by Walter Broeckx, the blind ref’s reviewer
Howard Webb was the ref at Old Trafford. If I had to make a choice before the game between Dean and Webb it would be like choosing between the plague and cholera. Webb also has his own facebook group under the name: Howard Webb, United best player (or something in that style). So the question is: was he their 12th man? Let us try to have a look at his performance.
OTHER: Anderson went down and Webb gave a foul. Anderson wasn’t even really attacked and certainly Song was far away but Webb fell for it. On the other hand I noticed that when Chamakh used his body to challenge for the ball he was oh so quick to call a foul against Chamakh. He did this on a few occasions but this is Old Trafford and this is Webb. But for all the tumbles he gave in to I will take away a point. 0/1
PENALTY: Chamakh misses his header and the ball hits his hand. At the replay it shows that he had his hands close to his body and that he tried to head the ball but just missed it. You cannot say that it was intentional and it was not that he was having his arms far from his body. A good decision from Webb not to give anything. 1/1
OTHER/CARD: Fletcher doesn’t get at foul as they are used to and runs angry after Webb from my angle it looked as if he gave him a push on the arm. Webb does…. nothing. If a player comes running after you like that you should stop the game immediately and show him a yellow card. If a player comes running after you like that and he touches you: you just give him a red card. There is no other way around it: YOU KEEP YOUR HANDS OF THE REF AND CERTAINLY IN AN AGGRESSIVE WAY! So he should have given a free kick against United and a yellow card or even a red card. I really couldn’t tell if he really touched him or not from my angle. And in a replay they stopped just before he reached Webb so I couldn’t tell. So I really cannot tell you it should have been a yellow or a red card. But this was a poor non-reaction from Webb. 0/1 and 0/1
GOAL: A lucky goal but this is not against the rules. 1/1
CARD: Chamakh for a foul on Nani. No complaints there and a correct decision. 1/1
CARD: Arshavin gets a card and again no complaints about that. 1/1
Half time and the half time talk between the refs at my home is about the Fletcher pursuit of Webb.
OTHER/CARD: Ferdinand comes in flying towards Sagna with his foot aimed at the midriff of Sagna. Sagna gets a kick in his stomach while jumping for the ball. This was a karate kick and it doesn’t matter if Ferdinand won the ball or not, you cannot jump to a player with a leg outstretched like that. Sagna his shirt was torn from Ferdinand his shoe. Another poor decision from the ref once more. This is the XXth time I have seen Webb doing nothing against those tackles with a foot aimed at an opponent. Last year in Utd-Liverpool when Neville kicked Maxi against his head, the world cup final when he let De Jong on the field after such a dangerous tackle and now today. 0/1 and 0/1.
PENALTY/CARD: The linesman on the far side, who has been doing his best to signal every foul in favour of United all evening signals a handball. And Webb is happy to blow of course. The incident itself: Clichy slips and he supports himself with his arm. He makes no movement with his arm and Nani kicks the ball against his arm from about half a meter. As he was supporting himself on his arm he could not retract his arm and certainly not when the ball is played from such a short distance. Once again he doesn’t move towards the ball with his arm, the ball is played against his arm. But this is Old Trafford as we all know, this is Webb and his very enthusiastic assistant. What would have been the odds if it would have happened the other way round? I think we all know what would have happened: nothing. Nasri who maybe doesn’t know right now how it works at Old Trafford goes to the linesman and gets a yellow card. And for once I can agree with the ref and this is a useless booking and Webb is protecting his partner in crime, sorry assistant, as he should do. 0/1 and 1/1
CARD: Song gets booked and no complaints about that booking. 1/1
So in total Mr. Webb gets:
Total score: 5/11 (45%)
The way Webb handled or I should say mishandled some situations is so poor for a ref who should be considered one of the world’s best. I can tell you that the way he did nothing against Fletcher is so poor and is something no ref would allow in any other country. In Spain you will be sent off, in Italy you will be sent off: you just don’t touch the ref. But Webb would have received a slap in the face if needed from any United player as we know by now for a long time and it just showed again today.
And the worst part is that next weekend thousands of football players all over England/world will attack refs in that way and will be showing aggression towards the refs. Those players will say: hey if Fletcher can get away with this so can we. This is something that opens the door to more aggression against refs. It is something that Webb doesn’t think about I think but I know it happens and today Mr. Webb doing nothing at all will have as a result that maybe a few refs will stop after being touched the next weekend. Shame on you Mr. Webb for being a disgrace by doing nothing and letting all those other refs down. As a top ref you have the duty to lead by example against aggression and against the lack of respect shown to you by Fletcher.
If you are not brave enough to stand up to United players: for your own sake: stop as a ref. For the sake of all those other refs who will get pushed in the next weeks: stop as a ref. You did act when Nasri complained in a far more modest way against the assistant with showing him a card. So you know the rule and the instructions. It is just that you don’t apply them in the same way for everyone.
The FA can launch as many campaigns about respect for the ref that they want but if the “best” ref in England does nothing when he is shown no respect at all the FA better stops with throwing money away with such campaigns.
And once again for the zillionth time: a player that comes in with his foot outstretched towards an opponent and who comes in flying like a madmen: THIS IS ALWAYS A FOUL AND AT LEAST A YELLOW CARD!!!!! It doesn’t matter if Ferdinand won the ball: it was dangerous play towards an opponent and should be punished. And by the nature of the kick: a karate kick should be punished with a red card. I can even remember Eboue being sent off at Old Trafford in a FA cup game which we lost a few seasons ago for such a foul. And all agreed that this was Eboue tackle deserved a red card but now when it is the other way round you don’t even give a foul? Just look at the picture from the Eboue karate kick and the Ferdinand karate kick and tell me why you even didn’t give a foul? Let alone a red card. The Ferdinand picture will be added later on. (Damned computer over here)
Eboue gets a red card for a karate kick at Old Trafford a while ago.
And now look at the karate kick from Ferdinand. Also look at the perfect position Webb is in. He has no one between him and the players. And he still doesn’t see it???? I really cannot imagine that Webb is blind or has a bad view so the only options can be: not competent or biased.
But this is Old Trafford and it was Webb so we knew we had to be at our very best to have a chance and we weren’t at our best. That is just a fact. But this is no excuse for Webb for not doing what he is being paid for.
A poor performance from United (apart from the “splendid defensive performance” for the lovers of Italian football), a poor performance from Arsenal and to stay in line: a very poor performance from the ref.
Last time we had Webb we won at Everton but his display was also just a poor 46% in points. So he just stays in line with his poor performances.
And I am not saying we would have won the game but two players should have been sent off by the ref and the first when it was still 0-0. So we could have had another game if Webb would have been a brave ref. Which he sometimes can be, but not when United is involved.
Best performance so far this season was from Clattenburg with 93% and Webb is leading the table upside down with an average score of 43%.
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