Ref Review – Manchester City hard done by, Chelsea campaign continuing?

By Rich Laverty.

Once again, it’s that time of the week, time to have a rant about the latest batch of poor refereeing decisions, and the weekends group of games provided plenty of talking points. This week may have been an all-time low for referees, particularly if your first name is Mike or John. Mourinho was left fuming whilst Everton and Burnley saw things swing their way.

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Zabaleta denied

Ref: Andre Marriner

I must be honest – on first view, second view and third view, I wasn’t convinced Ben Mee’s tackle on Pablo Zabaleta in stoppage time on Saturday evening was a penalty. It just appeared the Argentine went down far too easily, but in super slow-mo, you can see Zabaleta is clipped.

But, as ever, the fact it took several replays to come to this conclusion shows how difficult the job is. Whether or not Zabaleta could help how he went down is up for debate, but the ‘flop’ didn’t help him; it appeared a bit too simulated live, and that’s all Marriner had to go on.

Grade: C. Had a tricky decision to make.

Mane caused trouble

Ref: Mike Dean

This was another one I didn’t believe was a penalty when I watched it live, so credit to Mike Dean for getting his decision bang on. There was a clear touch on the ball from Nemanja Matic, but replays showed he had already fouled Sadio Mane before winning the ball.

Jose Mourinho probably wasn’t happy, but Matic was perhaps rash to dive in, and Chelsea should have no complaints on this one.

Grade: A. Got this one right, but it didn’t go so well from there on in.


Ref: Mike Dean

Whilst Jose Mourinho could have no complaints over Southampton’s penalty, he had every right to be angry about a penalty appeal of his own soon after. Another that troubled me on first viewing; the eye was instantly attracted to Ivanovic’s theatrics, and like Zabaleta, they perhaps cost him the decision.

Replays showed Ivanovic’s ankle was clearly stood on, hampering his balance and forcing him to the ground. Mike Dean clearly missed it, and to be fair, it was easy to miss without the benefit of a replay, but it could have cost Chelsea two points. However, balance was restored when Dean bottled sending Matic off later on when he committed a foul that was well worthy of a second yellow.

Grade: D. It all went downhill for Dean after Southampton’s penalty.

Huddlestone gone again

Ref: Jon Moss

Steve Bruce wasn’t happy when Tom Huddlestone was sent off for two yellow cards against Leicester. He had no complaints with the bookings, simply the amount of them in the game.

This is a common problem; if a referee sets his stall out early on, it sets a precedent to book everybody. I recall Marouane Fellaini picking up an early booking in the Manchester United vs Liverpool game this season, and it meant the referee had to book almost everybody from that point on.

Some would have allowed Huddlestone one final chance, but Moss had made his bed, and therefore, couldn’t resist giving the Hull midfielder a second booking.

Grade: C. A neither here nor there performance.

Captain let Newcastle down

Ref: Martin Atkinson

Fabricio Coloccini will now miss three games, including the derby against Sunderland, due to a rash foul on Everton’s Aaron Lennon.

It’s not really want you want from your captain, but Coloccini would have got away with it on another day. Whilst it appeared reckless, contact wasn’t as bad as perhaps Atkinson believed, but nobody appeared to have many complaints.

Newcastle also felt they could have had a penalty when James McCarthy appeared to handle the ball on the line. It was accidental, and would have been very harsh to send the Everton man off.

Grade: C. Had two difficult calls to make.

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