Manchester United were able to record an important victory on Saturday afternoon but Wayne Rooney’s double was far from the biggest talking point to come out of their encounter with Sunderland at Old Trafford.
Three points propelled Louis van Gaal’s side back into the Premier League’s top three with Arsenal set to play Everton on Sunday and it was a triumph much needed following last weekend’s defeat to Swansea.
But while Angel di Maria was taken off at the interval and Radamel Falcao left the field to a standing ovation, the undoubted main issue was the red card received by Wes Brown, the Sunderland defender.
Brown was shown a straight red for the part he played in the Manchester United penalty, except he played no direct part in the incident at all. Falcao had been felled on the penalty spot by John O’Shea, yet it was Brown who was red carded by Roger East.
Quite what the referee thought he had seen has left everyone scratching their respective heads. It was a decision of inexcusable ineptitude, and the Premier League must surely take action against their latest beleaguered official.
Brown had spoken before the game of a wish to produce a positive result in what could well have been his last appearance at Old Trafford, and this was not the way the former Manchester United defender would have envisaged saying goodbye.
Last week had seen Martin Atkinson produce an extraordinarily incompetent performance at Stamford Bridge, and Jose Mourinho was incensed at final whistle. Seven days on and we have another awful display, and referees at the top of the agenda once more.
Something must be done.
Old Trafford was, however, not the venue for the first piece of questionable refereeing on this Premier League weekend, with West Ham’s defeat to Crystal Palace also under scrutiny.
Crystal Palace were able to run out comfortable and unexpected 3-1 winners at the Boleyn Ground, but the hime side would have been incensed that Glenn Murray - scorer of two goals - stayed on the field for so long.
Murray had been booked after only 25 minutes for a poor challenge on Cheikou Kouyate and was very lucky indeed not to be given his marching orders before half-time. The same player was on the receiving end again of another yellow worthy foul, but Mike Dean chose to only give the Palace striker a warning.
West Ham had benefited in similar fashion last weekend when Mark Noble was fortunate not to be sent off against Tottenham, but that does not mean that these decisions from the refs were the right ones.
Noble should have been off at White Hart Lane and Murray should have been off at West Ham. The latter did eventually pick up a second booking late on, but had already scored a brace following his lucky escape.
Jonas Gutierrez was back in the Newcastle squad this afternoon just 17 months after he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Quite a story indeed, and one that will warm the hearts of all football fans.
It is incredible that the Argentine has managed to get himself back to match fitness so soon, although he was not afforded the opportunity to get back onto the pitch during his side’s defeat of of Aston Villa.
Papiss Cisse scored the only goal, and celebrated it with Jonas, but John Carver took the decision not to through the latter into action. Hopefully, though, his chance will come sooner rather than later.