Calum Chambers started for Middlesbrough as they lost to Watford on Sunday afternoon but the big talking point was the way the referee handled a situation that was quite similar to the one which saw Jon Moss send Granit Xhaka off against Swansea.
Already on a yellow card for a foul in the 21st minute, Antonio Barragan hauled his man to the ground just ten minutes later. There was no intention to play the ball and it was a foul designed to do nothing but stop a Watford attack as Isaac Success bore down on the Boro penalty area.
It was as clear a yellow as you are ever likely to see and the only difference between this offence and Granit Xhaka’s against Swansea was that Barragan used his arms. It could be argued that the Boro one was worse as it took place on the edge of the corner of the box compared to Xhaka’s which was on the halfway line by the touchline.
So the referee reached for his red card, right? Don’t be so daft. Not only did he not issue a red (because it’s not a red card offence as we discussed here) he didn’t even issue a second yellow.
What was also notable, along with the absence of a card, was the ongoing discussion by the commentators and pundits on Sky Sports.
They could not, for all the money in the world, work out how the foul had not drawn a yellow card.
Nobody wanted a straight red for it, just a yellow, despite it being as blatant, cynical and deliberate a foul as Xhaka’s, designed to stop a promising attack (much further up the pitch) simply using a different body part to the Swiss.
One rule for them…