Arsenal News

Live Arsenal News

Arsenal latest news

Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News


August 2021

Untold Ref Review: Arsenal 1 – 0 Manchester City

New update on Woolwich Arsenal’s definitive history

Transform your life: Become a professional writer

Follow us on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Today’s referee is Martin Atkinson – The top game of the weekend, was the ref up to it?

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Martin Atkinson (2012-04-08)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
2 OTHER Nasri Song C Pull 1
2 OTHER Yaya Rosicky C Blatant pull 1
2 YELLOW Yaya C No chance of playing the ball at all just a cynical pull that prevents Arsenal to start an attack. One could argue but is the ref warning the players he means business? 2
3 OFFSIDE ManC C assumed correct 1
5 OFFSIDE ManC C Balotelli kicks the ball in to the stands. 1
5 YELLOW Balotelli NC Not even a word from the ref? Could and should even have been a yellow card 2
6 OTHER RVP Lescott C Little push in the back 1
10 OTHER Song Yaya C Trip 1
10 YELLOW Song NC Another cynical foul, stopping a possible counter for City, should have been booked 2
11 OTHER Balotelli Song C Push 1
14 PENALTY Kompany RVP NC Kompany runs in the back of Van Persie and bundles him over. Ref gives a corner. Kompany had only eye for RVP and did not go for the ball 3
17 OTHER Nasri Vermaelen C Ran in to him when he wanted to head the ball away 1
19 OTHER Song Aguero C He was looking for the foul and at the end the foul from Song came, trip 1
20 OTHER Balotelli Song NC Balotelli pushes the ball too hard and then catches Song on the knee. Ref gives nothing. 1
20 RED Balotelli NC Studs showing, stretched leg hit him on the knee. My match reporter was disgusted when he saw the images. So was I for the fact that the ref gave nothing. Rosicky had a chat with the ref and I swear he was laughing at the time? The ref, not Rosicky. 3
24 OTHER Pizarro Song C A few pushes before and then the ref gives a foul 1
27 OFFSIDE ManC C assumed correct 1
29 OFFSIDE ManC C Correct 1
29 OTHER Aguero Arteta C clipped his heel 1
31 OTHER Sagna Clichy C Trip 1
32 OTHER Balotelli Sagna NC Balotelli comes in again studs showing, again the ref gives nothing 1
32 YELLOW Balotelli NC No comment 2
34 OTHER Barry Gibbs C Could not see if Barry made contact with the ball so go with the ref 1
38 OTHER Balotelli Sagna C Came late 1
38 YELLOW Balotelli C Again studs showing how on earth is he still on the field 2
39 OTHER RVP Lescott C a bit of wrestling, assumed correct 1
41 OFFSIDE Ars C Correct 1
43 OTHER Walcott C handball assumed correct 1
47 OFFSIDE ManC C assumed correct 1
47 OTHER Benayoun Barry C Trip 1
48 OTHER Balotelli C Handball 1
48 OFFSIDE ars C assumed correct 1
48 OTHER Sagna Balotelli C push in the back advantage given that leads to nothing after a while 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
46 OTHER Benayoun C handball 1
47 OTHER Barry Song NC Played the ball with one foot, catched the ankle of Song with the other. Look at the second leg ref 1
50 OTHER Nasri Arteta C Push in the back 1
51 OTHER Aguero Koscielny C Pulled him back 1
54 OFFSIDE Ars C assumed correct 1
56 OTHER Milner Rosicky C Trip 1
56 YELLOW Milner C a scissor tackle, wrapped his legs around the ankle of the Arsenal player. Dangerous tackle 2
58 OTHER Santos Balotelli C little pull 1
58 YELLOW Santos C I think the card was given for his reaction after the foul when he went to confront Balotelli a bit. 2
60 OFFSIDE ManC C assumed correct 1
63 OTHER Rosicky Clichy NC Nice dive 1
66 OTHER Arteta Barry C Assistang gave something, assuemed correct. No replay 1
67 OTHER Koscielny Barry C Caught him on the ankle, came late 1
67 YELLOW Koscielny C Came late on the ankle, correct card 2
70 OFFSIDE Ars C just but offside 1
70 GOAL Arsenal C correctly disallowed for offside 3
74 OTHER Balotteli Arteta NC held him nothing given 1
78 OTHER Rosicky Man, C Pull but advantage given as City can break 1
78 OTHER Milner Santos C Trip 1
80 OTHER Ramsey Balotelli C push, this time no yellow so I guess the reason for Santos was his own reaction after his similar foul 1
87 GOAL Arsenal C correct goal 3
89 OTHER Balotteli Sagna C Typical strikers tackle on a defender 1
89 RED Balotteli C Finally I would say. About 70 minutes too late 3
92 OTHER Barry Rosicky C Push in the back 1
94 OTHER Koscielny Tevez C Trip 1
95 OTHER Zabaleta Santos C Dives in with both feet on the ground, dangerous but ref gives advantage because Arsenal can counter (Ramsey miss) 1
95 YELLOW Zabaleta C Ref gives the yellow card for the rash tackle at the start of the counter. Ending on a high one could say 2

What can you say about this? I thought the ref started excellent. Given an early yellow for the first cynical foul in the game. It should have set the tone for the rest of the game. Unfortunately for the ref he stopped there for a long while.

Song should have gotten a yellow for his cynical foul on Yaya Toure. He clearly went for a block of the player without going for the ball. Was the ref letting things slip out of his hands? He sure was the usual average PGMOL ref when not giving a penalty when Kompany barged in the back of Van Persie without going for the ball.  Oh well business as usual for Arsenal.

The moment that will stay in our mind was the first madness attack from Balotelli on Song. How on earth could the ref not even give a foul for that. And how on earth could he not give a red card for that. This was bad, bad, bad. Both from Balotelli but also from Atkinson.  And when Rosicky came to him when Song got his treatment he laughed whatever Rosicky said away.  He then let Balotelli off the hook again when he came again studs showing towards Sagna. I think Balotelli felt he could do it because the ref let the first one go. Finally the ref gave him a yellow when he came in against Sagna with studs showing. By then he should have been off the field for a long while.

I feared the worst for Atkinson and for his score at that time. But I really wonder what happened in the dressing room at the interval.  Most of us might not have noticed it because of the tension and the passionate feelings surrounding the criminal assault from Balotelli but it was a different Atkinson that came out in the second half. Was it a clone?

Because he had a wonderful second half. Getting an overall score in the 90% and getting all the major decisions correct.  Yes a 100% score in the second half for the important calls. He saved his day in that second half and maybe saved his face as a ref?


Watch Arsenal Live Streams With

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Martin Atkinson (2012-04-08)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
OFFSIDE 7 7 100.00
OTHER 17 19 89.47
PENALTY 0 1 0.00
RED 0 1 0.00
YELLOW 2 5 40.00
TOTAL 26 33 78.79
WEIGHTED 28 42 66.67
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 3 3 100.00
OTHER 14 17 82.35
RED 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 4 4 100.00
TOTAL 24 27 88.89
WEIGHTED 34 37 91.89
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 10 10 100.00
OTHER 31 36 86.11
PENALTY 0 1 0.00
RED 1 2 50.00
YELLOW 6 9 66.67
TOTAL 50 60 83.33
WEIGHTED 62 79 78.48

So it was game of two halves. One shockingly bad and one shockingly good. The goal from Van Persie cancelled for offside was a good decisions. Van Persie was just offside. The assistant got it correct. Just a not to the assistant on this: you were a bit too far ahead in fact so you could have missed it. Luckily the penalty area line made it easy on him.

BIAS SUMMARY – Martin Atkinson (2012-04-08)
Period 1 Arsenal % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 16 61.54 10 38.46 26
Correct For Weighted 18 64.29 10 35.71 28
Incorrect Against 6 85.71 1 14.29 7
Incorrect Against Weighted 12 85.71 2 14.29 14
Fouls Commited 10 37.04 17 62.96 27
Fouls Penalised 10 100.00 14 82.35 24
Period 2 Arsenal % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 12 50.00 12 50.00 24
Correct For Weighted 18 52.94 16 47.06 34
Incorrect Against 3 100.00 0 0.00 3
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 100.00 0 0.00 3
Fouls Commited 9 45.00 11 55.00 20
Fouls Penalised 9 100.00 8 72.73 17
Totals Arsenal % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 28 56.00 22 44.00 50
Correct For Weighted 36 58.06 26 41.94 62
Incorrect Against 9 90.00 1 10.00 10
Incorrect Against Weighted 15 88.24 2 11.76 17
Fouls Commited 19 40.43 28 59.57 47
Fouls Penalised 19 100.00 22 78.57 41

If we look at the wrong decisions it was in fact only a total of 10 “mistakes” and most of them in the first half. But of those 10 mistakes only one in favour or Arsenal.  Business as usual once again. And still no sign of things starting even getting close to evening things out for Arsenal. Come on Mike R. what are you waiting for?

My last word on Atkinson is to please take a look at rash and dangerous challenges. If things would have gone wrong we would have had our annual nightmare injury in this game.


What a great game of football!   How the atmosphere came across on the TV


The referee series: what is wrong with the Premier League System

The stats that the Ref’s Association quote are simply totally wrong

Giving each ref each team just twice a season would solve the crisis

Mike Riley and the garden of secrecy

How many wrong calls do refs make per game – and in favour of whom?

82 comments to Untold Ref Review: Arsenal 1 – 0 Manchester City

  • Gord

    Nice review Walter.

    I suspect the current formatting is a few games old. Current thoughts on how to best format tables are to avoid vertical lines, which are not present (they are present in the early games, which I have seen a lot). So congratulations to DogFace and yourself for going with current best practices in formatting tables.

    The Balotelli foul at 89 minutes. As near as I can tell (multiple sources), it is registered as a second yellow, not a straight red. But, I have not seen the game sheet.

    63 minutes – you call a dive. (I didn’t see game, only read BBC commentary and seen other write ups). Being Rosicky, probably not in the box. Is that the biggest reason not to call for a yellow for simulation?

    Generic question. If the referee gives advantage, and advantage doesn’t develop in N seconds, play should be stopped and the free kick given. What should N be? 10 seconds? 30 seconds?

  • Abdulaziz Alfarhoud

    great stats and nice article , so sad refs always denied penalties for Arsenal !

  • TT

    I wouldn’t have given a pealty against Kompany for, even as you wrote it, “Running into the back of RVP”. I don’t agree that Kompany wasn’t looking at the ball. On the recording I saw, he looks at the ball all the way.

    The ball was potentially out of reach and did RVP stopping obstruct Kompany going for the ball?

    These off the ball collisions have to be far more clear cut than that for a penalty to be given.

    Maybe a 2 – definitely not a 3 (IMO).

  • El Tel

    Unbelievable double standards. RVP bundled over in the box. No pen.

    Manc cheats quadruple whammy, Young offside,Young dive, QPR down to ten men after only 15 minutes. The cheats 1-0 up.

    Football stinks in England and were it not for my love for the Arsenal I would choose something else to keep me entertained.

    All hushed up yet again. If this was an Arsenal player it would be talk of the town for at least a week.

    Come on Guys how can it be stopped for the sake of football?

  • El Tel

    TT, was you at the Stdium last year when Liverfool were given a penalty for exactly the same push in the back as Kompany did to RVP. I think it was Eboue who conceded on possibly Kuyt.

    What’s the difference Pal?

    Why should any defender get the chance to foul any forward who either goes past them or beats them to the ball?

    If you want to see skill shown then this has to stop, otherwise our Rugby style arctics will carry on and technical teas like the Arsenal will forever get punished.

  • Kentetsu

    Indeed Gord, it was a second yellow for Balotelli.

    Even though Balotelli certainly deserved a red card much earlier, it shows that Arsenal can beat City 11 v 11 as well. No crap stories like last year when we beat them playing against ten man, that we only beat them because we had the numerical advantage. It is now clear as night and day for everyone that Arsenal was far superior and deserved the win.

  • Kentetsu

    Speaking of Atkinson, it appears he gave a soft penalty for the team he supports: Chelsea. I doubt there was any contact in the challenge, although the tackle of the Fulham defender was stupid. But it should have been a free kick for Chelsea because of an obvious foul (shoulder barge) by Aaron Hughes into Ryan Bertrand just before the incident.

    It did not help Chelsea much, though, as Fulham managed to get a draw. And the Tinies were kind enough to lose against Norwich, whereas Newcastle won again. Newcastle is now level on points with Tottenham. If they keep up form they take the CL spot from Tottenham.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Mark Clattenburg was the ref in the Fulham v. Chelsea match.

  • FinnGun

    I really hope somebody would make a video compilation of all the recent referee clangers. Way past my technical skills but I believe it could generate a lot of hits and perhaps even media attention. Anything that puts pressure on the Parental Guidance MOB is good.

  • Gf60

    Thanks for the Robson out petition link. Fingers crossed that he gets the bullet.

  • Chris N

    The interesting thing to muse on is whether Balotelli would have behaved had he been given ( correctly) a yellow for kIcking the ball away early on. It was as if he had a blind spot toward him. Weird.

  • goonerdhanesh

    Its really sad the gunners are always on the receiving end when we commit a foul….and even if its a big career threatening foul against us then the refs will just smile and ignore it…..

  • Laundryender

    Those who want Robson out are clowns, his analysis is without prejudice and detailed. What do you want to listen too!! He is not anti Arsenal, simply tells it as it is, and considering the grip Wenger has on the club one has to assume he has the ear of AW also.

    Walter a great analysis, and yes for me the Kompany foul was a penalty,an easy pen, his intention was to run into RVP and make it look like an accident.

  • Shard

    “One thing you’ll notice about Arsenal is that they always complain and try to get people booked” -Robson’s reaction to the Yaya Toure tug on ROsicky, and Rosicky’s anger aboutthe challenge.

    Tells it like it is? I don’t know what game you watch Laundryender, but Robson is a hater, plain and simple. And I have defended him here earlier, saying asking for him to be sacked is a little over the top. But his commentary in the ManCity game was disgusting, and in no way factual or fair. He was talking about Sagna ‘making the most of it’ when Balotelli was burying his studs into Sagna’s ankle. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Sagna is one of the most honest players in the league.

    He does this all the time, to varying degrees. Even when he’s not commenting on Arsenal matches, he’ll see someone do something bad and he’ll say, that’s like something some ARsenal player does.. He crossed the line on Sunday, and I think there is no way Arsenal should continue to employ him. Let him spout his bile elsewhere.

  • Brickfields Guneers

    I have to agree with Shard – Robson was mouthing crap .I may not have agreed with his comments earlier but choose to ignore it .
    This weekend he was over the top .As I was watching the game alone ,I initially thought I had misheard him .He still went on talking shite and enough is enough .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I have to agree with Shard – Robson was mouthing crap . I may not have agreed with his comments in earlier matches ,but choose to ignore it.
    Last weekend he was over the top . As I had watched the game alone , I initially thought that I had misheard him but he continued in the same vein and kept talking shite -so enough is enough !

  • Shard

    Ref reviewer,

    I disagree about Song deserving a yellow. It wasn’t anywhere near as cynical as Toure’s tug on Rosicky, and it was deep in their half, of the field, so it wasn’t exactly the same thing as the earlier booking. However, I guess that is a judgment call, and as such the ref reviewer is entitled to make it. I’m no referee of course, but I wouldn’t have given a yellow for that, unless I was being exceptionally strict.

    Yes. Atkinson was smiling and finding something funny while Rosicky was having a chat with him after Song’s leg was nearly broken by Balotelli. I would really love to hear what was said between the two.

  • Kentetsu

    @Johnny Deigh: stupid mistake from me. Still, it was a dubious penalty.

  • Shard


    I actually don’t think that penalty is one that can be called as a bad decision. In close calls like that, I wouldn’t point the finger at the referee. I would probably want a penalty for Arsenal if that happened to us, so I can’t say that it was wrong to give it to Chelsea. Would we be given that? When are we ever given penalties? But the fact remains that the decision itself wasn’t bad, or incorrect.

  • FinnGooner

    Was Atkinson that good… I guess I was just too angry to see Balotelli allowed to stay on pitch ( partly I also blame Mancini) that I missed how good he was in 2nd half.

    As for penalties I think they almost even them at the end: ManU gets penalties they should not have and Arsenal don’t get ones they should (who says it evens for one club, it evens in league).

  • bjtgooner

    Good review. RVP being felled by Kompany looked like a clear penalty to me.

    I am a bit concerned at the number of hits taken by Sagna, it looks as if some teams deliberately target him and as usual they get away with it.

    Once again, what a great performance by the team – but, we must keep our concentration and commitment for Wolves!

  • Flavour

    With the many mistakes we see from referees in the Barclays Premier League and how they favour Manchester United, you can now understand why the best in Spain was far superior to the best in England last year on our soil Wembley where we should be having the best advantage. There is no way England will win the world cup if we continue like this. This brings me to the raise in tuition. The world is a global place. Countries like Germany and Denmark allows free education and in few years they will have more graduate that are more technically skill than what we are producing in this country. The whole system stinks. We really need to wake up and see the world and stop looking only inwards.

    While I was young we use to love the made in Britain goods. I just can’t find any these days. The premier league is rumoured to be the best but the constant mistakes and favour shown to certain teams looks like there is match fixing. Somebody somewhere might be making huge amount of money through the betting associated here. Is this a conspiracy? While watching the match between Man U and QPR, the commentator made mention that British player get more attention from the Ref than foreigners. Is this really the case? I respect Arsenal FC and what we do in the club. I love the principles and I have applied it in my own business and family.

  • Johnny Deigh

    @Ketetsu @Shard
    Sorry for the OT, but regarding Clattenburg and Chelsea’s penalty, it looked like a wrong call in that Murphy made contact with the ball and not Kalou. However it was a bit of a clumsy challenge and to the ref, it looked like Murphy tripped him. I’d say it was a bad call, but an honest mistake. In any case it didn’t alter the result of the game fortunately.

  • Stuart

    Which of the ref reviewers covered this one? I couldn’t see it anywhere.

  • bob

    Clowns? On your man Robson, I agree with Shard and echo the concerns of bjtgooner for Sagna’s well-being. For your man Robson to slate Sagna for “making the most of” anything – especially then – is vicious.

    Now no one should be immune to principled criticism; but do you not remember what happened to Sagna last season? – the unpunished (by refshite) serial stompings on him in that same game; and do you recall this season’s broken leg which was arguably abetted by the opponent, imo. (Where are your antennae for this?) Did your man Robson ever comment on those events? I don’t know, perhaps he did. Perhaps he didn’t. Perhaps you ought to be tasked, for the sake of honesty and accuracy on this website, with looking into what Robson said then. Actually I take that back. You and someone else should. If I have time, I will.

    But ffs, for your man Robson to have his go at Sagna – at that time in this last Manc match – is: at best a mind-f***ing diversion of audience focus (perhaps by ingrained Arse-bashing habit, away from the borderline criminality of ref and perpetrator; is definitely a calloused if not calculated reaction; and, in truth, a hateful statement when fully considered.

    I’m for free speech: for Robson’s, for those who provide cover for him (out of past loyalties?), and for those, like the readers here, who say out loud that they wish to see his back. Like you, I do like his capable tactical analyses on Arsenal Player; but your man Robson is playing a double game – drawing an income from both sides of the street. From Arse-bashing on the outside whilst taking my membership money on the inside. Do you recall your man Robson’s piling on Arsene in influential (if underservedly influential) places like TalkShite this very season abetting the Arsene’s lost the plot narrative? Well, your man Robson might be good at tactical analysis after the fact, but it’s his strategic media analytics in service to his club mates (and I don’t mean AFC) that suck. Lots of others could do the analytics just as well if not better.

    For my free speech act and membership fees at Arsenal Player, the AFC ought to show him two feet studs up and escort his ass the f**k out. This is no one off. Your man Robson has an Ax to grind and I hope he’s terminated before he commits further act$ that becloud the audience’s perception of how your man Robson’s old boys club is still run amok. To use your brickbat, send off the clowns.

  • bob

    In pro hockey in Canada/US there have been serious and successful criminal prosecutions for blatant and injurious attacks on the ice. Have say, the likes of Barton, for one, ever been before a magistrate for this? Why wouldn’t Balotelli qualify? Or Mancini as his abettor? Does the magic of an EPL pitch grant legal immunity for what happened to Eduardo or Diaby or Aaron or Sagna? Is there a tacit agreement by the clubs not to lodge criminal charges or bring serious lawsuits; even as they lose their “economic assets” (players) this way to serious career-threatening injury or to diminished careers where they never regain the promise of their demonstrated potential?

  • bob

    another pint for 9jagunnerdoc.

  • Stuart

    @ Bob,

    I can imagine several players would like to take legal action and are well within their rights. Injuries in the workplace are common grounds for legal action these days. The only problem is, no one wants to be the first (can you imagine the increased press coverage). It unfortunately will probably take a high profile incident where the victim is unable to walk for the rest of their lives for this to happen.

  • Shard


    There you go.. So much for the story of the season being the turnaround. Apparently, it will be a failure if Arsenal don’t get third.

  • timbo22

    Now that it looks like united have the title in the bag,I bet thy start to get a few decisions go against them, Just to even things up. I’m sure you get my drift.Would not surprise me if city beat them with a soft pen.Still I don’t care about united or bent refs,All I care about is my boys playing city off the park Sunday !!

  • Mahdain

    @shard hahaha oh dear..just when you thought talksport couldnt get shittier they come up with that…wasnt it them that said city were better than the invincibles and that Aguero was better than Bergkamp?

  • Johnny Deigh

    @bob – one of the most sinister tackles was by Roy Keane on Alfie Haland. Later in Keane’s biography he admitted that he wanted to get him for an incident involving the two several years earlier where Keane ran into Haland, fell down in the area having severely injured his own knee. Haland thought Keane was faking it and yelled at him to get up.

    From Keane’s autobiography: ‘I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***.

    ‘And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries. Even in the dressing room afterwards, I had no remorse. My attitude was, f*** him.

    ‘What goes around, comes around. He got his just rewards. He f***** me over and my attitude is an eye for an eye’.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Video of Keane’s assault on Alfie Haland:

    Balotelli’s challenge on Song reminded me of Keane on Haland, similar but not as forceful.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Milner’s tackle on Rosicky was real nasty too. Thought that could have been red too.

  • Arun

    Apart from the penalty and Mario cards, he seemed OK to me. But seriously aren’t these the decisions he must get right ???
    @ Timbo22, a good point to counter the conspiracy theories. Even now Kenny has also said something about it. The FA might want to do it since they have already gift wrapped the title to Man U.
    @Tony, check your mail.

  • bob

    Cheers, for your great catch.
    They’ve come up with a new way to redefine our Great Turnaround – putting us on the precipice of ending up as the abject failure that we truly are, after all. 🙂 (We’re damned if we succeed, damned if we don’t, in their terms.) Maybe it’s a trial balloon for a new toxic media mantra? It’ll be most interesting to follow it and see if their new line of attack catches fire.

    By pushing their new focus, they also try to erase public memory of how they gleefully counted us down and out from the earliest weeks of this season, openly savored the prospect of our relegation, and brazenly piled on sans merci to try and oust Arsene and fatally destabilize us. Having failed at that, it’s (once again) due time to re-set their goals for measuring us; hoping to manufacture an “official” understanding for the public of the “true meaning” of Arsenal’s season.

    We remain their worst nightmare: the constant threat of a good example. And here they are playing another desperate card to try and find some way to transform our de facto turnaround into their triumphant TalkShite. To remove the inspired Cinderella story of this season – our impossible success – from obstructing the public’s view of the Grand Coronation parade. I say up with the Great Turnaround, down with Rednose XX. Our third place finish would sound this note and turn Don Fungus’s victory into the boring sidebar that it really is.

    Let’s not underestimate the power of continuing to tell our stories our way, on and off the pitch. Go Gunners!

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    Wow, Keane is all business there – pure Terminator ice-cold channeled rage. Is there any statute of limitations on lawsuits and arrests on pitch-crimes? And what happened to Haland? to his career? Cheers for the link and the comparisons. We are beyond lucky not to have suffered any (announced) injury from the manc’s Agromania.

  • bob

    What is it that protects Atkinson from being slated as an abettor (a bettor?) of criminal behavior? Perhaps there were some VERY INTERESTING phone calls during the interval so as to open his willfully blind eye of the first half.

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    I know it’s rhetorical for me to ask: but to your lights, are there any comparable incidents in Vidic and Ferdinand’s performances that are cut from Keane’s cloth, as you’ve displayed it? Is this the inner secret of Don Fungus’s success? : )

  • bob

    Ref Reviewer(s), All,
    Atkinson’s turnaround begs a few pertinent questions:
    Can anyone shed any light for readers as to what goes on amongst the referees during the interval? Any formal review or taking stock? Is it mostly Also, is there a formal pre-match and/or post-match meeting? Is there the capability/permission for refs to make/receive telephone calls/emails, etc., during the interval? Is this a matter of record at the PGMOL? FIFA? UEFA? Is there any transparency of referee behavior at all, anywhere?

  • Johnny Deigh

    It pretty much ended his career as he never played a full match again. Actually I’m surprised he didn’t go after Keane after what was written in his autobiography.

    Perhaps it’s that Europe is not as litigious as in America or perhaps there is an unwritten code that footballers don’t sue other footballers, but if there was ever a case for legal action by one player suing another, Keane’s tackle on Haland has to be one of the most obvious ones.

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    Cheers, I’m as surprised as you are, whatever the customary litigiousness or lack thereof. Perhaps there was a background envelope to compensate Haland for his trouble. Meanwhile, Roy Keane adorns the planet.

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    OMG. Did you ever see this one with Roy Keane versus Patrick Veira in the tunnel at Highbury:

  • Johnny Deigh

    Keane was a special case. He was a hard man and set out for revenge, but actually maiming someone who yelled at you when you were down was a bit extreme.

    I know Vidic has got away with fouls as last defender but I don’t remember him doing anything especially violent.

    Ferdinand is usually a clean player who rarely fouls, at least officially, but many of remember when he went studs up, leg extended and half-way off the pitch straight at Sagna, trying to play the ball with the studs.

    His studs grazed Sagna and put a hole in his Jersey. The ref didn’t even give a foul, but Ferdinand should have been sent off for that. Oh, and who was reffing that match? Fergie’s rent boy.

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    Yes, as per your Ferdinand example: Sagna targeted again!
    And literally stomped on thrice in one game last season. (Then carded for a retaliation in the next match.)
    And the leg break and now Bullet-Tellied this season.
    Our enemies recognize it: Sagna is quality. He is our treasure – and should be serenaded and shown Massive Appreciation – someone who deserves so much more from the fans, post-match kudos from Arsene, and shekels from the Emirates coffers.

  • rusty

    Failure to punish all those dangerous tackles aside, I was surprised the ref let City players get away with kicking the ball away after fouls (on multiple occasions, I believe). Very unsporting.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Balotelli and Given also kicked the goal post in anger as well for which they might have been booked, especially Mario. Contrast that with Wenger who was sent off for merely kicking a water bottle.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Yes, I’ve seen that Keane – Vieira video. Those two always got stuck into each other on the pitch, but neither backed down. They had a kind of mutual respect for each other.

  • Mahdain

    Marriner has been appointed to ref our match vs wigan..the 4th time he’ll do so…would really rather have had him vs chelsea tbh and since Clattenburg wont be available for that(ref’d a chelsea match yesterday) i wont be suprised one bit to see Dean again no matter how outrageous that will be..they couldnt give a damn

  • bob

    Shard, Mahdain, bjtgooner, Anne, rantetta, ak47, UA, All and Sundry!

    Behold the Tele-Ceremony of Rednose XX that is fast-approaching your eyeballs: (from today’s Manchester Guardian football report:)

    “To add insult to injury City will have to form a humiliating guard of honour for United when the two clubs meet for the 163rd derby on 30 April if the title has already been claimed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s team by then.

    “So far there has been no formal discussion at City regarding the issue. But there is recognition that a guard of honour would have to be provided despite it being formed in front of their own fans as a tribute to the club’s fiercest rivals.”

    Surely an Alternate-Telecast would be in order for the inevitable occasion…

  • bob

    p.s. Mandy Dodd,
    Hoping you’re well and will soon enough kick in, studs up, on the current doings. Cheers 🙂

  • Johnny Deigh

    Did you read this: ?

    “Why do the Premier League via the PGMOB insist on giving absolute control to such a small number of referees?”

    “Out of the ten EPL matches this weekend (Mar 31 – Apr 2), seven games are under the control of just five officials (the usual suspects being Webb, Dean, Atkinson, Dowd and Marriner).
    Each of these referees has two appointments over the window!”

    From the top (Ref/4th Official)…
    Fulham v Norwich – Taylor/MARRINER
    Man City v Sunderland – DOWD
    QPR v Arsenal – DEAN
    Wolves v Bolton – Moss/WEBB
    Newcastle v Liverpool – ATKINSON/DOWD
    Spurs v Swansea – MARRINER/DEAN
    Blackburn v Man Utd – WEBB/ATKINSON

    “In the overview of our team of global traders, we believe that the true outcomes of ALL these matches will be affected towards negative integrity via these appointments.”

    “What a weird fluke!”


    Note that Tottenham had not won in the league for 7 weeks previous to meeting Swansea yet they were heavily favoured in the betting markets 2/5 at Ladbrokes if I remember correctly.

    Marriner was the ref in charge of Tottenham that day. I don’t remember the details of that match very well, but I don’t expect him to give us any favours against Wigan.

    And speaking of these 5 refs who dominate the refereeing appointments, it seems like we’ve had them a lot this season.

  • Wooby

    What a farce of a game by Atkinson. He probably got a pat on the back for preserving our record of not receiving a penalty at the Emirates this season. I wonder what the media is saying about that! (the silence is rather deafening :P)

    It’s no coincidence that Sagna is targeted by our opponents. Recall the tactical (pre)review articles on this site: opponents know we attack down the right with Sagna and Walcott. And it’s been well documented how we suffered without our FBs in January. Add it together and the obvious thing to do is to stop Sagna – in any fashion possible.

    Has anyone noticed the refs seem to have taken to having a bad 1st half but a spot-on 2nd half? I think the PMGOL is aware of our Ref Reviews so the plot is now to give Arsenal’s opponents the 1st half to the take the game and then call it properly in the 2nd half to “balance” the overall score. That’s why the work Walter and all our Ref Reviewers do is so important – we have to continue to highlight the farcical approach of the PMGOL. Keep up the fine work!

  • bob

    RefReviewers, Walter,
    What goes on amongst refs during the intervals?

  • Mahdain

    @Johny yeah Marriner can be a twat when he wants to(our match vs Liverpool last season come in mind) but rather him than Dean/Webb..and yeah we really do seem to get that bunch a lot
    5- Dean
    4-Webb and Marriner(plus wigan match)
    3.Dowd and if im not mistaken Mason

  • Mahdain

    @bob that would go a long way to heal the wounds of that embarrassing defeat at old trafford and looks like they are doing all what they can to make sure thats the case come April 30
    Foy is going to ref Man city’s next weekend match vs Norwich while Halsey will be at old trafford and will have Probert in his ear to make sure just in case he doesnt follow his script

  • redjessie

    I am an ex-referee who currently assess on the conference and the leagues just below. I was appalled at Atkinson’s performance today. Early in the game, Balotelli deliberately blasted the ball into the crowd having been penalised for offside. A mandatory caution, but Atkinson did nothing. Later in the first half both Balotelli and Zabaleta in separate incidents deliberately handled the ball in attacking positions. Both were cautionable offences. Atkinson penalised the fouls but did nothing else. Both were cautionable offences. We then had Balotelli’s terrible tackle on Song. Atkinson and assistant Kirkup both managed to miss it. I saw it even though I was some 60 yards away in the crowd. Balotelli should have been dismissed in the first half. Zabaleta, who was cautioned late in the game, should have been sent off if Atkinson had refereed properly from the outset. I don’t go to games wanting to see people sent off. I do, however, pay a very high price to watch. I expect to see players play properly, honestly and with endeavour. I also expect match officials to officiate properly and honestly and in accordance with the Laws of the Game and all relevant directives. Atkinson fell well short of this standard today. He is supposed to be one of the top officials and a FIFA man to boot. His performance makes a mockery of the game.

  • Wooby

    What a joke the FA is turning itself to be. Apparently Balotelli will not receive supplementary discipline for his tackle on Song because it was an “on-the-ball” incident and since the match officials did nothing about it, the FA cannot take further action. What about good, old-fashion common sense – suspension for dangerous play?

    I wonder if Scholes was on the receiving end of that one what the FA action would be.

  • Mahdain

    i remember the footballisfixed blog mentioned the WWFT and that city struggle when they are involved and guess what? Foy is gonna be involved in both of city’s upcoming matches… 4th official vs westbrom and ref vs norwich.. What a weird fluke indeed

  • Gord

    Apparently one of the officials seen something of the Balotelli tackle at 20 minutes, and chose to do nothing. Because of that, the FA will not take any action against Balotelli.

  • Mahdain

    what a bunch of twats FA are…they just released a statement saying they wont ban Balotelli cos one of the officials saw it…WTF? so if they saw it why didnt they punish it? Would have they let Mario go had it been Rooney who nearly got his leg broke? twats

  • And on top of this Sean Derry’s red card for not touching the offside Ashley Young won’t be rescinded.

    The FA are beyond a joke.

  • Shard


    Actually they are only admitting that the ‘coming together’ was seen by at least one of the officials, but not necessarily to the full extent. So they aren’t exactly blaming the referee or assistant either. Just saying because they were looking towards the incident, no action can be taken. That is frankly, pathetic, and is not what the application of the law has been in the past.

    In my view, it is aimed at sending out a message that Arsenal players are fair game. Not only will the referee not punish you, the FA will not give you a retrospective ban, so go out there and stop Arsenal finishing third, by fair means or foul.

  • Johnny Deigh

    The FA also upheld the red card for Shaun Derry even though Ashley Young was offside and simulated.

    Who the eff is running the FA?

  • ducats

    Something just occurred to me after hearing that Balotelli won’t receive any further punishment for the Song “tackle”. You should think about adding these types of scenarios, where the FA has the option of taking retrospective action, to your assessment of match officials. Overturning or implementing bans is another way the FA can reward/punish teams. The fact that the red card for Derry at Old Tafford was upheld is equally as laughable.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Who wants to bet that if someone white and English, like Scott Parker, had been on the end of Balotelli’s foot, Balotelli would have been suspended by the FA?

  • jayjay

    From bbc sport – “Referee Martin Atkinson took no action in the match, but reported the incident had been seen, ruling out retrospective Football Association action.” – in reference to the song “attack.” ……………..more evidence the pgmol are against Arsenal?????

  • WalterBroeckx

    If he has seen it he has given himself a certificate of incompetence (or whoever claimed they did see it)

  • Steve Vallins

    As a lot comments are flying around regarding cheating ie diving or is it trying to get the referee to make a decision , ignore it , yellow card the player or give it . Too often they get these 50/50 decisions wrong IMO. As Arsenal seem to have strange refereeing decisions against them are they one of the only teams to have a player sent of for diving ? a few seasons back against Liverpool Van Bronkehurst we won 2-1 referees were against us back then

  • Shard

    @Steve Vallins

    That was actually the second unfair red card in a row. The week before I think was when Poll gave Henry a red card. I forget for what. When the next week Liverpool were given a red card for no reason, you could tell the team said, let’s just beat them, and we did with goals from Pires and Ljungberg if I remember correctly.

    However, I think the level of ‘poor’ decisions was nowhere near what it is now. At that point, it was more ‘bias’… now it is blatant cheating.. I don’t care what anyone else says. Cheating is all it is.

  • Laundryender

    Can I just remind you all that Frimpong was guilty of every bit as bad a challenge in the home game against Liverpool. The referee who was 2 yards away from the challenge that day was Atkinson, hho had already booked Frimpong for dissent. He could easily have given a straight red, but instead a second yellow. I am making no point other than, if we preach consistency, we must be consistent.

  • Wooby

    @Laundryender … not quite apples to apples here. I can understand your point IF Balotelli was already on a yellow card. He was not even assessed a yellow for kicking a ball away very early in the game and this was the second, if not the third, incident. Surely he must have received at least a yellow for that type of challenge?

  • Shard


    How have we not been consistent? I fail to see the significance of the point you claim to be making.

  • Chad

    @jayjay – just about to post the same reference. I’m absolutely disgusted. Atkinson MUST be punished over pure incompetence.

  • Stuart

    @ redjessie

    Just out of curiosity, how long since you were a ref and at what level did you officiate?

  • bob

    This just in: According to Advertising Age, a new PGMOL/EPL motto has been adopted as the official motto for Barclay’s upcoming Rednose XX pageant: “I see it, therefore it is not.”

  • bob

    An Open Memo to AFC/Legal Department,
    For each of the next matches, I implore AFC’s legal department to carefully consider serving legal notice on the FA, the PGMOL and our next opponents to the effect that:
    In light of today’s FA interpretation of their rules on retrospective assessment of penalties, that any proactive injury that is suffered by any of our players that occurs outside a common language interpretation of the rule book will be treated as a criminal act; and, thereby, brought to the immediate attention of the Sports Minister, the appropriate parliamentary committee(s), the local police, and lodged as a suit in the courts of law. Further, all and any such visual evidence as comes to exist will be posted on Arsenal Player and sent for posting on all Arsenal related blogs and any blogs that are interested in fair play for all on the pitch. Anyway, war has been declared on our players and it is high time that they knew that their own club is backing them by not backing down. If you fail to do this and someone is injured, it may well have a chilling effect on players’ willingness to come to Arsenal and/or to stay on at Arsenal and risk career-threatening injury. I believe the situation is this serious and it is high time for proactive counter-measures.

  • MK

    At least Shaun Derry and his team should sue them, upholding a red card that was obviously offside and obviously a dive.

    They wonder why no-one respects the referees or the FA, when it is mostly because neither are willing to accept responsibility when they make ‘mistakes’, instead hiding behind ridiculous rules they specifically wrote as to when they can or cannot rescind cards or punish people for on-field indiscretions so they could avoid admitting they were wrong.

  • bob

    With rules like theirs, the FA gives lawlessness a very good name.