There is a good chance the video attached below will already have been removed from social media by the time you manage to read this but for now, it remains live and as such, offers me the chance to highlight Mohamed Salah’s theatrics on a night when his own boss spoke of his delight at an “ugly” victory.
Salah loses control of the ball, but the defender got a bit of contact and didn’t really go for the ball. It’s a harsh red card, but a red none the less. pic.twitter.com/J5cQKf9ggz
— Oliver Cliff (@OliCliffCFC) August 20, 2018
Whilst a great deal of debate continues to swirl over Michael Oliver’s decision to award the Reds a penalty on the stroke of half-time for a foul on the aforementioned Egyptian, I would prefer to discuss the incident shown in the footage just above, if only to draw attention to the flamboyant nature in which Salah throws his head back after the merest of touches from covering defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Before I go any further, I should state that I agree with the decision to send the Palace man off. Yes, he’s done his best to pull out of the challenge, yes the contact is extremely slight but there is a touch on Salah and as we all know, an action which denies a clear goal-scoring opportunity will be punished with a red card.
My only gripe here revolves around the manner in which Salah reacts to Wan-Bissaka’s aborted attempt to win the ball, feeling a touch from behind on his calf before launching his head back like a horse that has been startled by a firework. The Reds star is unquestionably a sublime talent who is highly likely to score 20 or more goals again this season; quite why he felt it necessary to put on such a show in this particular incident is beyond me.
Despite Wan-Bissaka now facing up to the prospect of a ban, I won’t have a word said against him for trying to make the challenge in the first place. The game was still salvageable at 1-0 with 15 minutes left to play, with a perfectly timed challenge in those circumstances having the potential to spark a surge which could have seen us bag an equaliser.
The reaction of the Selhurst faithful as Aaron trudged off the pitch said a great deal, with this setback almost certain to be nothing more than a minor road-bump on the full-back’s road to success.