Author: Alan Biggs
Steve McClaren should point the finger at his own players, and not the referee, as the reason for Newcastle United’s home defeat to Arsenal, says You Are The Ref’s Rob Harris.
Newcastle had Aleksandar Mitrovic sent off and six other players cautioned in the cauldron of St. James’ Park where referee Andre Marriner was cast as the villain of the piece by home fans.
Manager McClaren weighed in afterwards by disputing the red card and accusing Marriner of using the yellow card too early in the match.
But former Premier League referee Harris, who covered the game on Ref Cam, felt Marriner was justified on all counts – ironically excluding a penalty he felt should have been awarded to Arsenal when Hector Bellerin was fouled.
Arguments raged during and after the game about Mitrovic’s challenge, even though replays showed it was clearly over the top of the ball.
It raised a debate over the difference between that incident and an earlier one in which Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko was only shown yellow.
Harris said: “This highlighted the distinction between a stamp endangering the safety of an opponent, as in the case of Mitrovic, and Sissoko being reckless in ‘putting his foot in’, which was a caution.
“It was player indiscipline, and not the referee, which let Newcastle down. Marriner was right over Mitrovic and justified with his yellow cards.
“Where I would be critical is that the referee could be flat-footed around the penalty area at times, which may explain why he didn’t get the best viewing angle to award Arsenal a penalty.
“But I thought his composure was commendable. He always looked calm and in control despite the howling of the home crowd in what can be a very intimidating atmosphere.”
See Keith Hackett’s latest blog for praise of another referee, Mark Clattenburg, while some others could be faulted on a Saturday of five red cards in the Premier League.
This week’s Ref Show, with Mark Halsey and Glenn Turner on the panel, will as usual reflect on all the action.