Pep Guardiola and Mike Dean disagree
You don’t exactly have to be an expert in body language to come to the conclusion that Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola is not in a particularly good place at the moment. Or is he?
What is most interesting, however, about this recent “ ‘Kevin-esque’ – you’re so unfair” display can be found in its timing and motivation rather than its content.
First and foremost what strikes one is that his post match series of interviews that consisted largely of “Yes”, “No”, “Don’t Know”, “You tell me”, and “I didn’t see it”, occurred following Manchester City’s home game against Burnley and came after a victory, not a defeat or a draw.
This is important and, I am sure, totally deliberate. Pep knows better than anyone that had this contrived show of annoyance happened after a defeat it would have immediately been seized upon as a display of sour grapes with Pep being branded a sore loser.
Instead what we got was something much more interesting, Pep the sore winner, a man keen to show his ire was about something much more important and fundamental than merely the result of a game.
Maybe someone in the media should ask him why. I have my own theories.
What he has learnt in his first months in charge is that controlling games is not a surefire way of guaranteeing success and in fact there are many other factors that makes that control difficult and determine the eventual outcome – atmosphere, pace of the game, the physical side of things, and also – yes- officials.
Any manager coming here, Pep included, has to accept from the start that the law of the game followed anywhere else is simply not followed here, which means that no matter how much quality you might have, effectively it’s all a bit of a lottery.
.Sergio Aguero's foul on David Luiz shouldn't really have happened
Sergio Aguero’s foul on David Luiz shouldn’t really have happened
Referees are human beings and they will make mistakes. But what is alarming is the flagrant inconsistency that abound in the Premier League in both minor and absolutely crucial decision making. And the fact that faults that exist in the rules are ignored here – a push to the goalkeeper, a dangerous high tackle…
Just why Jamie Vardy received a red card for a two-footed challenge and Marcus Rojo received no censure at all for a similar challenge on Palace’s Wifried Zaha would be just – but only just – about understandable had the decisions been made by different officials. The fact is both decisions were made by Craig Pawson and if referees can’t be consistent with themselves it’s difficult to imagine how they will ever manage to be consistent with each other.
Kun Aguero certainly deserved to be sent off for his late lunge on David Luiz in the City v Chelsea game but just what Luiz was still doing on the pitch following his last-man challenge on Aguero earlier on is probably something only referee Anthony Taylor knows although don’t waste your time even trying to ask him.
No one seems to have the remotest idea what the acceptable limits of ‘marking’ or ‘blocking’, call it what you will, are from dead balls hurled into the area. Except Mike Dean of course who seems more than keen to punish what he perceives as foul play in the area. Although to date, no one knows whether or not this is a new Premier League guideline for refs, or a one-man campaign being launched by Mr Dean.
It would be nice if someone could tell everyone, the media, the managers, the clubs, the fans and then officiate on that established priniciple. I’ll not hold my breath.
Referee, Michael Oliver, was generally thought to have had a good game in the heart stopping 3-3 encounter between Bournemouth and Arsenal but his decision to send off Simon Francis probably cost Bournemouth the win and was harsh in the extreme.
What concerned me more however – and we’re back to consistency again – was that Mr Oliver, in my opinion quite rightly awarded a penalty for a Xhaka push on Fraser before ignoring an almost identical push by Fraser on Bellerin that led to Bournemouth’s third goal.
These are the sort of decisions that have managers, including Pep, tearing their hair out.
No one would ever accuse English refs of being corrupt, far, far from it. What is inescapable, however, is that many of them are not very good and certainly not good enough to officiate at the level they do. While the quality of the football being provided and the skills displayed by some of the greatest players in the world grows by the season, the level of officiating, particularly in the Premier League is going backwards at an alarming rate.
.Pep Guardiola and Mike Dean disagree
Pep Guardiola and Mike Dean disagree
When players are “not very good”, they are dropped, loaned out, sold. When coaches, directors of football, scouts, club doctors, fund raisers, even press officers are “not very good” they are sacked; not referees.
I believe that Guardiola cannot believe j