Arsenal-Tottenham 17 November with Howard Webb
If we have aspirations of pursuing a referee career and upgrading to Grade 7 and beyond, the first half of today’s Gunners-Hot Spurs match offers some interesting development points. While Howard Webb is not everyone’s favorite referee, he was faced with several critical match incidents. If you have a chance to catch a replay, or recorded it, you may find it instructional.
In the 17th minute, Adebayor left his feet and made contact with his studs using excessive force in a tackle attempt. Referee Webb issued a red card. He did not fall into the trap of thinking that you shouldn’t dismiss a player early in the match. The referee did not create the man-down situation, the player did.
In the 38th minute, Webb put Sandro on notice after his third foul that he was at the edge of persistent infringement. (Sandro later received a caution in the 66th minute.)
In the 45th minute, Webb moved into the passing lane and cut off a through ball from Arsenal, apologizing. Shortly thereafter he issued a caution to Lennon for a foul against Arsenal that he might have missed if he was still thinking about being in the way. It is unclear whether the caution was for UB-tactical, UB-reckless, or UB-pattern of cummulative fouls, but he did not allow his interference on the previous through ball to cause him to lose focus on the next segment of play.
In the 45th+1 minute, Webb applied advantage for a foul against Arsenal 20 yards out which led directly to the Gunners’ third goal. I am not sure many referees would have recognized the advantage opportunity (going towards goal line, staying on feet, numbers neutral, defenders momentarily relaxing after the foul) and instead would have quickly blown the whistle for an obvious foul. As a referee, you live for the opportunity to apply advantage that directly leads to a goal.
For those of us looking to upgrade, we can take any one of these items and make it a focus point for a particular weekend. For example, this weekend I will work on staying out of passing lanes, or, this weekend I will work at identifying advantage opportunities in the attacking third, or, this weekend I will look to identify clear misconduct regardless of when and where it occurs. We should advise our crew partners what we are working on and ask them to provide feedback.
By going out each week and choosing something to work on, we will incrementally improve our referee skills and be in a position to pass development & guidance, upgrade, or maintenance assessments…