Josh Bland

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 game).

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 Albion perspective.

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 Bridge.

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 penalties."

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 do.

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.

You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshBland13


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