What Sunday’s match against Everton needs is a referee who will clamp down on rotational fouling.
A favoured tactic of Everton, the man in charge needs to get on top of them from the first minute and not wait until the second half until he starts taking names.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, the ref in charge is one who isn’t too adept at getting names right, let alone decisions.
Yes, it’s Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s old chum, Andre Marriner.
Marriner isn’t actually a bad referee, despite that unbelievable gaff in our game against Chelsea but then again, in this league, as long as you don’t make that sort of decision on a weekly basis, you’re going to be a vast improvement on the Anthony Taylors of this world.
The man from Sheldon has taken charge of 23 games this season and issued 78 yellows but only one red, the lowest total of any referee this season who has been operating in the Premier League. In fact, his red card didn’t even come in a top flight game, but in the Championship and at just over three cards per game, you start to see a picture emerge of a referee who can be too lenient.
Not good news for the ankles of the Arsenal players on Sunday.
A total of 194 Premier League matches since he joined the Select Group in 2005, he has issued 626 yellows and 41 reds, showing a consistency in his yellow card average and attitude to the game.
Of his 23 games this season, only 13 of them have been in the Premier League and only one has been in charge of Arsenal – the 1-0 home win over Southampton in December. On that occasion he issued two yellows, both of which went to Saints players (Alderweireld and Wanyama).
He has, sometimes, found himself able to book more than three players when the situation has called for it as he demonstrated in the two Everton games he refereed this season, both away, when he produce six in each (but only five went to the men in blue).
As with all refs in this league, you can never quite be certain what you’re going to get but ahead of Sunday’s game I’d get ready to be increasingly annoyed at the niggly fouls Everton players are allowed to get away with in order to break up the game and how little Marriner does to stop it.
Generally a good mindset for most games in this league, really.