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Talking Point: Andre Marriner made a bad mistake... but refs need more help

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 24, 2014

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PERHAPS referee Andre Marriner can expect a call from a well-known opticians about fronting a new advertising campaign.

He should be feeling both disappointed and embarrassed about sending off Kieran Gibbs instead of Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 6-0 defeat by Chelsea on Saturday.

He apologised to Arsenal afterwards for the case of mistaken identity, but by then it was too late.

It was a shocking mistake and dealt a major blow to Marriner’s credibility as a top-flight official.

No one is suggesting anything other than that Marriner made a genuine mistake, but big questions must be asked about how it was allowed to happen.

He appeared to have a clear view of Oxlade-Chamberlain using his hand to divert the ball away from the Arsenal goal.

Yet Marriner still dismissed Gibbs, despite strong protestations, even from Oxlade-Chamberlain himself, that he had got the wrong man.

Why did Marriner think that Gibbs had committed the offence?

It begs the question about how much help Marriner received from his assistant and what the fourth official in the technical area actually does.

None of them have come out of the mess with any credit.

Surely one of them could have had a quiet word in his ear and suggested he might like to re-think his decision?

In the multi-million pound world of the Premier League, it looks terribly amateur that a referee can’t even get the identity of a player right, let alone make the right decisions.

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