Football

The Premier League is no longer the best domestic division in world football

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The moment Ashley Barnes went studs-up on Nemanja Matic, many expected to see referee Martin Atkinson brandish a red card. However, the card wasn't waved towards the 'criminal', as Jose Mourinho puts it, Ashley Barnes. It was shown to Nemanja Matic, who reacted violently to the horror tackle.

Meanwhile, Barnes walked away, without so much as a warning. Just minutes later, Burnley equalised, stealing two points from an unspectacular Chelsea side that had just seen a crucial midfielder sent-off. 

The red card could have devastating consequences on a Chelsea side that could well see their season head south after yet another game with speculative refereeing, with a clash in the Capital One Cup final on the horizon.

Mourinho made his displeasure clear after the game, stating four situations that were pivotal to the outcome of the game: a clear handball in the penalty box, a red-card appeal, a penalty-denial after Costa went down, and the Matic red card.

The fact that Barnes did not so much as get a talking to the whole game is baffling. His horror-tackle was unquestionable, yet the result of his actions will cost Chelsea dearly.

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Matic's response may or may not have been justified, but the actions of Barnes cannot go unnoticed. As Mourinho and many other managers will tell you, had Diego Costa made that challenge he would be sent-off and be given an extensive ban. 

Southampton were another team to be robbed this weekend, with Liverpool escaping a penalty and a possible red card for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as he hand-balled outside his penalty area.

Liverpool went on to win the game. Had the referee, Kevin Friend, made the proper decisions the game could have well gone the other way.

Inconsistent decisions

Meanwhile, Jan Vertonghen escaped punishment for a shove on West Ham's Mark Noble, that, at the very least, merited a yellow card. Click to see here.

Speculative refereeing has led to the defamation of the Premier League's status as "the world's best league". Indeed, the decisions of the Football Association and their referee's have cost teams dearly in important, season-defining fixtures.

Months ago the idea of a problem such as the "campaign against Chelsea" seemed outlandish and far-fetched. Yet, with error-prone referees being publicised almost weekly, Mourinho's campaign against Chelsea may yet have some credence. 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Ashley Barnes
Nemanja Matic
Southampton
Chelsea

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