Blame It On the PK
Was the PK call by Howard Webb really that bad? Sure, Michael Carrick sold it well as he tumbled over the out stretched Heurelho Gomes. But Gomes did connect with Carrick as he trailed away was prevented from catching up to the ball.
However, the rule says that if the keeper gets to the ball first then it’s not a penalty. Webb has since admitted he made a mistake. Gomes does get to the ball, but it’s not an easy call to make for the referee who is chasing the play and making the call from behind. Worse calls have been made for sure.
Tottenham has blown this way out of proportion though. Manchester turned on a dime after the goal, a huge shot of confidence and hope when Cristino converted the penalty, but Tottenham fell into a fetal position and Gomes gave up goal after goal after the play. He continued to get a hand on the shots but a weak hand, as the ball slipped past his fingers like one of those doggy entrance doors. How many times do you see two goals trickle into the goalmouth after hanging on the goal line? In the first half Gomes tip a second shot volley free kick by Cristiano over the bar, but in the second half he was nowhere to be found.
If anything, this poor call points again to how much the game is so titled on momentum and confidence. With penalty kick allowing Manchester United to get on the board, they saw a small crack of light and took full advantage of it. Tottenham on the other hand wilted.
Jermaine Jenas statement that Webb caved under the pressure are under review by the FA:
"One thing which struck me about it was that he [Webb] didn't even think. It was like he'd already made his mind up when he came out for the second half that he was going to give something. I think it was a case of a referee crumbling under the pressure at Old Trafford really.
"The atmosphere, the occasion, the importance of the match, a lot of factors take their toll when making decisions.
Ferguson thought there was some justice to the call, as sometimes you get the call and others you don't:
“It is a funny game football. A year ago Harry Redknapp got a decision which won them the FA Cup [tie] with a penalty decision here and he must reflect and say ‘maybe that’s his one back’," Ferguson told Setanta Sports 1.
“But last week we were knocked out of the FA Cup [semi final v Everton] by not getting the penalty kick and football is funny that way.
“We got a break today but that does not detract from a fantastic performance in the second half, once we got that first goal we were absolutely electric.”
Then others point to Webb missing another call, saying Wilson Palacisos should have been shown a red card when his two footed tackle on Cristiano would have put him in the hospital if Cristiano didn't jump out of the poorly timed and dangerous challenge.
In the end, the great teams use a moment to turn the game on its head and in their favor, while others use a moment as their own downfall and self-fulfilling prophecy. Excuses and more excuses.
Just look at the Chelsea versus Liverpool match a few days ago, when the two teams battled to a 4-4 draw, either team could have easily succumbed to defeat and given up. And then Liverpool versus Arsenal, another 4-4 draw. Blame it on an inability to squash the United momentum, not just the penalty kick, good or bad call it may have been.