The mainstream media and others are making a lot of Troy Deeney’s red card in yesterday’s match between Watford and Arsenal. As the video grab pictured above demonstrates, on or around the 11th minute the Watford man while chasing down a ball, upon drawing abreast Torreira, the smallest man on the field, swung his elbow towards the Uruguayan’s face knocking him to the ground with his forearm. Referee Pawson and his assistant deemed it a red card.
Watford fans were naturally incensed and booed Torreira as expected. You would expect a more balanced approach from the media. But on my tv feed Danny Higginbottom, color commentator to Martin Tyler, spent most of the next 30 plus minutes of the half trying to downplay the seriousness of Deeney’s conduct. This is a player who one year before in a tv interview blatantly advocated a physical approach when playing Arsenal accusing the club of lacking cojones. Most players may have gotten away with a yellow card but Deeney was hoisted by his own petard. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer fella.
Deeney was bad and arguably premeditated but in my opinion a far more dangerous and potentially catastrophic foul was committed some five minutes later by Abdoulaye Doucouré, the up and coming Watford defensive midfielder. In an attempted tackle vs Torreira, he came right over the top, studs-up, slamming into his opponents shin. It immediately reminded me of that horrendous leg-breaking tackle on Eduardo 11 years ago as I reprised in my most recent blog. As the graphic below demonstrates, contact on Eduardo’s shin was made by Taylor’s studs at the almost exact same point as Doucouré on Torreira.
But for referee Pawson it was simply a foul, not even earning a yellow card. Furthermore there are no pictures online of the tackle and definitely no reporting.
In my recent blog exposing the loss of my football virginity I suggested that PGMOL is now doing a better job of better protect players from dangerous leg-breaking tackles. But clearly I was premature. Pawson after issuing that red card, clearly lacked the cojones to further punish Watford for overly physical play especially up against the pressure of home fans. What will it take for referees in England to get a backbone and enforce the rules against dangerous and reckless play?