Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett wants a five-match ban for elbows, after watching West Ham United new-boy Marko Arnautovic commit the very act in gameweek two.
Giving his verdict on You Are The Ref, Hackett criticised referee Lee Mason for not identifying a blatant red card tackle from Mark Noble, and has called for longer bans for players caught using their elbows.
Hackett wrote: “The referees failure to detect this challenge contributed to West Ham’s Arnautovic deciding foolishly to take matters into his own hands by committing an outrageous brutal act, deliberately using his elbow on an opponent.
“This should be a five match ban! It is my belief that at the moment we are witnessing too many challenges that are reckless and with excessive force. The PGMOL need to call a meeting with the Premier League, PFA and LMA to express their concerns so that everyone understands the seriousness of these challenges.”
While they’re meeting, they could also discuss how to make just about everything about refereeing better. Arsenal have long been victim of dangerous tackles with excessive force, but have witnessed players get away with it without punishment.
If referees want to get a grip on these type of offences, they have to stamp it out early. Although they’re encouraged to let the game flow, allowing a team to serially foul and get away with hard tackles early on just encourages teams to go too far.
And before we even talk about longer bans for elbows, they have to get better at spotting them to begin with. Arsenal fans will remember Hector Bellerin being laid out by Marcos Alonso’s elbow during a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea last season.
While pundits claimed Alonso just wanted it more, Bellerin was on the ground, concussed, having taken Alonso’s arm to the face. I daresay that having refs spot blatant offences should be of higher priority than longer bans.