You could kind of see why Sky Sports chose the Cardiff v Newcastle match.
First home game back in the Premier League for Neil Warnock’s team, up against a club that is yet again in turmoil off the pitch, with a team who could struggle this season on it.
No doubt the ideal agenda for Sky Sports would have been a rousing Cardiff performance and Newcastle falling apart as they lost, afterwards the big discussion being about what the future held for the Magpies, with the secondary story being a pat on the back for the plucky promoted club.
It didn’t exactly work out like that…
If of course Kenedy had stuck away that last gasp penalty, it may have been very different, but with the save ensuring a goalless draw, those in the studio had to find something to talk about.
The saving grace for Sky Sports was the lack of discipline from some players on both teams and the way the referee reacted.
The big talking points being the three incidents where red cards could potentially have been shown.
These were Kenedy’s booting his opponent with the ball nowhere in sight, Hayden going through the back of Josh Murphy, plus Harry Arter scything down Joselu with no attempt/chance to play the ball.
Interesting to see what the Sky Sports trio of Jamie Carragher, Craig Bellamy and Danny Gabbidon made of the incidents/decisions (see below).
I think the connecting thing for all three was that they were so blatant, no attempt at all to make it look like they were playing the ball.
However, where I think the two Newcastle fouls were different, was that at least Harry Arter was gaining something in terms of breaking up a Newcastle attack, Whereas with Hayden and Kenedy they were in non-threatening positions and maybe looked to me as though they showed signs of frustration getting to the NUFC players with everything negative that surrounds the club at the moment.
As for the three incidents, I do think Hayden deserved to go as it was a bit of a cowardly and dangerous challenge that could have injured the opponent. However, I thought that whilst Kenedy and Arter’s fouls were ridiculous and embarrassing, they looked far worse than they actually were as the pair of them kicked their opponent ‘up a height’, with no real chance of serious injury.
The Sky Sports verdict:
Foul one – Kenedy kick
(Former Cardiff player) Danny Gabbidon:
“He’s a very lucky boy. If the referee sees it, I think it’s a straight red card. He’s right there, but not looking at the incident really, and I think it might have done Newcastle a favour had he gone off because the incident summed up his incident for me.”
“Kenedy should have been sent off. I cannot understand how the referee hasn’t seen it, because he gives a free-kick for it. He kicks out and it’s a red card.
Whether the referee has followed the ball only he knows, but he gives a free-kick. I think he knows something has happened and that he’s missed something.”
Foul two – Hayden red card
“I think with this incident, he’s just missed it and knows something’s gone on. Now that is high – and it catches him on the back of the calf, referees may come on here and say that’s a red card, but I think if that’s given as a yellow card no-one complains or bats an eyelid.
Some people might say it’s an orange, but I think it’s a bit harsh. Referees may come on and say excessive force, you’re endangering an opponent, that type of thing – I think that was very harsh. I think he’s made a big mistake in the first one, and I think he looks at that and thinks he can’t get two wrong, so if it’s borderline he’s going. I felt a little bit for him.”
“I can see why he’s given it. It’s a bit too high for me, there’s some force and he’s come on at half-time and given him a torrid time, he’s fouled him a few times before already. From the referee’s point of view, if you catch the end bit, it looks high and reckless, I can understand it being a red card.”
Foul three – Arter yellow
“This might be the worst one. It absolutely has to be a red card. You can nick someone’s ankles and get a yellow with a counter-attack, but he absolutely volleys him knee-height. It’s worse than Kenedy’s. Hayden is at least going for the ball, but that’s the worst of the lot.
“I don’t think the referee had a good game, but that’s a shocking challenge. That could really seriously hurt someone. You hear about broken legs or over the top challenges, and he’s volleying his knee like it’s a ball on the edge of the box.”
“I can remember Granit Xhaka doing something similar for Arsenal in his first season at the Emirates and he got a red card for it, so talking about consistency, there’s no intention to play the ball, it’s cynical and for me it’s a red card.”