Roger East has been appointed referee for Arsenal’s 4th round FA Cup tie against Burnley on Saturday, but what does that mean for us?
In 23 Premier League games prior to this season, East had awarded four penalties. This year he appears to have gone penalty mad, awarding six spot kicks in just 13 games.
Up to this point the referee has only taken charge of two Arsenal games, giving no big decisions (red cards or penalties) and just six yellow cards. His passive style allowed a foul in the build up to a Hull City goal to go unpunished last season as they drew 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium. His other Arsenal game was much more recent, when he was in the middle for our 2-0 defeat of Bournemouth just a few weeks ago.
Saturday’s visitors have a mixed record with East as ref – winning two, drawing three and losing two. In those fixtures he’s awarded Burnley one penalty and given no red cards.
Clearly he’s a man who doesn’t give big decisions easily, and while that is the safest way to treat the game it isn’t necessarily the best. He has been happier to give penalties this season, and in a tight FA Cup tie against a team who will be defensive that could be important.
Like all referees, East has had his controversial moments. Though he denied it, he sent off Wes Brown last season when a foul was clearly made on Manchester United’s Radamel Falcao by Brown’s Sunderland team-mate John O’Shea