Reviewing Key Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 23
Better late than never, here’s a review of the key refereeing decisions from the mid-week Premier League matches — and what the match officials got right and wrong.
Beginning at White Hart Lane, the home side were 1-0 down and half time was approaching, when a free kick from Christian Eriksen was converted by an onside Michael Dawson. However, the flag was raised by the assistant referee. I can only assume he has flagged for Emmanuel Adebayor being in an offside position, where he interfered with play as the ball was fired across the penalty area. Adebayor didn’t make contact with the ball but did interfere.
It is hard to distinguish whether the linesman was flagging for Dawson, and made an incorrect call, or if he penalized Adebayor for being in an offside position. I personally have the opinion that the goal was correctly disallowed, but I am not convinced that the linesman was penalizing Adebayor. A decision that former Premier League referee, Graham Poll disagrees with, stating:
“There were thoughts that Emmanuel Adebayor, who was in an offside position as the ball was crossed, might have been given offside but Ledger (assistant) was alleged to have confirmed that it was Dawson for whom he flagged”.
Later on in the same game, Manchester City were awarded a penalty, with the score still 1-0 to the away side. Left back Danny Rose was alleged to bring down Edin Dzeko in the penalty area. Initially, Andre Marriner didn’t award a penalty, but after consulting his assistant, the penalty was awarded, as was a red card. Rose definitely took the ball and the penalty award was incorrect in my view, but Rose didn’t help his own cause by pulling on Dzeko’s arm, as he went in for the tackle. However, the contact wasn’t enough to knock Dzeko off balance, which the assistant should have spotted as well as clean contact with the ball. The assistant had a tough game, but key decisions in big games do have an impact on the result, and although City were looking good for the win with 11 vs 11, ten man Spurs couldn’t stop the flow of goals.
Mathieu Flamini was awarded a straight red card during Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Southampton after flying into a tackle with Morgan Schneiderlin. It was two footed and out of control. This was a simple decision for Lee Mason to make. The picture below shows that he was perfectly placed and to avoid being surrounded by Saints players, he produced the red card immediately, diffusing the situation. Tackles such as this in the modern game are only going to be resulted in a red card, so a player with Flamini’s experience should know better and there is no doubt he has let himself and his team down, not just on Tuesday, but for the next 3 games.
Moving on to Villa Park, where a seven goal thriller went in favor of the home side, but the game did have two very similar incidents, with differing outcomes. Firstly, at 3-3, West Brom central defender Diego Lugano half pulled down Christian Benteke. No complaints about the decision and it was pleasing to see a foul in the box for shirt pulling be awarded. Only a couple of minutes later, Ciaran Clark took a huge risk in bringing down Lugano in an identical incident. A clear penalty, which Mark Clattenburg missed, showing some inconsistency, which is all too common in the penalty box.
At 3-0 to the red side of Liverpool during the Merseyside derby, Raheem Sterling was judged to be brought down by Tim Howard. At first I thought it was a dive by Sterling and I am still convinced it wasn’t a penalty, but Howard doesn’t help his cause by sprinting out and committing himself to grab the ball. He missed the ball, which gave Sterling the opportunity to take contact and win the penalty. There were calls for a red card, but there was a defender covering the goal line, as well as the path of the ball, which was heading away from goal.
A bizarre incident at Stamford Bridge involving Samuel Eto’o resulted in the Cameroonian putting the ball in the net before West Ham goalkeeper Adrian took what he believed was a free kick. The referee (Neil Swarbrick) blew his whistle and ran towards Adrian. I assume he told him it was a free kick because a goalkeeper would not place the ball on the floor and turn his back. The referee didn’t signal for the free kick, which led to the confusion but the right decision was the conclusion. No goal.
Stoke midfielder Steven N’Zonzi was sent for an early bath by Rob Madely after two yellow cards, both involving Jozy Altidore. The first yellow card was justified. However there was more debate about the second yellow card. The picture below shows where N’Zonzi fouled Altidore. He was denying a goal scoring opportunity, so a straight red should have been awarded instead of the second yellow. A straight red would result in a 3 game ban, opposed to a 1 game ban for 2 yellows.
Both Loic Remy and Bradley Johnson saw red at Carrow Road. Both players encountered some handbags before Remy put his head towards Johnson’s head. Johnson did overreact but Remy’s red was justified in my view. Johnson did contribute to the red card for Remy, but I felt his red card was slightly more harsh and a yellow would have been sufficient punishment.
Finally, Alan McGregor was sent off for an attempted kick at Stuart O’Keefe during Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win vs Hull City. It was a mindless thing to do and although minimal contact was made, it gave referee Chris Foy not much choice in sending the Scottish stopper off.