MEN: Penalty call leaves sour taste
- 15 February 2016 07:15
- Posted by @timoscroft
Sunday’s disappointing defeat to Spurs, one laced with controversy, unsurprisingly dominates the media agenda on the morning after the afternoon before but there’s also a snippet of big-money transfer talk to throw into the mix as well.
Let’s keep it local to start with as the Manchester Evening News’ Stuart Brennan pulls no punches on the decision to award a penalty against Raheem Sterling for handball.
"There are times in a season when a team's title challenge turns.
"It can be a wonderful winning goal, a marvellous goalkeeping display, or an inspired tactical substitution by a manager.
"But when it is a stupid, inexcusable error by a referee, as we saw here from Mark Clattenburg, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
"Of course, such decisions come and go – swings and roundabouts, and all that stuff – but when they go against you in such a big game, and in such an abysmal fashion, the official has to be taken to account.
"Clattenburg is meant to be one of England's top refs, and it would be enlightening to hear what was going through his mind when he pointed to the spot."
But the Guardian’s Paul Wilson can see why Clattenburg’s call went against the Blues: "Rose was not attempting anything improvisational when he was involved in the game’s moment of controversy at the start of the second half, however, he was merely sending in a routine cross from the left. Raheem Sterling jumped in the air to block it, and ended up doing so with the back of his arm as he turned away from the ball.
"You see them given and you see them not given, but though the home crowd felt it was harsh Mark Clattenburg’s decision to award a penalty could be defended.
"The ball had not merely struck an unknowing Sterling. He had moved to cut out the cross and should have been more careful. It is hard to argue ball to hand when a player has launched himself at the ball, and as Sterling was the beneficiary of the last appalling decision on this ground it might even be said that what goes around comes around."
The Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman pitches his opinion somewhere in between these two, saying, "How referee Mark Clattenburg decided he was in a good enough position to judge that Danny Rose’s cross had struck Raheem Sterling on the arm only he will know.
"Was Sterling inside the penalty area as he jumped in the air and turned his back? Hard to say, really.
"Did the ball then strike him on the left arm, the arm seemingly shielded from Clattenburg’s view? Absolutely impossible to say.
"The match official found some certainty from somewhere, however, and once Harry Kane dispatched the penalty – straight down the middle after waiting for Joe Hart to dive – a game that had simmered interestingly rather than irresistibly became as engaging as anything seen here this season."
Transfer talk isn’t so prominent given the fall-out from Sunday, but there’s still a morsel to pore over in the Mirror. They claim that Barcelona have lost interest in a move for Juventus’ Paul Pogba (below), putting us on “red alert” no less!
"Manchester City are on red alert after Barcelona pulled out of a world-record deal to sign the Blues' long-term target Paul Pogba this summer.
"European champions Barca had an outline agreement with Juventus and the France international that would have allowed them to sign Pogba at the end of the season in a structured deal worth in excess of £85million.
"Pogba is one of City’s top objectives in the transfer market this summer, but Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane can be expected to rival Pep Guardiola for his signature."