Premier League action returned to our football stadiums last weekend after two weeks away on FA Cup leave. There was also the small matter of the Carabao Cup Final that saw some familiar scenes at Wembley Stadium. The Wally of the Week shortlist includes ‘England’s Number One’, a referee who wanted to be a footballer and one vastly experienced manager who continues to field the wrong players and play in the wrong way – nothing major.
3. Jack Butland
With Joe Hart warming the West Ham bench, England’s goalkeeping jersey is really up for grabs and a good run of form could see Jack Butland start England’s opener in the World Cup in Russia in June. His hopes would’ve been dashed this week in calamitous fashion when Stoke travelled to Leicester in the early Saturday kick off. With the Potters leading going into the last 20 minutes, they looked to be heading towards a vital three points in their push for survival.
Leicester’s Marc Albrighton found himself in space down the right wing and crossed the ball across the penalty area but would’ve been frustrated to see the cross evade his teammates and head towards the trusty hands of Jack Butland. However, Albrighton would’ve been surprised to see Butland fumble the cross completely as it bounced off his gloves and into the back of the net. That mistake cost Stoke the win so Potter fingers had to make the list this week.
2. Bobby Madley
This isn’t the first time the supposed ‘professional’ referee has made the Wally of the Week shortlist and I doubt it’ll be the last. Each week, when the Premier League referees are revealed for the following weekend, football fans of two clubs let out a collective sigh when they see Bobby Madley assigned to their game. This week it was the turn of Burnley and Southampton to see Madley grace their pitch and he didn’t disappoint. Burnley took a 1-0 lead into stoppage time and looked to be gaining all three points as they continued their successful season.
However, Jeff Hendrick has his way perfectly blocked by Madley in the centre circle with the official refusing to move out of the way. The Clarets lost the ball as a result and Southampton went up the other end and grabbed a late equaliser and the Burnley players went ballistic at Madley. To make things worse, Ashley Barnes thought he should’ve had a penalty after he was bundled over in the area moments after the restart but Madley waved his protests away and Burnley waved their victory goodbye thanks to Madley’s sheer incompetence.
1. Arsene Wenger
His players were criticised for ‘walking at Wembley’ by Gary Neville but perhaps Wenger should be the one walking come the end of the season. His Arsenal side were brushed aside in the Carabao Cup final by Manchester City and put in a performance so bad that it was even worse than their display earlier in the week where they were defeated by Ostersunds in the Europa League. The Swedish club may have more fans than Manchester City but were made to look as good as Pep Guardiola’s men by Arsenal at the Emirates. Three days later, they put in a shambolic performance full of fitting moments.
Firstly, Shkodran Mustafi appealed for a foul when Sergio Aguero bumped into him but the protests were rightly ignored and Aguero put City a goal up. Nacho Monreal dived in the penalty area, nothing was given but he didn’t get away with it. The Spaniard injured his hip in the theatric fall and had to go off around ten minutes later in one of the most ironic events we’ve seen all season. Jack Wilshere was also caught diving and then went on to blame the result on the referees in a ‘passionate’ Instagram message to fans. Vincent Kompany and David Silva added two more goals for City as Pep Guardiola won his first trophy in the English game. Wenger was slammed for fielding Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey in midfield and the two came under scrutiny for a lack of effort so there’s got to be a problem with the manager’s motivation. It was yet another disastrous afternoon for Arsene Wenger but, don’t worry Arsenal fans, Wenger’s contract doesn’t run out until the end of next season.