Ref Review: Mixed weekend for referees as Manchester United and Manchester City benefit from penalty decisions

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Foxes win despite Dean’s best efforts 

Game: Leicester v Aston Villa

Ref: Mike Dean

Mike Dean had a mixed bag as he took charge of the best game of the weekend.

He should have awarded a penalty to Leicester when Jamie Vardy was felled inside the box, but was given a reprieve when the Foxes scored from the following move anyway. The official was also very lenient not to show a quick-fire second yellow to Jordan Amavi for a needless foul on man-of-the match Riyad Mahrez, which would have only made things worse for Tim Sherwood’s ramshackle outfit.

Dean benefited from goal-line technology with the first of Leicester’s comeback goals, but left the fans and television commentators confused in the aftermath of Nathan Dyer’s winner – not making it clear whether or not he’d given the goal for almost a minute.

Grade: D. This was not Dean’s finest hour, but thankfully, he didn’t ruin a brilliant game.



Quick start catches Pawson cold

Game: Sunderland v Tottenham

Ref: Craig Pawson

There was only one big decision for Craig Pawson to make in Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham, and he got it wrong.

Kyle Walker was fouled in the box inside the opening seconds of the match, but Pawson – perhaps rattled by how early in the game the incident occurred – opted to wave away the appeals. It was one of those collisions that can sometimes be unavoidable, but should have resulted in a spot-kick on this occasion.

It was a poor performance in general from Pawson, with both sets of players confused by his inconsistency and the home fans riled by what they perceived (wrongly) as big-team bias.

Grade: C. Pawson did little to improve a drab and disappointing encounter, and got the big decision wrong.


Gomez gives Oliver a helping hand

Game: Man Utd v Liverpool

Ref: Michael Oliver

There wasn’t much of note for referee Michael Oliver to do in the big Saturday evening match, and Joe Gomez made his job very straightforward with the most stonewall penalty decision of the season so far.

The only questionable moment from Oliver was giving Ashley Young a soft free-kick on the edge of the box, which led to United’s opener. Brendan Rodgers was extremely disappointed with that call, saying “I never thought the free-kick was a free-kick”, but the Liverpool boss was clutching at straws with that comment.

Grade: B. Gomez made Oliver’s life easy with the needless challenge for the penalty.



Jones keeps his cool

Game: Palace v Man City

Ref: Mike Jones

Tempers flared during Crystal Palace’s defeat to Manchester City, but Mike Jones kept a cool head when the big call came around. Scott Dann’s challenge on Sergio Aguero was late and high, but wasn’t worthy of a red – even though it is extremely disappointing that the Argentine was forced off and looks likely to spend more time on the treatment table.

Jones may have got that one spot on, but he didn’t see Yohan Cabaye being tripped by Fernandinho inside the penalty area, which would have put Palace one up and given them a great chance of ending City’s perfect start to the campaign.

Grade: C. Jones kept his cool when everybody else was losing theirs, but blotted his copybook with the Cabaye call.



A masterclass from Madley

Game: Watford v Swansea

Ref: Robert Madley

There are moments when you realise just why being a Premier League referee is such a difficult job. Saturday at Vicarage Road was one of those such occasions.

When Valon Behrami and Andre Ayew collided, there weren’t many in the ground who expected it to end in a sending off – particularly not for Behrami. If anything, on first viewing it looked like Ayew was the player who was most likely to be penalised.

But eagle-eyed Madley spotted the Behrami lunge, saw that he didn’t make an effort to go for the ball, and risked causing serious injury to Swansea’s summer signing.

The resulting red was spot on.

Grade: A. Madley showed exactly why he’s officiating at the very top of the game.


Follow Tom at @tommbennett

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