Here are the key things we learned from the 5-2 defeat away to City on Saturday lunchtime that leaves the team struggling in the title race after just two games.
Refereeing in the FA WSL is still a big problem
Besides the Parris incident (see below), I was at Bristol v Yeovil on Saturday night and the referee was as bad as the one in Manchester.
Twice a Yeovil player was going past Bristol players and twice the referee gave an advantage that yielded nothing. First, a winger went through, got fouled and barely stayed on her feet and her cross went nowhere. No booking or foul for the Bristol defender.
Then, with the score at 1-0 to Bristol, the Yeovil centre forward went through, got her shirt pulled but managed to stay on her feet and her shot was blocked. Had she gone down, it was a stonewall penalty for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity and a red card. But the referee gave nothing.
It is a problem that has been going on for years and the FA has not tried hard enough to bring through quality referees.
At the end of the day, we are talking about amateur referees i charge of professional players. What is the point of pushing for full-time pro teams if the refereeing level is consistently below the required performance?
The Parris incident:
I do wonder if Arsenal should appeal because the referee clearly did not see the incident properly as she took no action.
We saw recently with Sane of Liverpool that the right decision is a straight red card and a three game ban. Here, nothing was given, and that’s absolutely shocking. It was a game changing decision, and some might say the referee bottled the decision. I don’t think so, I simply think she was too lenient as many referees in England are. Protecting the physical integrity of players does not seem a priority for the FA.
Law 12 is written in black and white, it is a red card. But referees in England seem to have a problem applying it properly and use every excuse not to give yellow and red cards.
I believe the attitude comes from the FA, as referees get told they are too busy if they apply the rules correctly and are giving cards according to the laws of the game.
“A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following: serious foul play.
“A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.
“Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”
A Video Assistant Referee would have also helped here. A simple review would have made the decision obvious. The game would have turned out differently if Parris had been sent off for serious foul play. Arsenal did not manage the internal factors well, but when the external factors go against you as well, it’s harder still.