by Andrew Crawshaw
After the FA Cup Quarter Finals last weekend the Premier League returns to what passes for normality with a full programme of 10 games this weekend. Arsenal start things off with an away trip to West Bromwich Albion and an early 12:30 start.
Interestingly Liverpool have Michael Oliver in charge of their game for the sixth time this year. They still haven’t seen Roger East, Stuart Attwell, Paul Tierney, Lee Probert or Graham Scott. Surely one of these would be a better appointment rather than a sixth visit from the Mr Oliver.
Referee – Neil Swarbrick age 50 from Lancashire
- Assistant Referee 1 – Scott Ledger from South Yorkshire
- Assistant Referee 2 – Constantine Hatzidakis from Kent
- Fourth Official – Kevin Friend age 45 from Leicestershire
None of them FIFA Accredited which doesn’t actually mean much in terms of their competence.
I have no ‘flags’ against either of the Assistant Referees from this season or last season so nothing to be concerned about there.
This will be Mr Swarbrick’s second time in charge of an Arsenal game this season, we previously had him for the home game against West Brom on Boxing Day.
|Ref Review : Arsenal – WBA: the ref who turned his back on time wasting|
His overall weighted score was 74%, bias against the two teams was 83/17 and he made one wrong Important decision failing to send off Dawson in Min 77 for a stamp on Koscielny. The biggest gripe we had on the day was his complete dereliction of duty to stop the timewasting by Tony Pulis’s team which went on all game.
Looking at our 16 week all game reviews he seems one of the best referees. In his 9 games he has 14 Important Decisions right and only 8 wrong (one of only three with a positive ratio), of his wrong decisions. His ratio of wrong decisions per game is the lowest of all 17 referees used in that period. He has missed only one second yellow card, three straight red cards and has got 14 of his 17 penalty decisions correct.
2015-16 Last Season he did not referee an Arsenal League game so nothing to learn there
2014-15 he was in charge for one game only our 2 – 1 away win against West Ham
|Ref review West Ham – Arsenal|
80% overall, bias 11/89 and no wrong Important Decisions. Usual bias against Arsenal but that is what we should always expect. Many minor decisions in West Ham’s favour along with several ‘phantom fouls’ allowing long balls into our box and a couple of not given yellow cards but overall not too bad at all.
- Very little recent history in Arsenal games so little to go on really.
- His performances over the first 16 weeks of the year mark him as one of the best in the League so if he continues in that vein we really shouldn’t have much to fear.
- If I have to look for weaknesses based on the very sketchy information to have I would point out that
- His handling of WBA’s time-wasting in the Boxing Day game should have been far more pro-active (he did nothing).
- We should still expect the majority of wrong decisions to be against us
- His failure to send off Dawson on Boxing Day for a clear stamp on Kos was worrying
- He has a propensity to fall for the old ‘Phantom Foul’ routine allowing our opponents an easy opportunity to punt long balls into our penalty area
- West Brom players will, of course, be allowed far more leeway in challenges that Arsenal players.
- I am hopeful that Mr Swarbrick will be able to continue to show his good form from early season and we will all be talking about football rather than the referee once the game is finished.