Forgotten Stamford Bridge Already?
I like Jose Mourinho, so lets get that out the way first. Judging by the hoo-ha regarding his criticism of the supposed poor performance of referee Chris Foy, the media like him too. He knows that and also that they’ll over-cook anything he says.
None of the main ‘talking point’ decisions were blatantly wrong or out of the ordinary; certainly when you compare them to key incidents from the previous game between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Villa had a penalty appeal turned down for John Terry’s handball, which was more blatant than Nemanja Matic’s handball before his disallowed goal. Then of course, there was Ivanovic’s elbow on Benteke, which other refs would have given a red for.
Speaking of that earlier game this season between the two sides, remember what the Chelsea boss said about Lambert?
“Paul reminds me of when I was younger, he complains about every decision, exactly how I was ten years ago,” said Mourinho, in his post-match interview with the BBC.
“He needs time to have more maturity and to complain with some decisions, not with every decision. And it was every decision he was complaining about.
“Paul wants to be at the same time – coach, manager and ref,” he added.
Oh, the irony.
Even before the game at Villa Park had begun, Mourinho was there, arm around the 4th official, talking into his ear at length. It’s no surprise, come the end of the match, that you saw the 4th official pointing for Mourinho to get a move on and leave, after being shown red.
Obviously, his sentiments to the Chelsea boss were fast mirroring what the Holte End has been singing to Mourinho throughout the game.
After the first encounter, Mourinho admitted Villa deserved a draw and were unlucky with decisions. Unfortunately, the media aren’t interested when a team like Villa is crying over apparent referee injustice.
The funny thing is, bar the odd 50-50 offside decision, did Chris Foy really get that much wrong? Was his performance any worse than any other referee’s?
Lets look at the key decisions:
The Disallowed Nemanja Matic Goal
Most media, while acknowledging it was the right call, seemed to then dispute how Foy had eventually called it correctly. He initially blew for a goal, he couldn’t have seen the incident clearly, etc, etc. HE GOT THE DECISION RIGHT. Move on.
The Joe Bennett Yellow Card
Some Chelsea fans claim it to be a red. If Foy had sent Bennett off in that situation, there would have been a much bigger uproar. Ramires was running (and the ball was rolling) diagonally away from the goal. Ron Vlaar was also in attendance and had already shown the speed to run down a couple of Chelsea players through on goal, earlier in the game, despite having ground to make up.
This all happened a good 30-yards away from goal, so factor that into the equation.
In terms of harshness of the tackle, it was very similar to Willian’s challenge that he received his first yellow card for.
The yellow card given by Foy was pretty much spot on.
Watching the game live, your first thought was he’s off. The initial reaction was he clipped Delph, but on closer inspection, it was more a hold/touch that unbalanced Delph.
If Willian hadn’t already been on a yellow, when he received this yellow card, there would have been no drama to the decision. Players get yellow cards for less.
There’s no real surprise Foy went for his cards, as Delph was at speed and it looked worse than it was. Still, it was a foul. Vidic got sent off the following day for not even touching Sturridge, so compare and contrast with that, Chelsea fans.
No complaints there.
The Mourinho Sending Off
Before the game kicked-off, as we’ve mentioned, Mourinho was all over the 4th official and obviously couldn’t help himself when it all kicked off after Ramires tried to stomp El Ahmadi’s leg off.
Now, remember, this is the guy that was patronising Paul Lambert for not being mature and for complaining too much. We don’t know what Mourinho said. Maybe the ref was a bit harsh in singling him out, but Mourinho does himself no favours in these situations with his bravado.
From a purely selfish Villa POV, it was the icing on the cake, after his self-righteous posturing earlier in the season.
Personally, I feel Chris Foy has been unfairly made an scapegoat for Chelsea’s defeat. His performance was nothing out of the ordinary in what was a feisty and competitive game.
While the powers that be, don’t see it fit for video replays on key decisions in football matches at this level, then referees are always going to be pressurised and hounded by the Top Four biased media, when one of their favourites gets beaten.
Regardless, what was great to see though, was finally a proper football match at Villa Park. Plenty of incident, passion and effort, and as the cliche goes ‘a good advert for the game’.
You can advertise what you want to Villa fans as consumers, but these are the only adverts they’re really interested in as supporters.
Please comment below your thoughts on Mourinho (no swearing please!) and on the major incidents from the game.