Reviewing the Key Refereeing Decisions From Opening Weekend of Premier League

The start of the new Barclays Premier League season brought goals, shocks as well red cards, meaning that the officials were given no time to settle in and get used to their new vanishing spray.

There were 3 red cards over the weekend, all of which were totally justified. However, Kyle Naughton’s dismissal in the game between West Ham and Spurs at Upton Park was the most contentious call. Referee Chris Foy spotted what looked like a fair block on first look, but closer replays showed that the ball struck Naughton’s arm, which was raised and in front of goal, therefore denying a goal scoring opportunity, giving Foy no option but to send the left back off.

Jason Puncheon also saw red in Crystal Palace‘s agonizing last minute defeat to Arsenal. Puncheon was already on a yellow when he made a late, reckless attempt for the ball on Nacho Monreal. It was a poor challenge and despite his teammates best efforts to steal a point, it wasn’t enough to deny Arsenal winning the game. Puncheon has to take a considerable part of the blame for not understanding the game situation after being booked earlier on by referee Jon Moss.

The third red card was again at Upton Park but this time it was a Hammers player who was sent for an early bath. West Ham’s James Collins was booked for a late challenge in the first half, not long before deliberately blocking a Spurs player off, again giving referee Chris Foy limited options. It’s pleasing to see the referees getting big red card decisions right this early on in the season. Lets hope it continues.

Although there were some good decisions, there were also some poor calls. The worst of which was from referee Neil Swarbrick who gave an incredibly soft penalty to WBA‘s Victor Anichebe during the Baggies’ 2-2 draw with Sunderland. There was a small coming together between Anichebe and Valentin Roberge but I still can’t quite understand why a penalty was awarded. Everybody, including WBA boss Alan Irvine, was bemused.

Another soft penalty came at Loftus Road between QPR and Hull when James Chester was penalized for handball by ref Craig Pawson, but there was clearly no intent from the defender, whose hands were by his side. Pawson, who is relatively newcomer to the Premier League, was in a great position but called it wrongly. Luckily, QPR missed the resulting spot kick.

Finally, West Brom were denied a goal after help from the assistant referee after he spotted a foul on Vito Mannone. It was soft, but he was knocked off balance when attempting to clear the ball, so I can see the reasoning behind the decision. The goal-line technology system did confirm that Craig Dawson scored, which would have helped enormously had there been no foul.

6 thoughts on “Reviewing the Key Refereeing Decisions From Opening Weekend of Premier League”

  1. I like that there is somebody on the internet who knows what he is talking about when discussing referees. Spot on.

  2. A couple of points on the disappearing spray: I didn’t see it used much/at all in one match (I forget which, watched so much football), some of the players seemed to ignore the line (as did the refs) and who can forget Cazorla getting sprayed by the ref?

  3. Fellani should have been carded for his flagrant elbow on KI,and then KI got a yellow.

    The spray was not used consistently yesterday in the NUFC/MCFC match. Not sure why the ball placement needs to be marked. Last time i checked ball will not move by its self. Oh well I know I am fighting a losing battle. Mark me down as not a fan of the spray. :)

  4. Foy was not ‘left with no option’ but to send Naughton off. Foy was right to call a penalty because Naughton had his hand over his head in the box and the ball hit it. But he definitely did have an option as to whether or not to give a straight red and he made the wrong decision.

    To give a straight red it should be a clear goal scoring opportunity which it was not (it was not clear that the ball was on target) and should be clear that the handball was intentional which it was also not (given the distance between the two players it appeared more instinctual). The straight red was overly harsh but typical for a mediocre ref like Foy.

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