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22nd Apr 2018

Frank Lampard absolutely spot on as he questions Graham Poll’s explanation of disallowed Southampton goal

Lampard is fast becoming one of the best football pundits around

Simon Lloyd

Frank Lampard is fast becoming one of the best pundits on television.

He is intelligent, articulate and able to draw on his own wealth of experiences as a player. Crucially, he’s also not afraid to say what he really thinks, as was the case in the immediate aftermath of Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final win over Southampton.

Lampard watched his former club win the game 2-0, with second half goals from Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata. Chelsea were the better side, but the game could have potentially hinged on a disallowed goal for Southampton.

With a ball looping towards Willy Caballero in the Chelsea goal, Charlie Austin attempted to try and head the ball. Naturally, the goalkeeper was at an advantage and was able to get his hands to the ball and claim the catch. However, after (minimal) contact from Austin, the Argentine spilled the ball momentarily – replays showing it to have crossed the goal line – only for Martin Atkinson to award a free-kick against Austin.

Only a goal down at this time, this would have been an equaliser for Mark Hughes’ men and many of those watching – including BT Sport’s commentary team – felt it was a harsh decision.

To clarify why Atkinson had given a foul, BT soon called in former referee Graham Poll who explained that the decision was given because contact was made with the goalkeeper while he was off the ground. Many were confused by Poll’s assessment, with plenty pointing out no such law appears to exist.

Immediately after the game, Lampard was asked about the decision, making it instantly clear he felt the decision was wrong.

“It wasn’t a foul as far as I’m concerned.

“What I was interested to hear was Graham Poll say that you can’t touch a goalkeeper in the six-yard box. You might as well give him a VIP rope and a bouncer.

“Nobody can go in there and compete against him. You can’t protect them that much. I don’t get it.

“It’s not a foul and it should have been a goal for Southampton.”

Chelsea’s victory means they will face Manchester United in next month’s FA Cup final, after Jose Mourinho’s men beat Tottenham in Saturday’s semi-final.