Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 April 2018

Spotlight on Neil Swarbrick: Focus on the referee at Stoke's game with Tottenham

Neil Swarbrick was not the centre of attention at Stoke, after a challenging weekend for referees in the Barclays Premier League
Neil Swarbrick was not the centre of attention at Stoke, after a challenging weekend for referees in the Barclays Premier League

Neil Swarbrick took charge of Monday's Barclays Premier League clash between Stoke and Tottenham at the Britannia Stadium with referees having been very much in the spotlight in the build-up.

It had emerged a few days earlier that Swarbrick was replacing Kevin Friend - who has attended games at Spurs' title rivals Leicester and lives in the city - for the fixture, with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited saying the change was made to avoid adding "extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment".

The referee for Leicester's 2-2 draw with West Ham on Sunday, Jon Moss, then found himself at the centre of a storm of controversy over various decisions he had made during the contest.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses how things went for Swarbrick as Tottenham registered a thumping 4-0 victory.

Ninth minute: A barge from Marko Arnautovic sends Kyle Walker to the turf and Swarbrick awards a free-kick which sets in the motion the passage of play that ends with Harry Kane's sumptuous opening goal.

15: Giannelli Imbula goes in with a high boot as he makes a challenge on Kane that leaves the Spurs striker down and looking hurt, but Swarbrick lets play go on. Kane is up before long and able to continue.

18: Swarbrick's decision to give a free-kick to Stoke for Kane's tackle on Ibrahim Afellay is met by ironic cheers from some Potters fans.

32: Kane goes down under a challenge from Glenn Whelan as Tottenham try to break and Swarbrick awards a free-kick to the visitors but - questionably - makes no booking.

33: Again Swarbrick gives a free-kick but shows no card when a yellow might have been merited after Mousa Dembele shoves over Bojan Krkic from behind.

37: Erik Lamela is not happy when Swarbrick rules him to have fouled Arnautovic and the referee has words with the Argentina international to calm him down.

49: Danny Rose has Geoff Cameron's arm on him as he goes down in the Stoke box, but Swarbrick looks to have done the right thing in rejecting calls from Spurs fans for a penalty.

60: Shawcross grapples with Toby Alderweireld in the Stoke area at a set-piece and the Tottenham man hits the deck, but Swarbrick allows play to continue.

61: Imbula collects the first yellow card of the evening after flooring Eric Dier and kicking the ball away.

79: Stoke substitute Charlie Adam is the recipient of the second after dragging down Lamela.

Verdict: There were a handful of moments when Swarbrick not taking any action raised eyebrows - but overall this was a relatively quiet evening for a referee who was most certainly not the centre of attention.

Press Association

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