As if going in to Sunday’s game against Manchester City wasn’t going to be tough enough without the suspended Paul Pogba, we now have to deal with the fact the Michael Oliver has been chosen to officiate.
Oliver was in charge of the 2014 derby at Etihad when United lost 1-0. United went down to 10 men with 39 minutes played after Chris Smalling picked up two yellow cards.
The first yellow card was for holding Joe Hart from releasing the ball quickly. Hart charged out of his box to let Oliver know exactly what he thought of the United defender’s behaviour and clashed heads with the referee. Oliver took no action.
A few months later, Oliver was officiating another big game of United’s, when we faced Arsenal in the FA Cup. He sent off another United player in this game. Angel di Maria picked up a yellow card for diving and within a few seconds had been sent off for pulling Oliver’s shirt.
A City player can headbutt him and scream in his face but face no punishment. A United player can touch his shirt and receive a second yellow card.
Oliver is also the referee who made the bizarre decision of sending Ander Herrera off after 35 minutes in our FA Cup defeat against Chelsea. Again, this was for two yellow cards, with the Spaniard getting booked for his only two fouls of the game, with the second one for a very soft trip. Even Frank Lampard couldn’t believe the decision in the half-time analysis.
Can’t say that I’m looking forward to seeing how he can screw up Sunday’s game for us.