One of our players would have to get his legs broken in the box to get a penalty from Mike Riley this weekend, following David Moyes’ suggestion that he’s a Manchester United fan.
Much is made of the stats concerning how many penalties Riley has awarded at Old Trafford. Nobody tends to look at the fairness of those decisions though. Was Riley right to award those penalties? Were they controversial? The only one I can think of was the one he awarded for Wayne Rooney when we ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run. But then he waved play on for a stone-wall penalty moments later, when Ashley Cole clearly brought down Cristiano Ronaldo and got nothing on the ball, as the BBC reported: Van Nistelrooy stroked in the spot-kick and United could have had another penalty when Cole brought down Ronaldo.
Over the past couple of decades, United have been the most successful club in this country, playing attacking football and spending more time in our opponents half and box than anyone else. Does it not stand to reason that we would be fouled a lot in the box then? When you have players like Cristiano Ronaldo, who often need to be fouled to be stopped, does it not make sense we’d get brought down more than most teams in the penalty area?
The focus on Riley’s decisions at Old Trafford may have already started to sway him against making the right decisions in our favour. He’s failed to give us a nailed on penalty already this season against Newcastle and following the attention Moyes has brought to Riley this week, the referee will be even more reluctant to make the big decisions which give us the advantage, however right or wrong they may be.
Sadly, well played David Moyes!