The Premier League Is Back And So Is The Controversy!

So the Barclays Premier League kicked off this weekend and it gave us the usual controversial incidents!

A lot was made of the goalkeeping situation at Chelsea over the summer, and it should be that a Chelsea ‘keeper is the major talking point of the weekends games.

The officials did well to work as a team, as Chelsea’s Courtois was given a red card. The first decision they got right was keeping the flag down as the Blues defence thought Gomis was offside, but he was played onside by Willian. As Gomis then took the ball towards the area, Courtois came running off his line to challenge him. The Frenchman then looked to knock the ball past him but was caught by the ‘keeper. There’s no question it was a foul but the big question was where did it occur. Michael Oliver was a little bit behind the play due to the quickness of the break by Swansea but got himself into the best possible position to see if there was any infringement, his assistant on the far side was in a fantastic position to see the foul happened just inside the area.

The biggest decision Michael Oliver had to make was the colour of the card he was to give to Courtois. He went for red, for denying a goalscoring opportunity. This has split the masses. I think its 50/50 in whether it was right or wrong. Mr Oliver has felt that the two Chelsea defenders that were trying to get back, wouldn’t have done so in time. My personal view is that the speed of the ball and Gomis plus the angle if he’d shot first time meant it wasn’t a clear opportunity to score. If he had taken a touch I believe that Cahill would’ve closed down enough and John Terry would have reached the goal line, so still not an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Michael Oliver gives Chelsea's Courtois his marching orders

Michael Oliver gives Chelsea’s Courtois his marching orders

If I had been the referee I think I would have done the same as Michael Oliver, as soon as the foul happened he would have looked towards the goal and seen the space behind Chelsea’s ‘keeper and felt red was his only option. I think Michael Oliver had a good game and controlled the game well.

Another decision by a referee that has caused a bit of controversy was the decision by ┬áSimon Hooper to rule out an effort by┬áJerome, his acrobatic equaliser was ruled out for a high foot. Yes it was high but was it dangerous? Its hard to argue with the reasoning behind the referees decision but II felt that it wasn’t dangerous play and the goal should have stood. If Jerome had his studs showing towards his opponent then I would say that’s dangerous play.

Simon Hooper signals a high foot after disallowing Jerome's goal

Simon Hooper signals a high foot after disallowing Jerome’s goal

It easy for us watching at home to see all the replays and angles but all that matters is the refs view!

Chapter 28 – I’m back!

I must apologise for my lack of blogs recently. I’ve not had the time to sit down and write anything although when watching the highlights I’ve had ideas but not the time to get anything written!

As always there was plenty of controversy about but I will focus on 2 incidents that occurred over the last seven days, one from the Premier League and one from the Champions League.

First at Upton Park on Sunday, high flying West Ham met in form Swansea, where the visitors were reduced to 10 men after keeper Fabianski was dismissed after charging out of his area in an attempt to beat hammers forward Sakho to the ball.

The Senegalese striker seemed to knock the ball past Fabianski with his hand as the Polish stopper attempted to impede Sakho. Sakho stayed on his feet, a rare thing in the modern game, carried on to have an attempt at goal which hit the post.

Swans manager Gary Monk said that it wasn’t a read card as it wasn’t a clear goal scoring opportunity as the effort didn’t go in plus there was a handball before the foul. All good points but let me break it down and I’ll explain why the appeal was unsuccessful.

Referee Chris Foy blew his whistle at the point of contact between Fabianski and Sakho so he couldn’t of known that Sakho would miss. I think that with no keeper in the goal everyone expected a goal.

The decision by Mr Foy not give the handball was a great call. As Sakho was sprinting his arm was in a natural position when his hand made contact with the ball so couldn’t have been deliberate. But as a football fan I can understand why Swansea would feel hard done by. If it happened to my team I would be annoyed in the heat of the moment!

The other incident this week happened between Liverpool and Basel. As Lazar Markovic was being closed down he stuck out an arm and it looked like a finger caught the eye of Behrang Safari.

The pundits after the game said that it was a harsh sending off but not really when you look at it properly. The reaction of the player despite looking a little over the top I don’t feel it was that. If you get flicked in the eye it can be quite painful.

The Markovic looked to see where his opponent was before sticking out his arm and had they been closer it could’ve been an elbow that caught the Safari.

Striking an opponent or attempting to strike an opponent is a sending off offence. I believe, as did the referee that this was the case!

Take time to think about what you say about referees decisions as they don’t have all the replays that us viewers have! Put yourself in the referees boots and remember the refs view!

Chapter 27 – Spot on!

A lot of controversial decisions were made by the men in the middle in the recent round of Premier League games.

At Southampton Vs Swansea there were calls for Fraser Forster to be sent off but the referee, Andre Mariner, got this right as it was more of a coming together. The keepers momentum took him into Sunderland’s Fletcher

In the Manchester City Vs Tottenham game we saw a record equalling four penalties awarded!

The first was awarded to City for a push on Lampard by Lamela. The view referee Jonathan Moss had it looked like a nudge in the back. Lampard was very clever to win the penalty. Having seen all the replays I wouldn’t have given it bit if I had the view of Mr Moss then I would have.

IMG_3339.JPGMan City’s Lampard wins the first of 4 penalties in this game

The second City penalty was awarded for a foul on Silva by Kaboul. Not sure how anyone could argue with this decision although it didn’t stop Kaboul protesting his innocence. If you go to ground like the Spurs defender did then you have to take he ball. Very risky to go to ground like that especially in the area!

In amongst all the penalties awarded there was a shout for one which was rightly turned down. Sagna, only being a few yards away from the shot, couldn’t have done much to get out of the way and this was definitely a case of ball to hand.

The next spot kick was awarded to Spurs after Di Michelles had clipped Soldado. Replays show that the contact was outside but to be fair to the referee and the assistant on that side how quickly it happened it would’ve been difficult to know it was outside as it was so clots to the line and Soldado fell a few feet into the area. This was very unfortunate. If the officials had access to video replays it could’ve been correctly awarded as a free kick without any additional delay to the game.

The forth and last penalty of this game involved a red card. As the ball is played across the six yard box Fazio pulls Aguero. Jonathan Moss did very well here as he waited a few seconds before awarding the spot kick because the outcome could’ve been different. If the ball is cleared before it would got to Aguero then Fazio would only receive a yellow card. This has to be the best piece if refereeing I’ve seen this season.

IMG_3340.JPGFazio is told to go for an early shower!

Crystal Palace against Chelsea is a game, despite being a London derby, that you would’ve though would go by without much incident, but there was a few moments of controversy.

John Terry avoided a booking after fouling Frazier Campbell. He slid in to attend win the ball and stop Palace going on the counter attack but Campbell was a little big too quick. The ref was right not to book Terry as the challenge was more careless than reckless.

A few moments later Delaney goes in to tackle Remy, but the Chelsea striker nicked the ball away and the Palace player clattered his opponent. The decision to book Delaney was correct as I would say the challenge was reckless.

Azpilicueta received his marching orders after he slid in to a challenge with Palace’s Jedinak with his studs high. This was clearly a challenge with excessive force and the referee was correct in issuing a straight red.

IMG_3341.JPGPoor challenge from Azpilicueta

Delaney then received a second yellow card, this time for pulling back Remy. Although Remy’s fall seemed a little theatrical the pull was obvious to the ref and a yellow card was correctly shown. After the game the Crystal Palace manager said that the referee was influenced by the Chelsea. I would hope not and will assume that he game himself a few moments after awarding the free kick to decide if further action was needed.

The last game I will look at from last weekend is Stoke Vs Swansea. There was two penalties in this game, one for each side. Both sides felt that the others shouldn’t have been awarded.

The first is for a foul at a corner by Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross. He was spoken to by the referee before the corner was taken about keeping his arms to himself. The referee takes up a great position and as the corner comes in he clearly sees Shawcross throw Swansea’s Bony to the ground. Does this happen at every set piece that comes into the box? Yes. Are penalties always given? No. Should penalties be given all the time? Well that depends on the referees view and of or was as blatant as this incident. Most of the time both players are pulling each other so it can be difficult to judge who’s at fault! The next was for a foul on Moses by Rangel. The referee was conned here as the replays show that the contact was minimal and not enough to send Moses to the ground the way he did. But the referee doesn’t have those replays. Rangel did put an arm out and at normal speed with the way the Stoke man fell it would’ve looked like a penalty to the referee.

After all that has happened last weekend take a second to think about the views you have access to before saying how poor the referee us and remember the refs view!!

Chapter 23 – Hands up if you love football!

What a busy weekend the premier league referees had as the 2014/15 season kicked off!

At Old Trafford in the early kick Manchester United were pressing to get an equaliser as they trailed Swansea 2-1. In the last few minutes Januzaj tries to play a ball towards goal, the ball hits Rangel on the arm and the majority of the crowd and well as the home team, appeal for a penalty.

Referee Mike Dean promptly waves the appeals away. Rangel’s arm was out but he’s turned his back and wasn’t looking at where the ball was. His arm was in a natural position and Januzaj was only a short distance away.

If it was given against your team you would be screaming at the referee to go to specsavers! If it was to be for your team you would appeal for a spot kick, but Mike Dean has got this one correct.

West Bromwich Albion were awarded a penalty shortly before half time in their opening game against Sunderland. Roberge of Sunderland does make contact with West Brom striker Anichebe’s arm but for me, not enough to send him to the floor in the way he fell. It wasn’t an outright dive but he has overreacted to a touch which, you could say was simulation!

I’m not being harsh on referee Neil Swarbrick, as in the thick of the action you see two players tussling and one goes to ground it can be easy to believe a foul had been committed especially if he sees a slight tug. The refs don’t have the advantage of replays and players will continue to exploit that!

In the London derby at the Boleyn Ground sees the first major controversial decision of the season.

Kevin Nolan turns and shoots around the six yard area, Spurs defender Kyle Naughton anticipates the shot and moves to block it. The ball strikes his hand and after a few seconds ref Chris Foy awards the Hammers a penalty. A correct decision as Naughton’s hands were in an unnatural position above his head.

Now for the controversial bit! Mr Foy speaks with his assistant then shows a red card to the Spurs defender for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The officials had to be 100% sure that the ball was going in to make that call. From their positions I’m not convinced they could be. In my opinion the only way to be 100% sure is if you were to be right behind Nolan in line with the shot. I’m sure that Tottenham will appeal and the red card will be overturned.

IMG_3129.JPGNaughton is shocked to be dismissed

James Collins was booked twice in the second half for two similar fouls. Referee correct on both occasions and Collins only had himself to balm for his stupidity!

Over in West London, QPR see awarded a penalty, as Hull City’s James Chester was penalised for handball. Referee Craig Pawson must’ve thought (obviously) that it hit the defenders arm. Even so his arm was down by his side in a natural position and he made no movement towards the ball. Justice was done as the penalty was missed!

There was the rare appeal for a pass back on Sunday at Anfield. Did the officials miss it? Or did they feel there was no case to answer? For me it’s the latter. Mark Clattenburg is one of the premier leagues best referees and I think he felt that Henderson, under pressure from an opponent, miss hit the ball.

I’m sure the referees of the premier league will be hoping for a quieter time this coming weekend.