Graham Poll: Officials spot on despite unfair pressure from Arsenal, Cisse, Holt and more
22:00 GMT, 25 March 2012
Planes landing safely, trains pulling in on time and motorways being clear of traffic don't make the news; nor do referees getting decisions correct. But from this weekend here they are:
Djibril Cisse's red card for Queens Park Rangers.
Luis Suarez's disallowed goal for handball and subsequent yellow card.
A Wigan penalty for Victor Moses.
Gary Gardner's yellow card for a foul on Alex Song.
Papiss Cisse given onside for Newcastle's opening goal.A foul by Swansea's Ashley Williams on Everton's Leighton Baines which led to the opening goal.
Grant Holt given onside for Norwich's opening goal.
No penalty decision following Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekoto's clash with Chelsea's Ramires.
Grant Holt's dismissal from Mark Clattenburg.Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor given onside when clean through (but he missed).
Eggert Jonsson's handball for Norwich's penalty
Marc-Antoine Fortune's goal disallowed for offside against Newcastle.
Handball: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was up to his old tricks against Wigan
Watching all incidents in the three live matches and the highlights of the other six games it was interesting to see how few critical incidents there were.
Watching a game live you might think there were more but football is a game of opinions and I saw the 12 above which were all correctly detected and punished.
There were some interesting incidents and some ridiculous reactions from guilty players.
Poor show: Djibril Cisse reacts as he is shown a red card by referee Mike Jones
Djibril Cisse and Grant Holt were both incredulous at Mike Jones and Mark Clattenburg's respective red cards but there could not be clearer or easier decisions.
Lee Mason was also spot on in awarding Wigan their penalty as a number of observers thought Martin Skrtel's high boot should have been seen as dangerous play and therefore only an indirect free kick awarded.
However, when contact is made by a high boot then the free kick must be direct; the way that Moses' head jerked back made it clear that the Liverpool man had kicked him hence the penalty kick.
Marching orders: Norwich striker Grant Holt was rightly sent off against Wolves
Four of the dozen decisions were concerning offside and replays proved just how well assistant referees are dealing with this very difficult law.
There were some really close calls which were all correctly judged; how assistants do it is beyond me given the movement of players, the speed of play and the way in which we can now scrutinise the decisions to prove with a very high degree of certainty whether they are correct or not.
Finally, on the correct decisions I was pleased to see only a yellow card given to Gary Gardner when fouling Alex Song at The Emirates.
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It was a poor challenge and the officials were put under greater pressure by Arsenal players and the home crowd due to previous incidents.
Referee Phil Dowd was not swayed by that pressure and only cautioned when it would have been easy to pull out the red card.
So a good weekend for match officials but not without a blemish; there were three penalties not awarded which I thought should have been and did so at full speed without the need of slow motion replays.
The referees appeared to have good views and all three could have made huge impacts on the games they were in:
Blackburn should have had a penalty when Gretar Steinsson fouled Junior Hoilett.
Chelsea could have claimed a win when Frank Lampard was fouled by William Gallas.
Gareth Barry should have seen yellow and conceded a penalty when fouling Glenn Whelan.
So not a perfect weekend but a very good one and let's hope that match officials continue to do as well as planes, trains and automobiles – timely, safe and without headlines.
Good week for…
Lee Mason who was in top form at Anfield awarding a penalty to Wigan and disallowing Suarez's 'goal'.
The Liverpool striker does nothing to endear himself to English crowds, each week finding a new way to provoke negative feelings.
Scoring with a hand is not new but when added to diving, refusal of handshakes and 'racist' slurs makes the Uruguyan hard to like.
Bad week for…
Djibril Cisse whose very poor two-footed tackle was as good an example to show kids how not to tackle as you could wish to see.
He will now miss four of Rangers' last 8 games, having been suspended for three games earlier.
A player who has had his leg broken by such a tackle really should know better.