Arsenal & Chelsea’s Twelfth Man, The Referee?

Posted: February 14, 2016 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , , , , ,


What is it about Stamford Bridge and the Emirates? Are referees under instruction that Chelsea and Arsenal are not allowed to lose? Does the game have to go on until they win? It always appears to be so.

In the Sunday game between Arsenal and Leicester, Martin Atkinson had given Leicester a first half penalty for a foul on Jamie Vardy, obviously forgetting that the game was at Arsenal’s home ground and he had just committed a cardinal sin.

Fortunately for Arsenal, he was reminded at half-time, probably by Arsene Wenger, of his obligations to the home team. So, in the second half he set about, not only evening things up, but ensuring that they tilted in Arsenal’s favour.

Firstly he sent off Danny Simpson for a nothing challenge which he deemed as a second yellow card. This, in his eyes, would give Arsenal the advantage numerically and should ensure that they won the game. It did bring about an equaliser through Theo Walcott and, at this stage, a draw would have been a “fair”, if slightly tainted, result.

Martin Atkinson was having none of that though. Having found four minutes of additional time from somewhere only he knew, he actually played an additional five and a half minutes, allowing Arsenal to score the winner. Of course, as soon as Leicester kicked off from the goal, the whistle was blown for full-time.

It had been incredible to watch and, when my wife asked me how long was left to go, I actually said, “however long Arsenal need to score the winner”, which turned out to be five minutes, one minute longer than was “officially” added on.

It is no wonder that the media and “lesser” clubs talk about the imparity of treatment when they go to the big four or five. It appears to be particularly true in London.

The question is; why is nothing done about it? Surely referees meet at regular intervals to discuss rule changes, shared difficulties and suggest improvements. Why can they not discuss being fair to every team from whichever division, wherever they play? Why is it so difficult to apply the rules fairly at the bigger grounds?

Forget “high profile” games and all this nonsense. At the end of the day it is a game of football and the rules are the same whoever is contesting it.

We are surely reaching the stage where technology HAS to play a bigger part. Even Arsene Wenger has agreed that it could be used for offside decisions and other important, non-time consuming infractions. It should also be used for time-keeping.

In this day and age, it is ridiculous that a very important factor in a game, such as how long it actually lasts, is decided by a fallible human being, who has to remember to keep stopping and starting his watch. This part of the game could easily be taken out of the hands of the referee, giving him less on which to concentrate and making the game fairer for everyone involved.

Arsenal fans were the only people in the country happy with the result and the performance of the referee in the game against Leicester City. Everybody else was left with a sour taste in the mouth and the feeling of deja vu.

When a smaller club like Leicester appears to be in danger of upsetting the balance of the traditional way of things it appears that something aways mysteriously appears to prevent it happening.

Is this what everybody means when they say it would be a miracle if Leicester City were to win the Premier League? It does seem that way!

  1. Sudz90 says:

    This article is a joke right? Else, you need to visit a psychiatrist asap. The ref failed to call innumerable fouls committed by Leicester in the first half and gave a penalty to Leicester instead of booking Vardy for a blatant dive.
    Did you check the studs up challenge on Ramsey? The ref didn’t even call that a foul, let alone show what would’ve been a well deserved straight red.
    As far as the added time goes, the free kick was awarded at 93:45 (3 mins 45s is less than 4mins last time I checked).. So, it had to be the last kick of the game and Arsenal scored from it. Do not try to paint a false picture here. You ain’t gonna fool us..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Sudz90. You’re right, the article is tongue-in-cheek, because I actually have no reason to doubt the morality or sincerity of Martin Atkinson. The underlying point I am trying to make though is serious. I do think that automatic timekeeping would be of benefit to everybody because there are many occasions when the amount of time added, whether too much or too little, is very difficult to understand and, if it were calculated using technology, nobody would argue becasue nobody ever does, we just accept it.


  2. Arinze says:

    Danny Simpson got sent off. Not C. Fuchs


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