#RefWatch: Bobby Madley – Crystal Palace vs West Ham
Author: SamTWHWRef. Published: 28 October 2017 at 6:07pm
Written by @SamRoyden
After a good evening against Spurs in the cup midweek, we’ve been very quickly brought back down to earth, which was a must win game against Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace. Palace are rock bottom of the league with only 4 points so far this season with 29 defeats in 2017. West Ham visit Selhurt Park with no away wins so far in the Premier League and only scoring on 3 occasions so far this season. With two games to prove himself after being thumped by Brighton, all eyes on Slaven Bilic.
Bobby Madley was the referee appointed for this fixture. This was Madley’s first West Ham fixture of the season and I’ve been heavily critical of Madley in past game due his inconsistency; it can be hugely costly. Madley had a good first half and to his credit he got 95% of the decisions spot on, although I feel his management of persistent fouls needs to be reviewed. Mark Noble gave a captain’s display midweek but he was a little off the pace in the first half, with some rogue challenges. Noble gave away four fouls and even after Madley gave Noble a talking too, the West Ham man fouled once again but no action was taken by Madley. This is the type of inconsistencies that Madley needs to work on. Madley needs to manage this to ensure he’s enforcing the laws of the games when it comes to misconduct.
The biggest decision Madley had to make was whether Wilfred Zaha was fouled by Jose Fonte in West Ham’s penalty area. Madley’s positioning was good, he was directly behind the incident and he would have seen that Jose Fonte pulled his leg out of the challenge and Zaha’s right knee made contact with the West Ham defender thigh. Madley got this decision spot on in my opinion and 30 seconds later, West Ham scored the first goal of the game from Javier Hernandez. I have to take my hat off to Madley for this decision because he could have easily misinterpreted the challenge if he was at the wrong angle and behind play.
The only yellow card in the first half went to West Ham’s Pablo Zabaleta. This was Zabaleta’s fifth caution of the season which means that he is now banned for next weekend’s home game against Liverpool. It was a poor touch by Zabaleta which made the Argentine lunge into a challenge with Fosu-Mensah who came out second best.
It was an awful start from West Ham in the second half, a moment of madness from Angelo Ogbonna who brought Andros Townsend down in the penalty area for Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend was going away from goal before the Italian stuck out a lazy right foot catching Townsend’s ankle. Regardless whether you feel it was soft or not, there was contact and Ogbonna gave Madley that decision.
Bobby Madley had an odd couple of minutes with two obvious fouls which were either incorrectly awarded or not awarded at all. The first incident was between former Hammer James Tomkins and Javier Hernandez. Hernandez and Tomkins were having words before the throw-in when the West Ham men side barged into Tomkins and Tomkins retaliated with a rugby-style challenge with Madley awarding West Ham the free kick. In my opinion, Hernandez made the initial foul so this was incorrectly seen by Madley and his assistant referee. Secondly, Madley viewed this challenge as an over-aggressive challenge by Tomkins with arm around Hernandez’s neck yet he wasn’t cautioned. I question why because he gave a foul against Tomkins and it should have been a yellow card. Within two minutes of the first incident, Madley missed a stone wall free kick against Fosu-Mensah in the middle of the park – a surprising decision to some but this goes back to my comments earlier about a lack of consistency.
There were two additional cautions in the second half, one for each team. Scott Dann had his hands full all game with Javier Hernandez and the Palace man was caught out of position and pulled the Mexican down to the ground. Following injury to Aaron Cresswell at half time, Arthur Masuaku was bought on as a substitute however was cautioned for late challenges on Townsend from silly decisions.
Overall, Madley’s performance was ok but the inconsistency is always a talking point which a referee in the Elite Select Group in the Premier League should have ironed out. To give Madley some credit, he did get the bigger decisions correct during the game with both penalty decisions which are always tough to call.
As I said in the opening paragraph, “brought back down to earth”; this is exactly what Crystal Palace did to us in the second half. Who’s to blame? The players for not holding out 6 minutes into additional time. The manager’s substitutions. Bilic replacing Zabaleta with Antonio? Regardless, for a Premier League club, against a team who are rock bottom of the league, to concede two goals after being 2-nil in front at half time is outrageous. The players’ mentality is not a winning mentality, it’s a weak mentality and to not to see out a game that you’re leading for 96 minutes is criminal. It’s going to be an uncomfortable weekend for Slaven Bilic. Will the board keep him after this performance? Personally, you have to look at the Cup in isolation and focus on Premier League results, the Cup is a one off and to beat Spurs is always added incentive. We need to win the Premier League games to stay out of a relegation battle, these games are vital against the likes of Swansea, Burnley, Brighton and Palace of which we’ve taken 5 points from a possible 12. If they keep him Bilic for another weekend with Liverpool visiting next weekend, are the board preventing the inevitable? We’ll see in due course.