Tom Bennett casts an eye over the performances of the Premier League officials, as Anthony Taylor and Lee Mason fail to make the big decisions and Mike Jones only just manages to keep a straight face.
West Ham v Leicester
Ref: Anthony TaylorEmbed from Getty Images
Taylor bottles it
The two goalkeepers gave Anthony Taylor some huge decisions to make in this bad-tempered affair. Taylor had no problems waving away Robert Huth’s bizarre early claims for a penalty, but he really should have given one when Kasper Schmeichel clotheslined Diafra Sakho on the edge of the area. At the very least that was a penalty and could maybe have been a red card too, such was the dangerous nature of the neck-high collision.
The West Ham players were incredulous when Taylor sent their keeper Adrian off, but in truth there was little else the official could really have done. Adrian proved that when a goalkeeper comes up for a corner like that, the one thing they must not do is try and put in a covering tackle when the other team break up field. It was poorly timed, dangerously high and studs first. A red every day of the week.
Grade: D. Schmeichel should have gone, but Taylor bottled it.
Tottenham v Stoke
Ref: Robert Madley
Spurs simply punished themselves
Tottenham supporters were left with that familiar sense of ‘what might have been’ after this pulsating match, but at least it was their own team who had sabotaged a seemingly inevitable win, rather than the officials.
The penalty incident was so needless it was almost laughable, yet was still a foul and therefore the ref had no real choice but to point to the spot. Hats off also to the official for an excellent offside decision to rule out what would have been Harry Kane’s first goal of the season. It was a tight call, but the right one.
Grade: A. Madley did his job well, if only the same could be said of Spurs.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Ref: Lee Mason
Coquelin is a lucky boy
Alan Pardew thought Francis Coquelin should have been sent off. Thierry Henry thought Francis Coquelin should have been sent off. Even Francis Coquelin probably thought Francis Coquelin should have been sent off. The only person didn’t, was Arsene Wenger… which probably just confirms that the Arsenal midfielder was a very lucky boy.
Lee Mason repeatedly let the youngster off for repeated fouls when he was already on a yellow card and surely a final warning. Wenger finally made the change to protect his player, but the decision should have been made for him by then, and Crystal Palace would have fancied their chances even more against ten men.
Grade: C. Mason failed to make a decisive decision on Coquelin and has been rightly slammed for it.
Swansea v Newcastle
Ref: Mike Jones
Janmaat makes it easy for Jones
Daryl Janmaat had an afternoon to forget. The defender quite inexplicably failed to play the offside trap for Swansea’s opening goal, before going on a one-man fouling mission against flying winger Jefferson Montero to get himself sent off.
Poor referee Mike Jones did well to stop himself from laughing such was the comical nature of Janmaat’s second yellow card. Having already got himself on a final warning, the Dutch international gave the ball straight to Montero – presumably because such was his desire to commit a foul that he didn’t want possession himself. The red card was inevitable, and was Newcastle’s defeat.
Grade: B. Referees must wish for days like this, when big decisions are so clear-cut it’s almost funny.
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Ref: Mike Dean
Is Mike Dean unlikeable…?
The schoolmaster-y approach of Mike Dean certainly rubbed Aston Villa fans up the wrong way in the Friday evening match. It is always remarkable how one-eyed home supporters can be, but the vitriol pouring in Dean’s direction would have made you think that he’d had a shocker of a performance… whereas in fact he was pretty fair for much of it.
The one time that Villa fans did have genuine reason to get annoyed was when Micah Richards was hauled down by Darmian inside the area. It’s the sort of decision that almost never gets given, but really should be given every single time.
Grade: C. A run-of-the-mill refereeing performance somehow infuriated the Villa Park faithful.
Follow Tom at @tommbennett.