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Debatable Decisions – Week 29 & 30

We’re back with a bumper two week bang and distinguished collection of decisions to digest. Our time away hasn’t hampered Luis Suarez’s desire to make enemies and a decision in favour of Man Utd got tongues wagging and the usual … Continue reading →

29 Mar 2012, 10:20 IST

We’re back with a bumper two week bang and distinguished collection of decisions to digest. Our time away hasn’t hampered Luis Suarez’s desire to make enemies and a decision in favour of Man Utd got tongues wagging and the usual clichés waving. Oh, and for the first time in a few weeks we have a full complement of judges. Huzzah. Enjoy.

Wigan – West Brom

Mulumbu Yellow Card

Simon M – I have absolutely no idea how Mulumbu gets away with this. If that isn’t violent conduct then I have no idea what is. Incredible.

Ben – Not sure how he gets away with a yellow. I don’t understand Mulumbu’s reaction here, he was fouled but why react like that? He first aggressively pushes McCarthy(I think) and then grabs another player by the throat. Definitely should have seen red.

Ant – I think he should have been sent off he pushed the Wigan player and then placed his hand on the throat of another player. Although he didn’t make much contact when putting his hand on the players throat it is something you simply cannot do and for that he should have gone.

Mike – It’s a poor reaction from Mulumbu, and it risks inflaming others and creating a difficult situation. Still, taken as an isolated act, it’s petty and stupid more than anything else. I feel a yellow card is sufficient, but as he does make contact with an opposing player’s throat, it should be red to the letter of the law.

Simon F – Whilst “raising your hands” is not an automatic red as some commentators seem to believe, I think that Mulumbu was guilty of violent conduct when he grabbed Boyce by the throat. For that, like Djibril Cissé earlier this season, he should have seen red.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

Wolves – Man Utd

Jarvis Penalty Shout

Simon M – It’s a 50-50 ball and Rafael has every right to go for it, Jarvis jumps into him and to see a penalty given for this would have been incredibly harsh.

Ben – I think there is a foul here, Jarvis gets the ball and is barged into. Rafael only gets a touch on the ball because Jarvis heads it into him and I think at the least he clips Jarvis’ feet and knocks him over.

Ant – Looked like it was nothing more than a coming together and nowhere near a penalty.

Mike – I think you could make a case that Jarvis trips Rafael here. But, by the same token, you could make a case the other way. I’d err on the side of caution.

Simon F – I think this one was nothing more than a 50-50 ball for which two players competed and momentum saw them collide after the ball was won. In other words, no foul.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Zubar Red Card

Simon M – Bizarre conduct from a player whose team are desperate for a win and up against the biggest team in the country. If I were his manager i’d be dishing out a hefty fine.

Ben – I don’t think the referee had a choice here, two similar tackles and Zubar just clearly didn’t learn from the first. There’s no intent to injure in either but they are both late and with no contact made on the ball, each one was a worthy yellow.

Mike – It’s often the case that a player committing a foul deserving of a red will receive a second yellow if he’s already been booked, rather than the red card. I feel that’s what happens here. Should have been a straight red.

Simon F – I’m not entirely sure what Zubar was doing, but both challenges were easily deserving of a yellow card and the inevitable red that followed.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Newcastle – Norwich

Newcastle Penalty Shout

Simon M – We’ve had so many of these this season and my answer is usually the same, far too close for the defender to shift position, arm not in an unnatural position and a penalty awarded would have been very harsh.

Ben – Was his hand in an unnatural position? Consider what’s he doing before answering the question. It’s hard to tell for certain but I think your hand is bound to be up when you throw yourself in front of a ball like that. Added to the fact that it was at such a close range, I think a penalty would have been harsh.

Ant – I know it was close range but I feel he should not have had his arm where he had it, it is debatable if it was on the line or in the box and would have been hard for the referee to decide which. I do however believe it was handball.

Mike – I wouldn’t like to see a penalty given for this. The player is trying to make a block and it’s only natural his arm goes out a bit. He can hardly get it out of the way in the time he has.

Simon F – This is the sort of decision for which I sympathise with referees. The defender has his arm up and away from his body, but the distance from which the ball is hit gives him no time to react. I side with the referee on this one and agree that it wasn’t a penalty.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Man City – Chelsea

Toure Penalty Shout

Simon M – I don’t see enough in this to consider it a penalty, there’s minimal contact and the slow mo seems to show Toure trying to stay up, but he takes two or three steps and then starts to struggle to stay up.

Ben – There is a slight push but the slow motion makes it look much worse. There isn’t enough to give a penalty here.

Ant – Nothing in this for me, slight contact but nowhere near enough to warrant a penalty.

Mike – I really don’t like to see this kind of thing. It’s something that’s had a blind eye turned to it for a long time, and when it gets given, people complain because it’s so often ignored. It’s as much a foul as anything.

Simon F – Lampard clearly pulls Toure’s shirt, and though the foul begins outside the penalty area, it continues inside. Toure is admirable in trying to stay on his feet, but in doing so probably removed any chance of the referee giving the penalty that he should have.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Man City Penalty

Simon M – Can’t argue with this, Essien’s arms are all over the place and it’s completely different to the Newcastle penalty shout we discussed earlier.

Ben – Essien was just asking for trouble here, you put your hands in the air like that, then it’s going to be a penalty if the ball hits them.

Ant – Arms in the air and the ball hits both, not even debatable a certain penalty.

Mike – This is one of those where the distance of the player striking the ball is to the player defending is so short that you know he can’t get his arms out of the way. The problem is what Essien chooses to do with his arms. Unlike the Norwich one, there’s nothing “natural” about sticking your arms out like that. It has to be a penalty or we should just make every player a goalkeeper.

Simon F – Despite the short distance between the ball being struck and Essien, it is the unnatural position of Essien’s hands which do for him in this instance. He has no need to throw his arms out from his body as he does, and a penalty was the right decision.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Everton – Arsenal

Drenthe Disallowed Goal

Simon M – He’s onside. That is all.

Ben – A horrible decision, Drenthe is comfortably onside. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for a linesman to get these kind of calls right.

Ant – Linesman should have got this one, there is no way he is offside.

Mike – Drenthe is so, so far onside it’s almost funny. Almost. The assistant has dropped a clanger.

Simon F – I feel for assistant referees when we’re asked to judge marginal offside decisions, as it really is very tough to get them right at full speed. This, however, is not a marginal call. Drenthe is a clear yard onside and this was a very poor decision.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

Bolton – Blackburn

Hoillett Penalty Shout

Simon M – Awful decision from the referee, Hoillet is sandwiched by two Bolton players and clearly impeded by Steinsson, a definite penalty and a ridiculous decision.

Ben – Clear penalty and considering the position that the referee is in, I’m baffled that he hasn’t given it. It looked a penalty from the TV angle, the replays proved it should have been as well. Awful refereeing.

Ant – Clearly blocks off the run and I am not sure why the referee would not award a penalty.

Mike – There’s no question this should be a penalty. Hoilett is running through and Steinsson takes him out.

Simon F – Steinsson clearly flicks his leg out and trips Hoillet after the ball is gone. A stonewall penalty in my book.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

Stoke – City

Stoke Penalty Shout

Simon M – I would have given a penalty and a red for this. A nasty tackle, really late and studs showing. I wonder if Patrick Vieira watched the replay…..

Ben – Looks innocuous at first but the replays show that it was a foul, and it could have been pretty harmful for Glenn Whelan too.

Ant – An awful tackle that could have done some serious damage, in my opinion he should have been sent off and a penalty awarded.

Mike – It’s not a very nice challenge at all. Possibly worthy of a yellow, maybe even more.

Simon F – On the wide view I didn’t think much of this, but on the replay it becomes clear. Barry is late and reckless, and there’s even an argument that he should have been sent off. It certainly should have been a penalty.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

Whitehead Elbow

Simon M – It’s accidental and there’s no way a player can jump/challenge for a ball like that without stretching his arms out. He definitely catches Silva, but Mancini is over egging the elbow pudding there.

Ben – Tough one but I’m going to give Whitehead the benefit of the doubt and I do have my doubts. I’m not sure if using his arm like that was natural, it didn’t look too nice but like the Ireland decision last week, I’d find it hard to be certain. For a ref to be uncertain, that means that he can’t act up on it, so I’ll say correct.

Ant – I don’t think there is any intent from Whitehead to injury David Silva. In my eyes it was accidental so it was correct to not book Whitehead at all.

Mike – The difference between what Whitehead does and what Mancini’s gesture implies is huge. If anything, the gesture is far more unsavoury. If Whitehead is guilty of anything, it’s carelessness. I don’t see any intent to do harm.

Simon F – It is difficult to judge this one from the one camera shot we have, to me it looked like Whitehead caught Silva with an outstretched arm, rather than ‘elbowed’ the Spaniard as suggested. Probably a foul but not violent conduct.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Liverpool – Wigan

Moses Penalty

Simon M – Wasn’t nasty, just clumsy. I quite like Skrtel, but he gets this one all wrong and Moses is lucky to escape without a broken nose or a few missing teeth.

Ben – He’s stood upright and get’s kicked in the jaw. I think it’s fair to say this was the correct decision.

Ant – Not too much to say about this as it is the clearest penalty I have seen awarded all season, Skrtel was also lucky to stay on the pitch.

Mike – Despite the booing from the crowd, Skrtel clearly whacks Moses in the chest. I wasn’t aware this was okay. It’s a foul. Penalty.

Simon F – A stonewaller. Moses heads the ball and then Skrtel kicks him in the face, the very definition of reckless play.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Suarez Disallowed Goal

Simon M – The reaction of Suarez, despite basically slapping the ball into the back of the net, is despicable. A good spot by the officials.

Ben – Despite what the delusion Kenny Daglish may think, this was a great spot by the officials. Referee or linesman, I’m not sure but they should receive a lot of credit for this. I didn’t spot it and from talking to others, they didn’t see it at first either – that was summed up by plenty of requests asking exactly what happened.

As for Suarez, he really doesn’t give a shit what people think of him does he?

Ant – People have to admit this was a great spot by the officials in real time I didn’t know why the goal was ruled out.

Mike – I wonder if this might have gone in if Suarez hadn’t touched. Maybe. In any case, he clearly knocks it into the net. The right call is made.

Simon F – A very good spot by the officials. Suarez quite clearly nudges the ball over the line with his arm.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Arsenal – Aston Villa

Gardner Yellow

Simon M – Just because you don’t catch somebody and/or cause them injury doesn’t mean it isn’t a red card tackle. Gardner was very lucky to stay on the pitch.

Ben – I think this should probably have been a red. There was no harm done but his studs were showing and it had the potential to cause damage due to it being so high.

Ant – We really need to start seeing some consistency from the referees with these sorts of challenge, Huth was sent off for Stoke for something much less than this, a bad challenge that should have been punished with a red card.

Mike – This is one of those challenges causing so much debate at the moment. I’m afraid I put it in the red card category.

Simon F – Gardner goes in with both feet momentarily off the ground and certainly not in control of his bodyweight. For me this definitely crosses the line into excessive force.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

Sunderland – QPR

Cisse Red

Simon M – You would maybe understand a tackle like this because Cisse had been kicked about or fouled in the build up, I don’t see anything like that, which makes his decision to go i like that all the more bizarre.

Ben – I’m a big fan of Cisse but this is undefendable, I think even he knew what he’d done before he saw the red card, I think his little tantrum was frustration for being so stupid – and stupid he was. He seems to alternate between hero and villain and unfortunately for QPR, his villainy is causing more upset than he is perhaps worth.

Ant – Ex-players often seem to score or get sent off in games against their old club. This was an awful tackle on a player that has just come back from serious injury, to then try and protest the card is shameful.

Mike – It must be so frustrating for Mark Hughes and the QPR fans. Cisse is a player who should offer them real hope of staying up, but he keeps doing stupid things. This challenge would have been a red ten years ago, and is today.

Simon F – No question about this one. Off the ground, two-footed, a clear-cut case of excessive force.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Norwich – Wolves

Whitbread Penalty Shout

Simon M – His shirt is clearly pulled and his jump thwarted, the ref is in a good position and should have awarded this one.

Ben – The giveaway that this is a foul is his stunted jump. I can understand the referee missing it, it was a very sly bit of ‘defending’ but rules are rules and that should have been a penalty.

Ant – I saw one of these given in favour of my team a few weeks a go and more referees should punish shirt pulling with a penalty. This sort of thing has been going on for years and if officials started to really punish it then it would soon stop.

Mike – It’s another example of something that gets regularly overlooked, but his shirt is being pulled. I wouldn’t have complained about a penalty here.

Simon F – Shirt-pulling is something I get very annoyed about, and Whitbread should have had a penalty for this.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

Norwich Penalty

Simon M – He moves his arm in the direction of the ball and it’s i an unnatural position. A definite penalty.

Ben – We usually complain that handball decisions are the hardest to make, not this one

Ant – I don’t normally like judging handballs as I find them hard to decide on but this was clear, he had time to get out of the way and decided to stick his arm out to stop the shot.
Mike – Easiest decision a ref has ever had to make.
Simon F – Though the defender’s arm isn’t far away from his body, the ball has travelled from a distance and he has more than enough time to move it out of the way.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Holt Red

Simon M – This was such a bad tackle I might have actually considered giving a straight red.

Ben – Going through the back of somebody like that is going to earn you a yellow, whether you got the ball or not.

Ant – There is always one player that does something stupid when on a yellow and this week it was Holt, why would any player make a challenge like that when they have already been booked? Clearly a second yellow and therefore clearly a sending off.

Mike – Both of Holt’s challenges were yellow card offences.

Simon F – The second one is certainly justified.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Chelsea – Spurs

Lampard Penalty Shout

Simon M – I don’t think there’s much a of a foul in this and I don’t want to see penalties given for players kicking other players and falling over as a result.

Ben – I have a feeling that this might be a controversial opinion but I think this is a penalty. Lampard did actually quick Gallas but only because of the way Gallas thrusts his leg across Lampard’s path – he couldn’t exactly get out of the way. Much like when a striker goes down before a keeper actually takes him out, he would still be taken out and a penalty would still be given. Same here.

Ant – I don’t think Gallas fouls Lampard at all and Lampard simply kicks Gallas then falls down, no penalty.

Mike – Jonathan Pearce describes it as “Lampard going over Gallas rather than Gallas impeding him”. Well, okay. But he goes over Gallas because his leg is in the way. Does Gallas play the ball? No. Penalty.

Simon F – Lampard kicked Gallas’ heel and I agree with the referee that there was nothing which warranted a penalty.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Ramires Penalty Shout

Simon M – The replay isn’t conclusive, but from what I can see it looks like Assou-Ekotto has a handful of Ramires’ shirt and drags him to the ground.

Ben – On the (very flimsy) basis that I can’t make out a tug based on the replays, I have to side with the referee. I suspect that there actually is a tug and a foul but it can’t be seen from the angles of the shots I’ve seen. If that’s the case, then it’s great ‘defending’.

Ant – Hard to tell for sure and if you are not one hundred percent certain then a penalty cannot be given.

Mike – At the risk of sounding like a Chelsea fan this week, I think this is a penalty. The initial contact is more a tussle between the two. But Assou-Ekotto ends up hauling Ramires down

Simon F – It’s not much and Ramires makes the most of it, but Assou-Ekotto clearly gives him a push on the shoulder, and at that speed that’s all it takes to put him off balance. In my eyes, this should have been a penalty.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

West Brom – Newcastle

Fortune Offside Call

Simon M – Good spot by the officials, it’s marginal, but he is off.

Ben – Good decision from the linesman, it’s only by a tiny margin, but Fortune is offside.

Ant – Very close call but it was the right one.

Mike – If we ever bothered with the “daylight” rule that was bandied about a few years back, Fortune would probably be considered onside. But we don’t. So he’s offside.

Simon F – It’s marginal but it is the correct call.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Man Utd – Fulham

Evra Penalty Shout

Simon M – Another one of those penalty shouts where the ball is blasted from close range and the player has no chance to move his arm, nevermind the fact his arm is by his side in the first place.

Ben – This was a very tough one to call and it’s no surprise that the ref didn’t give a penalty. I would side with Fulham and say that Kelly’s arm wasn’t in a particularly unnatural position, neither did Kelly have time to get out of the way.

Ant – To close to give a penalty and his arm is not out to purposely try and stop the ball, no penalty.

Mike – Never a penalty. This is the classic case I alluded to earlier, but in this case, the arm is down.

Simon F – The ball has been hit from close range and Kelly is trying to get his arm out of the way, therefore it can’t be classed as deliberate for me.

Overall Verdict – Correct Decision

Murphy Penalty Shout

Simon M – Even United fans agreed that this was a penalty, no touch on the ball from Carrick and a hefty chunk of Murphy’s left foot. United dodged a bullet here and the referee made a stinker of a decision.

Ben – Once again I find myself talking about a referee’s position, and once again, there is nothing wrong with it. So why this wasn’t called as a penalty is baffling. It’s either that, or it’s a dive and I can only assume that the referee wasn’t entirely sure one way or the other so didn’t make the call. I rate Michael Oliver but perhaps he just didn’t have the courage to stick to his convictions? Had this been the second minute, would we have seen something different? It’s an interesting, if answerless question.

Ant – I think this was a penalty there is no contact with the ball and Murphy is fouled.

Mike – There’ll be a lot of nonsense that goes along with this about Man Utd getting decisions and such, ignoring the myriad things that have gone against them. Nevertheless, that is as clear a penalty as you’ll see. It’s an escape for United and Carrick, that’s for sure.

Simon F – When even Ferguson admits that United were lucky to get away with this one, you know it should have been a penalty. Carrick clips Murphy’s heel and sends him down and the referee should have seen it from his position.

Overall Verdict – Incorrect Decision

You can follow all five judges on Twitter; Simon M – @Deb_Decisions, Ben – @0Neji, Ant – @Acidburn81, Mike – @Mike7077 and Simon F – @SFurnivall.

Picture courtesy of thiago lis on Flickr.

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