As we reach the business end of the Premier League season, each match is becoming more and more important. This means that the choice of referee for a particular game and the way the game is refereed could have a massive bearing on where each team will finish come May.
With ten matches remaining for the majority of teams, there is still thirty points up for grabs. A wrong penalty decision or a harsh red card could determine whether teams get no points, one point or three and with only five points separating the bottom eight teams and four points separating the top two, referees must be on top of their games to ensure that all 20 teams receive equality and fairness with the decisions they make.
The biggest game of the weekend in terms of their realistic aspirations this season is the Midlands derby between Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion at St Andrews in the early lunchtime kick off on Saturday.
Both teams are locked in an eight team relegation battle this season after both started the season well. One has changed their manager recently and the other has just won their first major trophy in over thirty years.
However after poor runs of form for both teams means that only two points separate Birmingham in 16th position and West Brom in 19th so a win for either side would see them push towards Premier League survival.
This is a local derby and because of this it will be a tough test for any referee. I would expect a disciplinarian or in other words a mechanical referee to take charge of this one. By mechanical I mean someone who knows the rules inside out but doesn’t necessarily have a feel for the game and how it should be played.
I would think someone like Mike Dean or Phil Dowd would be the obvious choice for this encounter however Dean was ruled out having refereed Birmingham only last week in the Carling Cup final victory over Arsenal, so in my opinion Dowd would be the only choice so I was very surprised to hear that the appointment had gone to Mike Jones.
Jones is a referee who hasn’t had the most successful of starts to his Premier League career until this season. Mike has impressed me vastly with some quality and impeccable performances this season including Arsenal vs. Manchester City and Tottenham vs. Wolves in the Premier League and Cardiff vs. Swansea in the Championship. These were three tough games to officiate but he never looked out of his depth and was able to make the big decisions.
Jones has been in my opinion one of the best referees this season and he has finally been rewarded for his hard work with a game that has massive implications not only because it’s a derby but also because of the league positions of the two teams. I think Jones will do a really good job especially because he’s backed up by a strong team of Trevor Massey and Darren Cann on the lines. Remember Cann officiated on the World Cup final so he must be good.
History with Birmingham this season
Jones has refereed Birmingham twice previously this season and a stat they won’t want to hear is that they haven’t won either of those games. Those games were a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United and a 0-0 draw with Manchester City. One good stat to come out of those two games however is that Jones has not shown a card of any colour to a Birmingham player this season.
History with West Brom this season
Jones has only refereed West Brom on one previous occasion in the Premier League this season and that was their memorable 2-2 draw with Manchester United when The Baggies came from 2-0 down to salvage a draw against the league leaders. In that game he showed yellow cards to Scott Carson and Nicky Shorey.
In the four Premier League matches involving West Brom that Jones has refereed, he has shown two red cards. Thankfully for Baggies fans neither of those were shown to West Brom players.
West Brom beat Birmingham 3-1 in the reverse fixture at The Hawthorns with goals from Peter Odemwingie, Jonas Olsson and a Scott Dann own goal. Chris Foy refereed this match and to be honest he had very little to do resulting in only one yellow card to Lee Bowyer.
I’m expecting a tight encounter with maybe only one goal in the game. Both sides have had disciplinary problems this season so I can see Mike Jones handing out a few yellow cards but I don’t think there will be a dismissal.
Birmingham 1-0 West Brom- Yellow cards: 5, Red cards: 0
In the 3.00pm kick offs the game of the day comes at The Emirates where Arsenal after the disappointment of missing out on their first trophy since 2005 take on Steve Bruce’s Sunderland in a match that, if the Black Cats win and other results go their way, they will sit 6th in the table come 4.50pm.
I am surprised by the appointment of Anthony Taylor to this game, but I am extremely pleased that Mike Riley is giving the new boys a chance to prove themselves with the big teams. This will be Taylor’s first visit to the Emirates and it is one that should be a memorable one for him if previous results between the two are anything to go by.
The reverse fixture saw Arsenal manager get so angry that he pushed the fourth official. Now Taylor will be hoping that his performance doesn’t lead to anything like that. Taylor joined the Premier League list at the start of this season, so I don’t know too much about him.
Although I can tell you that he has refereed nine Premier League games so far this season, which is very good considering it is his first season. His last match was Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Stoke; however he has refereed two games since then, one in the FA Cup and one in League 2.
He has shown two red cards in his nine Premier League matches this season. One of those was to Sunderland player Lee Cattermole in their 2-2 draw with Birmingham. He has only awarded one Premier League penalty and that was in the same match to Sunderland.
From what I have seen of Taylor this season, he isn’t afraid of playing the advantage rule unlike some officials which is a very good quality. His physique also impresses me as he is a tall, slim man which means his fitness is impeccable.
I think he will have a good game at the Emirates and I hope that he can prove he is able to referee the bigger teams as this will be his first match involving any of the top four.
History with Arsenal this season
Taylor hasn’t refereed Arsenal yet this season and in fact he has never refereed at The Emirates Stadium so he will start with a clean sheet with Arsenal fans, players and especially Arsene Wenger. A lot of fans will probably never have heard of him before and to be honest that’s a good thing. It shows he hasn’t been involved with controversy. He is a young referee who I am sure will make many more trips to The Emirates during his career.
History with Sunderland this season
Sunderland fans on the other hand will have memories of Taylor. He refereed their 2-2 draw with Birmingham when he sent off Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole. Although the decision was correct, fans will have been unhappy with the decision because the sending off came when the Black Cats were one nil up. So had he not sent Cattermole off, they would have gone on to win that game.
The two teams drew the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light 1-1. Phil Dowd refereed that fixture which was a controversial one. The Stoke official showed five yellow cards and one red card (Alex Song) in a match that saw Rosicky miss a penalty for Arsenal and Darren Bent step up to score a last minute equaliser which infuriated the Arsenal manager enough to make him push the fourth official
Sunderland have been the surprise package for me this season but Arsenal will be fired up for this one having missed out on silverware last weekend. It won’t be a hammering but there will be a couple of goals in it.
The fact the reverse fixture was feisty in my opinion has no relevance and I think Taylor’s first visit to the Emirates will be a relatively straight forward one.
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland- Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0
Other 3.00pm kick offs see Bolton entertain Aston Villa, Fulham take on Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle face Everton at St James’ Park and Stoke travel to Upton Park to face on the up West Ham United.
Bolton against Villa will be refereed by Kevin Friend who is in his second season on the Select Group and finally appears to have found his feet having not really being given too many chances in his first season.
I have interviewed Kevin in the past and found him to be a really nice guy. I have also watched him live in the past and on that night he impressed me in what turned out to be an extremely difficult game with three red cards.
Friend has made a couple of mistakes this season, none more so than in the Everton vs. Blackpool game when he blew up for a foul when if he had waited a couple of seconds, Everton would have scored. Although the decision wasn’t incorrect it did infuriate the players and fans because the whole idea is to keep the game flowing.
Friend has refereed twelve Premier League games this season showing two red cards in those matches. Bolton won’t want to hear that one of those red cards was given to Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen in their 2-2 draw with Birmingham. The other was to Gary Caldwell for Wigan against Arsenal.
Like Taylor, Friend has really good fitness and keeps up with play very well, one way he could improve his game is if he learns to play the advantage rule more. He does have a habit of blowing up for infringements too quickly instead of letting them play out to see what happens.
I am really pleased Friend is having a run of Premier League matches having done four in four weeks last month. I hope this game goes well for him.
History with Bolton this season
Friend has refereed Bolton twice this season and they haven’t won either game. He took charge of their 2-1 defeat at Anfield on New Year’s Day where he booked two Bolton players. He also refereed the Trotter’s 2-2 draw with Birmingham where he sent off Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen correctly for raising his arms to Roger Johnson’s face.
History with Aston Villa this season
Friend hasn’t refereed Aston Villa in the Premier League yet so Aston Villa fans will have to wait until 4.50pm on Saturday before they judge him.
The sides drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture at Villa Park after first half goals for Ashley Young for Villa and Kevin Davies for Bolton. Mike Dean refereed the match in September which saw three players yellow carded.
Bolton are a revitalised team under Owen Coyle and are doing significantly better than Gerard Houllier’s Villa who, if they don’t start picking up some points, might find themselves is a relegation battle. This fixture doesn’t have a history of being feisty and to be honest Friend should have a quiet game. I expect Bolton to win but only just.
Bolton 2-1 Aston Villa- Yellow Cards: 2, Red Cards: 0
Mark Clattenburg has somehow managed to get himself a game this weekend after his awful decision not to send off Wayne Rooney against Wigan last weekend. A decision that, because punished by a free kick from Clattenburg meant that the FA couldn’t take retrospective action.
Because Clattenburg was incorrect in law, as it should have been a red card for violent conduct to Rooney, Clattenburg in my opinion should have stepped down this weekend, instead Mike Riley gives him a match over someone like Lee Mason who doesn’t have a game this weekend and hasn’t made a mistake recently.
Now I am a big fan of Clattenburg he is one of my favourite referees, and because of the difficult job they have to do I will not sit here and bad mouth referees, however I will not defend the indefensible.
He made a huge mistake and should not in my opinion have a game this weekend, however he has got one and there’s nothing I can do about it except tell you Fulham and Blackburn fans what you can expect from him.
He has shown three red cards in twenty Premier League games this season but generally before last weekend, he had a pretty controversy free season except for one incident, surprisingly, or maybe not, involving Manchester United. That can’t be said for his refereeing career however. Firstly in 2005 he failed to award a goal to Tottenham after Pedro Mendes’ shot clearly crossed the line.
In 2007 he refereed the Merseyside derby in which he sent off Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert, awarded two penalties to Liverpool and failed to send off Dirk Kuyt and didn’t award two penalties to Everton when he should have. Because of this he hasn’t refereed an Everton game since.
Then earlier this season Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp described his decision to allow Nani’s goal to stand despite the midfielder handling the ball. For all his faults however he is still a fabulous referee and Blackburn and Fulham fans shouldn’t worry too much about his appointment to this game.
History with Fulham this season
Surprisingly Clattenburg hasn’t refereed Fulham yet this season. He did however referee them three times last season and they won one, drew one and last one. In those three games he only showed one yellow card to a Fulham player, that was Chuka Okaka in their 2-1 in over Wigan.
History with Blackburn this season
This will be Clattenburg’s fourth Blackburn game of the season and their third away from home. He took charge of their 2-0 home win over West Brom, and their 1-1 away draw with Manchester City and 2-1 away defeat to Bolton, a match that saw Clattenburg show three yellow cards to Rovers players.
The match at Ewood Park saw the sides draw 1-1 with headed goals in either half from Christopher Samba for Blackburn and Clint Dempsey for Fulham. New boy Anthony Taylor refereed the match and he showed only one yellow card that was to Fulham’s towering defender Brede Hangeland. Both sides have had good disciplinary this season and I wouldn’t be surprised if Clattenburg has a card less afternoon at Craven Cottage. Fulham should win this match comfortably by a couple of goals.
This won’t be a classic but there will be goals, however I can only see those goals going to one team. Fulham vary their play well using long ball when it’s necessary and pass and move when the opportunity arises.
Andy Johnson is back from injury and he is a player they have missed. With him and Dempsey upfront together Fulham should have no problems against Rovers in this one.
Fulham 2-0 Blackburn- Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0
By his own standards Howard Webb has not had the best of seasons with some below par performances, however when he is on top of his game he is outstanding there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium, he’s either brilliant or poor.
Unfortunately for Webb, in my opinion, he has had more poor games than brilliant. Since the FA Cup match between Liverpool and Manchester United he has struggled to get his form back.
He hasn’t refereed a game in the Premier League for three weeks since Blackpool vs. Aston Villa in which he didn’t have that good a game; however the red card he showed in that encounter was correct.
Although he hasn’t that the best season, he is still without doubt our best referee in Europe and Internationally, however I think he has been overtaken as the best referee in England and that has shown through recent appointments.
In the past Webb would have taken charge of Chelsea vs. Manchester United or Liverpool vs. Manchester United but instead Mike Riley has opted to go with Martin Atkinson and Phil Dowd respectively.
The teams will be pleased, however with Webb in charge as he is without a doubt the best foul detector and player of the advantage rule in the league. Having refereed in the Championship last weekend he will be looking forward to stepping out back in the Premier League, especially at a ground the stature of St James’ Park.
Newcastle like to get stuck in to their opponents, especially with players like Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton on the pitch, however they don’t necessarily have a bad disciplinary record this season, however they did have Ryan Taylor sent off in their draw last weekend to Bolton.
Everton themselves have players who like a tackle such as Phil Neville and John Heitinga but they have gone three Premier League games without a card so they will be hoping to make that record four games which will be a massive achievement.
History with Newcastle this season
Webb has refereed Newcastle on three previous occasions in the league this season, but this will be his first match of the season at St James’ Park. He took charge of the 1-1 derby draw against Sunderland, their 1-0 win over Wigan and their 5-1 hammering at Bolton. In that match Webb showed a straight red card to defender Fabricio Coloccini and awarded two penalties against them. Although Newcastle fans weren’t happy with Webb’s performance, he did all three of the big decisions correct.
History with Everton this season
This will be Webb’s fifth Premier League game involving Everton this season, more than any other referee. He last took charge of the Toffees in December in their 1-1 draw with West Ham. He also took charge of their derby day victory over Liverpool, their 0-0 draw with Fulham and their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal. In those four previous games Webb has shown five yellow cards to Everton players.
Newcastle were victorious in the encounter at Goodison Park after a solitary goal from Hatem Ben Arfa. Andre Marriner was the man in the middle and he showed five yellow cards in total two to Everton (Fellaini and Beckford) and three to Newcastle (Nolan, Enrique and Perch).
I think this has a draw written all over it and I think it will be a high scoring draw. Although this match doesn’t have a history of being feisty I have a funny feeling that Webb might have to go to his back pocket and show a red card. I hope it will be a nailed on decision but our best referee hasn’t been firing on all cylinders recently so hopefully this game will see him back to his normal outstanding ability.
Newcastle 2-2 Everton- Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 1
From what I can remember about this fixture in the past it does have a history of being a scrappy and dirty game both on and off the pitch. When Peter Walton refereed this fixture at the Britannia Stadium two seasons ago I seem to remember there being trouble in the crowd.
The match at the Britannia between these two last season had six yellow cards and a penalty for Stoke. The reverse fixture this season had five yellow cards so it does have a history of being bad tempered.
I think Andre Marriner is the perfect choice for this match because he has the ability to clamp down on tough tackles early on which calms the whole game down. When he refereed Chelsea vs. Liverpool a few weeks ago he showed Jon Obi Mikel a yellow card in the opening minutes and this helped to put a lid on the game as there wasn’t a bad tackle for the rest of the match.
This is the approach I think he needs to have refereeing this fixture. He needs to clamp down on the tackling early on as this could help the game stay good tempered, however sometimes this approach can backfire. Showing early yellow cards could mean that players run the risk of being sent off later on in the match and that is something that neither of these teams could do with. West Ham need to keep their players playing week in week out if they are to avoid relegation and picking up silly suspensions would hinder this.
Marriner does have experience in refereeing this fixture as he took charge of Stoke’s 1-0 win at Upton Park last season and on that occasion he only had to show two yellow cards, both of which went to Stoke.
If Marriner controls this game in the way I think he will then he should have an easy afternoon, although if he lets bad tackles go early on he may face big problems as the game progresses.
History with West Ham this season
Marriner has taken charge of three previous Hammers matches this season and a stat West Ham fans won’t want to hear is that they haven’t won when he’s been in charge. His last visit to Upton Park was on 15th January when he refereed their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal. He also took charge of their defeat to Bolton and their draw with Fulham. In those three matches Marriner gave six yellow cards to West Ham players and also gave a penalty against them; however he did give two penalties to West Ham in their 3-1 defeat to Bolton.
History with Stoke this season
Stoke on the other hand have had mixed fortunes with Marriner in charge. He refereed their 2-0 victory over Everton where he booked three of their players Danny Collins, Rory Delap and Dean Whitehead. Stoke fans however will have bad memories of Marriner in their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United. In that match he should have shown United’s Gary Neville a second yellow card but opted not to. Had he made the correct decision and sent the defender off then Stoke may have gotten something out of the game.
The sides drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture when Scott Parker put the away side ahead, only to see Kenwyne Jones equalise three minutes into the second half. Lee Mason showed five yellow cards in that match, three to Stoke (Collins, Delap and Whitehead) and two to West Ham (Behrami and Cole)
West Ham or on a good run at the moment ant having beaten Liverpool in their last game I think they’ll beat Stoke who can look forward to their FA Cup quarter final meeting later this month knowing that they are just about guaranteed Premier League football next season. Like Newcastle v Everton I can see this one turning a bit spicy with a few cards and I think this will be a tough game for Marriner to referee.
West Ham 1-0 Stoke- Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0
The tea time kick off sees Manchester City take on bottom of the table Wigan. Roberto Martinez has been critical of referees over recent weeks, none more so than Mark Clattenburg last week after the official failed to send off Wayne Rooney for an elbow. Had the striker been shown a red card then no doubt Wigan will feel they could have gotten something out of that game as they played well in the first half.
So all Martinez needs is Mr Controversial turning up to referee the Latics’ match with Manchester City at Eastlands. Stuart Attwell is in his third season as a Premier League referee and in that time has failed to impress me too much.
In his first two years on the Select Group it appeared that controversy followed him around as no matter what game he took charge of whether Premier League (dodgy goal Liverpool vs. Sunderland), Championship (the ghost goal in the Reading vs. Watford game) or League 2 (controversial sending offs).
This season has been slightly different for Attwell. He goes on a run of having really good confident performances but then follows it up with an extremely poor one. I witnessed Attwell live at a recent Premier League match and I thought he was outstanding, as he was in the Everton vs. Sunderland game last weekend.
This season he has been given ex Premier League referee Alan Wiley who was one of the best referees this country has ever seen. His help has obviously had an impact on Attwell this season as his confidence and ability have risen in abundance.
He did have a poor game however in the FA Cup match between Fulham and Bolton a couple of weeks ago.
I have had my reservations about Attwell but I’m pleased he finally appears to have found his stride in the Premier League. Although he does have the odd poor performance, generally, he has been impressive this season.
Wigan haven’t had a player booked in their last two games in all competitions, however they have had at least four players booked on five occasions this season which is not great discipline. City on the other hand have only had six players booked in their last five Premier League matches so the chances of Attwell having to flourish a lot of cards in this match is pretty low.
However in the last three meetings there have been 12 yellow cards and two reds including one shown by Attwell in this fixture last season to Wigan’s Gary Caldwell, but with recent disciplinary records from both teams I can’t see either team losing their heads in this one.
History with Man City this season
Attwell hasn’t refereed Manchester City yet this season, but did referee them twice last season. One of those games last season was this same fixture when City beat Wigan 3-0. In that game he sent off Wigan’s Gary Caldwell. The other City game he has refereed in the past was their 3-3 draw with Burnley last season in which he gave a penalty against City.
History with Wigan this season
This is also Attwell’s first Wigan game of the season, but again like City he did referee the Latics twice last season, one was their 3-0 defeat to Man City as I mentioned earlier where he sent off Gary Caldwell. The other was their 1-1 draw with Sunderland, a match which he showed nine yellow cards, five of which were to Wigan players.
Lee Probert refereed the reverse fixture which saw City run out 2-0 winners with goals from Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure. Mason showed three yellow cards two to City for Nigel de Jong and Yaya Toure and one to Wigan, Steve Gohouri.
City should win this match comfortably by at least three goals, maybe more. Although Wigan have some tough tacklers in the side I don’t think they will lose their discipline like they have in previous games against the big sides this season. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if Attwell has a card less game. I watched him referee at Blackpool recently and he was outstanding, however a couple of weeks ago at Fulham he was poor so who knows which Stuart Attwell will turn up, but I think this will be an easy game for him.
Man City 3-0 Wigan- Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0
Sunday’s big game sees Manchester United travel to Anfield to face Liverpool. This will be the first meeting in the Premier League since Kenny Dalglish returned to the helm. The sides did meet in a controversial FA cup tie in January when Howard Webb awarded a controversial penalty and a red card to Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
The last five league matches between the two sides have been controversial aswell with referees showing 22 yellow cards, four red cards (three of which to Vidic) and three penalty kicks being awarded.
Webb refereed three of the last five league meetings, with Alan Wiley and Andre Marriner officiating the other two. I would have expected either Webb or Marriner to have appointed to this match; however I am pleased that Mike Riley has given Phil Dowd the opportunity in what will be his first experience of this fixture.
Dowd, who in my opinion has been the best performing referee this season, hasn’t done a lot of high profile games in his long Premier League career that is until this season where he has already refereed the Merseyside and Tyne-Wear derbies and put in good performances in both matches.
Just because Webb is the best referee our country has, doesn’t mean he should referee all the big games. I believe the big games should go to the referees who are performing the best and there is no doubt that Dowd deserves this appointment.
Dowd is the best detector at serious foul play in the league and is also very good at his foul detection which is extremely important in a fixture such as this as there will be a lot of fouls I would predict at least thirty between the two sides. The fact that there have been so many cards shown in these matches also tells me that Dowd will definitely have his hands full in this encounter; in fact it will probably be one of the hardest games he will referee this season.
Dowd has shown eight red cards and given nine penalties in the league this season and I think the chances of those two tallies increasing are extremely high. I hope for his sake he manages to keep a lid on the game otherwise it could boil over, especially because Sir Alex’s side felt hard done by with decisions in their crunch game with Chelsea in midweek.
History with Liverpool this season
This will be Dowd’s fifth Premier League game involving Liverpool this season. His last visit to Anfield will be fondly remembered by Liverpool fans as it was the derby day draw with Everton back in January. Dowd awarded a penalty to Liverpool in that game for a foul by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard. He also refereed their victories over Aston Villa and Blackburn and he oversaw their heavy 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, a match in which he gave a penalty against the reds.
History with Man United this season
Dowd has refereed Manchester United three previous times in the Premier League this season. Of the three matches he has refereed, United haven’t lost any of them. Dowd oversaw the 2-0 win over Sunderland and 2-1 win over Wolves and also their 2-2 draw with Bolton. Although he hasn’t been involved in any controversy with United this season, two seasons ago he refereed United’s 2-0 defeat to Fulham where he sent off Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney.
These two met in the FA cup in January in which Manchester United won 1-0 after a controversial penalty and a red card to Steven Gerrard. In the reverse fixture in the Premier League Manchester United ran out 3-2 winners in what turned out to be an exciting end to end encounter. Howard Webb refereed both of the mentioned matches and in the league game he awarded a penalty to Liverpool and showed five yellow cards, four to United and one to Liverpool.
Liverpool have had a poor season by their standards but under Kenny Dalglish they have improved their form. Having lost surprisingly to West Ham last weekend, they will want to put in a performance against their local rivals. United should win this but I’m hoping it will be an exciting match. This fixture does have a history of penalties with three being given in the last three matches, two to Manchester United and one to Liverpool, this will have a few cards aswell, especially because Dowd has shown nine red cards and 103 yellow cards in the 27 matches he has refereed this season.
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United- Yellow Cards: 8, Red Cards: 1
The late Sunday game will be a tribute to Dean Richards who died at the weekend aged only 36. The defender played for both Wolves and Tottenham so the match at Molineux will be a special one for his family and all the fans connected with the two clubs.
Mark Halsey has been put in charge of this one and again this is a really good appointment by Mike Riley and team because of the fact Halsey is so laid back. He will allow the two teams to get on with the game which is increasingly important when the game is to honour Richards.
Halsey likes the players to get on with the game; he doesn’t give needless free kicks and uses his skills as a man manager rather than giving out cards. This is a very good quality and the fact he receives respect from all players allows him to man manage successfully.
The reverse fixture saw six yellow cards and a penalty given by Lee Probert. In the other previous four meetings between the two sides in the Premier League there were 12 yellow cards and one card shown.
Although the previous encounters have been quite feisty, I don’t think this one will be. I don’t think the atmosphere will allow it to be feisty and also the fact that Halsey is in charge will prevent too many tough tackles going in.
History with Wolves this season
Wolves have had mixed fortunes when Halsey has been in charge this season. Of the three previous games, they have won and lost two. That victory was their 1-0 win over Chelsea. The defeats were the 2-0 against Arsenal and the 2-1 against Aston Villa. He has shown two yellow cards to Wolves players in those three matches and hasn’t sent any off or given a penalty against them.
History with Tottenham this season
Halsey has refereed Tottenham once previously this season that was their 1-1 draw against Newcastle where Halsey managed to go the whole 90 minutes without showing a card. He didn’t referee a Tottenham game last season because of his illness but the season before he refereed two Spurs games, one against Manchester City where he gave a penalty to Tottenham.
The reverse fixture was full of strong tackling and Mike Jones had his hands full on that day. He showed six yellow cards, three to Tottenham and three to Wolves and he awarded a penalty to Tottenham. The match finished 3-1 in Tottenham’s favour.
This match will commemorate Dean Richards who died last week so I expect the atmosphere to be pretty downbeat, however both will want to put on a show and there will be goals in this one. Halsey may have his hands full if the reverse fixture was anything to go by. Wolves have had excellent results against the top teams and I think they will continue that good run with a victory here.
Wolves 2-1 Tottenham- Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0
The final match of game week 29 is played on Monday night. The game sees Chelsea travel to the sea side to take on Blackpool.
This will only be the second meeting between these two sides in the Premiership with the other clash finishing 4-0 in Chelsea’s favour.
Mike Dean has been appointed to this game, which for the two sides is a good appointment because he always puts in a strong performance; however I would have liked to see one of the new guys referee this game to give them a chance to experience taking charge of a top four team.
Someone like Michael Oliver or Kevin Friend would have been perfect for this game as both are very competent in the Premier League and it would help them build their ability in the top flight by refereeing the best teams.
At the end of the day all the referees in the Select Group are there on merit and because of this any of them should be able to take charge of any Premier League game if they are asked to. The fact that this is true means that the appointments should be shared around more giving the likes of Oliver, Friend, Taylor and Attwell the chance to referee the best teams.
The fact there has only been one meeting between the sides makes it difficult for me to predict what sort of game Dean will have to contend with, but if the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge is anything to go by there will be cards but not an excessive amount and not for particularly dirty challenges.
History with Blackpool this season
Blackpool haven’t won this season when Dean has refereed them this season. He has officiated them twice previously one was their 2-2 draw at Bolton and the other was their 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn. In those two games Dean has shown three yellow cards to Tangerine players.
History with Chelsea this season
Dean has refereed Chelsea more times this season than any other referee, having done four of their matches in which they have drawn two and won two. The last Blues game he took charge of was only three weeks ago, their 0-0 draw with Fulham in which Dean correctly awarded a stoppage time penalty to Fulham, luckily for Chelsea, Petr Cech saved the spot kick. The other games he has taken charge of involving Chelsea were the 1-1 draw with Tottenham in which Dean again gave a stoppage time penalty, this time to Chelsea, but it was missed. He refereed their 2-0 win over Arsenal and their 6-0 win over Wigan.
The reverse fixture was the only other meeting between these two in the Premier League and Blackpool will not have good memories of that match. They were beaten convincingly 4-0 in a match refereed by Mark Clattenburg. Clattenburg showed three yellow cards on that day in a match that was over by half time after first half goals from Solomon Kalou, Didier Drogba and two from Florent Malouda.
This should be as easy for Chelsea as the reverse fixture was and I don’t expect Dean to have too much to do, however he does have a history of giving stoppage time penalties, however if he does give one in this one I can’t see it changing the result.
Blackpool 0-3 Chelsea- Yellow Cards: 2, Red Cards: 0
Predict-the-referee for Game week 30
Below are the fixtures for next weekend’s Premier League fixtures, why don’t you have a go at predicting which referee will have what game? If you post your answers on here then I will tell you all how you did next week.
To give you some ideas I will give you the list of Premier League referees and I will make my predictions aswell.
Next weekend’s fixtures
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Referees to choose from:
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
If you have a refereeing question whether it’s about the laws of the game, a particular incident or whether you want to know a bit more about the Premier League referees then email me at [email protected] and I will answer the best questions in next week’s article.