Ref Review: Referees far from stars of the show as Jamie Vardy takes centre stage for Leicester City

Alex Vryzakis rates the performances of three Premier League referees in the midweek matches, which saw contrasting displays…

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Marriner gaffes infuriate fans

Game: Leicester 2-0 Liverpool

Ref: Andre Marriner

It would be silly to think that anything other than Jamie Vardy’s screamer would be the focus of attention after Leicester’s comfortable dismantling of Jurgen Klopp’s ailing Liverpool side. However, it was a night that saw both teams denied by poor refereeing.

The first, and possibly most important, incident came just seven minutes into the game. As Robert Huth and Adam Lallana vied for a looping ball, the Leicester defender seemed to lead with his elbow, catching Lallana full in the face. Marriner had a clear view of the incident, and yet chose to award a simple free kick and give Huth the requisite finger-wagging.

Replays clearly showed that Huth, in almost Fellaini-fashion, struck Lallana well before the ball was near, and with no regard to the other player’s safety. The defender should have seen a red, something which would undoubtedly have impacted the rest of the game.

The second incident was also an obvious error on the referee’s part, though this time it was Leicester who felt aggrieved. As the Foxes seemingly glided into the box with some incredibly tight passing, Alberto Moreno deliberately bundled over Shinji Okazaki.

Yes, the forward didn’t help himself in the theatrical manner in which he went down, but it was a penalty nonetheless. Marriner failing to give it as such was baffling and incompetent in equal measure.

Grade: C. Both teams will feel aggrieved by the sloppy refereeing on show.

Pawson has easy ride in Merseyside

Game: Everton 3-0 Newcastle

Ref: Craig Pawson

Though Everton’s midweek clash with Newcastle did little to set the world alight, the officials had to remain alert till the very end, after two late challenges culminated in two penalties.

It should be recognised that Craig Pawson was correct on both accounts, with the first coming after Newcastle’s Rolando Aarons slid into the feet of the pacy Aaron Lennon in the box, completely missing the ball in the process. With Pawson in a great position, it would have been hard to miss the obvious penalty call, as Aarons showed his lack of experience when it most counted for his team.

The second was a slightly trickier affair. As the clock ticked over into extra time and beyond, Jamaal Lascelles’ error in judgement worsened his team’s evening considerably. With the ball bouncing high and looping over his head, Ross Barkley was able to skip in ahead of him, no doubt causing alarm bells to go off. Lascelles was unable to do anything but tug the Everton forward to the ground near the penalty spot, and Pawson unflinchingly pointed for a deserved spotkick.

What seemed bizarre though was the ref’s decision to also brandish a red card. Lascelles was not obviously the last man, with Fabio Coloccini running in from the other side to help out defensively. The goalkeeper was also in an excellent position to make a save, so that Barkley would score was not a certainty.

The red card therefore seemed harsh and unnecessary so late in the game, though it seems some rules of the game will never be anything other than at the individual’s discretion.

Grade: B-. Pawson had few decisions to make, but the red card seemed harsh.

Ayew makes it easy for Moss

Game: West Ham 2-0 Aston Villa

Ref: Jonathan Moss

Though referee Jon Moss found himself the subject of Remi Garde’s wrath after a particularly disappointing display, it was not the officials’ fault that Villa slumped to another defeat after a barren transfer window.

Garde was furious that Moss had not given a penalty when Gabby Agbonlahor’s attempted cross struck the trailing arm of Michail Antonio, though the winger had been trying his best to evade the ball. In fact, Antonio had turned his body almost fully in attempt to avoid being hit, and so Moss’ decision to ignore Villa’s appeals was nothing if not just.

However, it was Jordan Ayew who gave the referee a chance to step up. In an inexplicable moment of madness, Ayew seemingly decided that Aaron Cresswell was all too much for him, throwing back his elbow and essentially knocking the player to the ground. What made it even more astounding was that the incident was off the ball entirely, so Moss must have had a heads up from his linesman.

The officials were quick to react to Ayew’s impudence, and he was rightly given his marching orders. Garde could have no complaints with that.

Grade: B. A solid performance considering tempers were running high.

Read more from Alex here

Follow Alex at @AlexVryzakis

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