Reading v Arsenal FA Cup Semi-final – The Match Officials
by Andrew Crawshaw
The Officials for the two semi-finals are :-
Reading v Arsenal
- Referee – Martin Atkinson
- Assistants – Michael Mullarkey and Gary Beswick
- Fourth Official – Andre Marriner
and for completeness, Aston Villa v Liverpool
- Referee – Michael Oliver
- Assistants – Stuart Burt and John Brooks
- Fourth Official – Lee Mason
Our game is on BBC One, Saturday, Kick-off 17:20, Villa’s is Sunday BT Sport, Kick -off 15:00.
Firstly – the good news, we surely can’t have Atkinson two weekends running so he won’t be in charge of our game against Chelsea. That’s the good news.
For the purpose of this review I am going to separate out our performances against Chelsea from all other teams.
Chelsea v Arsenal 5 Oct 2014 (2 – 0); 45% overall, bias against Arsenal 86/14, six wrong Important Decisions – Second Yellow Card, Red Card, Penalty and Goals – (five sendings off – three Chelsea and two Arsenal – and a non given penalty to Arsenal)
Arsenal v Chelsea 29 Sept 2012 (1 – 2); 71% overall, bias against Arsenal 69/31 and one wrong important decision, non-called foul on Torres on Kos as Chelsea scored
Chelsea v Arsenal 20 Jan 2013 (2 – 1); 61% overall, bias against Arsenal 90/10 and seven wrong Important Decisions. Not given penalty to Chelsea in the first minute, Chelsea first goal arises directly from non-given foul and yellow card to Ramires. Wrong Chelsea penalty for Ramires dive, Ramires should have second yellow card and sent off and resulting ‘goal’ shouldn’t have counted – three wrong Important Decisions in one incident.
Another not taken opportunity to send off Ramires in the 61st minute for a professional foul on Walcott and again in Min 77 for pushing Wilshere in the face. Finally in Min 94 a non-given penalty to Arsenal.
So in matches against Chelsea he is truly abysmal from an Arsenal point of view but is he better against the rest?
Arsenal v QPR 26 Dec 2014 (2 – 1); 70% overall, bias against Arsenal 87/13 and five wrong Important Decisions (three penalties, a second Yellow Card for Ferdinand and the QPR goal from a penalty that shouldn’t have been awarded) all against Arsenal
Tottenham v Arsenal 7 Feb 2015 (2 – 1); 61% overall, bias against Arsenal 90/10 and three wrong Important Decisions (the Arsenal goal was millimetres offside (as gleefully pointed out by the commentators) Mason should have been sent off in Minute 78 for a second bookable offence and Rose should have had a straight red in Minute 59.
Sunderland v Arsenal 14 Sep 2013 (1 – 3) Ref review not done
Arsenal v Liverpool 2 Nov 2013 (2 – 0) Ref review not done
Man City v Arsenal 14 Dec 2013 (6 – 3) Martin City – Arsenal. An utterly unacceptable referee 63% overall, bias against Arsenal 100% (every one of 21 wrong decisions), Five wrong Important decisions, Toure red card for stamp on Giroud, Arsenal should have a pen for handball Min 59, City goal wrongly scored from imaginary foul Min 65, Min 67 Giroud goal wrongly ruled out for offside, Bendtner goal wrongly ruled out for offside in Min 89.
Everton v Arsenal 6 April 2014 (3 – 0) Ref review not done
Arsenal v Aston Villa 23 Feb 2013 (2 – 1) 85% overall and neutral bias 47/53 – a rare good piece of refereeing
There are some records of Reading from 2012/13 season in the Untold Archives but none refer to a game featuring Mr Atkinson so there is nothing that can be gained from that.
So to answer that point: in matches against Chelsea he is truly abysmal from an Arsenal point of view but is he better against the rest – the answer is yes. Up to a point.
1. Unlike our games against Chelsea which are all uniformly bad when Atkinson is in town he can occasionally be fair against other teams (but mostly isn’t).
2. Mr Atkinson is a very poor referee who makes multiple major mistakes in his games
3. Mr Atkinson really doesn’t seem to like Arsenal at all even when Chelsea seem to have no involvement.
4. We should expect most of his wrong decisions to be in favour of Reading.
5. Szcz in particular needs to be careful (assuming he plays) and ensure he gives Atkinson no excuse to award a penalty or a red card.
6. Despite the above, assuming we play to our potential we should have too much firepower in all areas of the pitch and should be back to Wembley in late May.
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