It’s harder to win a penalty at Craven Cottage than Old Trafford
There is no doubt that Fulham should have been awarded a penalty against Manchester United last night, but when Michael Carrick tipped Danny Murphy inside the box, the referee was having none of it.
After the match, Alex Ferguson conceded his side, who won the match 1-0, had been lucky.
“Yes, I think Michael has caught his [Murphy's] heel,” Ferguson said. “It wasn’t a stone-waller, but it could have been a penalty. Certainly it was a claim, there’s no question about that.
The decision by referee Michael Oliver to wave away the penalty claims was made in the 88th minute. Had it been given, the match would likely have ended 1-1, and had a huge impact on the title race.
His opposite number, Martin Jol was in no doubt the Cottagers deserved a spot-kick.
“No-one in the stadium could say Danny Murphy dived and everyone in the stadium expected a penalty,” he said.
“It needed a brave decision because it was either a dive and he should book someone or he has to give Carrick a red card.”
The Fulham manager, who was once offered the chance to become Ferguson’s assistant at Old Trafford, hinted at a wider pattern at play.
“The discussion of whether it would have been given at the other end has been going on for years and it will go on for years to come,” he said.
There is an assumption that when visiting Old Trafford, penalties are hard to come by. Referees are not simply making a decision; in front of a crowd of 75,000 people, among them Sir Alex Ferguson and against the best team in the land, they must make a ‘brave decision’.
But the statistics tell a different story.
Since August 2006 to now, Manchester United have conceded 9 penalties at home. That spans 110 games, meaning they have conceded 0.08 penalties per home game.
Ironically, Fulham have conceded 8 over the same time period and number of games, a record of 0.07 penalties per game. So despite claims that it is tougher to win a penalty at Old Trafford than other grounds, analysis shows it is actually harder to win a penalty at Craven Cottage.
Blackburn’s Ewood Park is the most likely current Premier League ground on which visiting teams will see the referee point to the spot. They’ve conceded 18 over 110 games – 0.16 per game.
The most ‘difficult’ place to be awarded a penalty is at Stamford Bridge. Of the existing Premier League teams, Chelsea have conceded the fewest since August 2006, just 6 at a rate of 0.05 per game. Aston Villa have also conceded six, but over the time period have played one less home game.
Manchester United got lucky last night, but the suggestion there is more to it than that is just wrong.
Penalties conceded at home by existing Premier League teams since August 2006 (teams must have played over 50 games during that time)
Team / Penalties conceded / Games / Penalties per game
Blackburn Rovers 18 110 0.16
Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 53 0.15
Wigan Athletic 16 110 0.15
West Bromwich Albion 7 53 0.13
Sunderland 11 91 0.12
Arsenal 11 110 0.1
Newcastle United 9 91 0.1
Manchester City 10 110 0.09
Stoke City 6 72 0.08
Manchester United 9 110 0.08
Everton 8 110 0.07
Bolton Wanderers 8 110 0.07
Tottenham Hotspur 8 110 0.07
Fulham 8 110 0.07
Liverpool 7 110 0.06
Aston Villa 6 109 0.06
Chelsea 6 110 0.05
Follow Simon Rice on Twitter @simonriceTagged in: Alex Ferguson, football, Fulham, manchester united, Martin Jol, Premier League
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