Jose Mourinho was livid with referee Chris Foy after Saturday's match that saw his league-leading Chelsea lose 1-0 to Aston Villa. The official drew the Special One's ire by giving Chelsea two red cards and by dismissing the manager for coming onto the pitch to debate the second card. Foy had a rough match all around and opened himself to plenty of criticism. So let's figure out if he deserves it or not.
Firstly, just for the sake of reference, here is Willian's first foul on Karim El Ahmadi. We'll come back to this in a bit, but I don't think anyone can argue that a yellow was a fair call here:
Next is the handball call. In our vote, put up during halftime, 47% of respondents said the goal should have been allowed and 53% said that Foy made the right call. Well, we've got a more high-quality gif for you to look at now and make your own decision. First up, the play as we saw it broadcast at first:
And here is the slowed-down replay of the event:
It seems pretty clear to me that Foy and the linesman got the call right, here. Yes, the ball does hit Matic's chest, but only after being trapped by his bicep first. He never has the chance to control the ball with his chest unless his upper arm corrals the ball. And without that control the goal never happens.
In the 45th minute, it looked as if Chelsea might have a call for a penalty after Joe Bennett took down a charging Ramires:
The replay shows a tackle that I've seen called both ways, though Villa fans couldn't have been too mad with a penalty here had Foy leaned that way:
The next major incident in the match was Foy's awarding a second yellow card to midfielder Willian. This is one where I think Chelsea fans have some room for complaint, as this may be the softest yellow we've seen all season. Here again is the broadcast view:
From there, it looks as if Willian might have tripped up Fabian Delph, but the replay shows nothing more than a bit of aggressive football from both players:
This is a call on which Foy seems to have been a bit too harsh. Admittedly, Willian had gotten himself into a position to have this hurt his team by gathering his first yellow in the 25th minute, so Foy is not entirely at fault here. Nor am I complaining, as the change of Chelsea from full-strength to a 10-man squad is what allowed Aston Villa to open up their attack. That, of course, led to the match's only goal.
The red card to Ramires seemed a bit harsh if all you saw was the live broadcast footage:
But the reverse angle shows a call that will be made every time, as Ramires stamps on Karim El Ahmadi's leg. It's the type of tackle that could easily lead to broken bones, and the call was absolutely the correct one in this situation:
That hurts just to watch. Going back and looking at the first gif it looks as if Ramires actually came down with extra force, though of course that's hard to tell.
All-in-all, Foy had a pretty rough day. The handball call, Willian's first yellow, and the Ramires red were all good calls. But he certainly missed a few others and let the match get out of hand in the final minutes. There was one more incident that outraged Chelsea fans, but I can't find video of it. Ron Vlaar's tackle of Andre Schurrle was absolutely rougher than it needed to be, and ended up planting a shin in Schurrle's midsection. For that, Vlaar got a yellow, but plenty of people have claimed he should have been given a red. Schurrle wasn't moving to score, so that doesn't work as justification. The only way to claim the red, then, is to say that the tackle was aggressive enough to merit it on its own. Again, like the Bennett tackle on Ramires, I think Villa fans would have had a tough time being to angry had it gone that way.
So, did Chris Foy handle the match well or did Aston Villa get the lucky end of an incompetent officiating job? Let us know in the comments below!