It wasn’t the best weekend for referees up and down the country. Alex Vryzakis reports on some dodgy decisions across the Premier League.
Pawson has shocker at Upton Park
Game: West Ham 3-3 Arsenal
Ref: Craig Pawson
It was a game that saw Slaven Bilic fuming by the end, not unlike last week. The thing is, Craig Pawson and his assistants made more than just a few errors, eventually affecting both teams. It was a strange London derby, but as usual the refereeing was at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
In Pawson’s defence, the instance of offside was not down to him. When Manuel Lanzini turned the ball home early in the clash, the usually impeccable Darren Cann raised his offside flag hastily. Replays clearly showed that Hector Bellerin had been playing the West Ham midfielder on. It should have been a clever goal by the Argentine, but was unjustly denied by suspect refereeing. Immediately after, Mesut Ozil had the ball in the back of the net from a thumping shot. He was just about in line with the West Ham defenders and the linesman gave him the benefit of the doubt.
These two instances show how difficult it is for linesmen at such speeds, and many times it can end up being judgement calls that affect the result. It is easy to berate officals and this disregards the difficulty that is implied in their job. That being said, Lanzini’s goal should have stood.
Later on, it was Arsenal’s turn to feel aggrieved. Following Andy Carroll’s spectacular efforts to equalise, the big striker struck Arsenal’s Gabriel in the face in an aerial challenge. Carroll had already been booked in the third minute for a reckless foul on Laurent Koscielny, so he was clearly at risk of being sent off. At first Pawson didn’t even give a foul but realised his error and pulled play back. He did not, however, send Carroll off. That was a huge let off for West Ham, especially considering Carroll went on to score another goal to draw the match at the final whistle.
In retrospect, Pawson and his officials made some big blunders but they seemed to even out in the end. Pawson will be heaving a huge sigh of relief, as Arsene Wenger and Bilic fume silently.
Grade: D. Essentially got most decisions wrong. A disappointing showing.
Jones’ risk pays off in Manchester
Game: Manchester City 2-1 West Brom
Ref: Mike Jones
It is not often that credit is given to a referee for a job well done but it seems right to give credit where it is due. Mike Jones showed himself to be more than competent during Manchester City’s win against West Brom at the Etihad.
With City trailing due to a stunning Stephane Sessegnon strike, the home side were awarded a penalty after Sessegnon was guilty of fouling Aleksandar Kolarov with a clumsy and late tackle in the box. What was interesting to note was Jones’ decision to play advantage previous to the incident, as Sandro had taken out a City player just outside the box. Jones waited for the advantage, which eventually came in the form of the penalty, and Jones was vindicated.
It was a brave move for the referee to make and paid dividends in the end. Referees get a lot of flack, justly, and it is nice to be able to congratulate them for good decisions for once.
Grade: B. Jones’ patience paid off in the end.
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