Everton and Crystal Palace played out a goalless draw in the third round of the FA Cup at Selhurst Park last night, and while a replay will happen as a result of the stalemate, it was Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 79th-minute sending-off that grabbed the headlines.
The Toffees striker was shown his marching orders, the first of his career, by referee Chris Kavanagh after he reviewed the VAR monitor following the Englishman’s tackle on Nathaniel Clyne.
While the ref saw nothing wrong with the tackle in real time as Calvert-Lewin won the ball and play carried on, seeing Clyne rolling around on the ground forced VAR to intervene.
Replays in slow-motion showed that the studs of the Everton striker were up, but they barely made any contact with Clyne’s shin.
Toffees manager Sean Dyche could not believe the decision, and Calvert-Lewin was equally left baffled.
The PGMOL owe Everton an apology, but whether the Goodison Park club would get one remains to be seen.
The organisation has already apologised more than 13 times to different clubs since the beginning of 2022-23, with Arsenal receiving two of those.
The Gunners and their manager have also constantly demanded better from the PGMOL, backing Mikel Arteta after he slammed the officiating in their 1-0 loss to Newcastle United in November.
Arsenal have also complained to PGMOL over the rough treatment of Bukayo Saka by opponents.
The England international forward was the third-most fouled player in the Premier League in 2023 behind Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew and Newcastle United’s Bruno Guimaraes, but the Eagles and Magpies have not bothered to ask questions from the PGMOL.
Arsenal have the right to complain, and their manager escaped punishment after claiming that calling the officiating in the 1-0 loss to the Magpies a ‘disgrace’ was not intended to insult the officials as the word means something else in Spanish.
Dyche managed to keep his emotions in check last night, but will Everton get the same respect from PGMOL as Arsenal after that unjust red card?
It can be argued that the challenge from Calvert-Lewin was ‘reckless’ and worthy of a caution at best, but it did not meet the criteria for ‘serious foul play’, and neither did it ‘endanger the safety of an opponent with excessive force or brutality’.
The slow-motion replays made it appear worse than it is, and the Toffees are expected to challenge the decision, but whether they will get the Arsenal treatment from PGMOL remains to be seen.
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