By Walter Broeckx, the ref
A visit to Sunderland and the home referee for Sunderland was Mr. Phil Dowd
OTHER: From the start Sunderland can’t commit any fouls it seems. The moment we come near a player who falls down ref Dowd blows his whistle. 0/1
GOAL: A lucky goal but they all count. 1/1
PENALTY: Nasri crosses and Ferdinand is standing in the penalty area with his arms wide from his body. The ball hits his arm. If you keep your hands like that and stop the ball it is a penalty. The defender was not out of balance he just stood there with his arms spread, so a deliberate move from him. Bad decisions from the ref, but at this time in the game a decision you could expect from the ref if you take in mind how he was doing his job. 0/1
CARD: Card against Wilshere who holds his man and brings him down. 1/1
PENALTY/OTHER: Bent runs in to a defender who is standing still. No penalty, an indirect free kick could be given. The ref gives nothing. 1/1 and 0/1
CARD/OTHER: Song gets booked for…..nothing. The Sunderland player just falls to the ground as they know by now the ref will give a foul. Song jumps up in frustration and gets booked. This is a silly booking mr. Dowd. A very bad point for the ref is the fact that he called Song over to give him a yellow card and Song just didn’t go to the ref. And then the ref had to go over to Song to show him the card. WEAK, VERY WEAK, Mr. Dowd. But keep this in mind when we come on later in the game. 0/1 and 0/1
OTHER: During the first half Sunderland committed no fouls according to the ref. Well almost no fouls. And on the other hand he could see when we made a foul. So he knew the rules but it looked as if they could do what they wanted. I remember fouls on Arshavin, Wilshere, Nasri, Song, Wilshere again that went unpunished. 0/1
CARD: Welbeck gets a card for a late tackle on Sagna. Correct decision, has the ref finally realises he can punish both sides? Has something been said to him by his assistants or by the 4th official? Anyway, 1/1
OTHER/OTHER/CARD: Chamakh is being held by his defender. The defender has both his arms around him. The ref does not give a foul when Chamakh loses the ball. A typical moment for the refs game for most of the time. Song commits a foul in the Sunderland half and is given a second yellow card. It was a foul but to give a card for this? Was this his revenge for the fact that Song was not coming over to collect his first yellow card????? 0/1 and 1/1 and 0/1
OTHER/CARD: Wilshere is being brought down at the edge of the penalty area. The defender comes in hard and hits him on his legs. The ref gives the foul but keeps his card in his pocket. 1/1 and 0/1
CARD: Card against Riveros from Sunderland, I almost fell of my chair that he did this. 1/1
OTHER: Gyan goes down under a challenge from Koscielny – but it was no foul. Correct decision from the ref. 1/1
PENALTY: Clear foul on Nasri in the penalty area and the ref gives the penalty. Rosicky shoots over. 1/1
CARD: Malbranque trips Denilson who was running towards the defence. Correct decision. 1/1
OTHER: 4 minutes extra time. That is okay for me. Sunderland kick a corner on the last second of those 4 minutes. The ball is well cleared and at that time the ref could have blown the end of the game. No one would have complained. He doesn’t and let Sunderland launch another attack from which they score. 0/1
GOAL: the goal itself however hurtful it was a correct goal.1/1
OTHER: If you have a goal in extra time you must add 30 seconds. He didn’t. He immediately blew the end of the game. Suddenly he thought the time was up? 0/1.
TOTAL: 11/22 (50%)
Some real bad decisions that did have an influence on the game. The first yellow against Song was laughable. And the amazing fact was that he was standing a few meters away from it. Replays showed that Song did not made contact with the Sunderland player. In fact to be fair the Sunderland player even didn’t ask for a free kick.
I do think that Dowd was waiting to be able to give Song his second yellow card. I think it was the fact that Song did not come over when he was asked for by Dowd that made the ref determined to take him out of the game and to use the first chance he got to do this. The ball was played through his legs and Song made a foul but to give a second yellow for such a foul on that place on the pitch. That was very soft if you take into consideration that there has been many fouls on dangerous places (eg. Foul on Wilshere) that were not punished with a yellow card. So not very consistent from the ref.
A fact that I found very disturbing in the first half was that we almost didn’t get any fouls in our favour. They could push us and from the moment we touched them we got the foul against us. This was the tactic a ref can use to influence a game. You don’t give dubious penalties. No you just let one team do what they want on the field to win the ball. I am not saying Sunderland played dirty or dangerous. But they could push and shove like they wanted and we couldn’t. To be honest and give a bit of credit to the ref in the second half this changed and he gave fouls more both ways. And was it a coincidence that after he did punish the Sunderland fouls, we took control of the game? So I wonder, was it deliberate or incompetence? When I see that he could punish the fouls in the second half he showed he was competent.
About the extra time after the extra time this was in line with the rest of his game. I got the feeling that he would let the game carry on longer than needed if possible. He did. I think he felt a happy man after the game. Well he looked happy with himself after the equaliser. But there is nothing we can do about this. It is up to the ref to blow the end of the game and as long as he doesn’t do this the game goes on and we had to be focussed. We can only blame him for not blowing the end of the game when he could have done it and for not giving another 30 seconds after the restart. I’m not saying we would have scored but it was another example of an afternoon full with bad refereeing and some bad decisions.
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