Tomas Soucek’s handle Ball Against Chelsea, Experts Reactions


Chelsea fans were dejected on Saturday afternoon, as they were not awarded a penalty against the Hammers, when Tomas Soucek handled the ball in his 18 yard box. 

The West Ham United midfielder used his hand in providing cover after a shot from Connor Gallagher went to his path in the 89th minute of their 1-1 draw at the London Stadium. 

That incident resulted in a lot of Chelsea players pleading for a penalty from Craig Pawson, as they felt that was worthy enough to be given as a penalty.

Craig Pawson, the center referee rebuffed those claims, while a timely check was conducted by the Video Assistant Referee to ascertain the decision.

VAR in agreement with Craig Pawson

The resultant call by VAR went in the direction and agreement of the earlier one dished out by the center referee. 

The decision made by the referee left a lot of people wondering about the reason his decision went that way. 

But in retrospect, it seemed that due to the fact that Soucek’s hand was breaking his fall to the ground, there was no way he could be punished for that.

Connor Gallagher’s shot that touched Thomas Soucek’s hand

Chelsea have now gotten just one win in their last six visits to battle against the Hammers, West Ham United. 

Purists, enthusiasts, players and fans were left baffled by the call, with several pundits also wondering why Craig Pawson went for that decision.

Joao Felix in between two players of West Ham United

Rio Ferdinand, Gianfranco Zola and Joe Cole were on punditry duties on Saturday covering the action for BT Sport and they were all in unison that it should have been a penalty for Chelsea.

Ferdinand’s take on the Penalty

Rio Ferdinand said: “I was happy the referee and VAR didn’t see it, but I think he more or less saved it. It was a great save.

“No wonder the Chelsea players are going bananas there, I would be going crazy. He (Soucek) gets down really well to his left, what a save that is. I can’t believe that has not been given. It is unbelievable, it is lucky.” 

When queried by presenter Lynsey Hipgrave on if Tomas Soucek was using the arm to break the fall, Rio Ferdinand replied: “Come on Lynsey!”

Gianfranco Zola’s position on the matter

Zola made his own assertions as he added: “Maybe, but clearly the hand is attached to the body. There is a shot to goal that has been blocked. In my opinion it is clearly a penalty” 

Joe Cole then said: “The crucial thing for me is the distance he is from Gallagher. If he is right next to him, two yards away, you can argue no penalty. But when you are that far away, you get a split second and he knows what he is doing. It is a penalty.” 

Former official of the Premier League, Peter Walton who was also working for BT suggested that the Video Assistant Referee should have sent Craig Pawson to take a second look at the incident.

Former Premier League referee, Peter Walton assertion on it

Peter Walton stated: “The law is clear, the VAR clearly thinks the arm is in a natural position and that he is going down to break his fall.

“If you analyse it in slow motion, you can see the ball is past his knee and then his arm is there. For me, I think it is a deliberate act and am disappointed the VAR didn’t give the referee the opportunity to go and have a second look at it.

“Football, I think, as a community, would want that given as a penalty. As a former Premier League referee I think that was the wrong decision today.” 

The manager of Chelsea was also angry with the decision and he made his comments known after the game, Graham Potter said: “It was a good save. You need your goalkeeper sometimes to give you the points.

“it looks like one of those that, if it was given, it wouldn’t have been overturned. But obviously it wasn’t given. It looked quite a handball and, like I said, I didn’t know Tomas could get down so easily and save like that. It’s a good stop from him.” 

Chelsea have picked up just two wins in their last ten Premier League games and it looks like the season for the Blues is heading for the doldrums rather than to redemption. 


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