Ref Watch: Southampton (A) Carabao Cup

Assistants: Neil Davies and Natalie Aspinall
Fourth Official: Charles Breakspear

It’s City in cup action, and the last time we went to Southampton, we caused something of an upset. That was almost 30 years ago, and this encounter will be very different indeed. However, you never know – we have played well against bigger clubs all season.

We’re also going to have a bit of a celebrity referee, but not in the Mike Dean ‘look at me’ manner. Instead, we’re given Australian Jarred Gillett, a former A-League referee who came over here a couple of seasons ago and is now a Premier League official. You may have seen the video of him mic’d up for his final game, which showed a respected official managing the game in a personable and fair manner.

If not, this will give you a bit more insight.

He came over in 2018/19, officiating one League Two game, then a League One encounter (Fleetwood 0-0 Bristol Rovers), before stepping into the Championship. He was in charge of the play-off final that saw Brentford promoted to the Premier League in 2021, and he followed them into the top flight, where he became the first referee born outside the British Isles to officiated a Premier League encounter. The following season he also had the League Two play-off, which saw Mansfield defeated by Port Vale. Fulham fans must love him – he officiated their 7-0 win away at Blackburn and their 5-1 win away at Swansea, sending off an opposition player both times. This season, he reffed their 3-2 win at Forest. Southampton fans might not be as impressed – they’ve lost the two times he’s taken one of their matches. That was a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal and a 2-1 home defeat against Palace in April.

Obviously, he hasn’t officiated any of our matches, and this season he’s had seven top-flight games. Out of the 20 officials in the Premier League, he gives the fewest fouls per game – 17.14 against a division average of 20.62 and a division high of 27 (Robert Madley). He’s 16/20 for fouls per tackle, meaning he lets the game flow more than most, and yet he’s eighth for yellows per game. That suggests he might let things go, but when he does have to flash a yellow, he will do so to stop the game from getting away from him. As yet, he hasn’t shown a red card this season, and he’s awarded one Premier League penalty (for Leicester at West Ham) and one in the EFL Cup (in Brighton and Arsenal). He was the official for the pulsating Newcastle and Man City game earlier in the season, which ended 3-3.