Shearer Says: “As much as the referee will get criticised, I also think Jamie Vardy should take his fair share…”
The inconsistencies from the referee were mind-boggling
Yesterday’s game between Leicester and West Ham was one which certainly did not lack drama or incidents. We saw a red card, two penalties and four goals. Jamie Vardy was dismissed after receiving two yellow cards. The first of which never merited a booking. However, once he was on a yellow card, to do what he did was foolish. It was a dive. He was trying to buy a penalty so I think the referee got that decision correct. From that point onwards the whole dynamic of the game changed. Leicester had to sit back, the crowd reacted, were antagonised and West Ham obviously changed their game plan.
For the penalty that led to West Ham’s equaliser, there was contact but it was very minimal. I thought Reid made the most out of it. He was pulled back and yet he dived forwards. There were far worse incidents in the game in which the referee did not give fouls for. I think that was the softest one of the lot. It mystifies me that in Leicester’s 34th game of the campaign; Jon Moss would look to make a point like that about them.
He had warned Morgan before the penalty decision but you don’t have to warn a player that you are going to give a penalty or free-kick. It seemed premeditated for some reason and ironically there were far worse incidents in the penalty area than the one he gave. What was even more mystifying, though, was once he had given the penalty to the Hammers, he didn’t give Leicester one for exactly the same thing when Robert Huth was being pulled in the area. The inconsistencies were mind-boggling.
Going into the last few minutes, it seemed to me that the ref sensed he had messed up and consciously or not evened it up. He gave Leicester a penalty when Andy Carroll challenged Jeff Schlupp. Let’s be honest, it was never a penalty in a million years.
As much as the referee will get criticised, I also think Jamie Vardy should take his fair share of the criticism. Leicester were 1-0 up and going well before he dived and things changed from there.
What we must not forget is that it was a fantastic game of football. Aaron Cresswell scored a super goal. Leicester also showed great character coming back from 2-1 down against 10 men to finish with a draw. It could end up being a massive point for them. They are eight points clear going into the Tottenham game tonight away to Stoke. It’s a must win game for them and it is not going to be easy.
I know they won’t have Vardy when they play Swansea next weekend but I still think they’ll have enough to win that game at home.
Defoe could be the difference in this relegation scrap
At the other end of the table, I don’t think many would admit it but there were probably some Newcastle fans who were cheering on Sunderland at the weekend against Norwich. A Sunderland win was the best result for Newcastle. They duly obliged and I thought it was a brilliant result for them when you consider Newcastle had been there recently where they conceded three goals and were well-beaten.
Sunderland’s win in the lunch-time kick-off on Saturday then put the pressure back on Newcastle at home to Swansea. Although the scoreline might have flattered them at 3-0, it doesn’t matter because it is all about getting the win and they got that. What Newcastle have done is given themselves a glimmer of hope.
Newcastle’s next two games are Manchester City at home and Liverpool away. They are two daunting games and they need to get one win from those and look to the last three games which are winnable!
The alarming thing for Norwich will be the fact they have been beaten so convincingly at home by a team that were below them in the table. That won’t do their confidence any good. As a Newcastle fan, I’m worried about Sunderland now and what they can do. Defoe could make all the difference in this relegation scrap and he continues to score for them.
He’s always scored goals wherever he has been and he is even doing it now in a struggling side. Norwich and Newcastle have really struggled for a goalscorer this season. Let’s face it, there are not many around. Sunderland have one and they are making the most of it.
Rafa had to do something with his side against Swansea after the shambolic performance a week earlier against Southampton. He left a couple of players out to freshen things up a bit. He gave Sissoko the armband, which was a surprise given his form away from home but he reacted in the right way as he put in a very good performance.
End of the road for Berahino at West Brom
Saido Berahino missed two penalties at the weekend for West Brom. I think it has been a wasted season for the Baggies forward after his rows with the club. To waste a season like he has done is a shame because if you are lucky you only end up having 17 or 18 campaigns as a footballer. I should imagine the club and the player will want to go in a different direction next season. He made mistakes but he did come out and apologise. The quicker the end of the season comes for him, the better. West Brom will want to cash in now and move on without him.
I’ve never heard the Kop as loud as on Thursday night
Liverpool appear to be finishing the season strongly. It was an amazing game on Thursday evening where they came back from 3-1 down to beat Dortmund. I’ve been privileged enough to play at Anfield many times but I don’t think I have heard The Kop sing You’ll Never Walk Alone as loud as that. The atmosphere was just amazing and the game lived up to that. He changed his team around against Bournemouth yesterday but they still put in a good performance picking up the win. It’s looking good for them now. Daniel Sturridge looks to be finding his form ahead of the Euros. He needs to stay fit, though, that’s always been the big problem for him.
Three-way battle hots up in Spain as Barca slip again
It’s amazing what has happened in Spain with Barcelona. It was not long ago that we were talking about them as having one of the best forward lines ever. They have since gone out of the Champions League and lost their last three games in La Liga. It’s all to play for that in that league as they are now level on points with Atletico Madrid and just one point ahead of Real. We think our league is exciting right now but it really is in the balance over there in Spain too.