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August 2021

Liverpool v Arsenal 8th February 2014 – The Match Officials

By Andrew Crawshaw


Referee – Michael Oliver

Assistants – S Burt and G Beswick

Fourth Official – R Madley


As an aside, I notice that Manure v Fulham have R West as Assistant and R East as fourth official, just thought it interesting (just need a North and South for a full set).


Mr Oliver (needless to say again),  1st September our home game v Spurs (1-0), 10th November away to United (1-0).  Also 16 Sept Swansea v Liverpool (2-2) and 7th December Liverpool v West Ham (4-1).  Third time this season for both teams


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Turning to the assistants, Mr Burt was with Mr Oliver on 10th November and 7th December, Mr Beswick is new partner to Mr Oliver.  Mr Burt was also with Mr Atkinson in the reverse of Saturday’s fixture (Arsenal 2 – Liverpool 0), with Atkinson again in Arsenal’s 6-3 loss away to City and with Mr Taylor for Liverpool’s 5-3 win at Stoke.  Mr Beswick has been with with Mr Dean for the Arsenal 3-1 home win to Stoke, with Mr Marriner for the Arsenal 2-0 home win v Hull.  He was also on duty with Mr Jones in the Liverpool home game v Fulham (4-0).


In the Arsenal v Spurs game 1st September, Mr Oliver didn’t have that bad a game, started well and calling fouls properly for both teams, he got a little sloppy as the game progressed giving Spurs the benefit of several decisions in dangerous areas of the pitch.  For me the key moments were :-


  • Min 21 – Walcott down in the Spurs penalty area from a challenge from Rose (looked to me like a pull) but no replay available on Arsenal player to give a definitive answer.
  • Min 23 – Giroud goal
  • Min 33 –  Loris just got the ball first before Walcott well outside his area so no foul the correct decision
  • Min 45 – Loris climbing all over Giroud to get to the ball but fairly according to the referee, again no replay.
  • Min 53 – Soldado falls over in Arsenal area with Kos in close proximity.  minimal contact so correct non-penalty
  • Min 55 – Flamini gets a yellow card for a two footed jump challenge, wasn’t near Tottenham player so there really wasn’t any risk of an injury, but those kinds of chaallenges can, and do, get reds.
  • Min 60 – Walker collapses over fresh air with Gibbs near him, ref buys the tumble and gives a free kick in a dangerous position
  • Min 65 – Loris out to edge of his area to grab ball, (inside or outside?) again no replay to show which
  • Min 72 – Capoue caught by Santi who then fell over on his ankle, had to be stretchered off, the fall was an accident.
  • Min 75 – from the resulting free kick the ball bounces around our penalty area, Spurs claim a penalty when it hits Giroud on the front of the shoulder.  No movement of arm to ball, ball was moving very fast and from close distance.  Correct non penalty
  • Min 81 – Defoe rightly gets yellow card, arm in Theo’s neck
  • Min 90+3 – Giroud tackling back, both players fall over free kick to Tottenham.


For a more considered view, Walter’s game review is here Arsenal v £100.000.000: 1-0


Moving on to the United game on November 10th.  The virus game.  My preview is here  Manchester United v Arsenal 10 November 2013 – The Match Officials.  In it I looked in setail at his past history with Arsenal.


Walter’s review of the United game is here Lost a battle, the war is still in our hands


I’ll quickly quote a couple of paragraphs because they are pertinent :-


“A little word about the ref. He didn’t have to do big things. But I noticed on at least 3 occasions that he was very quick to give phantom fouls against Arsenal players when United came under heavy pressure in the second half. It helped United every time to come out of the pressure we put them under.”


“If we look at the stats we had 60% possession.  We had 10 shots on goal and United had 5. And both teams only managed to have two shots on target.  United had 5 corners and we had 6 corners.  So we weren’t bad. We just made one error and that cost us the game.  And as the legs weren’t as fresh as usual we just missed that little something to turn the game around.”



Where did he come in the Hall of Shame in the games against Arsenal last year?




He is about one third of the way up the chart with a negative bias of -33.  Was there a difference when he did Liverpool (or rather how big a difference was there)?

Liverpool bias per ref



A bit difficult to see but fourth up with a negative bias of -16, just about half the numbers for Arsenal.  It could have been worse, imagine if the Ref were Swarbrick (-42.7 for Arsenal, +4 for Liverpool) or Mason (-40 Arsenal, -6 Liverpool).


I haven’t had the time to review Mr Oliver’s games this year with Liverpool.  Perhaps some readers can fill in the gaps via the comments.  Last year the only reviewed game was Match Review: Michael Oliver – Liverpool Vs Tottenham Hotspur (3 – 2) [10/03/2013]  where he scored 79% overall, had bias against figures of 73/27 (favoured Spurs then) and he made 2 wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red cards, penalties and goals).  The key incidents were :-


  • Min 20 – Suarez scores a goal (1-0)
  • Min 29 – First wrong decision of the game, Bale penalised for Agger stumbling into him
  • Min 37 – Ekotto was holding Suarez, out of sight of the referee (a case for video replays being available to officials)
  • Min 42 – Not given yellow card, Liverpool player jumps into the back of Bale leading with his arm.
  • Min 44 – Vertonghen scores a goal (1-1)
  • Min 52 – Vertonghen scores a goal (1-2)
  • Min 56 – Vertonghen gets a yellow card for handball
  • Min 65 – Downing scores a goal (2-2)
  • Min 76 – Vertonghen kicks Sturridge on the calf in the penalty area, nothing given play restarting with goal kick.  Wrong Important Decision should have been a penalty to Liverpool
  • Minute 81 – Penalty awarded against Assou-Ekotto for foul on Suarez.  Gerrard scores the spot kick (3-2)
  • Minute 86 – Vertonghen fouls Johnson in the penalty area, again nothing given.  Wrong Important Decision should have been a penalty to Liverpool.


Eleven wrong calls in total, 8 favouring Spurs, three favouring Liverpool.  Two Important wrong decisions, both not awarded penalties to Liverpool, although he did correctly award a third penalty.


What can we expect:-


The usual phantom fouls called against Arsenal to enable Liverpool to regroup under pressure

Liverpool players being given more freedom to foul than Arsenal

Penalties are unlikely for Arsenal, but also not guaranteed for Liverpool

More ‘cheap’ yellow cards for Arsenal (I think Rosicky is on 4, Sagna on 3, Szcz, Giroud, Mert, Ramsey, Cazorla and Arteta on 2), I would expect more than one to be getting to 5 cards immediately before we face the Chavs or Oilers at the end of March and I’d rather have Rosicky available for United than miss it through a booking on Saturday.



Books on Arsenal at a discount

The latest from the Arsenal History Society anniversary files

18 comments to Liverpool v Arsenal 8th February 2014 – The Match Officials

  • Gord

    Thanks for the update Andrew.

    I hope the officials do better than the difference in bias indicates.

    I looked at maps of Old Trafford, and to me it looks like the field runs along SWW – NEE. Which makes the “south” side of the pitch more east , and the “north” side more west.

    Some player news. I believe the U21s are playing “now”. Sanogo is playing, which may be why the game is behind closed dorrs (invitation only). There are apparently going to be live “twits” to the @Arsenal twit account.

  • TJ

    The deadline for the ban after 5 bookings has expired in January. You now pick up 2 games after 10 bookings

  • Ugandan Goon

    I always got the feeling this ref was a home teams ref,a bit lightweight,lacking in personal authority and i have seen many players look at him like they doubted his sanity notably Carzola, has he also got a slight strabismus which gives him an owlish look?

  • TJ

    Also Walter- your comment “he got a little sloppy as the game progressed”- I have noticed this watching games not involving Arsenal, he does seem to lose it in the second half of games, concentration/fitness? I agree with Ugandan Goon too- he does seem to be a home team ref. Rather him than Dean/ Mason/ Taylor/ Probert though

  • jambug

    I can see it now on MOTD.

    Shearer getting his microscope out again.

    Alan Shearer: “Yep, I thought so”.

    Gary Lineker: “What’s that AL”

    AL: “If you look really close you just see it”

    GL: “what’s that AL”

    AL: “I’ll just up the magnitude a bit. Now can you see”

    GL “See what AL”

    AL: “Look, there, you can just see it”

    GL: “Blimey AL, you’re right. Mertesacker definitely breathes on Suarez just as he gets into the box. That’s amazing. Definite a pen then”

    Al: “100% Gary”

    GL: “I still think the Red cards a bit harsh though AL”

  • Gord



    I don’t suppose this is a limburger cheese incident?

  • para

    @jambug. Beautiful.
    I wish the team all the best and hope they are ready for anything pool throw at them, pool being at home. Just hope we are tight, solid, concentrated and confident tomorrow.
    Can’t stand Shearer, wish he would shear off.

  • jambug

    Slightly off topic but I’m really pissed off !!

    I see Podolski’s going on TalkShite today.

    Why would anyone from Arsenal, player, official, or otherwise, endorse that shit by appearing on it.

    What makes it worse is I think he’s going on that prick Durhams show !!!

    Does he not know:

    He will probably have his chat then be immediately followed by the anti Arsenal piss take that is ‘the daily Arse’

    That Durham accused Arsenal of planning to ‘Cheat’ by ensuring Flamini got a ‘Strategic’ Yellow so he missed an easy game and didn’t miss a big game. He said, ‘I want the footballing World to be on alert to this’. (as it happened Flamini got injured and it was all irrelevant but it doesn’t change what Durham said).

    Last year Durham accused Arsenal of faking an injury to Theo so as to ensure he would be fresh for the next Arsenal game. Theo was subsequently out for 2 more games after the England game he missed.

    He did the same earlier this year regarding the Ox. The Ox also subsequently missed the next 2 Arsenal games after the international.

    I ask again. Why would ANYONE from Arsenal go anywhere near that arsehole.

    Sorry about the language but it really pisses me off. It’s really disappointing.

  • marcus

    We can expect driving rain, wind, and bursts of gales.

    The kind of weather where you score from your own half.

    How do I bet on that?

  • Mick

    Completely agree about Durham. Why does he hate Wener so much? I did hear or read somewhere that Arsene banned the slimy bastard from his press conferences a few years ago, that would explain it if true.

  • jambug


    Didn’t think he was a reporter as such so I wouldn’t of thought he would be at press conferences but all credit to Wenger if he did. Should go the whole hog though and ban any dealings with the radio station all together.

    The whole lot of them are a bunch of Wankers.

  • Valentin

    I think Andy Durham got into angry personal exchange with our press officer Claire Tomlinson and subsequently got banned from the Arsenal press conferences.
    She left for Sky, and looking at the clip of her, Gray and Keyes, I think she must regret leaving AFC. It is obvious she has never been fairly treated or respected there. She was not part of the clique at the time, and now she is too old to be one of eye candies who can barely read the autocue.

  • Mick

    Thanks for that, it has jogged my memory. Now I remember Durham saying a while back on air that he had been banned and Arsenal were ‘frightened’ of him.

  • jambug

    It’s not a matter of being afraid of anyone Durham.

    It’s the fact he can, and does, use his show to spout anti Arsenal propaganda, every day.

    He does this with out giving a right to reply to Arsenal or there fans.

    He does this without reason or debate or any attempt at balance or impartiality what so ever.

    He chooses with bias who he puts on air, giving time and liberty to anyone who has anything negative to say about Arsenal, whilst at the same time ignoring completely, or cutting off and ridiculing, anyone who tries to make a positive point.

    His show portrays that his views are broadly supported by a large proportion of his audience and yet his column in the Mail has shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that he is ridiculed as a clueless idiot who’s views are solely intended to agitate or inflame for his own personal amusement.

    What he does, in isolation, would not be an issue, but as a major part of what is a concerted media effort to undermine Arsenal football Club, it is, in my opinion damaging to Arsenal Football Club.

    People may dismiss it, but it’s our biggest Radio sports station and his show goes out at peak time and the Anti Arsenal piece, ‘The daily Arse’ goes out right in the middle of it.

    I have said on here many times that how he is allowed to get away with, what amounts to a public crusade against one team, is beyond me.

    But get away with it he does.

    God knows what Fergie/United would of done had such a crusade been waged against them.

    Jeeez, Fergie has banned dozens of reporter, papers, TV stations from OT for far far less.

    Was he afraid of all of them?

    Durham is banned not because he’s feared but because he’s a complete and utter fool who seems hell bent on damaging Arsenal Football Club !!!

    Durham is basically just a very nasty little man.

  • Pat

    Never having listened to this programme, I didn’t even know it had ‘The Daily Arse’. Thanks for this detailed run down, Jambug. Yes indeed – a very nasty little man. Who gets to run a radio programme.

  • Pat

    Andrew, just wanted to agree with everybody and say I appreciate these revision notes on the refs before the matches. It’s a lot easier than having to look everything up ourselves, and great to have everything concentrated in one place.

    Also good to get angry all over again about the red chart which is the referees’ performances towards Arsenal.

  • marcus

    I thought Mourinho gave a managerial master class against MC. Not so good against us where we won 1-0.
    Today 3-1 to Liverpool. Feel it in my water

  • marcus

    See no reason why the Ox will be benched