Former Premier League referee Peter Walton says there shouldn’t be any debate about Arsenal’s penalty on Sunday, explaining why Jon Moss made the right decision.
With a quarter of the game left to go, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Sunday’s big-six clash out of Manchester United’s reach by scoring a penalty to make it 2-0. Whilst there was no doubt about the striker’s confident finish, there was some debate online about whether a spot-kick should have been given in the first place.
Alexandre Lacazette ran into the box at full speed, at which point Fred stuck out a leg and gave the striker a shove to send him to the floor. However, contact between the legs on the slow-motion replays seemed to be minimal. Walton pointed out afterwards that when you’re running at full pelt, that doesn’t make much difference.
“Jon Moss was right to give a penalty for Fred’s challenge on Alexandre Lacazette,” Walton said in The Times. “You may call it a “soft” penalty because there wasn’t that much contact, but the players were moving at speed and in that situation, you don’t have to whack someone for it to be a foul.
“Jon had a great view, he saw Fred’s right leg connect with Lacazette with enough force to knock him off balance. Anywhere else on the field, it would have been given as a foul and forgotten about, but we’re mulling it over because it is a penalty.”
To add to Walton’s point, you can clearly see Fred lean his body weight into the push on the replay:
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDWvid) March 11, 2019
The former referee is right, there would be absolutely no debate about this decision if it was anywhere else on the pitch. It’s a penalty, so people have to try and pick it apart, but ultimately Jon Moss made the correct call.