By Danny Wright

7th May, 2023 | 2:44pm

Ex-FIFA official rages over John McGinn incident in Aston Villa defeat v Wolves as controversial footage emerges

Unai Emery needs to take a look at how his players are defending set-pieces after John McGinn almost conceded a penalty as Aston Villa lost 1-0 to Wolves at Molineux on Saturday.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Keith Hackett was furious with Stuart Attwell’s decision to blow up and speak to McGinn and Craig Dawson about wrestling in the penalty area instead of awarding Wolves with a penalty.

Wolves re-took the corner kick and scored the winning goal with it but, according to Hackett, that’s not the point and he wants referees to start awarding penalties again for similar incidents.

Writing via his personal Twitter account on Sunday morning (7 May), Hackett said: “Referees need to get a grip of the grappling in our game.

“The ball was entering the Villa penalty area from a corner kick when Wolves’ Dawson was wrestled to the ground.

“Attwell stopped play with the ball in the air to give two players a lecture.

“Please award the penalty kick.”

BBC’s Match of the Day showed a highlight of the incident and below, you can see McGinn closely marking Dawson.

McGinn clearly starts to follow Dawson with the Scotland international clearly starting to wrap his arms around the former West Brom and West Ham centre-back.

Dawson seems to lift his hand in a bid to push McGinn away.

A quick change of direction by Dawson sees McGinn’s momentum go past the Wolves man, which causes him to start wrapping his arm around him.

McGinn is a strong guy with a low centre of gravity and while Dawson perhaps made the most of it by lifting himself up off the ground a bit, it very much looks as though the Villa midfielder wrestles with his opponent.

At this point, the corner was being played in by Wolves but Attwell blew his whistle to stop play just to speak to the two players.

But the point that Hackett is making is that it was a foul by McGinn on Dawson.

You have to question why McGinn is marking Dawson in the first place.

As we said, McGinn is a strong player so that makes sense but the ex-Hibernian player is only 5ft 10, compared to Dawson who’s 6ft 2 and a known goalscorer at set-pieces.

McGinn was left in a vulnerable position and the height difference is what has undoubtedly led to what could easily have been a foul here.

Aston Villa have gone right off the boil in the last few weeks and defensive issues like this are not helping the cause.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton would love to see Villa sign this “outstanding” player after transfer news emerged.