This article is written by Sam Royden @SamRoyden
After a sickening last minute defeat away at Spurs last weekend, West Ham play Manchester United twice in four days in the Premier League and EFL Quarter Finals respectively away at Old Trafford. It’s difficult to comprehend how West Ham lost the game last weekend after being 2-1 up going into the final minutes of the game. Nordtveit gave Mike Dean a decision to make in the 93rd minute when he caught Son inside the penalty box, which Harry Kane subsequently scored and won the game for Spurs. The referee appointed for this Gameweek 13 fixture against Man U was Jon Moss.
Well, I think it’s difficult for me not to start with the Pogba/Mourinho incident. Paul Pogba was cautioned for simulation by Jon Moss, there was no contact made by Mark Noble. Following this decision by Moss, Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for aggressively kicking a water bottle. This is a difficult one for me as I’ve played football and understand the frustrations when a decision doesn’t go your way, but as a manager you’ve got to lead by example. I believe Anthony Taylor, who was the fourth official for this fixture, highlighted the incident to Moss because the water bottle seemed to fly into the crowd. This couldn’t be confirmed by the TV replays but it’s the act of aggressive behaviour that I feel made Moss’s mind up.
West Ham started brilliantly scoring in the first 90 seconds. Moss was right on the spot to award West Ham a free kick 25 yards outside the Manchester United box when Lingard caught Dimitri Payet. The free-kick subsequently led to Diafra Sahko’s first goal of the season. Late in the first half there was a convincing appeal for handball from West Ham after Dimitri Payet’s cross hit Rojo’s hand inside the penalty area. In my opinion, there was a case for a penalty as Rojo’s arm was away from his body. The only reason why I think Moss ignored the appeals was due to Rojo’s position and Moss deemed Rojo was too close to the ball/player to move his outward arm and was ball to hand.
Throughout the second half, Jon Moss was particularly quiet compared to the first half right up until the 80th minute when three cautions were issued. There has been a lot of talk this season surrounding dissent towards the officials. I felt Michail Antonio could have been cautioned for his reaction after he shoved Matteo Darmian in the back. Antonio was very animated and to be consistent with this kind of punishment this season, I was surprised a yellow card wasn’t issued.
I have to praise the assistant referee as he brilliantly flagged Jesse Lingard offside before scoring from close range. The Manchester United midfielder was in an offside position after Mkhitaryan’s initial shot ricocheted off the post. This was a very good decision by the assistant referee.
There was a flurry of yellow cards in the final 5 minutes of the game. The first caution was issued to Manchester United substitute Marouane Fellaini after very good footwork by Mark Noble meant he was caught just outside the penalty area. Aaron Cresswell was the only West Ham player cautioned in the game but this was more than deserved after the West Ham left back very blatantly caught the back of Mkhitaryan’s heels on a promising Manchester United attack. Antonio Valencia was the final player cautioned within the game after an obvious handball deep inside the West Ham third. In my opinion, Jon Moss got all of these yellow cards correct.
Overall, I felt that Jon Moss officiated the game well in parts. In my opinion, his decision making was accurate and was quick on the mark to make decisions especially Paul Pogba’s dive. I do feel that West Ham should have had a penalty in the first half; Regardless of your position you cannot have your arm away from your body. However, I do feel that Moss felt that Rojo didn’t move his arm towards to the ball and it was ball to hand. With our current performances, I feel a point away at Old Trafford is a good result and we can build on it. With Fellaini and Pogba suspended for the EFL Quarter Final on Wednesday, I think Bilic will field a strong team to hopefully get us into the Semi-Finals.