By Tom Bennett.
It’s that time of the week to have a rant about the latest batch of refereeing howlers or daft decisions, and highlight the odd right call, from the Premier League’s men in the middle . . .
An enemy of Big Sam’s is a Friend of football
Ref: Kevin Friend
Big Sam may not agree, but Kevin Friend had a reasonable afternoon at Upton Park – unlike the Hammers. The big decision was Seamus Coleman handling Aaron Cresswell’s cross into the area early in the match. Allardyce believes that it was an “unbelievable penalty”, whatever that means, and a “blatant handball”.
However, the truth of the matter is that the level focus on whether the defender is in a natural body position is becoming ridiculous. I’d like to see Big Sam try and throw himself into a block without moving his arms a fraction away from his torso (actually, I’d like to see Allardyce try to throw himself into a block full stop!).
Coleman did handle the ball and it may possibly have been a penalty. But Cresswell had absolutely leathered the ball from close range and there was only one West Ham player in the box in any case, so Friend was well within his rights to turn down the appeals.
Grade: B. Friend deserves credit for giving Coleman some leeway and not allowing himself to be swayed by the current handball hysteria.
Taylor proves to be in need of assistants
Ref: Anthony Taylor
The assistant referees were much more involved than Anthony Taylor at White Hart Lane, with all of the big match-turning decisions coming from offside calls. In both cases the linesman got it right.
Nikica Jelavic was correctly adjudged to be offside when in a great position, while Erik Lamela’s threaded through-ball was judged to perfection to allow Nacer Chadli to beat the offside trap for the opening goal of the game.
Taylor did well to keep a lid on things as Hull became more and more frustrated as the game went on.
Grade: B. Taylor relied on his assistants to make the big calls, but he marshalled the game well.
Not a slice of pizza in sight at Old Trafford
Ref: Mike Dean
Mike Dean’s biggest achievement in this game was managing to hold it together after seeing Phil Jones’ alternative approach to defending at close quarters. Manchester United against Arsenal is nothing like the challenging fixture it used to be for referees, but even by recent standards this was a tame encounter.
As ever, Dean was in complete control of proceedings, but should probably have played advantage when Juan Mata was fouled on the edge of the box and Radamel Falcao had the ball at his feet.
The eagle-eyed official did well to spot the Colombian’s nudge on Per Mertesacker at the back post, which is the kind of thing that strikers get away with all too often.
Grade: B. Dean controlled the game in his usual headmasterly way, but didn’t have much to do.
Moss does his best to ruin the Anfield party
Ref: Jonathan Moss
There are times when Jonathan Moss looks like he has never refereed a game before in his life. There are other times when he looks like somebody’s dad who has just stumbled onto the pitch by mistake.
Saturday was another of those horror days for Moss. He should have given a penalty to Palace early in the second half for a foul by Martin Skrtel on Lee Chung-Yong, but when he did point to the spot in the 89th minute the foul was committed outside the area.
It didn’t hugely matter, as Palace were cruising to a win at that point, but it won’t do much for Moss’ reputation.
Grade: D. At least Moss didn’t send off Steven Gerrard – but he didn’t do much else right.
Did he forget his whistle?
Ref: Mark Clattenburg
The Liberty Stadium was treated to a terrific game on Sunday, and referee Mark Clattenburg must take some of the credit for allowing play to flow so well.
There wasn’t a single booking in the first half, but the officials did well to keep a lid on it when things started to heat up in the second half.
Clattenburg’s leniency perhaps went too far when he let Federico Fernandez get away with a foul on Frank Lampard in the box, but the ref was correct to wave away Sergio Aguero’s penalty appeals in the dying moments.
Grade: B. Clattenburg gave a lesson in lenient refereeing, which benefited the game.
Read more from Tom here.