Meet the Premier League Referees, Gameweek 30

Photo by gingerbeardman

Having confirmed last weekend the final four of the FA Cup, it’s back to the main business of Premier League survival and title challenges as all twenty teams are involved in ten important matches. We’ve got derbies, relegation six pointers and matches between sides at opposite ends of the Premier League spectrum.

And after some indifferent performances in the Cup, all ten officials taking charge this weekend will be trying to impress their bosses enough to give them the biggest game of the season, the FA Cup final.

The early kickoff this weekend sees two London teams with different goals this season going head to head at White Hart Lane. Tottenham, looking to finish in the Champions League spots, entertain West Ham who are fighting to avoid relegation.

Here are the ten matches this weekend as well as analysis regarding each referee:

Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (12.45pm BST)
Referee: Mike Dean

Having been the most consistent performing referee this season it is only right that Mike Dean gets the big games.  Having refereed Chelsea’s trip to Blackpool two weeks ago, it meant that he couldn’t officiate the Blues’ game with Manchester City this weekend.

So if he can’t referee the best game of the weekend, then he should do the joint second best.  This match is on a par with Blackpool vs. Blackburn although that one is a relegation battle; this match between two local rivals sees the two teams vying for different aspirations this season.

West Ham have been on a resurgent run of form recently and have been scoring goals for fun netting three past each of West Brom, Stoke and Liverpool over recent weeks, whereas Tottenham are looking for Champions League football again this season.

Any match that was Mike Dean in charge means that the fans of the two sides can feel confident in the referee’s performance.  West Ham fans will feel particularly happy to have an experienced official like Dean in charge after Mike Jones’ performance in the Hammers’ FA Cup exit at the hands of Stoke.

Dean has been at his consistent best this season, talking charge of some important matches like the Carling Cup final, Tottenham vs. Chelsea and Tottenham vs. Manchester United.  He has had a quiet season by his standards when it comes to penalties and red cards so far.  He has shown five red cards this season, however only two have come in the Premier League.  He has also awarded ten penalties in the Premier League which is more than any other referee, however by this stage last season he had given fourteen penalties and six red cards.

History with Tottenham this season

Dean has refereed Spurs three previous times in the league this season in which they have drawn two and won one.  The draws were against Manchester United (0-0) and Chelsea (1-1) and the victory he officiated was their 2-1 win at Craven Cottage against Fulham.

In the draw with United, Dean sowed a red card to Rafael, but luckily for Spurs fans, Dean hasn’t given a red card to a Tottenham player, however he did award a penalty against them in the draw with Chelsea after a foul by their goal keeper Heurelho Gomes.

History with West Ham this season

Dean has refereed West Ham four previous times this season and in those four games they haven’t won.  He refereed their embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Newcastle and their 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.  He did however referee their draws against Blackburn (1-1) and West Brom (2-2).

Dean has shown 11 yellow cards to West Ham players in the four matches he has refereed and has also given a penalty against them; however he did award them a penalty in the draw with West Brom.

Previous Meeting

West Ham upset Spurs when the two sides met at Upton Park earlier in the season in a 1-0 Hammers win.  Martin Atkinson refereed that match which saw the Clarets win 1-0 thanks to a headed goal from Frederick Piquionne.  Atkinson had very little to do that day with only two yellow cards which both went to West Ham players, Carlton Cole and Luis Boa Morte.

My Prediction

West Ham have been on a good run recently except for being knocked out of the FA Cup and have scored a bagful of goals.  Tottenham go into this game having not played since their Champions League heroics against AC Milan and currently 5th, three points off the Champions League places.

This match will be a tight one and the Hammers beat Spurs when the sides met at Upton Park.  I can’t see West Ham winning at the Lane, however I think they’ll get a point in what will be a high scoring draw.

Tottenham 2-2 West Ham- Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Aston Villa vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (3.00pm)
Referee: Phil Dowd

A Midlands derby that in recent encounters has failed to spark too much light and has avoided any real controversy, sees this season’s most improved referee take charge of his 29th league game this season.

In the other previous 28 he has shown nine red cards which is the second highest total for a Premier League referee this season.

Dowd has the best man management skills of all the Select Group referees which means he prefers to talk to players rather than showing cards which is an important asset for a referee and I think this has contributed to his fantastic season this year.

Dowd has refereed games that two seasons ago I would never have expected him to be appointed to such as the Merseyside derby, Tyne-Wear derby and Liverpool vs. Manchester United and in all three matches he has avoided controversy where colleagues have failed to in recent years.

Some will think Dowd is an arrogant referee, I disagree however I think he is just confident in his ability. This is important when refereeing because if you’re not confident of your own ability then this will mean that players, managers and spectators will not be confident which can lead to all sorts of problems (i.e. Mike Jones last weekend), Jones didn’t look confident which meant that Avram Grant and the West Ham players were not confident in his decision making.

Both of these sides are near the foot of the Premier League table and because the division is so tight a win for either side could see them move significantly in the table.  This means that the match requires a strong, competent official and that is exactly what it has in Dowd.

Dowd has had only one cardless game in the Premier League this season (Birmingham 0-2 Everton) and the fact this is a derby means that it is unlikely that he will make it two with this game.

History with Aston Villa this season

Dowd has only refereed one game involving Villa in the Premiership this season and that was their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.  Dowd showed one yellow card in that game and that was to Villa’s Ciaran Clark.

History with Wolves this season

Wolves have had the pleasure of having Dowd in charge of their twice already this season.  The two games he refereed were 2-1 defeats against Manchester United and Fulham.  In the Fulham game Dowd showed seven yellow cards in total, two of which went to Christophe Berra.

Previous Meeting

The last time these two met was back in September when Mark Halsey took charge of Aston Villa’s 2-1 win at Molineux where only three players were booked in what was a friendly contested Midland’s derby.  Villa won with a late header from Emile Heskey after Matt Jarvis had cancelled out Stuart Downing’s opener.

My Prediction

Villa are only two points off the drop zone but I very much doubt they will be relegated as, although they have a young team, I think it has a lot of quality in it.  Wolves will be confident heading into this one after a very well earned 3-3 draw last time out against Tottenham.

This will be a close match but I can really only see one team winning it and that is Gerard Houllier’s side, but it will only be by a goal.

Aston Villa 1-0 Wolves- Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 0

Blackburn Rovers vs. Blackpool (3.00pm)
Referee: Howard Webb

A Lancashire hot pot that shouldn’t boil over because of this appointment.  With both teams fighting to avoid relegation, it is very sensible to put Howard Webb in charge of this match.

Although he hasn’t had the best of seasons domestically, in Europe he can’t be faulted having refereed last season’s Champions League final.

Having refereed big finals such as that Champions League Final, World Cup Final and FA Cup final, he is used to refereeing glamorous games, however this is far from a glamorous game between two teams who are struggling and starting to plummet down the table.

Webb always handles games with little fuss and that is what this game needs, someone who will let the teams play because stopping and starting play will prevent teams from scoring and a draw is no good for either side.

Webb has only shown two red cards this season and awarded four penalties, however he is yet to have a cardless game this season and I can guarantee this one won’t be either.

History with Blackburn this season

Webb has done two Blackburn games this season in which they have won one and lost one.  The match they won was the 3-0 win over Wolves and the defeat was the 1-0 loss to Stoke.  In those two matches Webb has shown three yellow cards to Blackburn players.

History with Blackpool this season

Webb has taken charge of one Blackpool game this season and that was their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, a match in which Webb showed a red card.  Thankfully for Pool fans however the red card went to Villa’s Jean Makoun.  He did show two yellow cards to Blackpool players on that day.

Previous Meeting

Mike Dean refereed the only other Premier League meeting between these two which Blackburn won 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.  Mike Dean took charge of that game which had everything you could want from a Lancashire derby with own goals, last minute winners and tackles flying in.  Dean did well to keep a lid on that game by only showing two yellow cards, one to each side.  Charlie Adam put the ball into his own net for Rovers’ opened but Pool equalised five minutes from time with a Matt Phillips goal, but Brett Emerton fired home in the final minute to secure the three points for Blackburn.

My Prediction

These two are both struggling and are only separated in the Premier League table by three goals as both sit on 32 points, one point above the relegation zone.  These two have only met once previously in the league which makes it very hard to predict the result.

Blackburn haven’t won in five Premier League games whereas Blackpool, although they lost to Chelsea and Wolves, have won recently, beating Tottenham 3-1.  I think home advantage will be a factor in this game; however it will be a tight affair with few goals.

Blackburn 1-0 Blackpool- Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Manchester United vs. Bolton Wanderers (3.00pm)
Referee: Andre Marriner

Would have liked to have seen this game go to a less established Premier League referee as it is arguably one of only a handful of games this season that will involve United in a game against a team who realistically aren’t playing for anything this season.

Although Bolton are going to Wembley for the FA Cup semi finals to face Stoke, they are not in a relegation battle and after recent performances have slipped, they aren’t going to get a European place in my opinion.

This match, I think should have gone to a referee who hasn’t had the chance to referee one of the big teams much this season.  I would have loved to have seen Anthony Taylor take charge of his first United game, or maybe Kevin Friend, however both teams should be pleased to have Marriner in charge.

He goes about his business quietly and correctly without being noticed too much.  He is one of few officials who manages to avoid controversy which is a good sign for both sides, especially United as Sir Alex Ferguson believes he has been on the wrong end of refereeing decisions in recent weeks.

Marriner has only shown one red card this season which came in his last Bolton game.  He has awarded only five penalties all season.

History with Manchester United this season

Marriner has taken charge of two previous United games in the Premier League this season where both resulted in 2-1 victories for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side against Stoke and Manchester City respectively.  Marriner showed four yellow cards to United players in those two matches and should have sent off Gary Neville for a second bookable offence in the match at the Britannia Stadium.

History with Bolton this season

Like United, Marriner has officiated two Bolton games this season one was the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City and the other was a 3-1 win over West Ham.  He showed a red card in the Manchester City game; however that was to Aleksandar Kolarov of City for a second bookable offence.  In the West Ham game Marriner awarded two penalties against Bolton.

Previous Meeting

When these two met at the Reebok in September, Bolton fully deserved the point they got from a 2-2 draw and arguably they could have won the match.  After taking the lead very early on with a Zat Knight goal, United soon equalised through their talented Portuguese winger Nani.  Martin Petrov then put the Trotters ahead before a rare Premier League goal from Michael Owen earned United a point.  Phil Dowd refereed the game and showed three yellow cards and if you were asked to predict which three players were booked you would probably guess them straight away as it was Kevin Davies for Bolton and Paul Scholes and Nemanja Vidic for United.

My Prediction

Having lost their last two Premier League games, it is of paramount importance that United don’t lose three on the trot if they are to win the Premier League title.  Bolton will be spurred on for this one having reached the last four of the FA Cup with a win over Birmingham last weekend.  Manchester United also booked their place at Wembley last weekend after their 2-0 win over Arsenal.

Bolton got a point when the sides met at the Reebok, but at Old Trafford I would expect United to win this comfortably by a couple of goals at least.

Manchester United 3-0 Bolton- Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Stoke City vs. Newcastle United (3.00pm)
Referee: Lee Mason

A very tough game to referee in the past with six yellow cards being shown in the last league meeting at the Britannia Stadium.

These two teams both like to tackle both fairly and illegally so I think this is a sensible appointment.  Mason is the best detector of foul play in the league i.e. he knows when to just give a free kick, when to give a yellow card and when to give a red card better than any other referee.

This is especially important in a game where the teams like to tackle.  He is a referee; however that looks to red card too quickly.  He is one of the referees who looks for reasons to send someone off rather than looking for reasons to keep them on the pitch.

He is a disciplinarian in that he prefers to show cards than talk to players which sometimes is a good thing and I think that will be the way he officiates this game he will look to stamp down on bad fouls early in the game which he will hope will settle the game down.

I don’t think it will be a particularly nasty game however there will be a lot of tackles that Mason must judge correctly.

History with Stoke this season

Mason has refereed Stoke only once this season and that was their 1-1 draw against West Ham.  In that game he showed three yellow cards to Stoke players in Rory Delap, Dean Whitehead and Danny Collins.

History with Newcastle this season

Mason has taken charge of three previous Newcastle games two of which they won against Liverpool (3-1) and Birmingham (2-0) and one of which they lost to Blackpool (2-0).  In those three games he has shown seven yellow cards to Newcastle players and also awarded a penalty against Newcastle in the defeat to Blackpool.

Previous Meeting

Stoke won the reverse fixture at St James’ Park with two goals from Kenwyne Jones and an own goals from James Perch in a 2-1 win. Mike Jones took charge of this fixture in which he awarded a penalty to Newcastle that Kevin Nolan dispatched.  Jones only had to show one yellow card in this game and that was midway through the first half to Stoke’s Salif Diao.

My Prediction

Newcastle are going great guns having been promoted last season sitting comfortably in 10th.  Their opponents Stoke beat West Ham in the FA Cup last time out and themselves are mid table and don’t really look like going anywhere.

Stoke have made the Britannia a fortress with a raucous crowd behind them and the style of play they use makes it difficult for sides to break them down.  I think this one will be a home win, but Newcastle will put up a good fight.

Stoke 2-1 Newcastle- Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal (3.00pm)
Referee: Stuart Attwell

Fantastic appointment for Stuart who appears to have put his problems of recent seasons behind him.  Although he has had some bad games this season, he has also put in some quality performances at Blackpool (vs. West Ham) and Everton (vs. Sunderland).

This is a big game for both sides with Arsenal looking for a first Premier League trophy since the 2003-2004 season.  West Brom on the other hand are looking to avoid dropping straight back to the Championship.

I like to see the newer officials being given a chance to referee the big teams because in all honesty if you are a Premier League referee then you have the ability to referee any team in that league.

I hope Attwell can continue is good run of form in this match and he will if he continues to referee in the way he has been mentored to by Alan Wiley.

Attwell is very good at playing the advantage rule and is also a good foul detector.  One weakness I do think he still has is selling his decisions.  Sometimes I think he can look a little bit rabbit in the headlights in that he gives a decision but he doesn’t look sure about it.

If he could improve this by looking confident then the players will feel confident in his decision making and overall make him more respected as a referee, as I think he is lacking that at the moment because of his past.

Attwell has the ability to be a top referee and I’m sure will referee at a number of major international tournaments in years to come.

History with West Brom this season

Attwell has officiated one West Brom game this season in the league and that was their exciting 3-2 win over Blackpool.  In that game he showed one yellow card to a Baggies player and that was in stoppage time to Marek Cech.

History with Arsenal this season

Attwell has also refereed Arsenal once this season that was their 4-1 win over Bolton where Attwell showed a red card to Bolton’s Gary Cahill.  He showed two yellow cards to Arsenal players Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Eboue.

Previous Meeting

The Baggies shocked everyone when the sides met at The Emirates by beating Arsenal 3-2 in a pulsating encounter.  Michael Oliver the young official new to the Premier League this season took charge of the match and he certainly had his hands full handing out seven yellow cards and awarding a penalty to West Brom which Chris Brunt missed.  West Brom went 3-0 up after goals from Peter Odemwingie, Gonzalo Jara and Jerome Thomas before two goals from Samir Nasri, the second of which came in the last minute which set up a nervy stoppage time for Albion, but they held on to secure a memorable win.

My Prediction

West Brom played out of their skin when the sides met at the Emirates and were deserving 3-2 winners over the Gunners in September.  Arsenal need to start beating the teams around the bottom of the table if they are to have any chance of winning the title.

The Baggies, after a good start to the season, are now fighting against relegation, but haven’t lost in their last four league games.  Although they are on a good run of form I think they will have to put in an extraordinary battling performance if they are to make it five unbeaten.

West Brom 0-3 Arsenal- Yellow Cards: 2, Red Cards: 0

Wigan Athletic vs. Birmingham City (3.00pm)
Referee: Lee Probert

Not surprised by this appointment as recent games have proved very little in the way of quality.  Now I am not saying that Lee Probert is not a quality referee, because in actual fact he has been one of the most improved referees this season along with Phil Dowd.

What I am saying is that there is no need to give a referee of the stature of Howard Webb, Mike Dean etc to a game of this magnitude.  Although the match is arguably a relegation six pointer, the fact that recent meetings have very little in history in terms of bad temperedness means that a lesser known referee can take charge of what is a big relegation derby.

Probert has performed well all season and looks like he has finally cemented his place on the Select Group list.  This will be his 19th Premier League game this season, but this will be his first Premier League game in a month.

Probert is yet to have a cradles game this season; however six of his 18 games have had only one yellow card in them.

History with Wigan this season

Probert has a mixed history with Wigan this season.  He refereed their 2-2 draw with Arsenal in which he sent off Charles N’Zogbia for violent conduct; however he did award a penalty in Wigan’s favour.  He also refereed Wigan’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in which he only showed one yellow card to a Latics player who was Steve Gohouri.

History with Birmingham this season

This will be Probert’s first Birmingham game in the Premier League this season, although he did officiate their 4-1 FA Cup win over Millwall in round 3.  In this match he didn’t show a yellow card to either team.

Previous Meeting

When Wigan played Birmingham at St Andrews earlier in the season, the match was a complete shocker, lacking any great quality.  There were no goals in the game but referee Mark Clattenburg was kept busy with his cards after he showed yellows to Roger Johnson and Scott Dann of Birmingham and Hugo Rodallega, Ronnie Stam and Steve Gohouri for Wigan.  He also showed a red card to Birmingham’s Craig Gardner for a nasty looking lunge at Franco Di Santo.

My Prediction

This match has one result written all over it.  The match will not be a classic.  Both teams will have chances as they both like to get the ball into the box but the fact they are both fighting relegation means that quality will be minimal.

Wigan 0-0 Birmingham- Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Everton vs. Fulham (5.30pm)
Referee: Michael Oliver

Yet another TV game for the youngest Premier League referee in what has been a fantastic opening season to his Select Group career.

The 25 year old has refereed twelve games in the Premier League already this season which is a huge amount considering it is his first season.  This will be his third game to be shown live on TV.

In those two previous he has had some issues.  In the Blackpool vs. West Brom game he showed two red cards to West Brom, one of which led to a penalty, however the decision was wrong and the red card was rescinded afterwards.

In the Wolves vs. Manchester United game he impressed me a lot showing that he is capable of taking charge of big games and refereeing fairly, matches between big and smaller teams.  In that game he could have sent off Jamie O’Hara for a second yellow card, however I’m pleased he didn’t.

Many people questioned when Stuart Attwell was promoted that he was too young.  Oliver is younger than Attwell was when he joined the Select Group and Oliver has proved that age means nothing.  Just because he is half the age of Peter Walton, doesn’t mean he has half the ability.  In fact I think Oliver is one of the best decision makers in the Premier League.

He will be assisted in this game by Sian Massey who makes only her second Premier League appearance since the Richard Keys and Andy Gray incident.  Sian herself is only in her early twenties so I think that officiating together will benefit them hugely.

History with Everton this season

Oliver has refereed Everton once previously in the Premier League and that was their 0-0 draw with Wigan in which he showed two yellow cards to Toffees players in Phil Neville and Stephen Pienaar.

History with Fulham this season

Oliver has also refereed Fulham once this season their 2-2 draw with Blackpool in which he showed one yellow card, but that wasn’t to a Fulham player.  The fact this is his first year as a Select Group referee means he has little history with either side.

Previous Meeting

Much like Birmingham vs. Wigan, Fulham vs. Everton was not the most entertaining of games when the sides drew 0-0 at Craven Cottage.  Thankfully for Howard Webb though, he didn’t have as tough of an afternoon as Clattenburg did as he only had to show three yellow cards in a match that Everton had the better of, but neither side could get that vital goal and the match finished stalemate.

My Prediction

These two sides look like they are just playing out the rest of the season without having real chance of moving too much in the table.  Everton are 9th and Fulham are 11th and with both sides looking save from relegation and both looking too far out of the race for Europe this match really has little riding on it.

That said Everton have been performing well lately and haven’t lost since a defeat to Bolton a month ago.  The fact they are at home I think gives them a real chance of winning this match against a Fulham side who themselves haven’t lost since late January.  I don’t think this will be a draw so that means someone’s impress run will come to an end and I think it will be Fulham’s.

Everton 2-0 Fulham- Yellow cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Sunderland vs. Liverpool (Sunday 1.30pm)
Referee: Kevin Friend

After what happened in the reverse fixture I am very surprised by the appointment of Kevin Friend to this game.

Stuart Attwell gave some very controversial decisions in the game at Anfield so to put another relatively inexperienced Premier League in charge of the reverse fixture seems like a strange decision to me.

I expected an experienced head to get this game someone Like Martin Atkinson or Mark Halsey I think would have been a better choice as both have had good seasons and both have experience at refereeing fixtures with history.

Friend, however is a good referee and I don’t think he has been given a good enough chance to prove himself in the Premier League, but hopefully in this game involving a big team like Liverpool and being shown live on Sky he can show why he is a Premier League referee.

Friend has incredibly good fitness and keeps up with play well.  He could however play more advantages because he has a habit of blowing up for infringements early instead of letting them play out to see if there is an advantage.

History with Sunderland this season

Friend’s only previous Sunderland game this season was their 1-0 defeat to West Brom.  In that game he showed one yellow card to Sunderland’s Paulo da Silva.  He does have history with the Black Cats last season however showing three red cards in three matches to Lorik Cana, Lee Cattermole and David Meyler.

History with Liverpool this season

Friend has refereed two Liverpool games this season one was their 1-1 draw with Wigan, there other was a 2-1 win over Bolton.  In those two matches he showed three yellow cards to Liverpool players in Jamie Carragher, Lucas Leiva and Fabio Aurelio.

Previous Meeting

This is one of the most controversial fixtures in recent seasons and the reverse fixture didn’t disappoint as Stuart Attwell had a performance that led to the official being dropped from the Premier League for a couple of months.  Firstly the Warwickshire official allowed Dirk Kuyt’s opener to stand after he deemed that Michael Turner had taken a free kick that Kuyt slotted home.  The Sunderland defender argued he was playing the ball back to his goal keeper, but the goal was given.

The Darren Bent equalised from the penalty spot Christian Poulsen was adjudged to have handled in the area and Bent then put the Black Cats ahead with a powerful header. Steven Gerrard then rescued a point for Liverpool by heading in a Fernando Torres cross.

Attwell showed four yellow cards in the game, three of which went to the three players involved with Liverpool’s two goals in Kuyt, Gerrard and Torres.  The sole Sunderland player to be cautioned was their goal keeper Simon Mignolet.

My Prediction

Sunderland have a decent record against the big teams in recent seasons this season however it has been predominantly away from home.  After drawing with Liverpool at Anfield in what was a very controversial affair, they will be looking for revenge and will feel that they can get all three points at the Stadium of Light.

Liverpool, having beaten Manchester United two weeks ago, play this match only a couple of days after a big Europa league second leg tie against Braga so fatigue could be an issue.

If Sunderland play the way I have seen them do on many occasions this season then they definitely have a chance of getting something out of this game.

Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool- Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Chelsea vs. Manchester City (Sunday 4.00pm)
Referee: Chris Foy

This is without a doubt the best appointment made by Mike Riley this weekend.  When Chris Foy refereed Manchester United and Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter final last weekend he did an exemplary job.

He hasn’t had a fantastic season by his own standards however always seems to step up his game when taking charge of important matches such as this.  This is without doubt the biggest game of the season so I expected Howard Webb to get it, but I’m pleased the big games are being evenly spread around the group.

Foy is definitely the best player of advantage and regularly plays advantages leading to very good goal scoring opportunities.

Foy uses his man management skills to good effect by talking to players rather than showing them cards.  This is obvious through the fact that he has only shown one red card all season and has had five games that were totally cardless which is more than any other referee.

For a man of 48 he keeps up with play exceptionally well and I believe he will contribute to this game being a really exciting one.

History with Chelsea this season

He has refereed Chelsea three times this season in which the Blues have won two games against West Ham (3-1) and Bolton (4-0) and one in which they lost to Sunderland (3-0).  In those three games he has shown three yellow cards to Chelsea players, two to Branislav Ivanovic and one to Ashley Cole.

History with Manchester City this season

Foy has taken charge of two City games this season one was their derby daw draw with Manchester United (0-0) the other was their 3-1 win over Newcastle.  In those two games he showed five yellow cards to City players.

Previous Meeting

The encounter at the City of Manchester Stadium between these two saw City gain a valuable three points in their quest for a Champions League place after a single goal from Carlos Tevez.  Andre Marriner took charge of the match which was pretty even.  He gave five yellow cards in total two to Manchester City to Pablo Zabaleta and Dedryk Boyata and three to Chelsea to Jon Obi Mikel, Ramires and Alex.

My Prediction

This will be a close encounter as both go into the match on the back of European action in midweek.  Chelsea will get one extra day to prepare and I think that will give them a slight advantage, also the fact they didn’t play last weekend means they have had over a week to prepare for what should be a cracker.

Both sides seem all but out of the title race however neither manager will care to admit that I’m sure.  It looks like these two are battling it out for 3rd and 4th respectively behind Arsenal and Manchester United and I really can’t say who’s going to finish where.

Having beaten Chelsea in the reverse fixture I can’t see City doing so at Stamford Bridge.  Although the match will be tight and probably feisty, I think Chelsea will just sneak this by one goal.

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City- Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 1

Predict the Ref

Referees to choose from:

  • Martin Atkinson
  • Stuart Attwell
  • Mark Clattenburg
  • Mike Dean
  • Phil Dowd
  • Chris Foy
  • Kevin Friend
  • Mark Halsey
  • Mike Jones
  • Andre Marriner
  • Lee Mason
  • Michael Oliver
  • Lee Probert
  • Anthony Taylor
  • Howard Webb
  • Peter Walton

My Predictions

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Question Time

Last week Mike from Southend asked me this question.

Q. What would happen if a defending play handles the ball on the line but the ball crosses the line?

A.  If the ball had crossed the line and the decision had been given by the referee or assistant then the goal would stand and the play who handled the ball would be shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.  Because the referee hadn’t given an infringement means that the fender cannot be sent off.

If you have a question then email me at [email protected] and I will answer the best one in a fortnight as there will be no article next week because of the international break.


  1. Gaz Hunt March 17, 2011
  2. [OPTI]Madschester United March 17, 2011
  3. R2Dad March 17, 2011

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