Referee : Martin Atkinson
Match : Chelsea – Arsenal
This surely is one of the most bizarre performances I have seen from a ref. It brings back memories of the days when Riley was doing matches at Old Trafford and one game in particular. And I don’t know if I have to follow the chronology of the events or go from player to player. I probably will end up mixing the two. But better take your time as I think this might be a long comment section.
Let me start with the good things that I can find. I think the assistants were rather good! No complaints about them. And Atkinson managed to make some correct decisions also. And… well this is all the good things I can say after that.
Oscar would have won an Oscar if there was an Oscar for being able to avoid yellow and red cards. I cannot remember any player having so much liberty and impunity to make fouls without getting a yellow card. I know he did at the end but that was to cover his traces. His=Atkinson of course. I cannot really remember a ref being so lenient towards a player. Last time I can remember was…er…. oh yes I now remember … Ramires two seasons ago in a match Chelsea – Arsenal with the same ref.
The problem is that Atkinson never seemed in control of this match. This could be seen by the way he handled certain incidents that are beyond belief. We all remember the Chelsea outrage when Hazard attacked a ball boy who didn’t let the ball go. Well in the first minutes Mourinho ordered the ball boy to give the ball to him when Chelsea made a poor pass and there was gap on their right flank. Gibbs wanted the ball to throw it in quickly but the ball boy duly gave it to Mourinho who then held on to the ball till all his players were back in position. And the ref just let it go.
Another moment was when two players claimed the throw and the ball ended up in Mourinho’s arms. Ref Atkinson waited before signalling and then Mourinho gave the ball to his player of course and then Atkinson confirmed it. It sure gave the impression that it was Mourinho who was telling Atkinson what to do.
The defining moment and decision was the Cahill tackle. A straight red card tackle. But because Aktinson was not daring/wanting to draw the anger of Mourinho on him kept the red card in his pocket. After that poor decision you know the ref is no longer suitable to do this match. OK, we knew this even before kick off but that moment confirmed all our doubts. If you can still call it doubts. If he would have acted then he would have got the game in hands. Now it slipped away from him.
By the way if you look at the images from behind the goal you can also see Ivanovic throwing an elbow at Özil while Cahill is trying to amputate Alexis’ foot. But if you let an assault like Cahill did go, then it is no big deal to let an elbow go of course. Alexis also tried to throw a punch a bit later towards Ivanovic and that also should have been a red card. But at that moment the ref had gifted the players a free pass to have a go that it all became rather normal to do such things.
The ref also made a few real technical errors. Like stopping the play for the hand injury from his friend Oscar. Or when he didn’t allow Arsenal a quick restart after yet another Oscar foul. It had all the ingredients for a quick restart. Now as a ref you can prevent a quick restart if you have to give a yellow card. But the ref didn’t give a yellow card. No he told Oscar to stop the multiple fouling all over the field. So no yellow card (which he should have given) and give Chelsea the time to reorganise themselves in defence. Atkinson was doing a great defensive job for Chelsea.
The yellow card from Chambers. If you look at the images it is clear to see that it was actually Hazard who stuck out his leg and planted it between the legs of Chambers. Chambers then went down of course because he was tripped by Hazard. And final result was Chambers getting a yellow card. It should have been a free kick to Arsenal and a yellow card against Hazard for a deliberate foul and for trying to fool the ref. Which he did in the end. So don’t suggest Chambers should have got a second yellow card when he blocked Shurle. A yellow yes, but not a second.
The yellow card for Koscielny was ok. It wasn’t reckless or dangerous, just mistimed. Gibbs was deeper and might have had a chance to assist the keeper in making the angle difficult. And Hazard dribbled himself to the outside of the goal and therefore could have a shot at goal but not an obvious scoring chance. And probably Atkinson knew all too well that after not sending Cahill off he had to be careful to not make it too obvious what he was doing. It didn’t help him in the end though.
As for the not given penalty for Arsenal… Fabregas raised his hands next to his head. And blocked the shot and diverted it in to a corner. His hands were deliberately raised to block a shot and in an unnatural position. So it should have been a penalty and a yellow card. But this is Arsenal. This is Atkinson doing a Chelsea match. So you don’t give a penalty against the boss. If needed you can always invent one like WBA experienced last season in favour of Chelsea of course. But not against them. Not even when it is a clear penalty.
So who should have been sent off in this match? Cahill with a red card, Ivanovic with a red card or with a few yellow cards later on. All when the score was still 0-0. Alexis should have been sent off for trying to punch a player who shouldn’t have been on the field if the rules would have been followed. And so you see the stepping stones at work from the ref. Oscar did enough to be sent off 2 or 3 times with two yellow cards. And Welbeck should have been sent off. But at that moment the ref had done so much wrong that he just continued his line of being useless.
I have to round it off now and will highlight the numbers.
First half score overall of only 51.35%. So only half of his decisions were correct. Disgraceful. If we add weight to it we see it drops to 42%. Utter disgrace. And if we look at the important decisions we see that he only gets a score of 17,65%. Completely unacceptable.
Second half score overall of 56.52%. Disgraceful. If we add weight to it we see it drop to 48.65%. Utter disgrace. And if we look at the important decisions we see a score of 36%. Wow what an improvement. NOT.
Total score for the 90 minutes was 53,33%. Disgraceful. If we add weight to the decisions we see a score of 44,68. Utter disgrace. And if we only look at the important decisions we see a score of only 25% correct decisions. This is competely unacceptable. Incompetence.
The bias score is as Untold predicted it would be before the match: all the small decisions for 100% in favour of Chelsea. And the important decisions were also very much in favour of Chelsea with a balance of 76% in their favour.
Apart from each time when he does Arsenal-Chelsea and we know we will get a very unbalanced referee this was a referee performance that can be put next to the ones we have been used from Probert and Dean. Dean who will referee our match against United. You read it here first. And it certainly brought back memories of match 50.
The ref for this match was as in match 50 biased and completely rubbish at the same time. And it will be a coincidence but both matches ended with the same score.
The Untold index to articles and today’s anniversaries is on the home page.
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Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
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