With a large number of red cards, bust-ups and penalties, last weekend was a rather volatile few days in Premier League football. Two of the most significant incidents involved Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and Hull's George Boyd and whilst they avoided any repercussions, those who were on the opposing end of their actions were punished.
Nemanja Vidic was sent off for a second bookable offence when he seemingly brought Sturridge down in the penalty area, but video replays show that there was absolutely no contact whatsoever. Liverpool faced their karma in this instance and the penalty was smashed against the post, but Vidic will now miss Manchester United's tie against West Ham unless the ban is rescinded. Sturridge, on the other hand, appears to have escaped punishment, which seems incredibly harsh considering the stone cold evidence that shows his deception. It is only fair that he receive a ban, otherwise there is nothing to stop him from doing it again and again.
In fact, due to the lack of serious punishment where simulation is concerned, it is becoming ever more present in the modern game instead of being stamped out through long, retrospective bans. Liverpool probably would have gone on to win the game regardless of Vidic's red card, but you never know and his exclusion from the coming game could prove to be very costly indeed.
A similarly controversial incident occurred in Hull City's game against Manchester City when George Boyd squared up to Joe Hart and appeared to spit in his face. Steve Bruce argued strongly that it was unintentional, but it certainly didn't look that way. Hart's reaction came after George Boyd appeared to dive and the England keeper pushed his head into Boyd's, receiving a yellow card for doing so. Although Hart's booking was justified, Boyd should absolutely receive a ban equal to that of a red card, as that is what he would have been awarded had the incident been seen by the referee. This incident is being evaluated by the FA at the time of writing, but if they fail to punish the Hull player, then it gives the wrong impression to the rest of the Premier League.
It is ridiculous to expect referees to see every incident on a football field and deal with it equally, as the context often dictates how the official reacts. However, if we want to cut out players who dive and spit, then harsher punishments have to be awarded retrospectively, because, as childish as it sounds, it just isn't fair. With regards to Sturridge and Boyd, both deserve a one game ban as their incidents were worthy of a red card. In Sturridge's case, any ignorance towards the problem will only let other players know that they can get away with diving and that they can even get an opposition player sent off for doing so.
Daniel Sturridge and George Boyd are only two examples of this ongoing problem and unless retro-active punishments are enforced consistently, the Premier League will continue to encounter these problems and teams will suffer at the hands of a weak judicial system.
For all the latest football news and rumours please visit www.FTBpro.com