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Arsenal v Spurs Sunday 8 November – the Officials. Are you reading Mr Atkinson?

Arsenal v Spurs Sunday 8 November – the Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw


No updates to the Table of Shame for this week.

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 0 11
Red Cards 0 7
Penalties 0 8
Goals 0 3
Total 0 29
Possible Cost in Points 0 6

Nine games analysed and 29 Important Decisions against us.


For Sunday we have

  • Referee – Martin Atkinson
  • Assistants – M Mullarkey and S Child
  • Fourth Official – A Marriner

Mr Atkinson is clearly trusted by the PGMO as he has been in the middle every week bar one this year.  He was in charge of our game against West Ham on opening day.


54% overall weighting, bias against the two teams 100/0 and three wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals).

In Min 37 Tomkins should have been dismissed for a second yellow card (his first should have been in Min 22 for a foul on Giroud), Min 43 There was no foul from Ramsey and West Ham scored from the ‘phantom’ free kick (no foul, no free kick, no goal), Min 62 Noble dived and and cheated a foul against Giroud, should have been a second yellow.

Mr Atkinson certainly being his usual anti-Arsenal self and ensuring that we had no chance of winning the game.  Every single wrong decision was against Arsenal and as for overall competence tossing a coin would have been about as good.  A Performance to cement his place in the PGMO eschelons.

Last year we had him for three London Derby’s

Untold Ref Review: Arsenal – QPR

70% overall, bias 87/13 and six wrong Important Decisions.  Two not given penalties to Arsenal and one to QPR – in Min 23 Onuoha for wrapping up Giroud tighter than a Christmas parcel, Min 75 Fer on Mertesacker, and Min 90 Gibbs on Zamora.

Min 52 Ferdinand (already correctly booked) grabbed Giroud by the neck should have been his second yellow  Min 77 wrong penalty to QPR as Debuchy cleanly cleared the ball and Hoilet dived, the ‘goal’ that QPR scored should also not have counted.  Another awful piece of refereeing.  We won 2 – 1 despite Mr Atkinson.

Untold’s Unacceptable Referee Review: Chelsea – Arsenal

45% overall score, bias against the two teams 14/86 and six wrong Important Decisions.

In Min 20 Chelsea should have had two players sent off in separate incidents, Cahill for an awful challenge on Alexis and Ivanovic for an elbow on Özil off the ball.

In Min 40 Oscar should also have been sent off for a foul on  (or again in Min 45+2 or Min 74, take your pick).  Min 43 Alexis should have been sent off for a punch on Ivanovic (who shouldn’t have been on the pitch anyway).

Min 62 not given penalty to Arsenal for Fabregas handball, Min 90 Alexis should have red card for foul on Fabregas.  Mr Atkinson lost control of the game in the 20th minute and never got it back.  Arsenal robbed of two points against Chelsea by a cowardly and inept referee on the day.

Ref Review Tottenham – Arsenal

61% overall, bias against the two teams 10/90 and three wrong Important Decisions.  In Minute 10 the Arsenal goal should have been ruled out for offside (it was extremely close but offside none the less), Min 59 Rose should have had a straight red card for a stamp on Giroud’s Achilles and in Min 78 Mason should have had a second yellow card for stopping a quick free kick (his first should have come in Min12 for a scissors challenge on Özil.

We probably didn’t do enough on the day to have won the game, but gain Atkinson doing everything in his power to deny Arsenal a fair chance.

Was he any better in 2013/14?

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

76% Overall 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.

Everton and a bit of Chelsea – Arsenal 3-0

Not a full review, I’m afraid (I can’t find it in the Untold Archives) 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 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!


  1. 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 11 games he has looked like a competent referee in only one
  2. 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.
  3. He also is very poor when it comes to serious decisions, less than half were correct last year in Arsenal matches and he managed to get three wrong again on opening day this year.
  4. Before the game with West Ham I wrote, “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.” His bosses have since given him a game every week (bar one) and are clearly happy with the way he performs so I would expect :-
  1. Serious fouls on Arsenal players to go unpunished.
  2. Dives from Spurs players earning free kicks, penalties and bookings for Arsenal players.
  3. Phantom fouls being awarded to allow Spurs time to regroup if they are in trouble or to give a scoring opportunity to Spurs.
  4. Inappropriate use (or non-use) of the advantage rule.
  5. At least three (and possibly more) wrong Important Decisions to be awarded against Arsenal.
  6. The overall bias of wrong decisions to be a minimum of 80/20% against Arsenal.
  7. A weighted overall performance figure below the 70% minimum acceptable level.
  8. Arsenal to be denied at least one penalty that should have been awarded.
  9. Arsenal players being carded for the most trivial (or made up) reasons.

Make no mistake, we are playing Atkinson and Spurs this Sunday and we will need a big slice of luck to get anything from this game.


Arsenal anniversaries

7 November 1913: Hugh McDonald sold to Fulham – possibly because Henry Norris was a director of both clubs at the time (as the rules did not prohibit this, and Norris wasn’t the only “two club” man.)  McDonald suffered from the effects of poison gas in the war, and after being a publican in the post-war period died from the after-effects of the gas in 1920.

7 November 1925: Final first team game for John (Jock) Robson against Man City – the shortest ever Arsenal keeper at 5 feet 8 inches.  He played 101 times for Arsenal, including 9 games in Chapman’s first season in 1925/6,

The latest…

The Koscielny dilemma: play him or keep him out of the international week?

Just how well have the journalists been doing with their pre-season predictions?

How to Become a Football Scout: the first in an exclusive series for Untold by the man who discovered Joel Campbell

Arsenal in the 70s, part 1: the re-birth of the club. 1969/70



30 comments to Arsenal v Spurs Sunday 8 November – the Officials. Are you reading Mr Atkinson?

  • Josif

    Two mistakes:

    1) you probably wanted to put a link to our game against Sunderland that we won 3:1 (Özil’s debut), not Taylor’s performance in our 1:0 victory in 2012-13, and

    2) it wasn’t Alexis who made a foul on Fabregas against Chelsea, it was Welbeck.

  • arsenalfc have always suffered in big matches because of poor referees decisions

  • para

    It’s time for some of our players who have not yet met Spurs to meet the enemy due to injuries. Let’s wish them a great game and that they play with ref awareness.

    Legs will be tired, in both teams near end of game for those who played wed/thur so the game must surely be won early?

    Wish the lads success against the enemy. 🙂

  • Goéland

    I continue to be impressed by the work done on Untold concerning referees and their performance. Thanks, Andrew. Let´s hope Arsenal come firing out of the gates tomorrow, and render Atkinson and the PGMO a moot point.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Andrew.
    This ref in this game worries me, as does the fact that he would be awarded this game was so utterly predictable.
    Our players will have to be very careful tomorrow, a repeat performance of the start against Utd would be highly desirable.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Hahahahahahahaha… Chelsea. Hahahahahahahaha…….

  • ARSENAL 13

    People crediting Remy for not going down…..well, look at his legs. He was looking for contact but completely missed the keeper….

  • Menace

    The most sad part of this season is that Chelsea have 3 points from the cheating Dean to keep them above the drop & we would be top with those 3.

    Patience my friends there is a bigger presence than the FA at work.

    PGMO it is your last hurrah so make hay!

  • AL

    Couldn’t agree more. You can see from the pasting chelki are getting from anyone and everyone that we would have beaten them that day, had the pigmob rep not intervened. And even then, down to 10 men we kept fighting, carving out the clearer chances that the pigmob rep had to reduce us to 9 men to be sure of victory for his team. I feel sorry for anyone calling themselves an Arsenal fan that says we weren’t robbed that day..

    We should be top of the league with 31 points today, 6 ahead of City, if it weren’t for the pigmob.

  • Josif

    Gospel of Jose:

    “And there was Eva who was summoned to the pitch by The Devil. ‘Thou shalt not help him’, I shouted and lost the joys of Eden for good. The laugh of (Charlie) Adam endeth my mission as The Roman crucified me.” (Chapter 12, Verse 7)

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Some people want Jose around so that he can experience a relegation battle. Me, I just want him gone. He is a circus sideshow that takes the camera off of bigger and more important things such as the PGMO rubbish and the whole FIFA/FA farce. He is happy for the attention but hasn’t figured out the difference between celebrity and notoriety.

  • Mandy Dodd

    GGG, know what you are saying, but in my mind, it is a close run thing!
    However, the longer he is there, the worse Chelsea seem to be doing, he might actually be taking some negative pgmol attention away from Arsenal, and he is currently making his AAA worshippers and the media allies look very very silly.
    I just cannot believe their situation, they are some seriously good players, there is clearly something very wrong

  • Gord

    Partial loanee report. I believe Toral scored for Birmingham today. Martinez suffered a groin injury in the first half for Wolves, and was substituted midway through the second half. Hayden and Akpom started on the bench for Hull, and Akpom eventually got to play. I believe Wellington isn’t playing, due to a hamstring tear.

  • Menace

    For what its worth Dean ‘officiated’ in the spuds game where he gladly allowed the spud to score & celebrated giving the goal. He also ‘officiated’ in the ManU match earlier today, probably giving a similar performance – even after we signed a petition with over 100 thousand others who dont want him officiating an Arsenal game. I would have hoped the PGMO & media would have shown some respect to us & had Dean set aside for retraining (as a guide dog for the stupid).

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @ Mandy Dodd I can see your point…He has certainly become a target for everyone with his actions and comments and this may be aiding us.

    I have never before seen someone so quickly move from a position favour to a position of derision as has Jose Mourinho. And as regards his club. I can’t believe how poorly they are playing. This is a collection of players that SHOULD be challenging for the top of the league and yet they aren’t. You are right something is wrong at Stamford Bridge.

    On another point…Loic Remy won some fans by not taking a tumble against Stoke.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, the Chelsea situation is strange. Cesc, Costa…..for all his faults, Pedro, matic, Willian, Oscar, hazard FFS, how are they where they are? I think I would manage that lot into the top three at least!
    Beyond bizarre. Apparently this is Jose’s worst ever run.
    Don’t mean this in a gloating context, but would be interesting to hear Mike T take on this, he usually talks a lot of sense.
    Have not checked the fixtures, but have been told Chelsea have a fairly easy run for a few games…..we shall see.

  • Gord

    From the news:

    Arsenal says that Charlie Nicholas has not dramatically improved this year. 🙂

    ESPN (worldwide leader in being ESPN) had nothing useful to say.

    Hector Bellerin wins award:

    He got 57% of votes, second place was 30%. Congratulations Hector!

    Gunners dealt blow in transfer market (that isn’t open). Nobody wants to sell Arsenal, anybody. Anybody who looked like they were available, has been hijacked by some other team (probably Chelsea and ManCity). 🙂

    Jon Toral was man of the match today, as well as scoring for Birmingham.

    If you like lists of players, CaughtOffside has a list of 20 Arsenal youth that look good/useful.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And I say give me more moaning – let him and Chelski be the target of attention -wanted or not ! Were there really people on here waxing lyrical about his greatness ? Well is clear now what we were saved from by our own smart board !
    Normally I make it a point never to watch the other teams play , but went against my own better judgment and witness some very finest crap in the EPL era at ManUre ! Do people really play good money to watch that crapola?
    But then again I WILL watch Chelsea ‘s next home game – a lot of melodrama is sure guaranteed – tension in the air ; lots of chanting ( For Roman , Jose , the players and probably for EVA ?) ; some backstabbing and trash talking or maybe , just maybe , NOTHING ? ; or again, lots of moaning ; maybe the farewell to the second coming of the failed one – that ought to be a ‘Special one !; and just possible the hailing of the next messiah ! And lots of people being shown the back door !

    Your cable operators are standing by for your calls as we speak ! Book now and you will not be disappointed !
    Shrinks are going to be busy for a long , long , time in trying to help ‘them’ and their ilk .

    I LOVE THE EPL ! Don’t you ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Oppsss ! ..saved by our own smart board ..!

  • apo Armani

    Thanks for the report Andrew.

    Whilst the spuds are a decent side; my concerns are with the performance of the PIGMOB representatives, in particular Attkinson – the man gives me the creeps!!

    Hope he is reading this site regularly – know that what ever injustice he dishes out to us is never concealed, it it is “covered up” though by his employers, and bloody obvious!

  • apo Armani

    @Brickfields Gunners
    November 8, 2015 at 5:16 am

    ‘…Normally I make it a point never to watch the other teams play…’

    I am a-bit like that, but I went a step further then you “BG” – I celebrated the Arnautovic goal as if we had scored – my wife was watching me with shock in her eyes 🙂

  • Josif

    @apoArmani – I must admit that, whilst I enjoyed the fact Chelsea were beaten once again, I can’t help myself thinking that I would like to see Arnautovic and Costa doing to each other that Steve Buscemi-Treat Williams routine from “Waiting for death in Denver”. Two annoying thugs deserve each other.

    @Mandy – I think The Moaning One has lost the plot back in February-March when PSG knocked them out with 10 men. I think that players were sick of Mourinho’s switch from a rather attacking side at the beginning of the season to Eden Hazard FC in the second half. Then, this summer he lost Drogba (one of his men in the locker-room) and the whole Cech thing was a real disappointment for him. I mean, he wanted to extort either Ox or Theo as a part of the deal for Cech but was ignored by Abramovich who sanctioned the sale of Petr to us. It could be the moment when the players noticed Jose is not in charge.

    Once he lost Drogba and Terry he tried to make Ivanovic one of his deputies. Ivanovic turned into a crap of a player, however, but Mourinho kept playing him even if Ivanovic couldn’t prevent anyone posting on this site to dribble past him.

    The interview of John The Racist and Jose proved there is an issue between Mourinho and Hazard, probably because Hazard now knows his manager would have left him injured on the pitch without medical help.

    But, you know what? They deserve it.

  • Norman14

    There is a serious problem with us (fans) being able to predict which referees we will gt for future games. It IS a problem, and needs to be brought to the attention of someone like the serious fraud office.

    If WE know who the referee will be (prior to their official appointment), then betting on our games could be seriously influenced. I alsready saw a comment somehwre that an Arsenal supporter was going to bet on us losing, simply based on the referee appointment.

    As it appears that the media giants in this country are not interested in upsetting the PGMOL apple cart, maybe the betting companies would be interested if huge numbers of “unusual” bets were placed on the outcome of our games.

    It is something perhaps that we could think about, if not for this season, then certainly for next!

  • finsbury

    Thanks for the preview.

    There’ll be very little protection for Cazorla today. Tugs and pulls, fouls that won’t be called. Can the Arsenal beat all their opponents on the day?
    We hope so.

    When was the last AFC had Clattenburg this season?

    With so few officials on Riley’s roster, inside his, um, er, his “circle of trust”, a reasonable mind might’ve thought that’d we’d have had the highly rated official in at least one of the big league games that the Arsenal have had…

    …must be a coincidence!

    Just another statistical anomaly under the PGMOB, of which there are so many I have no choice but to conclude that the problem is that mathematics is simply too crude a science to appreciate the job that Riley is doing. That must be it. Yes. I’m convinced.

    Riley is good. Maths is bad.

  • Rich

    Not been following things quite as closely in last few weeks so didn’t know the appointment until yesterday.

    I was 90% sure it’d be Atkinson, went to check, and there it was. Atkinson.

    So we know, and Spurs know, tactical fouls ahoy! 3,4,5 maybe before you get a booking, reds will be yellows, etc.

    Depressing, really. The bournemouth game yesterday, where 6 mins injury time was added despite no injury stoppages, made me think again of Atkinson giving 3 minutes against West ham despite two injury stoppages alone adding to five minutes.

    In total there should have been nearly ten minutes that day. His bosses watch that and, evidently, think ‘good’, or ‘that’s fine’

    Same as they must have liked the way he gave Reading every chance to rough us up, or Spurs last year, or that disgraceful decision just to book Cahill.

    This guy is at least equal to Dean for me. In short, our margin for error diminishes massively with him; or, we have to find extra to get the result.

  • Gord

    Some of the muppets have been talking about “common sense” and refereeing not too long ago. I believe Danny Murphy was one of the “experts” consulted on this.

    Common sense is a set of prejudices common to a segment of the population in a region. There is little about it that is universal. But, we aren’t arguing that here.

    Lots of people are concerned about the referee issuing cards too early or too late in the game. There is one card we should not be seeing early in the game, and that is the yellow card for persistent infringement. If the game is just beginning, there would hardly be time for someone to have infringed many times.

    Ignoring persistent infringement (for now), cards are (mostly) available to the referee to reduce the chance of injury to players. Yes, there are some situations where a referee is expected to issue a card because a player is acting contrary to the spirit of the game, and taking away good chances to score. But, if somehow a referee finds himself giving a free kick 25 seconds into the game near one goal, and a defender deliberately puts out his arm to stop the ball from crossing the goal line, shouldn’t a card be issued?

    We always want cards issued appropriate for play which could injure others. Independent of whether it is 20 seconds into the game or 20 seconds left in the game. Injury is not wanted.

    Ah gee ref, there is only 30 seconds left in the game. I thought I was allowed to break his leg.

    There is no common sense in allowing excessive violence or force at either the beginning or end of the game. If it warrants a card, how close it is to beginning or end is irrelevant.

    Which pretty much leaves us with a single situation to justify: the issuing of a yellow card for persistent infringement near the end of the game.

    Which breaks into 2 situations: the person doesn’t have a card or the person is already on a single yellow.

    In so far as the issuing of the card doing anything useful to curb that person’s behavior for the rest of the game (no previous yellow card), it won’t help. In that sense, the card is wasted.

    But cards are also subject to discipline outside of the game. I suspect that most of the people that get persistent infringement citations in games, are people that persistently foul in most (or all) games. Yes, sometimes a person has a bad day, and finds themselves fouling a lot in a particular game. But the most common recipient, is the one that fouls a lot in general.

    Not handing out a yellow card in such a situation (Danny Murphy’s “common sense”) does not help. The card needs to be handed out, so that the person is banned from games for acquiring too many cards.

    Which sort of leaves us with receiving any kind of yellow card late in the game, when the person already has a yellow card. The result of this second yellow card, is dismissal (red for second yellow).

    Again, issuing the card (and the required dismissal) is not going to help the game any. But, not giving the card ties the hands of the disciplinary committee. If the foul is called, the referee obviously seen the incident. To not give the card, means that the disciplinary committee cannot impose discipline on the guilty party. Which is NOT common sense.

  • finsbury

    Performance from the pgMOB represtative exactly as previewed.
    Thanks again.

    In simple words: remarkable.

    If football fans out there aren’t perturbed by these pre-cognitive previews, well, good luck to them! 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not only as previewed Finsbury, the fact that many of us on here predicted his appointment for this game weeks ago is worrying.
    Guess Clattenberg , a man apparently highly rated by retired refs that I have heard speak and write at least, has done something that ensures he never gets our games.
    Cannot think why

  • Menace

    When in my loud voice I advertised Untold for its ref preview & its amazing accuracy – I was asked by one smart supporter ‘why do you bother to come to the game then?’ I replied ‘because I love my team & I want to see them beat the cheats’, ‘we went 49 undefeated despite these cheats & then Riley & ManU robbed us of the 50th!’ ‘the same Riley who heads the PGMO’.

    I find it amazing that most supporters do not think referees are biased. In reality the supporters think everything is down to bad management or poor players. How quick the abuse of players, when a goal is scored or missed, describes the intelligence of the supporter. The draw was not a good result but it is what it is.