THE FA Cup Weekend – Match Officials
by Andrew Crawshaw
Taking the games in the order in which they are to be played
Bradford City FC v Reading FC
12:45 Saturday 6 March – Live BT Sport
- Referee – Lee Mason
- Assistants – Michael Mullarkey and Marc Perry
- Fourth Official – Michael Jones
Lee has been averagely busy in the Premier League this year officiating 18 times out of 28.
I don’t think he has taken charge of either Bradford or Reading this year, however he was no friend of Reading in 2012/13 when he put in his second worst performance of the year in their away game to Chelsea which they lost 4 – 2. 72% overall, bias against Reading 82% and one wrong Important Decision (second yellow cards, red cards, penalty or goals) when a Torres goal should have been ruled out for offside.
Notwithstanding this, I would expect there to be no overt bias and (probably) an acceptable refereeing performance
Aston Villa FC v West Bromwich Albion FC
17:30 Saturday 6 March – Live on BBC1
- Referee – Anthony Taylor
- Assistants – Darren England and Darren Cann
- Fourth Official – Neil Swarbrick
21 Premier league games for Anthony who (as regular readers will know) is far from my favourite referee.
He was reviewed for his game between Arsenal and Villa (5-0 to Arsenal) where he got a commendable 85% overall but gave all of the wrong decisions to Villa. He was also in charge of Villa’s season opener when they won one nil against Stoke.
For West Brom he has been in charge in matchweek 4 when they lost two nil at home to Everton.
Mr Taylor is an awful referee who is normally totally incompetent and quite capable of cocking-up any game. How he has FIFA Accreditation I have no idea (apart from his extreme hatred of Arsenal). Anything can happen in a game under his control (and I use the word ‘control’ loosely). This is a local ‘derby’ and likely to get quite feisty. Expect poor challenges going unpunished in an effort to keep all players on the pitch. This game might well get ugly unless Mr taylor actually gets a grip from the first whistle.
Liverpool FC v Blackburn Rovers FC
16:00 Sunday 7 March – Live on BT Sport
- Referee – Andre Marriner
- Assistants – Lee Betts and Michael McDonough
- Fourth Official – Robert Madley
Andre has not been over worked in the Premier League this year, 13 games only. He is clearly out of favour for some reason.
Of these, three have featured Liverpool (not a healthy situation where nearly 25% of a referee’s games are in charge of one team
Week 10 – Newcastle v Liverpool (1 – 0)
Week 19 – Liverpool v Swansea (4 – 1)
Week 23 – Liverpool v West Ham (2 – 0)
Going back to 2012/13 (the last time reviews were available for non-Arsenal games) we see two Liverpool games
Liverpool v City (2 – 2) 66% overall but no bias, wrong decisions evenly split between the teams and no wrong Important Decisions
Everton v Liverpool (2 – 2) 76% overall, again wrong decisions evenly split but 3 wrong Important Decisions Naismith goal in Min34 was from a wrongly awarded free kick, Minute 70 Suarez should have been sent off for second yellow card and Minute 93 Suarez goal was wrongly ruled out for offside).
Mr Marriner (away from Arsenal) is barely adequate until the ball gets into the penalty area when his decision making goes all to pot. Don’t be surprised if the result is influenced by a poor piece of judgement.
Manchester United FC v Arsenal
19:45 Monday 8 March – Live on BBC1
- Referee – Michael Oliver
- Assistants – Jake Collin and Gary Beswick
- Fourth Official – Craig Pawson
Michael Oliver has refereed 20 times in the Premier League this year
Arsenal have had him for two draws
Week 6 – Arsenal v Spurs (1 – 1) – 66% overall, bias against both teams 85/15, Two wrong Important Decisions; Minute 30 Arsenal should have had a penalty for a foul by Rose on Wilshere and Minute 72 Mason should have been sent off for a bad foul on Ozil. dreadful refereeing costing Arsenal two points.
Week 17 Liverpool v Arsenal (2 – 2) – 67% overall, bias 0/100, Two wrong Important Decisions; Min 61 Stirling should have been sent off foe a second yellow for a deliberate handball, Minute 91 Borini should have has a straight red for a challenge on Cazorla he was given a second yellow (yes it made no difference to Arsenal but he only missed one game instead of the three his challenge warranted and indicated that Mr Oliver isn’t capable of making proper judgements on the pitch)
This year Mr Oliver has been in charge of 2 United games
Week 10 – City v United (1 – 0)
Week 20 – Stoke v United (1 – 1)
Looking back to 2012-13 we have 3 games with relevance to Monday night’s game
15 September – United v Wigan (1 – 1) – 64% overall, bias 17/83 and 1 wrong Important Decision with Wellbeck diving to win a penalty in the 3rd minute.
28 November – Everton v Arsenal (1 – 1) – 70% overall, bias 21/79 and no wrong Important Decisions
23 December – Swansea v United 1(1 – 1) – 83% overall, bias 63/37 and 1 wrong Important Decision
Mr Oliver then is another referee who underwhelms when you look closely at his performances, and this isn’t anything new. His decision making isn’t great and, like many other referees, he regularly fails to see the difference between a poor challenge warranting a foul and the potentially dangerous one that warrants a red card. He is also quite likely to fall for a dive in the penalty area. Will he have the strength to punish Rooney or any other United player – we will have to see. I won’t put money on it but I would put money on Wellbeck being booked for a dive in Arsenal colours.
One final thought – each team gets £247,500 broadcasting fees and the winners each get £360,000 from the FA Prize fund. Come on Arsenal and return with the £607,500 and treat us to another trip to Wembley!