Arsenal v Manchester City


RH at 2017-04-23 18:03:47

So the Refereeing talking points in this game were

  • First half key match error’s overshadow the Match Officials performance
  • Two key match penalty incidents called wrongly
  • First half ball out of play key match decision error by an Assistant
  • The Referee and the PGMOL will have learned much from this game but at what cost?

It seems a long time ago that I blogged the following;

This is a big game for Craig and will serve as a milepost on his progress, games such as this offer an opportunity for him to state his big game credentials’

I take no pleasure in saying that Craig still has much to do to earn a big match Referee reputation. He got into a good position to judge the first half Oxlade Chamberlin Aguero penalty area challenge and there was enough contact on the City forward to have earned a penalty. But whether it was the weight of expectation or the gravity of the occasion I don’t know but Craig chose not to act bravely. The other penalty incident was equally unsatisfactory, Navas bringing down Sanchez and again the Referee chose not to intervene, although Assistant Bennett could have offered support its difficult to understand why in recognition of offence terms a  penalty was not given, which leads us again to the conclusion that it was the occasion that got the better of the Referee. Craig Pawson was not the only one to rue that first half, Steven Child wrongly signalled a Sane cross out of play when TV pictures showed the contrary, City again being denied what would have been an opportunity to score. Was the Assistant in the correct position to judge? The camera does not show this either way, but earlier in the half Steven was left making up a lot of ground as the ball was played wide right to Navas. Steven Child has a very good big game record but he too must reflect on what went wrong today.

So was this a good appointment? Well on the face of it yes, Craig Pawson has Refereed the Community Shield and in succession terms along with Bobby Madley he’s tucked in behind Oliver and Taylor. But no more than that judging by today, what really matters now is that he and the PGMOL Coaching team analyse this game reflect on what went wrong and work with him to increase his mental strength, presence and determination to make the big decisions in the big games!

This was Craig Pawson’s opportunity to state claim to Refereeing at the very highest level of our domestic game, it didn’t happen for him today but his chance will come again, its how he reacts to this setback that maters now. This nice guy can still get there!

RH at 2017-04-23 17:33:18

Full Time

Summary to follow

30 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:32:16

A minimum of one minute additional time to be played

28 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:31:26

Otamnedi was fortunate not to give away a free kick earlier and bring Ozil down for what sure could have been a second cautionable offence?

27 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:30:10

Clichy getting enough of a touch on the ball to deny Bellerin and not concede a penalty

25 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:28:18

Yellow CardOtamendi earns the latest caution


24 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:27:27

Its more about matching the physical demands of the end to end counter attacking play than recognition of offences at the moment as both teams seek that all important next goal

22 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:24:29

Ramsey fells De Bruyne for an obvious City free kick!

20 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:23:15

Its end to end again as City throw everything forward and test Craig Pawson’s lung power!

18 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:20:43

Yellow CardA correction as to the previous ‘Toure caution’ the yellow card was in fact shown to Sane for what I think was his gesturing a yellow card for Gabriel’s challenge


RH at 2017-04-23 17:19:02

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RH at 2017-04-23 17:17:54

We’re underway once more!

RH at 2017-04-23 17:15:05

Half Time


15+1 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:14:51

Yellow CardXhaka also earned a caution for that exchange with Delph


14 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:13:19

Yellow CardDelph earns a silly caution for pushing Xhaka, Craig Pawson working well with his team on the intercom and involving both captains, that’s more like it!

13 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:10:56

Gabriel grounds Sane and Toure earns a Yellow Cardpresumably for protesting too vigorously

RH at 2017-04-23 17:08:15

GOAL!Advantage Gunners as Sanchez scores!

9 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:07:13

Toure collapses on Xhaka and unsurprisingly concedes a free kick

8 XT

RH at 2017-04-23 17:05:52

City ring the changes as Aguero and Fernandinho are replaced


RH at 2017-04-23 17:03:40

This first period of extra time following the pattern of the second half which will be good for the Referee, particularly as the physical demands of a game such as this drain a Referee mentally

RH at 2017-04-23 17:00:25

We’ve got some great games for you on Refcam later today and next weekend, join us for;

  • Tonight @ 21.00 LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders
  • Sunday @ 12.00 Manchester United v Swansea
  • Sunday @ 14.05 Everton v Chelsea
  • Sunday @ 16.30 Tottenham v Arsenal



RH at 2017-04-23 16:57:52

We’re underway again!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:57:23

Some respite for the Referee and his team as the second half was all about the players and entertaining counter attacking and goals! No key match incidents which along with lengthy periods between free kicks enabled the Craig Pawson to keep out of the spotlight and this should have enabled him to build confidence as he has put a long period of Refereeing since those first half errors.  There will be a time in the future  for analysis and reflection but all that matters now is bringing this game to a satisfactory conclusion!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:51:45

Full TimeExtra Time


RH at 2017-04-23 16:50:23

There are signs of tired legs and extra time conditioning as the pace and tempo of the game have steadied!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:48:42

A minimum of Three minutes additional time to be played


RH at 2017-04-23 16:47:00

Yellow CardDe Bruyne earns a caution for grounding Sanchez and ending a promising Arsenal attack


RH at 2017-04-23 16:45:26

Toure goes to ground in the penalty area, but there’s nothing doing there!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:42:27

Whilst the play is asking more of the Referee physically, player discipline is responsible for this also being the lowest free kick phase of the game!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:39:47

Its end to end now as both teams seek the winning goal, Craig Pawson is operating box to box which is understandable given the that both teams are counter attacking!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:36:48


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RH at 2017-04-23 16:35:30

This is by far the most physically demanding phase of the game for the Referee!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:33:29

Well he’s working harder! good to see Craig pumping his arms to track that Arsenal attack!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:32:22

Xhaka careless on Toure, the tempo has risen and Craig Pawson has got to respond with well judged game management, this will be a testing part of the game as both teams will now sense they can win this match!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:29:35

GOAL!Monreal makes it all square!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:28:42

Join us again on Refcam later today when your Referee Coach Guy Beale will be commenting live on the MLS action when LA Galaxy host the Seattle Sounders, this game kicks off at 21.00


RH at 2017-04-23 16:27:59

Yellow CardFerndinho grounds Xhaka to earn City’s first caution, fair enough!



RH at 2017-04-23 16:26:27

Watching Craig Pawson today I’m forming the view that he’s ok with routine decision making but as the action gets nearer the penalty area he feels the pressure of a big game! If the first half is any yardstick he’ll need to raise his game if another key match incident comes his way!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:22:33

The Referee needs to be focused here, Arsenal were getting back into this game and will have been rocked back by that goal, how will they respond? If its the wrong way the Referee needs to be on his toes to manage this particular phase of he game!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:20:27

GOAL!Aguero breaks the deadlock 1-0 City!



RH at 2017-04-23 16:19:43

Simon Bennett intervenes this time to flag a careless challenge by Fernandinho on Sanchez


RH at 2017-04-23 16:17:17

Arsenal competing much more evenly now as the game has opened up, the Referee is able to keep a low profile at the present match tempo


RH at 2017-04-23 16:15:24

But there is no mistake that Sane brought down Ozil as Arsenal get the next free kick!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:14:36

Otamendi and Ramsey go 50/50 and the Arsenal player comes off worst and doesn’t get the verdict!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:13:14

Ramsey pulls Sane and rightly concedes a free kick!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:12:36

We’ve got some great games for you on Refcam later today and next weekend, join us for;

  • Tonight @ 21.00 LA Galaxy v Seattle Sounders
  • Sunday @ 12.00 Manchester United v Swansea
  • Sunday @ 14.05 Everton v Chelsea
  • Sunday @ 16.30 Tottenham v Arsenal




RH at 2017-04-23 16:11:14

Sanchez draws the foul from Fernandinho, City don’t like it but the Referee was right!


RH at 2017-04-23 16:10:03

Craig Pawson would have gained confidence as he played a great advantage as Oxlade Chamberlain rode two hefty challenges

RH at 2017-04-23 16:07:30

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RH at 2017-04-23 16:04:43

Craig Pawson is going to learn a lot about his ability to deliver under pressure, its on occasions such as this we Referees learn how far our game has come and how strong mentally we are!  But at the moment its all about getting to grips with this game and salvaging some confidence!

RH at 2017-04-23 16:03:12

The second half is under way!

RH at 2017-04-23 15:57:56

Join us again on Refcam later today when your Referee Coach Guy Beale will be commenting live on the MLS action when LA Galaxy host the Seattle Sounders, this game kicks off at 21.00


RH at 2017-04-23 15:57:23

Well for half an hour it looked steady as she goes, just the one caution which I was happy with on the basis that it was time to punish the next borderline challenge. Then it started to go wrong, despite being well placed to view contact from behind by Oxlade Chamberline on Aguero Craig Pawson chose not to award City a penalty, for me that was a penalty, there was contact and that was enough. Then City were denied another scoring opportunity as Sane’s legitimate cross was converted. Steven Child wrongly flagged the ball out of play as a TV replay showed the ball kept in play. Then another key match incident saw Arsenal denied a penalty as Navas brought Sanchez down for what again was a penalty in my view. On that particular incident I thought that Assistant Simon Bennett could have helped Craig Pawson. However on two other occasion’s Bennett was correct to flag two Arsenal goal attempts offside. Three key incidents called wrong is not a good 45 minutes work but Craig Pawson has got to be strong here he and his team have got to put the first half behind them. Not an easy task but he has no choice! Its going to be a testing second half for the match officials!

RH at 2017-04-23 15:47:04

Half Time


RH at 2017-04-23 15:46:41

Sanchez goes to ground under close attention from Navas, the City man makes contact and again for me its another penalty!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:44:56

Its difficult to say whether Steven Child was in an ideal position to judge the flight of the ball from that Sane cross, but it was an error, and as I said earlier he was left well behind play earlier. However its not speculation that the ball was still in play as it was crossed!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:42:30

Steven Child signals ball out of play as Sane crosses, TV replays show that the ball keeps in play and City then ‘score’ but it ruled out! Arsenal get out of jail for the second time this game!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:39:38

A good tussle going on between Kompany and Giroud, the Arsenal man getting the verdict that time


RH at 2017-04-23 15:37:38

Regarding the penalty shout for City, there was definitely contact on Aguero, so how much contact do you need? That for me was a penalty


RH at 2017-04-23 15:35:05

Aguero in the wars as he feels the full force of Koscielny in the back!

RH at 2017-04-23 15:31:04

The first big call of the game, Oxlade Chamberlin and Aguero come together with the Arsenal player making contact Aguero goes down, enough contact for a penalty? The Referee was close and chose not to award a penalty!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:28:26

A long ball down the right flank saw Steven Child with a lot of ground to make up on Navas, fortunately the ball was cleared by Arsenal


RH at 2017-04-23 15:26:33

Steven Child with a confident flag as Sanchez goes in late on Fernandinho, Craig Pawson feels enough is enough and Yellow Cardcautions the Arsenal player


RH at 2017-04-23 15:23:58

Arsenal have the ball in the net but Simon Bennett flags Koscielny offside, straight forward enough!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:22:09

Kompany trips Ozil for a nailed on free kick, no doubt about that one!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:21:21

Silva penalised there which gives Arsenal a break, Pep didn’t seem impressed!

RH at 2017-04-23 15:20:17

Well tactically City looking the more settled at the moment, Arsenal don’t look too comfortable playing a back three which means that Assistant Steven Child is the busier so far!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:18:25

Kompany feeling that City should have ben awarded a corner there, but TV replays aren’t conclusive!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:16:12

I didn’t get the opportunity to praise Steven Child earlier for a great non flag as Aguero moved well onside in the channels to force an earlier City corner


RH at 2017-04-23 15:13:59

Gabriel with a clumsy challenge on Silva, careless in my view and the Referee is right to settle for a warning, in terms of cautions that would have set the bar too low at this stage of he game


RH at 2017-04-23 15:11:28

Steven Child stepped forward too quickly at the taking of that City corner, De Bruyne clearly not amused at the Assistants over enthusiasm!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:09:28

Frenandinho late on Monreal, the Referee could have allowed play to continue but in the defensive third I’ve got no problem with the Referee playing it safe and awarding a free kick at this stage of a big game


RH at 2017-04-23 15:06:51

Simon Bennett moved into position well to check that Bravo kept the ball in play and that City didn’t give a corner away


RH at 2017-04-23 15:05:28

Otamendi concedes the first free kick for a careless challenge on Ozil


RH at 2017-04-23 15:03:45

Keith Hackett described Martin Atkinson and his team’s performance in yesterday’s Chelsea Tottenham FA Cup Semi Final as the, ‘Best Refereeing Performance of the season’ so let’s see how Team Pawson measure up today!


RH at 2017-04-23 15:02:34

If you are watching the game on TV, Simon Bennett is operating on the far side and the other Assistant Steven Child is running the nearside touch line.

RH at 2017-04-23 15:00:41

Our match Referee Craig Pawson gets us underway!

RH at 2017-04-23 14:57:42

The teams and Match Officials have entered the field of play!

RH at 2017-04-23 14:53:58

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RH at 2017-04-23 14:49:29

In considering profile of the current PGMOL Professional Referee it could be argued that there is little room for eccentricity or authenticity in the makeup of the games finest practitioners, we have certainly left the days of Roger Milford, Keith Cooper and Neil Midgely far behind, one also wonders how the likes of Graham Poll and Jeff Winter would succumb to the current management style of the PGMOL? But one aspect of a Referees dna is their intrinsic personality what makes them tick as people and in thinking along those lines are they ‘nice guys’ or are they a little more driven and feeling less inclined to ingratiate themselves with others in the game?

Well one thing we can say is that today’s Referee is a nice guy! and let’s face it we all like to see a nice guy succeed! But here lies the dilemma for Craig Pawson, since his elevation to the list of Premier League Referees he has reminded us all of his nice guy credentials often at his own cost, appearing too relaxed in his body language, lacking impact and energy in some of his key incident decision making, breezing around the field of play trying not to appear under pressure but conveying a relaxed persona. Ok for pre-season friendlies played at a sedate pace and tempo, but suggesting a degree of detachment when the heat is on and the tempo rising as it does in many top flight games. Let’s make no mistake here, Craig Pawson has what it takes to become one of this country’s top Referees, it’s just that his game at the very highest echelons of the Nation’s favorite sport is still work in progress. It’s easy to see that progress is being made, if we compare Craig’s game over this season as against the previous campaign, we can for the most part, see that there is more focus, more direct and engergised movement, an instinct to act and punish offences and seek correct outcomes in key decision making. However this has come at a price, painful lessons I’m sure would have been learned from last Decembers Palace Man United game and then in his next game being quick on the trigger when reacting to that Vardy challenge at Stoke. It is here that Craig needs to fine tune his game, he can still be the nice guy, but he needs to be razor sharp on his recognition of offences particularly the reckless as opposed to the reckless using excessive force. He needs to be strong and command respect from the participants making the right call and not seeking a path of least resistance and I want to see him moving around the field of play with purpose and impact. This is a game where players such as Aguero, Sanchez and Sterling will operate in the channels and away from defenders as opposed to the likes of Giroud who play off the shoulder of opponents and defenders don’t like attackers who can create and operate in space, so the Referee today will need to penetrate the final third and penalty area’s to get that all important viewing angle as the striker moves in on goal. This is a big game for Craig and will serve as a milepost on his progress, games such as this offer an opportunity for him to state his big game credentials. So in summary I will be looking at the following today;

  • Recognition of offences, particularly reckless challenges and reckless challenges using excessive force should they occur
  • Body language, looking confident focused and ensuring a strong presence to manage the game at which ever stage or tempo demands something extra
  • Positioning and movement, looking purposeful and getting into those all-important viewing angle positions in the final third and penalty areas

RH at 2017-04-23 14:43:16

Today’s Match Referee is Craig Pawson His Assistant Referees are Simon Bennett and Steven Child. The Fourth Official is Stuart Atwell

RH at 2017-04-23 14:40:01

No talk of a top four finish today, this all about a return to Wembley on 27th May to face Chelsea in pursuit of Silverware! Can the Gunners salvage something from this most disappointing of seasons? Or will Pep’s City complete a Manchester cup double to lift the FA Cup! The bar was set very high yesterday in terms of match quality and drama, let’s see if today’s teams can match that or even go better!