For a long time, I have had qualms about referee's differential treatment of Chelsea players, but for the most part, I have admitted that some decisions go for the club, and some go against.
However, this season, refereeing decisions have cost us the title, without question. Firstly, I will draw you to an incident at Stamford Bridge against Arsenal, Chelsea were 1-0 up and looking comfortable, up steps Robin Van Persie, and thanks to an atrocious linesman decision, the game is turned on its head, and rather than gain 3 points, Chelsea come away with nothing.
Next, I point to a game, recently, against Everton, John Terry overstretches and catches an Everton player late. This time, the decision was debatable, but once again Chelsea do not get the decision going in their favour. This meant that Terry was suspended for three games, during which Chelsea dropped points against Fulham by conceding goals from set pieces, that Terry normally cuts out himself with ease.
Meanwhile Cristiano Ronaldo (against Tottenham) and Rooney (In Europe) carry out unexplainable acts of stamping on another player, but both receive no punishment whatsoever, even when the decisions were reviewed.
Then, of course leads me to the game today, against Liverpool. The game is in the balance, Liverpool, slightly more aggressive, as you would expect with home advantage.
Gerrard comes in late and makes a strong tackle, he protests when a free-kick is given against him, but the punishment ends there. Minutes later, Frank Lampard comes in with a similarly strong challenge, but wins the ball outright, Alonso follows up, and if anything fouls Lampard. A 50/50 challenge which, if given against any other team in the league, would have resulted in a ticking off, perhaps a booking and a warning. Yet, as its Chelsea, the red card comes out.
The moment that the challenge was made, I knew it was a sending off, not because it merited it, but simply because a Chelsea player had decided to make a forceful tackle. Lo and behold, the game swings directly in Liverpool's favour, and they win 2-0.
Although, I have long believed that decisions balance each other out during a season, the unprecedented discrimination against Chelsea is simply out of order. Call this a rant if you will, but I expect a full apology from the FA upon reviewing the decision, and a rescinding of Lampard's suspension, nevertheless it wont make up for the a seaon's poor decisions; which have effectively ended Chelsea's title challenge.
I'm sure that most people will point out, the poor decision to give Chelsea a penalty at Anfield last year, and say that justice was done. however, if you look to the past, then how about the Champions League Semi-final goal that never crossed the line, or the other Champions League goal, where the Chelsea defender was unfairly blocked off, before Daniel Agger thundered the ball into the goal.
Simply, in those three incidents, picked out, Chelsea would have probably taken about 7 points, drawing against Liverpool and beating Arsenal and Everton, which would put Chelsea top of the league. In the future, they will have make sure they win the league by at least 7 points, to counter the refereeing bias.
As Mourinho candidly put it, when Chelsea lose it will probably be a national holiday, such is the nation's united disdain for the club. This will no doubt affect the referee's who are secretly rewarded by the country's football fans. This is epitomised by when a Burnley fan throws a coin at Drogba, potentially causing blindness, he goes off scot free, but when it is thrown back, a three-match ban ensues.
Even if, the decisions were not at all a result of bias, referee's clearly need support from replays, and more officials to view the actions. Furthermore, these red card decisions were given almost instantly, with no consultation of the assistant referees, who may have had a better view.
A little more consideration, and control of a rush of blood to the head, must be ensured; and punishment issued. Mike Reily should not be allowed to referee a Premier Leauge game for a significant number of months.