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June 2021

Tottenham v Arsenal Sunday 30 April 2017 – The Match Officials. Five times with the same ref in a season is ludicrous

by Andrew Crawshaw

  • Referee – Michael Oliver  From Northumberland, 31 years old and FIFA accredited
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Bennett  From Staffordshire and FIFA accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Jake Collin  From Mersyside and FIFA accredited
  • Fourth Official – Andre Marriner  From the West Midlands, 45 years old and FIFA accredited.

For this game we have the fifth appearance this season by Michael Oliver and that’s three too many despite him having about the best performance ratings this year of all referees.  It’s also only three weeks since his last appearance and that really is ridiculous.

I only have one ‘flag’ against the Assistant Referees this season this was Mr Bennett in the 0 – 0 Draw away at Leicester on Matchweek 2 when in Min 22 Walcott wasn’t flagged offside; it doesn’t matter that it was a decision that favoured Arsenal, it was wrong.

Arsenal v Liverpool 14 August (3 – 4)

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

82% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 60/40 and two wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals)  Min 45+1 The Liverpool ‘goal’ came from a free kick awarded for a “phantom foul’ – there was no foul and so no free kick so no goal, the second in Min 75 was for Arsenal’s third goal when Chambers was offside.  The wrong decisions didn’t alter the outcome of the game.

Arsenal v Chelsea 24 September (3 – 0)

Ref Review Arsenal – Chelsea : Another good performance from the ref!

81% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 90/10 but no wrong Important decisions.  Kante and Walcott should both have been given yellow cards but Mr Oliver had a good game and missed little of any importance.

Bournemouth v Arsenal (3 – 3)


84% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 21/79 and one wrong Important Decision when in Min 58 Fraser fouled Bellerin in the build up to Bournemouth’s third goal which shouldn’t have counted and thereby robbed Arsenal of two points.  Apart from that it was another really good piece of refereeing.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal 10 April (3 – 0)

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No referee review yet for this game but a dismal performance from Arsenal so here is a link to Walter’s immediate post match report

Crystal Palace – Arsenal 3-0

So some dodgy decisions in this game including a really poor one to award a penalty but as well a really poor performance from Arsenal and we really didn’t deserve anything from this game.  I watched the first 20 minutes on TV and felt that we weren’t going to get anything at all from the game but that it was easy for Palace as their forwards were being allowed to foul our defenders the whole time.

What has he been like in the past two seasons?

2015-16 – Two games and two draws

Arsenal v Liverpool 24 August (0 – 0)

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

67% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 90/10 and three wrong Important Decisions which certainly cost us two points.

  • Min 8 Aaron Ramsey scored a perfectly good goal only for it to be ruled out for an erroneous offside decision.
  • Min 72 Lucas should have conceded a penalty for a foul on Giroud and in
  • Min 85 Mignolet was correctly given a yellow card for timewasting but that should have been his second as he should have had a first in Min 58 when he deliberately kicked the ball away.

Tottenham v Arsenal 5 March (2 – 2)

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

56% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 14/86 and two wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 65 Lamella fouls Sanchez for a yellow card (given) and then pushes him for a second (not given),
  • Min 79 Dier  (already on a yellow card) made a deliberate attack breaking foul – the foul was given but not the second yellow card.

Another two points denied by the referee.  25 minutes against 10 men and 10 against 9 would almost certainly have seen an Arsenal win.

Going back to 2014-15 and we had Mr Oliver on three occasions – three draws against Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea.  We have full reviews for the Tottenham and Liverpool games only.

Arsenal v Tottenham 27 Sept (1 – 1)

REFEREE REVIEW: Arsenal – Tottenham

66% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 85/15 and two wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 30 Rose should have conceded a penalty for a foul on Wilshere and
  • Min 72 Mason should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Özil (his first should have come in Min 15 for a foul on Wilshere).  Another game where we were denied two points by Mr Oliver.

Liverpool v Arsenal 21 December (2 – 2)

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 Sterling should have been dismissed for a second yellow card (deliberate handball) his first should have come in
  • Min 46 for a dive when Debuchy was wrongly booked instead.
  • Min 90+1 Borini was dismissed for a second yellow card, the challenge deserved a straight red card carrying a three match suspension.  Again a draw where the result should probably have been an Arsenal win with a man advantage for 30 minutes.

Arsenal v Chelsea 26 April (0 – 0) – here is a link to Walter’s post game report.

Arsenal – Chelsea, wake us up at the final whistle

Chelsea coming for and getting a draw with a typical Maureen example of anti-football.  No  indications of any howlers from Mr Oliver in this one.


  1. Mr Oliver consistently got more than 80% in the first three games for us this season before a poorer game earlier this month at Palace.
  2. Tottenham are a team who’s players seem to have a charmed life when it comes to avoiding yellow and red cards.  It is now the best part of three seasons since they had a player sent off despite our analysis of the first 160 games this season showing that in those 16 weeks alone they should have had Lamella sent off four times (2 red two double yellow), Wanyama, Vertonghen and Rose sent off three times, Alli twice and Walker, Sissoko, Janssen, Dyer and Dembele once each.  That’s a total of 20 players who should have been sent off but weren’t in 16 weeks.  As I say a ‘charmed’ life (or something more sinister if you prefer to believe in conspiracy theories).
  3. I would be very surprised to see this sequence alter this weekend so unless they take to the field with machetes they will end the game with 11 players despite the fouls they are bound to make.
  4. The strict rules of the game will of course be applied to Arsenal players who are far more likely to be be carded.
  5. If he applies the laws of the game equally to both teams we should have little to fear, if he doesn’t we will find life very hard on Sunday.


Analysis of referee performances

Untold has reviewed referee performances in more games than any other organisation save perhaps the highly secretive PGMO (and we are not sure about them), including reviewing with video evidence the first 160 Premier League of this season, and having two seasons in which referees with no connection with Untold or Arsenal worked together to review the work of PL referees on the “Referee Decisions” website.  If you have not seen the depth or breadth of this work, please do look first at a summary of our work before commenting.  Comments which don’t take account of the research may not be published.  Details of the analysis and research work are here.

Background post: the three types of match fixing

Why  no referee should be allowed to referee the same club more than twice in a season

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12 comments to Tottenham v Arsenal Sunday 30 April 2017 – The Match Officials. Five times with the same ref in a season is ludicrous

  • Rich

    Noticed the other day Oliver has done 7 Liverpool league games this year.

    Last was in Mid March so he was doing 1 a month until then. Pretty sure that’s not how it was meant to go when they decided 24 refs was the right number for the new pgmol

  • colario

    Sorry to start this OT.

    I have been away from the internet world for the last 48 hours and have only just discovered that spuds are renting Wembley next season.

    I am surprised at this with state aid wet spam (callem what what you will) stadium near by surely it would have been better for the club and the fans to play there.

    As for Sunday’s game my betting is the result the PMGOL want is a draw. This will allow chelski to win the league and help the northern clubs hold the remain top four positions.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Why is Riley getting away with having so few refs that some are doing multiple games for teams per season…..well we know why.
    This is going to be a testing game….there seems to be an agenda in favour of Tottenham, as there was with Leicester last year… the EPL trying to convince the world this league is not just about the money.
    If we take the lead, the ref will do his best to adjust the situation, our players need to be careful. Prertty vital that Kos plays if possible.
    Think Ox could make some sort of an impact here

  • Leon


    Wembley is more accessible (via the North Circular Road) to Spurs than The London Stadium which is a multi purpose stadium limited to 25 football matches per year. So no chance of any extra matches there even if Totts wanted it.

  • colario

    I didn’t know about the 25 game limit.

    As to ease of access your North Circular link is valid if travelling from the stadium. Where I lived in London it was two bus rides at least to get there. Whereas wetspam is now just a few minutes walk. Their old ground was for me in a world far away even though it was in East London.
    What you say about the 25 match limit would explain why I never heard talk of the possibility of sharing with wetspam.

    The concept of them sharing with us fires the emotions.

    I wonder if the two clubs did a subjective look at the possibility and if they did what their findings were.

    I hope within their Wembley contract they will not be allowed to play Home cup games at Wembley and of course the semi and finals if they reach these rounds.

  • Leon


    Arsenal & Spurs investigated the possibility of sharing a brand new stadium (in Alexandra Park) back in 1979 (I think). As a Muswell Hill resident at that time I was looking forward to it.
    Yes, there would be a definite advantage to Spurs if they get semi final matches there.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    It could be for his still being young and full of youthful energy in him, the Pgmol are recycling ref’ Mikel Oliver to referee in the big games often than not as these games are being played at high intensity level and will require a referee who can cope with the high intensity energy sharping demands of these big games. But this should not absolved ref’ Mikel Oliver from his incompetence or wrangling referring as enumerated in this article posting in obedience to his employers, the Pgmol.

    However, I strongly believed the Gunners have already prepared themselves mentally, Physically and even mortally to deal with any anti-Arsenal referring that could emanate from Mikel Oliver and from his 2 linesmen. And they’ll come out prevailing in the game by collecting all the 3 points they’ll be going to the Lane to collect.

    My 3-4-2-1 starting Gunners and bench for our away game against the Totts are:

    Paulista Holding Monreal
    Bellerin Ramsey Xhaka Oxchambo
    Sanchez Ozil

    Martinez Maitland-Niles Koscielny Gibbs Coquelin Iwobi Giroud.

    I believe all the Gunners I’ve started and have on the bench are all trusted Gunners who all know what are expected of them to do in this match. So, it’s needless I talk on how they should do their job for Arsenal at the Lane on Sunday. But nonetheless, I’ve decided to start Koscielny from the bench because of the way and manner he debried to the ground at the Ems last Wednesday night. If it hadn’t been for the timely intervention by Paulista, maybe Leicester might have scored. If Koscielny is not at 100% fitness level to start this game, he shouldn’t start it. And I’ve started the OX as left wingback for this game instead of to start him at the right side. And I am sorry I’ve no more room to accommodate Walcott on my bench for this game who lacked the cutting edge in our last Leicester game at the Ems. He left me disappointed as I thought he’ll score a brace haven not played for sometimes.

  • Menace

    Looking forward to the Spuds reaction. After the evil spuds fans beat up their own, I just hope our fans sing to the same tune the Spuds use for Kane:

    you beat up your own,
    you beat up your own,
    you dirty blind bastards you beat up your own!

  • ob1977

    Well the re went above and beyond again during the week to keep Wanyama on the pitch, and in turn available for this match.

  • markyb

    Yes, that Wanker Moss who sent Granit off twice for bugger all. Wonder what odds Spuds going two seasons without a red card was? Hmmmm, maybe 5000 to 1

  • Pat

    Those figures for escaped red cards for Spurs are quite startling.

  • finsbury

    With odds like these on cards/fouls for the Teflon Tinies perhaps I should head down to the bookies? 😉

    Oliver has poor poor form from previous NLDs. Which is a shame as we all know he’s better then that so must therefore be reducing the level of his performance as per the well publicised “game management” techniques (in the pgMOBs own words! You couldn’t make it up…)

    A complete surprise to see him selected again today