Stadium of Light

Next Game

S'land v Newcastle

Sunday, 05 April 2015, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Upton Park

Last Game

West Ham 1 - 0 S'land

Saturday, 21 March 2015, 17:30

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

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

European Qualifiers round-up: Holland and Italy held to draws

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's late header rescued a point for Holland against Turkey in European Qualifying, while Eder spared Italy's blushes in Bulgaria.

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey bullish over Belgium clash after 3-0 win in Israel

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey is confident of cementing top spot by upsetting Group B favourites Belgium in June.

Gareth Bale says he takes criticism of his form with a pinch of salt

Gareth Bale insists he has nothing to prove to anybody after playing a starring role in a vital victory for Wales.

Mail Box

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

Ripe Robin Still Has A Role To Play...

There is some support for the aging Robin van Perise in a frankly threadbare Mailbox. Also, more debate over homegrown players, with a suggestion of an import tax...

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