Retired referee Graham Poll has thrown his weight behind referee Bobby Madley’s decision to send off Chelsea’s Pedro for his rash tackle on Arsenal’s Mohammed Elneny in Sunday’s Community Shield game at the Wembley Stadium which the Gunners won 4-1 on penalties after regulation period ended 1-1.
The moment of controversy came in the 80th minute when Pedro was sent off with 10 minutes remaining for studs up tackle which caught Elneny on the ankle. This was at a time the Blues looked to be cruising to a victory.
Poll asserted it was the right decision even though Arsenal seized advantage to equalize and then went on to win the game.
He said: “The Community Shield is always seen by referees as a chance to set the scene for the season. For me the red card for Pedro was a strong but justifiable decision. The punishment for his late, studs-led challenge down the back of Mohamed Elneny’s achilles was surprising given that last season such tackles usually resulted in a yellow card.
“However it was from behind, meaning the Arsenal man’s safety could have been endangered.”
Poll however differed with Madley on the yellow card shown to Willian for simulation. He was of the opinion that the player was not out to con the referee.
“The caution for Willian, for simulation, was a fascinating one. At first it looked like a dive but replays showed that an accidental contact meant Willian was off balance and clipped himself, causing his fall. It wasn’t a penalty or a dive.”
Poll was one of English football’s highly-rated referees before his retirement and he now works as a pundit and columnist analyzing referees’ decisions for the media.
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