Premier League 2020/21 Matchday 4 Recap
A crazy matchday with surprising, lopsided results! Leicester were poor against a motivated West Ham side and the Hammers were comfortable 3-0 winners, while Aston Villa stunned the world and Jurgen Klopp’s side with a 7-2 battering and Spurs shocked United at Old Trafford with a 6-1 victory. A brilliant weekend for the neutral fan, this week also saw little controversy in terms of Key Decisions that were made. There were no real arguments regarding any ambiguous handball rulings which was a huge positive for the Premier League, however, there were several Key Decisions by which fans were divided!
The most talked about decision was Anthony Martial’s red card, which many fans believed was unwarranted, considering Erik Lamela struck Martial in the face before the retaliation. This is clearly no excuse, however URef and URef users believe both parties should’ve been disciplined, suggested by the poor 47% approval rating for Anthony Taylor’s decision. There is an unspoken consensus that a yellow card for each player would’ve been the fair decision.
Lee Mason and VAR’s decision to wave away claims for a red card for David Luiz also received some scrutiny. David Luiz’s slight tug of Oli Burke’s shirt when through on goal was caught by VAR, however concluded the Lee Mason did not make a clear and obvious error. Once again, users disagreed and the URef twitter poll received a scandalous 26% approval rating for the non-call!
Mike Dean, too, was in the fan’s firing line, receiving a 37% approval rating on the URef twitter poll for a non-penalty call late in the Leeds v Manchester City fixture, which could’ve put the newly promoted side 2-1 up with less than 10 minutes to go!
Lights, Camera, Action!
Four Matchdays into this season and we are seeing almost double the amount of Key Decisions per game!
Last season there were 0.86 Key Decisions made per game, however this season there have been 1.56 Key Decisions made per game. This is an 81% increase in the amount of decisions refs are making! A crazy 61% of these Key Decisions have been related to penalties, and 76% of these penalty related decisions have been awarded!
This is not surprising considering the controversy around the new handball rules that have copped ongoing scrutiny through the first month of the season. With the Association moving to make changes to these rules, there is a good chance we will see this figure steadily decline over the next few months.
Ref of the Week
Newcastle’s victory over Burnley at St James’ Park was a routine game for David Coote. An obvious penalty was called after Nick Pope miscontrolled a back pass and lunged into Ryan Fraser, while several hard fouls were committed, and the referee handed out 5 yellow cards on the day. Coote had complete control of the game and made the right decisions re each yellow card offence, which is why he is Matchday 4’s Ref of the Week!
Stats of the Week
This Matchday was the first time in history that Manchester United and Liverpool both conceded 6+ on the same day!
5 penalties were awarded this week after huge criticism on the regularity at which penalties were being awarded. None of these penalty calls were handball offences, just sloppy fouls and moments of madness! These are promising signs that the Association’s changes to the handball rule will be effective in bringing the officiating back to normality!
Next Week Look out for…
Everton v Liverpool promises to be an exciting Merseyside Derby after the Toffees’ hot start to the season. The last time Everton recorded a Premier League victory over Liverpool was October 17, 2010. Next week’s matchup falls on the 10-year anniversary of that fixture!