Premier League Referee Power Rankings: October 2019

The third edition of this season’s Premier League Referee Power Rankings features the ultimate downfall of one referee and the continual rise of a few others. The rankings take into account matches through week 10 of the season – read on for the full top 10 as well as the worst performer of the month!

Previous editions: August | September


Image courtesy of Premier League

1. Michael Oliver (previous: 3)

October 5: West Ham v Crystal Palace
October 26: Burnley v Chelsea

There’s a change at the top of the table, as Michael Oliver claims the number one spot in the rankings. Oliver displayed exemplary player management in both of his matches, with a good penalty call at London Stadium before calling what appeared to be a pretty clear penalty at Turf Moor in Chelsea’s favour before it was curiously overturned by the VAR. His performances have been getting better and better over the first three months of the season, and he rightly sits atop the perch for the first time.

2. Anthony Taylor (previous: 1)

October 19: Crystal Palace v Man City
October 27: Liverpool v Tottenham

A tale of two matches for Taylor, who is knocked off of the top spot largely due to a big blunder of a missed penalty kick at Selhurst Park. Wilfried Zaha gave Kevin de Bruyne a two-handed shove in what looked a clear foul, but Taylor ignored it and was somewhat incredulously backed up by the VAR too. An excellent performance in a big Liverpool-Tottenham clash keeps him right on the cusp of the number one ranking.

3. Craig Pawson (previous: 2)

October 6: Man City v Wolves

Pawson followed up on a terrific September with another good game at the Etihad before being whisked off to Brazil for FIFA U17 World Cup duty.

4. Kevin Friend (previous: 7)

October 27: Newcastle v Wolves

Friend is another referee who has gotten progressively better over the first few months of the campaign. He dished out another straight red card and reduced Newcastle to 10 men against Wolves in a situation which he handled with calmness and good control.

5. Mike Dean (new)

October 6: Newcastle v Man United
October 21: Sheffield United v Arsenal
October 26: Watford v Bournemouth

Mr. Hollywood returns to the top ten with a trio of really good matches over the course of the month. He did really well to book Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka for diving against Sheffield United, and while he did miss a potential Gunners penalty for a shirt-pull on Sokratis, his solid performances in his other games means he absolutely warrants a mid-table ranking, his highest of the season, as a result.

6. Graham Scott (previous: 9)

October 5: Burnley v Everton
October 26: Man City v Aston Villa

Graham Scott has had so many unbelievably obvious second yellow card incidents this season that it’s starting to get equal parts ridiculous and hilarious. One in each of his matches in October means he’s given out red cards in three straight PL fixtures.

7. Jonathan Moss (previous: 4)

October 5: Brighton v Tottenham
October 19: Leicester v Burnley

After a brilliant start to the season, Moss came back down to earth this month. His lack of fitness was on full display when he missed a potential DOGSO red card against Tottenham at the Amex, and he followed that up with an unconvincing performance at the King Power a fortnight later.

8. Lee Mason (previous: 10)

October 19: Bournemouth v Norwich

Mason has quietly turned in some really solid performances this season, and his lone October match was no exception.

9. Stuart Attwell (previous: 5)

October 27: Norwich v Man United

I feel bad for Attwell, because he was royally hung out to dry by the rest of his team at Carrow Road. First, the VAR called a penalty on a coming-together in the Norwich penalty area for which Attwell was rightly in vehement denial. Next, both the AR and the VAR missed goalkeeper Tim Krul being about halfway up his six-yard box when the penalty was taken—and, crucially, saved—before a second penalty in the half (this one correct) featured Krul once again stepping off his line prematurely to save the kick without any referee intervention.

10. Andy Madley (new)

October 5: Norwich v Aston Villa
October 26: Brighton v Everton

Madley was the beneficiary of the first-ever award of a Premier League penalty via VAR, a play that was in fairness a tough one to spot in real-time at the Amex. He made a much more straightforward penalty call in his other game between Norwich and Aston Villa.


October’s Worst: Chris Kavanagh (previous: 6)

October 5: Liverpool v Leicester
October 19: Tottenham v Watford

Kavanagh has had something of a fall from grace this season, starting out so well in August and progressively getting worse and worse. It was neck-and-neck between him and Martin Atkinson for this unwanted distinction, but Kavanagh edges it with FOUR clear and obvious errors in just two matches.

First, he missed two red cards at Anfield, with Trent Alexander-Arnold not sufficiently punished for a wild tackle and Hamza Choudhury likewise only seeing yellow for a really cynically chopping down Mo Salah late in the second half.

Next, Kavanagh decided against awarding a penalty in Danny Rose’s favour in North London, a play which was not helped by Kavanagh’s poor positioning off of the quick corner kick that led to the challenge. As if that wasn’t enough, he missed an even more blatant foul—this one pretty much right under his nose—at the other end, when Gerard Deulofeu was taken down. Lack of VAR intervention aside, both of these incidents really should have been seen on the field, and for all of his inadequacies over the two matches, Kavanagh brings up the rear end of the October power rankings.

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