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WINTER'S WORLD WEEKEND REVIEW: MAJOR TALKING POINTS AT LEEDS UNITED AND TOTTENHAM GAMES
19th August 2014

The start of the Premier League season and everybody raring to go including the referees. They want a good start to the season without any controversy. Unfortunately that was not the case.

I was at Elland Road and whilst I am sure some will say that I had a vested interest I am basing my opinion of the evidence rather than my loyalty and support to any participating club.

The referee was Stuart Attwell, who unfortunately still carries the reputation of high profile errors earlier in his career. I happen to think that he will be a good referee but any return to the Premier League will be difficult as it seems that second chances are rarely given.

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Andy D'Urso is a fine example. Following his demotion he has consistently been at the top of the marks in the Football League, being appointed to a string of top games showing consistency and has regained the respect of people in the game, but not the Premier League.

Attwell faces similar problems but his cause is not helped by finding problems that highlight the doubt that he can handle the big occasion.

Leeds United v Boro is always a feisty affair not helped by the volatile supporters at Elland Road. Attwell had weathered the early storm showing impartiality and not being swayed by the home supporters.

Albert Adomah appeared to have given Boro the lead with a spectacular overhead kick. There was no flag from the assistant who started to make his way back towards the halfway line then Attwell, after giving himself thinking time, belatedly awarded Leeds a free kick much to the relief of the home players and supporters.

I don't think that there would have been much dissent had the goal stood. That's where Attwell causes himself problems. Forgetting who you support and putting bias to one side, a decision however unpopular shouldn't come as a surprise to everyone but this one did. He didn't have to make a decision because no one was expecting one.

Adomah's feet were high and Warnock's head wasn't a million miles away, but did the presence of the Boro forward's flying feet in any way endanger the Leeds defender or prevent him from playing the ball? I don't think so.

Boro’s defeat was down to poor goalkeeping and their inability to turn possession into chances but at the time of the disallowed goal they were on top and a goal at that stage could have led to a totally different outcome.

In the Premier League, there were red cards and penalties. Crystal Palace's Puncheon couldn't have too many complaints as having already been cautioned he gave the referee no alternative after making another rash challenge.

In the Leicester v Everton game Gareth Barry could have faced a similar fate as already cautioned he committed a similar offence to the one that he picked up a yellow card for. It could have gone either way and personally I think Mike Jones was correct to err on the side of leniency. Not every foul is a card and to send someone off it has to warrant the ultimate sanction.

West Brom v Sunderland saw a penalty awarded to get the Baggies level, never a spot kick, the players came together and the Mackems defender did nothing to warrant having a penalty awarded against him. You could say that the 'goal' ruled out for Albion evened the decisions up but two wrongs don't make a right!

West Ham v Spurs, two red cards, one a side. The first one for Naughton was I suppose correct in interpretation of the laws. It was handball and a penalty, the ball was going goalward but you cant help but thinking those sanctions are harsh. The sides were evened up with a stupid sending off. If you've already been cautioned you don't blatantly body check an opponent.

QPR v Hull and another penalty that fortunately was missed. It was harsh as I don't think there was any intent to handle the ball although Chester's arm was blocking the progress of the ball. Hull also thought they should have had a penalty when Jelavic went to ground but I thought the ref called that one right.

Sunday's games passed without incident, due in the main to the fact that they were officiated by two of the country's best and most experienced referees, Mark Clattenburg and Martin Atkinson.

Thereby lays the problem with the retirement of Howard Webb - we are left alarmingly short of top quality experienced officials and with no one added to the list this season its another season where no younger refs will get a chance to progress and prosper.

Monday night and while Chelsea eased to the expected win at Burnley the only talking point was the caution of Costa for simulation. I could see why Michael Oliver didn't penalise the Burnley goalkeeper as from his angle the Chelsea forwards reaction did look somewhat theatrical.

His assistant referee could have and should have helped him though. There was contact and the assistant was ideally placed to see it and advise the referee accordingly.

Have a good week.





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