Not too long ago, Jayt wrote an article praising the performance of our referee, Lee Mason, against Liverpool. That sets me up rather nicely then, to slag off the referee Mike Jones and one of his assistants, Dave Bryan following a pathetic performance at Stamford Bridge.
It takes a lot to get Martinez riled, doesn’t it? Even the pressures of a relegation battle and the hardship of watching the likes of Jean Beausejour and Conor Sammon attempt to put the ball in the net with the success rate of a five year old solving quadratic equations isn’t enough to send him over the edge. Yet the ‘disgusting’ performance of the officials did.
Although we weren’t treated to a hairdryer display from Bobby (he’s not Sir Alex bloody Ferguson after all) we did see some criticism which is unusual for Martinez, considering he’s rarely criticised his team all season when he’s had every right to.
The decisions for Chelsea’s goals, particularly the first, were appalling. Branislav Ivanovic was a couple of yards offside and the linesman had a clear, unrestricted view of the penalty area, and he still failed to spot it. I seriously don’t understand how an official can make such a fundamental mistake and display such incompetence in a job he’s supposed to be a professional in. Furthermore, video replays have shown that Ivanovic even punched Shaun Maloney off the ball during the game, as shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AEmrDwynpU
Martinez then came out with what, dare-I-say-it, is a dominant ideology amongst fans of ‘small clubs’ like ‘little Wigan’. He claimed that big clubs like Chelsea get decisions like that and smaller clubs like ourselves have to suffer because there’s less implications that way. Let’s face it, it’s true. If those two decisions took place in United’s game against QPR and denied Prawn Sandwich FC the title, I’m sure the Premier League would get pummelled with thousands of rants from United fans situated in all four corners of Asia.
Conversely, what happens when Wigan get decisions like this? Two men and his dog from Ashton-in-Makerfield might complain and we might get a bit of sympathy from those lot at Match of the Day, but is that going to keep us in the Premier League? To quote Jonathan Liew from the Telegraph, nobody will remember those decisions when the Championship fixtures are released in the summer. You cheeky little bar steward, was my initial response, but you can’t deny he’s correct.
Personally, the one thing that angers me about modern day football is how the big clubs are at the top of the hierarchy. They dictate the referees, the FA and even which players are allowed to play in International matches. How crazy is that? You know something is seriously wrong when the most powerful man in English football is nobody at the FA, but Sir Alex bloody Ferguson.
That’s one of the attractions of the Championship I suppose, there is no Manchester United or Chelsea to monopolise things. Just ex-England managers, failed Premier League clubs of yesteryear and ex-Latics players who departed to achieve much greater things (eg Messrs Chimbonda, Bullard and Roberts).
I don’t want to convince myself I want us to go down, but there may be a few features of the Championship that will be a breath of fresh air for us Latics fans. Yet the satisfaction the media would get from seeing us perish and that terrible ‘I told you so’ look on the likes of Paul Merson and Jonathan Liew’s faces more than outweigh the breath of fresh air that will disappear by mid-September.
Yet it could be worse, at least Latics put in an admirable display and were only denied by a couple of moments of magic from Chelsea’s star officials. Blackburn and Bolton put in pathetic, toothless performances against sides that aren’t exactly Barcelona in the shape of West Brom and Fulham respectively.
Not even Phil Dowd or Urriah Rennie could have put in a shift bad enough to salvage anything from the game for either Coyle or Kean as both lost 3-0. Meanwhile at the Britannia, Wolves got a better performance but no points as Stoke triumphed 2-1, and QPR’s 2-0 defeat against Man Utd means all five of the relegation threatened quintet lost, meaning it’s very much as you were.
Bolton however, have managed to lose again since Saturday, at the Sports Direct Arena (it will catch on soon) against Newcastle this afternoon, defeated 2-0 thanks to goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Pappis Cisse. This result, coupled with Spurs’ 2-1 loss to Norwich at White Hart Lane, have put Newcastle joint fourth and in with a shout of the Champions League next season.
I have to admit I was sceptical when Newcastle replaced Houghton with Alan Pardew. This is the man who looked like he’d led West Ham to relegation in 2006/07 before Curbishley, Tevez and Brooking (mainly Brooking though) saved West Ham in the end. But his appointment has been a masterstroke, the departure of Andy Carroll looks like the best thing ever to happen to the Toon Army and the trio of Cabaye, Ba and Cisse are working wonders. Will they manage to pip Spurs to the post, even when Spurs looked to have third place sown up at Christmas?
Further up the league, the dream is finally over for Manchester City. It’s a shame because for so long they looked so close, but as I explained last week, it was inevitable that a spectacular failure would take place. The most likely was in the form of a Mario Balotelli red card.
Never one to shirk any headlines, Mario should have been sent off for a studs up challenge on Alex Song. He did finally get booked for a foul on Sagna, before another late challenge on the full back meant the red mist descended on a horrible afternoon for City.
They couldn’t go out with a whimper, a 0-0 draw to hand United the title wouldn’t suffice, the killer blow had to come and it came from the right boot of Mikel Arteta in the 87th minute. City looked flat, starved of ideas up front and were carrying a childish fool on the left wing. Why Mancini didn’t take Mario off earlier is beyond me, everyone else saw the red card coming from a mile off.
Mancini has reacted by saying Balotelli won’t play for City again this season, he’s likely to be replaced by Carlos Tevez a player who Mancini said would never play for the club again ever.
And after all this, the only winner is Sir Alex bloody Ferguson.
Goal of the Week: Pappis Cisse’s second goal at the Liberty was something else, it was nothing short of Bergkamp standard.
Dave Whelan of the Week: Three goals in three days, I think Pappis bags this one too.
Dave Bryan of the Week: It’s been a bad easter for Harry as Spurs’ grip on the top four loosens once more, but you can’t look past Mario, can you?
Quote of the Week: And Mr Martinez thinks he has it bad with referees? “Someone needs to be assassinated for us to be given a penalty.” I feel for you Kenny, I mean your battle for 8th place is really hotting up and you really need the points at this stage, don’t you?
Boselli Watch: Subway recently announced they were planning to release a sandwich named after Mauro, but the plans were scuppered when they realised it would just be an expensive sub.