Ref Mason to be sidelined after Coquelin red-card furore
Lee Mason has been removed from refereeing duties and demoted to fourth-official status for the round of Premier League fixtures this weekend, following his controversial performance during Arsenal's 2-1 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Mason was widely criticised for failing to send off the Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, who committed a number of clear fouls whilst already on a yellow card.
After the last of them Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger hastily substituted the player, and the Palace boss Alan Pardew was not the only person nonplussed at Mason's failure to show a second yellow card.
And so Mason has been assigned to the King Power Stadium this Saturday, where he will be holding up the injury-time board for Leicester City versus Tottenham Hotspur.
While it is common for all referees in the elite Select Group to be rotated from time to time, Mason's absence from front-line duties is particularly noteworthy given that he was one of the most-used Premier League referees last season, taking charge of 25 matches.
Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker underlined the importance of building a relationship with the club's new goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Cech was at fault for West Ham United's first goal during their 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium the weekend before last.
"Sometimes it takes longer than you think," Mertesacker said. "Even when you are experienced, sometimes mistakes happen, but the interaction between the goalkeeper and the back four has to be top to compete in the Premier League. He is experienced enough to think about what went wrong. My feeling is he comes back even stronger."