Premier League Playback: Chelsea correct to be incensed by poor decisions

1 Comment


Jose Mourinho has moaned about officiating before. On many occasions. But this time, he really had a valid argument.

On Saturday Chelsea drew 1-1 against Burnley as their lead at the top of the Premier League table was cut to just five points. Mourinho’s boys were cruising against the Clarets but then a moment of real controversy, preceded by several failed penalty appeals and other dubious decisions, changed the game.

[ RELATED: Mourinho agitated, as decisions go against Blues ]

In the 69th minute of Burnley’s dramatic draw, Ashley Barnes lunged into an atrocious leg-breaker of a tackle on Nemanja Matic and as the Serbian got up he launched himself at Barnes and pushed the forward to the ground. Referee Martin Atkinson then sent off Matic with Chelsea 1-0 up and they couldn’t hold onto their lead after going down a man. Barnes has since been cleared of any retrospective action by the FA, while Chelsea ponder an appeal over Matic’s ban as he will miss the League Cup final on Sunday and two other PL games.

Is Mourinho right to be incensed? Absolutely. Here’s the transcript from his post-match presser which was conducted moment after the final whistle:

 “I think there are four moments of the game where you can write the story of the game,” Mourinho said. “Minute 30. Minute 33. Minute 43. Minute 69. I repeat for you, to make it easy for you. Minute 30. Minute 33. Minute 43. Minute 69.

“Asked to describe the incidents which occurred in those moments, Mourinho said: “I don’t describe. To describe I have to use words that I cannot use. It is better we finish here.”

Two extremely strong PK calls and a clear kick from Barnes into Branislav Ivanovic’s back was missed by Atkinson and his officiating crew in the first half, as the Blues were hard done by and had a routine win snatched away from them. Yes, Matic shouldn’t have pushed Barnes but the tackle was truly horrendous. PST’s Andy Edwards asked: what would you do in Matic’s situation? It would be extremely hard to not react. Mourinho then made an impromptu appearance on Sky Sports show Goals on Sunday and piled on the pressure by saying Ashley Barnes’ action were “criminal” and he lambasted Atkinson’s decisions.

Usually, talking about referees performances gets a bit old. Especially when it comes to Mourinho. But the Portuguese boss has a point. The decisions which went against his side on Saturday were horrendous and everyone sat at home and watching the game at Stamford Bridge knew it. It wasn’t the only shocking decision this weekend, as Southampton had at least two clear penalties waved away by referee Kevin Friend at St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

Speaking to Ronald Koeman after his side lost 2-0 to Liverpool, the Saints boss believes that more needs to be done to help the referee and he, like Mourinho, is a big fan of using technology.

“Humans can make mistakes, ” Koeman said. “In every country there are critics about the referee. I don’t do that. The fourth official can do a lot more than he can do. He is watching. He can help the referee with decisions and the technology is a big help for referees in a difficult situations.”

Mourinho has now spoken his mind after his initial encrypted message which seemed as though he was spouting off his lottery numbers. In minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69 of their match against Burnley, Chelsea have every right to feel aggrieved. With Manchester City breathing down their necks, will three points turning into one make a big difference at the end of the season? For Atkinson’s sake, I hope not.

Premier League Schedule – Week 26

Result Recap & Highlights
Aston Villa 1-2 Stoke Recap and watch here
Chelsea 1-1 Burnley Recap and watch here
Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal Recap and watch here
Everton 2-2 Leicester City Recap and watch here
Hull City 2-1 QPR Recap and watch here
Man City 5-0 Newcastle Recap and watch here
Southampton 0-2 Liverpool Recap and watch here
Sunderland 0-0 West Brom Recap and watch here
Swansea 2-1 Man United Recap and watch here
Tottenham 2-2 West Ham Recap and watch here

Officiating needs to be improved and I agree with Mourinho and Koeman, technology needs to be used wherever possible to help improve the standard of calls and make sure there is a level playing field.

At the moment the calls are ridiculously inconsistent and those decisions are the major talking points of games when we should be concentrating on the play of 22 professional players. Not four professional referees.


Liverpool launched themselves back into the top four race on Sunday with a vital away win at Southampton. In the driving rain on the south coast Philippe Coutinho produced a moment of magic early on and Raheem Sterling struck in the second half to kill off the Saints. That doesn’t tell the whole story at St. Mary’s. Far from it.

[ RELATED: Latest PL standings

Southampton could have had a penalty kick after 17 seconds when Emre Can appeared to haul back Filip Djuricic as he went clean through on goal. Referee Kevin Friend waved away the calls and did so again when Joe Allen clearly pulled back Djuricic moments later. Simon Mignolet also looked to have handled outside the box when blocking Eljero Elia’s shot and Dejan Lovren handled in the box before Jose Fonte looked to have brought down Sterling at the other end, but he did get a smidgen of the ball as he slid in. Chants of “1-0 to the referee” greeted Friend as he and the officials walked off the pitch to a cacophony of boos at half time as the home fans were incensed with his decisions.

Liverpool put in a solid display, despite only recording four shots on goal and having 40 percent of the ball, but were they a tad bit lucky against Saints? Our analysts break that down in the video below.

[ RELATED: Three things we learned from St. Mary’s ]

All in all, it was a turbulent afternoon down on the south coast, as the animosity towards the referee was equaled by how the home fans felt towards three of Liverpool’s players. Well, two. Lovren and Adam Lallana bore the brunt of the hatred, while Rickie Lambert was given a standing ovation as all three returned to St. Mary’s for the first-time since leaving for Liverpool last summer.

Lallana, who spoke to me for NBC SportsWorld last November about this very game, had an off-day as he was substituted in the second half with the entire stadium booing the former Saints skipper who had come through the ranks of their academy after joining the club as a 12-year-old. Lallana, according to rumors which he vehemently denies, refused to play for Saints last summer to push through a move to Liverpool. The locals did not forget.

[ RELATED: Lallana pens first-person piece for SportsWorld ]

He was cast as the villain, while the man he spear-headed Saints’ remarkable ascent from the third-tier to the top six of the PL with, Lambert, was lauded as fans sung his name all afternoon. It was bizarre and in his post-match press conference Rodgers was not happy with the way Lallana and Lambert were treated by Southampton’s fans… and the editor of the matchday programme.

“I was a wee bit disappointed for Adam Lallana, I’ve got to say. Adam was the captain here for two years and has given an incredible service to Southampton and I know for a fact that he could have left here a number of times and didn’t. To get the reception that he got was disappointing,” Rodgers said. “I looked in the match programme and there was nothing relevant to his time here and all the time he has been here since he was a boy. The likes of Rickie Lambert, an incredible servant here and got the club to where it is today.

“There was no mention of him. Which I thought was sad. Those two guys gave their heart and souls to Southampton and are big supporters of this club. They have moved to one of the biggest clubs in the world, so it’s hard to deny a player that. I thought they would have been given more here today. At other clubs they will always have something in there of appreciation for their former players, but there was absolutely nothing in there on these two guys. For me that’s a bit sad. I was thinking of them today when I was looking at the programme before the game. Everything they have given this club to get them to where they are today and there wasn’t a mention of them.”

Of course Rodgers is going to back his players, but did he really need to pick out something so obscure to make his appoint? He also thought the referee was “excellent”…

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Regardless of that strange Mourinho-esque episode, Coutinho’s moment of brilliance capped off a professional display as Liverpool bent but did not break against a goal-shy Southampton side who have now scored just once in their last four outings and were hamstrung by Sadio Mane being punished for turning up late for the pre-match meal. 10 games unbeaten in the PL and with just one defeat in their last 18 in all competitions, Liverpool are on a roll. The 3-4-3 formation is helping them grind out results, as they are now within three points of the top four and are two points behind arch-rivals Manchester United despite trailing them by 10 points on Dec. 26.


Mourinho blasts referee, Liverpool on the rise.

We’ve spoken about Mourinho and Liverpool, and they were the talk of the back pages across England on Monday.

Click on this link to see what the tabloids thought of Week 26 in the Premier League, as the storylines at the top and bottom of the table continue to contrive towards a conclusion in a hugely captivating fashion.


Manchester City have scored nine goals in their last two PL games and Sergio Aguero is back in business.

City hammered Newcastle 5-0, with the Argentine scoring one and creating havoc with his darting runs, on Saturday and were buoyed by the news that Chelsea let two points slip at home to relegation candidates Burnley. Can Man City claw back a five-point deficit in the final 12 games of the season? It’s doable.

[ RELATED: An in-depth look at NYCFC’s time at Man City ]

Aguero and Vincent Kompany look to have fully shaken off the rust from their long-term injuries, while Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony returning from the Africa Cup of Nations will rejuvenate the Citizens ahead of their huge UEFA Champions League last 16 clash against Barcelona on Tuesday.

Bigger challenges than a hapless Newcastle at home lie ahead for City, with a trip to Anfield to play in-form Liverpool next up in a real test of their title credentials. But if they carry on scoring boat loads of goals, City won’t be far off top spot when May 24 comes around.

Premier League Playback comes out every Monday as PST’s Editor and Lead Writer takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here.

Italy vs England: How to watch live, stream link, team news


England will begin their EURO 2024 quest the same way they finished their heartbreaking EURO 2020 campaign: facing Italy, now two-time champions of Europe, on Thursday.

[ LIVE: EURO 2024 qualifying scores – Italy vs England ]

The two European giants faced off in the 2020 final (in the summer of 2021) at Wembley Stadium in London, and it was the Italians who triumphed in the penalty shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw after regular time and extra time.

Italy and England are joined in Group C by Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta. The sides that finish 1st and 2nd in the group will qualify for next summer’s tournament in Germany.

[ MORE: USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup ]

Here is everything you need for Italy vs England. 

How to watch Italy vs England live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3:45pm ET, Thursday (March 23)
Stadium: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Napoli

Italy squad

Goalkeepers – Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Claudio Carnesecchi (Cremonese), Wladimiro Falcone (Lecce)

Defenders – Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Inter Milan), Francesco Acerbi (Inter Milan), Emerson Palmieri (West Ham), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (Lazio), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino)

Midfielders – Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Jorginho (Arsenal), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Monza), Sandro Tonali (AC Milan), Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo)

Forwards – Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Gianluca Scamacca (West Ham), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds), Simone Pafundi (Udinese), Mateo Retegui (Tigre)

England squad

Goalkeepers – Jordan Pickford (Everton), Fraser Forster (Tottenham), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders – Kyle Walker (Manchester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Reece James (Chelsea), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

Midfielders – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea)

Forwards – Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Phil Foden (Manchester City), James Maddison (Leicester), Ivan Toney (Brentford)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Ivan Toney – Video of all his Premier League goals in 2022-23


Ivan Toney has proven himself a bona fide Premier League striker, as he chases a 20-goal season and closes in on 30 scored across two top-flight campaigns, after just one (record-setting) season in the Championship.

Toney bagged a sensational 31 goals in 45 second-division games as Brentford won Premier League promotion in 2020-21, but there were (reasonable) questions about those goals translating to the best league in the world.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

He finished 11th in the PL with 12 goals last season, and now Toney is up to 16 goals through the Bees’ first 27 games this season — 3rd-most currently, behind only Erling Haaland’s 28 goals (WATCH HERE) and Harry Kane’s 21 (WATCH HERE).

Below you will find every Ivan Toney goal video from the 2022-23 Premier League season so far.

Goal vs Southampton – March 15, 2023

Goal vs Fulham – March 6, 2023

Goal vs Arsenal – February 11, 2023

Goal vs Bournemouth – January 14, 2023

Goal vs West Ham – December 30, 2022

Goal vs Tottenham – December 26, 2022

2 goals vs Manchester City – November 12, 2022

2 goals vs Brighton – October 14, 2022

Goal vs Newcastle – October 8, 2022

Hat trick vs Leeds – September 3, 2022

Goal vs Fulham – August 20, 2022

Goal vs Leicester – August 7, 2022

Follow @AndyEdMLS

New deadline looms for Manchester United bids


A new deadline is looming for potential new owners of Manchester United, as our partners in the UK at Sky Sports say the deadline for second offers is Wednesday, March 22.

They add that up to eight bids are expected, while INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has told The Wall Street Journal he won’t pay a ‘stupid price’ for the Red Devils.

The Glazer family continue to explore either the full or partial sale of the Premier League giants.

It has been widely reported by ESPN and Sky Sports that two bids, one from Ratcliffe and another led by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, are the frontrunners as the Glazers look at all of their available options.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Over the last few months the American family have been seeking potential investors in Manchester United and they have not been short of suitors.

Presentations have been taking place between potential new owners and investors and the Man United hierarchy over the last few weeks.

The latest updates

Two bids have now taken center stage as they arrived before the first, well-documented, deadline.

One is from INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who failed to buy Chelsea last year but was always said to prefer a bid for his boyhood club Manchester United.

“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint. What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently,” Ratcliffe told The Wall Street Journal.

Another bid is led by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is seeking full control of the club and is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank as his father was the former prime minister of Qatar.

The Glazer family bought United in 2005 for $1.4 billion and it is believed they are now asking over $7.3 billion for a full sale of the club.

Statement from INEOS

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS confirmed they have ‘submitted a bid for majority ownership of Manchester United’ and went into more detail on their plans.

“We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community. We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again.

“We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads. We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership. We want a Manchester United anchored in its proud history and roots in the northwest of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League.”

Statement from Qatari bid

The Qatari bid, led by Sheikh Jassim, promised that their offer is ‘completely debt free’ and they want United to become ‘the greatest football club in the world’ during their stewardship of the club.

“The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training center, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.

“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.”

USMNT roster for Nations League features Gio Reyna, no Tyler Adams


The USMNT will be without captain Tyler Adams when they play a pair of CONCACAF Nations League games later this month, but they will have 13 members of the 2022 World Cup squad, including Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna, as confirmed by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.

The Yanks will also not have Timothy Weah, who suffered a scary concussion for Lille versus Toulouse on Sunday. He’s been replaced by AZ Alkmaar’s Djordje Mihailovic.

[ MORE: USMNT to face rivals Mexico in April friendly ]

Adams will miss the games against Gernada (March 24) and El Salvador (March 27) after suffering a hamstring injury during a recent training session with Leeds United.

Reyna’s place within the team and program had come into question in the weeks and months since the World Cup, with events and an investigation transpiring involving former/a candidate to remain USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and Gio’s parents, Claudio and Danielle. Interim head coach Anthony Hudson explained Reyna’s inclusion as a decision to “move forward.”

[ MORE: USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup ]

“It became a bit more complex in the months since the World Cup, but as far as we’re concerned Gio is a part of our program,” Hudson said. “He’s a good guy and a top talent, and he is evaluated like any other player. We made the roster decisions based on what gives the team the best opportunity to win these games, and we brought him in because we think he can help us do that.”

Full USMNT roster for 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League

Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders (8): Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham/), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach/), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City)

Midfielders (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Sonora (Juárez), Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar)

Forwards (6): Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America)

EDIT: Tim Weah (Lille) was originally called up, but exited due to a head injury.

Follow @AndyEdMLS