Refereeing City : What Difference Does It Make?
VMC's fifthcolumnblue takes a look back at on field events that have conspired to peg back the City juggernaut since the Derby Day Massacre in Stretford...
Let's look at how City's performances have been affected by the officials this season shall we?
I believe that if it hadn't been for dodgy decisions City would...
'...still be in the Champions League.'
Total dominance of Bayern for the first 30 minutes, and two blatant penalties not given. So what if's and maybe's, but to take a 2-0 lead so early in that game, I'd say we'd have held out for a draw at least - 11 points in that group sees us through to the knock out stages for sure.
...'have remained undefeated this season.'
A blatant penalty not given against Chelsea when we were 1-0 up, then a sending off (Soft, but for the sake of argument, let's say it was deserved) - Once again, if's and maybe's, but I'm convinced we'd have gone on to win that one and take 3 points.
Sunderland's last gasp winner was not. It was offside, and therefore illegal. We battered them, and fair enough, we couldn't score. But we still should have had a point.
In the Liverpool league draw at Anfield we witnessed - Reina handling the ball outside his area - a straight red card, but not given. Various acts of thuggery unpunished (particularly from Charlie Adam), and then Mario sent off after Skeletor got caught on the shoulder by Mario's arm, and sportingly went down holding his face.
Against 10 men for a long period of the game, we'd almost certainly have gone on to win that one.
Verdict: ROBBED x3.
'...Still be in the FA Cup.'
Let's face it, Kompany's sending off was a gift to Lord Taggart, and the referee had his mind made up for him by pubehead snarling in his face. That we scared the crap out of them with 10 men is testament to the fact that IMO we'd have either won or taken them to a replay. The fact that Giggs and pubehead got away with very similar fouls unpunished, and Evra managed to get away with an elbow is just adding insult to injury.
'...be in the Carling Cup final.'
The penalty in the first leg was slightly harsh, but I won't argue the point. What I will argue is that Glen Johnson, provider of the assist for Bellamy's winning goal in the second leg should have seen a straight red card for his two footer on Lescott at The Etihad, which was widely acknowledged as being a far worse challenge than the one which saw Kompany walk a few days earlier.
We also had a non-penalty awarded against us, and a clear penalty not given to us in that one. Nobody could argue that Liverpool were the better side at Anfield, but the better team does not always win the match - and the final score on the night should have been 3-1 to City if the decisions had not gone against us.
Some people will give you the old cliche 'These things even themselves out over the course of a season,' and many will point to the fact that we were 'Lucky' that Balotelli wasn't sent off against Tottenham. But I am adamant that Howard Webb saw the alleged stamp and chose to do nothing about it. Therefore, Balotelli remained on the pitch according to the letter of the law. The resulting media witch hunt and the inability of Howard Webb to tell the truth over the matter and later claim 'He hadn't seen it' is what has stitched us up, and we are without Mario for the next 4 games as a result. Balotelli will now find himself under intense scrutiny forevermore, and I suspect he will be booked for every minor misdemeanour in future.
I don't think I'm being paranoid in respect of what I've written here. I just fail to understand how so many blatantly bad decisions have either been given against us, or not been given when they would favour us. Conspiracy? I don't know, and I find it hard to believe that there is something as sinister as an organised campaign to try and stop us. But I do believe that in the minds of most people in this country, we are 'ruining football.' - The tabloids have done such a good job with their anti-City propaganda that everyone either hates us, or has very little sympathy for us.
Referees read newspapers, so they are not above being influenced by all the negativity aimed in our direction. So whether they are consciously aware of what they are doing, or whether it is lingering at the back of their minds, we are getting absolutely sweet FA from them.
I am not enjoying my football - City players are continually subjected to what ammounts to repeated assaults on the football pitch (Scott Parker 5 fouls = one booking; Mario 1 foul = 1 booking), yet we get done for the slightest misdemeanour, and we never seem to get much in the way of 'benefit of the doubt' decisions such as the Richards penalty in the League Cup Semi.
I take the point that teams are making it more difficult for us on the pitch these days, and we are not scoring as many goals as earlier in the season - but our good form has been hampered by bad decisions in virtually every game since the 6-1 and there has to be something more to what's going on than merely a dip in form.
I just wish someone could give me a good explanation to what that 'something' is!
all times East Manchester
Tu 31 Jan 20:00 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 04 Feb 17:30 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Su 12 Feb 16:00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Th 16 Feb 20:05 Porto, Estádio do Dragão, ELR32
We 22 Feb 20:05 Porto, The Etihad, ELR32
Sa 25 Feb 17:30 Blackburn, The Etihad, PL