St James' Park, Newcastle

Next Game

Newcastle v Swansea

Saturday, 25 April 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

St James' Park, Newcastle

Last Game

Newcastle 1 - 3 Tottenham

Sunday, 19 April 2015, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Monday Moan: Reserve criticism for Rafael

Mark Holmes shifts criticism for David Luiz onto Rafael, looks at Everton's disallowed goal and questions why Steven Gerrard went unpunished.

Last Updated: 07/05/13 at 18:27 Post Comment

Rafael (left): Deserves more criticism than David Luiz

Rafael (left): Deserves more criticism than David Luiz

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Save criticism for Rafael, not Luiz

Sir Alex Ferguson accused David Luiz of 'rolling about like a dying swan' in Chelsea's win at Manchester United on Saturday, suggesting his reaction to Rafael's retaliatory kick 'convinced' Howard Webb to brandish the red card.

He may well be right. Sian Massey was seen mouthing 'yellow card please' to Webb following the incident, and there is every chance the referee would have taken his assistant's advice had Luiz not remained on the ground in apparent agony.

It is a form of gamesmanship that upsets a lot of people in this country, myself included. Oscar waving an imaginary card also got onlookers hot under the collar, not least Ryan Giggs.

However, although play acting is something that ought to be punished more often, there should be no sympathy whatsoever for Rafael. He kicked out at Luiz with the ball long gone simply because Manchester United were losing and he could not shake his fellow Brazilian off the ball.

Contrary to Ferguson's claims, Luiz did not 'quite clearly elbow Rafael twice', he merely used his body strength, legitimately, to shield the ball. It was excellent defending.

Furthermore, his smile after being kicked that has caused so much fuss was clearly in response to something said to him by a supporter in the crowd.

But, no matter what anyone's verdict of Luiz's actions are, it does not excuse Rafael's retaliation.

There is no excuse for kicking out at an opponent with the ball gone and, even if you believe a yellow card would have been a fairer punishment, there's no denying Rafael has only himself to blame for the three-game suspension he will now serve.

It was stupid, it was petulant and it was indefensible, yet criticism since the game, from Ferguson and most other onlookers, has been focused on the player that was kicked. It's quite bizarre.

Grappling complaints cost Anichebe a goal

Football fans and commentators in this country seem to be constantly confused. Referees, for example, are asked to be consistent yet show common sense - it is impossible to do both - while the reaction to the Rafael incident proves many are torn on whether violent conduct or simulation is a bigger crime, perhaps depending on the teams and players involved.

The pushing and shoving that goes on in penalty areas is something else that few people seem able to make their minds up on.

When it goes unpunished there are extremely vociferous complaints from those that insist it is not part of the game - yet many of the same people cry foul when goals are ruled out for the very offence.

I pointed this out earlier in the season. A lot of people tried to justify Marouane Fellaini's headbutt on Ryan Shawcross because of the holding in the box he was subjected to - judging also by the reaction to the Rafael incident, it seems like retaliation is deemed acceptable by many - yet there were complaints after Everton's very next game when they had a goal disallowed for Victor Anichebe's holding of West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The same player was involved in another controversial incident in Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Already warned once by referee Michael Oliver for pushing Jose Enrique, Anichebe was penalised for further pushing once the corner had been taken. Predictably, there have been plenty of complaints.

The goal should have stood in my opinion, but then I have always remained consistent in my belief that the majority of penalty-area jostling is part of the game.

Those that insist it is not cannot have it both ways. Anichebe undoubtedly did push Enrique once the corner had been taken so, to the people who are anti any sort of physical contact, there should be no argument against the referee's decision.

Again, which players and teams are involved in these incidents seems to play a part in how they are judged afterwards.

The bottom line is this: pushing, pulling and holding are tricks that defenders and attackers are equally adept at, and only in exceptional circumstances in which a player has clearly been prevented from getting to a ball does action need to be taken.

Unfortunately it is the constant complaining about every slight push and pull this season that has led to perfectly legitimate goals like Everton's being ruled out.

Gerrard lucky to escape punishment

Steven Gerrard was picked up quite clearly on television calling the referee some rather choice words on Sunday, yet he escaped punishment.

Anichebe, however, was booked for dissent after complaining about his disallowed goal.

There is much sympathy shown towards referees about the way they are spoken to and often surrounded by footballers, yet they do not do themselves any favours by allowing certain players to get away with more than others.

The bigger teams in the Premier League, in my opinion, are the worst in the league when it comes to haranguing referees, yet they seem to be punished far less for such offences.

Do the likes of Michael Oliver want to keep on the good side of superstars like Gerrard? It certainly seems that way.

If referees want to be shown respect, they need to punish dissent from all players.

We are currently experiencing problems with our Your Say boards. So why not join Mark for a live chat on the homepage between 2-4pm to discuss his latest Monday Moan blog? In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter @Homzy.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

f Klopp is available and willing to go there, they have to sign him up. Far better manager than Rodgers. The reason Liverpool fail in so many big games is the inflexible nature of their manager and his inability to find strikers who fit into his inflexible style of play. A feature of nearly every game that the team comes up short is the way the opposition midfield appears to overpower them. It's too easy.

Gab1965
Make Way For A Proper Genius, Brendan

B

est player award should not go to a player who's second best at all the importent categories (i.e goals, assists etc) just because his team is at the top. If you are not first you are last; if you're second you are the first loser ( looking at you Hazard). David De Gea for POTY.

mrbigstuff
Chelsea Not Worthy? Oh Please Stop It...

Y

ou can win five in a row or lose five in a row... Or in Carver's case you can win one in a row or lose five in a row.

black_waltz
Carver: I'm up to the job

Footer 365

Tom Cleverley credits Tim Sherwood for turning around Villa's fortunes

Tom Cleverley says Aston Villa have been transformed by Tim Sherwood's attacking mentality.

Tottenham move perfect for me, says Dele Alli

Dele Alli is looking forward to getting his Tottenham career started and feels it will be good for him to work under Mauricio Pochettino.

Robin van Persie plays first game in nine weeks for Man Utd

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie got an hour's play under his belt on Monday in his first game since February.

Mail Box

Klopp Over Rodgers? Not On Your Nelly

Liverpool fans have short memories and should give Rodgers more time, while Jose's tactics and claims are getting many more in a stew. It's the afternoon Mailbox...

Thank You And Goodbye, Mr Rodgers

The genius of Tactics Tim, time is up for Rodgers, the curious case of Eric Lamela, and the flaws of tactical voting - today's Mailbox is bursting at the seams...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company