Am I trying to make myself feel a bit better about Saturday's 3-1 loss to Everton? Maybe. Is this a good way to go about doing that? Maybe not. Still, there's hardly been any mention of this incident in the media, so perhaps just because of that it's worth a quick look. In fairness, the other storylines are much more interesting: Chelsea's impending doom, Martinez and Stones getting the last laugh .... and Mourinho losing his cool and saying a bad word.
Yeah, so not so much on that last one. (Think of the children!) But here's former Premier League referee Mark Halsey with his verdicts on two separate incidents from the match at Goodison.
It was a difficult call to make. It was an attempted kick out towards an opponent - violent conduct and a red card - and had another referee been in a better position seen it, Naismith could have been sent off.
The incident he's referring to occured in the 14th minute, not long after Steven Naismith, Chelsea killer, came on as a forced substitution for the injured Muhamed Besic.
There are a few mitigating factors — Marriner was a fair distance away, the linesman even farther, and the ball was still sort of in the vicinity — but that could easily be called violent conduct, just as Halsey points out. On another day, in a parallel universe, Naismith doesn't ever get a chance to score one, let alone three goals. So when the manager and the players claim that "everything" is going against us, perhaps such incidents are playing on their minds in addition to all the other things as well.
Critics of more technology to help referees might point out that Diego Costa got a bit lucky as well, with a forearm shiver that Marriner let go, "balancing" things out.
Diego Costa was another who could consider himself fortunate. His forearm struck the face of Seamus Coleman and while on first viewing it looked like a reckless use of the arm, which would have been a yellow card, another referee may have seen it differently and deemed it as violent conduct.
I can't find any video of this incident, but I do recall it happening as well soon after Naismith scored his second. Costa completely escaped any punishment here; he was eventually booked at the very end of the game. Probably a bit lucky in this case that Marriner was lenient, though I would've made the Naismith for Costa red card trade anyday.