5 instances in the PL last season where referees robbed the teams of some valuable points
The 2018-19 season of the Premier League witnessed some horrendous blunders from the referees, as sub-standard officiating continued to tarnish the image of English football.
Several incorrect calls made by the referees and the linesmen last season has strengthened claims that VAR is the need of the hour.
Surprisingly, these refereeing blunders not only took place in the games involving bottom-table teams but the officiating in the fixtures involving title-contending sides also raised a lot of eyebrows.
The VAR is going to be used in the Premier League from the upcoming season. While that might bring some solace to the fans, it has been seen in the recent past that technology can never be deemed as a complete foolproof.
It is true that the introduction of the VAR in the Premier League would go a long way towards eliminating the blatant errors but in all honesty, the standard of officiating needs to improve significantly in order to bring justice to the reputation of the Premier League being the most competitive league in Europe.
As a matter of fact, some of the incorrect calls made by the referees could have had far-reaching implications as far as the two-way title race between Manchester City and Liverpool was concerned.
With all due respect to whatever Liverpool achieved in the Premier League this past season, it is worth mentioning over here that the Reds got a fair share of some of the 50-50 decisions in their favour, while a few others should never have gone in their favour.
Well, that is all history now and the fans can look forward to VAR playing a big role in the Premier League next season.
It remains to be seen as to what kind of impact the introduction of technology has in the top-flight next term but it is certainly worth looking back at some of the top blunders made by the referees in the 2018-19 campaign.
1. Ashley Young’s Handball vs Newcastle United
Man United were under pressure to turn their lacklustre season on its head, with manager Jose Mourinho very much under scrutiny following the Red Devils’ unimpressive start to the campaign.
However, it wasn’t the best possible start to the game for the home side, as goals from Robert Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto put Newcastle 2-0 ahead just 10 minutes into the fixture.
Man United though, managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat in the second half as goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial brought them back on level terms before Alexis Sanchez’s strike in the final seconds of regulation time completed a remarkable 3-2 comeback victory for the Red Devils.
Well, that result could have been so much different had it not been for a massive blunder from referee Anthony Taylor. Ashley Young’s attempted clearance off Jonjo Shelvey’s inch-perfect cross struck him on the arm and went out of play.
Much to the astonishment of the fans, the referee not only denied Newcastle an obvious penalty but he also opted not to point to the corner flag. Forget about a red or a yellow card for the offence.
2. Willy Boly’s hand of god against Man City
Wolves finished the season in the Europa League qualification spot with an envious record against the big-six sides in the Premier League. However, they got extremely lucky in the 1-1 draw against Man City at Molineux in the earlier stages of the campaign.
Willy Boly threw his body on the line to make some sort of a connection from a cross and scored with what appeared to be a wonderful diving header, thus giving Wolves the lead in the 57th minute.
However, replays showed clearly that the ball actually came off his arm and beat Ederson in goal.
Aymeric Laporte equalised late on to rescue a point for City, however, one cannot help but feel that the Citizens were robbed of two crucial points, thanks to some incorrect officiating.
Wolves definitely deserved to get at least a point to show for their lion-hearted effort but scoring with the hand is never acceptable in football.
3. Dejan Lovren’s challenge on Sergio Aguero
Excitements levels were crossing all limits when Liverpool played host to defending champions Man City on 7th October given that both the teams were unbeaten at that point of the season.
The game, which did turn out to be a fiercely contested one, ultimately poured cold water on the expectations and ended as a 0-0 stalemate but there was no shortage of drama over the course of the ninety minutes.
The memories of Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the dying stages of the game is likely to be fresh in the memories of the fans but as a matter of fact, City should have had two penalties in that game.
Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot for Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Leroy Sane in the second half but Lovren’s challenge on Aguero in the first half was deemed unworthy of a penalty for some unknown reason.
Aguero did go down softly but he was well within his rights to go down given that Lovren didn’t get a part of the ball and definitely got some part of the striker in his attempted tackle.
4. Man City vs Burnley
There was not one but as many as three blunders in Man City’s 5-0 victory over Burnley on 20th October and referee Jonathan Moss was the culprit. Vincent Kompany’s challenge on Aaron Lennon only earned him a booking but in all honesty, that should have been a straight red card.
Cynical or not, a high boot challenge with the studs pointing upwards is nothing short of a sending off and the referee got that one horribly wrong, much to the disappointment of Sean Dyche on the sidelines.
That, however, was not the only incorrect call that went in City’s favour in that particular game. Bernardo Silva’s goal to make it 2-0 should not have stood as David Silva was very much in an offside position when he supplied the assist with a picture-perfect cross.
Neither the linesman on the far side nor Jonathan Moss seemed to spot that and that was the beginning of an absolute rampage from City.
Leroy Sane’s challenge on Matthew Lowton towards the end of the game, though not as dangerous as the one Kompany made on Lennon, was also worthy of a red card only for Moss to spare the German with a booking.
The winger was clearly late on the challenge and replays showed that he never really made an attempt to go for the ball.
5. Sadio Mane’s disallowed goal vs Arsenal
Liverpool and Arsenal played out an enthralling 1-1 draw at the Emirates on 3rd December but the outcome of the game could have been so much different had referee Andre Marriner not ruled out Sadio Mane’s goal for an offside.
Trent Alexander Arnold’s cross into the box found Roberto Firmino, whose shot came back off the post before Mane found the net with a simple tap-in.
That, however, was deemed as an offside against the Senegalese international, although replays showed clearly that he was in a clean position when he put the ball into the net.
It is true that he did initially take a step towards the ball before Firmino had his shot but that doesn’t really count as offside.
The rulebook clearly states that an offside call can only be made when a player himself plays the ball, attempts to play the ball or obstructs the opposition while standing in an offside position. Mane’s slight movement had nothing to do with any of those clauses.
James Milner’s goal was cancelled out by Lacazette’s strike but Liverpool would probably have claimed three points had Mane’s goal stood.