Pundit reacts to the FA's Lanzini decision, suggests Newcastle star should have been punished

Former Celtic players Henrik Larsson (C) and Chris Sutton (R) talk prior to the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Celtic and Paris Saint Germain at Celtic Park on September 12,...

West Ham United playmaker Manuel Lanzini is set for a two-game ban.

Manuel Lanzini of West Ham looks spread the play during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at London Stadium on December 13, 2017 in London, England.

Pundit Chris Sutton has told the Daily Mail that he can't believe West Ham United playmaker Manuel Lanzini has been charged with diving by the FA.

The Hammers enjoyed a superb Saturday afternoon, as they thrashed Stoke City 3-0 at the Bet365 Stadium thanks to goals from Mark Noble, Marko Arnautovic and Diafra Sakho.

The result made it seven points in a week for West Ham, and gave David Moyes' men a route out of the relegation zone – but it wasn't all positive in the Potteries.

Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Watford and West Ham United at Vicarage Road on November 19, 2017 in Watford, England.

Noble's goal came from the penalty spot, after Manuel Lanzini had been felled in the penalty area by Erik Pieters, though controversy surrounded the decision to award a spot kick.

Lanzini drove towards goal before knocking the ball away from Pieters, and appeared to be going to ground early before eventually making contact with the Stoke defender.

Now, Lanzini has become just the second player this season to be charged with diving by the FA, following Everton's Oumar Niasse – but many have been left perplexed by the decision.

Pundit Chris Sutton has offered a raging rant to the Daily Mail, suggesting that whoever is making the decisions on who to charge may be 'blindfolded and guessing' after another bizarre verdict.

Former Celtic players Henrik Larsson (C) and Chris Sutton (R) talk prior to the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Celtic and Paris Saint Germain at Celtic Park on September 12,...

Sutton feels that Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Newcastle's Mikel Merino should have been charged for diving – which merits a two-game ban – earlier in the summer if Lanzini is being punished, urging the panel involved to clarify the situation.

“Is this the ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ panel? Are they doing this blindfolded and guessing?” said Sutton. “So far two players have been charged: Everton’s Oumar Niasse and Manuel Lanzini of West Ham. Yes, both went down too easily and gained an advantage in being awarded penalties. But if I was at West Ham right now I would be pointing to the Wilfried Zaha incident in gaining an advantage for Crystal Palace’s first penalty against Bournemouth. Similar to Lanzini, he was on the way down before contact and was wrongly awarded a penalty. These incidents mirror each other. So why has Lanzini been charged and Zaha not?”

“The diving panel must simplify its rules as players can only be charged if they gain an advantage. When Newcastle’s Mikel Merino threw himself to the floor with no contact against Swansea this season — a clear dive — he wasn’t awarded a penalty, wasn’t booked but wasn’t charged with diving, even though he did. It is a diving panel who don’t charge certain players for diving when they clearly dive, then charge one player in Lanzini for going down before contact and not another, Zaha, in the same situation. Work it out! I can’t. Since the panel has been set up, we’ve just seen confusion and inconsistencies,” he added.

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