Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has been accused by West Ham defender James Tomkins of deliberately elbowing him during the 1-1 draw between the two teams on Sunday.
Tomkins suggested that Van Persie may have thrown an elbow at him with the intent to hurt him. Tomkins told the Daily Mirror, "It is tough to say that he does it deliberately but, with the Van Persie one, I think he had a look at me first and then he has gone for me".
The West Ham player, who broke his nose in a clash with United’s Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, added, "I think that (Van Persie’s challenge) was more malicious than the other one [Fellaini challenge], even though I came out worse the second time. The nose is a bit swollen. Fellaini was the second time in the match when I broke it. He has always got that about him when he goes up with his hands a lot."
Previous history may have influenced the referee’s decision
Tomkins further expressed his surprise that referee Mark Clattenburg took no action against United’s Dutch striker. "I think it was definitely a yellow at least, but I don't like to say that someone should have got sent off. I am sure that there are challenges that I might make in the future that could be yellow or something else”, he said.
Incidentally, Tomkins drew some criticism earlier in the season after going to ground theatrically following a shove from Everton’s Kevin Mirallas. He suggested that previous history may have worked against him during the course of the United game.
"Obviously when I went down before it didn't cover me in glory to be honest, so I tried to get up more quickly, but he did catch me -- he caught me sweet around the jaw", said Tomkins
"I was expecting a little bit of physical contact from strikers, but when someone looks around and then comes for me, it is a bit more malicious."