All United fans can happily acknowledge that Chelsea have surprised us this season in taking the title to the final day of the season. Whilst we have watched our team play the superior football, Chelsea racked up the points on a weekly basis, and were there to take advantage when we dropped silly points. Draws against Boro and Blackburn in the final month of the season could have cost us, but fortunately, we won when it mattered, which eventually saw us claiming the title by two points.
However today, Grant has blasted the referees in this country, claiming they have handed us points on too many occasions, namely the Chelsea game at Old Trafford earlier this season, his first game in charge of the blues.
“I think in our game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, the referee (Mike Dean) influenced the result for sure. We know that,” he rambled. “I think the red card for Mikel John Obi in that game should not have been a red card.”
I will forgive him for seeing the game through blue tinted specs, as I know all too well how biased I am capable of being. But Grant has certainly seemed to have forgotten some key moments in that 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.
1. Joe Cole vs Patrice Evra
17 minutes played. Evra bursts in to the Chelsea box only to be brought down by Joe Cole. As the last man, Cole should have been sent off and a penalty for United should have been awarded.
BBC: The home side were denied a penalty when a sliding Joe Cole appeared to make contact with Evra ahead of getting a touch on the ball
The Independent: Mike Dean failed to award a penalty to Manchester United for Joe Cole’s crude challenge on Patrice Evra on 17 minutes.
2. John Terry and the red card
After John Obi Mikel had been somewhat harshly sent off, John Terry took hold of Dean’s red card as it was shown. I certainly would complain if a United player was sent off in similar circumstances, particularly in such an important game, as a yellow card would have been a fairer decision. However, Mikel did go in with his studs, so a sending off wasn’t an entirely ridiculous decision (as United fans will remember Ronaldo being shown a red card on derby day for going in to a challenge showing his studs, despite not making any contact with the player). Regardless, that doesn’t warrant the Chelsea captain trying to take the red card out of the referee’s hand. No yellow card was given to Terry. When considering Wayne Rooney has been shown a second yellow for just sarcastically applauding a referee’s poor decision in the past, it takes the piss that Terry received no punishment for this.
3. Joe Cole vs Cristiano Ronaldo
73 minutes played. As Ronaldo bombs down the wing, Joe Cole slides in, making no attempt to go for the ball.
BBC: Joe Cole was fortunate to stay on the pitch for a lunge at Cristiano Ronaldo as Chelsea hoped to snatch an equaliser.
4. Chelsea’s Shots on Target0. Chelsea didn’t force Van der Sar in to making one save and managed just three shots that went off target. The worst, most heavily influenced referee in the World couldn’t have denied Chelsea getting a result at Old Trafford that day, as they did it all by themselves. How can a team that doesn’t have a single shot on target over a period of 90 minutes claim they were hard done by because of the referee?
Whilst Grant can complain about the Mikel sending off, there is no denying that Joe Cole made challenges worthy of 2 red cards but was shown just 1 yellow card and was allowed to stay on the field. There is no denying that the first of these challenges should have resulted in a United penalty with just 20 minutes played.
Bias in unavoidable when you’re heavily involved in a football club, but we should all try to avoid bias when it puts us in a position of looking bitter and deluded. Avram Grant should take note.