Referees were kept busy this weekend with red cards, contentious penalty decisions and even a headbutt.
Here’s what the officials called correctly and what they might regret.
The most bizarre incident of the season by far was Newcastle boss Alan Pardew‘s head butt on Hull midfielder David Meyler. The incident came after Meyler wanted to quickly take a throw-in, and pushed Pardew. Meyler was correctly booked for unsportsman-like behavior. Pardew then reacted by leading with his head into Meyler’s head. A ludicrous act that he will no doubt regret. Pardew was sent to the stands by referee Kevin Friend.
Post match, Pardew was apologetic for his actions and openly honest about the situation, which is good to see, but he hasn’t escaped punishment from Newcastle who have fined him £100,000 and there is no doubting that The FA will take action too. I think Pardew should get the same punishment as Paul Ince did, back in October, when he used violent and abusive language towards the officials. Ince was hit with a 5 match stadium ban, and a similar punishment would make a stand on how these incidents should be acted upon and show that further misconduct following from this will be sanctioned in the same way.
Another thing to consider, is: How will the Newcastle players react to this? Their manager has stepped a long way over the line in this incident and what would stop the players acting in this way, and why should they players have respect for their manager? These are all questions that need to be asked.
There have been calls for Pardew to be sacked, but it seems the club have acted early and have no intentions to sack him regarding this incident. I don’t think it is a sackable offense. It should be taken very seriously, but The FA need to punish him severely and a 5 match stadium ban is firm enough.
Swansea centreback Chico Flores saw red and conceded a penalty in the latter stages of the game against Crystal Palace. The incident came from a long ball by Yannick Bolasie. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm made a hash of his attempted clearance, which left Glenn Murray an opportunity to slot the ball home. He was caught by Chico Flores and referee Mike Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, which was followed by a red card for Flores. I have no arguments about the red card, and neither can Swansea as a clear goal scoring chance was there. The foul was committed outside the area, but only just. Both players fell inside the box, making it a very difficult call for Dean and his assistant to make. It should have been a free kick, but it’s very easy to comment on a picture, opposed to real time.
Murray converted the penalty and scored his first goal since returning from a serious knee injury that kept him out for nine months. It’s pleasing to see him play again, as he was a key player last season, helping Palace reach the Premier League.