Arsenal v Watford Sunday 11 March 2018 – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Our Officials are :-

Referee – Martin Atkinson Age 46 from West Yorkshire

Assistant Referee 1 – Lee Betts  from Norfolk and FIFA accredited

Assistant Referee 2 – Constantine Hatzidakis  from Kent and FIFA accredited

Fourth Official – Chris Kavanagh  Age 42 from Manchester

A long standing bette noir of Arsenal for this game.  Mr Atkinson didn’t consider this a foul let alone a red card offence.03. Bellerin Alonso Goal Foul Red .  Alonso led with his elbow and Bellerin was knocked out before he hit the ground, his initial reaction is to walk away from the prone Arsenal player.  I really don’t need to say much more.  Needless to say with one of our best players out of the game we didn’t win the match.  After that his refereeing was pretty good but by then he had done his job and tilted the pitch comprehensively.  Overall he got a score of 85%, bias 24/76 and the two wrong Important Decisions relating to the Alonso incident (the goal shouldn’t have counted and Chelsea should have been down to 10 men)

This season he was in charge for our 3 – 3 draw with Liverpool.  Liverpool were somewhat lucky with all three of their goals in terms of deflections but not even I can blame Mr Atkinson for those.

Last Season – Apart from the Chelsea game that I have already mentioned we had him for three other games :-

Sunderland v Arsenal (1 – 4) 29 October 61% overall, bias 10/90 and six wrong Important Decisions, three Sunderland players should have had straight red cards Min 12 Rodwell for an elbow on Coquelin, Min33 Ndong for a foul on Coquelin (he was wrongly given a yellow card) and Min74 Jamuzaj for an excessively high foot which caught Coquelin in the head, Pienaar ‘s yellow card in Min 41 should have been his second (his first should have been in Min26 for a trip on Alexis) and Kone should have got two yellow cards as well for fouls on Sanchez in the penalty area for which a Penalty should have been awarded.

Man City v Arsenal (2 – 1) 18 Dec  66% overall, bias against the two teams of 8/92 and four wrong Important Decisions – Min47 Sane was offside when he scored and the goal shouldn’t have counted, Min 80 De Brune should have had a straight red card for a reckless flying challenge from behind on Gabriel, Min 90+4 Sterling should have has a second yellow card for an arm to the back of Brllerin’s head and Toure should have had a second yellow for deliberately delaying the restart.

Arsenal v West Ham (3 – 0) 5 April 72% overall, bias against the two teams of 100/0 and three wrong Important DecisionsMin 18 Masaku should have given away a penalty for a foul on Walcott and in Min 90+2 Byram should have had a second yellow card and given away a penalty for a foul on Monreal neither were given.  Even in a comfortable win every single wrong decision throughout the game was against Arsenal.

In 2015/16 we had the pleasure of his officiating on three occasions :-

Arsenal v West Ham (0 – 2) opening day of the season.  54% overall, bias against the two teams of 100/0 and three wrong Important Decisions Min 37 Tomkins should have has a second yellow card for a foul on Monreal, Min 43 there was no foul from Ramsey Mr Atkinson awarded West Ham a ‘phantom foul’ from which they scored (no foul = no free kick = no goal), Min 62 Noble dived to win a foul against Giroud, Noble should have had a second yellow card.

Arsenal v Spurs (1 – 1) 8 Nov 41% overall, bias against the two teams of 82/18 and no fewer than eight wrong Important Decisions.  Arsenal should have had three penalties all following Vertonghen fouls on Giroud in Min 18, Min 35 and Min 54.  All of those fouls should have resulted in Yellow Cards for Vertonghen.  In Min 54 Dier should have had a second yellow card for yet another foul on Giroud.  In Min 35 seconds after the three separate fouls by Vertonghen both Vertonghen and Giroud should have been sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Arsenal v Leicester (2 – 1) 14 Feb.  Was Mr Atkinson a Valentine for this match – No.  52% overall bias against the two teams of 94/6 and another seven wrong Important Decisions against Arsenal.   Four not given penalties Min 9 against Kante for handball, Min 37 against Huth for holding and pulling Giroud, Min 45 Vardy barged into Monreal and instead of correctly penalising him for a foul Atkinson awarded a penalty, Min 55 Morgan on Giroud.  As the Vardy penalty shouldn’t have been awarded the goal from the spot also shouldn’t have counted.  In Min 48 Simpson got a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Sanchez but he should have had a first in Min 30 for pulling Özil away from the ball.  Min 71 Drinkwater should have had a straight red card for a challenge above calf height on Ramsey.


  1. Mr Atkinson has been regarded by some as one of our best referees and has appeared on the most important stages of world football.  Unfortunately he seems completely incapable of refereeing Arsenal in an honest and balanced manner.
  2. Time and time again he shows no indication of recognising a bad challenge or even simple fouls or handballs that should result in an Arsenal penalty.
  3. To award every single wrong decision against one team in a match takes some conscious effort, to do it twice in eight matches requires considerably more.
  4. Mr Atkinson’s past performances indicate that he is a referee of whom Arsenal should be very wary and we can expect him to do just about anything to assist our opponents on Sunday.


10 Replies to “Arsenal v Watford Sunday 11 March 2018 – The Match Officials”

  1. Troy Deeny’s rubbing his hands in anticipation and practicing penalties.
    Oh well.

  2. Despite the presence of Atkinson, Arsenal have an opportunity to shove some humble pie up Deenys gob. The only way is to be just as brutal in the tackle & to win. It is not Wengerball but sometimes Arsenal need to resort to ‘robust’ football.

  3. Menace

    If we resorted to ‘robust’ football with Atkinson we would be down to nine men in the first half.

    Once again we can only admire Arsene Wenger and our players who keep on performing in the face of outright bias like this.

  4. Agree with Pat. Best thing we can do is go on a scoring blitz to start the game and make Atkinson meaningless.

    Watching Alonzo knocking out Bellerin video, still gets me upset. Atkinson is unfit to do an Arsenal match. If I recall correctly, I don’t think PGMO ever apologized for not protecting Bellerin that day.

  5. Pat
    “Once again we can only admire Arsene Wenger and our players who keep on performing in the face of outright bias like this.”
    Can you really say theres a lot to admire at the moment..Some of you are easily pleased.We have fallen way short of the standards we shold be setting as a club which no other top club would tolerate..And i reiterate TOP CLUB..

  6. @Nik
    We’ve won 3 cups in 4 years what other club has won anything which is not owned by a billionaire or a country
    We get the players that are available after the big boys have had there pick
    What have the Spuds and the hub cap knickers done , for what Arsene achieved in his early days has brought too much expectation for what we do now

  7. Steve
    In answer to your question Leicester have won the league and arent owned by a billionaire.We .as youve failed to mention are owned by 2 of the richest billionaires on the planet.Our manager is one of the top 5 best paid managers in world football and we are 6th placed in our league and closer to bottom of the table than the top.He is under achieving and has been for some time .Not really good enough for one of the biggest football clubs in the world.

  8. There is just no positive bone in some people, go on swirling in your negative thoughts to your hearts content. Sorry, but it just won’t get you the outcome your words indicate you may want.

  9. Bob
    Name me something there is to be positive about at Arsenal at the moment??You just hide behind all your excuses of why the club is in freefall if it makes you feel better.Seing the stadium half empty once again shows that the real fans have had enough and change cant come soon enough!!

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