Last weekend’s otherwise dramatic EPL games were overshadowed by refereeing errors. The Merseyside Derby never lacked controversy or confrontation, a headache for any top class referee. Andre Marriner, who refereed the notorious Liverpool/Man U derby marred by Luis Suarez’s racism case last season, controlled the game well most of the time. However he denied Suarez a late goal by mistakenly calling it offside, and Liverpool rightly felt robbed of three points when the game finished 2-2.
The game of the week was staged at Stamford Bridge. Super Sub Chicharito scored the winning goal before the final whistle against the EPL table leader. However, it was not fantastic Robin Van Persie, nor brilliant Juan Mata, but the referee Mark Clattenburg who played the central role of the show. He sent off two Blue players in a five-minute period during the second half, destroying the balance of the game. But Clattenburg’s biggest mistake was giving Chicharito’s late goal the all clear, when it should have been called offside.
The EPL has had a professional refereeing system since 2001, however the reputation of British referees is far behind their Spanish and Italian counterparts. The nightmare for British referees is to some extent caused by the high tempo and physical nature of English football culture. Last weekend, Emirates Stadium saw referee Anthony Taylor also have a bad day at the office. Mikel Arteta’s only goal of the game was scored from an offside position. Arsenal was lucky to escape with all three points against QPR through this controversial goal.
Carlos Tevez was again the messiah for Roberto Mancini. His goal helped Manchester City put Swansea to the sword. The Blue Moons are now level with Man United on the league table, trailing Chelsea by a solitary point. We can expect a more competitive domestic league this season, so it won’t be a big surprise to see some shake-up squads from the big EPL clubs in the mid-week League Cup, which is now named the Capital One Cup.