Jose Mourinho’s conviction that Chelsea have been on the receiving end of a refereeing conspiracy this season appears to have gained some more evidence, according the club’s official website.
In an article entitled “Penalty Puzzle”, the Chelsea website explores the idea that the club’s penalty count this season is “abnormally low”, both in comparison to previous seasons and in relation to their rivals for the top spot in the Premier League.
Chelsea have only been awarded two penalties this season, both at home, against Arsenal and QPR. They failed to receive one when Branislav Ivanovic appeared to be tripped by Dusan Tadic in the penalty area in the game against Southampton, and this prompted a member of the press to ask Mourinho if he thought the Blues would be awarded another penalty this season.
In typically acerbic style, Mourinho replied that his opinion was not important. “Important is Mr. Mike Dean. His decision was a penalty, and his decision was no penalty on Ivanovic”.
The article goes on to point out that in the Double winning season of 2009/2010 Chelsea were awarded 12 penalties. Last season they were given 7 – the same number that Arsenal and Man City have been awarded so far this season, with 9 games left to play.
Indeed, over the previous 6 seasons Chelsea’s penalty tally has been 7, 11, 5, 8 and 12, meaning that the 2 they have received so far does seem to be on the small side.
Perhaps, the article argues, it is simply because opposition teams have been deliberately careful inside their own area when they have come up against the league leaders; though it also suggests that there have been plenty of times when this doesn’t seem to have been the case.
As always in football, supporters of every team could put forward an argument as to why their team is being harshly treated by referees. This season in particular the standard of refereeing has been a topic of fierce debate, with many critics arguing that refereeing is the poorest it has been for years.
This, in turn, has led to Howard Webb reportedly being promoted to the post of Performance Director for the Select Group of Referees – meaning he will decide which referees will take charge of which matches.
Will Webb’s appointment result in the Champion’s Elect being awarded more than the two penalties they’ve received so far before the season is over? Only time will tell.