Ref Review – Controversy at Chelsea, bad boy Barton and Harry Kane saves Tottenham, again


It’s that time of the week again to have a rant about the latest batch of poor refereeing decisions and the weekend games provided plenty of talking points. This week may have been an all-time low for referees, particularly if your first name is Martin or Kevin. Jose Mourinho was left fuming, while Arsenal and Liverpool saw things swing their way. 

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Minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69…

Ref: Martin Atkinson

Four key decisions, none of them swinging Chelsea’s way against Burnley. But big teams get all the decisions, right? Ashley Barnes probably should have seen yellow for his first foul on Branislav Ivanovic but undoubtedly, should have seen red later on when he left his studs on Nemanja Matic’s ankle. Sadly, Matic’s red card will stand and while his reaction was understandable, it warranted a sending-off.

The fact Barnes didn’t pick up a booking for either ‘tackle’ is beyond baffling. Jose Mourinho was further incensed that Chelsea didn’t receive two penalties. The first, a handball, was nailed on and while Diego Costa may have gone down softly, he was indeed shoved over by Jason Shackell. Burnley had an appeal of their own but it would be hard to find Filipe Luis guilty of handball given he never moved his arm towards the ball. A rough day for Jose…

Grade: D. Must do better.

Arsenal see things go their way

Ref: Chris Foy

Unless you’re an incredibly bitter person, you can’t complain too much about the two decisions that went in Arsenal’s favour at Crystal Palace on Saturday. The first surrounded whether or not Danny Welbeck was fouled inside or outside the box. In real time, it was almost impossible to make a judgment. With replays you could argue it was a fraction outside and on another day, Palace may have got away with it.

The second was probably slightly clearer but still far from a done deal. Welbeck appeared marginally offside as he ran through on goal in a move which ended with the Gunners going into a 2-0 lead. Given Palace’s late fight back, Alan Pardew may have reason to feel hard done by but in reality, both decisions would have been incredibly hard to call in a split second.

Grade: C. Needed clear help from his officials.

Barton a naughty boy

Ref: Anthony Taylor

Joey Barton once again hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons as QPR sunk to a late defeat against Hull City. It was a game that Rangers could easily have got something out of, but, not for the first time, Barton let himself and his team-mates down.

His low blow on Tom Huddlestone may have looked innocent enough – and the Hull midfielder actually defended the QPR captain after the game – but you can’t really get away with things like that in modern-day football. Harsh, maybe, but Barton won’t have any complaints when he looks back on it.

Grade: B+. Strict, but stuck to the letter of the law. 

Hurri-Kane to the rescue

Ref: Jon Moss

Harry Kane is becoming the story of the season. Each week we expect him to slip away and have a bad weekend, and it looked as though this would be it. Kane was quiet as Spurs laboured against West Ham, but deep into stoppage time Kane went down for a penalty, missed it and then scored his own rebound.

West Ham didn’t seem particularly angry at the award of the penalty and Alex Song seemed resigned to what he had done, but replays appeared to show Kane went down softly. Can we blame him? His team were 2-1 down in stoppage time – the slightest of contact was going to make him go down. You could argue either way but if you stay on your feet, you rarely get a penalty.

Grade: C. Did he cave to the home crowd?

Liverpool’s help from a Friend

Ref: Kevin Friend

Brendan Rodgers insisted referee Kevin Friend had been “excellent” after the Southampton match. He was called into action within a minute as Filip Djuricic was brought down by Emre Can. Manchester City were given a penalty within 30 seconds 24 hours earlier, but it may have played on the ref’s mind that the midfielder would have to go if he awarded the penalty. It would have been soft but we’ve seen them given.

The second penalty was even clearer as Joe Allen fouled inside the box. The midfielder got nowhere near the ball and potentially would also have warranted a red card. Southampton’s first half was compounded when Simon Mignolet handled outside the box with the ball travelling towards goal. It was accidental, but shows the inconsistency as other refs would have sent the Belgian packing. Liverpool had a shout of their own as Jose Fonte went sliding in recklessly, but replays showed he just got the ball before the player. How many decisions Friend got right is open to interpretation of the rules, but he’ll have had better days.

Grade: D. Didn’t have control from the first minute.

Follow @RichJLaverty.

Read more from Rich Laverty here.

1 Comment on Ref Review – Controversy at Chelsea, bad boy Barton and Harry Kane saves Tottenham, again

  1. Replays on MoTD showed that Song clipped Kane’s calf before pushing him in the back. If there was no substantial forward momentum from Song – then why did he fall on top of Kane after the forward went down?

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