Another new feature to celebrate our re-launch at The Offside Rule Podcast as Rich Laverty looks at the weekly officiating. Referees are always good talking points and why wouldn’t you hammer a referee or a linesman if you got the chance? Everybody else does! Each week we’ll review five of the biggest, most controversial or damn right ridiculous decisions made by officials throughout the weekend, right here on our website. This week: Ryan Bertrand, Raheem Sterling and a decision in the Championship on Friday night that couldn’t go unnoticed.
Ryan Bertrand sees red
Southampton fans may have been frustrated and angry by the decision to send Ryan Bertrand off in the final few minutes against Swansea, but they can have no real complaints about the decision made by referee Michael Oliver. Whilst there was clearly no malice in the tackle, Bertrand appeared to show the frustration that had built up as the Saints threw away a chance to go back to 3rd.
Ronald Koeman’s side had dominated the game for large parts, while Swansea had their backs to the wall throughout. Bertrand’s foot rolled over the top of the ball and it turned into a dangerous challenge from the left-back. It just compounded what had been a bad weekend for Southampton, with their rivals flourishing – but nobody can have any complaints. Oliver got that one spot on.
Mesut Ozil was offside…just
Whilst it ended up mattering little, Mesut Ozil’s disallowed goal during Arsenal’s 5-0 victory over the woeful Aston Villa, was just about the correct decision from whistler Anthony Taylor. Albeit, Arsenal were only 1-0 up at the time and being Arsenal, throwing the game away against Villa was a distinct possibility so hearts would have sank when the flag went up after Ozil had beaten Brad Guzan.
Whilst it was close, Ozil was fractionally offside in my opinion but made up for it with a lovely finish shortly after. The Gunners went on to win 5-0 with Ozil the main man. Undoubtedly, Robin van Persie’s goal against Leicester should also have been disallowed – once again proving the fine margins between wrong and right.
The Hand of Ahmed
I don’t think anybody quite knew why Ahmed Elmohamady’s goal was disallowed on Saturday lunchtime until closer inspection on replay. Newcastle’s protests couldn’t be seen live as the BT Sport camera was on the Egyptian, who wheeled away in delight after putting Hull level.
Whilst Phil Dowd didn’t act, his assistant did and together they came to undoubtedly the correct decision. On closer inspection, it couldn’t be clearer that the winger punched the ball into the back of Tim Krul’s net in an attempt that would have left Diego Maradona impressed.
However, one question did pop into my head. If a defender intentionally stops a goal with his hand, it’s a straight red card. Should it be the same for attackers who use their hand to score a goal?
The last thing we need is another young, English talent grabbing a reputation for being a ‘diver’. But on Saturday the only thing that Joey O’Brien was grabbing, was a chunk of Raheem Sterling’s shirt. Sterling picked the ball up with back to goal and O’Brien already began to man-handle the attacker.
As Sterling weaved his way past the defender, O’Brien still had a hold of him, before Sterling finally fell to the ground inside the area. I can understand why referee Andre Marriner didn’t give it, Sterling seemed to go down in frustration at being held and it did appear theatrical, but O’Brien had hold of him for what seemed like an eternity! The theory of ‘if you don’t go down, you don’t get a pen’ is a silly one – Sterling was fouled and should have had the decision in his favour before he’d even hit the deck.
With a rare lack of bad decisions in the Premier League, it would be unfair to miss out one of the worst decisions of the weekend in the Championship. People were barely starting their time off, when Bournemouth faced Watford on Friday night in what (on paper at least) looked like an exciting clash.
But the game was over as a contest less than 30 seconds in, when Hornets defender Gabriele Angella brought down Callum Wilson, as the striker ran through on goal. Angella was late, reckless and it was definitely a yellow but the referee deemed it as a goalscoring opportunity.
The sticking point was Craig Cathcart. Angella’s partner at the back was covering him and would arguably have been able to challenge Wilson’s run in on the Watford net. It was a rash and wrong decision to send Angella off and one that killed the game instantaneously.