Alex Vryzakis rates the performances of three Premier League referees in the weekend’s matches, which saw contrasting displays…
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Flamini gets help from Friend
Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal
Ref: Kevin Friend
Considering that this was one of the must-win games of the season for Arsenal, it was a sedate affair as the goalscoring was over in an astonishing 88-second period. Kevin Friend and his officials may have been counting their blessings but when there are so few incidents in a game, it can highlight certain errors.
With just eight minutes on the clock, Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini attempted to tackle Dan Gosling. While the midfielder did get the majority of the ball, the tackle was wild, and looked two-footed and dangerous, which forced the ex-Everton player to take evasive action to avoid impact.
Friend, who had been in a fairly decent position, shockingly decided to brandish just a yellow card and wagged his finger disapprovingly at Flamini. But replays showed just how dangerous the tackle had been and Flamini should have been sent off, which could have had a huge effect on the game with 82 minutes remaining.
Grade: C. Not sending off Flamini was a big error.
Spurs take second chance after East blunder
Tottenham 1-0 Watford
Ref: Roger East
On a day when it seemed that former Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes was going to come back to haunt his old side in their bid to go second in the Premier League, it turned out they had more to fear from the officials than the opposition.
Roger East had a quiet afternoon until an incident just after half-time, which could well have cost Spurs the three points. Erik Lamela’s cross was deflected as it entered the box, although and both Gomes and Harry Kane decided to lunge for it, the striker managed to skip in for an attempted shot on goal.
Unfortunately for Gomes, as he grappled for the ball he dragged Kane to the ground. The Spurs players were dumbfounded when East pointed for a corner, when everyone in White Hart Lane was expecting him to point to the spot.
The linesman didn’t intervene to highlight the injustice, compounding the incompetence and making it a day to forget for the officials.
Grade: B-. East was by no means entirely at fault, but not giving the penalty was inexcusable.
Let-off for Butland but he can’t save Stoke
Stoke 0-3 Everton
Ref: Andre Marriner
Everton’s trip to the Britannia Stadium could not have gone better for Roberto Martinez, despite the heroic efforts of Jack Butland in Stoke’s goal. Unfortunately, it was the keeper that Marriner had to punish on Saturday afternoon.
About 10 minutes in, Toffees’ attack was barrelling towards the Potters’ box. A surprisingly deft through-ball by Bryan Oviedo to Tom Cleverley caught the defenders off-guard, causing Butland to dash out in a desperate attempt to smother the danger. The goalkeeper dived at the striker’s feet, and inevitably, knocked him off-balance.
Marriner was left with no choice but to award the penalty, and there were few appeals as Cleverly hauled himself to his feet. But should Butland have been sent off? While there were two defenders following the play closely on the right side of the box, they would not have been able to sprint to block a Cleverley shot.
While you could argue a red would’ve been harsh, it remains a mystery why Marriner didn’t send Butland off. There needs to be clarification over denying a goalscoring opportunity.
Grade: B+. Marriner was right to award the penalty for the obvious foul.
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