Huddersfield v Arsenal Sunday 13 May 2018 – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

So now we know that the referee for Arsène’s last match at Arsenal wont be Mike Dean.  We have

  • Referee – Michael Oliver  age 32 from Northumberland and FIFA accredited (but not going to the World Cup this summer)
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Lee Betts  from Norfolk and FIFA accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Ian Hussin  from Mersyside and FIFA accredited
  • Fourth Official – Chris Kavanagh Age 42 from Manchester 

This will be the fourth time we have had Mr Oliver this season, so far one win, one draw and a loss.  It will however be the first time he has been paired with either of these Assistants (his usual sidekicks have been Simon Bennett and Stuart Burt) 

  1. Chelsea v Arsenal 17 September 0 – 0  I have no notes of anything untoward or obviously wrong Important Decisions.  Luiz rightly being given a red card for a studs up challenge on Kolasinac.  No free kick at the end when Alexis is fouled on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area and Arsenal not allowed to score an offside goal as City are against us.
  2. Man City v Arsenal 5 November 3 – 1 City one up in 19 minutes with a valid goal.  At the start of the second half an intervention from Oliver when Alexis is one on one with the last defender but this is not allowed as the referee sees an ‘phantom foul’.  City take the free kick and Sterling is sent away with Monreal beside him and Oliver ‘sees’ a foul and awards a penalty.  Two nil to City.  Lacazette with a valid goal in Min 65 for 2 – 1.  Then in Min 75 a third goal for City – so far offside as to be ridiculous.  One of the most tilted pitches you will ever see.
  3. Crystal Palace v Arsenal 28 December 2 – 3.  Arsenal take the lead with  a Mustafi goal after palace fail to clear their lines properly following a corner.  Oliver punishing Arsenal fouls but not those from Palace.  Palace score from their first chance 1 – 1 after 50 minutes.  Arsenal regain the lead on 62 minutes thanks to Alexis them make it 3 – 1 with Alexis again the scorer.  At the end we concede from a corner on 89 minutes.

Last Season 2016-17 we had Michael Oliver no fewer than five times

  1. Arsenal v Liverpool 14 August (3 – 4).  Overall rating 82%, bias against the two teams of 60/40 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Liverpool’s goal in Min 45+1 was scored from an incorrectly awarded free kick to Liverpool for a ‘phantom foul’.  Arsenal’s goal in Min 75 shouldn’t have counted as Chambers was offside.  One wrong goal for each team means that, in my opinion, the result was valid even if the score should have been 2 – 3.
  2. Arsenal v Chelsea 24 September (3 – 0).  Overall rating 81%, bias against the two teams of 90/10 and no wrong Important Decisions.  The referee was excellent in this game apart from the bias in minor decisions where he missed a couple of bookings for Chelsea players.
  3. Bournemouth v Arsenal 3 January (3 – 3).  Overall rating 84%, bias against the two teams of 21/79.  Mr Oliver made 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.  This was a game where Arsenal should have emerged winners and I therefore counted this as two points denied by the referee.
  4. Crystal Palace v Arsenal 10 April (3 – 0).  We have no formal review of this game but from Walter’s post match report there was a non-decision to award a foul on Xhaka by Benteke in the build up to the first goal which shouldn’t have stood.  Benteke being allowed to charge in the back of Arsenal players all through the match.  In the second half Alexis was punished for jumping in the back of a Palace defender – no consistency there, The Palace second goal was valid, Cabaye with a looping shot over Martinez.  A not given penalty to Arsenal when Sakho wrapped up Giroud.  For the third goal a penalty was gifted to Palace with Townsend sticking his foot against Martinez to win a penalty.  I watched the first half only and thought it is easy for a team to be ahead if your players are allowed to foul the opposition players with impunity.  The referee didn’t help but in truth we were bullied from the start to the finish, mainly by means that would have been called as fouls anywhere else in Europe.  The result was probably valid and it was certainly a very poor performance from Arsenal but the referee certainly assisted the process.
  5. Tottenham v Arsenal 30 April (2 – 0)  Again no formal review for this match.  Alii with the first following an initial blocked shot by Cech from Eriksen.  No chance for the keeper and a valid goal.  Min 57 Kane went down in the penalty area having made sure he stuck out his leg to make contact.  Was it a dive? – not in the eyes of the referee.  Late in the game every tackle by an Arsenal player was being carded, Spurs players being allowed similar challenges without sanction.  Not the referee’s finest game but the result was valid.

In 2015-16 We had Mr Oliver only twice, both ended up as draws, but had Mr Oliver done his job properly Arsenal should have won both games.  In neither game did he reach our Minimum acceptable performance score of 70% :-

  1. Arsenal v Liverpool 24 August (0 – 0).  Overall rating 67%, bias against the two teams of 90/10 and three wrong Important Decisions.  Min 8 Aaron Ramsey was wrongly flagged offside when he scored, he wasn’t and the goal should have stood; Min 72 Lucas fouled Giroud in the penalty area, no penalty given; Min 85 Mignolet was correctly given a yellow card for time wasting but he should have had a yellow card in Min 58 for deliberately kicking the ball away meaning that he should have been sent off in Min 85.  These wrong decisions cost Arsenal 2 points in this game.
  2. Tottenham v Arsenal 5 March (2 – 2).  Overall rating 56%, bias against the two teams of 14/86 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 65 Lamela should have been dismissed with two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Alexis, the second for a deliberate push on Alexis, he was wrongly only given a single yellow card;  Min 79 Dier should have had a second yellow card for a deliberate attack breaking foul, the foul was given but not the card.  In my opinion had Spurs had their two players sent off it is probable that Arsenal would have won this game.

Going back to 2014-15, we had Mr Oliver on three occasions, again all were drawn

  1. Arsenal v Tottenham 27 Sept (1 – 1)  66% overall rating, bias against the two teams of 85/15 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 30 Rose fouled Wilshere in the penalty area but nothing was awarded; Min 72 Mason should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Özil.  These two wrong decisions meant this was a game that Arsenal should have won instead of drawn
  2. Liverpool v Arsenal 21 December (2 – 2)  67% overall rating, bias against the two teams of 0/100 and two wrong Important decisions.  In Min 46 Debuchy was booked for an incident involving a dive by Sterling, the card should have gone to the Liverpool player instead, in Min 61 Sterling was booked for a dive but this should have been his second yellow;  Min 90+1 Borini should have had a straight red card for a foul on Cazorla, he was wrongly issued with a second yellow card – no effect on this game but he should have had a three match ban not one match.  Had Liverpool been reduced to 10 men for the last 20 minutes of the game it is probable that this is another match that Arsenal would have won rather than drawn.
  3. Arsenal v Chelsea 26 April (0 – 0) we have no formal referee review for this game.  From Walter’s post match report he notes the following ‘iffy’ decisions – Cahill handling a cross from Bellerin in the third quarter of the first half but no penalty awarded, Willian hitting Koscielny in the face but only getting a yellow card instead of a red.  Chelsea celebrating the draw as though they had won convincingly – a masterclass in negative football from Mourinho, but if Mr Oliver had seen able to correctly award Arsenal a penalty and send off a Chelsea player….


  • Mr Oliver is the one referee in England who is now accredited by FIFA to officiate at the highest level of International matches.  This accreditation came too late for him to be given an invitation to go to the World Cup in Russia this summer.
  • Whilst he may have International recognition, his record in Arsenal matches is pretty dismal – always ready to overlook the rules to allow our opponents an advantage.
  • Don’t expect it to change on Sunday.  What should be a celebration of Arsène’s last ever match will more than likely be turned into another away defeat as the officials take control of affairs.  Remember we beat Huddersfield by 5 – 0 at the Emirates and there is no reason why we shouldn’t win again unless there is some kind of intervention.




6 Replies to “Huddersfield v Arsenal Sunday 13 May 2018 – The Match Officials”

  1. Hopefully by the end of the summer, Michael Oliver loses his accreditation with FIFA, leaving England with none. Which would be be just about right.

  2. Story at WorldFootball that Arsenal have suspended U23 coaches Gatting and Laraman over bullying.

    nothing at that I can see.

  3. Here we go again – Arsenal players being charged for questioning the ref after he awarded the pen v Leicester PGMO. I’ve seen worse all season yet only Arsenal get this mf treatment by the FA.

    Four players rightly approached Scott (Rileys poodle)after he awarded the penalty. He booked Kola so effectively dealt with the incident but the FA decide it was not sufficient for Arsenal.

    I hope Arsenal take the matter to the ultimate & get the courts involved.

  4. In an Arsenal match in the PL, referee Michael Oliver can be as bad as Mike Dean. For, these are two referres including referre Anthony Taylor who well known for their staunch anti-Arsenal referring culminating to Arsenal losing points overtime which they would have collected even in this season’s campaign if hadn’t been for the anti-Arsenal referring carried out against the Gunners in their games by Mike Dean, Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver who are the leading anti-Arsenal referres among other anti-Arsenal referees at the PGMO.

    Nevertheless, the Gunners who will be selected by Le Boss to play against Huddersfield on Sunday in the Premier League at the Amex should defuse any anti-Arsenal referring that referee Michael Oliver might intentionally carry out against them by playing a superior game in the match which will render referee Michael Oliver helpless in his attempt to nullify an Arsenal win in the match so as to see Arsenal lose the match that will see the PGMO target, Arsene Wenger alias Le Boss bow out of Arsenal on the low losing 8 PL matches on the run.

    My 4-2-3-1 Arsenal starts and the 7 on the bench Gunners for the Huddersfield match are as below.


    Ospina BFG Holding Maitland Iwobi Welbeck Aubameyan.

    Are the Arsenal U23 players disciplined at all? They’ve complained of being bullied by their coaches who apparently must be bullying them to make them play better than they are currently playing in the comfort zone for Arsenal that saw them lost to Porto’s U23 team in an international Cup match at the Ems under the Arsenal U18 coach who took charge of them for the match. Thus, for their indiscipline and lack of focus, I’ve dropped any of our U23 players in my 18 man Gunners squad for the Terriers match.

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