Reviewing Key Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 24

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.

8 thoughts on “Reviewing Key Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 24”

  1. I’ve been debating, writing and rewriting an article about players embellishing fouls. The question about the Carroll/Flores incident comes down to two things in my opinion; 1) Would the referee have given the red card (deserved as it was) if Flores did not embellish it? 2) Flores comes from a nation where they often teach/practice embellishment of fouls in order to get the call.

    All of these leads into the fact that players who do not embellish typically do not get the same calls as those who do. At the same time, players who go far too overboard (dive, flop, roll around for no reason) tend to get punished far more to the point that they no longer get the same calls as other players. It’s a very, very fine line that players have to walk.

    It also makes the referees job more difficult, however, I have no sympathy for them. If they start making consistent calls more often, then there won’t be the need for this playacting.

    1. Very good point. That is something that FIFA could look into. Could make those decisions much clearer and easier to understand.

  2. Very good points made. On the Carroll foul, I agree this was a red card plain and simple. I disagree that Flores should be getting booked for simulation because he was hit by Carroll. However strategic his reaction was (the referee would probably not have seen the incident), it was the correct one. That is why I am always reluctant to condemn people overreacting to get a referee to see a transgression against them. Sometimes the refs (specially in the UK) tend to not see what everywhere else would be considered red cards as red cards offenses, because a player escaped unfazed.

  3. Big Sam should be upset … at Andy Carroll for swinging his arm with such violent intent. Such a stupid action by Carroll. The red card and ban should absolutely stand.

  4. I have no problem with Carroll’s red but rather than a 3 game ban for simulation Flores should actually get smacked in the face hard enough to make him roll around on the floor like the pathetic fanny he is. The same clown acted the hard man at the Swansea training ground threatening to smack Gary Monk with a half brick.

    Swansea 9-1 for relegation, I’m having this weeks free bet on them I think.

  5. What Chico Flores did, is a disgrace to football and certainly with the refree being so near when the incident took place, he too should have booked flores for his “drama”. Yes Andy did try to get a little bit violent but in my opinion it was definitely not a red card

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