If you’re one of those that likes to place real money bets on football, you’ll know that West Ham are in the midst of their best stretch of the season. Following a disastrous start that ultimately resulted in the sacking of manager Slaven Bilic, the Hammers have looked transformed under new manager David Moyes.
West Ham have taken 7 points from their last 3 Premier League matches, including a 1-0 win over Chelsea and a scoreless draw against Arsenal. The Hammers made it look easy in a 3-0 triumph over Stoke this past weekend, but the win didn’t come without a cost. The BBC reported Tuesday that influential playmaker Manuel Lanzini has been slapped with a 2-match ban for his dive that resulted in a penalty over the weekend.
Lanzini went to ground after a tough challenge from Stoke defender Erik Pieters, but replays confirm that the challenge by Pieters was completely legal and without contact. Lanzini’s dive fooled the referee, however, and the Hammers were awarded a penalty. Mark Noble converted from the spot to put West Ham on top 1-0 in the 19th minute.
Lanzini appealed the charge, but the Football Association denied it. The Argentine will miss the match against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup this week in addition to Saturday’s Premier League tilt with Newcastle.
The panel that makes decisions on suspensions is comprised of a former match official, an ex-manager and an ex-player. All 3 people must agree on the ban for it to be enforced. Clearly, Lanzini’s case was a no-brainer to the panel.
While the video seems to confirm the panel’s decision, Moyes spoke after the charge and said that the referee had a clear view of the play and still opted to blow the whistle.
“The referee was 10 yards from the ball with nothing blocking his vision,” said Moyes. “It’s clear to see the defender makes an attempt to go for the ball and doesn’t get it.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes, meanwhile, was instantly convinced that Lanzini had deceived the referee.
Speaking after his team’s defeat, Hughes said that Lanzini “clearly dived.”
Lanzini becomes the second Premier League player to be suspended for diving this season since the new rules were implemented. A couple of weeks ago, Everton striker Oumar Niasse was suspended for 2 games after winning a penalty at the expense of Crystal Palace defender Scott Dann.