Garth Crooks slams referee for not sending off Marcel Sabitzer against Leicester City

BBC Sport columnist Garth Crooks was appalled by Marcel Sabitzer’s late tackle on Leicester City defender Wout Faes.

With the score at 1-0, a potential red card for the Manchester United midfielder was discussed in the Sky Sports studio at half-time. Another member of the punditry world, Graeme Souness, was adamant that Sabitzer should have been sent for an early shower.

Leicester City defender Wout Faes had cleared a ball just outside his own penalty area. That was when Sabitzer rushed in with a high challenge only to catch the Belgian below the knee.

Sabitzer was not booked for the challenge, even though the incident had been assessed by VAR official Paul Tierney. The reason he wasn’t given a yellow card – after the VAR check – is down to the fact a VAR review cannot award a yellow card if a red has not already been awarded.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers also spoke out about the tackle, saying (via Goal): “I’ll take away that we should have been playing against 10 men. It was a challenge that, how that’s not picked up, as a straight-leg stud to the knee on Wout, how that is not a sending off I will never know.”

However, BBC Sport columnist Crooks has suggested that referee Stuart Attwell should be relieved of his duties for allowing Sabitzer to remain on the pitch.

Crooks also described the tackle as the worst he has seen in years – which is a complete and utter exaggeration.

“Premier League referee Stuart Attwell should be relieved of his duties,” Crooks wrote. “He allowed Manchester United’s Marcel Sabitzer to remain on the pitch after the worst tackle I have seen in years and without so much as a caution.

“What made matters worse, Attwell then booked Leicester City’s Nampalys Mendy, having made not one, but two, perfectly legitimate tackles. Of course it is the referee’s opinion that ultimately matters, but if a top-class official cannot distinguish between a ‘career-threatening tackle’ and two perfectly legitimate challenges, then that referee has no business officiating in the top league in the world.

“Top professional players deserve referees who know the difference between a good and a very bad tackle.”

We’re just happy that Sabitzer won’t miss any important games. It may make up for Casemiro’s silly 3-game ban which is now over.

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