Tottenham Hotspur might have gotten the win today over a Leicester team that probably deserved a result, but the main story to come out of the match wasn’t Spurs earning another critical three points, but the yellow card on Son Heung-Min.
In one of the most egregious missed calls against Spurs of the year, match official Michael Oliver blew it on Sunday after Sonny was taken down by Leicester defender Harry Maguire inside the Foxes’ box. Instead of whistling for a foul and a penalty, Oliver instead marched right over and issued a yellow card to Son for simulation, to his absolute shock and fury.
In case you missed it, here’s the incident. It’s amazingly clear cut.
After the match, Pochettino did something he rarely, if ever does — he criticized Oliver for blowing that call.
“Today do you think that Sonny deserved to be booked? Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. When you compare the situation with the penalty against us, unbelievable.
“The problem is I told Michael Oliver, look at Liverpool in the last minute — that should be a penalty [when Son was brought down by Mane], to maybe be 2-2, maybe 2-1, but it was a clear penalty. It was the same referee but now I don’t know how he has measured the situation.
“It is so difficult. I am a person that always accepts mistakes but I think it was so strange the situation today. It was so clear the position today with Sonny, the action, but Maddison’s position wasn’t clear when he was on the floor. I think it is unbelievable. I am more relaxed because we won the game, three important points we got, but so disappointed with the situation because everyone wants to talk about different clubs or players.
“Do you think we are a team that is trying to cheat the referee? Come on, we are the most innocent people on the pitch!”
So you can’t convince me, what with Tottenham’s penchant for shithousery, that Poch’s last sentence isn’t just a liiiiiiiitle bit trolly, but he’s also right in this case. It was a horrible decision from Michael Oliver. One of the worst pundit tropes is “Well if it isn’t a foul, it has to be a yellow for diving.” Maybe Oliver thinks that way too, but I can’t fathom looking at that play and coming to the conclusion that Sonny not only wasn’t fouled, but actively tried to deceive him.
You also have to almost applaud the chutzpah from Maguire to immediately spring up and point a finger at Sonny to accuse him of simulation. An A+ troll move.
Spurs are now tied with Arsenal for number of cards issued for simulation in the league with four. Considering that at least half of those cards were bullshit, it’s a completely unfair and dubious distinction. In the end it didn’t matter, but Spurs are now getting an undue and unfair reputation for diving, and I don’t like it one bit.