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WINTER'S WORLD WEEKEND REVIEW: MAJOR TALKING POINTS AT TOTTENHAM AND MANCHESTER UNITED
1st October 2013

Well, we might just have a competitive Premier League season this time around. Its early days but there are no signs that one or two teams are going to run away with the division.

Both Manchester clubs lose and both had cause for complaint for match incidents that did not go in their favour. West Brom's Olsen, who is quickly joining Robert Huth as one of the dirtiest off the ball players, committed misconduct off the ball in the penalty area and if any of the officials had seen it there would have been a lifeline for United from the penalty spot. Who says that United get all of the decisions at Old Trafford?

Villa put up a couple of tremendous comebacks against City at Villa Park but their first goal should have been ruled off for offside. It was very tight but the scorer was nearest to the assistant referee and therefore should have been easier to pick up, although from his position he might have thought that the defender was level. We are talking inches here but it was offside.

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Fiesty affair at White Hart lane featuring a tetchy afternoon with Torres and Vertongen. Torres was extremely fortunate not to see red when he thrust his hand into his opponent's face and appeared to gouge him. It was right in front of the assistant referee and the rule of thumb in my day was that hands above the neck was a red card.

If Torres was lucky there he certainly wasn't when the second yellow and subsequent red did eventually come along. His aerial challenge wasn't even a foul but the reaction of Vertongen helped get him sent off. What goes around comes around some might say but for me the decision was wrong.

Others might suggest that the Spurs defender should not even have still been on the field himself after he picked up only a yellow card for felling a Chelsea attacker. Personally I think referee Mike Dean was spot on with that decision as it was not a denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity in the interpretation of the laws.

The two big men battled at the KC and it was big Sam left feeling aggrieved as his poor away day travellers lost to Steve Bruce's men. A game of two penalty area incidents.

Hull won the game on the strength of a penalty kick awarded after Brady went down in the penalty area. At first it did look as if the Irishman had been barged to the ground by the Hammers defender and that is no doubt the first impression that referee Kevin Friend got as well. Upon closer inspection though it appeared to just be a coming together of the two players as they ran into the box but upon feeling minimal contact Brady made the most of it and threw himself to the ground.

Refs even these things up many say but that most certainly wasn't and isn't I might add the way things developed. A cross into the box was elbowed by the defender and that's part of the arm. The act did look deliberate and it should have been a spot kick.

The officials do have my sympathies though as the point of contact was on the far side of the pitch and through a crowded penalty area hence probably obliterating the assistant's view and happened goal side and therefore blind side of the referee. What appears obvious on TV is not the angle that is seen on the pitch.

The Stoke City of old were infamous for their off the ball incidents in the penalty area so not too many will be disappointed to see the new Stoke receive some of their own medicine. At least Leroy Fer was honest enough post match to hold his hands up for the pull on Kenwyn Jones that should have seen the home side get a penalty.

Stoke City were better to watch than of old, but nowhere near as effective. They passed for the sake of passing when they would have been much better getting the ball into the box earlier. A happy medium of old and new might have been more productive as Norwich took the points in afar from exhilarating game.

Much ado about nothing from the commentators at the late game when the ball went in for Liverpool's opening goal off Daniel Sturridge's arm. He went to head the ball but it hit his arm and went in. Definitely not intentional therefore no offence.

Have a good week.





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