Week 20 in the Premier League puts us past the halfway point for the season, and while the top of the table may as well be wrapped up now in a nice little Christmas bow, we’ll take a trip down the table this week to talk about how bad the standard of refereeing was, specifically in the 3-3 draw between Bournemouth and West Ham United.
David Moyes seems to have transformed West Ham in a way that he couldn’t at his previous four places of employment, and they should really have run out as winners at Bournemouth, had it not been for Robert Madley’s shocking performance as referee.
A late Callum Wilson equalizer in the 93rd minute saw Bournemouth snatch a point, but not before the goal was initially called offside and then eventually given after Madley consulted with Simon Long, his assistant. Despite the call being a tight one, Wilson was offside, so no consultation should be needed between Madley and Long. Instead of calling it how it was and moving on, too many cooks spoiled the broth and the goal was eventually given for reasons I cannot understand.
It’s another incident where the players of both sides surrounded the referee and his assistant, putting enormous amounts of
pressure on them to make a decision that favors the most vocal, and in this case the decision was wrong.
The final decision was that Wilson did not interfere with play, and so could not be offside when the ball went in to the net, but the replays clearly show the ball bouncing in off his arm.
So not only was Wilson offside, he also committed another offense when handling the ball.
Earlier in the game, Bournemouth’s Simon Francis committed a very high challenge on Cheikhou Kouyate that warranted a yellow card from Madley. Another bad decision that should have seen Francis get his marching orders.
The challenge itself wasn’t malicious in any way, and you could tell that Francis didn’t intend to hurt Kouyate, but intent has nothing to do with it. A serious injury could have come from the challenge, and that warrants a red card. It was another occasion where Madley bottled it and wanted to keep 11 men on both sides of the field.
Unfortunately for Madley, the game was a loss after this challenge, with both sides more aggressive than they needed to be from that point on.
The draw leaves West Ham and Bournemouth in 17th and 18th place in the Premier League respectively, but improvements are clear with this West Ham side, and if they can continue to improve, we may see a 2018 Moysey miracle.
After previously holding Manchester United to a 2-2 draw last week, Leicester were beaten away at Watford, continuing Marco Silva’s and Watford’s rise up the Premier League, dramatically improving on last year’s 17th place finish.
It was a Kasper Schmeichel own goal that sunk the Leicester ship in the end, but credit has to go to the grit and determination
of the Watford team, as well as some incredible saves from the Watford goalkeeper, Heurelho Gomes.
The game ended 2-1, but Leicester went ahead with a first half goal from Riyad Mahrez, but it was a debut goal for Molla Wague that cancelled the opener out before Abdoulaye Docoure had his shot pushed in by Schmeichel in the second half.
Leicester had no answer, and left with no points, which led Claude Puel to question the consistency of his team.
Starting December off well, they won their first three games of the month before slumping to two losses and a draw in the last three. They play Liverpool, Huddersfield and Chelsea in their next three Premier League fixtures, all of which will be tough games for a side that were once champions of England, but now are seemingly a mid-table side scraping together points.
The 2-1 win was actually Watford’s first win of the month, losing four of their previous five before it, and with Swansea, Manchester City and Southampton coming up in their next three fixtures, they’ll be desperate for good performances going in to the new year, especially when they go to the Etihad on January 2nd.
That’ll be it for this week, but there’s plenty to look forward to in Week 21, when Liverpool face Leicester, and Newcastle welcome Brighton to the Toon.
See you next week and Happy New Year!