The biggest game of the weekend was of course the Manchester derby. Michael Oliver had a tough game and could have awarded three penalties in addition to Chris Smalling’s sending off, which was ridiculous. After being booked for blocking Joe Hart’s kick, he then went flying into James Milner. Louis van Gaal was correct to label it a “stupid” performance from the defender.
There were three penalty appeals from Manchester City. The first involved Sergio Aguero and Marouane Fellaini. The latter clipped the Argentine but the view didn’t favor any of the officials, so I can see why it wasn’t given. The second came just before half time when Marcos Rojo challenged Yaya Toure. Rojo did challenge from behind but nicked the ball from Yaya’s grasp. Great decision to let play continue from Oliver. The third penalty claim was a poor call, which was a stone wall penalty for a foul on Aguero.
In the same game, Hart arguably could have been dismissed for leaning his head into Oliver’s face. Referees should not stand for that in my opinion and I was astonished not to see any card after the confrontation. Hart should know much better as a possible future England captain and will look back with regret when he sees it again. Very unprofessional behavior.
Christian Benteke saw red in a game changing decision from Neil Swarbrick. Benteke raised his hands into Ryan Mason’s face. Benteke deserved to go and Paul Lambert could not defend his main striker, who was playing a pivotal role in Aston Villa’s 1-0 lead. However, Mason did instigate the confrontation and kicked out at the Belgian before he leant his head into Benteke’s face, but did not make contact. He should have seen red also, but didn’t and as a result it helped the Spurs claim a dramatic late come-from-behind win.
Chelsea were being held by Queens Park Rangers as the game was nearing its conclusion, only for Eduardo Vargas to concede a penalty for a challenge on Eden Hazard. Mike Jones did not hesitate in pointing to the spot, but I thought it was a harsh decision. The players were side by side when the contact occurred and I personally think that Vargas used his shoulder to try and win the ball. It was forceful, which made it look a clearer penalty than it actually was, but I would have waved played on.
There were appeals from Leicester City players and fans when Ben Foster attempted a throw out to the wing. He then decided that was not the correct decision and stopped on the very edge of the area. His feet were outside the box, but most importantly, his hands and the ball remained inside the area. Stuart Attwell’s assistant had a fantastic view and made the correct decision to allow play to continue.
Marcin Wasilewski of Leicester City escaped punishment for an elbow on Saido Berahino. It was a definite elbow and I am surprised there will be no retrospective punishment for what was a nasty act. A three-match ban would have been the best solution.
One incident that surprised me somewhat was that of Kevin Friend’s at Goodison Park on Saturday. Antolin Alcaraz clearly handled the ball in the area, as if he was the goalkeeper. Garry Monk has every right to be frustrated at the decision but I am starting to question why he is suddenly making noises about decisions, which he has not done in the past. Monk could not argue with Jonjo Shelvey’s red card, however. He kicked the ball away for the first yellow, which is always a soft booking and then deliberately blocked James McCarthy for a second yellow, much to the delight of the Everton supporters.