Ref Review: Moss and Madley make it look easy as Liverpool and Watford get justified calls against intimidating opponents

It’s a blessing and a curse when referees get the responsibility of a heavyweight clash, as this week saw Jonathan Moss keep his cool under pressure when Manchester City succumbed to Liverpool, but Mike Jones dropped the ball on an obvious call at Newcastle. Alex Vryzakis reports…

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Controversy at St. James’ Park

Game: Newcastle 0-3 Leicester

Ref: Mike Jones

Jamie Vardy’s scoring streak was all anyone could talk about after Leicester’s victory over Newcastle United, but it was marred with controversy caused by referee Mike Jones’ lack of awareness.

As Jones turned to follow the ball up the field, Robert Huth made a big error. Following a verbal altercation with Aleksandar Mitrovic, Huth raised his hand to the striker’s throat. While Mitrovic’s reaction was ridiculous and shameful for a grown man, Huth should have known to keep his cool and never have touched him.

Unbelievably, Jones gave the two players a talking to and left it at that, barely conferring with his linesman. Huth then got booked for a heavy tackle, raising the question of whether he should even have been on the field to receive the yellow card.

A debatable decision during a shaky refereeing performance.

Grade: D. Huth shouldn’t have gotten away with raising his hand.

Moss proves his worth again

Game: Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool

Ref: Jonathan Moss

Games involving the likes of Sergio Aguero and Philippe Coutinho don’t tend to be simple. Jonathan Moss however, makes them look almost too easy. This week was no exception.

Though the game was relatively calm in terms of the players’ tempers, Moss had to stay alert to some tricky decisions which could have affected the final score. The first half saw Sergio Aguero appeal loudly for a penalty as Martin Skrtel slid in to block a pass in the box. Though the City players made sure the referee was aware of their displeasure, Moss calmly ignored the complaints, and correctly let play go on, as the ball had simply hit the defender’s chest. An astute call.

There was also a hint of offside for Liverpool’s second goal, but Moss rightly agreed with his linesman, who also had a fine game on Saturday.

Performances such as this show why Moss is so respected. He dealt with all the day’s decisions discreetly and with a firm hand. What else can a football fan ask for?

Grade: B+. Didn’t have much to do in the end, but reacted well when called upon.

Clattenburg oversees Arsenal capitulation

Game: West Brom 2-1 Arsenal

Ref: Mark Clattenburg

On a cold November night, Clattenburg showed his considerable experience. It was a day when a gritty West Brom performance got the better of the Gunners, forcing the referee into playing quite a large part.

In the latter stages of the game, Alexis Sanchez was hauled to the ground in an incident that was clearly off the ball. Clattenburg was quick to point to the spot, despite Chris Brunt’s pleas. Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla stepped up to take the penalty and – though it may have been wet – seemed to slip for no reason as he kicked the ball high and wide.

Clattenburg was quick to deny the chance to retake as he had observed that Cazorla had touched the ball twice during his swing, therefore precluding any chance of retaking. A clever spot from the seasoned ref.

Grade: B. Kept his head under difficult circumstances.

Madley hits the spot

Game: Watford 1-2 Manchester United

Ref: Robert Madley

Saturday proved to be a day of excellent penalty decisions. Madley’s at Vicarage Road was no different.

Though Manchester United seemed to have the game under control, Marcos Rojo – who seemed to have other ideas – inexplicably suffered a moment of madness, as he kicked out at Ighalo in the box. Madley deliberated for a while, but ended up awarding a penalty, and rightly so. The kick was unwarranted and silly, and the referee was quick to realise it.

Perceptive refereeing at its best.

Grade: B+. Madley almost made refereeing a Premier League game look like a cake-walk.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexVryzakis

Read more from Alex here!

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  1. Ref Review #4: The week’s refereeing | after the whistle goes

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