The unofficial referee review: Leicester – Arsenal or Mission Impossible

Guest appearance By Mike T

Its one of those things that you say “ok yes” and you think you will do something but after an hour or two when reality kicks in you think to yourself why on earth did I agree to do that?

I thought I better point out that Tom Cruise I am not .

For one thing I`m a bit taller than him but other than that we possibly could pass for brothers.

Ok you’re right we are nothing alike because he comes from the good ole US of A and me well I’m not.

So when Tommie (that’s what I like to call him) accepts a Mission Impossible he gets the women, the money and the praise whereas my quest will probably lead me to nothing more than grief.

I suspect that when Jambug threw down the gauntlet he probably had a great big smile on his face. When I picked it up I thought to myself reviewing the officials decisions at a game of  football surely can’t be that difficult.

 How wrong was I!

So let have a go at this ref reviewing lark. So Sunday 31st August and its off to Leicester we go.

First Half.

The game was just 10 seconds old when I thought that the ref had a call to make. Nugent came in quick and hard on Debuchy. Without doubt a foul but was the foul careless, reckless or was excessive force used? Would the ref award anything other than a free kick?

Thankfully for Nugent the lunge was ruled as being careless so no further action. We all know it shouldn’t  matter at what stage of the game a foul is committed but did the ref really think it was to early in the game to give a yellow or did he really believe the tackle was just careless?

My head was spinning already.

Other than a correct offside being given and a corner for Arsenal which followed a deflection  the referee really didn’t have much to do till about the 11th minute when there was a nasty clash of heads which saw play held up for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Following a good advantage play for a foul on Debuchy the only goals of the game were scored between minutes 19 & 22. Both goals were correctly given nothing happening in the build up that the ref needed to become involved in.

Just before the half hour Cazorla claimed  a foul and within a minute the advanced Mertesaker claimed a handball. Neither were given nor should they have been.

On 34 minutes there was a call by the crowd for a Leicester penalty. Just like the Arsenal claim a few minutes before the ref waved the appeals away the ball going out of play saw the ref award a goal kick.

The camera panned over to the referee who unless he was talking to himself I guess he was communicating with his assistant who  it seems told him he was wrong for it was a corner. Oh dear Mr Taylor should have stuck with his instincts for it went out of play coming off the Leicester forward’s hand.

Around the 40th minute two incidents in quick succession got the crowd going again.

The first should have resulted in a free kick right on the edge of the box for the home team. Sanchez probably was not intending to block the player but rather than just holding his position he turned his body so a foul.

The second incident came about because following a foul by Monreal the ref allowed play to carry on under the guise of an advantage for about 3 seconds but when it didn’t work out he pulled the play back. Not against the rules to do this but its not commonplace in England for the play to be brought back after such a time lag.

Second Half.

So after a quick cup of tea and a rub down with the Sporting Life (its a family joke) I took my seat in the West Stand, well the sofa under the window, and settled down for the second half.

Nothing of note in the first three and a bit minutes other than a couple of fouls committed by Leicester players one  of whom was Hammond .

So to the first really contentious and possibly only game changing decision.

Just on 49 minutes Cazorla had his foot caught in the penalty area. It was a foul and would have been given anywhere else on the field so a penalty should have been given but it wasn’t. Oh dear let  the conspiracy theories commence.  

Surprisingly little in the way of appeals from the Arsenal players.

Over the next 10 minutes only simple-to-call bread and butter decisions given . However  it seemed to me Leicester had a good shout for a foul following contact from Monreal and likewise I thought Sanogo was fouled on 58 minutes. Neither were given though.

On 75 minutes although not a call by the referee the two managers made the same risky call  by both using their remaining subs.

Ok the managers are far more qualified than me but unless chasing the game I personally wouldn’t have used up all my 3 subs with over 15 minutes left and neither team seemingly needing to chase the game.

Wouldn’t you know it on 78 minutes Ozil landed awkwardly and as hobbled off the pitch play continued with you a man short for a full 3 minutes .Later on Oxlaide Chamberlain clearly was struggling with an injury and probably would have been replaced if that option had been a possibility. I hope the injury hasn’t been made worse by him having to stay on.

Anyway enough of Mike T playing football manager and back to the game.

From minute 78 through to 81 again nothing other than simple decisions to make including  a couple of advantages played. One of those was following a poor tackle by Albrighton which saw him booked at the next stoppage. A minute or so later Hammond was booked for a foul on Ramsey although I thought he should have been booked for his repeated indiscretions earlier in the game.

In the first minute of stoppage time Moore was rightly booked for holding Szczesny who in turn appeared to thrust his leg backwards. It might have been his attempt to break free but there was a clear movement and a we all know retaliation is a no no.

So in summary yes you had a very good shout for a penalty and the odd decision in open play could have been called but I didn’t think the ref had too bad a game.

So over to you . Oh and unlike my mate Tommie I wont be returning for Mission Impossible two.


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25 Replies to “The unofficial referee review: Leicester – Arsenal or Mission Impossible”

  1. A good and balanced review, but somewhat generous to the referee, who allowed numerous fouls from home players before belatedly producing yellow cards.

    Also, the failure to give the penalty when Santi was fouled cannot be allowed to pass quite so easily.

    The delay in playing advantage before stopping the game reminded e of this same referee’s action in the notorious Villa game from last season, when he gave them the first penalty

  2. A decent review Mike. Come back again.
    Surprisingly it took all the match to book Hammond.

  3. The official review is of course still to come.

    But thanks Mike T for taking on the challenge to do this. As you say it wasn’t as easy as you thought at first. 🙂 Welcome to my world, welcome to the ‘fun’ 🙂

  4. Well done Mike on taking up Jambugs challenge! One day soon you will find that youve actually become a Gooner after all your time here at Untold!Are you sure youre not actaully a closet Arsenal fan already?
    Fair and well written,thanks for your time and observations.
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  5. Mike T

    First off, thank you for taking up the challenge. Many would of fudged the challenge, so well done.

    Also a decent review.

    What I would say is that it was a fairly tame game. I didn’t think either side played that well and the game never really ‘took off’ so contentious incidents where at a premium, BUT the 2 I suggest there where both went against Arsenal, as your comments attest to.

    1) The penalty shout about which you say.

    “Surprisingly little in the way of appeals from the Arsenal players.”

    I think they’ve given up mate !!!

    2)Hammonds persistent fouling

    “A minute or so later Hammond was booked for a foul on Ramsey although I thought he should have been booked for his repeated indiscretions earlier in the game.”

    So should of been ‘off’ but alas was allowed to persistently foul. Another issue we constantly raise here on untold.

    So even in a mild mannered non event we was robbed 🙂

    Thanks again.

  6. I am so glad you mentioned Hammond with: “A minute or so later Hammond was booked for a foul on Ramsey although I thought he should have been booked for his repeated indiscretions earlier in the game” because he was really ticking me off.
    – how many fouls do have to do to get booked because it was outrageous how many fouls Hammond did – it seemed like every time there was a foul the camera was looking at a sheepish Hammond retreating after another indiscretion and him thinking -“this is alright whatever I do the ref is ignoring me”.

    Good article as always – keep it up. My newsnow excluded publications list is over 350 but yours is defo not one of them!

  7. @Kenneth Widmerpool

    My grandfather originated from Woolwich and he my uncles my cousins, and indeed my cousins sons all did or still do support Arsenal.

    I go back to the day when Arsenal used to publish a magazine and I would read just about everything I could. From football monthly to goal I would read anything football. Do any of you remember the magazine where it highlighted the Cooper V Ali fight at Highbury?

    My grandfather took me to my first games ( not Arsenal) and its not so much having a soft spot its more that I despise clubs like Liverpool and Spurs. As a family we always talk football without edge maybe a bit of banter but it always with respect.

    I actually quite enjoy the views on here and some of the articles are really quite thought provoking.

  8. Mike,
    I always look at how the referee treats the first fouls from each team as a guide on how the game is going to be conducted. The first foul from Leicester was a lunge which by definition implies at least carelessness and normally intent to assert your presence. I would have expected a yellow card to clearly set out a line saying, this is too much, even if it only 10 seconds into the game. You also comment that Hammond justifiably got a yellow card for a foul on Ramsey near the end of the game, he had been consistently fouling Arsenal players throughout the game and should have booked well before that.
    You acknowledge that Santi should have been awarded a penalty for the push, clip on the ankle. In tight games like these that is the difference between winning and drawing.
    I contrast that decision with the penalty awarded to Liverpool against the Spuds and ask all football supporters to reflect on the double standards again displayed. It may not be ‘bent’ but certainly isn’t right!

  9. Thanks Mike – coincides with my view of the game. The image of Hammond grimacing/trying to look innocent what seemed like dozens of times is seared in my memory.

  10. Hammond incident reminded me when I said about f*** time same old same old show a card before 90 minutes. Liverpool supporting brother in law, “I didn’t know you were that passionate!”

  11. @TC and others,
    Agree entirely with the views expressed about the thug Hammond.
    Any competent referee would have issued a yellow card at the first foul, NOT wait until the fourth.
    And by then he should have been long off the field.
    The guy’s a menace.

  12. i think much needs to be talked about the dubious redcard given to debunchy. it calls for questioning

  13. Was on linesman-ing course this evening. Think I knew just about all of it, but interesting none-the-less.

    If I had the time in my life (running a youth football club, raising a family, working, watching Arsenal) I might seriously be interested in becoming a referee. I have (almost) always enjoyed it when doing for youth games – ditto running the line.

  14. Mike T. Not bad. Not bad at all. I am certain if you did the ref reviews for all the Arsenal games you would see some very strange decisions that makes one wonder what the fuck is going on around here. I was wondering if you saw the F.A, Cup match last May. A lot of people thought that the Arsenal might have had a few penalty claims in that game too. HA HA HA. The only point I have ever disagreed with you is you’re refusal to acknowledge that your Russian Gangster Owner started this whole transfer mess the game is now embroiled in. Much props to you and you do have the BILL’S utter and complete respect. I do admire the fact that you are not a coward and do post some fair and reasonable comments on this website. Unlike some motherfucking scumbags that shall remain nameless. The Arsenal fan-base could use another intelligent voice, Have you ever thought about leaving your current low level slimy club and join London’s finest footballing institution.

  15. Wonderful review Mike T,,,,just a point of correction about recognizing advantage: The Law states that once a referee recognizes and gives advantage, he CANNOT then stop play(take away that advantage) to punish the same offense committed when he awarded advantage. He can, however, once the play stops naturally (goal,throw-in etc.)issue a caution or ejection to a player that committed the serious foul or misconduct that lead to him awarding advantage.

  16. Pete………my suggestion is to quit your day job, send your family to mongolia, send the youth club on a 5 year long tour and take a referee’s course! This is the only way you’ll ever find time and peace when becoming a referee.
    Seriously, officials worldwide are in short supply (aren’t enough insane people who are willing to do the job I guess) and the more people who take on that role, the better Football will prosper.

  17. Don – thank you! If I was 30 years younger and hadn’t wasted my better years on a playing career… But glad to see you didn’t suggest I cease supporting Arsenal!

  18. The only point I have ever disagreed with you is you’re refusal to acknowledge that your Russian Gangster Owner started this whole transfer mess the game is now embroiled in.

    Bill :- Really ?

  19. @omgarsenal

    For the incident where Taylor let play run he hadn’t actually signalled advantage but to be fair to him he was right on top of the play.
    If you watch Taylor closely he tries to play advantage far more that I had realised.
    On a couple of occasions when the crowd were shouting for a foul and the play was still going forward you couldn’t see him so it was unclear if he blindly ignored the call or he had indeed acknowledged the indiscretion.

    I noted in total 112 incidents where it was obvious where he made a decision that didn’t include siations where the decision was obvious such as goal kicks where the shot from the attacker missed the goal and no deflection save etc. Its actually surprising how many of these type of incidents there are.

    Its easy to see how the stats reflect that the officials get such a high % of calls correct as we all tend to focus on the obvious calls or the ones they get wrong.
    For instance every time the players are advanced of half way and the ball is played forward there is a decision to be made even though more often than not it is obvious that the attacking players are no where near offside.
    This sort of thing happens dozens of times during a game and whilst we the supporters don’t factor these non decisions into our stats its pretty clear that they are when the official ratios are published.

  20. Mike it was a quote from Bill from Manhattan I was querying. The last time I looked the majority shareholder is Stan Kroenke not known for spending cash , not Russian and not called Abrhamovic.

  21. You had my respect for a long time before this article, now that I have read it and seen how balanced and how unbiased your article is, how brave you are to take thr challenge, and to say what you saw without twisting facts to suite your team. Mike T I say you have my whole respect and I hope you always stay commenting on this blog for a really long time. And all your opinions, had I agreed with or not, are welcome and totally respected. Hope other fans of other teams who have the manners and respect you have to comment here too (unless they are tottenham fans 🙂 ).
    Thanks you

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