However, Ryan Shawcross's lunging challenge is far from a solitary action. I have analysed the past 20 Premier League games, and I have identified EIGHT instances of serious foul play, with only one resulting in a straight red-card dismissal - yes, Ryan Shawcross.
Flashpoint: Sunderland's Lorik Cana cuts down Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue
Patrick Vieira's retaliation to a tackle by Stoke's Glenn Whelan was later punished by the FA, but referee Alan Wiley took no action at the time.
There is evidence of both a clear increase in poor challenges and a very bad rate of detection and punishment of these offences.
The reason for this development? The respective referee's position - and therefore his view - when the incidents occurred is undoubtedly a factor. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the majority of the clashes were in matches officiated by three referees who were considered to be too old for the Premier League list before EU legislation interfered.
Arsene Wenger doesn't believe in coincidence and nor do I.
For example, that Wiley, who will be 50 in May, has refereed so many high-profile matches within a twoweek period should be a concern for referees' chief Mike Riley, himself five years Wiley's junior.
I rate Wiley as one of our top referees over the past five seasons and know he trains as hard as any other on the list, but fatigue can affect movement and clarity of thought when asked to perform at such a high level twice a week.
The style of officiating of all referees on the list is also a contributory factor to the number of mistimed and poor challenges, and I again refer to Wenger, who is right to have highlighted the 'play on, play on' method of refereeing in England.
While favoured by fans, it can allow too much pace to build up in a game and increase the tension between players who feel that they are being fouled and nothing is happening.
Studs up: Stoke's Glenn Whelan (left) reels from Patrick Vieira's backlash
Retribution is sought - as seen in the Vieira and Pascal Chimbonda cases I have highlighted. Referees must always take care to allow enough advantage to keep the game flowing, but they must ensure that tempers remain in check. Too many fouls and players become frustrated, too few decisions and revenge can be sought - it is a difficult balancing act.
Finally, one has to look at the role of the FA disciplinary department. They have been given the power to charge players using video evidence when match officials miss an incident, as they did in the Vieira case.
However, they have been completely inactive since that match, which means they either do not believe any of the other incidents are cases of serious foul play or that the referees saw those incidents clearly.
Whichever of those two scenarios is true, that has to be a worry as we enter the final third of a season which will test referees right up to the last games at both ends of the Barclays Premier League table.
Even if training means that referees' detection rates improve, it will not prevent ugly tackles. There needs to be a change in refereeing styles to afford players the protection they deserve.
An ugly tail of kick and crush.Feb 16 Stoke v Man City: Patrick Vieira on Glenn Whelan; Referee: Alan Wiley. Vieira retaliates to a challenge from Stoke City's Whelan. Referee Wiley took no action but the FA retrospectively banned Vieira for three matches.
Feb 20 Arsenal v Sunderland: Lorik Cana on Emmanuel Eboue; Referee: Steve Bennett. Cana was shown only a yellow card by Bennett for an horrendous two-footed lunge at Eboue.
Feb 21 Liverpool v Man City: Javier Mascherano on Gareth Barry; Referee: Peter Walton. Barry didn't even get a free kick following a spiteful Mascherano studs-down-the-calf tackle.
Feb 21 Wigan v Tottenham: Jermain Defoe on Gary Caldwell; Referee: Alan Wiley. Defoe escaped a red when Wiley took no action for his heavy challenge on Caldwell.
Feb 27 Chelsea v Man City: Michael Ballack on Carlos Tevez; Referee: Mike Dean. Ballack received a second yellow card after appearing to target Tevez with a brutal tackle in City's win at Stamford Bridge. While he was dismissed, the German now faces only a one-match ban instead of the three he should be serving.
Feb 27 Birmingham v Wigan: Liam Ridgewell on James McCarthy; Referee: Anthony Taylor. Ridgewell escaped when the most obvious act of serious foul play occurred out by a St Andrew's corner flag.
Feb 27 Stoke v Arsenal: Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey; Referee: Peter Walton. Shawcross dismissed amid distressing scenes as Wales teenager Ramsey was carried from the pitch.
Feb 28 Liverpool v Blackburn: Pascal Chimbonda on Maxi Rodriguez (below); Referee: Alan Wiley. Once again it was Wiley who missed the reaction of Chimbonda after a challenge from Rodriguez, a clash which bore similarities to the Vieira incident.
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