Ref Review – A mixed refereeing weekend as Friend and East weaknesses begin to show

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Friend weak as Bournemouth salvage point at the death

Game: Bournemouth 3-3 Everton

Ref: Kevin Friend

With each new Premier League weekend come new challenges, and, unsurprisingly, this weekend also brought with it controversial incidents.

Unfortunately, the refereeing incident at the Vitality Stadium again involved a lack of severity on the part of the ref. Adam Smith, having just scored an incredible goal from outside the box, went down under pressure from Galloway. Almost immediately, the appeals for a penalty began, and yet Kevin Friend and the linesman were unmoved.

As far as the penalty decision goes, Friend was spot on; there was no way that Galloway could have gotten out of the way. If anything, it was Smith who played for the penalty. It was quite obvious that the Bournemouth defender was doing so, and yet Friend didn’t card him or, at the very least, give him a talking to.

Allowing players to throw themselves to the ground at the barest sniff of a penalty does nothing but enable further attempts at subtle deception, and referees must wise up to this fact.

Grade: C. Friend’s leniency was nothing to applaud.

Saints left without a prayer in Manchester

Game: Manchester City 3-1 Southampton

Ref: Roger East

Swift and decisive refereeing is par for the course in demanding Premier League matches. Tackles fly in from all sides, and managers shout themselves hoarse on the touchline, and referees are supposed to be able to make their tough decisions under conditions that are even tougher.

It is therefore mystifying to see a referee like East – a referee who has put in some incredibly impressive refereeing performances so far this season – fail to take action when a dangerous incident took place right under his nose, as Southampton’s Victor Wanyama came clattering into an unsuspecting City player. Not only was the tackle heavy and late, it was also from the back end, meaning that the ball was barely touched.

What made the challenge difficult to take was that Wanyama was evidently uninterested in keeping his feet on the ground and his studs away from the opposing player’s exposed legs. The fact that East was unable to even produce a yellow card was worrying.

What protection can players expect if the referee is unwilling to even mildly reprimand the dangerous offences? There have been too many severe injuries for this to be taken lightly.

Grade: C. East’s nonchalance in the face of Wanyama’s tackle left a bad taste in the mouth.

Attwell in complete control

Game: Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle

Ref: Stuart Attwell

It’s not often that a referee is roundly praised for remaining anonymous, yet that is exactly what we end up looking for in a great official. It is what Attwell managed to do on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace’s rout of a lacklustre Newcastle side was almost a matter of course, but Attwell’s inconspicuous refereeing played a big part. Instead of being quick on the whistle, as many refs are wont to do during tense moments in matches, Attwell held off and allowed the play to flow naturally. Palace’s open play was given a fighting chance as a result.

It should also be noted that he only booked one player on each team, which could nearly be considered a feat in today’s tempestuous climate. Take the moment that Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles climbed on Wickham, for example. Instead of rashly carding the impetuous young defender – as many would have done instinctively – Attwell calmly reprimanded him and gave the freekick to Palace.

It was an assured performance that will undoubtably reassure all Premier League fans.

Grade: B+. The referee’s anonymity was evidence of control and calm.

Read more from Alex here

Follow Alex at @AlexVryzakis

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