Wally of the Week

We’ve had a bumper Premier League schedule and that means a bumper Wally of the Week shortlist. It’s not been a great time for goalkeepers recently with a few high-profile stoppers making big mistakes over the past seven days but they’ve all been outdone by one referee who made two howlers in one game on the South Coast.

5. Petr Cech

Gone are the days when this keeper was one of the best in the world and keeping clean sheets at will with Chelsea. The former Czech Republic international hasn’t had the greatest season at Arsenal and came under fire during their game against Liverpool last Friday night. Cech couldn’t do much about the first two goals the visitors scored but he was at fault for their third. The Gunners had just turned around the 2-goal deficit and were 3-2 in front before Cech parried Roberto Firmino’s effort into the back of his net after what looked like a good save. His gloves got to the ball but diverted it back over him and it dropped under the crossbar and Liverpool got away from North London with a point.

4. Simon Mignolet

The goalkeeper in between the sticks at the other end of the pitch didn’t have the best evening at the Emirates either. The Belgian managed to make it to half-time with a clean sheet but ended up conceding three times before the 60th minute. The first was a header from Alexis Sanchez that Mignolet let through his legs and the third was an exquisite dink from Mesut Ozil but it was the second that got him dogs abuse across the football world. Granit Xhaka’s long-range effort seemed speculative at first, in fact, it seemed speculative until it hit the back of the net. Mignolet waved a glove in the general direction of the shot but the power was too much as he was picking the ball out of his goal just moments later.

3. Asmir Begovic

I did tell you it wasn’t a great week for goalkeepers. The third one on this list has conceded seven times in his last two games and was at fault for a couple of those goals at least. It was his poor pass that gifted Manchester City their opener last Saturday and he went on to concede three more. Bournemouth spent Christmas in the relegation zone and are desperate for points so games against relegation rivals like West Ham are crucial.

With the Cherries 2-1 up in the second half, Adam Smith passed the ball back to the Bosnian keeper but, while trying to clear the ball upfield, his standing leg gave way and he went to ground in comical fashion. Marko Arnautovic pounced and slotted the ball into an open goal to equalise for the away side. The Hammers got another goal late on through the same man but via another mistake by Begovic. He couldn’t hold onto Javier Hernandez’s effort and the ball squirmed through his body into the path of Arnautovic who poked home. The Bosnian almost cost his team the game but more on that later…

2. Daniel Amartey

The Ghanaian international made his first Premier League appearance since the first game of the season and it’s easy to see why he’s been out in the cold. With Leicester 2-1 down at home to Manchester United, Amartey came on at right-back for the injured Danny Simpson but didn’t stay on for long. He picked up two stupid bookings within 17 minutes and was rightfully dismissed by Jon Moss and the Foxes were down to 10 men and needing a goal. To hack down Marcus Rashford was baffling enough but it was inconceivable to think that someone already on a booking would even consider fouling someone in that way. Lucky for Amartey, Harry Maguire snatched a point with his last-minute goal but I’d be surprised if Amartey makes another Premier League appearance for Leicester.

1. Bobby Madley

This referee had a nightmare Boxing Day game and was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. His first major error came half an hour in when Bournemouth skipper Simon Francis decided to karate kick Cheikhou Kouyate in the face, catching his mouth and neck with his studs. Madley proceeded to book Francis to the amazement of everyone in the stadium and probably Francis himself. But that wasn’t all.

With West Ham going in front late on, it looked as if they would take all three points from the Vitality Stadium but Madley had different ideas. Nathan Ake headed the ball across goal to Callum Wilson who converted it with his arm. Not only did Madley not spot the handball, he overruled his linesman’s decision to rule the goal out and the linesman was right. After a lengthy discussion between the two officials, Madley decided to allow the goal – going against his linesman and a couple of rules in the process.