BURNLEY V ARSENAL Result 1-1 Referee: Andre Marriner. Assistants: Scott Ledger, Eddie Smart. Fourth official: Anthony Taylor. VAR: Kevin Friend. Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes.
It was evident to me that this referee was struggling with his movement around the field of play in the second half of the game. We must recognise that the group does have several referees who are in their fifties. The schedule of games in their roles as Referee, Fourth official and VAR, together with having to drive themselves to and from venues is not giving them much time to recover.
In this game, there were two major talking points. The first came when Referee Marriner pointed to the penalty mark and issued a red card to Burnley player Eric Pieters. Fortunately, VAR was able to intervene on a clear and obvious error and advise the referee to rescind his decision. I was disappointed that Marriner did not visit the monitor to confirm the decision. He is the referee not the VAR and needs to take ownership of these big calls.
Arsenal should have been awarded a penalty kick when Burnley’s Pieters deliberately handled the ball with an outstretched arm. Replays confirmed this, but there was no VAR intervention on what a clear and obvious error once again. I disagree with the PGMOL spokesperson and Chris Foy that distance from the movement of the ball was the reason they did not interfere. Come on, he had time to hold his hand/arm out!
The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
SHEFFIELD UNITED V SOUTHAMPTON Result 0-2 Referee: Paul Tierney. Assistants: Ian Hussin, Sian Massey-Ellis. Fourth official: Andy Madley. VAR: David Coote. Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood.
Referee Tierney awarded a penalty kick in this game but frankly was caught well behind play. This was unusual for this referee because he normally reads the game well and is one of the better decision-makers. Replays showed that he had made the correct decision.
Former Sheffield United player Chez Adams scored to make it a comfortable win for Southampton and United are doomed to relegation.
ASTON VILLA V WOLVES Result 0-0 Referee: ANDY MADLEY. Assistants: Simon Long, Richard West. Fourth official: Darren England. VAR: Peter Bankes. Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday. (Note change of referee)
Well, there had clearly been a change of referee with Andy Madley officiating the game. He is quickly becoming a safe pair of hands and establishing his position in the group. I would however like to see him increase his movement rather than at times doing too much walking.
The game ended in a no-score draw; the main talking point was how can a player one yard out from an open goal put it over the bar. Players do make mistakes!!
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION V LEICESTER CITY Result 1-2 Referee: Michael Oliver. Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett. Fourth official: Stuart Attwell. VAR: Chris Kavanagh. Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday.
I think that when Michael Oliver runs out into the middle then you are going to get a positive and accurate performance. This assured official is our best Referee by a long way.
Lallana opened the scoring for Brighton in the 10th minute with a super strike. Brighton dominated the first half with some confident play.
However, after the halftime break and I suggest Manager Brendon Rogers having his say, Leicester City were a different side in the second half and scored two goals through Iheanacho and Amartey. The win put them in third position in the table chasing a Champions League spot,
SUNDAY 7TH MARCH
WEST BROMWICH ALBION V NEWCASTLE UNITED Result 0-0 Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Lee Betts, Nick Hopton. Fourth official: Robert Jones. VAR: Peter Bankes. Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday.
This was another solid performance from referee Martin Atkinson who continues to produce good performances. His movement, positioning and decision-making are all top drawer and I am sure that the PGMOL would love to have more referees like him.
Both teams will be happy with the result in their fight against potential relegation.
LIVERPOOL V FULHAM Result 0-1 Referee: Kevin Friend. Assistants: Simon Beck, Adrian Holmes. Fourth official: Jonathan Moss. VAR: Simon Hooper. Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton.
This was a big result for Fulham against a completely out-of-form home team Liverpool. Their usual high-tempo, quick passing game was not on show and they appeared to look a little jaded.
There were no problems for Kevin Friend who maintained good control throughout the duration of the game.
MANCHESTER CITY V MANCHESTER UNITED Result 0-2 Referee: Anthony Taylor (pictured). Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn. Fourth official: Mike Dean. VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard.
There was an explosive start to this game with referee Anthony Taylor being alert and in an excellent position to point to the penalty mark. It was the correct decision, and the home team took the lead.
Referee Taylor delivered a good performance with United deservedly winning 0-2.
TOTTENHAM V CRYSTAL PALACE Result 4-1 Referee: Stuart Attwell. Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies. Fourth official: David Coote. VAR: Darren England. Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes.
Spurs were in fine form, winning this game with some ease. Bale and Kane each scoring a brace of goals. Benteke scoring Palace’s only goal.
Yet another solid refereeing performance from Stuart Attwell who can be pleased with the progress he has made this season, delivering a number of good performances.