Southampton defender Jose Fonte questions Andre Marriner appointment

Fonte believes Marriner should have been dropped after his error. Photo: PA

Southampton defender Jose Fonte believes referee Andre Marriner should have been dropped after last weekend's high-profile gaffe.

The official was caught up in a bizarre case of mistaken identity in Chelsea's 6-0 defeat of Arsenal, sending off Kieran Gibbs rather than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a deliberate handball.

Marriner apologised for the mistake at Stamford Bridge, which led the Football Association to transfer the sanction to Oxlade-Chamberlain and then overturn the decision as he had not technically prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Despite that, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited decided to give Marriner a chance to get over the mistake in Southampton's Barclays Premier League encounter with Newcastle - a match centre-back Fonte does not think he should be refereeing.

"It is a question for debate, personally my opinion is yes (referees should be held accountable for mistakes)," the Portuguese said. "If we make mistakes as players, we are punished. We get dropped.

"I think obviously some might argue that it is good or not, but I personally think they should get dropped as well and don't referee for a couple of weeks to realise what went wrong.

"I don't know, I just think when the mistake is very, very bad you need to stop and think what can I do better."

Fonte's comments will likely cause ripples, yet he insists the fact Marriner is taking charge is no "big issue" to the players.

"He has a tough job to do," he said. "I am sure he will want to be perfect on Saturday and we players need to focus on our game, so there is not much that we can say about that."