GUTTED BUT PROUD - CHELSEA THOUGHTS
Coming away from
Stamford Bridge yesterday, most
Albion fans (like myself) were feeling a great mix of emotions. Pride, in our
teams stellar performance that saw us come 20 seconds away from beating a Jose
Mourinho Chelsea side on their own turf - which would have been a first in
Premier League history.
Sadly, Albion were robbed out of all three points by a
ridiculous penalty decision in the last 20 seconds, which saw a pathetic Ramires
tumble punished by referee Andre Marriner (who had been poor throughout the
Obviously not a penalty. Ramires has clearly made the
decision to fall (watch the way he drags his right foot) and dives into Reid,
and only then is any contact made (even then the contact is minimal).
Albion robbed. Chelsea jubilant.
Mourinho's record survives.
I think three major debates come up from the game (and more
specifically the penalty incident) from an
1) We need more technology to help referees:
I have listened to the arguments of so called "footballing
purists", advocating the continuation of no technology to assist referees making
big decisions. It seems idiotic. Whilst I sympathise with the arguments that it
may take the human side out of the game, by ignoring the technology that we have
we are allowing potential injustice, such as what happened yesterday at the
Albion had put in a tremendous,
workmanlike performance and arguably should have been out of sight (had Chris
Brunt picked the right pass in the 91st minute after running through on goal).
Even if poor decision making from our players can cost us, poor decision making
from the match officials categorically should not.
We have the technology at our disposal, and whilst the
introduction of goal line technology is definitely a start- surely we need to
bring in technology to help make referees make key decisions. All of the other
sports in which it has been introduced on a wider scale has seen the benefits.
If referees are going to be making mistakes as blatant as Andre Marriner's
yesterday (and I believe it was a blatant refereeing mistake rather than an
outrageous dive - (though Ramires' fall was pathetic) then we need to give teams
some kind of protection against it.
2) Do decisions even themselves out over the season?
If they do, then
Albion so far seem to be the exception to that rule! As Steve
Clarke very fairly pointed out:
"The boy went into the box, he went down looking for it and
the referee obliged him. The atmosphere at the bigger stadiums when you go away
from home can influence decisions, but I think the decision today was
particularly galling. It is ridiculous to have to take it because it wasn't a
penalty. That's five points my team have lost because of late decisions on
The five points lost because of late penalty decisions that
Clarke refers to are the late Luke Shaw tumble against Southampton (who was
going down before Mulumbu made contact with him), an outrageous decision against
Stoke (when Charlie Adam blatantly stood on the back of Mulumbu's ankle, even
causing his boot to come off) and of course the non-penalty yesterday.
With five more points we would be talking about a fantastic
start to the season from West Bromwich Albion, and we would be right up there
amongst the big boys. As it happens we occupy a more mediocre 9th spot. It does
seem unfair that seemingly every time that a big decision has needed to be made
in a game, it has gone against us - and whilst it is wrong to blame all of our
results on refereeing decisions- it is fair to say there is some evening out to
3) Opposition Manager comments way out of line:
I am a big Jose Mourinho fan. I like him as a manager, and I
like his charismatic (verging on arrogant style). However, he went way down in
my estimations yesterday. His comments after the game were not only idiotic, but
they also lacked class and were completely delusional. Mourinho is an
intelligent man, and he must know that the Ramires tumble was no penalty. So to
come out and defend the referee to the extent that he did angered me, and other
West Bromwich Albion fans alike.
When talking to the BBC, this is what Mourinho said:
"I have watched it two or three times and it was a clear
penalty. The referee made many mistakes during the game but that was not a
mistake. It is always a difficult situation to accept for the team
that is winning, but when they go home they will see on their screens that it
was a situation where the referee did not make a mistake."
Mourinho is a man of great charisma, but even he cannot
convincingly defend the indefensible. It was such a blatant mistake that
Mourinho should not have even attempted to defend it. Even more galling was then
Mourinho's ridiculous claims that it was he that should feel aggrieved because
of a foul on Branislav Ivanovic in the build up the second Albion goal (maybe
this is my bias speaking, but I thought Ivanovic was weak and Yacob merely
wanted the ball more than him - a view echoed by all of the pundits I have heard
speak on the matter).
Whilst Steve Clarke's reaction to the game was one of anger,
one cannot deny the class with which he handled himself - rather than Mourinho
who acted like a petulant child. To couple that,
Chelsea's players handled
themselves in a completely classless manner- Eden Hazard celebrating the goal
like a cup final winner, whilst the idiotic Branislav Ivanovic took it upon
himself to provoke Victor Anichebe and Jonas Olsson after the goal. Reflective
of the lack of class on behalf of Mourinho? I think so.
It is a shame that this game will come to be defined by a
poor last gasp decision rather than a stellar defensive display from the Baggies
but Albion fans have a
right to have a massive amount of pride in their team after yesterday's game.
One only hopes that the bad decisions we have suffered so far, will even
themselves out over the season.
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