The weekend’s biggest and most controversial incident was at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon. I was fortunate enough to be at the game and thought the referee had a good game until just after Manchester United equalized. Gabby Agbonlahor was on a run when he slightly over-ran the ball. Ashley Young went to challenge for the ball. It was a 50-50 and the ball was there to be won but Agbonlahor was sent off for what looked like a very poor challenge when I saw it live. It looked late and used excessive force. I could see why Lee Mason sent him off from my view. However, it wasn’t until I saw a replay later on in the evening that it looked a harsh decision. Agbonlahor’s studs were down but I think the sheer force of the tackle was the deciding factor for Mason. Its very easy to say it was a poor decision in slow motion. I don’t think it was a red card having seen it again, but find it difficult to say it was a terrible decision, purely on the fact that he went in with so much force. Not many fans around me were shocked when the red card was brandished but I expect it to be rescinded by the FA when they slow it down. Mason did pull out the card quick which wasn’t ideal. Maybe he could have consulted his fourth official, but I can totally understand why he sent him off based on the first and only view he got of the incident.
QPR were given a penalty by Craig Pawson after Leroy Fer was fouled twice by James Morrison. He grabbed the former Norwich City man around the waist before pulling him back moments later. Pawson was spot on and Charlie Austin smashed the ball home for the first of his three goals.
There were appeals for a second QPR spot kick when Joey Barton felt he was chopped down in the box, again by Morrison and I thought it was a stone wall penalty. It was late and clumsy and although Pawson’s view was not ideal, it was good enough to see the infringement.
The worst offside decision I have seen for a long time was at the Etihad in the early kick off. Manchester City were 2-0 up when Crystal Palace’s James MacArthur headed the ball home to make it 2-1, only for the linesman to put his flag up, much to Neil Warnock’s disappointment. City left-back, Alexandr Kolarov was playing the Scottish midfielder on by a considerable margin, but the linesman was in a very poor position, which led to him believing that there was an offside. I haven’t seen a worse offside decision in recent memory and despite the 2-0 scoreline, a goal for Palace would have given them confidence to push on.