Mike Riley. Is atrocious too harsh of a description for this alleged Premier League referee? Personally, I think I'm being a little too kind. His pièce de résistance was a delightful moment of decision making that saw him hold his hands out to signal play to continue when a foul was committed against us in a rather tasty area of the field to allow for advantage. When advantage was more than evident, he blow his whistle. Staggering. Since when was stopping play, taking play back to where the foul was originally committed and taking a free kick from there more viable an option than allowing for advantage to proceed?
Riley is obsessed with his whistle. Minimal contact? Blow that whistle. Not a foul? Blow that whistle. Anything that is borderline controversial or requires a professional unbiased viewpoint and decision, the whistle stays firmly away from his mouth.
Zokora committed one or two fouls last night and yet inexplicably got away with it.
If you want a ref who does his best to stop the game from flowing and gives about 80 decisions out of 100 the wrong way and enjoys blowing his whistle for no apparent reason, then Mike is your man.
He belongs in a rave.
David Bentley. Not too shabby again yesterday. Not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. If there is one thing that will improve his performance by about 60% its the removal of the flicks and showboat attempts. David mate, stop trying to get onto Soccer AM. When a simple control of the ball and pass is the best option, use it.
Dawson. Yes he made a boo-boo that led to Stoke's goal, but how great has he been in recent weeks? Once upon a time it always seemed like he could only play if he had Ledley King by his side. Even looked like he would be shifted out of the club at one particular point. Great to see him grow in stature and confidence. Still needs Woody and King to lend a helping hand with his concentration and composure. Apparently, Daws is inseparable from Ledley (they sit together on the team coach, share rooms, probably even swap mp3's). Bless. If Ledley doesn't ever make it back full time, then I hope he can continue to inspire Michael.
Chimbonda and Palacios watched the game from a box. Rumours Fred was also hiding somewhere within the ground, looking on. However, according to Harry, the player failed to turn up yesterday. Not sure if this one has any legs in it. Wondering if we should have made a cheeky bid for that young lad Heskey who joined Villa and scored on his debut.