Skip to content

Discussing a big decision in a big game, the PK and red card in Arsenal-Manchester City

Jan 13, 2013, 12:40 PM EST

Arsenal v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

Just nine minutes into Arsenal’s important meeting at home against Manchester City, this one took a fast turn toward the lesser fancied Sunday morning nether region of: “Uh, what time do those NFL playoff games start?”

That is to say, it was very nearly not worth watching.

Not because these two well-stocked clubs don’t deserve watching; both have exciting players and both are desperately chasing their own Premiership rewards. Rather, the watchability factor slipped because of a 9th minute incident that tilted the field heavily.

Sure enough, visiting City was in charge through much of the match and emerged with the 2-0 result.

Arsenal center back Laurent Koscielny was all over City striker Edin Dzeko as a ball dropped perilously in front of Gunners goal, blatantly wrapping both arms around the Bosnian striker. Both tumbled as Dzeko moved in for a potential early strike. Referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot, held up the red and … well, let’s talk about it:

  • It’s a tough call to make so early, but Dean made the right one (on the penalty kick, at least.) If Koscielny could have merely put a body on Dzeko, perhaps even laid an arm into him, that might have provided Dean sufficient cover to wave “play-on” or to think twice the expulsion, at least. More to the point, it might not have actually been a blatant foul. As it was, it’s a foul – and therefore a penalty kick.
  • It’s a brutal development, affecting the match so dramatically, so early. But as the game’s laws are written, Dean was mostly correct here. It’s a bold, bold call and Dean is no dummy; he recognizes exactly how much moment is altering fortunes.
  • For the reason I just stated – the titanic impact, that is – I wonder if City might have complained too much if Dean would have awarded the penalty kick and kept Koscielny on the field? I tend to believe most of us would have had little problem with that.
  • I’ve said before, I really wish the game’s lawmakers would review the double jeopardy involved in these decisions. Awarding a penalty kick (about 80 percent chance of scoring) and reducing a side to 10 men is so very harsh. I understand the argument: “Don’t foul!”  But we know there is so very much fouling and contact that goes on near goal. So these important decisions inside the 18 aren’t really about fouling, per se.  So much of that does go on.  It really comes down to chance and providence; it’s really more about which clear fouls are spotted by the man in the middle.

I said “double jeopardy” on the decision. I noticed a few minutes later where NBC colleague and pal Arlo White reminded mentioned on Twitter that my assessment may be a tad low:

source:

Latest Posts
  1. Debt-ridden Serie A side Parma to receive financial loans

    Mar 6, 2015, 11:16 PM EST

    Italy Soccer Serie A AP

    Parma will stay afloat in Serie A in the near future, thanks to a loan from the Italian Football Federation.

  2. Brendan Rodgers eyeing trophies at Liverpool, not considering Manchester City link

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:00 PM EST

    Liverpool FC Press Conference Getty Images

    Rodgers explains he’s going nowhere amidst links to a possible opening at Manchester City this summer.

  3. WATCH: ‘Keep the players calm’, says QPR boss Chris Ramsey prior to Tottenham clash

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:07 PM EST

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    QPR boss Chris Ramsey recognizes his team’s relegation struggle but sees no need to panic.

  4. Kaka calls MLS debut in Orlando one of his career’s ‘special moments’

    Mar 6, 2015, 7:30 PM EST

    Kaka, Orlando City SC Kaka, Orlando City SC

    Kaka believes his MLS debut will be one of his “special” career-defining moments.

  5. Jonny Evans to fight spitting charge in trial, Papiss Cisse accepts allegation

    Mar 6, 2015, 6:10 PM EST

    Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Jonny Evans will contest the FA charge against him for spitting at Newcastle United forward Papiss Cisse, who has already accepted a seven-game ban for the incident.

  6. LA Galaxy add former PSV midfielder Mika Vayrynen

    Mar 6, 2015, 5:25 PM EST

    745142_w2 Getty Images

    LA Galaxy fill an international roster spot with the addition of Finland’s Mika Vayrynen.

  7. Five storylines heading into FA Cup quarterfinals

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    BradfordCity Getty Images

    Storylines from the FA Cup, with the quarterfinals taking place over the next few days.

  8. Premier League Preview: QPR vs. Tottenham Hotspur

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:45 PM EST

    Nacer Chadli AP

    Preview of QPR v. Tottenham on Saturday.

  9. Who is the most underrated player in MLS? MLS stars weigh in, but who’s your pick?

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:14 PM EST

    Benny Feilhaber, Sporting KC Benny Feilhaber, Sporting KC

    Every team has one — or two, or three — guys that don’t get the credit they deserve. Who’s the MOST underrated player in MLS?

  10. Brazilian legend Ronaldo dismisses “nonsense” rumors (that he started) of comeback in NASL

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    Ronaldo, Fort Lauderdale Strikers Ronaldo, Fort Lauderdale Strikers

    Can it really be considered a “rumor” if you’re the one who said it first? Either way, no comeback for Il Fenomeno.

  11. USWNT 3-0 Switzerland: Morgan, Rodriguez, Wambach rescue USA at Algarve Cup

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:00 PM EST

    Abby Wambach, USWNT Getty Images

    It wasn’t pretty until late, but three points is three points. Improvement still needed before the World Cup.

  12. Louis van Gaal: I “have a very bad relationship” with Ryan Giggs — just kidding!

    Mar 6, 2015, 11:49 AM EST

    Ryan Giggs & Louis van Gaal, Manchester United FC Ryan Giggs & Louis van Gaal, Manchester United FC

    LVG is tired of your faux-controversies, British press. So much so he’s resorted to going along with them.

  13. FIFA Women’s PotY Nadine Kessler needs knee operation, could miss 2015 World Cup

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:38 AM EST

    Nadine Kessler, Germany Nadine Kessler, Germany

    A bitter blow for last year’s world’s best women’s player. An advantage to the rest of the field.

  14. MLS Week 1 preview: Sounders vs. Revs, Timbers vs. RSL headline First Kick weekend

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:52 AM EST

    Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders Getty Images

    Picking which six MLS games to watch this weekend was going to be really tough, so we did the dirty work for you.

  15. FA Cup preview: Wembley trips on the line as Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool shoot for semis

    Mar 6, 2015, 8:22 AM EST

    Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC Getty Images

    Man United haven’t won the FA Cup since 2004. Is this finally their year?

  16. PHOTOS: 2015 MLS jerseys have been unveiled — Which is the best? Worst?

    Mar 5, 2015, 10:22 PM EST

    MLS logo MLS logo

    Because who doesn’t love to critique and compare every team’s new jerseys?

  17. WATCH: Mohamed Salah’s 60-yard dribble and wondergoal; Juventus 1-2 Fiorentina

    Mar 5, 2015, 8:53 PM EST

    Mohamed Salah, ACF Fiorentina Mohamed Salah, ACF Fiorentina

    The dribble was a thing of beauty, but he still had to apply the finish. Not a problem for Salah.

  18. Now that it’s happening, MLS’s 20th season is sure to be the best one yet

    Mar 5, 2015, 8:15 PM EST

    Kaka, Orlando City SC Kaka, Orlando City SC

    The season is officially on. Here’s a few reasons to get excited, in case you’re not already. (You should be.)