Swansea cruised to a 4-1 victory against Aston Villa, ensuring the Swans’ Premier League status for another season, but the win put Villa into deep trouble with tough fixtures remaining against Tottenham and Manchester City. But should Wilfried Bony‘s opener have stood? The picture above shows that the Ivorian was in an offside position when Jonjo Shelvey played the ball through. It was a mistake by the assistant referee but the speed at which players move makes the job incredibly difficult. Ryan Bertrand stops and moves up just as Shelvey makes the pass, so it’s very easy to say it’s a poor decision. But we have the benefit of still pictures and several replays, which the match officials do not.
Later in the same game, Nathan Baker fouled Swansea’s Marvin Emnes in the penalty area, with the score at 3-1. Baker was over zealous with his challenge, and clattered into the Middlesbrough loanee, resulting in a correctly awarded penalty that Bony converted to finish the game 4-1 to the Welsh team.
Ryan Giggs took charge of his first game as Manchester United interim manager against Norwich, but it took a 41st minute penalty decision from referee Lee Probert to get the Red Devils on to the score sheet. I have no problems with the penalty being awarded. It was a foul from Steven Whittaker as he pulled Danny Welbeck down, but the interesting point from this is why wasn’t it a red card for Whittaker? Welbeck is clearly one on one with John Ruddy, so I was more than surprised to see the Scottish international remain on the field.
Everton midfielder Leon Osman claimed a penalty during the Toffees’ 2-0 defeat at Southampton, which practically ends Everton’s chances of a UEFA Champions League qualification spot. Dejan Lovren was challenging Osman, but referee Michael Oliver correctly spotted an act of simulation from the midfielder and awarded a yellow card without hesitation. It’s pleasing to see such incidents acted upon by the officials as Osman was always looking to go to ground without attempting to stay on his feet.
It was later on in the second half where Lovren did commit a foul in the box after holding back James McCarthy after a challenge in the area. Lovren can count himself very fortunate to have avoided a penalty award, whereas Everton had every right to feel hard done by.
At Craven Cottage, Shane Long appealed for a penalty in the early stages of the game after colliding with Fernando Amorabieta. The contact was minimal, if made at all, so it was a good decision by referee Lee Mason to allow play to continue as Long had to run between two Fulham defenders to make it to the ball. Therefore, in my opinion, he went down easily.
Hull City defender Curtis Davies however did avoid a penalty, which should have gone in the Cottager’s favor after a hand ball in the box. A long ball entered the area and Davies attempted to control the ball, but an outstretched arm connected with the ball. Although the contact was high up on the arm, I think Mason should have pointed to the spot.
The game at the Britannia was a tough one for referee Andre Marriner. First of all, Emmanuel Adebayor appeared to elbow Ryan Shawcross. Marriner did give the free kick, but didn’t add any further punishment, which leads me to think that he was possibly advised by the fourth official or an assistant to give the decision. There is no doubt in my mind that Adebayor should have been been sent off as it was a disgraceful piece of play.
Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross was sent off for two bookings. The first left no arguments as it was a late challenge on Christian Eriksen but the second was more open for debate. Shawcross kept his eyes on the ball but connected with Danny Rose. At full speed, it looked like a booking. Had Shawcross not been on a yellow, he would have most certainly have been booked for that challenge. The ref got the decision correct in my opinion.
There was further anger from the Stoke fans when Danny Rose reacted to a tackle from Geoff Cameron. Rose raised his arms and pushed the USA international in the chest. For me, it was unsporting behavior from Rose, not violent conduct. A yellow card was sufficient punishment.
Stoke did have a case for a penalty late on, when Spurs defender Michael Dawson collided with Peter Odemwingie. Dawson went through the back of the former WBA striker and also caught him with his trailing leg. A definite penalty, but I think Marriner could have had more assistance from his linesman.
Finally, Cardiff slumped to the bottom of the league after losing 4-0 to relegation rivals Sunderland. Juan Cala was involved in the biggest talking point when he pulled back Connor Wickham outside the area when he was one-on-one with the keeper. The pulling continued inside the area, so by law referee Phil Dowdwas correct to send off Cala and award a penalty. He also gave Sunderland the chance to develop the move, but pulled up play seconds later to penalize Cala. The only issue I have with this is that the contact inside the box was very minimal and the vast majority of the foul was outside, so with a difficult view, I may have awarded a free kick instead, but I can see why Dowd wanted a penalty kick.