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.
Everton claimed a 1-0 victory against West Ham on Saturday, but there was a big call for referee Jon Moss to make in the first half. Gareth Barry appeared to pull back and foul Kevin Nolan outside the penalty area. For me, its a certain foul but the argument for a red card is a tough one. The picture (see below) probably just edges towards to a red card, but I can also see why it was not awarded. However, the decision not to award a free kick in the first place meant that a red card was not in the question. With this incident, the assistant referee had a perfect view, so to blame the ref, from his position, is harsh on Moss who has had a decent season on the whole.
Sam Allardyce was obviously critical of the referee’s decision and added sarcasm to his comments post match, with an interview with BBC’s ‘Match of The Day” He said:
“Barry was the last man and its funny how I saw it from 50 yards further away from the ref.”
To me, these comments are unnecessary. He can question the decision, but to start making inaccurate statements on whether he saw it or not is not needed. As West Ham manager, he is always going to have a biased view.
Arsenal’s record at the Britannia Stadium is poor, and that form continued as a 80th minute penalty from Jonathan Walters sealed the three points. The penalty award was justified. Laurent Koscielny had a hand raised and it was not in a “natural position” as the Premier League refs now define handball as. The rule of “deliberate handball” is incorrect as there will be no player who deliberately handles the ball unless preventing the ball going into the net. The ball was bouncing but a raised hand is always dangerous and I believe that referee Mike Jones got the decision spot on.
Earlier in the same game, Charlie Adam was involved in an altercation with Olivier Giroud. Adam appeared to stamp on the Frenchman after the ball had passed. For me, it wasn’t deliberate, momentum took him towards Giroud, but I do also feel that Adam knew where Giroud was. The officials would have had a tough task to spot it, as the ball had moved away from the incident. I wouldn’t be surprised if retrospective action is taken against the Scottish midfielder, but I think it would be harsh as the intent is not clear in my view.
Aston Villa recorded only their fourth home win of the season in a 4-1 victory over Norwich. With the score 4-1 just before the break, Nathan Baker was felled by Alexander Tettey with the use of a high foot. The crowd were calling for Tettey to be sent off, but referee Anthony Taylor took his time and controlled the situation before booking Tettey. It was the correct decision. It was a reckless challenge, but not a case of serious foul play, which would have been a red card offense.
Liverpool were awarded a late penalty in their 3-0 win against Southampton. It was a game where Saints had their chances. Adam Lallana hitting the post from six yards out, which was their best opportunity to get on the scoresheet, but Liverpool were clinical on the break. And indeed it was a breakaway that resulted in the spot kick after Luis Suarez was brought down by Jose Fonte. Fonte stuck a leg out and Suarez made contact with it, before going to ground. I was unconvinced at first, but on a second look, it was a certain penalty. Referee Lee Probert had a very good view of the incident, and had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.