West Ham United co-chairman David Gold has confirmed his club will appeal Cheikhou Kouyate's dismissal during the Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on 2 April. The combative midfielder was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg for a clumsy foul on Dwight Gayle in the 67th minute at Upton Park, with the hosts leading 2-1 after Manuel Lanzini and a stunning free-kick from Dimitri Payet had cancelled out Damien Delaney's early opener.
The decision to send off Kouyate appeared harsh at the time. West Ham's misery was quickly compounded when Gayle capitalised on Palace's numerical advantage to net the equaliser just eight minutes later, following a defensive mix-up involving centre-backs Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid. Such a result could be pivotal to the fifth-place Hammers' hopes of finishing in the top four as it left them three points adrift of Manchester City, who thrashed Bournemouth. They are just one ahead of Manchester United prior to the latter's meeting with Everton at Old Trafford.
"Disappointing decision by Mark Clattenburg to red card Kouyate which we will be appealing," Gold revealed via his Twitter account. "We must give referees more TV replay help."
He later replied to a follower: "If the ref was mic'd up to a retired experience ref who had instant TV replays, poor decisions would be reduced."
If Kouyate's suspension is applied, then a three-match ban would rule him out of next weekend's visit of Arsenal, in addition to an FA Cup quarter-final replay against Manchester United and a trip to leaders Leicester City on 17 April. Kouyate was also sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity in a 5-1 win at Blackburn Rovers in February, but did not miss any games after West Ham's claim of wrongful dismissal was upheld by the Football Association (FA).
"It's kind of frustrating that it's happened again," an irritated Slaven Bilic told West Ham TV after the full-time whistle. "For me it's very simple to judge that situation. It's nowhere near a red card and I think that anyone who had anything in any part of his life to do with football should say the same thing – there was no red card, no yellow card and it was in England, not even a foul. Let's say it's a foul and that's it, and it had a big impact on the game."
Palace counterpart Alan Pardew concurred with that assessment, admitting to Sky Sports: "The red card I thought was harsh really. I just watched it back. I would have been disappointed to have that issued to one of my players. In the same fixture at the start of the season we had Gayley sent off and we thought that was harsh so it is funny how things even out."