Sunderland v Arsenal Saturday October 29th – The Match Officials. Expect serious fouls to go unpunished.

by Andrew Crawshaw

Our officials for this weekend are :-

  • Referee – Martin Atkinson – 45 years old, FIFA Accredited from West Yorkshire
  • Assistant 1 – Steven Child – FIFA Accredited from Kent
  • Assistant 2 – Stuart Burt – FIFA Accredited from Northamptonshire
  • Fourth Official – Craig Pawson – 37 years old FIFA Accredited from South Yorkshire

First time this year for Mr Atkinson, and Mr Child.  Mr Burt was assisting Mr Oliver during the Chelsea game and Mr Pawson was Fourth Official in both the Chelsea and Liverpool games.  All four officials are FIFA Accredited and so there should be no excuse for any major cock-ups (but, of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any).

Here is our table showing the wrong Important Decisions (second Yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals) from all games for the first seven weeks of the season.  The table is ordered in descending order on the average number of the wrong decisions per game so the nearer a referee is to the bottom of the table the better they have been this season.

Season to Date Correct Important Decisions to date
Referee Matches 2nd Yellow Red Penalties Goals Total Avg
Robert Madley 5 2 7 3 1 13 2.6 7
Jon Moss 6 6 2 4 2 14 2.33 7
Graham Scott 1 0 1 1 0 2 2 2
Mark Clattenburg 4 3 0 4 1 8 2 12
Mike Dean 6 2 4 4 2 12 2 9
Kevin Friend 3 1 3 1 0 5 1.67 1
Michael Oliver 6 4 2 2 2 10 1.67 7
Craig Pawson 5 0 3 5 0 8 1.6 4
Anthony Taylor 7 3 1 5 2 11 1.57 4
Roger East 3 0 1 2 1 4 133 6
Neil Swarbrick 4 1 1 2 1 5 1.25 6
Andre Marriner 5 2 2 1 1 6 1.2 8
Lee Mason 3 1 0 0 2 3 1 2
Stuart Attwell 2 1 1 0 0 2 1 4
Martin Atkinson 6 1 3 0 0 4 0.67 5
Mike Jones 3 0 0 0 1 1 0.33 2
Paul Tierney 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

Martin Atkinson is pretty much at the bottom of the table indicating that he is having an excellent season so far.  Four wrong decisions in 6 games is pretty good, as is the fact that he has made 5 correct important decisions.  These numbers indicate that we should have nothing to fear this weekend (and it’s not often I say that).

2015-16 Season Looking back to last season though Mr Atkinson didn’t cover himself in glory.  We had him three times and he barely got half of the decisions right in any game.

Arsenal v West Ham 9 August 2015 (0 – 2)


54% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 100/0 and 3 wrong Important Decisions;

  • Min 37 Tomkins should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Monreal,
  • Min 43 Mr Atkinson awarded a ‘phantom foul” against Ramsey from which West Ham scored – there was no foul so neither free kick or goal should have happened and,,,
  • Min 62 Noble should have been given a second yellow following a dive – a foul was wrongly awarded against Giroud.  I reckoned that we were robbed of one point.

Arsenal v Spurs 8 Nov 2015 (1 – 1)

Ref Review : Arsenal – Tottenham

41% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 82/18 and eight wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 18 not given penalty to Arsenal following foul onGiroud by Vertonghen;
  • Min 25 second not given penalty following another foul by Vertonghen on Giroud;
  • Min 35 Following yet another incident between Vertonghen and Giroud in th epenalty area both players should have been red carded for violent conduct;
  • Min 54 Arsenal should have had a third penalty following yet another foul in the penalty area which should have earned Vertonghen a second yellow card and in
  • Min 89 Dier should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Giroud.  Mr Atkinson lost control of the game in the first quarter and never regained it.

The three not given penalties to Arsenal should have ensured a comfortable win so two points robbed.

Arsenal v Leicester 14 Feb 2016 (2 – 1)

Ref Review: Arsenal – Leicester

52% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 94/6 and seven wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 9 not given penalty to Arsenal following Kante handball (for which he should have had a yellow card),
  • Min 37 second not given penalty to Arsenal for Huth holding and pulling Giroud following a corner kick,
  • Min 43 Vardy barged into Monreal to win penalty, it was a foul by Vardy.
  • Min 45 the subsequent goal from the penalty shouldn’t have counted;
  • Min 48 Simpson was given a yellow card for a foul on Sanchez it should have been his second (the first should have been given in Min 30 for pulling Özil away from the ball;
  • Min 55 Arsenal should have a third penalty for a foul by Morgan on Giroud and
  • Min 71 Drinkwater should have had a straight red card for a challenge above calf high on Ramsey.  Another shockingly bad example of refereeing from someone who knows better.  This time it didn’t cost us points but Mr Atkinson did everything possible to deny us the win.

Going back to 2014-15 and we again had Mr Atkinson three times

Chelsea v Arsenal 5 October 2014 (2 – 0)

Untold’s Unacceptable Referee Review: Chelsea – Arsenal

45% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 14/86 and six wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 20 Cahill should have had a straight red card for  a foul on Alexis and in a separste off-the-ball incident Ivanovic should have had a red card for a deliberate elbow on Özil;
  • Min 40 (0r 45+2 or 74 Oscar should have second yellow cards;
  • Min 43 Alexis should have had a red card for a punch on Ivanovic; Min 62 Arsenal should have had a penalty for handball by Fabregas;
  • Min 90 Alexis should have a straight red card for foul on Fabregas.  Mr Atkinson lost this game in the 6th. minute when he failed to book Oscar and never had any control at all.

Chelsea should have been down to 9 players in the 20th minute with the score at nil-nil and Arsenal should have won comfortably.  Three points robbed.

Arsenal v QPR 26 Dec 1015 (2 – 1)

Untold Ref Review: Arsenal – QPR

70% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 87/13 and six wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 23 not given penalty to Arsenal when Onouha wrapped himself round Giroud like a coat and pulled him to the ground;
  • Min 52 Ferdinand grabbed Giroud by the neck should have been a second yellow card;
  • Min 75 should have been a second penalty to Arsenal for a foul by Fer on Mertesacker;
  • Min 77 QPR wrongly awarded penalty (Debuchy fairly cleared the ball as Hoilet went Down; The goal scored from the penalty spot should not have counted;
  • Min 90 Gibbs brought down Zamora should have been a penalty for QPR.  No cost in terms of points but another game with Mr Atkinson doing all possible to avoid points to Arsenal.

Spurs v Arsenal 7 Feb 2015 (2 – 1)

Ref Review Tottenham – Arsenal

Overall weighted score 61%, bias against the two teams 10/90 and three wrong Important Decisions;

  • Min 10 the arsenal goal should not have counted as the Arsenal player was a couple of inches offside; Min 59 Rose should have straight red card for stamp on Giroud’s achilles;
  • Min 78 Mason should have had a second yellow card for impeding Arsenal attempting to take a quick free kick.

With the Arsenal goal ruled out Mr Atkinson’s decisions probably didn’t affect the outcome of this game.


  1. Whilst Mr Atkinson’s figures from the start of this season look to be good giving an initial impression that we have nothing to fear, he has been a terrible referee for us over the past two seasons having probably cost us seven points in six games.
  2. This year he has made 4 bad calls in 6 (non-Arsenal) games.  In six Arsenal games over the past two seasons he has 33 wrong calls – averaging 5 and a half a game.  I really hope he has pulled up his socks this year.
  3. If he reverts to his usual Arsenal form then I will have serious doubts about his honesty rather than his competence.
  4. Like all PGMO referees his bias numbers against Arsenal are incredible (100, 82, 94, 86, 87 and 90).  I have absolutely no confidence that this will change on Saturday and I expect us to play against a very tilted field.
  5. We are unlikely to be awarded a penalty but quite likely to have one awarded against us.
  6. Serious foul play against our players will be tolerated.
  7. It is quite likely that Sunderland will be awarded a phantom foul in an area where they can attack our penalty area.
  8. If Mr Atkinson does as well on Saturday as in his first six games of the year we should have nothing to worry about – I am just worried that the old saying about a leopard not being able to change it’s spots applies and we will see a typically cock-eyed performance on Saturday


Recent tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Reasons to be cheerful parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Reading in the library: watching the EFL cup from the posh seats

Empty seats at the Ems? You should try the Tax Payers’ Stadium!

Alisher Usmanov makes his move – and it is not the one predicted.

Why 26 October is such a special day in the history of football, and of Arsenal (and the Royal Family)

10 things we learned from Arsenal v Reading.

League Cup: Arsenal – Reading 2-0, The Ox with a brace



13 Replies to “Sunderland v Arsenal Saturday October 29th – The Match Officials. Expect serious fouls to go unpunished.”

  1. Thanks, Andrew. A very useful summary as ever.

    My main hope is that we come out of the game unscathed. Injuries are mounting.

  2. Generally this season the refs seem to be (at the least) trying to improve, is this because of Untold reports?
    I hate playing against the bottom team, sometimes they can turn into a raging animal, so lets hope Arsenal are prepared for anything.

    We also play Tues so it will be interesting the team. We can’t take Sunderland lightly.

  3. @ para

    I agree with your first sentence but have zero faith in this man. His behaviour towards Arsenal is nothing less than abysmal every time he steps on the pitch. I know he’s let us get away with one or two things e.g. the Alexis incidents against Chelski but quite frankly I think he let’s so much go against us that he puts himself in the position of having to let things go the other way for fear of looking like his on someone’s payroll. Personally I think besides hating us he’s just not very competent either.

  4. Whatever be the case, Martin Atkinson referring and his assistants flagging in this game will not negatively affect the outcome of Arsenal collecting all points at stake against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tomorrow Saturday.

    Arsenal will beat Sunderland to all the 3 points at stake irrespective of whether Jarmie Defoe plays or not. And the Black Cats set piece finess won’t work against Arsenal during the game because the Gunners comprehensive alerting defending will completely negate whatever the Black Cats have on offer during this match because the Gunners defense-lines in conjunction with Coquelin and Elneny will caged all the Black Cats.

    The Gunners should not sleep on the believe they can win the title this season if they get a total of 86 points. NO! I want them to aim much more than that as they still have 87 points left to overhaul after already collected 20 from the 9 games they’ve played leaving them with the other 9+9+9+2 matches to play in 4 phases.

    The Gunners have unfortunately dropped 7 points in the 1st phase of 9 games they had played.
    In the next phase 2 of 9 games they will play starting with the Sunderland game which will also include hosting our North London rivals Tottenham and going to Old Traford to engage the Red Devils in a battle for all 3 points, I don’t expect Arsenal to drop more than 4 points if they must. However, they must not fail to keep their unbeaten run.

    After the 1st & 2nd phase of 9 games each are played, I want to see Arsenal topping the table on 43 points and not less. At the 3rd & 4th phase, Arsenal SHOULD be on the 86 points Le Prof has said it will be enough to win the title this season. Yes, it could be enough. I am not arguing over that Le Prof’s Assertion but Arsenal can better the 86 points envisaged to win it by collecting 4 or 6 points in their last 2 games of the season the 5th phase and the last to reach 90-92 points. Hail the champions! Hail Arsenal!!!

    My starts for Sunderland:

    Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Gibbs
    Coquelin Elneny
    Oxchambo Ozil Iwobi

    My bench:

    Jenkinson Gabriel Monreal Maitland-Niles Walcott Ramsey Giroud.

    I am giving Santi Cazorla a rest for this game and for Ludogorets game too. He could be on the bench at Ludo. A fully recovered Cazorla will start the Spurs game. Walcott & Monreal are fitness issue. Ramsey and Giroud are match rusty to start a tough relegation battle game by Sunderland. Therefore, they are on my bench. But any of them I could bring on at some stages into the game for a tiring Gunner or Gunners as the case may be. But I am not the manager.

  5. Atko is a Roman puppet. His balls appear to be frozen but the blue is his support for Chelski.

    Another PGMO select official past his sell by date. Corruption takes a long time to leech out of society.

  6. Does anyone notice how when we have an opportunity to pull away with some not too difficult games l.e Middlesbrough and Sunderland, we get Mike Dean and now Atkinson?

  7. Does anyone notice how when we have an opportunity to pull away with some not too difficult games l.e Middlesbrough and Sunderland, we get Mike Dean and now Atkinson?

  8. Keep an eye out for the turn of the head just before someone releases the ball/ gets clobbered on ground or in air. He used that one a lot in the semi against Reading and it allows him to ignore fouls and any head injuries that might occur.

    Was a new technique for me but it’s the same thing Dean did when Wilshere had his ankle done by Mcnair; and it cropped up again last year when Moss looked away just before Long tripped Kos, in order to watch a guy in space on the right crossing the ball.

    A desperate Moyes (has been looking a bit more crazed with each game), Atkinson, Northern game/crowd, and us in position to go top is a dangerous mix. We have to be aware and beware of their fouls yet try give no opportunities for easy yellows or reds. Tough.

    Early goal please

  9. Rich – I’m glad you picked up on the PGMO select tactic of a quick head turn to evade honest officiating. That does not excuse the other official nor does it prevent the FA from retro action. The FA know what these cheats do as it is all part of their staged money grabbing process. They pick on any manager who steps out of their invisible line. Wenger is too smart for them & has avoided all confrontation with their puppets.

    You’ve got to have seen the conversations with opposing players in our last game. Dean was constantly chatting to some of the opposing players. It should be picked up on the microphones. It is time to expose some of this ‘banter’ as it might be incriminating. A good quality directional mic will pick up the conversation despite all the background noise. Why the officials microphoned/radio conversations are not made public is fascinating.

  10. Atkinson really gave it his best there. I loved watching us triumph despite him but it can’t really be calculated how much that standard of reffing could cost us over a season,. Even on a great day like today the players had to extend more energy than they likely would have with normal reffing and ten men before half time.

    You have normal, abnormal in our direction, then the abnormal, other direction, Ferguson enjoyed for so many years.

    Fuck them; we can still do it, and there is so much more merit to it than with Fergie-style help

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