At Upton Park this weekend we saw a few controversial decisions. So how did the referee come to make the decisions that he did?
Approaching half-time with the scores level, Liverpool attack looking to break the deadlock before the interval. As Luis Suarez tries to plays the ball past James Tomkins, the defender leaves his arm out and moves his hand in the direction of the ball. The referee acts as he should by awarding the penalty and issuing a yellow card to Tomkins for deliberate handball. Not a difficult one for Anthony Taylor.
Tompkins handles in the first half
Before the half is up, West Ham force a corner. As the ball is played in, Andy Carroll jumps up leading with his arms and goes in to Mignolet, causing the Liverpool keeper to drop the ball and Guy Demel flicks the ball in the net and runs off to celebrate, the goal is awarded but his assistant is flagging and Anthony Taylor goes over to speak to him. After a few moments he stands by his original decision and allows the goal.
So why did the assistant flag? Why did the referee overrule him?
Did the assistant think it was handball by Carroll? Or was he saying it was a foul on the keeper?
It’s easy for us all watching on tele to say it was a foul but you need to remember the officials don’t have that view! They can only base their decisions on what they see. If the referee believes his view is better than that of his assistant then he can overrule the flag, which on this occasion he did, even though he’ll realise later he should’ve listened to his assistant as it was a clear infringement by Carroll on the Liverpool keeper.
Carroll’s unpunished foul on Mignolet
The second penalty awarded to Liverpool was a controversial decision. The replays show than the Liverpool fullback Flanagan got to the ball before Adrian, but the hammers keeper got a touch on the ball before his momentum took him into his opponent. So based on that, it shouldn’t have been awarded, but remember, the referee doesn’t have the replays to refer to.
Adrian just gets a touch on the ball
As a referee, when a challenge happens one of the things to look out for is the direction of the ball afterwards. If the ball has changed direction that’s usually a good indication that the defending player has won the ball. But the referee has to be 100% sure before awarding a free kick or penalty.
In this case, the ball didn’t really change direction, so upon Anthony Taylor seeing the touch by Flanagan wouldn’t have seen the touch by Adrian therefor he would’ve been 100% in his mind that it was a foul. He gave himself a few moments to think about the situation too. The assistant on the far side would not have able to give it as it was not in his jurisdiction. The referee was in a good position, it just happens that something’s are not easy to spot, due to players blocking his line of vision.
The areas the assistant should flag if he sees an infringement
This isn’t a case of bad refereeing or the ref trying to make amends for incorrectly allowing the west ham goal to stand, it’s just a case of bad luck for the Hammers and good fortune for Liverpool.
Would technology help? Would extra officials help? If they were behind the goals like they are in European games could they make the correct call? I would have the extra official on the other side to where they are in the Champions League as it would give the team of officials greater coverage of angles. Having said that, if they were there right in front of the incident would he/she have been too close to it to see it as clear as the TV cameras.
Another call by Anthony Taylor that upset Luis Suarez, was the decision not to award a third penalty to Liverpool after ball hit Armero on the hand. The ball flicked up off the Columbians foot and as he was moving backwards and the ball hit his hand. The reason this is not a penalty is the defenders hand was in a natural position and he made no movement of his arm towards the ball.
Football fans are too quick to judge the ref when things go against their team!
Could they do a better job? Probably not!