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Stoke City, Southampton hit out at referees after big decisions go against them

Everton v Southampton - Premier League

during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on December 29, 2013 in Liverpool, England.

Paul Thomas

We all know the underlying notion in soccer: the big teams have all the decision go their way, while the little guys suffer in silence.

However two of those so called ‘smaller’ teams have had enough after recent injustices have cost them points over the busy festive period in the Premier League.

Stoke City had two-men sent off against Newcastle on Boxing Day, and were denied “clear cut penalties” in their 3-0 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday according to Chairman Peter Coates. While Southampton’s manager Mauricio Pochettino argues that his side should’ve had two penalties in Saints’ defeat to Everton and according to the PA’s Simon Peach, his side has suffered all season because he has “young, friendly players.”

Do Stoke and Southampton have a point?

In their individual cases, perhaps they do. But it’s far more complex to assess whether or not the smaller teams in the PL are officiated differently than the big clubs. Many will argue that’s exactly the case but whether or not such feelings are present, we have to say that referees seem impartial and often give only the decisions that they’re 100 percent certain of. Whether that’s against Manchester United or West Brom, Arsenal or Hull.

(MORE: Tottenham 3-0 Stoke City)

But I understand the complaints of both Stoke and Southampton. On Boxing Day the Potters were reduced to 9-men in two minutes as first Glenn Whelan was shown a harsh second yellow by Martin Atkinson and then Marc Wilson was adjudged to have taken out Loic Remy as last man, even though Newcastle’s French striker looked to already be falling over. Then against Spurs Jonathan Walters was taken own when clean through on goal but no red card was issued by Kevin Friend. Rubbing salt into the wound, Ossama Assaidi was scythed down by Michael Dawson but play was waved on and within seconds handball was given against Ryan Shawcross as Tottenham’s first goal came from the penalty spot. The Potters can feel hard done by, watch below and see what you think.

(MORE: Everton 2-1 Southampton)

As for the Saints, twice they looked to have great shouts for a penalty in the second half as the strongest call came when Antolin Alcaraz clearly blocked Adam Lallana’s cross with his raised right-hand by Mark Clattenburg waved play on. In the first half Rickie Lambert and Lallana both went clean through on goal but were pulled back for offside, even though it was clear they weren’t as Saints’ captain Lallana was booked for dissent as he protested against Clattenburg’s decisions.

An angry Pochettino had the following to say afterwards:

“We don’t want to be judged by the young, handsome players that we have. We don’t want to be judged in that sense. We want to be judged in the same manner, being judged by the same rigor, in the same way that all other clubs are. We just want it to be fair and we want the same treatment as all other clubs. Nothing better, nothing worse - just the same.”

Is the officiating fair in the Premier League? Or does bias exist towards the top clubs?

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