Mike Dean & VAR face backlash again after controversial red card for Soucek

Tomas Soucek Mike Dean 2020-21
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The West Ham midfielder was sent off after a tangle with Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic

Tomas Soucek was controversially sent off late in West Ham’s 0-0 London derby draw with Fulham.

The Czech Republic midfielder was lining up to attack a free kick on the edge of the Fulham box when he tangled with Cottagers striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Referee Mike Dean was then summoned to the touchline by the VAR and, after reviewing the incident, sent Soucek off.

Why was Tomas Soucek sent off?

Soucek was trying to create space that was being denied to him by Mitrovic, and in a bid to get a yard of clearance he caught the Fulham man with his arm.

There did not look to be any intent. It appeared to be a case of Soucek keeping the Fulham forward clear of him, but Dean was given instruction to review the incident.

Dean took some time before returning to the pitch and brandishing a red card to the bewildered West Ham man.

Will Soucek's red card be overturned?

It seems almost certain that West Ham will lodge an appeal over the red card.

For VAR, it is another moment in the spotlight that football’s governing bodies could do without. Slow motion replays tend to make things look worse than in real time, but even at half speed the incident seemed to be an accidental coming together of two players.

Should Soucek fail in any appeal, and a ban for violent conduct is confirmed, he will miss the trip to Manchester United in the FA Cup and Premier League games with Sheffield United and Tottenham.

What has Soucek said?

Following the match, Soucek posted his reaction to the red card on Twitter.

He wrote: "I spoke with Aleksandar Mitrovic in and after the game and he said to me that our duel was fair, I thank him for that. Unfortunately, the referee had different opinion.

"Anyone who knows me knows i would never mean harm to another player. I am sorry for this moment in the otherwise great season. Really nice fair play moment from Aleksandar."

What was the West Ham reaction to Soucek's red card?

West Ham boss David Moyes said: "It was an accidental coming together, which to give someone a red card for is an embarrassing decision. I am embarrassed that the VAR asked him to look at it, it was a simple accident and we should just get on with the game.

"I am disappointed. The referees can easily put a stop to this by saying we are not going to react to screaming or give soft free kicks but they seem to be frightened to say no."

West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell told Sky Sports: "He [Aleksandar Mitrovic] made a bit too much of it. It's frustrating to lose Tomas Soucek. He's a massive player for us. A huge loss."

What was the Fulham reaction to Soucek's red card?

Fulham boss Scott Parker said: "It probably was a bit harsh and the game is becoming very sterile.

"I don't think it was a sending off but that's the way the game is going."

How many red cards has Mike Dean shown in his career?

The red card for Soucek was the sixth that Dean has shown in 15 Premier League matches during the 2020-21 season. It also came just a few days after Dean sent off Alex Jankewitz and Jan Bednarek in Southampton's 9-0 defeat at Manchester United.

He also sent off West Brom's Kieran Gibbs in a 5-2 defeat at Everton in September, and dismissed Joao Moutinho and Douglas Luiz during Aston Villa's 1-0 win at Wolves in December.

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Since taking charge of his first Premier League game in September 2000, Dean has refereed 524 matches, showing 110 red cards and 1,927 yellow cards.

Dean is the only referee to pass a century of red cards shown in the Premier League. Next on the list is Phil Dowd (67 red cards), followed by Mike Riley (66), Martin Atkinson (65) and Graham Poll (63).

What was the reaction on social media?