It’s not that Steven Taylor should have stayed on. It’s more about whether the guidelines referees are asked to adhere to should have more flexibility. After Newcastle’s central defender was sent off just before halftime for swinging his arm into the back of Sergio Aguero’s head, it’s still unclear that all shots to the head should been treated the same.
At least, that’s the discussion that happened on air as Andre Marriner showed Taylor a straight red card, reducing Newcastle to 10 men.
The play happened just before intermission, shortly after Taylor received some fortune from Marriner. A ball that went off Taylor’s outstretched left forearm failed to draw the official’s whistle, depriving Manchester City a penalty.
Moments later, on a long ball sent out of City’s end, Taylor was preparing for a challenge against Aguero when his left arm swung up from his side and brushed the Argentine on the back of the head. Aguero immediately went down, with play stopped shortly there after.
This one was no judgment call for Marriner, who showed Taylor red for a shot to the head. There was no reason for Taylor’s arm to be that high, let alone getting there with a swinging motion that made contact with an opponent.
That was enough to reduce Newcastle to 10. The question is whether, in the broader scheme, it should justify a dismissal. On one hand, accidents happen, and situations like today’s can occur independent of intent. On the other hand, automatic dismissals encourage players to be especially mindful of this particularly dangerous situation, hopefully resulting in fewer needless injuries.
Right now, the second interpretation wins out, leaving the Magpies chasing two goals with 10 men.
At halftime at Eastlands, it’s 2-0, Manchester City.