by Andrew Crawshaw
If we were in any doubt about the direction of refereeing for the season last week’s exhibition reminded us of the state of play regarding the PGMO. How an experienced referee can look at an incident with an uninterrupted view from less than 15 yards away and not award a penalty for a clear trip beggars belief. It is also difficult to see how a player can fall backwards when running for a ball without being pulled but the PGMO are of course Omnipotent and absolutely incapable of making a mistake (at least according to the pundits).
In other news, in case you missed it as well as me :-
- Chris Kavanagh has officially been promoted to the Select Group of referees for the season (he was fourth official in the Bournemouth v Watford game in Matchweek 2 so don’t expect to see him in a league game involving Arsenal any time soon)
- Dan Cook has been added to the panel of Assistant Referees.
- Players who dive or feign injury could face a retrospecting two match ban
- The official Premier League Ball is the Nike Ordem V
- Wembley is one of three new grounds for the season the others being Brighton’s Amex Stadium (30,750 capacity) and Huddersfield’s John Smith Stadium (24,500 capacity)
On to Sunday and our officials are :-
- Referee – Martin Atkinson 46 years old from West Yorkshire he is still a FIFA accredited Elite referee following an age extension (valid until Dec 2017 I believe)
- Assistant Referee 1 – Adam Nunn from Wiltshire
- Assistant Referee 2 – Stephen Child from Kent and FIFA Accredited
- Fourth Official – Craig Pawson 38 years old from South Yorkshire and FIFA Accredited
Martin Atkinson is another referee who really needs little introduction, he has been around for a long time and has caused us grief most times he has been in charge.
Last season we had him four times winning and losing two. In only one game did he get a score above our minimum acceptable 70%, he made 13 wrong Important Decisions in the three games we fully analysed probably costing us 1 point in out loss against City. The two other games we analysed were those we won.
The previous year three games, all at 70% or below, 15 wrong Important Decisions and three points when we lost to Chelsea in an absolute travesty of a game.
Mr Atkinson is another referee whom I look forward to welcoming his retirement and have absolutely no faith in being able to deliver a good refereeing performance (let alone an unbiased one). He seems incapable of recognising a bad challenge and worryingly also allows wrong goals to stand. Bias figures against Arsenal (even in games we win) are rarely below 90/10.
Adam Nunn had the distinction last year of being the only Assistant Referee who got three flags in one game for wrong decisions – working with (yes you guessed Mr Atkinson) in our 2 – 1 loss at City last December.
- In Min32 Walcott was offside and not flagged,
- Min47 Sane was offside when he scored City’s first goal and
- Min 60 Sagna was not offside. He was flag free in his other two Arsenal games though.
As ever we will be playing against a good Liverpool team and a referee incapable or unwilling to ensure that decisions are even handed.
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