Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat against Manchester City on 1st January stirred up heated debate concerning how the game was refereed. The referee for the game was Stuart Attwell. Analysts indicate that there was apparent favoritism of the biggest club, Manchester City after the referee called back a decision he had already made about a penalty that was to be given against Arsenal.
Manchester City’s Controversial Penalty Against Arsenal
The ref first dismissed the foul as not penalty-worthy, only to renege the decision after being instructed otherwise on comms. The game had already continued and the ref being instructed to go against his decision was seen as a dilution of the administration of the game. Some even said that the incident shows that they are two referees, the one on the pitch and another seated somewhere in the shadows inspecting his work.
What the Ref Should Have Done
Officiating a big game is much more than just following the rules. The ref should be experienced enough to read the pace and intensity of the game and to know what he should let slide or penalize. The work of the ref is to apply the rules to the particular game and all the factors affecting it. Unfortunately, the ref for Arsenal v Man City failed miserably at doing that.
Officiating Error Leads to Penalty Renege
The penalty was later awarded after the decision’s drawback and Manchester City converted it into a goal. The unfortunate effect, however, is that this particular penalty completely changed the mood of the game, leading to a 2-1 loss for Arsenal.
Fair Play in the EPL
The English Premier League can definitely do better when it comes to officiating games and coalescing the referee with the technology inculcated in the game such as Video Assistant Referee (VAR). It’s a league we love and it is so unfortunate that fair play in the league is being trampled by the status of ‘big teams’.