Mark Hughes is furious that Mohamed Elneny had his red card overturned, claiming bias in favour of the big clubs but his own player was lucky to escape two red cards in the same game for awful challenges that make Elneny’s stroke look like a kitten toying a baby.
“I’m not aware who made this decision or who was involved in the process, they keep that a secret,” Hughes moaned at his pre-match press conference.
“There were other incidents as well where there needs to be continuity and consistency with the referee’s decision making.
“It frustrates me because it isn’t explained and the thinking behind it is just a decision that is released and there is no explanation why or how that decision became a valid one.
“It’s a bit galling. We were disappointed not because we want to punish other players, unless it’s warranted, but it needs to be like for like.”
Hughes is 100% correct – there were other incidents that deserved to be looked at.
Like Dusan Tadic’s rake down the back of Reiss Nelson’s calf less than two minutes into the game. Or the same player’s studs-up challenge on Alex Iwobi.
The two incidents generated one free-kick and no cards.
It’s easy to deploy the narrative that referees favour home teams, but this is far from the case. If that was true, Andre Marriner wouldn’t have sent Elneny off in the first place and would have dealt with Tadic instead of just ignoring him. Twice.
Looking at the incident after the fact it’s not hard to understand why the FA decided to overturn Elneny’s three-match ban.
Although you are not allowed to lift your hands in any fashion, we see that sort of thing 100 times every weekend without punishment and there were numerous incidents of worse contact being made in the scuffle that followed Jack v Jack.
Had the FA upheld Elneny’s ban they would have had to retroactively ban t least another five players from that game.