An action packed weekend in the Premier League saw 30 goals and a number of controversial refereeing decisions. Some of the key decisions and my views on them are discussed below.
The first game of the weekend was Manchester City vs Arsenal and it certainly lived up to the pre-match hype and expectation. The final score was an incredible 6-3 result and it could have been more! At 3-1 to the Sky Blues, City right back Pablo Zabaleta raised an arm after a through ball from Jack Wilshere. Zabaleta did raise his arm and the connection with the arm did stop the ball’s path. So on that basis, it was a penalty in my opinion. Martin Atkinson is an experienced referee, but at 3-1 this was a crucial decision and one he didn’t quite call correctly. However, it is questionable if the decision had an effect on the result. Man City were superb for the whole 90 minutes.
Everton continued their unbeaten run with a convincing 4-1 win over strugglers, Fulham. At 1-0 to the home side, Gareth Barry was judged to have brought down Swedish international Alexander Kačaniklić. It was a difficult decision for referee Anthony Taylor to make as it was a clumsy challenge, but Kačaniklić did make the most of it. I don’t think I would have given the penalty, but I can see why it was given.
A 1-0 away defeat at Cardiff resulted in West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke losing his job. The Baggies have been struggling of late and Saturday was no different. Peter Whittingham put the Bluebirds 1-0 up with a sublime header before Shane Long was denied a penalty, after a clear foul by Steven Caulker inside the box. Howard Webb didn’t see it like that, but who knows if Clarke would still be in a job had the penalty been awarded and converted.
Liverpool ran riot at White Hart Lane on Sunday, winning 5-0 and playing Spurs off the park. The defeat turned out to be Andre Villas-Boas’ last as Spurs boss as he was sacked on Monday morning. With the score at 2-0, Paulinho challenged Luis Suarez to an aerial ball. Paulinho was late and caught Suarez in the chest area. A dangerous challenge, so referee Jon Moss was spot on in awarding a red card.
Southampton midfielder Morgan Schniederlin was given a caution for a late tackle on Massadio Haïdara and it was soon apparent that both benches disagreed. A small brawl led to both teams’ goalkeeper coaches being sent to the stands. There is no doubt that it was a hard tackle from the French U21 international but I think it was more reckless than with excessive force. Therefore, according to the law. referee Mike Jones made the correct call.
On a lighter note, Mike Jones was caught in the face and knocked down by Moussa Sissoko accidentally, after trying to help Saints goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga stand up. It’s always a comical moment when the ref takes a tumble.