THE FA Cup Weekend – Match Officials

THE FA Cup Weekend – Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Taking the games in the order in which they are to be played

Bradford City FC v Reading FC

12:45 Saturday 6 March – Live BT Sport

  • Referee – Lee Mason
  • Assistants – Michael Mullarkey and Marc Perry
  • Fourth Official – Michael Jones

Lee has been averagely busy in the Premier League this year officiating 18 times out of 28.

I don’t think he has taken charge  of either Bradford or Reading this year, however he was no friend of Reading in 2012/13 when he put in his second worst performance of the year in their away game to Chelsea which they lost 4 – 2.  72% overall, bias against Reading 82% and one wrong Important Decision (second yellow cards, red cards, penalty or goals) when a Torres goal should have been ruled out for offside.

Notwithstanding this, I would expect there to be no overt bias and (probably) an acceptable refereeing performance

Aston Villa FC v West Bromwich Albion FC

17:30 Saturday 6 March – Live on BBC1

  • Referee – Anthony Taylor
  • Assistants – Darren England and Darren Cann
  • Fourth Official – Neil Swarbrick

21 Premier league games for Anthony who (as regular readers will know) is far from my favourite referee.

He was reviewed for his game between Arsenal and Villa (5-0 to Arsenal) where he got a commendable 85% overall but gave all of the wrong decisions to Villa.  He was also in charge of Villa’s season opener when they won one nil against Stoke.

For West Brom he has been in charge in matchweek 4 when they lost two nil at home to Everton.

Mr Taylor is an awful referee who is normally totally incompetent and quite capable of cocking-up any game.  How he has FIFA Accreditation I have no idea (apart from his extreme hatred of Arsenal).  Anything can happen in a game under his control (and I use the word ‘control’ loosely).  This is a local ‘derby’ and likely to get quite feisty.  Expect poor challenges going unpunished in an effort to keep all players on the pitch.  This game might well get ugly unless Mr taylor actually gets a grip from the first whistle.

Liverpool FC v Blackburn Rovers FC

16:00 Sunday 7 March – Live on BT Sport


  • Referee – Andre Marriner
  • Assistants – Lee Betts and Michael McDonough
  • Fourth Official – Robert Madley

Andre has not been over worked in the Premier League this year, 13 games only.  He is clearly out of favour for some reason.

Of these, three have featured Liverpool (not a healthy situation where nearly 25% of a referee’s games are in charge of one team

Week 10 – Newcastle v Liverpool (1 – 0)

Week 19 – Liverpool v Swansea (4 – 1)

Week 23 – Liverpool v West Ham (2 – 0)

Going back to 2012/13 (the last time reviews were available for non-Arsenal games) we see  two Liverpool games

Liverpool v City (2 – 2) 66% overall but no bias, wrong decisions evenly split between the teams and no wrong Important Decisions

Everton v Liverpool (2 – 2) 76% overall, again wrong decisions evenly split but 3 wrong Important Decisions Naismith goal in Min34 was from a wrongly awarded free kick, Minute 70 Suarez should have been sent off for second yellow card and Minute 93 Suarez goal was wrongly ruled out for offside).

Mr Marriner (away from Arsenal) is barely adequate until the ball gets into the penalty area when his decision making goes all to pot.  Don’t be surprised if the result is influenced by a poor piece of judgement.

Manchester United FC v Arsenal

19:45 Monday 8 March – Live on BBC1


  • Referee – Michael Oliver
  • Assistants – Jake Collin and Gary Beswick
  • Fourth Official – Craig Pawson

Michael Oliver has refereed 20 times in the Premier League this year

Arsenal have had him for two draws

Week 6 – Arsenal v Spurs (1 – 1) – 66% overall, bias against both teams 85/15, Two wrong Important Decisions; Minute 30 Arsenal should have had a penalty for a foul by Rose on Wilshere and Minute 72 Mason should have been sent off for  a bad foul on Ozil.  dreadful refereeing costing Arsenal two points.

Week 17 Liverpool v Arsenal (2 – 2) – 67% overall, bias 0/100, Two wrong Important Decisions; Min 61 Stirling should have been sent off  foe a second yellow for a deliberate handball, Minute 91 Borini should have has a straight red for a challenge on Cazorla he was given a second yellow (yes it made no difference to Arsenal but he only missed one game instead of the three his challenge warranted and indicated that Mr Oliver isn’t capable of making proper judgements on the pitch)

This year Mr Oliver has been in charge of 2 United games

Week 10 – City v United (1 – 0)

Week 20  – Stoke v United (1 – 1)

Looking back to 2012-13 we have 3 games with relevance to Monday night’s game

15 September – United v Wigan (1 – 1) – 64% overall, bias 17/83 and 1 wrong Important Decision with Wellbeck diving to win a penalty in the 3rd minute.

28 November – Everton v Arsenal (1 – 1) – 70% overall, bias 21/79 and no wrong Important Decisions

23 December – Swansea v United 1(1 – 1) – 83% overall, bias 63/37 and 1 wrong Important Decision

Mr Oliver then is another referee who underwhelms when you look closely at his performances, and this isn’t anything new.  His decision making isn’t great and, like many other referees, he regularly fails to see the difference between a poor challenge warranting a foul and the potentially dangerous one that warrants a red card.  He is also quite likely to fall for a dive in the penalty area.  Will he have the strength to punish Rooney or any other United player – we will have to see.  I won’t put money on it but I would put money on Wellbeck being booked for a dive in Arsenal colours.

One final thought – each team gets £247,500 broadcasting fees and the winners each get £360,000 from the FA Prize fund.  Come on Arsenal and return with the £607,500 and treat us to another trip to Wembley!




The books



18 Replies to “THE FA Cup Weekend – Match Officials”

  1. At least we will see the pattern of the refs instructions this weekend(who favoured, who not) before we play, if there is one.

    Hope we can win outright, no replays as we do not want to have an extra game at this time.

  2. Taylor’s prominence is remarkable and, I fear, ominous.

    Feel like it’s every week you see him now, and with a lot of important assignments.

    A recent article did a great job of bringing to my attention the importance of the Fifa badge (shows my attention if I’ve got the term wrong). Anyway, riley has control over those guys in a way he does not for people who have retired from international and champ league football.

    There is every sign Taylor is being developed as Riley’s main man. His form shows that isn’t justified, but we know that doesn’t matter.

    Taylor is the man I expect now when United really need points, and when we really need to drop them. Think we can fully expect him for the league game at OT. I’ll have to spend the week beforehand steeling myself for the worst of the worst if that’s the case.

  3. Rich, Taylor even looks like the malevolent gnome, Riley. It seems that you do not have to be any good as a PGMOL tart, as long as you do Riley’s bidding. Taylor is a poor official and in any other profession, not likely to get promoted (as the FIFA badge – ridiculous). However, doing well at your job e.g. Clattenburg, means you are not towing the party line and will be sidelined. How the heck did Taylor manage to get the Barcodes v Manure game – isn’t he from the NW? By all accounts he was the star performer over that non penalty. We can almost line them up now for the rest of the season; Taylor v Manure, Atkinson v Chelski, Dean or Dowd v Scousers. I feel a sense of foreboding that we could be stitched up again.

  4. In the FA cup the rules are a bit different. Apart for some teams 😉 wink wink nod nod

  5. I’m looking at the match Bradford – Reading now and that pitch is nothing but a disgrace. Even pub teams in my country would not play on such a bad pitch. In football tier between 3 and 8 (lowest) you don’t get to see such bad pitches any more.

  6. @WalterBroeckx
    I agree totally on the pitch at Bradford – Reading and hope pitches are normalised soon, at least in the PL and Championship.
    What a disgrace.

  7. Is the bad pitch the reason why it ended 0-0? Or did both teams come into the game prepared to not lose?

  8. Well, reading through the BBC babbling, it would appear that both teams tried to win. Just a really rotten field.

  9. Trouble with the ref for the Utd game, even if he is not bent or under orders, he will be well aware that if he makes a key decision against Utd, the northern pundit mafia will slaughter him, Owen and the chuckle brothers will go on the attack in every paper and post match interview. Yes, why would Owen side with Utd you ask, could only put that down to filthy lucre! But, should the ref make a key decision that goes against a arsenal who lose the match because of it, he will know,there will be media silence, and Owen/Neville will just lay into ozil, per or wenger.
    Wonder what route this ambitious ref will chose. Personally, as has been suggested, think he will try to oblige at least one of the three plus serial divers Utd possess.

  10. Thanks for the Wenger interview link Rantetta, I have just read it and all I can say is ‘What a man Arsene Wenger is’.

  11. Just heard from a friend who was at the QPR spurs game, apparently QPR should have had two pens which the ref bottled. Spurs do seem to be getting their share of decisions these days ?

  12. Well Andrew, I think you get the prediction of the weekend. And the weekend isn’t even half over.

    You predicted that Taylor would not have any control. Did you see the end of the AV-WBA game? Delph had his captains armband stolen, one player had a boot stolen, and a player got bitten. Wilshere is annoyed with his second yellow on a friend of his (Grealish?).

  13. Once we win this game, some games will come easier COYG. Someone was saying some time ago that the FA lack sponsorship, and the reason behind it. Could whoever knows come clean on it?

  14. Quite the weekend. Reading and Bradford can’t score in the mud bowl, and need to play again. Aston Villa has been doing all the scoring so far, and Taylor loses control while they do so. Gerrard isn’t fit enough to make the squad for Liverpool, Skrtel gets hurt and needs to be carried off early, and Liverpool now has to play another game at Blackburn. I wonder if Blackburn or Reading is going to have mud bowls, possibly with penalties at the end?

    Everything to look forward tomorrow.


  15. On the Ladies side of things, Arsenal has just been drawn away against Millwall. I hope the Millwall Ladies fans are not the racists that their men’s team has. Good luck Arsenal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *