Another weekend of Premier League football goes by and the controversy keeps on coming. We’ve seen red cards aplenty, own goals and incredible misses. Referees were at the centre of attention too many times over the course of Matchday Two and they will feature heavily in the countdown of Wally of the Week.
#3 Bobby Madley
Madley was in charge of the first Monday Night Football of the season at the Etihad between Manchester City and Everton. The referee was conned, not once but twice, and ended up sending off Kyle Walker and Morgan Schneiderlin – both received two yellow cards each. Walker was booked for a foul of Leighton Baines at the start of the first half and there wasn’t too much doubt about that. However, just before half time, City’s £50m signing was shown a second booking for a ‘foul’ on Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Walker backed into Calvert-Lewin, who subsequently went down clutching his face. There was barely any contact between the two but nevertheless, Bobby Madley sent the City man off, much to Walker and Pep Guardiola’s dismay.
City plugged away with 10 men as Everton looked to hold onto a 1-0 lead but Raheem Sterling equalised with minutes to go to get his team back into the game. Shortly before the end, Morgan Schneiderlin was shown a second yellow for another challenge that Bobby Madley somehow deemed worthy of a foul, let alone a second yellow. The Frenchman got to the ball before Sergio Aguero with a sliding tackle but the reaction of Aguero fooled Madley into thinking he’d been taken out. The Argentine rolled around on the floor, clutching his ankle, only to get up after his opponent had been sent off. Schneiderlin vented his spleen at Aguero after he’d been given his marching orders but it’s been the referee who’s received the most backlash. Funnily enough, Madley will not be refereeing a Premier League game this coming weekend.
#2 Michy Batshuayi
The only reason Batshuayi isn’t top of this list is the fact Marcos Alonso dug him out of the massive hole he’d just fallen into. Batman, as he’s often known (apparently), came on for Alvaro Morata, who’d he’d been pictured sniggering at just 2 weeks before, to give Chelsea fresh legs up front. Throughout the game, Morata had been more impressive in his own box than the opposition’s with some important defensive headers at set-pieces so it was the Belgian’s turn to take his place. In the first free kick Chelsea had faced since Batshuayi’s arrival on the pitch, the striker headed it into his own net to gift Spurs a late equaliser. He later said on Twitter that he’d wanted to die after his error. You could call it an unfortunate mistake, but he had failed to retreat backwards as the kick had been taken and therefore was stretching back to get his head on it so it really was a lapse in concentration from him. His future at Chelsea has since been questioned and, after performing poorly so far this season, it seems like he’ll be on his way in the near future.
#1 Marko Arnautovic and Lee Mason
The reason that this is a joint award is because the referee, Lee Mason, did not deal with things very well in Southampton’s match with West Ham and it led to Arnautovic’s childish actions. With the Hammers a goal down, Mario Lemina collided with Arnautovic in the middle of the pitch, but despite the Austrian going down with a head injury, Mason opted to play on. In the resulting move, Mark Noble went in, studs up, on Lemina but it wasn’t before Mason had turned his attention, finally, to Arnautovic lying on the floor and the referee called for medical assistance. Both sets of players were furious with the game carrying on and that Noble’s challenge had gone unpunished. Pundits and fans alike said that Noble should have definitely been sent off for his poor challenge but somehow Lee Mason just ignored it.
Marko Arnautovic, fuming that the game hadn’t been stopped for him to receive treatment, elbowed Saints defender, Jack Stephens, right in front of the referee. Making the right decision for once, Mason gave Arnautovic a straight red and West Ham’s new signing marched off the pitch and took his anger out on a ball bag at the mouth of the tunnel. Lee Mason’s lack of control, consideration and concentration had allowed the game to get out of hand and provoked an inevitable reaction from a combustible character. Mason went on to give two penalties, including an incredibly controversial one to hand Southampton the game, but has still managed to grab a refereeing spot at Wembley this weekend. Sorry Spurs and Burnley fans.