Wolfgang Stark had a very easy night tonight in what turned out to be a very easy win for Manchester United after an evenly balanced first half.
The team of officials had very few decisions to make and when they did have to make a judgement they were correct. Stark decided that he would simply ignore minor contact and let the game flow nicely, and the players soon realised he was not going to give any 'soft' free kicks. He was consistent with his judgement of fouls too, which is something he has struggled with in previous matches. He turned down three penalty appeals, but on each instance the players made these decisions easy by making very theatrical falls - a classic giveaway that no real foul occurred.
Goal ruled out
If Stark did not have much to do, the assistants had even less and the additional assistants were twiddling their thumbs as usual. There was a good bit of teamwork to rule out a goal from Paul Scholes, who clearly controlled the ball with his hand. Stark's view was blocked and so I assume that one of the other officials communicated the offence to him.
Stark does a lot of pointing to the ball to reject appeals for a free kick. But essentially saying 'he got the ball' is wrong,and perpetuates the myth that winning the ball means it cannot be a foul. This is wrong, and the referees make a rod for their own back because it is much harder to justify a free kick later in the match when a player gets the ball but also committs a foul.