Man United’s loss to Chelsea last night was telling. Not just in terms of how it opens up the title race but it gave us another fabulous insight into the world of Alex Ferguson.
Barely hours after Wayne Rooney had gotten away with his elbow, United found themselves on the wrong end of a couple of decisions. Firstly, I thought the penalty was extremely generous. Zhirkov ran into Smalling who made no Denilsonesque wave of his leg. He just stood there and the Russian tumbled.
Then, having already been booked, the exciting David Luiz very obviously and very deliberately fouled Wayne Rooney. It was a second yellow offence, no doubt about it. Especially when you consider what Vidic got his second yellow for. But perhaps Martin Atkinson chose to overlook the foul because it was on Wayne Rooney. Perhaps it was some payback for Rooney’s first half dive.
Whatever the reason for it, it was a poor decision. Luiz should have gone. And the United manager’s ire was understandable. Yet surely after getting away with one over the Rooney incident he’d keep quiet? Nope. That’s forgotten, water under the bridge already, and he directed the invective towards Atkinson.
I must say that, when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst. You want a fair referee, you know … You want a strong referee, anyway, and we didn’t get that.
It will be interesting to see how the FA react to this. Having been accused, wrongly in my opinion, of being in United’s pocket because of Clattengate, they know face a situation where a top level manager has called into question the integrity of a match official.
Like I say, I can understand the ire, but casting those kinds of aspersions on a referee is not something that goes down well at Soho Square. I suspect an FA charge and this time not even Mark Clattenburg can save him.