Howard Webb Continues to Make Poor Referee Decisions: Reviewing the Premier League Referee Decisions, Gameweek 20

From the Premier League matches on New Year’s Day, we saw that referee Howard Webb had a poor game in Manchester Utd’s fourth home defeat of the season, but it couldn’t mask the huge problems the Champions have.

Manchester United slumped to defeat at the hands of Tottenham, who look rejuvenated under Tim Sherwood, now playing a 4-4-2 system. Emmanuel Adebayor has been very impressive since his return to first team football and scored the opener at Old Trafford in a 2-1 victory for the Lilywhites, making AVB’s decision to not use him even more bizarre.

United, on the other hand, are in need of a clearout in my view. As a United fan myself, it is very difficult to watch a squad that is certainly the poorest in the last decade. The midfield area is the weakest, but I think a top quality winger, a left back, a centre back plus two central midfielders are needed, not necessarily in this transfer window, but definitely in the summer. Players such as Anderson, Nani and Antonio Valencia are not performing, as well as two older players in Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, who I think is on his last legs as a Premier League player.

Howard Webb was in charge of the game yesterday and I personally think he had a mixed game. Early in the second half, with United 1-0 down, Danny Welbeck went down after a tackle from the impressive Vlad Chiriches. There is no doubt that this was a tough call for Webb to make, but I felt (bias aside) it was a penalty. Welbeck was traveling at full speed and I think any contact will make the England international lose balance. Chiriches made contact and Welbeck went down. Webb didn’t give the penalty, but I’m unsure why he didn’t book Welbeck for diving, if he felt there was not sufficient contact.

Only a few minutes later, after two goals in one minute made it 2-1 to Spurs, their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris came charging of his line, which he has a reputation of doing, and brought down Ashley Young in the penalty area. Young has been known as a persistent offender of diving, but Lloris made no contact with the ball and went straight through Young, who did his best to avoid being clattered. I could not believe it wasn’t a penalty. David Moyes called the decision “scandalous” in a post match interview.

Lastly on the United-Spurs game, Adnan Januzaj was again booked for diving after a challenge from left back Danny Rose. It was a harsh booking. There are many challenges similar that result in free kicks and unfortunately, Januzaj’s building reputation as a “diver” went against him, which further angered Moyes who said in his press conference post game “Have you seen that decision? That is a terrible decision. Adnan got bumped.”

Despite all of these incidents, it doesn’t mask the problems United have at this moment. Moyes is now under huge pressure from the United faithful to get the checkbook out in this window, but I think it’ll very hard to find the right player, right now.

Moving on to Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Southampton, I was in awe of Oscar’s performance after he came on for Juan Mata, who reacted to being substituted in a negative manner. Credit to Jose Mourinho though, the subs changed the game and the Blues ran out comfortable winners. Oscar scored one and was instrumental in the flowing attacks Chelsea created. However, he was booked at 0-0 for a dive in the penalty box, after beating goalkeeper Kelvin Davis but deciding to make contact with Davis and go down, when all he needed to do was stay on his feet and roll the ball home. Davis was beaten and pulled out of the challenge to avoid conceding a penalty, so Oscar made a strange decision to go down. It was a great spot by ref Martin Atkinson, who immediately showed the yellow card.

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce is now under huge pressure after the Hammers lost 2-1 to fellow strugglers Fulham in what was being called a relegation 6-pointer, even at this stage of the season. West Ham took the lead through Mohamed Diame but were pegged back by Steve Sidwell’s header. Shortly afterwards, Kevin Nolan was spotted by Mark Clattenburg in an off the ball altercation with Fernando Amoriabieta. Nolan, who is an experienced player and captain of West Ham, pushed over the Fulham defender before deciding to kick him in the back of the leg right under the nose of the referee. Clattenburg showed the red card and Nolan had no complaints. Allardyce states post game that Nolan let his side down. Not just yesterday, but for the next 3 games. This is Nolan’s second sending off in a month, following another off the ball incident with Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson. The Cottagers went on to win 2-1 and lifted them out of the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion started the new year better than they finished the last, with a 1-0 win over Newcastle, scoring a late penalty courtesy of Saido Berahino, who I must say, is a very promising talent for the future. Before the decisive goal, Mathieu Debuchy flew into a tackle with Claudio Yacob and the French right back made a very poor challenge, with both feet off the ground, combined with pace. Lee Mason had no option but to send him off.

Finally in this very packed article, Marouane Chamakh was very lucky to avoid a red card from Mike Dean. He pushed Wes Hoolahan in the face after a disagreement. Dean must have seen the altercation, as he booked both players, but he definitely made an incorrect call, which could have changed the game.

Editor’s note: Browse through the previous weeks of key Premier League refereeing decisions.

20 thoughts on “Howard Webb Continues to Make Poor Referee Decisions: Reviewing the Premier League Referee Decisions, Gameweek 20”

  1. “Early in the second half, with United 1-0 down, Danny Welbeck went down after a tackle from the impressive Vlad Chiriches. There is no doubt that this was a tough call for Webb to make, but I felt (bias aside) it was a penalty.”

    Even Owen commentating a self proclaimed diver observed it was a dive…watch them again…absolute nonsense to suggest his and Janudive were not dives.

    So watch Valenica and tell me that this is not a red card? if Hugo was then so was Valencia. how the FA have not gone back and retro actively punished Valenica is a joke…He sees’s eriksen is going to head the ball and lunges studs up at pace too.

    really poor observations on those incidents.

    As for Webb, yes he made some suspect calls, most of them have been AGAINST Spurs at OT over the years so to cry foul now is ridiculous TBH.

    Yes maybe Hugo sliding out would’ve been a foul if made by an outfield player and not in the box, Hugo arrived at Young After he had already crossed the ball and he didn’t make contact…Young jumped (or dived lol) Hugo’s foot went up to protect himself not inflict injury or attempt contact…

    1. Its a game of opinions and I respect yours. There is definite contact from Chiriches and I thought it was a pen. If you think it was a dive, why didn’t Webb book Welbeck?

      The Januzaj one is a foul. Rose ran straight into Januzaj’s hip and barged him over.

      You mentioned that Valencia should have seen red. I’ve looked at the picture you uploaded and its not a high foot. If Eriksen had used his foot, nobody would call for a red card. Find it hard to make any case for a red card to be honest.

      1. With all respect, contact doesn’t mean a foul, its a contact sport, and to suggest that the innocuous contact with Vlad would mean that Welbecks body would do that as a result is wrong. he launches himself off his left foot, look again, look at his inverse kinetics…completely un-naturalmotion when using vlad’s innocuous contact as a starting point.

        On Valenica what the pic doesn’t show is that when Eriksen bends (still above waste height) to head the ball Valencia is still a yard or two behind, in no way can he get the ball, a foot above waste height is dangerous, especially when you are lunging 2-3 yards to make up ground…it was absolutely dangerous. hugo’s was lower than Valencia’s was on Eriksen.

        Janadive is already the 4th most carded player for simulation in 2013, I would encourage you to watch the video again, even frame by frame it, I feel confident you’ll come to a different conclusion.

        I dont disagree that when a player is traveling at speed it may not take much to knock them over, or even where a player is trying to avoid getting injured, bale was subject to this a lot.

        So perhaps Young was anticipating contact so, he did an inverted Fosbury flop, which you can’t blame him for. However, he and UTD are now feeling the raw end after refs have given penalties only to look after the game and see they have been conned. I don’t remember seeing an article on here about how many penalties Utd have been given to them as a result of poor refereeing. like the insane 5-2 v Spurs result for Utd to end up winning the league.

        You reap what you sow. Moyes ridiculous statement in support of Janudive and Young after the game was laughable.

        Just as not reprimanding young for coming out in the press and essentially saying, its not up to me to stop diving its up to the referees to make the call is a disgrace.

    2. So I guess you would be willing to swallow your disgust and admit that Suarez should have been awarded a penalty on the Eto’o foul, yes? It’s alright, feel free to choke back the vomit.

        1. You’ve guffawed and laughed at the expense of Suarez not getting plainly obvious penalties in the past and yet here we are, a day after Webb’s robbing your side of TWO penalties and three days ago robbing us of one penalty plus two red cards that never were for Chavs players. The point being that we can both agree that Webb is at best incompetent and a sorry commentary on the state of English refereeing if he’s what passes for that nation’s “best”.

          1. Huh….casting assertions without all the facts…shocking.

            I’m not the only one that mocks Suarez for diving, and no, I don’t agree that web is a poor referee, I also don’t think he is the best….he’s average.

            Ask. Farsenal fans about Mike Dean and see what they say about him.

            All refs have weaknesses, the British/English /BPL refs are a higher quality overall than the rest of UEFA, the rest of the world I can’t say! but the best in UEFA hands down as a group.

            What I have layed out above is a reasoned case. As recently noted, Liverpool fans are the most whiny, bitching fanbase.

            Loose memories too, I remember this player you know love so much saying all kinds of things about your club and saying he wants out…without him you’d be 15th

  2. So Oscar going down on a slight contact with Kevin Devis is a dive and Danny Welbeck flying down without any visible contact is a penalty in your opinion? Very interesting. And how is Januzaj’s booking any harsher than Oscar’s?

    Lloris on the other hand should have been sent off for the dangerous studs up challenge on Ashley Young.

  3. Because of how dramatically change a match, i would MUCH rather a referee err on the side of NOT awarding a penalty or a red card.

    A penalty can completely swing the momentum or give a team an undeserved result. I hate when weak penalties are awarded.

    An undeserved red card also can ruin a game. When im watching a game as a neutral i never want to see a team a man down, unless it is a definite, without a doubt, red card offence.

    So i tend not to whine about penalties not given or players not being sent off.

  4. You need glasses if you dont think the Welbeck one was a dive. The Januzaj one looked like a dive to me especially from one angle which shows he is going down before any contact was made. Footballs a contact sport and you cant be getting frees for that. The Young one was a peno but not a red. However you see those not given a lot. Lots of times the keeper clatters a player just after he gets a shot off and nothing is given as he got the shot off. Ie Sterling v Hull this week, took a shot and got clattered and not even a mention of how it shouldve been a peno but it was a blatant foul. (& no Im not a Liverpool fan)… I just think Moyes is trying to deflect the blame by attacking the ref. The old Fergie manoeuvre.. anyway thats Karma for Youngs blatant diving in the past (:

  5. i agree with fly…soft penalties can often swing games unfairly…this was always going to happen…as a united fan i hate to have been proved right about the papering over the cracks that the club as done since ronaldo left…for too long now we have seen a toxic transfer policy with players not fit to wear the shirt playing far too long at old trafford….ageing players kept for way too long because of a negative transfer policy and i hate to admit some baffling decisions by sir alex who was the only man on the planet who believed that our midfield was any good…united/fergie/glazers have been pulling the wool over the fans eyes for several years now….we have over achieved due to abramovich reckless manager policy and mancinis inability to keep an happy dressing room…….and now we are seeing just how average our squad is…combined with both chelsea and city making excellent managerial appointments…wenger getting his mojo back after sir alexs retirement and liverpool benefitting from suarez we now look distinctly average…moyes will get the flak but lets be clear this has been coming for a while now….im just shocked we lasted this long with this squad.

  6. Very simply, I think Web refereed a good game between Man U. and Tottenham. Maybe it’s just that Web was not ruling in favor of Manchester this time. Thought he was spot on after looking at all the angles NBC offered.

    1. To be honest, i am not sure why Webb is labelled as a united fan. He is definitely the best ref in england, if not europe. I just think he had a poor game on Wednesday.

        1. Look, i find it very hard to believe that Webb is biased to man utd. I referee myself at amateur level and there is no reason to side towards any team. All refs (including myself) make mistakes, so its hard to make a case for webb being labelled a united fan, based on the link you posted. Anyone could find decisions from any ref and claim it to be biased to a team.

  7. And the correct answer is; the game is more physical this year across the board. Alot more no calls unless someone is seriously hurt. It makes it much better to watch knowing that its cutting down on the penalty kicks. And Webb is not the only official in the League who is letting the game be more physical this year.

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