Officiating in the Premier League seems to be growing more ridiculous each season, and with just over two months left to go in this one, we have seen some very surprising refereeing decisions come to the fore.
The most recent furore came in the form of a double-header during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on March 4 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings each landed a solid hit on the other after being warned by the referee following an off the ball incident.
Mings appeared to stamp on Ibrahimovic’s head as he lay on the ground, and the Swedish striker returned the favour by elbowing the Cherries man in the face shortly after.
Kevin Friend shockingly refrained from taking any sort of action, but the matters were dealt with retrospectively.
Mings was hit with a five-match ban, while Ibrahimovic was handed a three-game suspension, which will see him miss the crunch FA Cup tie against Chelsea on Monday.
A 90min poll revealed that fans thought the stains on the United vs Bournemouth game were the worst refereeing decisions made all season. Out of nearly 50,000 voters, 39 per cent of them agreed that the officiating surrounding the Mings and Ibrahimovic incidents were the poorest.
Ross Barkley’s nasty tackle on Jordan Henderson back in December garnered 25 per cent of the votes, while Marco Rojo’s horrendous lunge on Wilfried Zaha took up 13 per cent.
Burnley getting awarded a penalty after Sam Vokes’ handball was voted as the worst decision by 11 per cent of the fans, Sofiane Feghouli’s sending off for the tackle that wasn’t, on Phil Jones, claimed seven percent, and Robert Snodgrass’ dive to win a spot kick gathered six per cent.
While all of the aforementioned incidents were quite contentious, the clash between Mings and Ibrahimovic were by far the worst.
Mings has since denied that his stamp was intentional, and is quite upset with his ban.
“For people to deem that I could intentionally stamp on a fellow professional’s head is upsetting,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I am extremely disappointed at the FA’s decision to ban me for what was an accidental collision. My foot did not change course and at no point did I try to move my foot towards his head. My only focus was to get back in and defend.”
Ibrahimovic’s explanation was far less convincing, with the United forward claiming that Mings jumped into his elbow.