Reviewing Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 36

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.

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