Stoke City lead in-form Newcastle United 1-0 at St. James Park and seemed quite capable of putting some points with their poor away record when referee Martin Atkinson made a series of debatable calls that lead a 9-man Potters squad falling 5-1 and six points below 9th place Southampton.
“We’re dumbstruck by the performance of the referee, unfortunately,” Hughes told Sky Sports. “People say he’s one of the best referees in the league, and he’s performed worse than the standard required today.”
Hughes (see aesthetically-pleasing image of a graceful coat fling above) was sent off soon after defender Glenn Whelan received his second yellow card of the day, effectively dooming Stoke’s rare road lead. Whelan’s first yellow was for kicking the ball away after a rash foul on Moussa Sissoko, but his second seemed to be at-worst up for debate; Yohan Cabaye crumpled after a questionable kick to his lower right leg. It was a silly foul for a man sitting on a yellow, but certainly not so treacherous.
Minutes later, with Hughes in the seats, Marc Wilson received a red card for taking Loic Remy down. A penalty followed and Stoke survived it only to lose its lead on a Newcastle counter attack that followed an non-whistled handball on Mike Williamson.
Hughes went on…
1) On Whelan’s red:
“Apparently, he said that Whelan kicked the ball away, which bemuses me as Cabaye went over the top and Glenn reacted. Two minutes later he receives the second. An experienced referee should get the two players together and tell them to calm down.”
“I’m dismayed by his performance. When you’re on a yellow card you have to be careful, but Glenn’s just as bemused as everybody.”
2) On Wilson’s red:
“I’m assuming it’s for denying a goalscoring opportunity. My view is that there’s a lot of pushing and pulling. He went down very easily, but nobody seemed surprised when the penalty was given.”
3) On his sending off:
“I apologize as I kicked the ball onto the pitch. You have to accept that, but I think everybody who made the long trek to watch us today was disappointed with what happened.”
Hughes said he felt his team were on its way to maximum points before the calls in question and, while the game was very early and on the road against a strong side, many neutrals will agree with the outspoken manager. The Magpies had little trouble capitalizing on the Potters, who lacked composure after the incidents (and quite understandably so).
Sir Rod Stewart knows how to play to a crowd.
This proves it.
[ MORE: Wenger charged after push ]
And no, 72-year-old Stewart was not performing on stage at one of the world’s biggest venues on Sunday but he was instead conducting the draw for the fifth round of the Scottish FA Cup.
Live on Sky Sports in the UK, he was given the task of drawing out the home teams and Stewart did so in flamboyant and phenomenal fashion, especially when drawing out his beloved Glasgow Celtic.
Click play on the video below to be mesmerized by Stewart’s energy and excitement. This is brilliant.
There are some suggestions out there that he may have had a small alcoholic beverage before taking part in the draw…
Personally, I think there should be a new rule which sees Rod Stewart involved in every single cup draw from here on out.
Agree? I think you will.
Arsene Wenger has been charged with misconduct by the English Football Association.
[ MORE: New PL title odds released ]
Wenger, 66, reacted angrily to Arsenal conceding a penalty kick in second half stoppage time against Burnley on Sunday — the 10-man Gunners would go on to get a contentious spot kick off their own in the 98th minute to win 2-1 — and was sent to the stands by the officials.
He then appeared to push the fourth official and afterwards admitted he “regrets everything” and he should have “shut up and gone home” after the incident.
The FA released the following statement regarding Wenger’s charge.
Arsene Wenger has been charged for misconduct following Arsenal’s game against Burnley on Sunday [22 January 2017].
It is alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official. It is further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.
He has until 6pm on 26 January 2017 to respond to the charge.
Many are calling for Wenger to be handed a very long ban for his actions.
He pushed fourth official Anthony Taylor and although it wasn’t hard enough for Taylor to fall over, it was in an aggressive manner and Wenger and the fourth official were separated by security guards in the tunnel area.
It was not the Frenchman’s finest moment and he is sure to pay a heavy price both in a fine and a potential touchline ban.
If Jose Mourinho received a one-game touchline ban for kicking a battle earlier this season, then surely Wenger has to get at least two or three games for physical contact with a match official.
The stress of a title race does funny things to even the coolest of characters.
D.C. United have completed the deal to bring Ian Harkes back to RFK Stadium.
[ MORE: Title odds in PL ]
Harkes, 21, signed for the Major League Soccer franchise Monday as a Homegrown player, fresh from winning the MAC Hermann Trophy earlier this month as the best collegiate player in the U.S. following his heroics with Wake Forest University over the past four years.
Son of former D.C. United and U.S. national team captain John Harkes, it is believed the two-way midfielder had plenty of options in Europe due to his dual nationality after he was born in England duringJohn’s playing days with Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest.
However, the younger Harkes has instead decided to sign for United and head coach Ben Olsen was delighted to add arguably the most talented up and coming midfielder in U.S soccer.
“I’ve known Ian nearly his entire life and have watched him develop into one of the nation’s best young talents.” Olsen said. “He has all the tools to succeed at the next level and I look forward to being a part of his pro career.”
Harkes starred for DCU’s Academy as captain of both the U-16 and U-18 level before heading to Wake Forest for his storied four-year college career and now he will return home to try and lead a D.C. side back to the latter stages of the postseason.
Olsen has endured an up and down time with United over the past seven years, but has reached the MLS Cup playoffs in four of the last five campaigns.
Adding Harkes will no doubt increase DCU’s chances of making a deep run at the postseason in 2017. He also increase their number of Homegrown players to four in their current squad.
The bookies aren’t quite calling it yet, but it’s getting to that stage…
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
After a tumultuous weekend in the Premier League the odds on Chelsea winning the title were slashed to 2/5 odds-on by some bookmakers. Chelsea’s 15th win in their last 16 games, coupled with a draw for Manchester United, a draw between Manchester City and Tottenham, a defeat to Liverpool and a late win for Arsenal, saw things continue to stack in Antonio Conte‘s favor.
With all that in mind, below is a list of the title odds for the current top six teams in the Premier League via SkyBet in the UK.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
I don’t know about you guys but Arsenal at 9/1 seem like a very decent price considering the games they have coming up and their star players pretty much all in-form and, for now, fully fit. Maybe that’s where the value is in this market.
Would be intrigued to see who you guys would bet on, aside from Chelsea…
Chelsea – 2/5
Tottenham – 7/1
Arsenal – 9/1
Liverpool – 12/1
Manchester City – 22/1
Manchester United – 40/1