Alex Vryzakis rates the performances of three Premier League referees in the midweek matches, which saw contrasting displays…
Rookie replacement Scott has howler
Swansea 2-4 Sunderland
Ref: Graham Scott
Andre Marriner could not have chosen a worse day to fall ill, with replacement referee Graham Scott having a complete shocker at the Liberty Stadium. From signalling for a penalty that never was, to sending off a player who barely touched his opponent, the whistler had a night to forget.
His first big mistake came when Wes Brown was haranguing Swansea forward André Ayew in the box. The Swans player proceeded to drop to the ground, although it was clear Brown hadn’t actually done anything, with Ayew managing to trip himself up in theatrical style. But Scott was fooled as he pointed to the spot, much to Brown’s horror. It was a ridiculous call; and to be duped by such an obvious dive was a rookie error.
Later on in the game, Scott was again duped but by a Sunderland player this time. Kyle Naughton and Yann M’Vila were vying for the ball near the halfway line, and suddenly the Sunderland midfielder cried out in pain and fell grasping his leg. Scott rushed to the scene and pulled out a red card almost instantaneously, leaving Naughton and indeed the fans, bewildered. Replays showed that the Swansea defender had clearly kicked the ball and had barely touched M’Vila, who had made the most of the situation. Scott had been played for a fool.
There was also a slight hint that a few of Jermaine Defoe’s goals hadn’t quite been onside, but what was blatantly clear from the performance was that Scott was unprepared and incompetent.
Grade: D-. Scott will not want to watch this week’s edition of Match of the Day after these gaffes.
City pay the penalty
Manchester City 0-0 Everton
Ref: Roger East
Traffic problems had prevented fans from arriving in time for kick-off for this important fixture at the Etihad Stadium but they didn’t miss much as the game was lacklustre at best. Referee Roger East barely had call to make until the last few minutes of the match.
Raheem Sterling, City’s arguably flashiest recruit, steamed into Everton’s box with the ball at his feet. Understandably, Everton defender John Stones panicked and decided to lunge for the ball. Sterling crashed to the ground just short of the goal-line and replays clearly showed that Stones had missed the ball completely. It was a stonewall penalty. Almost as if he had missed the entire incident, East waved played on, shrugging off City’s appeals with a nonchalant shake of the head.
It was an unbelievably poor decision that has cost City ground in the title race. Afterwards, Pellegrini expressed his disbelief at the call, and he was right to feel aggrieved.
Grade: C. Though relatively inexperienced, he should have seen the blatant foul.
Dean is spot on
Newcastle 3-3 Manchester United
Ref: Mike Dean
Referee Mike Dean had a stellar evening by comparison at St James’ Park on Tuesday night. Though similar incidents have lead to confusion in recent weeks, he dealt with those situations admirably, proving that experience is invaluable at this level of the game.
In the opening stages of the match, United got a corner and as the ball is whipped in with wicked pace, Marouane Fellaini and Chancel Mbemba jumped for it. The Manchester United ace got to it first and headed the ball onto the Newcastle defender’s outstretched hand. Ref Dean rightly pointed to the spot. Though Mbemba had been far too close to Fellaini to get out of the way, his arm was in an unnatural position.
Later on in the game, Dean had to point to the spot once again, though in Newcastle’s favour this time. As the players struggled in the box, the ref was able to spot something that defenders usually try their best to hide. Chris Smalling was grappling with Aleksandar Mitrovic, with the United defender clearly hauling the striker to the ground, as well as almost pulling his shirt off. It was a blatant foul and Dean correctly awarded a spot-kick.
It was the kind of officiating that Scott and East should watch to improve. A refereeing masterclass if there ever was one.
Grade: A. A stellar performance from one of the league’s top referees.
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