Written by @SamRoyden
A less than convincing first half by Robert Madley and his overall game in general. Madley awarded two penalties to Bournemouth in the first half. I had no question about his decision to award the first penalty however I thought his positioning was poor for the second penalty which I felt could have been a lot better.
The first penalty was as obvious as you could get. Sofiane Feghouli was the wrong side of Daniels before bringing him down. It was a poor decision by Feghouli and it was an easy decision for Madley. After the penalty had been given, Madley cautioned Mark Noble for dissent. Feghouli wasn’t punished for his foul however, it could have easily been a caution. Feghouli wasn’t denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity so a red card wasn’t warranted. The second penalty was a difficult one for me because there was contact by Fonte but it was clear that Pugh was looking for contact with Fonte’s planted leg. Madley’s position was completely wrong to see this in my opinion.
I noticed on a handful of occasions that whenever West Ham fouled Bournemouth, the Bournemouth players were surrounding the referee moaning and gesturing for a stronger punishment than a foul. This is unacceptable behaviour and the FA & the IFAB have been keen to stamp this out. However, it’s the duty of the referee to manage the players and this showed a lack of authority from Robert Madley and a lack of respect by the players. This was apparent after Pedro Obiang was cautioned for brining down Joshua King 30 yards outside of West Ham’s goal. The swarm of Bournemouth players were indicating that other players, including Mark Noble, attempted to bring down the Cherries striker.
There were a couple of decisions that Madley choose not make during the first half. Firstly, Madley could have sent off Mark Noble for a second bookable offence after sliding into a challenge and catching a Bournemouth midfielder late. Madley could have also cautioned Bournemouth’s Gosling after a high foot on Mark Noble that caught the West Ham captain.
There was uproar in the second half from the West Ham players for Bournemouth’s second goal of the afternoon. The biggest question was whether Joshua King was offside or not. The answer is that we wasn’t offside when the goal was scored. The offside law is one of the laws that is still a huge grey area. To clear up King’s goal, during the first phase, King was at least 5 yards beyond the last West Ham defender in an offside position, not interfering with play. When the ball was delivered, King was still in an offside position, but once the Bournemouth player flicked the ball towards the direction of King, Michail Antonio already tracked and played King onside. Even though West Ham players were questioning the linesmans decision to not signal for offside, Madley consulted his assistant referee before awarding the goal.
There were two handball shouts by West Ham in the second half. Handball has to be deliberate, it’s extremely difficult for a player to move his arm out of the way, when the player is in close proximity and at high speeds. The question I always ask, is it deliberate?
Madley issued a handful of cautions in the second half for Bournemouth players. Madley remained consistent after Pugh brought down Kouyate, a similar challenge to Obiang who was booked in the first half. I think Afobe was particularly lucky only receiving a yellow card as the big Bournemouth striker was extremely late when challenging Randolph. Not only was the challenge late, but Afobe wasn’t in control and his studs were raised which caught Randolph high on the top of the ankle.
As mentioned previously, Gosling could and should have had a yellow card for his high boot on Mark Noble. Ironically, Gosling was cautioned for completely preventing Antonio advancing after the West Ham man cleverly put the ball past the Bournemouth man.
For West Ham’s second goal, it appears that Sam Bryan was offside when the ball was played by Pedro Obiang. The West Ham substitute was at least a yard offside when the ball was played forward – this just sums up a pretty woeful afternoon from the officials.
I do struggle to give Madley credit as I feel that his decision making is often incorrect and he shows a lack of authority and player management. I felt that his decision making was poor throughout the game and I feel his position was poor for the awarding of the second penalty and he struggled to maintain consistency.
It’s hugely frustrating that after going level at 2-2 on 83 minutes, you’d expect experienced Premier League players to be well drilled and ensure that after a difficult game, which West Ham were obviously second best throughout, to shut up shop and take the point. You have to question the mentality of the players as this season has been below average and if it wasn’t for the scrappy wins against Burnley and Hull over the Christmas period, we would be in horrible trouble. There needs to be some serious improvement on recruitment in the summer transfer window as players are not pulling their weight this season.