Referee Robert ‘Bobby’ Madley was able to complete the accomplished feat of irritating both team’s managers in one game. Inconsistent at best, his odd decisions at times drove fans of both Everton and Manchester City to distraction while angering Ronald Koeman and Pep Guardiola.
Having booked Kyle Walker for a foul in which the right back claimed he’d been elbowed before his challenge, he then sent the player off after Walker quite intentionally drove his shoulder into Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s face challenging for a high ball.
While Walker’s action was unjustifiable, it did appear to be a bit harsh so soon after a caution, and Guardiola was livid, screaming at fourth official Michael Oliver on the touchline.
Madley had already earned Koeman’s ire before that, booking Tom Davies for a dive very early in the game, despite the midfielder very clearly getting his knee caught by an advancing Nicolas Otamendi.
Then, with the seconds ticking away after City had leveled the game late, Madley sent off Morgan Schneiderlin for a second caution despite the midfielder having executed a perfect tackle to get the ball away from Sergio Aguero. Koeman was in no doubt that the City players did their utmost to influence the referee into giving a make-up call.
“Difficult. I think you can have your doubts about both red cards.
“Schneiderlin was more clear, he was playing the ball. I didn't see if Walker's was a second yellow. Guardiola told me it was not a yellow and I believe him.
"It is really difficult for referees. It is high intensity in the game.
“Of course after the sending off of Walker they tried to influence the referee. Overall the referee made good decisions but like always it’s a difficult job and some decisions weren’t the right one.
Despite the Blues holding off the rampaging City side late in the game to preserve a point, Everton losing Schneiderlin for another difficult trip, this time to Chelsea next weekend, is a big blow to the side that recently sold Gareth Barry and is thin at that deep-lying playmaker position.