Reviewing Premier League Refereeing Decisions: Gameweek 27

After another eventful Premier League weekend where Chelsea continued their dominance at the top of the table, and both Liverpool and Arsenal scored four goals, there were quite a few key refereeing decisions that changed the results of games, which are examined below:

Liverpool continued their superb home form, winning a 7 goal thriller against Swansea, but this game was not without controversy. The Reds had a 2-1 advantage at the mid point of the first half, when Martin Skrtel was cautioned by Mike Jones for what appeared to be a clean tackle at first glance. It wasn’t until I had a closer look on the replay that I totally agreed with the referee’s decision. The Slovakian centre half caught ex-Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey and a free kick was correctly awarded. The following free kick resulted in an equalizer for the Swans, much to the frustration of the Kop and Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers felt the free kick was soft, but the set piece should have been defended better. Wilfried Bony was unmarked, and had the free kick been cleared, there would have been no controversy surrounding the decision.

Liverpool regained the lead before the break, but gave Bony a chance to level it up again from the spot, after being bundled over in the box by Skrtel. I have mentioned on several occasions in these articles that shirt pulling and holding needs to stop in the box and Skrtel is a regular offender. He isn’t alone, but he does get away with obstructing opponents, so I am pleased that Mike Jones spotted the incident and awarded the spot kick. I think Skrtel, who was already booked, was very fortunate not to receive a second yellow card, which could have changed the complexion of the game.

In the match between Southampton and West Ham United, manager Mauricio Pochettino was left annoyed with the decisions of the officials during Southampton’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham, who recorded a fourth straight Premier League win. The Saints went one up before a contentious offside call from Mark Clattenburg‘s assistant ended with Matt Jarvis slotting home an equalizer for the Hammers. The above picture reveals that it was offside, marginally. A part of Jarvis’ body, which he can score with, was offside, so the flag should have been raised. Although, Luke Shaw had just stepped up, making it a very difficult decision to make with the naked eye. It’s very easy to comment on this replay, but the speed that the game is played nowadays makes calls such as this very difficult to judge.

Also in this match, Southampton thought they were denied a penalty when they believed James Collins made contact with the ball via his arm. Mark Clattenburg was suitably placed to make the call, which was the correct one, as replays showed the ball hit Jay Rodriguez‘s arm.

Speaking to BBC‘s ‘Match Of the Day’, Pochettino was very unhappy with the performance of the officials:

“The first goal was a clear offside and we were denied a clear penalty.

“We were unlucky with the refereeing decisions.”

In the match between West Brom and Fulham, the Goal Decision System (GDS) was again beneficial to the officials when a late Matej Vydra strike crept over the line after a fumble from Fulham stopper Maarten Stekelenburg to earn a point for the Baggies. There is no doubting that the linesman would have had a very difficult job in making a split second decision, if the GDS was not available. However, the belated invention of it has relieved a significant amount of pressure from the officials.

Lastly, Manchester United bounced back to winning ways with a hard fought 2-0 victory away at Crystal Palace. The deadlock was broken by a Robin van Persie penalty, after a clumsy challenge by Marouane Chamakh on Patrice Evra. Chamakh did a lot of defensive covering and worked hard for the 70 or so minutes that he was on the field, but a split second loss of concentration denied the Eagles a possible draw.

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