April 19, 2024

The Championship is one of the world’s best leagues, with Leicester City, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, and Southampton providing the excitement at the top.

All four teams are vying for automatic promotion, with only five points separating Leeds United (third) and the current Championship leaders.

However, if Sunderland had been granted a stoppage-time penalty in their 1-0 loss to Leicester on Tuesday night, the outcome could have been quite different.

Paul Merson was analyzing the action yesterday and believes Leeds United and Ipswich Town would be ‘fuming’ that Hamza Choudhury was not penalized for his tackle on Daniel Ballard, as he told Soccer Special on Sky Sports (06/03/24 at 7:30 pm).

The former Arsenal and Aston Villa player was adamant that it was a’stonewall penalty’ after the Sunderland defender was pulled back by his opponent.

Play continued, and moments later, the final whistle blew to the boos of the home crowd inside the Stadium of Light.

Given that the on-field referee did not consider it a penalty, Paul Merson questioned why the Sunderland player was not penalized for diving.

In any case, it was characterized as a’massive game-changer’ since, following two consecutive defeats, the Foxes may now breathe a little easier at the top.


Dan Ballard admits he 'got away with one' after penalty incident at Hull -  Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation

Sunderland-Leicester penalty drama

“If you are Ipswich and Leeds, then you would be fuming,” Merson remarked.

“For me, it’s a stonewall; grab on his back, pull him back, and it’s a penalty. I regard it as a penalty.

“This is a huge game changer. I believe it was the dramatic tumble (which did not help Ballard win the penalty). But, if he dived, shouldn’t you book him?

“It is a major one – five points clear, which is a lot of points. These games do disappear pretty rapidly.”

Race for promotion to the Premier League

Weeks and weeks ago, you would have claimed Leicester were running away with it, and it was just a matter of time before they won it entirely.

However, recent dropped points, especially the defeat to Leeds, have left the door somewhat open.

In actuality, the Foxes will look at this and say they had a wobble, but they are five clear, and normal service should resume.

Given how brilliantly they have done this season, it should, but this is the Championship, and you get a feeling there will be more dramatic moments ahead.



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