By Walter Broeckx, referee
With the visit of Birmingham came also ref Atkinson to the Emirates. Since the Eduardo incident a very tricky game and with from Arsenal’s point of view games where the casualty list was high in the past seasons: Eduardo, Walcott, Cesc…just to name a few.
Just take a look at the first incident:
OTHER/CARD/GOAL The first major decision was a foul on Chamakh from Carr. He came in with his studs showing and his foot slid off the shin pads of Chamakh. A foul and for the way he came in should have been a yellow.
From the resulting free kick a Squillaci headed in but the goal was disallowed for off side. From the angle on the TV it looked as if he was just offside. But no one could offer me an image with a line on it so I will hand the linesman and the ref the benefit of the doubt. I will try to include a picture and if he was offside it would have been inches/centimetres.
The call for the foul was correct, the card kept in his pocket was wrong and the not giving goal looked correct also and if the call is this close I can understand it. Just one note in case of doubt the linesman should give the advantage to the attacker. 1/1, 0/1 and 1/1
GOAL : there was nothing wrong when you look at the rule book with the Birmingham goal. 1/1
OTHER/CARD Foster is already playing for time, taking the ball to the other side of the six-yard box for his goal kick. And we all have seen the time wasting from the start but from the moment Birmingham took the lead the efforts were doubled. Shortly before half time the ref called over Carr the captain and made it clear that he would not allow it any more. But they did it for the rest of the game apart from the last 10 minutes and the ref did not act with a card. So telling a team that they have to stop is worth a point but after that not give a yellow card when they continue loses him a point. 1/1 and 0/1
PENALTY/OTHER/GOAL We have seen here a thing that happens very rarely in football, in fact it is one of the first times I have seen it on this level. A Birmingham defender does a tackle from behind on Chamakh and clips his foot. Chamakh goes down, the ref let play continue as the ball falls for Arshavin who can shoot at goal. Arshavin misses and the given advantage goes away and the ref comes back to the initial foul and gives the penalty.
First the foul itself: the defender comes nowhere near to the ball and touches Chamakh. The fact that Chamakh went down with what could be described as a very impressive tumble doesn’t take anything away from the fact he was touched and had a right to go down if he felt he was impeded.
So yes it was a penalty for me 1/1 and the ref had every right to wait to see if Arsenal would have scored directly from the first shot and then come back to the foul. In fact this was a piece of great refereeing skill if you ask me. 1/1 and the penalty was converted without problems so another 1/1.
OTHER/CARD Chamakh goes down in a heap after a vicious attack in the back after a throw. It was clear to see that the Birmingham players attempted to hurt Chamakh and the ref did nothing to protect him at the time. In fact the Birmingham player came in with his elbow leading against the head of Chamakh and as he was coming in from behind he knew the player was in front of him and so he had to take care that his elbow did not hit the players head.
So in fact it can be described and should have been described as a deliberate elbow and for this is only one punishment: a red card. So not giving the foul and not seeing the elbow are two misses from the ref. 0/1 and 0/1
CARD/CARD/CARD Nasri is booked for a knee at the bottom of Ridgewell. What the ref didn’t see was the fact that after the first little foul from Nasri that same Ridgewell had given a little kick at Nasri who then found it necessary to give him a nudge with this knee. So both players should have got a yellow card for their stupid behaviour. And also keeper Ben Foster should have been booked because he found it necessary to run out of his goal to the halfway line to give his thoughts on the whole matter and to get involved in the incident.
In my country the instructions are clear on this: if a keeper comes out that far to get involved in an incident he should be sent back to his area and be rewarded with a yellow card. So should have been 3 yellow cards and only one given. 1/3
GOAL apart from the fact that it was a great build up from Wilshere and Song nothing to report when it comes to the rule book. 1/1
OTHER/ CARD Bowyer commits a foul against Wilshere, the ref gives advantage. Then he goes after Diaby who is being fouled but who can free himself and suddenly finds himself in a great position but the ref stops the game and gives a yellow card. Bowyer committed two fouls in a row and within seconds. So the first advantage was correct and the booking also but he could have given Diaby advantage. But I can understand the ref for blowing his whistle. It is one of those times that you blow the whistle a fraction of a second to soon. But I think I will not deduct him a point for the stopping play as he thought he had to stop Bowyer at that time. 1/1, 1/1
CARD: Carr goes in the book for hauling down Rosicky. It was his second foul in just over a minute against Rosicky so no doubt about that card: fully deserved card. 1/1
CARD against Eboue. Totally deserved yellow card and a totally unnecessary tackle. I really didn’t like the tackle at all and not in that position and place on the field. Could it be that is was payback time for the challenge last season on Walcott? Anyway I don’t want to see it. 1/1
CARD for Wilshere. The first heavy touch from Wilshere and when he wants to make up for this he goes in hard and dangerous against Zigic. Luckily Wilshere is a small player with not that much weight because if it would have been a player like Djourou who comes in like that we could have had some bones broken. So yes I can only agree with the ref’s decision to send him off. 1/1
Cards: 5 /10
TOTAL SCORE: 13/19 (68%)
About the time wasting as I explained in my article already when the ref notices that it is happening and he warns the team captain to stop it and they continue and the ref doesn’t give the yellow card(s) you make a fool of yourself and this is the last thing you should do as a ref.
About the red card I think it was a good move from Arsenal and Wilshere to acknowledge the fact it was a good decision and accept the red card and the punishment. I only hope that this will be the standard for everyone from now on. But it wouldn’t surprise me if by next week we have seen a dozen tackles like that without any cards or a yellow card at the most. I also hope that from now on ref Atkinson will make these decisions in the rest of his career from now on.
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