Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 29

Even with just five Premier League games this week, there were plenty of talking points to pick out from the referee’s performances.

Starting at Stamford Bridge, Spurs conceded four second half goals in a 4-0 defeat. However, at 1-0 to the Blues, referee Michael Oliver gave a contentious penalty after a collision between Samuel Eto’o and Younes Kaboul in the penalty area. I think it was a soft penalty. Eto’o was certainly looking for a reason to go down and I don’t feel that there was a foul from Kaboul. Oliver then sent off the Frenchman, which added to the punishment, but if the ref deemed it a penalty, he has to then send off Kaboul, which in this case, was very unfortunate.

West Brom‘s woes continued with a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United. I was lucky enough to be at the game and there were two major talking points from the game. Firstly, Ben Foster escaped a red card when he handled the ball outside the penalty area. Referee Jon Moss had a very difficult view, so it was up to his assistant who had a perfect view to see the incident and make a decision. The assistant either didn’t deem it to be handball, or misjudged where Foster handled it. Either way, it was an incorrect call, which would have caused further problems for the Baggies had they been down to ten men.

Later on in the second half, Robin van Persie was booked for a very poor and late tackle on Morgan Amalfitano. John Moss correctly booked the out-of-sorts Dutchman, but it was Moss’ decision not to send off van Persie minutes later that caused a huge amount of aggravation from the West Brom fans. Van Persie flew into a needless tackle on Steven Reid. Moss awarded the free kick before giving the forward a final warning. From my seat, I thought it was a poor tackle, but a final stern warning is normal procedure from my experiences of watching Premier League football. Replays showed that RVP actually got the ball first anyhow, but Moss was not to know that having given the free kick already. I can see both sides of the argument.

Referee Andre Marriner was kept very busy at Carrow Road during the second half. Firstly, Stoke were awarded a penalty after Sabastien Bassong bundled over Manchester City loanee John Guidetti. A fairly straight forward decision for the ref. John Walters converted the spot kick, but was sent off for a late and nasty late tackle on Alexander Tettey. Walters knew exactly what he had done once Marriner blew his whistle and turned towards him with a very innocent look, but he can’t complain about the red card. The tackle was late and with studs showing at that height, there is always a risk of an early bath.

8 thoughts on “Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 29”

  1. Soft penalty on Eto’o. Was there even contact? If Eto’o was Suarez, there’d be a billion posts about how Suarez is a cheat.

    Chelsea seems to play this way though. Played like goons against Liverpool, cheating losers against Spurs. What was with the Oscar dive. At least Suarez looks like a competent diver.

    Honestly, thought the Stoke City penalty was a bit weak. There wasn’t much contact and it was moving away from the goal (a play like that should award an indirect kick in the box). But it seems that it is the only way for Stoke to score sometimes. At least Walters is scoring on the spot kicks now.

    1. you make an interesting point, yespage, on indirect free kicks inside the box. One question though:

      How would you decide between a “soft” pen and any other penalty?

      Personally, that would cause even more argument, because all of the ref’s have their own perceptions of challenges. Inconsistency would be very high

      1. Andy:

        In the Stoke City case, the play is going away from the net. So while a foul, it didn’t in any way stop a potential goal scoring op.

        In the Eto’o case, presuming there was actual contact, the play is moving towards the goal and would be a penalty shot.

        Subjective indeed, though.

        1. i understand the concept, but its difficult to apply i think. the world’s best can score with backs to goal these days, so the simple answer is don’t foul in the box…

  2. As I always say this is one of my favorite article series on the site.
    This week though I think you decided to put on your fan hat on instead of your referee hat Andy, at least on a few of the decisions you discussed in this article (specially for the WBA-MU game).

    1- The foul by Kaboul on Eto’o:
    You said that the ref “Michael Oliver gave a CONTENTIOUS penalty after a collision between Samuel Eto’o and Younes Kaboul in the penalty area.”
    I think we must have been watching different play, because with the play in question I saw Kaboul do 2 things that you do not do to a player running at full speed in front of you: He tripped him and he pushed him as well. Had he only done one of those things, Eto’o would probably still be able to stay up and score, but with both, he couldn’t keep his balance. That’s an obvious penalty in my book. Sending off Kaboul was kinda harsh, and it seems like the ref didn’t want to do so, he took his time, talked it over with the other refs on his mic then showed the red. What he said or was told on his earpiece, we’ll never know. However like you said, once he gave the penalty considering the situation (Eto’o about to score his 2nd goal of the day) he had little choice.

    2- Ben Foster’s handling ball:
    About that incident you said that “Ben Foster escaped a red card when he handled the ball outside the penalty area.”
    Now this is an action I have not seen yet. So I wonder: Are you saying he escaped a 2nd yellow for handling the ball outside his box? Or are you saying handling the ball outside of the box is a red card offense?

    3- The Van Persie challenge:
    While I have no problem with your general take on the RVP fouls as such, I was however taken aback by the following additional comment made as a matter of fact: “Replays showed that RVP actually got the ball first anyhow, but Moss was not to know that having given the free kick already”.
    I guess what you’re trying to say is that since RVP got the ball first there’s should not be a foul let alone a cautionable foul. Now this is one of my biggest pet peeves about people following the game: it’s the spreading of false information regarding the laws and interpretations of the game. From the “there was no contact therefore no foul” to the “he got the ball first therefore no foul”, it’s baffling to see how many people (from pro players, popular pundits, journalists to the fans on the street) do not familiarize themselves with the actual laws of the game (and referee guidelines) and keep on spreading misinformation out there. As your profile says you’re a referee, I do value your opinion pieces on this site. Now I am willing to admit that it may be that the rules differ a little bit at amateur levels. However please, when it comes to talking about the professional game, do not be one of the people spreading erroneous myths about referee decisions. A foul has nothing to do with whether or not the offending player got to the ball first, or even touched his opponent.

  3. plenty of points there, thanks for your comments.

    1) Kaboul i don’t think made an attempt to get the ball, but we can agree to disagree on that one. very tough, as it always is, whatever the level, to spot infringements.

    2) I’m saying its a red card offense. denying goal scoring opportunity.

    3) Of course, if a player goes through a player to win the ball, its a foul. I’m not that naive, but value your opinions on the matter. The laws of the game are the same for all levels and ages, so there is no different laws that are not in the FIFA rule book. I would not have been surprised had RVP been sent off, but the decision to award a final warning is a sensible option, especially as the tackle was no were near as bad as the crowd made out.

    Thanks for your comments again, always appreciated! good debate and discussion!

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