Martin Atkinson: a truly awful ref… in pictures, words and graphics. Everton v Arsenal 6th April 2014 – The Match Officials


Everton v Arsenal 6th April 2014 – The Match Officials

By Andrew Crawshaw

  • Referee – Martin Atkinson
  • Assistants – P Kirkup and D Bryan
  • Fourth Official – M Jones

Before I start about our game, the other key teams

  • Man City v Southampton – Chris Foy – I can’t see past a win for City
  • Chelsea v Stoke – Lee Probert – Home referee again looks like three points for Chelsea
  • West Ham v Liverpool – Anthony Taylor – Terrible referee but both teams in good form, Liverpool probably to win this one though.

Arsenal need to get the three points this weekend, both to put some distance between ourselves and Everton who are the nearest team to us and also to maintain contact with the three teams above us who all have (on paper) easier games this weekend.

Martin Atkinson is another FIFA accredited referee whose performances generally ask the question “Why?”  His decision making is not terribly good and inconsistent, he has an aversion to issuing second yellow cards and has clear favourites amongst the teams he referees.  Hint – Arsenal aren’t one of them.

That is a paraphrase of my report on him before our last game with him in charge.  That game was the Man City v Arsenal game on 14 December which led to City winning by 6-3 after an awful performance by both Mr Atkinson and his Assistants.

The better news is that this time there are two different assistants so maybe we won’t have perfectly good goals ruled out for offside.

Here is the Bias graph for Arsenal from last year – Mr Atkinson about one third of the way up on -29


Here is the equivalent graph for Everton


Again Mr Atkinson is about one third of the way up and in the red band but the number is about -8 so I think he is far more anti-Arsenal than anti-Everton.  (It could be worse and be Neil Swarbrick – now let me see…  one game for each team and Arsenal on -61 and Everton on +61, oh yes he did the Arsenal v Everton game last year !)

This year we have had Mr Atkinson three times :-

Sunderland v Arsenal 14 September which Walter reviewed in this article – Sunderland 1 – Arsenal 3 : a longer one, some interesting things about referees and booing and hating players.  For me the main talking points were :-

  • Minute Ö – Özil starts his first game for Arsenal
  • Minute 10 – Özil to Giroud scores (0-1)
  • Minute 43 – Ki booked for foul
  • Minute 47 – A correctly given penalty against Koscielny and correct for there to be no card.  Gardner scores from the spot (1-1)
  • Minute 51 Gardner rightly booked for blocking Ozil on the break
  • Minute 58 – Fletcher ‘goal’ rightly ruled out for offside
  • Minute 59 – Flamini rightly booked for foul
  • Minute 66 – Ramsey scores from a cross by Jenkinson (1-2)
  • Minute 69 – Incident between Altidore and Sagna, which the referee judged to be a foul by Bac and blew for a free kick (both players were holding).  Altidore then played on and put the ball into the net.  The first foul was given and at the time there was no clear goal scoring opportunity.
  • Minute 75 – Wilshere to Ramsey who scores (1-3)
  • Minute 80 – Özil substituted TV5 on
  • Minute 85 – Ki could easily have had a second booking for a poor challenge on Flamini
  • Minute 95 – Game ends and we were top of the league.

A game where he got the major calls more or less right and gave the usual bias against Arsenal for the small fouls.

Arsenal v Liverpool on 2nd November (2-0)  For me the main talking points were:-

Minute 16 – Possible card for Toure

Minute 18 – Bac crosses to Cazorla who plays a great one two with himself via the right hand post and scores (1-0)

Minute 24 – Sagna fouls Tevez and is in the process of rightly being booked when Liverpool attempt to take a quick free kick and the ball ends up in the net.  Ref rightly points out to Liverpool that they need to take the kick when he tells them to.

Minute 28 – Cissokhu rightly booked for tackle on Sagna

Minute 35 – Sturridge dives to try and win a penalty – possible booking.  Arsenal fans sing “are you Suarez in disguise” – nice touch!

Minute 58 – Ramsey gets the ball from Özil, lets it bounce three times, hits it on the half volley and scores a screamer (2-0)

Minute 82 – Szczesny quickly off his line twice to smother Liverpool chances.

Minute 87 – Szczesny plays a one two with Sturridge in one of his ‘moments’

Minute 90 – Jenkinson rightly booked for shirt pulling

Minute 93 – Game ends and Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the table.

A game which both teams played in a great spirit with very few fouls from either team.  Little for Mr Atkinson to get wrong.  Arsenal deserved both the win and the clean sheet.

Man City v Arsenal 14 December (6-3)  Walter was so incensed about Mr Atkinson that he did a full referee review of the game – A referee review Martin City – Arsenal. An utterly unacceptable referee

This photo montage illustrates some of the decisions that either weren’t given or were wrong.


No card for the Toure stamp on Giroud’s leg, should have been at least a yellow and probably a red, two good Arsenal goals wrongly ruled out for offside, Handball against Zabaleta in their penalty area not given.  Twenty-one wrong decisions against Arsenal, none against City.

There was also a goal scored directly by City from a Nasri dive.  A truly appalling piece of refereeing. Exacerbated by the post game ban for Wilshere for flipping the finger to a section of the City crowd who had been abusing him all game.  No post game ban for Toure though for a challenge that could have broken Giroud’s leg.

In summary

  • Martin Atkinson is not a very good referee – he has days when he is, at best, truly awful or, at worst, less than honest in his application of the rules of football.  Last year he was reviewed in 17 games and made 24 wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red cards, penalties and goal decisions) seven in one game; Chelsea v Arsenal game which Chelsea won 2-1.  In four games his weighted performance was below 70%, as he was in the City game this year.
  • Mr Atkinson is another of the senior referees who always ensures that Arsenal do not get any benefit form any decisions he makes.
  • Mr Atkinson frequently influences the outcome of Arsenal games ensuring that Arsenal drop points
  • To put him in charge of a “must win” game for Arsenal makes it a very difficult task indeed.  We will all have to rely on our excellent away supporters to try their hardest to keep him ‘honest’.
  • This is probably the last league game this season when a referee can influence the game without it necessarily becoming too noticeable and I fully expect him to try his hardest to do just that.  Mind you he has shown in the past that he is quite willing to be blatant in his bias against Arsenal.


24 Replies to “Martin Atkinson: a truly awful ref… in pictures, words and graphics. Everton v Arsenal 6th April 2014 – The Match Officials”

  1. I think you need to start looking at your teams performance and not the referees. Ultimately 9 times out of 10 referees performances go unnoticed and have no impact on the result

  2. A sad indictment against a supposedly unbiased official in a sporting contest.
    I long for the day when, through technical means yet to be developed, there will be control on the field of play, based solely on fair and honest performance.
    The PGMOL will be retired….and a technician with an oily rag to attend to the equipment will be the only need.

  3. I hope Arsenal will win every single game from now til end of the season. At least, the players can have breather after World Cup and a proper pre-season training with FA Cup medal. The Tank is gunner blast next season.

  4. A song for this match that just came to mind….

    Everybody hates Ar-sen-al
    Even the ref-er-ees
    Everybody hates Ar-sen-al
    The media we can’t please
    Everybody hates Ar-sen-al
    They want us down on our knees
    So if you really hate Ar-sen-al
    Why can’t you just leave us be.

    Or alternative end line

    Everybody hates Ar-sen-al
    For being unbeaten in the league.

    Not that it would ever happen but I’d probly have a heart attack if I ever heard this being sang, it would be a heart attack of pure joy and that would be a great way to go.


  5. Nice site. Goes straight in my top bookmarks. Great laugh, thank You, mate.

    P.S Andrew, do not go to psychiatrist anytime soon, PLEASE!!!

  6. It is because of poor officiating by some of dis referees that makes English football clubs hardly reach final in the uefa champion cup may the almighty god judge them

  7. Or alternative end line should have been

    Everybody hates Ar-sen-al
    For going unbeaten in the league.

  8. I would imagine that we will have only Riley’s top, top quality refs from now on. Atkinson’s effort at Etihad was dire in the extreme; expect more of the same from this rubbish official. I hope Poldi plays and I hope Arteta can have an influential game. COYG!

  9. Thank you for the excellent review.

    The match smells like its fixing time. Football is so boring when its fixed.

    I expect the boys are in for a kicking. Barclay to dive and get a penalty? Or Mirallas? Or Barry to commit unlimited fouls and be shown yellow in 94th minute? Arsenal goals incorrectly disallowed? Arsenal players incorrectly carded or sent off or imaginary fouls called against Arsenal?

    Such is the ‘exciting’ product that is the EPL.

  10. The chant for the fans ‘Atkinson is cheating’ will be a good focus if the PGMOL rat cheats.

    The FA are the most biased & worst ‘court of appeal’ in sport.

    Arsenal have to win in spite of the bias & cheats.

  11. Garethfrom Islington. There could be several reasons why. One is technical problems with Word Press. Untold really pushes the Word Press program to the extreme, so that could cause difficulty.

    Another is if your posts contained abuse, or simple rejection of the fundamental premise of the site. There are thousands of sites around that support the AAA and our view is that if the point being made is utterly contrary to our viewpoint, without any constructive argument, then we dont publish.

  12. We just get one of these refs after another. Our players will have to be careful. Aside from the refs, no kamikaze away tactics with full backs bombing forward with gay abandon in the first twenty minutes!

  13. “Ultimately 9 times out of 10 referees performances go unnoticed and have no impact on the result”
    Instead of being a parrot, would you give us a bit of evidence to counter the article you may or may not have just read? UA is generally not an evidence-free zone.

  14. Another offsides call in favour of City at a key moment.
    Well. That is a surprise! Who could have imagined such a call at such a moment in game involving City this season? I will need an extra spoonful of sugar in my cup of tea to help me cope with shock.

    As the lady once said to the Ambassador,
    “Mr.Riley, with these incredibly subtle variations you are really spoiling us.”

  15. finsbury,
    Yes, that call crushed the not-MC competition. That a League can build in and enforce its non-reviewable refshite as a constant, chronic, key component in its results is well beyond just shameful. It’s a business model, not sporting and truly not sport.

  16. I was thinking, it would be interesting if you could do reviews of Premier League refs when they are reffing in Europe (Champions League, Europa League). I think comparing them in the different competitions could be very interesting. That is, of course, if you have the resources.

  17. If my views were taken in the wrong manor I apologise. I am a very big fan of the club and your site.

  18. Our ire is raised because we believe in equality as a virtue; but, where can it be truly be found in this world? Nevertheless, we still demand it because it is promised and the basis for competing. How did Pep Guardiola put it…. we have many hurdles to overcome in this sport… implying the referees are one of them, at times. Only, in Arsenal’s case how frequently and timely those hurdles appear. When we win we do so, often against more than the opposition players on the pitch. Let’s not forget this.

  19. Your site is great, full of insight. But, lest it be forgotten, Mr Atkinson was also responsible for Rodwellgate – so yeah, hmm. not the best of refs.

  20. Fortunately, atkinsons real involves neither Arsenal or Everton, but another club

  21. Scumbag ref, anybody else hear the anti Arsenal crap during the build up from sky?

Comments are closed.