Referee Mike Dean was kept very busy at Stamford Bridge on Saturday with two key incidents changing the course of the game. The first was an obvious elbow from Ramires on Sebastien Larsson (see photo above). Dean was perfectly placed, but didn’t spot the clash as he had given advantage to Chelsea. The elbow immediately followed, but with Dean’s eyes on the ball, he cannot be blamed for missing the incident. The Brazilian looked round with a guilty look on his face, and he was incredibly fortunate to still be on the field. The FA will retrospectively act on this and Ramires’ domestic season will be over, and rightly so after this petulant act.
But it was the decision to award Sunderland a penalty, late on in the game that caused the most controversy. Jozy Altidore ran to the by-line and was pressured by Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard went to ground to prevent a cross in my opinion, before Altidore appeared to slip and go to ground. Altidore’s left foot landed on Azpilicueta’s boot (see photo above), which meant he went to ground. I personally think that the contact was made by the American, so a penalty should not have been awarded. The assistant referee flagged, so Dean obeyed and pointed to the spot. A big decision at both ends of the table, but I can only feel that Chelsea were hard done by there.
There were two further penalties, at the Cardiff City stadium in the game between Cardiff and Stoke. Stoke were first to be given the chance to convert after Kim Bo-Yueng fouled former Cardiff player Peter Odemwingie. It was a simple decision for Howard Webb, as that is a free kick outside the box every time.
The second penalty that was awarded showed good consistency from Webb because the incident was very similar to the first penalty. Steven N’Zonzi tripped Frazier Campbell and again Webb blew his whistle after giving himself plenty of thinking time, which is good to see.
Cardiff had the ball in the net again, only moments later only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Webb seemed to give the goal and then looked over at his assistant Darren Cann who was spot on in raising his flag and disallowing Juan Cala‘s goal, as the picture below clearly shows.
Southampton claimed a penalty during their 0-0 draw away at Villa Park after a Nathaniel Clyne cross went straight into the path of Ryan Bertrand. The Chelsea loanee’s arms were tucked into his body, so Lee Mason made a good decision in waving for play to continue.