"He’s just booted him" - what former Arsenal man and other pundits said about Sheffield United's penalty controversy
Sheffield United were nudged closer to a return to the Championship after their 1-0 defeat to Fulham in the relegation six-pointer at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
The result leaves the Blades rock bottom and still 14 points from safety with just 13 games remaining of the Premier League season following their 20th reverse of a depressing campaign.
Ademola Lookman scored the game’s only goal in the second half to give Fulham a vital three points in their survival bid but United believed they may have been handed a chance to get back into it when French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola appeared to foul substitute Jayden Bogle.
Speaking after the game, Blades manager Chris Wilder said he believed his side had been wronged by the match officials.
“I thought it was a reckless challenge and a penalty, and I don’t know how that decision was come to,” said Wilder.
"Are we clutching? Yeah because that’s where we are as a club, the fine margins.
“I think Jayden is the luckiest boy in and around this area, because it’s a reckless challenge and it’s a penalty all day long. All day long. There’s no question about it. I’m seeing a different game from anyone saying it’s not a penalty.
“It is reckless, have you seen how high the boy is? That’s not a block tackle, it’s reckless and it’s a penalty. And whatever comes off the back of that.
“I’m not saying we were outstanding or dominated the game but once again fine margins have gone against us. It’s a catalogue of decisions over the last few years and it’s another one tonight.”
But what did the pundits make of the incident and United’s latest defeat?
Let’s take a look.
Graeme Souness, former Liverpool and Scotland pundit and Sky Sports pundit
"If that challenge - I'm reluctant to call it a tackle - if that challenge happens anywhere else on the football pitch it's a sending off. That's a sending off.
"They make it up as they go along, referees, they really do. What planet are they on? The problem we have with referees is that they are just not very good. The last World Cup, how many English referees did we have? None. That's how good our referees are.
"That is an assault. I'm not saying he's gone deliberately to hurt him but that is a foul all day long, it's a penalty all day long and for me it's a sending off.
"That is a penalty all day long, I can't back Chris Wilder up any more (with his description). That is a penalty, it's a ridiculous decision by another very, very poor referee."
Joleon Lescott, ex-Everton and Manchester City defender and Sky Sports pundit
"I don’t know how it’s not given. I’m struggling to understand what they’ve actually seen and where the foul is on the goalkeeper. He’s got the ball but to me Bogle has got the contact first and then (the goalkeeper’s) follow through is high and it’s reckless.
"He’s over the top. If that was on the halfway line it’s a definite red card. There’s just no consistency.”
Danny Murphy, former Fulham and Liverpool midfielder and Match of the Day pundit
“Everywhere else this season we’ve seen the follow through being punished. I think (Fulham) have got away with one. I have to say I’m glad they have, but I understand Chris Wilder’s frustration because all season all we’ve seen is yellows and reds for follow throughs. They need that back of luck and they’ve got it there.”
Gary Lineker, ex-England striker and Match of the Day pundit
"If that’s not a penalty, I don’t know what is?”
Martin Keown, former Arsenal and England defender and Match of the Day pundit
"He’s just booted him! It’s remarkable. Bogle’s lucky there he hasn’t broken anything.”
Tony Cascarino, ex-Chelsea and Ireland striker and talkSPORT Sunday Sports Breakfast co-presenter
"The penalty is an absolute certainty for Sheffield United. It’s nailed on. Sheffield United this season after 25 games are 25 points behind where they were last season after 25 games. (Chris Wilder) will look back and think everything that could have gone wrong this season has gone wrong.
"I don’t know (how it was not given). Anywhere else on the pitch you know that’s given as a foul. He completely takes out the full-back. There’s no debate it’s a pen. You could say Fulham probably deserved to win the game and were the better team largely . . . but it’s probably a bigger pen as you’ve seen all season. It’s an absolute certainty.”
Sue Smith, former Doncaster Belles and England forward and guest on Sky Sports’ Football Show
“They have been so unlucky when it comes to injuries and injuries to key players. I’ve said it all the way through but the Jack O’Connell injury was huge from a defensive perspective, of course, but also it impacted them going forward and the way that they play.
"But to have John Egan, Basham’s just done his hamstring as well, Sander Berge’s been out . . . they’re all key players for Sheffield United. I think, as well, watching them throughout the season some of their senior players maybe haven’t been as consistent as we’d seen them last season for different reasons.
"I suppose you’ve just got to try and keep picking up points because you don’t want the confidence completely shot that if they do go down into the Championship, you want them to be able to be confident and get straight back up. It’s a really difficult situation for Chris Wilder and Sheffield United at the moment.”
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