Arsenal v West Ham United – Sunday 9 August – The Referee Preview
By Andrew Crawshaw
Well at last proper competitive football and I will again look at the Match Officials, what Arsenal’s history is with them and attempt to predict what they will do during the game.
For Sunday the Officials are
- Referee – Martin Atkinson
- Assistants – S Child and S Burt
- Fourth Official – M Oliver
Mr Atkinson is one of the most senior referees in England, this will be his 266th Premier League game and he has had FIFA Accreditation since 2006, indeed he is a FIFA Elite referee.
Martin Atkinson is no stranger to us, last season he was our man in charge on three occasions, four times in 2013/14 and three times in 2012/13.
Mssrs. Child and Burt are both experienced linesmen and I noted nothing untoward in their performances last year.
How were his decisions in his three games for us last year?
|Correct Calls||Wrong Calls in Favour of…|
|Chelsea v Arsenal||25||7||0||4||11||13|
|Arsenal v QPR||29||9||0||1||3||4|
|Spurs v Arsenal||32||11||1||1||11||8|
|% of total calls (170)||50.59%||15.88%||0.59%||3.53%||14.71%||14.71%|
Normal calls (fouls, goal kicks, corners, throw-ins etc): he got 86 correct out of 112 (76.7% certainly nowhere the 98.5% correct figure claimed by the PGMO).
Of the remaining 26 wrong calls 25 were called against Arsenals so a pretty biased performance.
Big calls (yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals) were another case altogether.
Only 47% were correct. Any of us could toss a coin and expect to get 50% correct for a trained professional to be worse than that is totally and utterly unacceptable. Of those calls he got wrong were more than 4 to 1 in favour of our opponents.
If we look at his performance compared with the other referees we get the following list. First game of the season and the PGMO give us the worst referee from last year!
|Referee||Correct total||Wrong total|
Looking in more detail at the three games last season
|Untold’s Unacceptable Referee Review: Chelsea – Arsenal|
This was a totally one-sided piece of refereeing where Mr Atkinson decided the outcome of the match.
Oscar should have had a yellow card in Minute 6, Cahill should have had a straight red in Minute 20 for an awful challenge on Alexis, a tackle that looked to have the intent to seriously injure our player. At the same time there was an off-the ball incident where Ivanovic deliberately elbowed Özil in the back another straight red card.
Atkinson did nothing against Oscar or Ivanovic and only gave Cahill a yellow card.
Later on a stone wall penalty for Arsenal not given when Fabregas raised his hand to head height to deflect a shot for a corner. His overall weighted performance score was 44.7%.
|Untold Ref Review: Arsenal – QPR|
A match with lots of big decisions. He got the first one right in Minute 7 with a penalty for a clear foul by Traore on Alexis, the second one in Minute 23 he got wrong, should have been a second penalty to Arsenal for a foul by Onuoha on Welbeck but nothing given.
Ferdinand got a correct yellow for a professional foul. In the second half Giroud was correctly given a red card for reacting to a non-given foul on him by Onuoha. In the aftermath Ferdinand gragged Giroud by the neck in an aggressive way and should also have been sent off but wasn’t.
In Minute 75 Mertesacker is kicked in the QPR penalty area by Fer another penalty ignored by the referee. Minute 77, QPR are awarded a penalty by Santa Claus (sorry Mr Atkinson) for a dive by Hoilet.
In Min 90 QPR should have had a penalty when Gibbs tripped Zamora. Overall a weighted performance score of 70%. and of the 8 wrong decisions 7 were against Arsenal.
|Ref Review Tottenham – Arsenal|
The first big talking point was the Özil goal – was he offside or not. In real time it was impossible to say, he looked level, on the replay perhaps half of his foot was in front of the defender so had video review been available the goal wouldn’t have stood. Without that technology the linesman was quite correct in giving the benefit of the doubt to the attacker.
The next ‘biggie’ was a scissors tackle by Mason on Özil, should have been a yellow card but nothing given.
Two penalty claims by Arsenal for handball both correctly declined by Atkinson. Then two outrageous tumbles by Spurs players to fool Atkinson into Yellow cards for Arsenal players neither of which were justified.
In Minute 59 Rose should have had a straight red for a deliberate stamp on Giroud’s achilles. Needless to say with Atkinson this wasn’t even a foul. A non-given yellow to Dembele for a professional foul on Ramsey again not even regarded as a foul. Overall weighted score 60% and 90% of all wrong decisions were against Arsenal. A normal day at the office one could say for Mr Atkinson.
Was he any better in 2013/14?
Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool 76% Ovrerall Weighted score, bias in favour of Liverpool 90%, 9 of 12 Big decisions were correct, the ones that were wrong were all in favour of Liverpool, an Arsenal penalty, a Liverpool player not given a yellow card and an Arsenal player being given one when it wasn’t justified.
A referee review Martin City – Arsenal. An utterly unacceptable referee 63% Overall weighted, bias in favour of City 100% – yes every one of 21 wrong decisions! 12 of 17 Big calls were correct but two of these should have been Arsenal goals and one was a wrongly awarded City goal. An utterly atrocious piece of refereeing.
Match Review: Anthony Taylor – Sunderland v Arsenal (0 – 1) [09/02/2013] 58% Overall Weighted score, bias in favour of Sunderland 89%, 8 of 13 correct Big calls, including a missed straight red card and second yellow card for Sunderland players.
Not a full review, I’m afraid (I can’t find it in the Untold Archives) [I think I went down the pub to try to regain my composure – Tony] but some pertinent comments from Walter in his post-game summary. Poor challenges from Everton players being ignored for the most part, nothing allowed from Arsenal, a goal ruled out for offside which should have stood. Atkinson not to blame for our loss but certainly was on his normal Chelsea form.
The answer to the question above is “No in 2013/14 he was no better than last season.” Terrible competence numbers and even worse anti-Arsenal bias.
And in 2012/13?
Match Review: Martin Atkinson – Arsenal Vs Chelsea (1 – 2) [29/09/2012] 71% Overall weighted, bias in favour of Chelsea 93%, 7 Big calls right out of 15
Match Review: Martin Atkinson – Chelsea Vs Arsenal (2 – 1) [20/01/2013] 62% Overall weighted, bias in favour of Chelsea 90%, 3 Big calls right out of 13
Match Review: Martin Atkinson – Arsenal Vs Aston Villa (2 – 1) [23/02/2013] 85% Overall weighted, No significant bias (52/47) in favour of Arsenal All 6 Big calls correct.
He was appalling in the two matches involving Chelsea but gave an excellent display of refereeing in the Aston Villa game – If only he were like that every time!
- For a referee trusted by the august body FIFA to be in charge of any football match anywhere in the world his performances in Arsenal are simply not acceptable. In his last 10 games he has looked like a competent referee only once.
- Mr Atkinson displays appalling judgement when it comes to poor challenges and it is, I fear, only a matter of time before a player is seriously injured on his watch.
- He also is very poor when it comes to serious decisions, only 47% were correct last year in Arsenal matches, that’s worse than tossing a coin which would return 50% correct over time.
- Were I his boss I would be looking to sit down with him and agree a re-education programme to return his performance to an acceptable level and wouldn’t let him anywhere an Arsenal game until that happened.
- I don’t hold out any hopes that his present bosses have implemented any such action so I expect him to continue in his usual fashion so look out for :-
- Serious fouls on Arsenal players to go unpunished
- Dives from West Ham players earning free kicks, penalties and bookings for Arsenal playersPhantom fouls being awarded to allow West Ham time to regroup if they are in trouble
- Inappropriate use (or non-use) of the advantage rule
- A bias of 4 to 1 (or higher) against Arsenal on all wrong decisions
- A weighted overall performance figure below the 70% minimum acceptable level
- Arsenal to be denied at least one penalty that should have been awarded
- Arsenal players being carded for the most trivial (or made up) reasons
The one positive point to note is that we are playing West Ham and not Chelsea. Atkinson in charge of a Chelsea game tilts the playing field to an impossible degree, with most other teams we can normally get a result despite his worst efforts.
From the anniversaries files (full list of today’s anniversaries on the home page)
8 August 2011: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain signed from Southampton for £12m. He had played 36 games for Southampton in the 2010/11 season.
8 August 2013: Gervinho sold to AS Roma after merciless barracking by the anti-Wengerians – descendents of the detested boo-boys. He played 46 league games with Arsenal in two seasons.
Up next: Arsenal v State Aid Utd – the preview.