3. Strange game for the referee
Often in the big games, one of the problems that referees face is the partisan nature of the home support. Far too often, referees, especially in big games tend to give into the crowd and give the home side leeway they wouldn’t otherwise get. But on Tuesday, Michael Oliver displayed none of that as he remained an impartial bystander for most of the game. He let the game flow and only booked players when absolutely necessary and didn’t fall any of the players’ theatrics.
Had Chelsea lost, Oliver would have certainly been the latest victim of Mourinho’s post-match anger as he didn’t give a couple of crucial decisions the home side’s way. With both Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson on a yellow card, Oliver’s decision to not send them off for a silly challenge and a handball respectively was surprising. Even more surprising was his decision not to award a penalty for Skrtel’s foul on Costa, which the Spaniard made a meal of. But arguably his biggest mistake was not sending Costa off. Not once, not twice, but three times for two blatant stamps and an overall desire to grapple and fight with every opponent he came in contact with. Had he sent Costa off in the 11th minute, the whole complexion of the game would have changed and who knows, the Reds might have even capitalized on it, made it to Wembley.