Rather bizarrely, it was a quiet weekend in terms of controversial refereeing decisions. I have picked out three that are the most talked about following Gameweek 24.
During Chelsea‘s superb performance in a 1-0 win against Manchester City, there was an incident late on involving Matija Nastasic and Oscar as Chelsea tried to break on a counter attack. Nastasic fouled the Brazilian playmaker. And despite appeals from Jose Mourinho and his players, Mike Dean correctly showed the yellow card. There is no statement in the rules that mention a player being “last man”. The foul was a long way from goal and it wasn’t (as the law states) “denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity.” There was also another defender covering, so it is hard to make a case for a straight red card.
By far the most talked about incident from the weekend was Howard Webb’s decision to send off West Ham front man Andy Carroll only 60 minutes into his first start after a severe heel injury. The ex-Newcastle and Liverpool man had a key role in both goals, but on the hour mark, he was involved in a tussle with Swansea‘s Chico Flores.
After both players contested the ball, Carroll swung his arm around, which caught the Spaniard. The picture below clearly shows that contact was on the top of the head. Chico’s reaction was shameful and pathetic, rolling around on the floor until the red card was brandished. However, despite that, I think Carroll showed intent and attempted to catch Flores, albeit very subtly, using violent conduct. Therefore, I believe Webb made a good decision and after watching the incident in full speed on several occasions, my opinion doesn’t change.
On the other hand, Chico Flores certainly had an effect on the award of the red card, making the incident look worse than it actually was, holding his face, which obviously didn’t take impact. My view on this is that although West Ham have lodged an appeal, the red card should stand and Flores should also face a 3 match ban for effectively cheating. Unfortunately, The FA won’t take retrospective action against Flores, but it is something that they should address in combination with UEFA and FIFA, to stamp out cheating — whether that be diving or contributing to a red card.
West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce was furious with the decision to send Carroll off, stating:
“That was him (Flores) squealing and centre halves aren’t supposed to squeal.
“I’ve just had a look at it and from our point of view I can’t see why Howard has decided to give him a red card.”
Plus Allardyce argued that Carroll’s arm was swinging around to maintain balance. I find that very hard to believe.
Finally, Newcastle United‘s Vernon Anita brought down Phil Bardsley in the penalty area at 0-0 during the Tyne-Wear derby, which resulted in the Black Cats running out 3-0 winners. It was an unnecessary challenge that gave referee Phil Dowd little option but to award the penalty, which was duly converted by Fabio Borini.