Here are the key refereeing decisions from this past weekend’s Premier League matches:
Eden Hazard starred in a 3-0 victory for Chelsea against Newcastle, with the third goal coming from the penalty spot after Samuel Eto’o was wrestled to the ground by Magpies centre back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. It was very poor defending by the Frenchman, not only because he had both arms around Eto’o, but because he decided to do this where the referee and his assistant could clearly see what he was doing. Many players escape punishment for pushing in the box, such as Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, who is a regular offender, but the referees have a very tough job in seeing through many bodies from set pieces. In this instance, Howard Webb had no option but to award the penalty and I am hoping that the referee’s will clamp down on incidents such as this. There is no place for rugby tackles in soccer.
Sunderland’s Wes Brown was sent off for the third time this season in their home game against Hull City. There is no doubt that the red card was a correct decision by Mike Jones. Brown took Shane Long‘s legs from behind him and as he was last man and the ex-Manchester United defender knew he had to head to the dressing room for an early bath. However, I do have some sympathy for Brown, who was put in a very difficult situation as a result of a stray pass from Phil Bardsley, which left the Irish striker one on one with the keeper. Brown had to intervene, but as he was behind Long, it made the challenge very awkward.
There were two incidents at the weekend that happened off the ball. The first is shown below, where Yaya Toure seemed to kick out at Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Referee, Jon Moss did not see it in my view, after looking at replays, so there was a potential case for retrospective action to go against Toure and that could have led to a 3 match ban, only if the referee did not mention it in his match report. However, The FA has ruled today that Toure will escape punishment.
My view on this is that Toure should have been banned. It was a moment of madness from the Ivorian, which for an experienced professional is surprising, possibly showing his and his team’s frustrations at being held at Carrow Road.
The second incident involved Craig Bellamy and Jonathan De Guzman during the Welsh derby on Saturday evening. Bellamy appeared to make contact with the Dutchman with a clenched fist (see photo at top of story). It wasn’t a full blown punch, but it was certainly violent conduct, which similar to the Toure incident, should be a 3 match ban. This incident was easier for referee Andre Marriner to see. And I am glad that Bellamy has been charged today by The FA. The contact was minimal and De Guzman did fall over, but the act is enough to charge Bellamy with violent conduct.