28 Mar 2012

Refs Decision Has Not Handed United Title

Many people are voicing their opinion that a decision by referee Michael Oliver, not to award Fulham a penalty at Old Trafford when Danny Murphy went down in the penalty area in the final minute, following a challenge by Manchester United's Michael Carrick, as the main turning point in the title race, and the reason why United will turn 19 into 20 league title wins, Why ?

Will it not have anything to do with the fact United have taken six points off Tottenham and Arsenal, and four points off Chelsea and Liverpool? Will it not be United's ability to win when not playing well? Will it not be because of moments like the Ryan Giggs injury time winner against Norwich? Will fighting back from three goals down at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea to earn a valuable point, not be a contributing factor?

I suppose rival supporters who despise United with a passion, can use this incident as a kind of scapegoat, if the reds, as the bookmakers currently believe, go on to clinch the Premier League crown from under the noses of their Manchester rivals.

I am not totally blind to the fact, United seem to have had decision's at Old Trafford go their way that they might not have got at another stadium, but the decision against Fulham was not a conspiracy as many other supporters would like to believe. Its quite simply a decision that could not be made because the referee was not 100% sure about it. Could anybody hand on heart say that they were sure it was a penalty from the moment they seen it? When I first seen the incident in real time, I thought it looked a close call, but the fact the ball had changed direction, made me believe that Carrick had touched the ball and I therefore thought that Murphy had dived.

So when I then had the facility to watch the incident back in slow motion and from different angles, it became very clear that it should have actually been a penalty and a sending off for Carrick. The decision not to award the penalty basically strengthens the call for video technology in football. If teams had three calls a half each, to dispute a refereeing decision, or an incident, then Martin Jol could have disputed it, and with a quick glance at a pitch side monitor, could have clearly seen the incident again and acted upon it. Video technology is a debate for another day, but lets not forget the referee does have a linesman who could have flagged for a penalty, but he failed to do so strengthening the claim that in real time motion it was a tough call to be sure of.

So why has this incident handed the title to United? I am of the opinion that over the season the best team who deserves the trophy will lift it in May? The table does not lie does it? If the penalty had been given, there was no guarantee Fulham would have dispatched the resulting spot kick, but the odds would have been in their favour. If they had scored, and the match ended 1-1, United would be top by a point and probably missing Michael Carrick for three matches. Both teams would know winning their remaining fixtures would guarantee success.

Many will subscribe to the fact that what goes around, comes around. Its swings and roundabouts, and I agree. If you look back at a perfectly well timed and good challenge by Rio Ferdinand at Old Trafford this season against Newcastle, then the penalty claim the other night has evened itself out. United drew the match against Newcastle and lost two points due to an outrageous call be the referee, rival supporters seem to forget incidents like this.

The destiny of the Premier League trophy is still controlled by what both Manchester clubs do in their final games. The match at the Ethihad Stadium next month could go a long way to deciding which team will be crowned champions, whoever wins the title, will fully deserve it.