By far the biggest talking point from the weekend’s soccer matches was the decision from referee Andre Marriner to send off the wrong player during Arsenal’s humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain clearly saved a shot from Eden Hazard. Chelsea appealed to Andre Marriner who took a long time to award the penalty. To me, at this point, the ref was unsure who committed the handball, and if it actually was a handball in the first place. A red card was then brandished, which Arsenal can have no complaints about, even if the ball was not going into the net. A goal scoring opportunity was denied.
I was then astounded to see Kieran Gibbs walking down the tunnel. A clear mistaken identity error by Marriner, but he was not helped by any of his assistants or the fourth official. The whole stadium and the watching audience could tell it was Chamberlain who handled the ball, but in the heat of the moment, he made the wrong decision. Chamberlain then pleaded with the ref that it was him who committed the foul, but a red card decision can not be revoked once it has been awarded.
Arsenal have appealed against the red card for Gibbs and Chamberlain, but I fully expect the one match ban to be transferred to Chamberlain, who instinctively threw a hand at the ball.
I felt for Marriner, but his hesitation to award the penalty did not show any confidence in his decision, despite the lack of support from his assistants. He has apologized for the error and I am sure The FA will resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Everton’s Ross Barkley was awarded a penalty in the early stages of the Toffees 3-2 victory over Swansea City. A long ball forward from John Stones left Barkley one on one against Chico Flores, who stuck a leg out after the ball had past him. Barkley sensed the opportunity to go down and did so. Despite this, it was a penalty and referee Michael Oliver, who has been very consistent this season, had no hesitation pointing to the spot.
Chris Foy was scrutinized for his performance last week at Villa Park, and he was on arguably worse form on Saturday at the KC Stadium. Firstly, Shane Long was judged to be brought down by Craig Dawson. Foy had the perfect view of the incident, but there was minimal, if any, contact made. The linesman did not indicate that there was an infringement, but Foy pointed straight to the spot. West Brom fan’s have every right to be frustrated by the decision.
In the second half, a second penalty incident saw James Morrison brought down in the box. This was a clear penalty. His legs were taken from beneath him and Foy was again in a good position. This was much more definitive than the first penalty claim, so I was very surprised to see Foy wave away the appeals from nearly all of the Albion players.
But is was Hull who were denied another penalty late on. With the score 2-0 to the Tigers, Liam Ridgewell fouled Yannick Sagbo just inside the area. Foy was again in a superb position and had no obstructions, despite Tom Huddlestone being nearby. There is no doubting that a foul would have been given outside the area, which is frustrating because a white line should make no difference to the perceptions of an offense.
Overall, it was a bad day at the office for Foy, who is a good referee, but clearly had a poor afternoon in what was a crucial match at the bottom of the league.
Sam Allardyce was left frustrated with both Manchester United goals after the Hammers’ 2-0 defeat at Upton Park. The first goal was an outstanding moment of genius from Wayne Rooney, who spotted Adrian out of his goal. Rooney then fired a volley from 54 yards straight over a helpless goalkeeper and into the net. However, it was the incident prior to the goal that annoyed Allardyce. He was adamant that Rooney fouled James Tomkins.
Allardyce stated in an interview with ‘Match of the Day’:
“I am 100% convinced it was a foul. The goal wouldn’t have been scored if the ref had done his job properly”.
I find these comments baffling. Rooney was challenging Tomkins for the ball and did have an arm raised, merely for shielding Tomkins. The latter jumps for the header and claims a push. He has to be stronger there, no doubt about it. Rooney’s hand is not in the centre half’s back. He is looking to turn, which he duly did.
United’s second goal was scored on the counter after Kevin Nolan felt he was fouled in the box by Darren Fletcher. Lee Mason was correct not to award the penalty as Nolan was hardly touched and made the most out of the incident. Not a penalty for me.