GRAHAM POLL: Sol was lucky not to follow Boateng to an early bath
Not for the first time, opposing managers had opposing views after referee Andre Marriner struggled to cope with the pace and intensity of Hull's clash with Arsenal on Saturday. In Arsenal's win at the KC Stadium, Marriner was not helped when his assistant failed to spot that Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was offside when taking the ball into the penalty area - towards goal - before being brought down by Sol Campbell. Rash: Kamil Zayatte is sent tumbling from Sol Campbell's challenge More from Graham Poll... GRAHAM POLL: A warning to Steven Gerrard... clean up your act or you'll be England's next red card villain at the World Cup16/03/10 GRAHAM POLL: Liam Ridgewell's 'goal' shows that it's time for bumbling Blatter to cross the line08/03/10 Graham Poll - The Official Line: Why Stoke City are just not a dirty team07/03/10 Graham Poll: Eight horror tackles...but only one ref gave right punishment05/03/10 THE LIST: Graham Poll's top 50 football referees - Nos 10-104/03/10 THE LIST: Graham Poll's top 50 football referees - Nos 20-1103/03/10 THE LIST: Graham Poll's top 50 football referees - Nos 30-2102/03/10 THE LIST: Graham Poll's top 50 football referees - Nos 40-3101/03/10 VIEW FULL ARCHIVEThe only thing that saved the Arsenal defender from seeing red can be that Vennegoor of Hesselink was not fully in control of the ball when he was caught from behind - a slight contact from which he went down very easily, in an intelligent way according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. He was trying to 'win' the penalty that Marriner was absolutely correct to award. If he had felt that he had a clear goalscoring opportunity, he would surely have tried to stay on his feet and that shows that Marriner was probably right to only issue a yellow card. In the second half Campbell was involved in the incident which led to Kamil Zayatte's exit on a stretcher. While I agree with Wenger's belief that the challenge was a fully committed one, I wonder how he would have reacted had the situation been reversed. If the challenge was a foul, given the speed it was made at and the scant regard for safety of the opponent, Campbell could have easily seen his second yellow card and been dismissed - something that George Boateng should not have given the luxury of. His challenge on Bacary Sagna just before half-time was dreadful, with no attempt or possibility to play the ball and he should have had a straight red card. It was disappointingly weak refereeing again from an international referee who should know better - luckily and thankfully Sagna escaped without serious injury. I have highlighted the lack of protection players are currently being afforded and with the World Cup looming, players will be conscious that an injury now could well mean missing out in the summer - just look at David Beckham's terrible luck. Making his point: Andre Marriner awards the penalty to Hull It is a fate I would hate any player to suffer and, as an England fan, I hope and pray it does not befall Wayne Rooney. I, like many of you, have been watching and admiring Rooney's performances recently and love his movement, intelligent positioning, newly-found heading ability and the control of his temper which used to boil over - all too often in the direction of the referee. Thierry Henry commented that Rooney is a better player this year because he has stopped 'running around like a nutter'. I also believe that the fact that he now appears to be in control of his temper and leaves referees to get on with their jobs has helped and can't help but wonder which improvement came first - the behaviour or the form? Good week for...Mike JonesBad week for...Howard Webb Jones refereed his first game at Old Trafford and all seemed to go well. It has been a tough season for Jones after the beach ball goal at Sunderland and he will have been delighted to come through Sunday's match between Manchester United and Fulham unscathed. Webb still seems to have a problem identifying penalty kicks. He was well positioned to see Gareth Bale being brought down in Spurs' win over Blackburn but again did not award the spot-kick. Webb, our World Cup referee, must work on this before the summer.
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