Ex-Premier League referee Mark Halsey believes Andy Madley made the right decision in not sending off Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa.
Dean Smith’s men were held to a 0-0 draw by their Midlands rivals over the weekend, a result which leaves the Villans sitting in ninth position in the Premier League table.
European qualification is still on the cards for Smith’s side, who trail fourth-placed Chelsea by seven points with a game in hand over Thomas Tuchel’s men, and their success this season owes a lot to their solid defence.
The Villa Park outfit have conceded just 27 goals in their 26 league outings, with centre-back pairing Tyrone Mings and Konsa playing a pivotal part in their impressive defensive record.
However, Villa could have been without the 23-year-old Englishman for several fixtures had Madley taken a different stance over his robust challenge on Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker.
Speaking exclusively to This is Futbol, Halsey was asked to share his thoughts on the incident. In reply, he had this to say.
He said: “Everything looks worse when it’s slowed down. So you got to look at it in real-time, and that’s the problem we’ve had all season. Once again, that’s a subjective decision, and normally when a player’s got a shot away, as he has, a player comes into block it, and we just carry on, depends on the severity of the challenge and how late he was.
“If he’s just getting it just as he kicks it, you know, perhaps outside the box you sometimes err on the side of caution and give a free-kick, but when it’s in the penalty area, it’s not just a free-kick, it’s a penalty, and nine times out of 10, it’s a goal. As I say, it’s subjective, and those situations are difficult. VAR wouldn’t have got involved because it is not clear and obvious.”
In our opinion, Madley was correct in his judgement of this decision. Konsa doesn’t do enough to warrant being sent off, and VAR wasn’t brought in to overrule every contentious decision.
We don’t want tackling to go out of the game completely, and Halsey’s assessment is probably one shared by most fans.