Martin Atkinson had a very difficult afternoon at Stamford Bridge with numerous contentious decisions. The first was a foul from Gary Cahill on Alexis Sanchez. It was a dangerous tackle in my view as he endangered Alexis’ safety, I think it was a red card offence. Arsene Wenger was clearly annoyed with Chelsea’s tactics to cut up play, but should not have gone into Jose Mourinho’s technical area. Jon Moss, dealt with the situation well, as did Atkinson who gave the pair a telling off, and rightly so. Childish behaviour.
The first Chelsea goal was a result of Laurent Koscielny’s foul on Eden Hazard in the area. The Frenchman was booked, but I thought he was last man and denied a goal-scoring opportunity. I would have sent him off as Hazard was through and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Into the second half now, and Calum Chambers could easily have seen red for two bookable offences. The first was a late challenge, whereas the second was a deliberate block on Andre Schurrle. A customary yellow card in this day in age, but Atkinson refused to give another yellow to Chambers, who gets booked far too often and needs to further develop that side of his game. With the score still at 1-0, Jack Wilshere had a penalty claim waved away for what was a blatant handball. Nemanja Matic’s arms were raised and connected with the ball. It was a poor decision but it was not good to see four Arsenal players surround Atkinson and you can see him counting the players and telling them to go away. Arsenal could, in theory, have been down to eight men after Danny Welbeck lunged into Arsenal old-boy, Cesc Fabregas. Its was a very poor tackle with ‘excessive force’ the key phrase in the laws. A red card, no doubt about it. Its even more surprising that Welbeck saw yellow if you consider the linesman’s view.
In summary, Atkinson had a mixed game and it should have finished 10 against eight, but considering the heat of the game, he did well to control both teams.
Manchester United conceded another penalty (the third in three games) against Everton. Luke Shaw dived in on Tony Hibbert and Kevin Friend had no choice but to point to the spot. It was a clumsy challenge that highlights United’s defensive frailties. Radamel Falcao opened his United account to take a 2-1 lead, however, Roberto Martinez was frustrated that Kevin Friend played on whilst Steven Pienaar was down injured. It wasn’t a head injury so Friend was correct to allow play to continue. Had Everton not conceded, nobody would have mentioned it. A little bit of sour grapes from Martinez, which is rare.
West Bromwich Albion were awarded a penalty in their 2-1 defeat at Anfield. There were however, question marks as to whether the foul was committed inside the area. On first look, it looked like a penalty, with Saido Berahino falling in the area. A sideways perspective showed that the contact was outside the area. A tough decision to make, but Michael Oliver’s assistant could have helped him in my view.
Neil Warnock was unhappy with Lee Mason’s decision not to punish Michael Dawson for an alleged elbow on Frazier Campbell. I think Warnock was frustrated with Crystal Palace’s defeat and was looking for excuses. Both players challenged for the ball fairly. Dawson was stronger and won the ball.
Queens Park Rangers conceded early on against West Ham in Harry Redknapp’s return to Upton Park. Enner Valencia handled the ball before Nedum Onuoha directed the ball into his own net. I was amazed that there were hardly any appeals for handball, which Anthony Taylor should have seen.
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