EPL

There may be trouble ahead for Gary O’Neil after emotions get the better of him

By Sports Desk April 06, 2024

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil admitted he may face further disciplinary action after confronting referee Tony Harrington following his side’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to West Ham at Molineux.

Wolves were angered when Maximilian Kilman’s goal in the ninth minute of stoppage time was disallowed, something O’Neil described as “possibly the worst decision I’ve ever seen”.

VAR Darren England advised Harrington to check the monitor as Wolves substitute Tawanda Chirewa was stood in front of Lukasz Fabianski in an offside position and deemed to be impeding the West Ham goalkeeper.

Wolves’ protests led to a flurry of yellow cards for those on O’Neil’s bench, and the manager said he walked towards the tunnel because he was aware he is one yellow card away from a touchline ban.

But O’Neil’s attempts to speak to Harrington after the game may yet lead to further problems.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to control my emotions and my feelings,” O’Neil said. “I was in with the referee and it didn’t go too well so I haven’t had an explanation.

“But the explanation is irrelevant anyway because everyone I’ve spoken to, David Moyes, Fabianski, they all can’t believe it’s been given for offside. It’s a terrible decision.”

O’Neil said Harrington shut down their conversation “probably because of the way I asked”, adding that he was “in a fairly bad mood” when he went to the referee’s room.

“I don’t know if it will be reported,” O’Neil added. “If I get told off, so be it. I’ve been told off many times before. I will apologise if I’ve stepped over the line but I can only react on how I feel at that moment.”

West Ham came from behind to win with James Ward-Prowse scoring directly from a corner after Lucas Paqueta’s penalty cancelled out a first-half spot-kick from Pablo Sarabia.

Moyes expressed sympathy for O’Neil but said any player stood where Chirewa had was at risk of being penalised for offside.

Asked if his side had got away with a decision, the Scot said: “I think I’m probably the last man at the moment to say you’re getting away with one. We’ve had so many poor decisions it is unbelievable in recent weeks.

“When I’ve looked at it again, the boy’s definitely standing in front of the goalkeeper…and if that player is not going to try to get back onside then there’s a chance you’ll be called offside.

“But I have to say I felt for Gary because the way I’ve felt the last 2-3 weeks with the decisions we’ve had, I’ve been sitting in a dark room for a week.”

Wolves have disputed several refereeing decisions throughout the season, and O’Neil said his players felt they had been disrespected.

“The players are unbelievably frustrated with the decision-making and officiating,” he said.

“They had a discussion as a group, they don’t feel like they’re being respected by the officials and I’ve talked them down a couple of times from figuring out what they want to do about that.

“I can’t expect them not to this time, I understand how they feel about it, and whatever they decide to do about it is up to them.”

Wolves had deservedly led at the break, but West Ham improved massively after the half-time introduction of Michail Antonio and Ben Johnson.

“I think the two teams changed shirts at half-time,” Moyes said.

But the win may have come at a cost with Jarrod Bowen limping off as Thursday’s Europa League match away to Bayer Leverkusen looms.

“He’s had a knee into his hip, or into his back,” Moyes said. “It’s not a twist but he’s really stiff. I’ve had one or two of those myself and they don’t go away too quickly so we need to hope it doesn’t linger with him.”

Related items

  • Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth: Blues secure European spot with victory over Cherries Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth: Blues secure European spot with victory over Cherries

    Goals from Moises Caicedo and Raheem Sterling secured a 2-1 victory for Chelsea over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, ensuring the Blues will play European football next season.

    Chelsea headed into the final game of the campaign on Sunday knowing a win would secure at least a Europa Conference League spot, and Caicedo put them on course for three points in the first half with a stunning long-range finish.

    Sterling then fired home after the interval to put Mauricio Pochettino's men firmly into the ascendancy, and though a Benoit Badiashile own-goal gave the Cherries hope, Chelsea saw out the victory.

    The win means the hosts finish the campaign in sixth, and if Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final next weekend, Chelsea will play in the Europa League next season.

    The hosts started brightly with Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer both going close early, while Antoine Semenyo tested Djordje Petrovic at the other end with a dipping effort.

    Caicedo put Chelsea ahead in spectacular fashion, seizing upon Neto's loose clearance before sending an audacious lob into the back of the net from close to the halfway line.

    The hosts then made it 2-0 moments into the second half, Sterling driving into the box before firing past Neto from a tight angle.

    That two-goal advantage lasted less than two minutes, though, as Enes Unal brought down a cross from the left and lashed goalwards, leading to Badiashile turning into the back of his own net.

    Bournemouth pressed for a leveller late on and nearly found one when Dominic Solanke failed to hit the target in injury time, but the hosts held on to confirm they'll be playing European football next term.

    Chelsea finally flourishing

    It has been another tumultuous campaign at Stamford Bridge, and doubts are lingering over whether Pochettino will be in charge come the start of next term, but Chelsea's strong form to end the season has certainly been impressive.

    Pochettino finally seems to be getting the best out of his talented but young squad, with the win over Bournemouth making it five straight Premier League victories, the first time they have managed that since 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

    One of those Blues players who has enjoyed their football of late is Caicedo, and his goal here was the perfect reminder of what a talent he is. The first-half strike was the furthest scored in a Premier League game since Wayne Rooney for Everton in November 2017 (57.7 yards v West Ham).

    Iraola impresses in first season

    Bournemouth may have finished the season with three straight defeats, but the Cherries have still finished 12th in Andoni Iraola's first season since joining from Rayo Vallecano.

    It looked like Iraola's time in charge at the Vitality Stadium could be brief as Bournemouth failed to win any of their first nine Premier League games of the season.

    But it's been quite the turnaround from the Cherries, who will end the season 22 points above the relegation zone having won 13 Premier League games, their joint-most in a single campaign, and Bournemouth fans will be looking to the future with optimism.

  • Crystal Palace 5-0 Aston Villa: Mateta hat-trick sends Eagles soaring to final-day win Crystal Palace 5-0 Aston Villa: Mateta hat-trick sends Eagles soaring to final-day win

    Jean-Philippe Mateta stole the show with a hat-trick as Crystal Palace ended the Premier League season unbeaten in seven straight games after a 5-0 hammering of Aston Villa at Selhurst Park.

    Palace manager Oliver Glasner replaced Roy Hodgson in February and has made an immediate impression on the Eagles, with promising signs awaiting his first full season in England next term.

    Mateta has been one of many Palace players to enjoy an upturn in form since Glasner's arrival, with the in-form striker's deadly first-half double paving the way for an impressive victory on Sunday.

    Frenchman Mateta completed his hat-trick with a well-taken finish in the second half, in between a pair of eye-catching Eberechi Eze goals, as Palace's dominant triumph saw them finish 10th in the table.

    This final-day defeat will not dampen the mood too much for Unai Emery's fourth-placed Villa, who head into next season with UEFA Champions League football awaiting.

    Selhurst Park erupted after just nine minutes when Michael Olise slipped a delicate pass into the area for Mateta, who blasted a left-footed effort past the helpless Robin Olsen.

    Villa responded with a barrage on Palace's goal, but Dean Henderson denied a well-struck Moussa Diaby volley before Marc Guehi cleared Ollie Watkins' looping header on the line.

    Glasner's Eagles struck another decisive blow six minutes before the interval as Daniel Munoz swept a low cross for Mateta to slam into the top-left corner from close range.

    Olsen stopped Olise from making it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, with his low curling attempt pushed away by the Villa goalkeeper, who replaced Emiliano Martinez for this final-day meeting.

    Yet Olsen had no chance after 54 minutes as Eze danced inside from the left and powered into the bottom-left corner, before the Palace midfielder teed up Mateta to complete his treble with a well-taken finish from the right of goal nine minutes later.

    Palace's in-form striker thought he had another to add to his tally moments later but a VAR review ruled the Frenchman offside after racing onto a long pass in behind.

    Mateta responded to that VAR decision by setting up Eze to drive another brilliant attempt into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area after 69 minutes and complete a dominant victory.

    Palace excitement builds with Glasner

    Prior to this game, Palace had won five of their last six Premier League games (D1), as many as they had in their previous 27 (D8 L14). 

    The Eagles smashed Manchester United 4-0 and Wolves 3-1 in their last two games before this victory made it three Premier League wins in a row, while Palace scored 3+ goals in each triumph for the first time in their top-flight history.

    Austrian Glasner's next challenge will be to keep up the improvements going into next season, with Palace – boasting quality in the likes of Eze, Mateta and Olise – capable of competing in the top half of the table.

    Amazing Emery inspires Villa revival

    Villa were only promoted back to the Premier League five years ago, after their Championship play-off final victory over Derby County, but will be preparing for Champions League football next term.

    That remarkable rise to compete with Europe's elite can largely be apportioned to Emery, who was appointed in October 2022 after Steven Gerrard was dismissed with Villa struggling at the bottom half of the league table.

    The Spaniard, a record four-time winner of the Europa League, has 35 wins in 63 games of his Premier League managerial career with Villa – a record he will hope to continue improving next season.

  • Sheffield United 0-3 Tottenham: Kulusevski double seals fifth place for Spurs Sheffield United 0-3 Tottenham: Kulusevski double seals fifth place for Spurs

    Dejan Kulusevski scored twice as Tottenham claimed fifth place in the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

    The Swede clinically picked out the back of the net in both halves to put Spurs in control and seal a UEFA Europa League place for next season.

    Pedro Porro's rifled effort was sandwiched between Kulusevski’s goals, while the Blades avoided some late drama as Andre Brooks had a red card overturned after a VAR review.

    Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham side finished three points clear of Chelsea, while Sheffield United go back down to the Championship having finished bottom of the table.

    Spurs were put under early pressure as Ben Brereton Diaz blazed a volley over the bar after just three minutes before scuffing a second shot against the far post shortly after.

    Kulusevski then punished the Blades for their lack of clinical edge as he scored with Spurs’ first shot of the game, hitting his low strike in off the post as Son Heung-Min claimed his 10th Premier League assist of the season.

    Rodrigo Bentancur almost recreated the Swede’s goal just before the half-hour mark, but his shot bounced off the inside of the post to Son, who forced a good save out of Wes Foderingham.

    United were further indebted to their goalkeeper as he stretched to tip Porro’s effort away before smothering James Maddison’s low strike on the stroke of half-time.

    Cameron Archer could have dragged the Blades back into the tie just after the break, as he brilliantly held off Cristian Romero before seeing his shot smothered by Guglielmo Vicario, but the offside flag spared his blushes.

    Despite a slow start to the second half, the visitors soon found their footing when Porro rifled a powerful effort over Foderingham after the goalkeeper had reflexively kept out Micky van de Ven.

    Six minutes later, Kulusevski got the better of the home side’s defence again, latching onto Maddison’s low cross to slot in his eighth Premier League goal of the season.

    There was late drama as substitute Brooks was shown a red card for a push on Son during a Sheffield United corner, but the referee overturned his original decision after a VAR review.

    Down and out

    The hosts were playing for pride in their final Premier League game of the season, but as is the story of their season, they just could not build on a promising start.

    Though they created some excellent chances to put Spurs on the back foot, they lacked a cutting edge before their defensive woes once again came to the fore.  

    The Blades conceded 104 goals this season - already a league-high before the match - while they finished with a goal difference of -69. That’s the joint-worst goal difference in Premier League history alongside Derby County in 2007-08.

    Leading from the front

    Tottenham simply needed a point to assure themselves of fifth place, and with their captain's help, they managed to book a place in the Europa League next season.

    Son set up Kulusevski for the opener to reach double figures in assists this season - it is the third time in his career that he has both scored and assisted 10+ goals in a single campaign. The South Korean is one of only six players to reach the milestone in three separate Premier League seasons. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.