A number of TV pundits say Danny Welbeck shouldn’t have got up after being fouled in the area against Manchester United, and that the striker was punished for his honesty.
With Arsenal chasing the game, they brought on Welbeck, who was hacked down by Matteo Darmian in the area. It was a clear penalty, but when Danny looked up to see the referee without the whistle at his lips, he got back up and tried to play on.
Ferdinand says he should’ve stayed down, as he told BT Sport (via Express): “I would have been screaming at him. If I was on his team today I would have been saying ‘what are you getting up for? He kicked you, lay on the floor.
“In training I used to go mad. If he kicked you and it’s a penalty, it’s a penalty. Stay down.”
Frank Lampard agreed with him: “You want to win a game and you get brought down. He knows he’s had contact. If you give the referee two, three or four seconds… sometimes they need that to digest it and then they give it.
“The minute you jump up it makes the ref think ‘oh he’s up so there was maybe not the contact I thought there was’. We have to congratulate his intentions for not staying down but…”
The problem is that so many players in the Premier League would’ve stayed down and protested even if it wasn’t a penalty. Getting up and playing on makes therefore it seem like there was no infringement.
But Alan Shearer told Match of the Day that the officials should’ve been able to make the right call anyway, saying (via Daily Star): “Players often get criticised for going down far too easy and getting up and having a pop at the referee.
“There was no appeal at all there from Welbeck. He gets up and tries to play the game on. He needs help from the officials – that is a penalty.”
Ian Wright shared the same sentiment: “This is a penalty. How has he not given that? The linesman is there. Arsenal needed that, especially with the way they started. You’ve got to give that.”
If referees and the FA want to encourage honest play, they’re not doing a very good job of it. There’s no punishment for United players rolling around on the floor pretending to be injured to waste time, and when an Arsenal player doesn’t whine at the referee his penalty claim is ignored.
Bringing in VAR would certainly have seen at least one penalty awarded on Saturday, but, honestly, the referees just need to pay less attention to how players react, because this decision wasn’t a difficult one.