Welcome to the man who shouldn’t be there. Arsenal v Man Utd Sat 2 December 2017 – The Match Officials.

by Andrew Crawshaw

Our Officials for Saturday are :-

  • Referee – Andre Marriner – Age 46, from the West Midlands (his home Football Association is Birmingham County)
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Beck – From Bedfordshire and FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Scott Ledger – from South Yorkshire
  • Fourth Official – Anthony Taylor – Age 38 and FIFA accredited

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are not the only people this year talking about referees in advance of the game.  First out of the blocks for this match were theshortfuse.sbnation.com.  Their piece posted on Tuesday evening read :-

“I am not one to blame referees for losses. I am, however, one who remembers bad referees – they burn into my brain like the sun burns your retinas when you stare directly at it. I will admit I’m not as versed in bad Premier League refereeing as I am in bad MLS refereeing, but I know a couple Premier League refs that I don’t really care for, and every time I see them on the schedule it just makes my heart sink.

Speaking of which:

Yup. Andre Marriner, the guy who couldn’t tell Kieran Gibbs from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain  and, more recently, the guy who cost Arsenal three points against Stoke when he did not call a clear Kurt Zouma hand ball in the area, which, when combined with his assistant getting an offside call wrong, denied Arsenal two legitimate goals on the day is going to be in charge on Saturday.”

The match officials for Saturday have a sense of Deja View about them as they are the same as in the Stoke game referred to above, although the Fourth Official for that match was Bobby Madley.  Interestingly though three of the officials were also in charge of the for the Chelsea v Arsenal match where Andre Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on 24 March 2014 (Arsene’s 1000th match).  The exception is that Marc Perry was Assistant Referee 2 on that day.

Here are the conclusions from my referee preview of that game

“Both teams out-perform their average win percentages under Mr Marriner, Arsenal by the higher figure.

Last year Mr Marriner’s wrong Important Decisions were in favour of Chelsea as they benefited from not having two players sent off in the QPR game but should have had a penalty as well, any of those decisions, if correctly given, could have changed the outcome of that game as it ended 0-0.  They also had a penalty wrongly awarded in the Stoke game when they were well ahead.

Against Arsenal, Mr Marriner exhibited the usual tendencies to award phantom fouls and failed to issue yellow cards to opponents for bad contact fouls with the potential to injure players.

Arsenal players are always likely to be carded”

Walter’s post match review had this to say about the match officials and their bizarre decisions

“Let me join in; the mistakes must have been the thought of the referee and his 3 assistants.  The 4th official was our friend Anthony Taylor by the way.

First the ref let a possible foul on Arteta go in midfield so that Chelsea once again could break. The ball came to Hazard who took a shot. Oxlade-Chamberlain handled. What followed was referee comedy capers. Well he had one decision right of all the decisions he had to make: the penalty. All the rest was wrong and utterly wrong.  So I don’t complain about the penalty at all.

It obviously took the 4th official to give the penalty. This was clearly visible by the way that Marriner was talking and looking in the direction of the 4th official. Now I really wonder based on what he gave it? Did he see it with his own eyes or use video evidence. Which I think is not allowed now.  And I think it will be something like that as the 4th official was standing in the same line as the ref on the field.

So it would be amazing that the 4th official being 60 metres away would have seen it better than the 1st official who was 15 metres away.

What then followed was bizarre as suddenly Gibbs was shown a red card. Gibbs who had nothing to do with the whole incident.  Now to put things straight a red card for a handball should be given when a defender knocks it out of goal when it would go over the line. But the shot from Hazard was going wide anyway so it wasn’t a save on the goal line. It wasn’t preventing a goal. But it was deliberate handball but should have been a yellow card.

But as a result Arsenal had to continue with a man down. And that was not correct at all. I also would like to add that if you are not sure who committed the offence you just cannot pick out a player and give him a red card. That is making a complete mess of it.

Hazard scored from the rightfully given penalty and Arsenal were looking at a gigantic mountain to climb with wrongfully being a man down.  Oscar scoring another goal just for half time was not a real surprise. The referees further making a mess of things when Vermaelen who had come on for Podolski after the red card, clearly kicked the ball out against Torres but the refs gave a corner.”

We didn’t do the minute by minute reviews of matches in the 2013-14 season but it was pretty clear at the time that the award of a penalty and the subsequent wrong person being sent off was managed by Anthony Taylor, not Mr Marriner.  For that alone he should have been dismissed from his job at the PGMO.  Needless to say he wasn’t and I never ever trust the match officials when Anthony Taylor is part of the team.  He is a person who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the ground on any matchday involving Arsenal, he will always look to get involved.

So far this season Mr Marriner’s one game wasn’t a great piece of refereeing and cost us three points as pointed out in the short fuse article.

in 2016/17 we had him five times :-

Man United v Arsenal 19/11/16 (1 – 1) – 67% overall rating, bias against the two teams of 16/84 and three wrong Important Decisions.  Min 25 Darmian was correctly given a yellow card but it should have been his second (his first should have been issued in Min 15 for a foul on Walcott), Min 33 Darmian should have had a straight red card for a studs up challenge on Jenkinson and Min 90+4 Rooney should have had a second yellow card for dissent.

Man United v Arsenal

Arsenal v Crystal Palace 1/1/17 (2 – 0) – 82% overall, bias against the two teams of 71/29 and no wrong Important Decisions.  If only all refereeing was like this we could just go and enjoy the football!

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Arsenal v Watford 31/1/17 (1 – 2) – 83% overall weighting but the few wrong decisions were all in Watford’s favour.  There were again no wrong Important Decisions.

Arsenal v Watford

Arsenal v Man City 2/4/17 (2 – 2) – 83% overall, bias against the two teams of 55/45.  There was one wrong Important Decision when in Min8 Navas was wrongly given a yellow card for a studs up challenge on Monreal which should have been a red card.

Arsenal v Man City

Arsenal v Man United 7/5/17 (2 – 0) – unfortunately we have no full referee review of this game but we won quite convincingly so what wrong decisions he made against us didn’t cost us points.

Good numbers but poor decisions probably cost us points  in the away draw with United and the home draw against City.

In 2015 – 16 we had Mr Marriner twice, running out winners on both occasions

Newcastle v Arsenal 29 August (0 – 1)  76% overall rating, bias against the two teams of 33/67 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 12 a Thauvin foul on Bellerin should have been penalised with an Arsenal penalty and a yellow card; Min 26 Thauvin was correctly given a yellow card but following the incident in Min 12 it should have been his second.  These decisions didn’t affect the outcome of the game which we won but made the game a lot harder than it should have been.

Ref Review : Newcastle – Arsenal

Arsenal v Man City 21 December (2 – 1)  58% overall, bias against the two teams of 87/13 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 31 Fernandinho should have had a first yellow card for a foul on Campbell (foul acknowledged and advantage played but ref failed to book the player at the next break in play), Min 59 Fernandinho should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Bellerin and Min 61 the same player should also have been booked for another foul on Campbell.  Again th edecisions didn’t affect the outcome of the game which we won.  Suffice it to say that with an overall scote below 60% this was not Mr Marriner’s finest hour.

Arsenal v Man City


  1. On his own Andre Marriner isn’t someone to be feared terribly, he isn’t the best referee but is good enough to put in decent performances.
  2. In the past he seemed to lack confidence at times and, I’m sure that led to the terrible mix-up in Arsène’s 1000th game which led to Kieran Gibbs being dismissed in a case of mistaken identity prompted by the intervention of fourth official Anthony Taylor
  3. Anthony Taylor is again our Fourth Official this Saturday and he is always bad news for an Arsenal match.  He seems to have a personal grudge against Arsène and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the two of them exchanging words again.
  4. This is a game where I wouldn’t be surprised to see referee interventions altering the shape of the match – we are on an ominously good run of home results (and have started to turnaround our away results as well) and I’m sure that Manchester bandwagon will be concerned about that.
  5. We should look out for the usual interventions, fouls from United players being ignored or not counted, inappropriate advantages being given (or appropriate advantages not given), ‘phantom fouls’, not given penalties in the United box and dives in the Arsenal box being given.  (By the way in the 7amkickoff blog earlier this week Tim gives a masterclass breakdown of the dive in the Cologne game that is well worth looking up Arsenal make a flat cake in Köln (plus a simple lesson on how to spot a dive) 
  6. Having said all of this we actually have a decent record with Mr Marriner in charge and if we play anything like we did in the last quarter of the Huddersfield game are more than capable of blowing away United in a similar fashion.


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19 Replies to “Welcome to the man who shouldn’t be there. Arsenal v Man Utd Sat 2 December 2017 – The Match Officials.”

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the Anthony Taylor that had the tunnel confrontation with AW?

  2. Yes, Taylor who makes out he supports Altrincham or somewhere, but is so obviously a Manure fan.

  3. Great, think the team may need the man in the stands for this one, despite an impressive home record.
    Jose knows and uses every dark art going, just hope the stupidly inaccurate media obsession with the penalty that beat plucky, Northern, Burnley is not in the minds of these officials

  4. lewis, what a brilliant post, a well thought out and reasoned comment on the above article, one that has reams of data to back it up. If you get any smarter, you might be able to wipe your own arse after having a shit.

  5. lewis….write an intelligent and salient referee evaluation that contrasts with what Andrew has done and then you can come on here and spout whatever shite your head is filled with.

  6. Being myself not really a fan of the ‘English Refs are the best ‘ club, I do hope that we see an even and unbiased performance from Marriner .As usual I am pessimistically optimistic !

    I hope we do stick to what we do best and avoid getting into any untoward ‘issues’ with the Manure players .Least bothered with the stupid antics of their manager .

    And hope that our fans are in good voice and lustily cheer the team on . And boo and heckle their players if they resort to the ‘dark arts’ .And for time wasting.

    Up the Gunners !

  7. I went to a ISL match in Goa (Goa FC v Bengaluru FC) last night and it was entertaining to say the least. Ended up with a 4 – 3 win for Goa FC. The crowd comprising of a mix of families & boisterous young men seemed to enjoy the Mexican wave more than any of the football.

    The officiating was poor but I suppose at the level these officials are is expected. Foul throw ins not picked up, deliberate fouls to break up forward momentum not penalised but one foul was given with perfection.

    The BFC goalkeeper kicked the GFC forward off the ball & was red carded. A penalty was awarded as the incident was in the goal area (even though the ball was near the bye line & in play when the incident occurred. I just wish Goalkeeper time wasting is penalised in a similar way with a penalty.

    There is nothing to beat a live match for atmosphere & the overall visibility of incidents that for whatever reason is not picked up by the officials.

  8. Just for the record – tickets were £2.50 per head, a cold bottled drink of 250ml was 20p & a snack was less than a pound.

  9. @ Menace -01/12/2017 at 6:03 am – And how much were the Feni drinks ?

    I’ve subscribed to Videocon , but yet to be bitten by the ISL bug . No other football team interests me like the Arsenal . Maybe if there is a team from either Udipi or Manipal , I may change my mind.

    I don’t even watch the Spanish , Italian or German leagues . I’d rather watch some comedy show or a movie .

    But I will sit long hours to watch the Indian cricket team play.

  10. Yes, the biggest game(for me and many others) is on Sat.
    Time to outplay(we know we can) Manu and put them in their place again.
    It has been a long time coming and All Arsenal fans would love a win.

    No doubt there will be controversies, no doubt there will be incidents
    but it is time now to shake the trauma of losses to them and move on to

    Players beware of putting yourselves into positions that the ref can exploit,
    concentrate on our game plan, determination to win and not lose focus and we will
    send them home with their tails between their legs.

    Feeling generally good but with just a little apprehension(after all Manu are tough)
    but they are not unbeatable.

  11. One thing:

    Man City are currently running away with the league trophy. It’s too early to say, yes, but it doesn’t look well for “the best league in the history of football!” to have a title race settled after 15 games.

    Man United are the closest chasers, the only ones within ten-point-range and the fact FA didn’t press any charge against Lukaku for his conduct last weekend (which would have meant he’d sit out the games v Arsenal and Man City respectively as well) suggests that they want at least all-Manchester title race to take place.

  12. I always fee that with Marriner involved there will be some ridiculous refs mistakes but both teams will feel aggrieved, however with Taylor the mistakes will always be against us.
    I really hope I’m wrong about it…

  13. Brickfields – I also enjoy the Indian cricket team. Just total entertainment from year to year. New guys quite often better than the last lot yet so enjoyable to watch.

    I went for the game as I love the game too. The players are amazingly skilled but do not have the exposure nor the coaching to nurture their natural skills.

    Off course Arsenal are my passion so I stay up nights to support them & enjoy such great results like the one against Huddersfield. I’m looking forward to the Manure game as I have a bunch of friends who support them. They get a lesson in the Art of Seeing… but there’s no teaching the sighted blind who are happy with success in corruption.

    I was asked recently ‘What’s wrong with Northern referees? I’m from the North!’ I answered ‘the same thing that blights politicians no matter where they’re from, greed’.

  14. I had 50/50 odds on for Marriner or Atkinson for this match following the appointments so far.

    Easy money.

    To be fair it is hard to tell them apart, they all look (and act) the same.
    So predictable it’s even possible to predict which matches they’ll get!

    Neither are angling for the top job, or retired from FUFA (not sure, but does anyone care?), unlike Dean they won’t be attempting to airbrush their hapless and unbrushable previous record (as in incontrovertible data), so it’s going to be harder match then the NLD as the opponents will have more protection from the officials, pulls and pushes less likely to be called etc.

    After all they need to keep the Manchester narrative (“the greatest story ever told” and other soundbites etc) that they’ve written for this season alive. The show must go on?

  15. On the subject of refs and match fixing: it has happened in Thailand again. Here is a link to discussion about what to do. https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/sports/1369899/equal-pay-touted-to-tackle-sports-graft

    It is unrealistic in its proposal of equal pay but it does indicate some are thinking about the problem and trying to come up with solutions.

    What happens in Thailand can happen anywhere so England ought to be working to avoid all avenues for corruption affecting the game!

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