Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ref Atkinson gifts Chelsea points: United robbed in West London again...

United suffered their second league defeat of the season at Stamford Bridge last night having surrendered a first-half lead. Rooney opened the scoring following spells of sustained pressure by United who looked superior to Chelsea in every department. Chelsea hit back in the second-half through David Luiz and Frank Lampard.

However, for the second game in a row, the post-match talking points centered on the performance of the referee - in this case Martin Atkinson.

Atkinson should have sent off David Luiz for a series of poor second-half challenges on Hernandez and Wayne Rooney - quite how the Brazilian remained on the pitch beggared belief and the fact that he did so said a lot about the referee who then went on to give Chelsea a very soft penalty.

Frankly, the penalty was a joke. Chris Smalling was a adjudged to have brought down Zhirkov in the 80th minute - it was an awful decision - to put it mildly, it was one that smacked of a referee who favoured the home team...

In his post-match interview Ferguson went straight to the heart of the problem when highlighting that Chelsea had once again come out on top following yet another poor refereeing performance.

Vidic received his marching orders for his second bookable offence and to be fair, the United captain could have no complaints - such a pity that Atkinson didn't do what he should have done 20 minutes earlier when he failed to send off Luiz. If Atkinson had done his job properly United would no doubt have won comfortably, but given the nature of last night's penalty award to Chelsea anything is possible.

On balance, United have been on the right end of some dodgy refereeing this season; most recently the Wayne Rooney elbowing incident last weekend against Wigan involving James McCarthy; there is a football proverb that says "you win some and you lose some"...

Talking points aside, United played really well in the first-half against Chelsea, so much so, that despite going on to lose the fans should be confident about the challenges ahead; but there will be many more twists and turns in the final weeks of the season.

Based on the evidence of last night at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will in all probability lose their next two league games - away at Blackpool and home to Man City. Against United, Chelsea somehow collectively upped their game, but it is doubtful they will maintain that level of performance, nonetheless, they only managed to beat the League leaders thanks to Martin Atkinson.

It is to be hoped the United players will be galvanised following the injustice meted out by Atkinson, but Chelsea still have to come to Old Trafford - revenge cannot come soon enough.

Arsenal are still the main the threat to United in the title race, but their season could well implode following the events at Wembley on Sunday in the Carling Cup Final which they lost in comical circumstances.

The Gunners have also lost their talisman Robin Van Persie for up to three weeks through injury and next Wednesday they face Barcelona in the Camp Nou, for the second leg of their Champions League Group of 16 tie; it is likely to be a blood-bath and in probability a real hammering. Come Thursday morning the Arsenal players could be mentally shot to pieces.

To end on a positive note: this blog has often been accused of being too negative (we call it honest) about United who face Liverpool on Sunday, without Vidic following his red card against Chelsea: even if United lose at Anfield and despite too many iffy away performances, we now firmly believe the Premier League trophy will be coming back to Old Trafford in May.

3 comments:

  1. The refereeing decisions (especially the penalty) could be argued either way but overall I believe Chelsea were (just) the better side on the night. However, I do agree that we (Chelsea) could well lose our next two games as we're nowhere near the side we were. The closeness of last nights game also demonstrates that United are not the side they were either. If Arsenal don't win the Premiership this year, I doubt they'll ever win it.

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  2. Norman,

    We can disagree on who was the better side on the night, but at least you are not blinkered like some Chelsea fans... because I'm sure you will agree that Chelsea raised their game for United - it was akin to your cup final - but will you do it against Blackpool and City? I doubt it. United and Chelsea are nowhere near what they were.

    I'll be very surprised if Arsenal recover from the mauling they will surely receive next week in the Camp Nou.

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  3. i think the FA are being unfair here. it was so obvious that the referee sold our victory to chelsea. for instance why not take a look at the foul committed by John Terry in Box 18, and the foul commited aginst rooney by david luis, he penalty was not even suppose to be awarded. But i believe that referee should be penalize cos it was just too obvious that he sold that match to chelsea. We were really rob of that victory

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