Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-08-12 19:42:08

#BHAFC #MCFC #bhafcvcity

The main points in this game from the officials perspective were:

  • A very quiet game for the officials in the end
  • Only one talking point in the first half about a handball decision
  • The Officials will be happy that they are not centre of attention after this one.

In an opening set of fixtures this weekend which have already thrown up so many controversial incidents, the PGMOL will no-doubt be very pleased with the way that one went. Michael Oliver will be very happy as well of course with the way he coasted through that one with no major talking points. Even the yellow card after the disallowed goal for handball in the first half will probably melt away when this game is examined as it had not effect on the player, nor did the award of the offence have any effect on the result. I covered this in detail in my half time summary, so I will not go into it again now.

As for the rest of the game, we often say that the referee can only manage what is put in front of them, and this was certainly not a “difficult” game for today’s match official.

I spoke before the game of the importance of hitting the ground running this season for Michael Oliver, and he would definitely have settled for a performance like that before the start.

Superb fitness was evident throughout, but more importantly he used his fitness to gain excellent viewing angles as well. It’s no good running all over the place if you don’t end up when you ought to be!

The teamwork was generally sound, although I felt that Jake Collin could have stepped up to the mark a couple of times. Not signalling for a blatant foul throw right next to him is inexcusable at this level, then failing to support the referee near the end when a foul was committed right in front of him is not what is expected of a FIFA AR. He needs to watch those two incidents back with his coach. If Michael Oliver is selected for greater things in UEFA in January, he needs ARs with him who are ready to go over the top for him, not ARs who are happy to take too much of a back seat.

As I said at the start of this summary, this game will not make the headlines tomorrow, and that can’t be a bad thing!


GB at 2017-08-12 19:28:18

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More Ref Cam this weekend

GB at 2017-08-12 19:26:39


My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage so far this weekend and please tune in again tomorrow for two more exciting opening matches:

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur KO 13.30 pm

Manchester United v West Ham United KO 16.00 pm

Next weekend we will be covering:

Saturday 19th August Swansea City v Manchester United KO 12.30 pm

Saturday 19th August Stoke City v Arsenal KO 17.30 pm

Sunday 20th August Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United KO 13.30 pm

Sunday 20th August Spurs v Chelsea KO 16.00 pm

Please keep your views coming on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

A full list of forthcoming RefCam games is always available at:


GB at 2017-08-12 19:25:31

Full Time

Brighton &Hove Albion 0 v 2 Manchester City


GB at 2017-08-12 19:22:06

3 added minutes


GB at 2017-08-12 19:20:10

perfect example of how to manage the tempo at the end of a “quiet” game then from Oliver as he gave a very “soft” free kick for holding deep into the Brighton half – just what you need to do at this stage. The officials have done the hard work, so they do not want to take any chances now.


GB at 2017-08-12 19:14:53

Yellow Card for Raheem Sterling (MC 7) for unsporting behaviour following that challenge.


GB at 2017-08-12 19:13:21

The Brighton player needs to be careful about going down like that in the penalty area this season. Oliver was right there again to see some minor contact so it was not a “dive” – but that would definitely have been reviewed if he gave a penalty.


GB at 2017-08-12 19:10:18

First poor piece of teamwork from the officials today. AR2 Jake Collin fails to “assist” the referee then as a clear careless foul happens much closer to him than the referee. hose are the ones you need to give from the line. When the referee gives the foul from much further away, the teamwork looks poor. Did he duck it I wonder, like he did that foul throw in the first half?


GB at 2017-08-12 19:06:14

GOAL! Own Goal by Lewis Dunk (BR 5)

Brighton & Hove Albion 0 v 2 Manchester City


GB at 2017-08-12 19:04:26

Another “safe” free kick for the referee to give. Just not worth taking the risk with them and saying the attacker deliberately ran into his opponent. They BOTH knew what they were doing, so the expectation was for play to be stopped – no need to try to be too clever!

GB at 2017-08-12 19:01:40

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GB at 2017-08-12 19:00:54

GOAL! Sergio Agüero (MC 10)

Brighton & Hove Albion 0 v 1 Manchester City

All the officials will be happy that there can be no controversy about that one!


GB at 2017-08-12 18:58:50

Michael Oliver was perfectly positioned to see that ball blasted towards the Brighton defender and hitting him on the arm. There was no movement of the hand or arm towards the ball, therefore correct decision – NO OFFENCE.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:56:31


The longer this game stays at 0-0, the more important for the officials to keep their concentration as one mistake now could effect the result.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:54:32

Nice easy “safe” free kick for the referee to give from a perfect side on angle!

GB at 2017-08-12 18:53:03

It has been great to see Michael Oliver moving around as purposely at the start of this season as he finished the last one. His fitness level is something all the other referees on the list need to aim for.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:50:22

The officials will all be communicating with each other now and encouraging each other to be ready for a frenetic last 30 minutes. Everyone’s profile is likely to raise now as this is about to bubble up nicely!


GB at 2017-08-12 18:47:48

Now we have a game on! Fantastic call by Jake Collin not to raise his flag as the ball came back in as Lewis Dunk (BR 5) was probably the ONLY Brighton player NOT offside in the mixer then. Truly excellent decision by the AR.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:44:21


That was an extremely tight call by AR1 Simon Bennett but the replay proves the player was just offside who came through to score. That just goes to show the difference between a great call and a mistake – it also shows how you can be lucky on the line sometimes.

The thing to remember is not to give offside when you “think” it looked offside from the line, only give offside when you “know” the player was offside!


GB at 2017-08-12 18:39:15

Michael Oliver has been consistent with his reading of physical contact in this game. He obviously feels comfortable with his level of control, so he is not looking to stop the game and spoil the flow unless he really needs to.

GB at 2017-08-12 18:36:17

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GB at 2017-08-12 18:35:34

Second half underway

GB at 2017-08-12 18:34:51

@youaretheref I was at Stamford Bridge and witnessed an utterly incompetent set of officials totally lose the plot

Thanks for your feed-back Tom – keep them coming!

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-08-12 18:32:31

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Only one talking point in that first half and that has to be the disallowed goal and yellow card for Gabriel Jesus (MC 33). This incident clearly shows how confusing the law can be in its present form in respect to a handball offence. It also throws up an interesting debate as to would VAR have helped with that one?

There were two issues there:

  1. Was that a deliberate handball offence?
  2. Was it a yellow card offence?

Taking a) first, what we can say for certain is that Michael Oliver thought it was deliberate, otherwise he would not have given a free kick, as I said in my blog. Now for b), every handball is not a caution offence, but deliberately trying to deceive the referee by using your hand to direct the ball into the goal certainly is! So that sums up what we saw happened. So what is there to debate you ask?

Well not everyone will be convinced that Jesus deliberately tried to handle the ball as it ricocheted off of his chest onto his hand. The “common-sense” and safe refereeing response is to “just give it” because of the consequence of the next action (which in this case would have been a goal). The use of common-sense by the match officials was included in the laws for the first time last season, so that could be the get out jail clause for anyone who wants to argue that the handball was not deliberate.

But, if it “was not deliberate”, then it should not have been a yellow card. Around and around we go again! The problem may come if that is the first of two yellows for the player in this game.

For me, common-sense dictates that you need to give them, but it also dictates that a yellow card is not required – that’s where I am getting off the fence!

Now spare a thought for the VAR if he had to sort that one out – I wonder how long that would have taken!

Enough said, second half could worm up nicely I think!

GB at 2017-08-12 18:19:41

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GB at 2017-08-12 18:18:47

Half Time

Brighton &Hove Albion 0 v 0 Manchester City


GB at 2017-08-12 18:15:28

The temperature has suddenly started to rise as the physical contact gets more intense. The officials need to keep this one nice and tight now up until half time.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:09:04

The problem with being so close to play, is there is always the danger of being hit with the ball – anticipation is the key to keeping out of the way.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:07:47

Brighton player coming back from an offside position then and touching ball inside his own half – free kick could have been taken from there now since last season’s law change.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:04:54

Great call by AR2 Jake Collin to hold his flag down then as the ball did not get to the Man City player on the overlap in an offside position.


GB at 2017-08-12 18:02:08


Goal disallowed and Yellow Card for Gabriel Jesus (MC 33) for what Michael Oliver has deemed as a deliberate act of handling the ball in order to score.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:58:35

Well I have seen it all now! There was a foul throw by a Premier League player – that was bad enough, but then a Premier League AR does not signal it to the referee.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:55:46

23 nice neat positive bit of “body language” then as the referee used his whistle to sell his corner decision. No need to blow for them all, but that was required because it was a deflection.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:52:56

I know it might seem like a very low-key game for the referee so far, but he is managing what is in front of him and not looking for trouble at the moment. No need for him to raise his profile at the moment.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:50:42

Another clear foul and at last the referee feels like he is involved in the game. I am certain Michael Oliver would have settled for this start to his season though.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:48:39


First free kick for a careless challenge just outside of Brighton penalty area. First free kick can be the most important as the referee set his tolerance level for all to see. No problem with that one given from a very credible distance.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:46:15

Thats what I was talking about, although it was an easy offside for the AR1


GB at 2017-08-12 17:45:10

With City having over 77% of the play so far, Simon Bennett in particular needs to make sure he does not get caught ball watching if Bright suddenly make a break.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:41:45

Oliver will be happy to just keep out of this at the moment but all the officials need to remain focused and be ready for the “unexpected”


GB at 2017-08-12 17:40:16

10 minutes in and not a single free kick awarded yet!


GB at 2017-08-12 17:37:59


Great demonstration then of Oliver squeezing the play over towards his AR and going deep inside of the penalty area as well. So many referees dont do that because they do not have the confidence in their fitness to be able to recover if play switches ends. Fitness in the mainstay of this referee’s ability.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:35:18

The atmosphere is electric out there at the moment yet the referee looks as cool as a cucumber!


GB at 2017-08-12 17:32:58

Michael Oliver sets his tolerance level high with physical contact with that tussle on the touchline. Good to see AR1 on same wavelength.

Kick Off

GB at 2017-08-12 17:31:11

Brighton & Hove Albion won the toss so it will be  Manchester City to kick off.

Good luck to all! And may the ball run kindly for you.

Feel free to interact with me during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at

GB at 2017-08-12 17:25:46

Not long to go now as the players and officials prepare to leave the tunnel


GB at 2017-08-12 17:22:23


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Video Assistant Referee

GB at 2017-08-12 17:19:41

#bhafcvcity Last weekend would have seen everyone involved in the decision to introduce VAR in the MLS half-way through the season, patting themselves on the backs for a job well done as it immediately delivered. Two goals were correctly chalking off, each because of incorrect decisions made by officials in the attacking phase before the ball entered the goal. Now contrast that feeling with the red faces at the Premier League this term, with some people no doubt already saying “I told you so”. Even before all the first set of fixtures have been completed, we have already seen two incidents where the VAR would most certainly have helped the match officials to disallow goals at both Arsenal yesterday, and Watford earlier today.

It’s all very well the managers coming out with their well warn statements that these things have a habit of evening out across a season, but the longer the MLS maintain their 100% success rate with match changing decisions, the louder the calls for the Premier League to get their feet out of the mud are likely to be. All the PGMOL need to do first is provide the Premier League with “two” suitably qualified and trained VAR officials with the necessary skills for every game – GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! Premier League’s decision not introduce Video Assistant Referee (VAR) exposed in the first game of the season


GB at 2017-08-12 17:16:45


Today’s officials are:

Referee:  Michael Oliver

AR1: Simon Bennett (Technical Area)

AR2: Jake Collin

4th Official: Stuart Attwell

All referees like being out on the opening day, and Michael Oliver gets the chance to shine in one of the showcase matched of the opening weekend of the 25th Premier League Season.

The thing which always motivated me was the fact that I knew that I was at the “top of the list” before a ball was kicked (along with everyone else!), so physiologically I told myself that it was down to me to make sure I was still there in 90 minutes time!

The importance of hitting the ground running in his first live TV game, has probably never been so paramount for Oliver than this year, as the prospect of a dog fight between him and Anthony Taylor for the opportunity to rise to the Elite Group in UEFA is definitely on the cards from now until November.

The paucity of English Officials in the Top Flight in Europe has been plain to see and well documented this summer, with none of our referees at any of the major tournaments and nobody in a position to be selected for the World Cup Finals next year in Russia.

Personally, I think both Oliver and Taylor are ready to be blooded, but judging by the category of games they were trusted with in Europe last term, the powers-that-be are not convinced they have served their apprenticeships yet. Both these referees have proved they have the fitness and temperaments to make it to the very top, but they need a consistent run of form without any unforced errors to set their seasons alight.

Although there are plenty of spaces on the English FIFA List, I would not be surprised (and I hope I am wrong), if only one of these two gets the nod in November. One thing is for sure though, elevation to the Elite Group has never been a “given”. So let the games begin. Anthony Taylor threw the gauntlet down with a solid competent performance in the 12.30 game at Watford, when the only talk about the officials should be taken up by how AR2 Peter Kirkup missed an off-side call. Part of Miguel Britos’ body was clearly closer to his opponents goal-line than the ball, with only one defender goal-side of him, when he knocked in the equalising goal in time added on. So there you have it Michael, may be that was the bit of luck you needed to get your neck in front. Despite the error laying firmly at the AR’s doorstep, you still have the opportunity to come through the first live TV game (in England) without a major key match decision being called wrong – prompting everyone to shout “VAR”.

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-08-12 17:11:32

Brighton & Hove Albion

1       Mathew Ryan (BR 1)

2       Bruno Saltor Grau (BR 2)

5       Lewis Dunk (BR 5)

6       Dale Stephens (BR 6)

10     Tomer Hemed (BR 10)

13     Pascal Groß (BR 13)

20     Solomon March (BR 20)

22     Shane Duffy (BR 22)

24     Davy Pröpper (BR 24)

29     Markus Suttner (B29)

37     Isaiah Brown (BR 37)


4       Uwe Hünemeier (BR 4)

11     Anthony Knockaert (BR 11)

12     Niki Mäenpää (BR 12)

14     Steve Sidwell (BR 14)

15     Jamie Murphy (BR 15)

17     Glenn Murray (BR 17)

23     Liam Rosenior (BR 23)

Manchester City

31     Ederson (MC 31)

2       Kyle Walker (MC 2)

3       Danilo (MC 3)

4       Vincent Kompany (MC 4)

5       John Stones (MC 5)

10     Sergio Agüero (MC 10)

17     Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17)

21     David Silva (MC 21)

25     Fernandinho (MC 25)

30     Nicolás Otamendi (MC 30)

33     Gabriel Jesus (MC 33)


1       Claudio Bravo (MC 1)

7       Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

15     Eliaquim Mangala (MC 15)

19     Leroy Sané (MC 19)

20     Bernardo Silva (MC 20)

42     Yaya Touré (MC 42)

47     Phil Foden (MC 47)


GB at 2017-08-12 17:07:32


No one can begrudge Brighton their 15 minutes of fame, having fully deserved their rise to the top flight à la Wimbledon style in the 80’s.  Whether it will last more than 15 minutes or not will be one of the most interesting things to watch developing this season. And what a baptism of fire they face today!  A packed Amex Stadium will be the 56th different ground to host a Premier League fixture and is the perfect platform for the South Coast minnows to show us what they’ve got in their locker, against one of the Big “5”. In all respects, Brighton have nothing to lose today and can afford to throw everything including the kitchen sink at City. Getting a game like this out of the way which they are not expected to win, is an ideal opportunity for the Home side to throw caution to the wind and Attack, Attack, Attack Attack Attack! There is no point in parking the bus in this one, so I am really looking forward to some sustained goalmouth action from the newcomers.

Manchester City on the other hand will be desperate not to slip up on an early banana skin in this one, and extend their current record of 6 victories on the opening day. The manager will also be looking for a return on the £200 million he has splashed out to build a team which can make a strong push for the title this term. So we can expect them to display their prowess in front of goal as well, in what promises to be one of the most exciting games of the opening weekend. Mind you, that is a lot to live up to after the first two live TV games this term already.


GB at 2017-08-12 17:01:43


Welcome to this early evening’s RefCam coverage of the Premier League game between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City. Minute by minute commentary from the referee’s perspective is about to follow.

Feel free to interact with me at any time during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at

Any thoughts on the big calls in the EPL so far?