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WINTER'S WORLD WEEKEND REVIEW: MAJOR TALKING POINTS AT LIVERPOOL AND TOTTENHAM GAMES
14th April 2014

The first FA Cup semi-final passed off without incident with England's future top referee Michael Oliver having another steady reliable game. The only major decision he got right.

I was up at Ibrox for the Scottish semi and again Ref Bobby Madden had a cracking game, not over officious, letting the game flow and letting fair tackles add to the occasion.

In the six goal thriller at the Hawthorns Spurs were 2-0 down inside four minutes but then got a lifeline when Ref Neil Swarbrick pointed to the penalty spot when Lennon threw himself to the ground. Justice was done though when Adebayor weakly fluffed the penalty.

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Palace v Villa, Ref Howard Webb was correct not to bow to pressure and award the home team a penalty in the first half but then appeared bizarrely to award Palace a penalty kick for hand ball when any possible contact was on his blind side. Fortunately Assistant Scott Ledger was ideally placed to advise the Ref that the ball had hit the defender's chest.

Newcastle continue with their abysmal run of form but it might have been a different outcome had they have been awarded a penalty when Cisse was fouled in the penalty area when the game was goalless.

Sunday and the second FA Cup semi-final passed totally without any controversy, a cracking game without incident other than eight goals and end to end attacking football.

The perceived title decider didn't disappoint either, open and adventurous, goals galore and plenty of goal mouth incidents.

Slow motion replays suggested the usual holding in the penalty area and a handball by Skrtel, one that incidentally no one seem to appeal for in real time.

Overall I thought Mark Clattenburg officiated this vital game well in an even handed manner. That being said Suarez was very fortunate not to see red. The pressure of the occasion saw him revert to some of his more unsavoury habits. Rightly cautioned early on, his pathetic dive to try and win a free kick was worthy of a second yellow card.

MOTD's Happy Hansen claimed he was fouled. I don't think so; he was looking for contact and threw himself to the ground.

Suarez could have also had a penalty when the out of sorts Kompany pushed him over in the penalty area. Perhaps his propensity to go down far too easily cost him here. The Ref was quite correct also in dismissing Jordan Henderson for an over the top tackle.

This game had everything and hopefully the good things have outweighed the aspects that were controversial.

It was good to hear Pellegrini not take a Wenger/Ferguson stance with a moaning finger pointing post-match interview so credit to the man. Is the title race over? We will see, maybe there will be more twists and turns.

Chelsea tried to keep the pressure on and Chico Flores was correctly sent off for two clear cautionable offences. Ref Phil Dowd took his time before brandishing red, maybe buying himself some thinking time, however John Terry was certainly in his ear requesting the dismissal.

The pressure of defending with ten men eventually took its toll and Ba eventually gave Chelsea the lead which they managed to hang onto.

Have a good week.





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