Michael Oliver Carded Nacer Chadli for Celebrating and It Was Stupid

I’m a big supporter of the referees and of Michael Oliver in particular. You guys know that.

I’m also a supporter of Tottenham, so I was over the moon when Nacer Chadli managed to score against Arsenal at the Emirates today. (Though, Tottenham being Tottenham, that joy was short-lived.)

But I have to say I was absolutely stunned at the yellow card Oliver gave Chadli for celebration after the goal, when Chadli briefly cupped his hand to his ear as he ran back to his teammates.

And I wasn’t the only one.

Though the announcers had no idea at first as to why Chadli was booked (they thought he might have started to take off his shirt), it was clear on the footage that Oliver – who mimicked the gesture, shaking his head, before pulling the card – had indeed booked Chadli for that rather benign celebration.

Really, Michael? Really?

Let’s face it, that’s an absolutely bizarre thing to book a player for – though it fortunately didn’t have an affect on the game – and most pundits and fans on Twitter were rightly shocked by it.

Amongst my Spurs fan friends, it immediately brought to mind the ugly scene last season where Tottenham fans attacked Theo Walcott for pretending to be hurt (he was actually badly hurt) and Walcott responded by openly taunting Spurs supporters. He was given a pat on the head by FA and told not to do it again.

My guess is that this actually had a lot to do with that Walcott incident. Oliver made it clear he would brook no such thing in this game, and I suppose I can understand that. But he could have done the same thing with a conversation with the two captains without looking like a tyrant.

The fact that Steven Gerrard did the same damn thing to Everton fans today and went unpunished does not make things easier to swallow.

So, yeah, I call shenanigans on this one.

Sorry, Michael.

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