There are some referees who are bad.
Then there are referees like Mike Jones.
If you’d read our preview of the ref before the game, you’d have had some idea what Arsenal were in-store for – a referee who frequently gets the big decisions wrong.
On Tuesday night he wasn’t discriminating against the smaller ones either.
Deeming Danny Simpson’s clear handball inside the box as not a handball at all with an empathic NO! gesture, Jones then penalised Arsenal players three times for a handball infraction when the ball was hit at them from considerably closer range.
All this from the man who awarded Liverpool two penalties against the same opposition when ball hit one Leicester player in the face and the other Simpson’s hand from a much closer distance.
Had these been the worst of his mistakes on the night, he could have considered himself pleased with his job, but Jones had much worse in his locker.
Unable to get a hold of the game, he allowed the Leicester players to be far too physical to the point where Alexis Sanchez had to be taken off injured as a result of this challenge by Matthew Upson that wasn’t even given as a foul:
Don’t tell me he won the ball – that isn’t what determines what is or isn’t a foul. That was a challenge designed to take out the man first-and-foremost. If he got the ball that was simply an added bonus.
Simpson was able to foul Mesut Ozil three times in three minutes in the second half – deliberately tripping up Ozil as he ran through (the ref waved play on), pulling Mesut Ozil to the ground (again nothing given) before finally being booked for completely cleaning the German out on the touchline.
It was the same sort of treatment both Alexis and Santi Cazorla received all night as their ankles, thighs and backs were battered with impunity.
What did constitute a yellow was wearing an Arsenal shirt and turning your back on a goalkeeper who is clearing the ball.
That Jones was facing away from the action but still managed to imagine what had happened, get it wrong and then issue a card to Giroud just about summed up his competency levels. It wouldn’t surprise me if Anthony Taylor, the fourth official on the night, had told him to book Giroud.
Unable to get himself out of the line of the ball for the majority of the match, Jones allowed Leicester players to commit clear pullbacks without punishment, At one point in the first half, Upson pulled Sanchez to the ground by the neck and it was waved away.
Upson left the pitch inujred and without a card when he clearly should have been sent off for at least two yellows.
Of course, that sort of thing was punished if it was an Arsenal player, Tomas Rosicky going straight into the book for his first infraction which was remarkably similar to Leicester fouls that weren’t even given.
Then there was the foul on Giroud which saw him pulled to the ground by the neck only for Jones to give a freekick against the Frenchman. Perhaps his devilish good looks were too much for Jones’ to deal with.
Or he’s sick listening to his wife talk about how much she fancies him.
Arsenal finsihed the game with the same number of bookings as Leicester – two.
Despite employing the tactic of rotationally fouling Cazorla, Ozil and Alexis with heavy challenges that were above and beyond what is acceptable for the full game, only one was punished with a card.
The other Leicester yellow was issued to Wasilewski when he took David Ospina out deliberately as the Arsenal keeper tried to set his side on a counter-attack.
It took Jones 64 minutes before he produced his first card of the game and he booked Rosicky just three minutes later.
Perhaps the league might consider taking the spare change at the end of their £5billion TV deal and training their referees so they know what they’re doing.
Just a thought.