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Arsenal v Chelsea Sat 24 September 2016 – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Before I start on the officials for this coming game I want to raise a point about PENALTIES – as you will have noticed so far this season they are being given which is a major change from the past few seasons.  Last season we were awarded 2 out of 35.

This season only Mr Clattenberg has failed to point to the spot when he should have (twice in Minute 31 and 42 of our game v Leicester)  Against Leicester, we should have had the penalty about 15 seconds before we were awarded one so I’m not going to quibble too much about that one.  We even got one against Forest in the little Cup.

So far we have had 5 in 6 games,  long may this state of affairs continue.  Five in six games is about what we have said that we should have based on our reviews for last year (35 in 38 games).

On to Saturday and the Officials are :-

  • Referee – Michael Oliver – 31 years old from Northumberland and FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant 1 – Gary Beswick – Co Durham – FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant 2 – Stuart Burt – Northamptonshire – FIFA Accredited
  • Fourth Official – Craig Pawson – 37 years old from South Yorkshire and FIFA Accredited

A fully accredited team then so there should be no excuses for them getting anything seriously wrong.  It’s funny though how their FIFA accreditation never seems to be reflected in their scores in Arsenal games.

This will be Mr Oliver’s second appearance at the Emirates this year as he was in charge on opening day when we entertained Liverpool.  There really is no excuse for us having a repeat visit from a referee this early in the season.

Arsenal v Liverpool (3 – 4) 14 Aug 2016

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

82% overall, bias against the two teams 60/40 and 2 wrong Important Decisions (second yellow or red cards, penalties and goals).  In Min 45+1 Liverpool’s first goal came from a ‘phantom foul’.  There was nothing wrong with the free kick apart from there being no foul.  In Min 75 Chambers was offside when he scored our third goal which should also have been ruled out.  Overall Liverpool scored three good goals to our two so I have no complaint about the referee influencing the overall distribution of the points.

Last year 2016-16 MichaelOliver was in charge of two Arsenal League Games, one at home and one away (exactly as it should be for all referees).  Both games were draws.

Arsenal v Liverpool (0 – 0) 24 August

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

67% overall bias against the two teams 90/10 and three wrong Important Decisions.  Min 8 Aaron Ramsey had a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside – he wasn’t; Min 72 Arsenal should have had a penalty for a foul by Lucas on Giroud and Min 85 Mignolet got a yellow card for timewasting, it should have been his second (his first should have come in Min 58 for deliberately kicking the ball away).  Poor decisions that cost us two points.

Spurs v Arsenal (2 – 2) 5 Mar

Ref Review: Tottenham – Arsenal : not the consistency we are asking for

56% overall weighted score, bias against both teams 14/86 and two wrong decisions Min 65 Lamela fouled Sanchez (correct yellow card) then pushes him (second card not gigen for violent conduct; Min 79 Dier should also be sent off with a second yellow card for an attack breaking foul (the foul was given but not the card).  Again, probably, two points denied due to poor refereeing.

The previous year 2014-15  we had Mr Oliver for three matches and again all were draws

Arsenal v Spurs (1 – 1)  27 Sept

REFEREE REVIEW: Arsenal – Tottenham

66% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 85/15 and two wrong Important Decisions  Min 30 Rose fouled Wilshere in the penalty area, nothing given and Min 72 Mason should have had a straight red card for a foul on Wilshere.  Two points denied by poor refereeing.

Liverpool v Arsenal (2 – 2)  21 December

Ref Review Liverpool – Arsenal. Someone put something in the ref’s tea at half time

67% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 0/100 and two wrong important decisions.  Min 61 Stirling should have had a second yellow card for deliberate handball (he should have had a first in Min 46 for a dive but Debuchy was wrongly given a yellow for a foul); Min 90+1 Borini should have had a straight red card instead of a second yellow for a foul on Cazorla.  I know the latter decision would have had no effect of this game but it should have been a three game ban rather than single.

Arsenal should have had 30 minutes against 10 men and I would expect them to be able to make that advantage count.  Two points denied to Arsenal

Arsenal v Chelsea (0 – 0) 26 April – For this game there is no full referee review

For a game with Mr Oliver in charge which wasn’t a draw we have to go back to 2013-14 where he was in charge for a 1 – 0 win against Spurs at the Emirates and a 1 – 0 loss at Old Trafford.  Neither game was reviewed.

So far this season I have no flags against either of the Assistant Referees, Mr Burt is the only one of the two who will be making a return appearance – he was also present for the Liverpool game


  1. How the PGMO have historically tried to stop Arsenal developing momentum – by appointing referees with a history of managing games where Arsenal should have won but didn’t.
  2. PGMO think: Question – “Who is the only referee in the first five weeks of this season who has overseen an Arsenal loss – who shall we appoint for this week’s game – one of the 13 referees who hasn’t yet refereed an Arsenal match?” Answer –  “No let’s go with the referee who was in charge when they lost in the first week of the season.”
  3. Mr Oliver was actually surprisingly good in the Liverpool game (providing you ignore the two wrongly awarded goals that is).  He achieved a highly creditable score of over 82% and was relatively even handed with the decisions he did get wrong.  One wrong goal to each team and 60/40 overall.  His scores are usually below 70% with bias above 80% against Arsenal.
  4. Generally referees seem to be giving penalties this year and it will be interesting to see how long that continues.
  5. Mr Oliver needs to be watched with the old ‘phantom foul’ routine and certainly needs watching over the antics of Diego Costa who should already have been sent off twice this year.
  6. So far this year every referee has been better than predicted from previous season’s performances.  I hope this improvement continues.


Recent Posts

Disciplinary anniversary of the day

23 September 1922: Tottenham 1 Arsenal 2.  After the match the FA held an enquiry. Smith of Tottenham was found guilty of using bad language and suspended for a month. Graham was censured for retaliation.  Tottenham were warned about the behaviour of their crowd, and were warned of ground closure if further trouble ensued.

9 comments to Arsenal v Chelsea Sat 24 September 2016 – The Match Officials

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Andrew.
    Oliver can be a good ref, and hope he has a great performance in this game.
    But his appointment is a bit worrying. We are starting to build up momentum, is Mr Oliver going to do a Dean/Atkinson/Taylor on us and stop it…just have to hope not.
    Costa is another worry, he is rejoined the ranks of Lamella/Dier/Alli in the getting away with it stakes.
    As Wenger says, our players have to keep their cool, and as ever, an early goal will help

  • All the review shows Mr Oliver handling only our match against Liverpool,Tottenham nd Chelsea matches which we have failed to win any. hope the guys are fired up for game coz it will be Arsene 20yrs in change celebration nd not a repeat of the 1000 game. wishing the guys good luck nd fare referring .

  • Andy Mack

    So we should really expect Oliver to engineer another draw.
    Well I guess it’s better than Blind Mike Dean arranging another loss for us.

  • Max Kerr

    Wasn’t it Michael Oliver who sent off di Maria against us in the FA cup?

    For that alone I like him.

    I’m really nervous about this weekend. COYG!

  • Gord

    Good Vibrations?

    Chelsea U23 1 – 2 Arsenal U23

    Congratulations Young Gunners!

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    Thanks for that update, beat me to it.

  • Gord

    Were you at the game Andrew?

    Still no report up at

    I didn’t follow the twit feed, I was out looking for dandelions and mushrooms in the grass. 🙂

    I only seen the Daily Mail report. Reiss Nelson scored, and was booked. Mavididi got the other goal.

  • para

    A win today will do just well.
    Chelsea will be difficult, but we can beat them today if we stay focussed on our goal and not let anything but the ref whistle stop play.

  • Menace

    Today’s game will show the real direction of this season. The PGMO’s whistle blower, the Chelsea cheats, the new Arsenal & the fans will all have to make their mark on the direction of this season.

    I’m hoping it will be positive for Wenger’s Arsenal with some brilliance from players. I also hope the PGMO message is honesty in the interpretation of the Laws. While I’m talking Arsenal, I also hope the security is tighter than ever, with all & everyone searched to keep us all safe.

    COYG give us joy this evening.