New Ruling Should Help City's Incompetence
Heading into this weekend’s fixture with Leicester City, many Manchester City fans will be recalling their meeting with the Foxes in the early stages of last season. Riyad Mahrez gave City an early lead at the Etihad Stadium but Leicester fought back and defeated the Blues 5-2, scoring three penalties.
(Youri Tielemans of Leicester City scores a goal from the penalty spot to make it 2-5 during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on September 27, 2020/ Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
In fact, Pep Guardiola’s side conceded a quarter of their 32 goals in the Premier League last season from the spot.
City’s over-zealous behaviour around their own area cost them in big matches none so more than the Manchester derby with United back in March. United scored from 12 yards out after just two minutes through Bruno Fernandes and it brought to an end City’s 21-game winning run in all competitions.
City may have struggled to score penalties themselves but they gave away 11 penalties last term with only West Brom (12) conceding more. It was uncharacteristic of the champions who had conceded just 14 spot-kicks in Pep’s first four seasons combined in the Premier League.
However, VAR and the fact that officials conferred to award a league-high 125 penalties last season was a major contributing factor.
Many viewers were left disgruntled last term as referees pointed to the spot for the slightest of contact inside the box and as a result it has forced a change in ruling this season.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) referees' chief Mike Reily confirmed to the 20 Premier League clubs at their annual general meeting in June;
“It’s not sufficient to say there was contact. Contact on its own is only one element the referee should look for.
“If you have clear contact that has a consequence, it’s a foul.”
Perhaps the altering of official’s thinking will benefit the Blues this season.
Prior to the international break, referees had adopted a more lenient approach when it came to challenges.
The referees have been urged to refrain from blowing their whistle at the point of minimal contact and it has been refreshing to see them letting the game flow.
However, this new approach has received criticism already with United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp calling the men in the middle out for ‘endangering’ their players.