In the last couple of weeks, referees have been under a substantial amount of media pressure after Andre Marriner’s penalty decision at Stamford Bridge and Wes Brown’s red card at Stoke. It was therefore important that the referees had a good weekend, to rebuild some confidence heading into the busy christmas period.
Starting at White Hart Lane and the Welbeck penalty incident, some of the key refereeing decisions will be highlighted.
There is no doubt that this was a tough decision to make. Danny Welbeck was traveling at a fast pace at a diving Hugo Lloris. Referee Mike Dean got the decision spot on. Although replays suggest Welbeck may have dragged his trailing leg on the floor to make contact with Lloris. Despite this, Lloris committed to coming out of his goal, which in hindsight was probably the wrong decision, as Welbeck was running in the opposite direction. However, in that situation, Lloris has to claim the ball. If not, it’s a penalty, providing there is no simulation. The French captain did not claim the ball and did make sufficient contact with Welbeck, so the referee had no option in my view. It was a big decision in the game, as Spurs had just taken a 2-1 lead, but Dean kept his composure and made a brilliant decision.
There were two major diving incidents this weekend involving Robbie Brady of Hull and Chelsea’s Michael Essien. Brady was clearly looking to make contact with Lucas inside the penalty area, but experienced referee Howard Webb was perfectly placed to spot the dive and rightly booked the Irishman. Essien was also correctly given a yellow card in the game against Southampton. After a poor start to the game, gifting Jay Rodriguez an early Saints goal, Essien’s performance led to him being substituted at half time. The dive only made the performance worse and credit must go to referee Michael Oliver for spotting it.
Finally, there was a bizarre incident involving Olivier Giroud at Cardiff. He was played through after Ozil stretched to make a pass to Giroud. However, both referee and linesman didn’t deem that Ozil made contact with the ball. Its difficult to see on replay whether Ozil did get a touch, but if he didn’t, Giroud was onside and should not have stopped.
Overall, a very good weekend for the Barclays Premier League referees.
Editor’s note: Browse through the previous weeks of key Premier League refereeing decisions.