The refereeing performance on Saturday can be summed up in one incident.
A free kick was awarded to Arsenal; the challenge not to dissimilar to the one which saw Gabriel get a 2nd yellow. Bukayo Saka made that point to Stuart Attwell and the referee ended up booking the Arsenal player.
5 minutes into the game my pal said “we are not going to get anything from this referee today”. But he could not have predicted what would happen in the game.
The inconsistency in decision making by both Attwell and Australian Jarrod Gillett became laughable.
VAR deciding a foul on Martin Odergaard was not a clear and obvious error. And then deciding that the missed tug by Granit Xhaka.
All fans ask for is consistency. VAR was supposed to bring us that. But to rule each incident in opposing outcomes just highlights Premier League referees incompetence.
It’s fairy simple and I doubt many would disagree. Either both or a clear and obvious error or neither are.
But it should not be surprise. Gillett has come from the land down under where he was a celebrity referee. Think Mark Clattenberg of the Southern Hemisphere.
Meanwhile Attwell has had a career of fuck ups.
In 2008 he gave a ghost goal during a game. The ball went behind for a corner but he gave a goal. He was suspended for 6 weeks.
In 2012, he was demoted from the list of Select Group Referees and returned to Football League duty on the National List. The move was said to come by mutual consent. He was told “improve as a referee” if he wished to return to the top level.
It would take him 4 years to get back onto England’s elite list.
Peter Walton on BT Sport highlights the issue with English referees.
No matter what he defends his ex-colleagues in his analysis. Even when they make a decision that is clearly wrong he does all sorts of mental gymnastics to justify the decision.
Last night he claimed that the tug on Bernardo Silva “was not enough for a penalty” but in the same sentence “was enough for VAR to ask Attwell to review his decision”.
He even called Silva out for diving. But still proceeded to “forensically analyse” the decision which lead him to the conclusion that a penalty was the right decision.
They are arrogant, want to be part of the show and never think they are wrong.
Despite being found on numerous occasions to not be good enough at the highest level, he will be protected. Attwell will be shuffled out of the limelight for the rest of the season. Overseeing Norwich or Burnley.
On Saturday Attwell took Center stage and ruined what was a great game.