Manchester United fans can deny it all they want, but the FA are frightened to give calls against the Red Devils, and are penalising other clubs for ‘lesser’ challenges.
Just look at the Granit Xhaka incident, there’s a witch-hunt out for the Switzerland international due to a reputation that proceeds him; Juan Mata, on the other hand, football’s ‘Mr Nice Guy’, can get away with murder, because he’s ‘not that kind of guy’, as was demonstrated by his x-rated lunge on Jamie Vardy.
Perhaps people will come straight to the United man’s defence; ‘the referee has a split second to make a decision, you can’t calculate who the person making the challenge is, and then rationally decide the guilty party’s fate’ – but that’s just it; you can.
You look at the reaction of the player, you immediately see the player making the foul, and a decision is made. You have around 15 seconds to weigh it all up, and in this case Juan Mata is the challenger, and his reputation – supported by the fact he’s only ever had one red card – has allowed him to get away with a horror tackle on Jamie Vardy.
Had the shoe been on the other foot, and Vardy been the culprit, there’s a good chance the Englishman would have seen red, with his fiery reputation swaying the referee towards a decision that he was a) out of control, and b) went in with a degree of intent.
If that was the other way around surely Vardy would have been sent off. #LEIMNU
— Josh Carter (@Josh_Carter12) February 5, 2017
So, is this a problem that referees – Anthony Taylor this time around – look at incidents too personally? Or perhaps they’re swayed by the club, its reputation, and the fear of being in a spotlight? With Manchester United it would seem the case.
Mike Dean is, well, Mike Dean, therefore the 50:50 between Sofiane Feghouli and Phil Jones back on 2nd January was the type of decision you’d expect from such a referee – everyone knows the Englishman is happy being in the headlines; so much so that he almost turned Garth Cooks into a decent pundit.
The next case in point, is Michael Oliver, who twice this season has bottled sending off Marcos Rojo for challenges which ticked all the boxes for a red card: i) out of control, ii) two-footed and iii) leaving the ground. Reckless.
This United-Oliver relationship goes back last season to the Manchester Derby, where the official should have shown Chris Smalling a second yellow card, and awarded Manchester City a penalty. Gutless, and fear of the club made him choke.
Smalling bailed out by the latest in a long, long, long, long, long line of poor decisions by ref Michael Oliver.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 20, 2016
There has to be more consistency from the top officials. There needs to be more scrutiny on the ‘big clubs’, it’s not right to let Alex Ferguson’s tactics of gaining influence through intimidation to continue preventing correct calls being made.
The FA needs to step in, by either following up more often on poor decisions such as the Rojo one, or demote certain referees when they miss clear as day sending offs.
United get the rub of the green both on and off the field; check out the Red Devils WAGS…