Charlie Nicholas claimed West Ham midfielder Mark Noble was lucky to avoid receiving a red card in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
The pundit claimed that the Hammers captain could have easily seen red by picking up two yellow cards and pointed out that he thought the midfielder dived during Monday’s clash.
“I thought Noble was lucky to stay on the pitch last weekend, I thought he could have got two yellows quite easily,” said Nicholas on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, 13:32, Saturday, September 21st).
“There was one dive in particular, but he got away with it.”
Nicholas clearly believes Noble walked a fine line on Monday, and it’s easy to see why. The experienced Hammers midfielder appeared to go down easily in the box during the second half of the Hammers’ latest clash and it wouldn’t have been a shock to see referee Mike Dean book him for simulation. While Noble could argue that he tripped as it was a terribly obvious dive otherwise, he wouldn’t have had many complaints if he had got a yellow card for simulation. However, when you consider that he hit the deck when already on a booking, the experienced Premier League player clearly took a huge risk if he was trying to win his side a penalty. Luckily for Noble and Manuel Pellegrini, the 32-year-old avoided punishment and will be available for Sunday’s clash with Manchester United as a result. Since the midfielder returned to the club’s starting line-up this season after missing the first couple of games due to injury, the Hammers have secured some positive results. Noble has featured three times, securing a decent rating of 7.07 and maintaining a pass completion rate of 85.1% in the process (Source: WhoScored).