Did Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah really dive against West Ham and should he be punished?

The big controversy over the weekend in the Premier League was when Liverpool played West Ham. The Reds came back from a goal down to beat David Moyes side 2-1. But their equaliser came by the way of a penalty, which many media pundits and ex footballers believe should never have been given.

Inside the box Mohamed Salah tries to take hold off the ball but West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku clearly caught the striker on the sole of the foot and Salah went down. In theory this was always going to be straight forward and the referee awarded a penalty. The problem is how Salah went down.

Salah seemed to turn into a 180 degree angle and it looked like he almost threw himself to the ground. Was their contact? Yes, did it warrant a player to go down as Salah did? This is what is questionable.

At the end of the day whilst pundits and the media are saying that there was no penalty to be had- there actually was. Masuaku’s challenge was clumsy, one can’t even point to the fact that he was going for the ball as his foot was nowhere near it, it was a silly challenge and disputing whether it was a penalty or not does not seem correct, 100% in the rules of the game this was a penalty and Masuaku had clearly made an error. But that doesn’t make what happened right.

It doesn’t feel like a natural way to go to the ground and it could have been in Salah’s mind that he knows he has been touched but to make it 100% convincing to the referee he must go down in a ‘Hollywood’ style way. And he did. So yes Liverpool deserved the penalty but maybe Salah as a consequence of how he went to ground deserved a yellow card.

Salah has a history of going to ground quite easily, and it is not a good character strait of his. He is without doubt one of the best forwards in the Premier League and one of the best in Europe. His impact at Liverpool can’t be measured. And of course because of this he is seen as a role model. That is why the more you look at how he went down just feels wrong, Salah is a role model to many kids growing up who will undertake the game and say quite rightly that they were influenced by Salah.

But players do not seem to get cautioned if they have been fouled against- that seems to make sense, but there are cases like Salah where it could be an exception to the rule. As an example everyone remembers when Brazilian star Rivaldo feigned injury in their 2002 World Cup match against Turkey- it’s a long time ago but it is a great example. Rivaldo was technically fouled as the ball was shot on purpose at him. It actually hit him as he was about to take a corner on the arm and partial stomach, and yet Rivaldo touched his face, screaming and went down. A foul suddenly meant a sending off for Turkey because of Rivaldo’s overreaction. It was an anti football moment by such an incredible player.

Salah’s foul in the penalty box just felt the same way. Of course Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended the Egyptian and he said that he had marks to prove he was fouled. No one is denying this, because Salah was fouled. It is the reaction afterwards that feels that the game of football has been let down once more.

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Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 3

Leicester City caused the biggest upset in gameweek 2 as Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win away to Manchester City. Later that night, West Ham United thrashed Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0.

Here’s a look at the players who made a real difference in the fantasy football last weekend:

Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa) – 7pts
The Argentinian goalkeeper has started his Aston Villa career with back-to-back clean sheets as part of the side that won 3-0 at Fulham on Monday. He’ll do well to make it three in a row this weekend when Dean Smith’s side face Liverpool.

Defender: Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) – 11pts
Tyrone Mings scored the third as Aston Villa romped to victory at Craven Cottage. A clean sheet too for the centre-back, you can’t get much better than that combo.

Defender: Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – 9pts
Liverpool’s left-back gave his side the lead against Arsenal on Monday night after it was his mistake that gifted Mikel Arteta’s side the lead. Andy Robertson now has a goal, assist and clean sheet in his first three outings this season.

Defender: Arthur Masuaku (West Ham United) – 9pts
Anyone who was brave enough to include a West Ham defender in their team last weekend greatly profited with a surprise clean sheet versus Wolverhampton Wanderers. Arthur Masuaku outscored his fellow defenders by registering an assist too.

Midfielder: Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa) – 12pts
Aston Villa were two up inside 15 minutes at Fulham on Monday thanks to Conor Hourihane adding to Jack Grealish’s strike. The central midfielder also delivered the free kick that Tyrone Mings poked home just after half-time.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – 10pts
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring for Manchester City against his former club before Leicester City produced a stunning turnaround in a 5-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 9pts
Aston Villa’s first goalscorer in their 3-0 win at Fulham saw Jack Grealish make the fantasy Premier League team of the weekend.

Striker: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – 13pts
The fourth hat-trick of the 2020-21 Premier League season saw Leicester City thrash Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday. This was Jamie Vardy’s versus the Citizens since the Spaniard has been in charge.

Striker: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) – 11pts
Scorer of the opening two goals from West Ham United in their surprise 4-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday earned Jarrod Bowen a place in the team of the week.

Striker: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion) – 10pts
Callum Robinson only scored one goal in 17 Premier League appearances for Sheffield United last season but scored two in West Brom’s 3-3 draw with Chelsea this weekend. Unfortunately for the striker, he was taken off midway through the second half before he could grab a hat-trick.

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Arthur Masuaku’s international debut reflective of his season so far


This international break brought memorable moments for many individuals and nations, such as Gibraltar, who won a competitive match for the first time and then secured their second just a few days later. Across the world there will have been players who had their own significant moments, just with less of a profile attached to it. One of those is Arthur Masuaku, who made his debut for D.R Congo.

A player’s debut for their national team is often cited as the proudest moment of their career, though the sense is always heightened by a victory. Unfortunately for Masuaku and his team mates, the Leopards were beaten 2-1 at home by Zimbabwe; Yannick Bolasie’s injury time header not enough to spark a late comeback. Masuaku played 82 minutes before being replaced by Jean-Marc Makusu who plays for Congolese club AS Vita. Following on from that match, the West Ham man was left out of the side that played the return fixture in Zimbabwe, which ended 1-1.

While there will undoubtedly be pride at representing his country for the first time, there will be a twinge of disappointment at the way things turned out on the day for the Leopards. This mixture of feelings is something which is synonymous with his season so far in East London, where he has returned to prepare for Saturday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur.

He’s seen off competition from Aaron Cresswell for the left back spot, playing the 90 minutes in every Premier League game this season, other than the loss against Wolverhampton Wanderers which he was injured for. However, he has come under an almost constant stream of scrutiny from supporters and has had some negative attention from pundits. His contribution to the goal conceded in the 1-0 win against Brighton and Hove Albion was just one of the events which caused comments to be made about his credentials. He had been directed by Issa Diop to shuffle over and mark Glenn Murray so the Frenchman could mark the man further over. Masuaku didn’t do so, leaving Murray in acres of space to tap in the only goal of the game unchallenged.

While his positioning can be suspect at times, Masuaku is actually 10th in the Premier League for the most tackles made, ahead of full backs such as Jonny and Andy Robertson who have both been lauded this campaign.

The former Olympiacos man is a talented player with the ball at his feet. With his defensive capabilities have been widely questioned, there have been some among the club’s fan base who have voiced opinions that Masuaku is more suited to being a winger. As mentioned he is a great dribbler but his end product can be found lacking at times. Also, with Felipe Anderson occupying the slot further up the left flank, the D.R Congo international wouldn’t get much game time there.

Despite the questions being asked by some in the stands, Masuaku has clearly done enough to impress his manager. In Saturday’s match against Spurs he’ll likely be directly up against Lucas Moura, who has been in brilliant form this season. A convincing performance against the Brazilian and his side would definitely help get any of Masuaku’s doubters off his back.


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