Gary Neville is correct about Martin Atkinson’s Everton performance, and the Premier League must pay attention.
The entire stadium had been swept away by a spectacular Everton comeback at the end of Monday night’s contest at Goodison Park.
After falling behind 1-0 to Burnley and seemed to be on the verge of losing, a spectacular comeback in the first six minutes of frantic action was enough to turn the game entirely around.
It was almost enough to make people forget about the game’s less pleasant parts.
Following the game, the focus in the Monday Night Football studio quickly shifted to several hard tackles that had occurred during the previous 90 minutes.
Burnley players were singled out for two challenges on Richarlison in particular.
Josh Brownhill’s behind-the-back lunge was compared to Pascal Struijk’s on the unfortunate Harvey Elliot the day before, but the visitor escaped a yellow card.
Referee Martin Atkinson did award Everton a free kick after seeing the challenge from behind, but he plainly did not think it warranted a booking at the time.
Maybe it had something to do with how early the challenge was held, but we’ll get into that later.
The second topic of criticism was James Tarkowski’s second-period clattering of Richarlison, which was mourned even more.
Before the England international scythed through his opponent with ferocity, the Burnley player only grabbed the ball when the Brazilian kicked it against him.
“The fans, and perhaps we, felt the game was drifting too far away from where it should be,” Gary Neville remarked on Sky Sports. With the exception of one or two persons, everyone agrees that the referees’ application of the regulations this season has been flawless.
“I think that [Tarkowski] challenge, which I probably did a hundred times in a season, even back in 1997, is a yellow card.
“The fact that it wasn’t a yellow card made me think, ‘Oh, let’s take a break for a minute.’ Being unbooked does not encourage that challenge.”
The pundit is referring to the fact that officials have been letting a lot more slack in the early games of this season, in an attempt to keep the games flowing. “The summary has come to an end.”