Alex Vryzakis rates the performances of three Premier League referees from this weekend’s matches, which saw contrasting displays and a correct decision despite clear confusion around the handball rule…
Jones error costs Everton
Game: Chelsea 3-3 Everton
Ref: Mike Jones
A fairly uneventful first half at Stamford Bridge was rescued by an incredible six-goal thriller of a second half. It seemed that Everton were to walk away the victors following substitute Ramiro Funes Mori’s 90th minute goal. The away fans were beside themselves; yet, they hadn’t taken the officials into account.
Though the celebrations following Funes Mori’s goal may have been somewhat excessive, seven added minutes at the end of the game seemed nothing if not harsh. In fact, that kind of number is only held up by the fourth official in special circumstances. It therefore appeared quite harsh of Jones to have added on so much, but seeing as the tally is at the referee’s discretion and is considered to be a minimum, it is hard to argue.
What can be argued, however, is the startling decision to allow John Terry’s 98th minute goal. Not only was the goal scored past the allotted extra time given by Jones, it was also quite evidently offside. Terry may not have been offside when the ball was first played by Branislav Ivanovic, but had clearly strayed by the time Oscar headed it into his path. The audacious backheel should have been caught by at least one of the officials, especially considering that Jones had a clear view of the incident.
Replays showed that the goal should not have stood, leaving Roberto Martinez flabbergasted, and Mike Jones thoroughly embarrassed.
Grade: C-. Letting the goal stand was a crucial error.
Moss shows Chamakh who’s boss
Game: Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace
Ref: Jonathan Moss
If there’s one thing that can be guaranteed in a football match, it’s penalty appeals. From the patently ridiculous to the blindly obvious, players always feel it’s worth asking the question of the ref, and often enough, it pays off. Jonathan Moss, however, felt that Saturday’s game would be different.
In the second half, Crystal Palace appealed on two occasions for a spot kick. The first came just after the restart, with the snow falling heavily. Following a Wilfried Zaha corner, Scott Dann felt that City’s Nicolas Otamendi had impeded him, tugging on his shirt to stop him from going for the ball. Moss was unmoved. The fact that it was hard to tell quite what Otamendi had done from the replays proves that the ref would have struggled to be certain enough to give the penalty. The weather conditions would not have helped, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
The second appeal was an outrageous one by Marouane Chamakh. The former Arsenal striker threw himself to the ground at the slightest hint of a touch by Martin Demichelis, diving as if his life depended on it. Moss was quick to book the striker, who had to shuffle off, red-faced and sweat-streaked.
It is disappointing to see Premier League players descend to such depths in order to dupe the referee. Hopefully, referees will continue the recent crackdown on cheats, and keep booking any player who has the gall to try it on in the box.
Grade: B. Booking Chamakh for his shocking dive was the right decision.
Pawson oversees bad-tempered draw
Game: Stoke 0-0 Arsenal
Ref: Craig Pawson
The ref was in no mood to be toyed with at the Britannia on Sunday afternoon, as Stoke fans did their best to make sure Arsenal didn’t feel welcome. Craig Pawson had his work cut out for him seeing as there is certainly no love lost between the two teams.
It was a mixed afternoon for the ref, though. Early in the game, Theo Walcott felt he was impeded in the box by Stoke’s Philipp Wollscheid. As the Arsenal striker ran towards goal, Wollscheid grabbed his arm and tugged him back, clearly fouling him. Replays showed that the foul started just outside the box, so it should have been a free kick rather than the penalty that Walcott was asking for, but the foul should have been flagged regardless. Pawson, however, chose to shake his head and move on. It seemed a baffling decision after such an obvious pull back.
Later on in the match, Stoke appealed desperately for a handball in the area after the ball dropped onto Joel Campbell’s arms. The thing is, Campbell was midair at the time, and had bumped into Laurent Koscielny, and simply could not have put his arms elsewhere.
Pawson ignored the appeals, and rightly so. Unfortunately, though, it appears that the cry for handball is beginning to lose its meaning, and its casual use is starting to muddy waters for referees.
Grade: B-. Though the foul on Walcott was evident, he kept his head in a high-tempered match.
Follow Alex at @AlexVryzakis
Read more from Alex here