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WINTER'S WORLD WEEKEND REVIEW: MAJOR TALKING POINTS AT CHELSEA AND LIVERPOOL GAMES
26th March 2014

Well the dust has settled so then let's get this straight; the bloke who was sent off and shouldn't have been now in terms of bans hasn't, meanwhile the bloke who possibly should have been sent off and in FA terms then now isn't and he also plays on!!!

At least that fiasco took a little pressure off Arsene Wenger whose side has now shipped SEVENTEEN goals in three away matches against their three main title rivals.

Arsenal look brilliant at times at home and against lesser opposition when it comes to the real matches they just haven't got the bottle. French, Wenger isn't he??

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Anyway all of that doesn't take away from the balls-up that happened at Stamford Bridge. Firstly though lets look at the offence that led to the confusion.

Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain clearly thought that the shot was goalbound otherwise why on earth would he handle the ball in the first place? In his mind we presume that he thought despite his side already being well behind that the chance of getting away with a handball was worth the risk of him being sent off. Make no mistake he was committing the offence to prevent a definite goal scoring opportunity.

With the benefit of hindsight we all now know that the shot wasn't on target so therefore it couldn't have been a denial. There has been talk of consistency with regard to handball where the popular belief is that it is a cautionable offence. That is not so.

Just like a every foul is not a caution either. With Gibbs correctly being free of any suspension likewise Chamberlain there is the question that whilst AOC shouldn't have been sent off he most certainly should have been cautioned and I am presuming he has got away with that as well.

Finally to the men in the middle, as usual the Ref carries the can but his team are culpable as well. It is easy to mock referee Andre Marriner, who by the way is an excellent official, but will now carry this monkey on his back for the rest of his career. Commentators and pundits will mock the next time he gives a throw-in the wrong way.

He does have my sympathy because after the handball he was immediately surrounded by the baying pack and had lost his concentration. That should be no excuse for his assistant referee who had a clear view of the incident and should not have lost the man. The cry for the use of technology increases in incidents like this and yet again the referees are in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Another talking point was in the Cardiff v Liverpool game; with the game poised at 2-2, two of the Welsh team's players were ordered to leave the field of play after receiving treatment for injuries. Ref Neil Swarbrick was correct in law and would have incurred the wrath of the assessor had he not have adhered to the law.

Two players from the same side don't have to leave the field if they have collided with each other or the goalkeeper is involved but that didn't happen here. Surely though some commonsense could be involved.

It's not to be forgotten though why the instruction was brought in several seasons ago in the first place. It was because players were consistently feigning injury to time waste. They have brought it upon themselves but unfortunately the punishment of losing a goal and indeed in some cases the match seems very harsh. We could go back to the old days, but can we trust the players not to revert to type? I think not!!

Man City needed a couple of penalties to kick start their expected hammering of hapless Fulham, the first penalty award was the result of good team work from the officials on this occasion. The assistant advising the Ref of the offence, that's what they are supposed to do, assist!!

The second also saw a red card for the Fulham defender and that was also correct. The new Fulham manager must be under pressure already as post match he stated the first one was not a penalty. Oh, so its alright to kick some one up the arse is it? The bias of these guys shows no degree of honesty or sportsmanship, it just leaves them looking and sounding stupid.

Sam Alladyce, whilst admitting that Wayne Rooney's opening goal was a wonder goal, was clutching at straws claiming a foul in the build up!! It's surprising how little contact in a contact game it takes for a man to fall to ground. There were other debatable decisions in the game but to be quite honest I lost my late night concentration of the highlights wondering what on earth Russell Brand was doing on MOTD. Bizarre.

In the Everton v Swansea game Barclay was fouled but his theatrical fall may on another day have cost him the decision.

After a far from convincing performance the previous weekend Referee Chris Foy was still in action at the Hull City v West Brom game and had a couple more penalty decisions. The award of the penalty was given by the assistant with Foy who was ideally placed not reacting and later on in the game a similar offence was not penalised.

Chris Foy has been a referee at the highest level for a long time, not one of the top officials but usually reliable but I fear that he is now suffering from the benefits of the system. He is obviously physically fit otherwise he wouldn't pass the stringent fitness tests but I have always thought that as Refs get older their reactions slow down.

We now see Refs being allowed to continue into their 50s. I personally think that it is too long. In previous generations top Refs like Courtenay, Worrall, Hackett and co were not the same when their careers were extended beyond the then normal retirement age. Many will say that you shouldn't lose the most experienced officials, a good point, but the longer these guys stay on the list the less opportunities there are for the next generation to get experience.

The weekend ended with El Classico, wonderful entertainment, in the main refereed brilliantly by the experienced Spanish official. You have to unfortunately accept that these games will involve play acting, cheating, mass confrontations and mass dissent, that apart though brilliant football. The major decisions were correct, apart from the Ronaldo penalty that was outside the area by less than a foot, the sending off and other penalty awards were in my opinion correct.

Have a good week.





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