BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Luiz leaves furious Ferguson frustrated

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 07:30 UK time, Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Stamford Bridge

Manchester United may still hold the destiny of the Premier League title in their own hands but they let a potentially decisive victory slip carelessly through their fingers at Chelsea.

Amid the acrimony felt by Sir Alex Ferguson as he stalked towards referee Martin Atkinson at the final whistle after Chelsea's 2-1 win, only to think again and march back to the dressing room, this painful reality will have played a large part in his fury and frustration.

Ferguson was in no mood to appreciate the irony wrapped within his anger at Atkinson's failure to detect David Luiz's crude foul on Wayne Rooney at close quarters, an offence that would have warranted a second yellow card for Chelsea's outstanding defender.

United and Rooney were the beneficiaries of similar generosity following that stray elbow to James McCarthy at Wigan on Saturday, teasing the line "we can't dispute referee's decisions" from Ferguson's assistant Mike Phelan.

It was a message lost on an incandescent Ferguson after a defeat which threw the title race wide open, gave confidence to Chelsea that this season may yet yield success and offered hope and consolation to Arsenal after that shattering Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham City.

Those offering sympathy to Ferguson would not form much of a queue but he had every justification to be exasperated with those key decisions that went against United - even if his savage public condemnation of Atkinson struck a sour note.

Scratch under the surface, however, and Ferguson's emotional reaction at the conclusion of a wonderful match may also have been the result of his knowledge that United had this game in their grasp at half-time and let it go, bringing their tally of dropped points on the road this season to 22.

For 20 minutes before half-time United rediscovered the dash and authority that has proved elusive this season, dominating Chelsea in midfield and deserving the reward of Rooney's fine low strike on the half-hour.

All was well with Ferguson and United's world and it was Carlo Ancelotti who strode anxiously around his technical area in his trademark black raincoat, throwing his arms around in frustration and exchanging words with his backroom staff.

By the final whistle Ferguson was re-enacting those same scenes, holding the fourth official to account when Atkinson missed Luiz's cynical block on Rooney before turning in disbelief, pleading with arms outstretched, when what seemed little more than a coming together between Chelsea substitute Yuri Zhirkov and the excellent Chris Smalling - who could not get out of the way - resulted in a penalty 10 minutes from time.

Frank Lampard celebrates after scoring Chelsea's winning goal against Man Utd from the penalty spot

Frank Lampard celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot. Photo: Getty

Of course many observers of United and Rooney's good fortune at Wigan may simply suggest what goes around comes around, but this cut no ice with Ferguson and there was weight to his complaint that his side got a raw deal.

Frank Lampard applied the formalities from the spot and Chelsea, who had equalised early in the second half through Luiz, were revived. Ancelotti's side may still be 12 points behind United with a game in hand, but they will be heartened by the manner in which they called on old powers and old qualities to turn this result around almost by force of will.

In the first 45 minutes we saw the Chelsea that has fallen short this season, no snap and fluency. In the second we saw some glimpses of the former powerhouse that eventually wrestled midfield control away from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick in a manner that will have increased Ferguson's pain.

It was all too much for Ferguson as he railed at Atkinson, saying: "You want a fair referee - or a strong referee, anyway - and we didn't get that. When I saw who the referee was I did fear it. I feared the worst."

He added: "The Luiz foul was six yards in front of the referee, maybe eight if we give him the benefit of the doubt, no obstructions whatsoever. I don't know how he stayed on the pitch. And the penalty was very soft. In actual fact, Chris has taken the ball and the player's left his leg in. Very soft. Amazing."

Chelsea are unlikely to retain their crown, Ancelotti admitted as much despite the win, but United just about remain in their sights and this was a performance that suggests the champions cannot be relied upon to go quietly.

United remain in slender control of the title race but the one final insult to Ferguson's injury, the sending off of defensive colossus Nemanja Vidic in stoppage time for a second yellow card, means he will miss Sunday's visit to Liverpool, who will love plotting an ambush that would damage their arch-rivals' hopes of overhauling their total of 18 titles.

If United perform like they did in the first half, then they remain firm favourites to win the Premier League. It was this aspect of the evening that will have satisfied Ferguson and made eventual defeat even tougher to take.

In that spell of domination, possession was king and United ruled. The ball fizzed around with the trademark authority and they could have added to Rooney's goal.

Both sides played a full part in a feast of a game where superiority ebbed and flowed in a blur of attacks and counter attacks. It was good old-fashioned slug-fest with no sign of a bus parked in either penalty area - a credit to both managers on a night when the importance of the three points was illustrated in their bold approach.

For Ancelotti, this was sweet relief from the torment of recent weeks and the allegations that he exercises flimsy control on his players in the wake of Ashley Cole's air-rifle antics.

He has also unearthed a gem, albeit a very expensive one, in the corkscrew-haired Brazilian Luiz. Rough diamond he may be, as reckless challenges on Rooney and Javier Hernandez proved, but once those edges are knocked off Chelsea have a potentially world-class talent.

It drew a Twitter tribute from Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, admiration no doubt helped by the significant impact Luiz's performance and Chelsea's victory had on the Gunners' own title aspirations.

He Tweeted: "David Luiz is looking to be a very good player and still only 23. He's got class. Defenders playing well with the ball always my favourites."

Luiz defends with purpose, tackles with the force of a heavy goods vehicle - not always on the right side of the law - and attacks with enterprise. He put away the 54th-minute strike that drew Chelsea level with the aplomb of a £50m striker not a £25m defender.

It was done in the manner that Fernando Torres currently craves. The Spaniard had another night of relatively fruitless toil, although there was an increasing sharpness about his touch, running and general work that merited praise from Ancelotti.

This all added up to a missed opportunity for United, who are now only four points ahead of Arsenal having played a game more and facing the prospect of a trip to Anfield without the suspended Vidic and injured Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, leaving Wes Brown to step in and partner Smalling.

If Chelsea's victory did not exactly open the door for their own title aspirations, it has certainly left it more than ajar for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. All factors that contributed to Ferguson's mood matching his black overcoat as he made his way down the Stamford Bridge tunnel in defeat.

You can follow me at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    I guess all we can ask from officials is consistency. Whether or not consistency was applied in this match will no doubt cause debate. My personal feelings on Rooney's elbow was that it was worthy of a straight red. But do two wrongs make a right?

    It was an enjoyable game though. I was surprised (or maybe annoyed is a better word)that Carrick started this game (at least it wasn't Gibson) but he did actually have a decent game in the first half. Between him and Scholesy they did start to dominate the midfield after the first 15 mins or so. As Phil mentioned Utd did play with "dash and authority" which was encouraging to see.

    Chelsea remain a bogey team for Utd. The result does benefit Arsenal in their title challenge and it should prove to be an interesting last few weeks in the league.

    I think I can still give kudos to Chris Smalling despite that penalty. He has proved unbelievable in Rio's absence and looks like a worthy replacement in the future! Also pleased that Rooney is starting to score goals again!

  • Comment number 2.

    "What goes around, comes around". Thus is the point you got spot on Phil.
    There is little justification in Alex Ferguson having a go at Martin Atkinson especially after his defense of Rooney following the Wigan game,and once again make a mockery of the so called "Respect" Campaign.
    Will the FA act???? You can bet your bottom dollar they wont...

  • Comment number 3.

    All in all, Manchester United dominated after the 15 minute mark until the end of the half. At the beginning of the second half Chelsea were the better team. I personally felt that was chelseas best performance for a long time and credit to Drogba, he played very well when he came on. Ramires looks to be a good player who is constantly improving and Luiz was very good last night, if a bit Cynical. I thought Luiz should have been given a red card, though it was slightly ironic that the incident occured with Wayne 'elbow' Rooney. The penalty i agreed with the referee about, though I know people will obviously protest. I would also like to point out that last year when Chelsea beat Man Utd. 2-1, that Macheda handballed it TWICE on the way to scoring, but of course it was an offside goal. Lets rule out both, as neither should have counted and teh score is 1-0 to Chelsea. Man Utd. fans are normally a lot fairer than others (possibly because they know they will always do well, and it is just 1 bad result) but the constant bickering about decisions should stop. Ferguson gets a lot of decisions, as does Ancelotti.

    Last point, it was the most entertaining game I have seen between the two in a long time. Though 5-0 at Old trafford wasn't bad.

  • Comment number 4.

    Also, I still wouldn't bet against Man Utd. to take the premier league. Even thought they aren't vintage Man Utd. they will still get 80+ points, which I think will be enough.

  • Comment number 5.

    fergie's comments about the ref were typical fergie. Its always the refs fault isnt it? A call from the FA coming? I doubt it.

    And rooney becomes more unlikeable every game you see him with his constant arguing with the ref and diving/playacting/feigning injury - good goal though...

  • Comment number 6.

    Did no one see Terry use his arm to stop the ball in the area..?? Or are we not mentioning that..???

  • Comment number 7.

    I can only echo SAF's sentiments, 'we didn't deserve that.'

    The performance from both teams was brilliant to be fair, a proper English game with quality and physicality from both teams. It does stick in the throat that Chelsea got the benefit of the doubt on the marginal decisions AGAIN, but these things happen in football.

  • Comment number 8.

    Draw would have been a fair result last night. United better in the first half and Chelsea in the 2nd.
    Once again though a Utd Chelsea game was decided by some poor refereeing decisions. Everyone is agreed Luiz should have gone, but the worse decision was the penalty.
    Smalling was under no obligation to move out of the way - he didn't move a muscle, Zhirkov ran into him and fell over. That is not a penalty.
    Still - Utd get the benefit of dodgy ones like that as well, so I guess it all evens up in the end - just that we save all of our refereeing howlers for Chelsea matches......

  • Comment number 9.

    WHAT A GAME

    United fans. Just stop moaning about about the referee

    On numerous occasions Gary Neville should have been sent off but he was let off. Even then you said United were lucky to get away with that.

    Even now after the Rooney forearm smash, Most sensible mancs admitted Rooney was lucky to get away with it.

    Point is. You win some and you lose some.

    Dont come here and start making comments about the referee and how he was paid by Chelsea etc etc because you're doing exactly what you tell other fans not to.

    We got the decisions today and you'll get them someother day.

    Again WHAT A GAME.

  • Comment number 10.

    united fans will blame the ref but it was there own fault for not scoreing again in the first half , fact is in the 2nd half they lost control of the game its hardly as if there was a major ref error , its not like the ball went over the line by 2 yards but wasint given , the penilty was a penilty, in the box if your going to stick your knee ,body , leg out you better be prepared to get the ball.

    as for luiz , vidic pro fouled drogba twice before getting a 2nd yellow , so as far as that game goes , the ref was attualy being consistant.

    and on the subject of fouls , the diving and play acting from rooney little pee and nani was disgusting , so no wonder the ref never gave them anything. two good examples being rooneys terrible dive in the first half and chico holding his face like he'd been shot when he had been hit in the chest.

    manchester united have not won at stamford bridge since 2002 , switch the record lads the ref card is getting old.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great result for the reds...of Arsenal

  • Comment number 12.

    Big game, Big incidents, big decisions had to be make by the ref and he got them wrong! Title race wide open!

  • Comment number 13.

    I think United tonight gave the title initiative to Arsenal. The remaining fixtures for both sides definitely favor the London club and Ferguson might be left to rue those dropped points at the beginning of the season.

    Chelsea deserved to win as defensive lapses cost United the points, but Ferguson's rants at referees is becoming tiresome. Arsene Wenger usually takes first place in the "crying" awards but Ferguson is definitely a close second.

    A more serious note for United is Vidic's loss and the continued absence of Park will be telling before the season is out.

    Arsenal for the title now in my book.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=2092

  • Comment number 14.

    Disgusting refereeing.

    It will all be forgotten by the ABU media.

    Absolutely criminal. 3 times in a row at the Bridge we have been robbed by refereeing decisions. What can you do?

    No doubt the blind ABU-biased media will latch on to the fallacy of 'United get all the decisions' rubbish.

    Hopeless.

  • Comment number 15.

    Terrific game, shame about Fergie's comments afterwards but hardly unexpected. Just sad that the FA won't act and explain to everyone why they're acting. It's such hypocrisy to one week say you can't question the referees because your star man has been on the end of a favourable desicion, then the next week tear one to shreds because you didn't get the rub of the green. Disgraceful. And although Luiz should have been shown two yellows what Rooney did at the weekend was far worse, deliberately targetting the Wigan player with a well placed forearm.

    Great game though, much more open than I was expecting and good to see both teams going for it, unlike the dull 90 minutes offered up by Chelsea and Liverpool when they met a few weeks ago.

  • Comment number 16.

    #9 it was a great game but the amount of poor decisions by the ref was staggering.

    Chelsea goal shouldn't have been disallowed
    Terry's deliberate handball - should have been a penalty
    Ivanovic should have been booked for persistent fouling on Nani
    Luiz should have been sent off for 2 bookable offences
    Penalty should not have been given.

    The only decision he got right all game was sending off Vidic for 2 bookings in all other respects he was absolutely shocking.

    At the weekend there was 1 poor but key decision in the CC Final and in the Wigan game and 1 decision you can live with but to get 5 Key decisions wrong in a high profile match beggars belief and Martin atkinson should be suspended for a couple of matches to reflect on that.

    To the game - Chelsea were shocking until Drogba came on - makes you wonder why the bothered buying Torres as he made the difference in the game. Also United 2nd half were a little ragged for teh equaliser and never recovered really. We should have shut up shop 2nd half, packed the midfield by playing Rooney on the left and just squeezed the life out of the game.

    Not a disaster losing to Chelsea but certainly inconvenient - hopefully Rio will be available Sunday. Certainly puts more emphasis on the Arsenal game. Another achievement for Ryan Giggs last night equalling Sir Bobby's league appearancess record

  • Comment number 17.

    Fantastic first half performance from Manchester United, the 2nd half was in my opinion equal. Vidic apart from his fouls was the player of the match, twice he made goal-line clearances to stop Chelsea.

    Saying all that, I have no sympathy for SAF, last week we were treated to both him and Phealen defending Rooneys assault, this week we see him throwing the toys out of the pram due to a Chelsea player fouling Rooney, I wonder if SAF sees the irony in all of this?

    A good result for Chelsea, and a even better one for the PL, which should give Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea additional confidence in their chances of winning the league.

  • Comment number 18.

    Can someone tell me why Ferguson continues to play Carrick. He probably played one of his better games for United last night but was still not even close to an average midfield player. I was delighted to see the 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1) formation last night but to see Carricks name on the team sheet was disappointing to say the least.
    A defeat last night but not a disaster. If Chelsea were closer I would be getting worried. It's a great opportunity for Arsenal but I don't think they believe themselves they can win this league. A draw on Sunday and United can put this 4 game away spell behind.
    It will all work out for Fergie and his boys and this time 2 weeks people will be talking up a UNITED TREBLE.

  • Comment number 19.

    Good game. United played very well, the away form is getting better by the week.
    Berbatov goes walky, too often for me, in big games. Would have been better to leave Chico on the field.

  • Comment number 20.

    Haha #14 you're right you are hopeless. Let's bring up Neville twice this year, Vidic in the Carling Cup final last year, Mendes "goal" a few years back, Rooney at the weekend. Oh yeah United never get any decisions fella, sooo hard done by I don't know how you can stand it!

  • Comment number 21.

    It's such a shame that after an absolutely cracking game of football the only thing that is discussed is two or three referee decisions.

    I don't know if anyone else remembers but there was a great end to end game of football that had a bit of everything you could ask for in a match. David Luiz looks a great player and potentially the best centre back in the world one day.

    But lets just go on and on about the referee instead.

  • Comment number 22.

    Nice one Phil! Atkinson was poor and lacked vision and courage to make the correct decisions. SAF will naturally comment and present his displeasure, that's nothing new. To say he's not allowed to do so on the account of what happened last weekend, is ridiculous - referees are there to make just decisions there and then, within the rules of the game, not to right wrongs of collegues from previous weeks. What he/we can't hide from, is the fact that we didn't perform well enough for the 90 minutes to win. We had the opportunities to score more but didn't. Maybe we didn't deserve to lose but we definitely didn't deserve to win it, making the performance of the referee irrelevant. Fortunately, this result will have little or no effect on who wins the title! C'mon you reds!!

  • Comment number 23.

    my MU fan mate wrote me that this is the 3rd time in a row that Chelsea's got the ref's help at the Bridge. yes, but can anybody count how many times did Fergie received some help from the refs? (except last time vy Wigen with that elbow)

    Fergie's blindness is very very close to Wenger's 'I did not see the situation'.

    surprise. surprise. :-)))

  • Comment number 24.

    Hate to break it to you folks but it had to be a penalty. Smalling missed the ball and brought Zhirkov down, end of story. Luiz should have gone but that wasn't the reason that Chelsea won the game. This could have been the kind of game which finished 0-0 and was a nightmare to watch but fortunately it didn't turn out that way.

  • Comment number 25.

    Those coming out with 'what goes around comes around' need to engage brains.

    It's not like being without Rooney would've seen us playng with 10 men. Yes, he was our goalscorer, but we would've had a more than capable replacement in Berbatov fielded from the start.

    The fact is that Chelsea should've played the last 20 minutes of that game with 10 men, those being the 20 minutes that they were pouring forward and 'earned' the penalty that gave them the win.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    #21 -

    FIVE refereeing decisions were wrong which is why the ref is the focus again. Luiz is a good defender will have to see about world's best though as there a several excellent defenders throughout the world who could claim to be as good or better.

    A draw would have been the fairest result but we've only lost twice this season so its not a disaster. WIn our next 5 games and this result will be insignificant

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm a Man Utd fan, I know there will be loads of 'stop moaning' comments today but the referee ruined a great game.

    The first 60 minutes or so were great, couldn't argue with Chelsea's equaliser... but then the ref lost the plot.

    I feel sorry for Smalling, I think the ref picked him out because he was young and new to that level, the ref knew he could give that and not get a reaction from the player.

    Sending the captain off in injury time when Chelsea were trying to run down the clock was poor too. The ref should know the game better, Chelsea players were always going to hit the deck at the slightest contact until the final whistle (See Drogba's dramatic rolls a few minutes prior). The ref should just smile and let the players get on with it.

    A draw would have been a fair result, United had their chance in the first half and didn't take, Chelsea grew in confidence and got back into the game.

    Need a positive result at Anfield now!

  • Comment number 29.

    United not benefitting from referee's bad decisions and Sir Alex Ferguson railing in anger. I guess once you've been knighted you don't get lambasted for comments like that, eh? I also suppose the United fans who defended Rooney and Clattenburg yesterday (and previously) will be on here to offer their similar support for the officials again.



    I won't hold my breath though. I'm just glad they finally understand what it feels like.

  • Comment number 30.

    WHY DOESN'T ANY MU FAN BLAMES VIDIC FOR HIS ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY FAULT AT THE 93RD MINUTE???

    HE SHOULD HAVE LET RAMIRES GO EVEN IT WAS 3-1 AT THE END. HE WILL BE SORELY MISSED DUE TO HIS OWN IDIOTISM - AS CAPTAIN!!!

    if the PL title is gone it is because of that idiotism guys.

  • Comment number 31.

    Man Utd fans & Fergie need to stop moaning and grow up. It is poor ref's decisions that keep everyone interested in the game and talking about it afterwards. You got the run on Saturday, we got it last night - it is all swings and roundabouts :)

    On the plus side, Chelsea actually won a game !!! It is starting to happen more regularly now and I still think the title is not a million miles away, of course once Man Utd have lost to us again and Liverpool, Arsenal will be the front runners - but we all know they will choke it once again :)

    David Luiz looks like a class act and represents much better value than Torres (why did we not buy Neymar & Ganso for the same money) !!!

    It should be an interesting title finish with more than the normal two teams involved. Looking forward to it :)

  • Comment number 32.

    Even the most ardent of United Supporter can admit you have got lucky decisions this season

    Gary Neville? Stayed on the pitch on both occasions
    Rooney Elbow?

    Can you all amdit that those decisions went for you?

    Or all gna spout the usual ABU this ABU that.

    If you can admit those decisions went for you then you can accept that decisions last night went against you. Nothing to be bitter and cry about. We stil wont win the league but it shows we werent as bad as everyone in the whole world were making out to be.

    Petshopboys

    We were poor but Torres was playing good I think His movement is better than Drogba's and Anelka's combined. The goals will come. Trust me

    I cant stress the important of playing Drogba and Torres together. Anelka may get you two goals against Copenhagen but he is not world class like Drogba. Drogba in the 20 mins he was certainly impacted the game positively. TIme to get rid of Anelka once and for all. SOmething which I've been saying for about a year now. Anelka will trouble a Titus Bramble but he will never trouble Vidic or a Carragher the same way Drogba does.

  • Comment number 33.

    Don't know what Fergies complaining about.... there was nothing in it :-)

  • Comment number 34.

    It's such a shame that after an absolutely cracking game of football the only thing that is discussed is two or three referee decisions.
    _______________________________

    Here Here! Quality match tho. I cant remember a match being hyped up so much and both teams going all out for the win!

  • Comment number 35.

    #30 - I did actually

    if you read post 16 I said he got that correct.

    Where we are annoyed is that Luiz should have been sent off earlier and then Chelsea would have been unable to pour forward the way they did. We still had chances to equalise and shoudl have taken them but the ref was rubbish

  • Comment number 36.


    Arsenal must be kicking themselves for dropping points against Newcastle, West Brom, Spurs etc. If they don't win the title they have absolutely no-one to blame but themselves given Man U's solid but unspectacular form this season. Even the visually compromised Wenger will sigh and himself offer a rueful smile.

    Still United's title to lose given Arsenal injuries and recent history.

  • Comment number 37.

    How can this be an advert for the premier league with refereeing like that?
    Inconsistent is an understatement and biased would be a better description.
    It looked to me that the referee was intent to make united pay for having Rooney available after his colleague messed up at the weekend. At the weekend, YES Rooney deserved to walk, but the official dealt with it AS HE SAW FIT.
    If we then have a trial for the ref & player after the game, what's the point of having referee's?
    I'm no fan of either team, just a fan of football itself, but last night was an embarrassment.
    Luis should not have been on the pitch to score. Simple as that. By the same token what Rooney got away with on Saturday meant he also should have been missing.
    Ivanovich was a thug most of the night & the referee let him get away with it at every turn
    Anyone who has the temerity to say that Manchester United get all the big decisions should be made to watch this match from beginning to end, then apologise to the club for being so blind & led by a biased media who cant wait to pull a winner (at anything) back down.
    I actually found myself as a neutral wanting United to win last night!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Watched the game last night and agree with most of what people are saying on here this morning.

    Was it wishfull thinking on my part, but did Torres play better when Drogba came on? I wish Carlo would give them a chance & start them both. As they are so alike Drogba seemed to know exactly where Torres wanted the ball and on a couple of occassions they semmed to click instantly. Any thoughts?

    Like I said probably watching through blue tinted glasses.

  • Comment number 39.

    Oh dear "Sir Alex" doesn’t like it when every blue moon they get a call against them, it’s ok for Rooney and Vidic to elbow opponents in the face every other game, ok for Neville not to be sent off twice and Peter Walton not to award a blatant penalty to Blackpool when they were winning 2-0, its ok for the ref in the Manchester derby to let United get away with persistent fouling but hey give one against Ferguson and he cry's like a baby, tango sierra Alex, let’s hope it’s the only the start and you finish up empty handed, time for you to retire and stop being a disgrace to English football.

    PS Well done Chelsea, a deserved win.

  • Comment number 40.

    noblefighter

    So we're supposed to expect our captain to give up and let Chelsea get another goal to put them out of sight, when there's two minutes of stoppage time (plus another for timewasting) still to play? We're supposed to 'blame' our captain for hoping we could still get something out of the game?

    "Idiotism" isn't a word, but if it were, I think it would apply most pertinently to the person who seems to have invented it.

  • Comment number 41.

    jam tomorrow

    Haha, after the events of last night, the bitterest person on here isn't even a United fan.

    Hated, adored, but never ignored. Forever in our shadow.

  • Comment number 42.

    38. At 09:10am on 02 Mar 2011, DarlosCarlo wrote:

    No its not wishful thinking. I predicted Anelka wouldnt trouble Vidic / Smalling about 5 weeks ago. He proved me right. One game wonder that is Nicolas Anelka.. I dont know Pat Nevin decided to get all excited and make a blog stating that Torres & Drogba cant play together. Torres playing just off the shoulder of the last defender and Drogba threading him balls through is perfect. Give them more time together

  • Comment number 43.

    This is just great - you've fallen into the Fergie trap and got everyone talking about ferguson and the referee instead of the great spirit shown by chelsea and performance from Luiz and the likes of Essien too. Huge result for chelsea in the race for top 4, and torres looking more at home in each game, things are definately looking up for the blues. Ferguson is just pathetic - how can he say anything about chelsea players when just 1 game ago, rooney was trying to break someone's jaw with his elbow only to be allowed top play and score against chelsea by a spineless FA!! embarrassing

  • Comment number 44.

    Very frustrating that people cannot seem to tell the difference between a decision United got against relegation contenders which decided nothing and a plethora of them that went against them last night in a potential title decider. MASSIVE difference. And yes it always happens with this ref and against Chelsea. That is not moaning. It is a fact. However this does not paper over the cracks that inevitably show when you have a midfield that has Carrick and Fletcher as starters on a night like this. Carrick surpassed himself for the first half and then returned to normal. I wanted to cry at the amount of times Fletcher gave away possession and hoofed the ball into orbit. Fergie needs to sort that midfield this summer end of story.

  • Comment number 45.

    Thanks Chelsea you have done London proud and given the Arsenal a good chance, back in the title race. Man u now have a difficult game at Anfield which they'll lose. :)

    By the way Ref was spot on for the pen, what goes around comes around!

  • Comment number 46.

    2 wrongs don't make a right but 5 wrongs in the same game? You won't get many (if any) United fans saying we weren't lucky with the Rooney elbow. Even Sir Alex said it himself before the game yesterday. The idea that United get the rub of the green is a falacy mainly drummed up by blogs and message boards such as this. I don't remember 4 days of witch hunting when the then England captain Steven Gerrard smashed Michael Brown and Danny Welbeck in the side of the face with "Rooneys" elbow!

  • Comment number 47.

    Ferguson: "You want a fair referee - or a strong referee, anyway - and we didn't get that. When I saw who the referee was I did fear it. I feared the worst."


    Wanted Clattenberg did you Alex? Or one of the other refs who are terrified to give decisions against your team. Makes a refreshing change for United to be on the receiving end of some dodgy decisions.

    Is there a code of conduct that knights need to follow? Are they expected to carry themselves in a certain manner?? If so, I doubt Ferguson acts accordingly. I doubt anyone here can name me someone who is knighted that acts more petulantly and childishly than Alex Ferguson...

  • Comment number 48.

    MuchPreferWinter

    Yeh, the first half was something else in terms of our midfield putting in a shift away from home.

    Then after half time, they reverted to the way they've been all season.

  • Comment number 49.

    The United Way wrote:
    Disgusting refereeing.

    -Were you saying this at the weekend? I doubt it.

    It will all be forgotten by the ABU media.

    Absolutely criminal. 3 times in a row at the Bridge we have been robbed by refereeing decisions. What can you do?

    -What your assistant manager said at the weekend "we can't dispute referee's decisions" Mike Phelan.


    No doubt the blind ABU-biased media will latch on to the fallacy of 'United get all the decisions' rubbish.

    Hopeless.


    -Take this quote for example;
    "The Luiz foul was six yards in front of the referee, maybe eight if we give him the benefit of the doubt, no obstructions whatsoever. I don't know how he stayed on the pitch."

    Replace Luiz by Rooney, and sums up the Wigan match.
    So i'll agree with the last statement

    Hopeless


  • Comment number 50.

    "Very frustrating that people cannot seem to tell the difference between a decision United got against relegation contenders which decided nothing and a plethora of them that went against them last night in a potential title decider. MASSIVE difference."

    No there isn't an importance of a decision isn't dependent on who it is against. Consider the fact that had Rooney seen his deserved red against Wigan he would have been suspended for this Chelsea game and the Liverpool game. Wigan were also actually playing quite well against UTD and against 10 men they could have ended up getting somthing out the game.

  • Comment number 51.

    Still i dont know why people with their red tinted glasses are moaning and complaining, pot kettle me thinks

    It was a penalty, Smalling touched the ball to Zhirkov, it goes through his legs and Zhirkov continues to play for the ball but Smalling didnt, its a clever well used tactic that usually works but problem is is it is illegal and a foul

    Rooney what comes around goes around

    United seriously need to look at themselves and think fair play we lost lets move on, weve had the rub most of the year

    Neville v Stoke
    Neville v WBA
    Rooney v Wigan
    Evans v Liverpool
    Scholes v Chelsea in Community Shield

    Carlo for once got his subs spot on and against Fergier he won when it mattered

    We aint out of this yet

    Come on Liverpool

  • Comment number 52.

    A Far better first half from United,And probably the best they have played away from home all season.Chelsea,have left it to late to mount a challenge,and will not be capable of reproducing that kind of form,every game for the remainder of the season.It looks better for Arsenal this morning,until you look at their mounting injury list,and their game in Hand at Tottenham.I would not say the title race is wide Open,What i would say is,That Man Utd Are still in control of their own destiny,and given the fact it's very much a Two horse race.I still fancy the horse with the experience of the big race course.

  • Comment number 53.

    Lets not worry too much. Arsenal will be kicked out of the CL, have lost RVP & Walcott and Fabregas will probably run himself into another injury in Barca.

    Frustrated but we will come back strong against Liverpool.

    It was a good performance last night and we lost when it didn't seem possible, chin up.

  • Comment number 54.

    As a neutral for this game (im a spurs fan), i greatly enjoyed it (even if the result was not exactly in the best interest of Spurs retaining champions league football next season!). Whilst there were a few refereeing decisions which i thought on an other day would be given (e.g. i expected Luiz off), i thought Martin Atkinson was pretty consistent. He ignored most of the large tackles (i suspect because of the amount of playacting going on), but did that for both teams. The decision to send Vidic off at the end was also the right decision, i was suprised he wasnt sent off after the first pullback on Drogba.

    However, i have to say the penalty was an atrocious call. There was absolutely minimal contact and Zhirkov basically ran directly into Smalling's fully planted leg after having lost the ball already. It was never a penalty and if anything deserved a yellow for Yhirkov for diving.

    Still the game was enjoyable to watch (for us neutrals) except for the last 5 minutes when the Man U team basically lost their heads entirely. That was just ugly. And personally, i would like to see the refs punishing all of the diving going on out on the pitch these days. Not just giving a yellow for diving in the penalty area, but diving anywhere on the pitch deserves a yellow. Far too many players on both sides were going down after minimal contact in the hope of winning free kicks, it really takes away from the spectacle.

    So a bad penalty decision & far too much playacting were the only blights for me. But all up a good game to watch. I look forward to watching the reverse fixture in a few weeks.

  • Comment number 55.

    Really good game I thought, though questionned the contributions of Chicarito and Carrick. I really think 'Little Pea' deserved a place in the line-up as he has been playing really well for United but the Chelsea defence limited him to very few touches, let alone shots.

    I do think the FA need to look at consistency with referees and trial retrospective action, regardless of FIFA's stance. Can't defend Rooney on Saturday but looking at the game last night Atkinson couldnt have been more one sided towards Chelsea. I know people will be saying what goes around etc and that we United fans are moaning (which we are really!) but we are allowed to offer our opinions on the decisions regardless of history.

    Maybe Cole had threatened to shoot Atkinson ;)

    Oh and Van Der Sar's save when he took the ball off Lampards foot? We are going to miss him!

  • Comment number 56.

    2.kartikaylfc wrote:

    "What goes around, comes around". Thus is the point you got spot on Phil.
    -------
    Isuppose that means than we can expect the next team to play Chelsea will have carte blanche to give them a kicking.

    Actually, we're still waiting for whatever it is that goes around to come around to us after Chelsea's offside goal at Old Trafford last year gifted them the title, courtesy of the officials. Respect? .. ith as to be earned!

  • Comment number 57.

    Great game but poor refereeing decisions, which is a shame.

    The respect campaign should work both ways - how can players/managers have respect for refs when you get constantly poor decisions...first Rooney versus Wigan, then Luiz and the penalty last night (Chelsea also had a goal wrongly disallowed).

    Chelsea have no chance of regaining the title and will go out with a whimper because one off performances hide underlying issues with an ageing and poor squad by the standards of Europe's elite.

    United will probably win the title, which says more about the opposition than anything else.

  • Comment number 58.

    United were hard done by losing their best 2 individuals even before kick off. Howard Webb was unavailable and Mark Clottenburg so outstanding for United at Wigan was also unavailable.

    One thing is for sure Man City will suffer tonight because Mark Clottenburg absolutely hates them and their players.

  • Comment number 59.

    I've always had the impression that if a team benefits or suffers from a controversial refereeing decision, in the next few games the other refs will be looking to "balance it up" with their decisions. For example, Arsenal's first game after the Everton match with the row between Fabregas and Moyes was Newcastle and Phil Dowd gave 2 joke penalties against us! The refs do seem to look out for each other.

    Yes Chelsea's penalty last night was another total joke and yes two wrongs don't make a right but please Mr Ferguson, spare us your nauseating hypocrisy! You didn't complain all the years that Ronaldo and RVN used to do the dying elephant in the box whenever someone breathed on them or when Keane or Cantona should have seen red cards. What goes around come around!

  • Comment number 60.

    # 42

    Thank god I'm not the only one!!

    # 43

    You are absolutely right in your assessment of the game and peoples reaction this morning. Apart from a 25 minute period in the 1st half Chelsea were by far the better team, and Manu got what they absolutely deserved. Nothing!!!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Shouldn't have lost, but there we go.

    United still best placed to win the title, Chelsea still only have the champions league to play for

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    43. At 09:14am on 02 Mar 2011, messien wrote:
    This is just great - you've fallen into the Fergie trap and got everyone talking about ferguson and the referee instead of the great spirit shown by chelsea and performance from Luiz and the likes of Essien too. Huge result for chelsea in the race for top 4, and torres looking more at home in each game, things are definately looking up for the blues. Ferguson is just pathetic - how can he say anything about chelsea players when just 1 game ago, rooney was trying to break someone's jaw with his elbow only to be allowed top play and score against chelsea by a spineless FA!! embarrassing
    ----------------------------------

    Rather than the Spineless Chelsea management who refuse to publicly sanction Ashley Cole for shooting an intern with an air rifle. If you want FA action how about banning him for several games or some jail time for wounding and ABH

    Be careful what you wish for

  • Comment number 64.

    @ #44

    So are the rules of football different depending on where in the table the opposing teams are placed?

  • Comment number 65.

    Also it is funny this "what goes around comes around" attitude only ever applies to United.

  • Comment number 66.

    Czechmate

    'No there isn't an importance of a decision isn't dependent on who it is against. Consider the fact that had Rooney seen his deserved red against Wigan he would have been suspended for this Chelsea game and the Liverpool game'

    Nope nope nope. There is a huge difference! If that is the case then why not say that a decision to award a bad penalty in the last minute of the Champions League final is the same as a bad decision any other time of the season. Daft. And as for the suspension - United could have appealed so you are jumping the gun in presuming he would have missed last night.

  • Comment number 67.

    Phil was the Torres bashing really necessary, he had a decent game.

  • Comment number 68.

    i love how cheslea fans are on here trying to justify their win with chants of 'what goes around comes around' or 'utd get the decisions sometimes and you will again' just admit you were desperately lucky to get away with a win last night. UTD dominated 1st half and at least deserved a draw.

    Once again Chelsea get the big decisions against us. It happens all the time. Luiz should have been off, it was never a penalty, instead we should have been awarded a penalty in the 1st 5 mins when Terry decided he'd go in goals.

    But well done chelsea, you're back into 4th, well done indeed. meanwhile we still sit pretty at the top.

    Ps id hate to be liverpool this sunday because we will give them no mercy. They are in for a hiding.

  • Comment number 69.

    # 56

    Somebody has already mentioned last years "offside" goal and the fact that macheda handballed it twice en route to goal. So cancel both, we win 1 - 0 same 3 points same EPL champs.

    Your point is????

  • Comment number 70.

    So, Ferguson "feared the worst" when Martin Atkinson was chosen to referee this fixture did he? As opposed to what: A referee who would ‘favour’ Manchester United? And that makes it all right I suppose. The PL’s ‘Mummy’s Boys’ are all upset again because they lost. Frankly, Ferguson is an arrogant and ungracious individual and perhaps he should be reminded that with the titled honour he happily accepted, goes an expected level of civil behaviour and etiquette. He defends appaling fouls by his own players and is beside himself when players from other teams commit anything half as bad. As for the surrounding of referees by players and it was ManU who began this unacceptable behaviour, may I suggest the PL bring in a team booking offence when two or more players intimidate an official in this way and it is perhaps difficult to sort out the culprits on the field. A hefty fine to start with and then point’s deductions for persistent offending. Oh and by the way BBC, given that this man refuses to give interviews, despite contract obligations, why don’t you refuse to report his comments?

  • Comment number 71.

    35. At 09:09am on 02 Mar 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    #30 - I did actually

    if you read post 16 I said he got that correct.

    Where we are annoyed is that Luiz should have been sent off earlier and then Chelsea would have been unable to pour forward the way they did. We still had chances to equalise and shoudl have taken them but the ref was rubbish
    .............................................

    no you don't.

    as I am not talking about the ref but Vidic. at 1-2 he shouldn't have done anything w Ramires knowing if he gets a yellow he will miss the Liverpool game. but he did, although he was hopelessly out of position and he was the captain.

    if your captain cannot think professionally who can in that team????

  • Comment number 72.

    Oh so Luiz - who cost us 18m at first (later rising to 21m) is now a £25m defender?

    We paid £18m, get it right.

    Also, if we're wanting referees to be consistent, we have it! They're consistently making mistakes and we're still not happy!

  • Comment number 73.

    United have been robbed third time in a row by officials when playing against Chelsea.

    Graham Poll, "In the first half, Manchester United were denied a penalty when John Terry handled a shot from distance. Although his hands were by his side, the ball travelled a long way and Terry ensured that the ball did not pass - a clear offence. Nothing was given... An even clearer example came when David Luiz deliberately tripped Wayne Rooney off the ball - a clear cautionable offence. As he had already been cautioned, Luiz should have been dismissed."

  • Comment number 74.

    40. At 09:10am on 02 Mar 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    noblefighter

    So we're supposed to expect our captain to give up and let Chelsea get another goal to put them out of sight, when there's two minutes of stoppage time (plus another for timewasting) still to play? We're supposed to 'blame' our captain for hoping we could still get something out of the game?

    "Idiotism" isn't a word, but if it were, I think it would apply most pertinently to the person who seems to have invented it.

    ...................................

    if he was a real professional footbaler he would have been able to decide when was he overtaken as he was out of position and late and no chance of stopping Ramires without comitting a fault on him.

    since he Vidic was unable to notice this he is not a professional or an idiot (btw: ur captain): you decide!

  • Comment number 75.

    One thing is clear though, Chelsea are nowhere near the side they used to be

  • Comment number 76.

    75. At 09:35am on 02 Mar 2011, Kapnag wrote:

    One thing is clear though, Chelsea are nowhere near the side they used to be

    ---------------------------------------------------

    What were they before and what are they now?

  • Comment number 77.

    I think Ferguson needs to shut his trap on this one! In football there will be referee mistakes and sometimes you win them and sometimes you lose them. At wigan, fergie got a major win in that not only was the elbow not seen at the time, but was even ignored after the match with Rooney escaping a definite 3 match ban! Last night they got a bad decision on a penalty and that cost them the game in the end. Now i love delicious irony so this was just perfect. I think if fergie thinks about it after calming down he will realise that if the referees hadnt made mistakes the outcome would probably have been this....

    Man Utd on the same number of points (or 2 less!!!) having lost to Wigan and either drawn or beaten Chelsea (tho tbh if rooney had been suspended they probs would have lsot anyway!!!)

    Rooney facing another 2 matches of a ban which in my view is more serious than Vidic mssing the one match

    The end result of these would be that currently Utd would at worst be 1 point ahead of arsenal with the gunners able to go ahead with a game in hand!!!

    I think Fergie should be counting his lucky stars that he isnt in that position!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    #73 - I see you did not copy what Graham said about the penalty.

  • Comment number 79.

    Thank you Phil for highlighting the difference between Mike Phelan's comments on Saturaday and SAF's last night!

    As a Chelsea fan I had sympathy with some of the decisions but that faded with SAF outburst.

    Thought Drogba was good when he came on - especially the last 10 mins!

    Also, I wonder what Fabregas will tweet after a few Luiz tackles!!

  • Comment number 80.

    #77 - how is Rooney facing a 2 match ban?

  • Comment number 81.

    noblefighter

    It was a clumsy challenge. I don't know why you're insisting on reading any more into it than that, and calling into question his overall professionalism on the basis of one incident. Bizarre.

    He's been the best defender in the league this season by a country mile.

  • Comment number 82.

    Atkinson has got a history of not giving United decisions. A few years ago he didn’t award United a penalty when Ronaldo was taken out in the penalty area in the FA cup against Portsmouth. Last season he refereed the United match with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge giving a free kick when it wasn’t a foul and John Terry scored an off-side goal in a 1-0 win to Chelsea. This season, well everyone saw his performance last night which was terrible. Atkinson’s stats refereeing Chelsea matches is P17 W16 D1 L0 F40 A3. No wonder Sir Alex was unhappy with Atkinson being awarded the game.

    Many of you say it is payback time as there are other instances when United have got decisions they shouldn't have. Rooney should have been sent off on Saturday, Clattenburg made the error not Manchester United. Others also raise the issue of Gary Neville not getting sent off against Stoke and West Brom. I agree he should have been sent off against West Brom, however, against Stoke I thought the first booking was not a yellow. Gary Neville's possible sending off in the Stoke game is always raised, however, no one ever mentions the Stoke player going through the back of Hernandez and not getting booked/sent off and Delap pushing Evra over in the box but wasn't sent off and no penalty was given.

    I feel the standard of refereeing isn't good and this is what we should be looking at improving. Mike Riley should be coming out and addressing this problem.

  • Comment number 83.

    It was an uncertain for the final outcome, equally ballanced, physical game yesterday. More or less what could be expected. Chelsea showed why they are still up there and it will help them psychologically for the remainder of the season. United lost but haven't lost their spirit and it didn't cause terminal damage to the title hunt.

    SAF may be reeling at the referee but Atkinson didn't really make big errors. Helping the home team in minor incidents is no news to football. The fact is Chelsea never stopped going forward, they created more chances than United and played well.

    United also had a good game. Perhaps if they had same days of rest as the Chelsea team, they might apply themselves better, although they didn't show signs of fatigue.

    Ferdinand was missing, but Chelsea scored through a Luiz magnificent strike and a penalty. Torres was still anonymous and I felt I preferred Anelka to be replaced by Drogba who didn't really put his stamp on the game, apart from delaying it expertly when it was needed for his team. United didn't let the strikers score.

    People can moan on the Luiz incident all day long, but this could be argued that is included in Vidic's game too. Fair result. Good luck to Chelsea for the remainder of the season.

  • Comment number 84.

    80.... I am saying that had Rooney not escaped punishment he would have been banned for 3 matches, and thats whether it was picked up during or after the match. and elbowing offence like that nearly always brings a 3 match ban after a disciplinary hearing. Therefore rooney would still have a 2 matches left on his ban had it been picked up

  • Comment number 85.

    Footballuk

    Well said old chap.

    Didnt you think Torres's movement was good. I know you can say "but what does movement count for" but I feel with Drogba in the side, He will score. Anelka is too lazy to notice Torres's runs.

  • Comment number 86.

    United deserve something from this game, but unfortunately decided by the referee who should be demoted to League 2 for couple of weeks. David Luiz shouldnt finish the game, and JT handle a ball which is a penalty... Small is a world class defender but sadly for FA their referees always descourage any promising youngesters Atkinson delibrately trying to damage Smallin's confidence by awarding a dubious penalty against him did not commit any foul on Dullkohv.....

  • Comment number 87.

    The amount of decisions tjhat have gone United;s way in recent years brders on scandalous but obviously i's only the ones which go aginst them that ebnd up highlighted

    Take last season's showdown game against Chelsea at Old Trafford. All anyone could talk about was the offside, no-one seemed to care that Chesea should have had a penalty and that United's goal was more dubious than ours

    Yes, Chelsea rode their luck yesterday but are you telling me United have never done just that?

    Penalty was dubious but then the disallowed goal should have stood-again, seeing very little mention of that here!

  • Comment number 88.

    A wonderful game unfortunately spoiled by a disgraceful official,if he is'nt back in the championship officiating next Saturday there is something seriously wrong with the system.

  • Comment number 89.

    as a man utd fan im extreamly gutted about this result after saying that chelsea did deserve something out of the game and yes the ref was awful and yes we have had many desicions go for us but that never makes it easier to take other fans should tell themselves have their team ever had desicions go for and against them because the answer would be yes as like stated in previous comments this is football it happens and people will always moan about it so i say let them moan let them have their say, the ref cost man utd a point, a point in which they deserved and gifted chelsea 3 and that's fact focusing on this game alone it was extreamly harsh on man u so i think chelsea can count themselves lucky and need to allow us man utd fans and SAF to have a moan as it will be the same for them when they are on the end of similar desicions to what we were

  • Comment number 90.

    Are we not all tired of SAF's inconsistencies about refereeing? Heroes on Saturday, Villains on Tuesday?

    The game was a total cracker and the result was good for the EPL. Luiz is a fearless and confident player, and what was the odd that he was going to score a goal before Torres in a Chelsea jersey?

  • Comment number 91.

    87. At 09:48am on 02 Mar 2011, Terry and Lampard-true Blues brothers wrote:

    Penalty was dubious but then the disallowed goal should have stood-again, seeing very little mention of that here!

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Maybe because the entire Utd defence, including VDS, had stopped playing when Torres actually scored it?

  • Comment number 92.

    87. At 09:48am on 02 Mar 2011, Terry and Lampard-true Blues brothers wrote:

    Still think Drogba is past it and Anelka is the way forward? Come on, I even told you before the game yesterday and the day before, Anelka wil not trouble defenders from a top 4 team. He may trouble a Titus Bramble or a Alcaraz from Wigan but top quality defenders like Vidic, He will never stamp his authority on them like Drogba would.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Good article Phil
    Fergie needs a bit more grace on this one. Everybody knows Man Utd always get the best of the decisions. He's just trying to take the focus off his team.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ 44 MuchPreferWinter
    ''Very frustrating that people cannot seem to tell the difference between a decision United got against relegation contenders which decided nothing and a plethora of them that went against them last night in a potential title decider. MASSIVE difference''

    ........................................................................

    Wow... I had no idea that games against relegation contenders and those against title rivals had different points. Hmm... I always thought it was 3 points at stake no matter who you played.

  • Comment number 97.

    I don't believe it was careless of Untied at all. It was abysmal officiating by Martin Atkinson that gifted Chelsea those 3 pounts and as Sir Alex pointed out - that's 3 seasons in a row decisions have gone against MAnchester United against Chelsea.

    David Luiz should have been sent off, no question. I felt United would have gone on to seal the match with the pace up front however incredibly he stays on and Chelsea get an appaling decision for a penalty.

    Then we have to address the Vidic sending off. Atkinson pandering to the home support by sending him off, these are serious decisions that have consequences and Vidic now misses the weekend trip to Anfield. And lets not forget, United lost the title last season by one point, remember Drogbas offside goal at Old Trafford at the back end of last season?

    One of the worst performances by a ref that I can remember witnessing, and I hope the Premier League take a look at Martin Atkinsons performance which was quite frankly a disgrace.

    I believe Sir Alex will motivate his players now to strive to the title after the shocking injustice of this game.

  • Comment number 98.

    @16

    Chelsea goal shouldn't have been disallowed - Possibly not, though Refs are always so very very inconsistent when it comes to managing holding in penalty areas at corners

    Terry's deliberate handball, should have been a penalty - he had his arms by his side so I understand why it wasn't given, however, you do see them given as well

    Ivanovic should have been booked for persistent fouling on Nani - I think he actually fouled Nani once, the rest was Nani rolling on the floor. I remember two incidents where Nani outwitted himself, lost balance, fell over, hauled Ivan down and asked for a foul.

    Luiz should have been sent off for 2 bookable offenses - I will not say he shouldn't have been sent off as he probably should've for the Rooney check. However, it did take 3 bookable offenses (I thought the last one was a bit soft tbh) for Vidic to be sent off so maybe if he'd committed a third...

    Penalty should not have been given - it was a clear penalty, unfortunately for Smalling he got a touch on the ball before Zhirkov which meant he automatically went for the ball. Zhirkov picked up the ball and went over Smallings outstretched leg, obvious penalty. Not a booking because it wasn't intentional, but it was a foul


    All in all I don't think the ref was as bad as SAF would have you believe; I don't see any other refs making many decision any differently. I will add an iffy decision though that I haven't seen mentioned:

    Rooney's clear dive in the penalty area, no booking, why not?

  • Comment number 99.

    noblefighter

    It was a clumsy challenge. I don't know why you're insisting on reading any more into it than that, and calling into question his overall professionalism on the basis of one incident. Bizarre.

    He's been the best defender in the league this season by a country mile.
    ...........................

    as a former professional AND ESPECIALLY CAPTAIN I always had to think of what's the best for my team. I suppose it is the same at every level. as a player of a top league he should be much more professional than the professional players of any lower leagues. give to this the additional professionalism or cool-headedness a captain should have and you reach a high-level Vidic was not able to reach.

    in this case it was better to let Ramires in and (maybe) lose the game to 3-1 then getting another yellow absolutely unnecessary. he put his personal aims (hot-headedness) in front of that of his team's goal. ergo. he is a bad professional as captain.

    if he was far the best defender of this season I suppose I don't have to explain why he will be sorely missed in Liverpool... on the other hand good players are hardly good captains than not. so I suppose he won't be sorely missed as captain...:-))

    if you still don't get why he was very unprofessional I'm afraid, I cannot help you.

  • Comment number 100.

    oh i see so now loads of decisions went against united so its just swings and roundabouts but when we get a decision its becuase we pay the ref.

    We have just as many decisions go against us that go for us but it doesnt get brought up as much because we are a side that can overcome it. Plus it would destroy the myth that united are only top becuase of bad referees.

    Maybe rooney should of got a red against wigan (what would it matter, hes overrated isnt he) but noone goes on about ashley cole playing when he should of been locked up or the gary caldwell challenge on evra in the same game at the weekend that went unpunished(studs up on his ankle, straigth red please).

    tell me a dedcision that went for us and ill tell you one that went against us

 

Page 1 of 7

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.