Cardiff City travel to Merseyside for the second time in a month, faced with the prospect of playing the Premier League’s most mystifying side; Everton. Having beaten Brighton just before the international break, the Bluebirds will be confident of making the game a real contest, but how does this weeks nini-man in the middle affect matters? Let’s take a look.
Paul Tierney will be the main match official and represents something of an unknown quantity for Cardiff supporters, given he is something of a rare entity for Cardiff games.
Indeed, the Bluebirds last saw him oversee a match in their tight one-nil win over bitter rivals Bristol City on the 25th February 2018. Kenneth Zohore (remember him?) scored the only goal that day, in a game that was surprisingly low on spark given the pre-match build-up. Both managers had stated that the reported “bad blood” was genuine and not a pantomime.
Zohore’s second winner in four days (he’d won the game at Portman Road just days before) restored Cardiff’s four point lead over Aston Villa and left Lee Johnson asking for a refund. The game itself saw very little in the way of controversy. Let’s take a look at Tierney’s Premier League stats from this season:
• Seven games refereed
• 25 yellow cards issued (an average of 3.5 yellows per game)
• Zero red cards
• One penalty awarded
Tierney’s last game was Liverpool’s two-nil defeat of Fulham, a game in which a potentially valid Fulham goal was ruled out for offside only for Liverpool to break quickly and score the opening goal. This decision was to prove especially decisive as the loss sounded the death knell for Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic, who was replaced by Claudio Ranieri just days later.
There is no reason to think Saturday’s game between the Bluebirds and the Toffees will be a fesity one, but one things’ for sure, the referee could once again play a big part in Cardiff’s hopes of escaping the relegation zone.