Howard Webb's Last Ten Trips To OT

'What is it about Howard Webb and Old Trafford' asked the front-page blurb of F365 after Sunday's rather controversial FA Cup clash. Well now you can judge for yourself with our guide to his last ten matches at OT...

Last Updated: 11/01/11 at 16:14

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'What is it about Howard Webb and Old Trafford' asked the front-page blurb of F365 after Sunday's rather controversial FA Cup clash. Well now you can judge for yourself with our guide to his last ten matches at OT...

Man United 1 Man City 2, February 10, 2008
City's victory is more comfortable than the scoreline suggests - United score their goal in injury-time - and Webb enjoys a relatively easy day at the office. The game marks the last time that United fail to win a game at Old Trafford officiated by the Yorkshireman.

Man 2 United Arsenal 1, April 19, 2008
There is little argument from the Arsenal players - five of whom are booked during the 90 minutes - when William Gallas handles in the area and Webb awards a penalty that sees Cristiano Ronaldo equalise from the spot. Ten minutes later, Owen Hargreaves - remember him? - scores United's winner direct from a free-kick.

"You could give or not give the penalty. For the free-kick, Gilberto did not touch him," complains Arsene Wenger.

Man United 3 Chelsea 0, January 11, 2009
Less than 48 hours after Rafa Benitez advises Luiz Felipe Scolari to "man-mark" Ferguson and his coaching staff at half-time so that the referee is protected from interference, Webb cautions four Chelsea players within half an hour before a Nemanja Vidic header on the stroke of half-time sets United on their way to an emphatic victory.

Just moments before the Vidic goal, Webb had ruled out a Wayne Rooney 'goal' after United had taken a short corner that went unnoticed by most spectators inside Old Trafford.

Man United 2 Blackburn 1, February 21, 2009
Webb disallows a Jonny Evans header and cautions Cristiano Ronaldo for diving shortly before the forward scores the game's winning goal. Rovers complain afterwards that Ronaldo should have also been booked for flicking out - it hardly amounts to a kick - at David Dunn but the game's most controversial moment occurs in the final seconds when a clear shirt-pull inside the area by Rafael on Morten Gamst Pedersen goes unpunished.

"It would have to be pretty blatant to get a penalty at Old Trafford. We all know that," rages an angry Sam Allardyce. "You'd have to ask Howard Webb if Ronaldo should have been on the pitch. Those things come and go when you're playing at Old Trafford, don't they?"

Man United 5 Tottenham 2, April 24, 2009
In the words of the Daily Telegraph, 'it could have been the decision that secured United the championship'. United are trailing 2-0 with barely half an hour left to play when Webb - 'who was almost 35 yards away, and behind play' - awards a penalty when Heurelho Gomes tangles with Michael Carrick. Replays clearly show the goalkeeper took ball before man. "The players can't believe it," says Harry Redknapp. "It changed the game." Momentum shifted, Spurs collapse and United never looked back.

"I think it was a case of a referee crumbling under the pressure at Old Trafford really," complains Jermaine Jenas. "The atmosphere, the occasion, the importance of the match, a lot of factors take their toll when making decisions. One thing which struck me about it was that he didn't even think. It was like he'd already made his mind up when he came out for the second half that he was going to give something. It was a very important moment in the season."

Man United 3 Man City 1, January 27, 2010
Webb makes his first return to Old Trafford since the Gomes controversy for the second-leg Carling Cup semi-final. United eventually progress to Wembley courtesy of an injury-time aggregate winner from Wayne Rooney, but the outcome could have been very different had Rio Ferdinand justifiably received his marching orders after 24 minutes of play after a clash with Carlos Tevez.

In the words of the BBC match report, 'Ferdinand was fortunate to escape punishment from referee Howard Webb when he caught the Argentine in the face with a swinging arm as they tussled for possession.'

Man United 2 Liverpool 1, March 21, 2010
Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez clash on the touchline after Webb awards the home side a controversial 19th-minute penalty that enables the champions to draw level after Fernando Torres' early opener.

With replays also showing that the initial contact between Javier Mascherano and Antonio Valencia occurred outside of the box, Benitez accuses the United player of diving to win the penalty. Ferguson responds by applauding Webb's decision and arguing Mascherano should have been dismissed. "Refs are professional but we know about the influence of Sir Alex in everything," counters Benitez.

Man United 3 Liverpool 2, September 19, 2010
Though Liverpool claw their way back into the match through two disputed decisions, neither call is made by Webb. "They didn't offer anything and depended on decisions from the linesman to get back in the game," notes Sir Alex. With Darren Cann flagging for both infringements, and replays offering no evidence that Webb would have awarded either the free-kick or the penalty from which Steven Gerrard scores, the referee's big decision of the day is whether or not to dismiss last man John O'Shea for pulling back Fernando Torres.

As F365 argued at the time: 'The decision was taken quickly and apparently made without any consultation between Webb and Darren Cann, his long-time assistant whose flag-waving prompted the award of a free-kick. Ref365 argues in support of Webb on the basis that replays 'suggest' Torres would not have reached the ball. Denied the use of a replay, it must have been a 50-50 call from the officials and it's certainly debatable whether a defender making such a cynical foul in the full knowledge that he was the last man deserved the benefit of any doubt.'

Man United 1 Arsenal 0, December 13, 2010
Cann is not on duty and it is Webb's new assistant Dave Bryan who awards United a second-half penalty for a non-existent handball by Gael Clichy. Webb rubber-stamps the award and justice - or something close to it - is only served when Rooney blazes over the ball.

Four of the visitors are cautioned over the course of the game, while Rio Ferdinand escapes punishment for a hip-high, studs-up challenge on Bacary Sagna and Darren Fletcher isn't even cautioned for chasing after Webb before pushing the official.

Man United 1 Liverpool 0, January 9, 2011
In sharp contrast to events six months previously, it is Webb, from a distance of around 25 yards, who awards United their match-winning penalty for an alleged offence that occurs on almost exactly the same part of the pitch that saw Cann award Liverpool their penalty at Old Trafford in September. Replays indicate that Berbatov falls to the ground in an exaggerated fashion and show that Webb linesman did not signal that any foul took place. "The penalty is a joke," says new Pool boss Kenny Dalglish.

The Scot is further aggrieved by Webb's decision to dismiss Steven Gerrard but there is little sympathy for the Liverpool captain after his reckless lunge.

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