your setup, Gaffer.

    1. There’s an automatic moderation system set up in WordPress. You used the word ‘crap’ which automatically flags it for bad language. For those type of comments, I have to go through the moderation queue and approve them by hand. Your original comment is now live. It has nothing to do with “bias or unbalanced reporting.”

      The Gaffer

  25. I’m a United fan – who was laughing when no penalty was awarded – but I agree with many of the sentiments expressed in the article.

    We can whine about whether a penalty or a free kick should have been awarded – the rules only state that a penalty should be awarded in the case of shirt pulling infringements continuing into the box – but those sorts of challenges result in penalties all the time.

    The tragedy, though, isn’t whether or not the penalty was or wasn’t given, it’s that yet another United-Chelsea game is surrounded in controversy. If Chelsea go out, all the press will talk about is the penalty appeal. More so if United make the final. And that’s too bad.

  26. The big clubs have become worldwide brands and have started to eclipse the national teams in influence and importance.

    At some point in the not too distant future these clubs and their associated leagues will dictate to FIFA and the national associations what they will and won’t do, not the other way around. There’s just too much money involved for it to be otherwise.

    The EPL should unilaterally implement limited video review. As a practical matter how would FIFA or the FA stop it?

    Refusing to make players available mid-campaign for useless international friendlies is in the same category. Just implement what makes sense and tell the associations to go to h***

    1. Uefa Should not allow officials who fail to perform thier functions perfectly to go scot free.Atimes, you think about a referee and you feel like crying for poor decision. Bad officiating killed chelsea.


      1. Bad officiating killed chelsea.
        How about a solid back 4 for Man Utd., a super game by Van der Sar (how about that block on Drogba’s 80mph shot), a misfiring Torres and a weak Chelsea midfield. Oh, and losing to Man Utd. at home for first time since 2002!!!

        That will lose your games.

        1. After Chelsea nearly killed the officials in the Champions League last time, I’m not suprised refs don’t want to give them any breaks. It’s not the refs, it’s Chelsea’s dumb players’ own fault.

  27. If someone were to suggest that the foul against Ramires was a trip, meaning it can only happen at one instance, one brief moment in time, and thereby could have occured outside the penalty area and not continue into it, as it can only occur at a single moment in time I could almost accept that. However it is very very clear that the foul occured INSIDE the penalty area. A poor non-call. karma? Perhaps. Do I still hate chelsea fc? yes. Liverpool played sunderland and were awarded a dubious at best penalty, Sunderland lost 2 players to injury in the first half. Last weekened… Agger and Johnson go down to injury, within minutes of each other and Liverpool have 2 penalties awarded against them. Karma in the world of football? Perhaps.

  28. what a load of crap. after Chelsea got calls on March 1st your article was about Torres and his lack of quality play. Now after ‘what goes around came around’ it ruined the game?

    give me a break. This used to be my site to come to for fair, unbiased football news. Now i can clearly see the line drawn in the sand.

    1. Oh poor Kenny, his team is stumbling down the stretch and he has to start whining about calls they didn’t get.

      I guess Manchester United have become the definition of “sore winners.”

      Get a tissue and dry your eyes. You’re going to win for the love of the Gaffer.

  29. And Micheal Essien should have gotten two yellows for a red. What’s your point? If you keep bad mouthing referees Gaffer I’m going to have to fine you and hand you a touch-line ban.

  30. Kudos to EPLtalk for the traffic boosting tactics behind this article. Very similar to how ESPN reports on the New York Yankees:
    1) EPLtalk knows that the vast majority of the sport’s fans hate ManUtd
    2) Therefore, publish something that inflames ManUtd fans and unites everyone else.
    Smart marketing/positioning for the site. Well done.

    Let’s just try this thought experiment: How, exactly, should the use of video technology be triggered in the thoroughly subjective case of awarding a penalty? Should the referee consult the video if the home fans scream and wail above a certain decibel level at a perceived foul on one of their players? Should it be a majority of the five officials? Should they stop the game after every challenge and huddle together, and then go to the video if a majority of the five officials agree?

    Do you realize how dumb using video technology would be for calls that are at a referee’s discretion?

      1. I’m no more a pessimist than you are a good businessman, Gaffer…I repeat, kudos for driving traffic (above/beyond the already considerable traffic you guys get) to the site.

  31. Things really do have a funny way of evening themselves out. It’s pretty well acknowledged that United have been on the recieving end of some rather dubious calls at the Bridge in years past and last night they got away with one. However, was it enough to ruin the game? Sure, if you’re a Chelsea supporter that still continues to turn a blind eye at the 50-million pound man that is so lost he makes even Nani’s diving look tame.

    For the rest, the decision punctuated yet another controversial end in what was a good battle overall.

    United’s defense was strong when it needed to be and I think that Chelsea’s back four really miss Luiz. Carrick put in a really good shift and in my mind, the play that summed up how bad United wanted this match was in the first half when Chelsea was on the counter and Chicharito turned on the jets and tracked back about 30 yards in an effort to dispossess Drogba.

    1. +1. We could be in for a thriller at Old Trafford on Tues. as it’s probably the only tie worth watching at this point.

      1. Word. Unless you’re a Barca fan of course and you want to see 90 more minutes of brilliant football, however one-sided it may be. Although I always prefer the close, tense matches, there is something about watching Barca play that gives me such a thrill, whether they win by 1 or by 8. The way the Catalans play really is football as the beautiful game IMO

        1. eh, boring at times and they cry to the ref and dive/embellish too much for my liking. the way i see it, if you’re that much better than everyone else, why all the dramatic antics? their football that they mimick is from the dutch, gifted and instilled to them by el salvador johan cruyff himself.

      2. I know right? I wasn’t expecting a flood of blowouts at this stage. I think it should be a classic European night at OT. United would be remiss if they came out and tried to park the bus. I hope they go for the throat.

        1. no, they’ll play a 4-5-1 like last game w/rooney basically playing off chicharito in a free role and wait for the right time to counter as there will be plenty of chances w/chelsea having to change their tactics and probably go with a 4-3-3. if carlo is smart, he’ll have no choice but to start torres, anelka and drogba all together. united will score at home, if they score two i think that’ll be enough and game over.

  32. The game suffers from enough stoppages without the introduction of video replay. Part of the beautiful game is how it flows seamlessly. One way of helping out the officials is by clamping down on players trying to con the ref. How about a one match ban assessed via replay after each match every time a player goes down theatrically.

    1. i like the idea of technology for goal line disputes, but am with you on keeping the flow of the game. what about the idea of having a group of officials in a room off the pitch monitoring the video of a match and simply signaling to the ref via headset or some other digital device if there was an error, where they have like a 20 sec. window to reverse a call if deemed appropriate? i think players who over-simulate or are too theatrical (i.e. alves, busquets, nani, etc.) should be carded, not just when they dive and try to draw a foul, but even if there was indeed a foul but when they try to make it as if they were shot by a sniper. the idea of a match ban after the fact is also a good one; i guarantee it would stop so many players from over embellishing and would do nothing but good for the game as a whole.

  33. Alot of this is just belly-aching and complaining. Was it a foul? Yes (and that’s coming from a Man U fan). On the whole, was Man U the better side on the night? Yes. Did Chelsea find their form in the end? Yes (Again, coming from a Man U fan). Was Torres diving all over like he was trying out for an Olympic dive team? Yes (coming from a fan of a team that once had Cristiano Ronaldo). Is football forever tainted because of what happened last night? No. Will I or any other fan of Man U (or Chelsea, or any other team for that matter) stop watching football because of the iffy call? No. Is the world coming to an end because a penalty was not awarded? No. People get defensive about their teams. People start pointing fingers, fans accusing other fans of this and that. Bottom line is this…GET OVER IT. As with everything else in life, the game goes on.

  34. Let me get this straight, in the last three Manchester United Chelsea matches, there has been a bad call. I am a Manchester United supporter but even I’ll admit, that’s a penalty. But the biggest problem here is we are talking about Karma and what goes around comes around. What we should be talking about is, how bad the referees are in both England and UEFA. In the last three matches these referees have shown that they can’t see offside, fouls on keepers, handballs, and a penalty, well it depends on who’s the ref. The players and supporters don’t deserve matches coming down to referees decisions. And what do we get from the FA and UEFA, no video technically, and oh by the way, respect the ref. These refs, especially the potted plants behind the goals, have not earned respect. Mr. Plteenie, (head of UEFA,) are you listing! Your refs suck! It’s time to enter the twenty first century and get technically!

    1. ” these referees have shown that they can’t see offside”
      Can you? Even with replay sometimes its really close and this is complicated by players moving in and out of offside positions.
      “…fouls on keepers…”
      the issue here is lack of clarity in the language. Things that go on in the box have a higher chance of being unpunished because the ref doesnt want to give away the penalty. If all the referees officiated to the letter, we might end up with half a dozen penalties a game.
      “… handballs…”
      another tricky one.. the first question is did it touch the hand, but there is the rulebook calls for intent to use the hand.

      Refs make decisions in real time and it will be hard to get it right all the time. Couple that with players clearly trying to con the ref. Drogba in the first half was a clear example.. goes up in the air, has a tustle for the balls, loses the aerial challenge and then cries about being elbowed. Yes, defenders will use their arms for leverage but professionals know how to protect themselves. I would like to see more cards shown for simulation. That is your solution. Apply them retroactively if you have to. If you can ban a player for cussing into a camera, you should be able to ban a player for attempting to cheat the referee.. Isnt that bringing the game into disrepute?

      Precise officiating that you seem to be aluding to as you see on the NFL is not going to work simply because there are no breaks in the beautiful game unless the ball goes out of play or someone is hurt.

  35. I’m a referee. And here is the way are to be made in and around the area. If a player is tripped outside the area, and he falls into the area, the FK is taken from outside the area. If he is held outside the area, but continues to fight his way through the hold and is then brought down by the hold inside the area, you are to punish the more serious of the fouls which is to award the PK. If the attacker looks like he might get an opportunity to shoot and therefore to score, the referee will let the initial hold play itself out, and therefore the second hold (or continuous hold) will be punished. However, in this case, it is pretty clear that the takle was in the area, and should have been a penalty. It wasn’t called, and the game continued. The referee did not cost Chelsea the tie.

  36. am I the only one who can remember the replay from behind i.e. from where the referee would have seen the challenge? You could see the challenge go in at exactly the same time as Ramirez moved the ball to his left. How was the ref to know that it wasn’t Evra who got the touch? As for JT claiming he could see it clearly from 60 yards away? Hilarious. As for the ‘penalties’ Chelsea should have had against Barcelona, they were all weak claims – the only decision the ref got wrong thatnight was sending off abidal when anelka dived. fed up of this Chelsea conspiracy nonsense, the fact was man u produced a moment of magic that chelsea couldn’t match and therefore they won the game.

  37. This article is full of errors in regard to the officiating in general and the role of the officials behind the goal lines.
    It is erroneous to think that the extra officials do not contribute to the game, just because they don’t interrupt the game every other minute to call the referee’s attention to something. They communicate with the referee on a headset for the most part. So if they have something to draw to his attention it will not be visible to you and me watching the game.
    It is also false to think that the assistant referee is there to make calls on everything that happen in the penalty box. It is only if the main referee doesn’t see Evra bringing down Ramirez that the assistant would bring it to his attention. They both seen the action obviously.
    On top of that even if the goal line referee was responsible to make calls at the edge of the box, from where he is standing, I think it would be hard for anyone to determine whether a foul was commited outside or inside the box.

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