On a weekend where most big teams stumbled against the minnows, Alex Vryzakis takes a look at the referees who shined under pressure…
Moss sees Leicester go top
Game: Everton 2-3 Leicester
Ref: Jonathan Moss
An incredibly rainy evening was a surprising setting for one of Jonathan Moss’ best performances as a referee in the Premier League, and his astute officiating saw Leicester remain in their rightful position at the summit of England’s top league.
Two excellent penalty decisions on either side of half gave Leicester the win over a guileless Everton side. The first came after Ramiro Funes-Mori dragged Shinji Okazaki to the ground on the left side of the penalty box. Moss was quick to point to the spot after such an blatantly cynical tug.
The second, which was in the latter stages of the game, was equally easy for the ref. Riyad Mahrez was charging onto a deft through ball from Jamie Vardy when he was stopped in his tracks by a fluorescent Tim Howard. Moss was again quick to throw out an arm, signalling for Leicester’s second deserved penalty of the game.
The decisions may well have been stonewall penalties, but it takes a strong referee to react as Moss did.
Grade: B+. Moss’ quick penalty decisions showed he is constantly on the ball
Clattenburg punishes sorry Bogdan
Game: Watford 3-0 Liverpool
Ref: Mark Clattenburg
Watford’s impressive performance against a lacklustre Liverpool side was helped by Simon Mignolet’s unfortunately-timed injury. Mirroring the Hornets’ gutsy display was Mark Clattenburg, a ref once much-maligned. Sunday’s refereeing display saw the ref primed for action from the very first minute. Which was fortunate, because he was required to make a judgement call in the third minute.
A sweeping Watford corner saw the ball fall to the hapless Bogdan, who appeared to drop it under some pressure from the Watford attack, resulting in an easy tap in for Nathan Ake. The desperate keeper quickly turned towards Clattenburg with pleading eyes, hopeful of a decision that would spare his blushes. Unfortunately for him, one was not forthcoming.
Clattenburg proceeded to calmly explain to Bogdan why Troy Deeney’s apparent interference was not deemed to be illegal. This was especially necessary as the keeper
was never in control of the ball, and had no hope of stopping the Watford players from getting to it first.
The decision was spot-on, and showed once again that Clattenburg is one of the best referees in the league.
Grade: A-. Clattenburg’s display was calm and confident, and he was demonstrative when questioned by the desperate Bogdan
Chelsea cruise to easy victory
Game: Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland
Ref: Roger East
On a day that saw the media’s attention focus on anything but the football, Chelsea finally got a comfortable win. Roger East’s refereeing was equally assured.
The only controversial incident in a good-natured encounter between the two sides occurred when Costel Pantilimon appeared to knock an onrushing Willian to the ground. East paused before blowing his whistle and deciding that it was indeed a penalty for Pantilimon’s nudge.
Replays showed that Willian looked to be expecting contact from the league’s tallest keeper, and may have play-acted a little to get the decision, but that does not excuse the keeper’s actions. East was in a fairly good position and took his time to make sure he’d made the right decision, and as such it would seem harsh to judge him for his split-second decision.
It should also be said that Pantilimon’s actions were foolish, and that in this case, he was right to be punished.
Grade: B-. Though the decision to punish Pantilimon’s nudge seemed soft, East should be given the benefit of the doubt.
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