Manchester City cut short the lead at the top of the table as they cruised past a hapless Wolverhampton Wanderers side at the Etihad
Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus netted a first half brace and a Conor Coady own goal resulted a 3-0 victory for the defending champions. Refereeing decisions had a huge impact on the game. Wolves French defender Willy Boly was brandished a direct red card for his tackle on Bernardo Silva in the 19th minute. Boly quite clearly won the ball but it was his follow-through that resulted in Wolves being reduced to 10-men for the better part of 70 minutes. Former Premier league referee Mark Clattenburg had his say on the controversial refereeing decisions in the game. Clattenburg felt that Willy Boly was a tad bit unfortunate for being given marching orders,
“Willy Boly was unfortunate to be sent off for his challenge on Bernardo Silva. You must first consider that the Wolves defender won the ball before catching the Manchester City midfielder,”
“That does not mean it is not a red card, of course. But Boly’s foot was low and he caught Silva on the ankle, not on the shin or higher. With instances such as this where the player wins the ball and his follow-through catches the opponent, we are advised that above the ankle is red, below is yellow.”
Questions were also raised on referee Craig Pawson’s decision to award City a penalty when Raheem Sterling went down in the box under a tackle from Ryan Bennett. However, Clattenburg seemed pretty certain that the right call was made,
“As for City’s penalty, this was the correct call. Ryan Bennett tackles with his wrong foot and catches Raheem Sterling on the knee. Sterling is running at pace and the contact is consistent with his fall. Forget his reputation for diving, this is a penalty.”
This game will certainly strengthen the argument for the implementation of VAR in the Premier League. Most leagues across Europe have already adopted it and it has been hugely beneficial so far. So it does seem to be just a matter of time before the FA also follows suit.