Thoughts on Chelsea-Manchester United: Reds Lucky Yet Deserving

Manchester United’s 3-2 win at Chelsea today involved some beautiful soccer and quite a bit of controversy in the second half. Here is my take on the three crucial officiating decisions midway through the second half when the match was tied 2-2:

1. Branislav Ivanovic’s red card for taking down Ashley Young was the correct decision. Young was clear on goal and Ivanovic was the last defender. He made his tackle from behind and got the man, not the ball. The referee’s decision to give him a straight red is mandated by the rulebook. Kudos to Ivanovic for realizing that he was in the wrong and not making much of fuss before leaving the pitch.

2. Fernando Torres’s second yellow card and subsequent sending off was harsh, though it could have been prevented if Torres did not have a deserved reputation for diving. The referee was in a bad position, and from his angle one could see how it looked like a dive because there was only slight contact from Jonny Evans.  It certainly looked like Torres embellished a bit from any angle. I do not think he deserved a card, but again, it was Torres reaping a bit of what he’d sown in the past. I suppose this sounds like blaming the victim, but I would rather have referees err on the side of punishing diving too much rather than too little. These two decisions by the referee are ones that rarely get made (even the correct first decision); I was glad that he had the courage to make them, and wish that more referees would.

3. Javier Hernandez’s game-winning goal was clearly offside. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Chelsea-Manchester United: Reds Lucky Yet Deserving

  1. Sorry point 1, it is a red card if its a professional foul to stop a goal scoring opportunity. Did Ivanovic, pull his shirt or hold Young back an obvious attempt to stop him? No

    Was Ivanovic just trying to get back goal side and did he actually touch? I think thats debatable that there was contact. The only definate contact I can see is when Young is on his way down and flicks out his leg, like he did against QPR (?)

    If there was contact and he may of caught Youngs right leg, but was that enough for Young to go down?

    For what its worth I think it Torres should of been booked, slight contact but nothing major. I would of booked Evans as though, sliding in when your running directly at Torres, which in my opinion is slightly reckless.

    1. I think the replay clearly showed Ivanovic contacting Young and impeding his progress. It may not have been intentional, but it was still certainly a foul, and I think the red card was warranted as Young would have had a one-on-one with the ‘keeper otherwise. Re: Evans/Torres, I agree about booking Evans; I assumed the yellow was going to be for him when I saw the ref pull it out.

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