Carabao Cup Final – Arsenal v Manchester City


DM at 2018-02-25 19:28:59

Don’t forget to tune in to the @youaretheref ref show tomorrow as @alanbiggs1 is joined by Roger Dilkes and Mark Lawrenson to discuss the weekend’s action

DM at 2018-02-25 19:27:48

Full-Time Summary

Match officials do not want to be the talking point after any game and in a Cup Final that becomes even more the focus.  Today Craig Pawson and his team achieved that.  Overall, this was the best I have seen Craig officiate.  He was strong with his cautions and he dealt with challenges consistently throughout.  There are undoubtedly some positional issues that could be corrected with the help of analysis and referee coaching and he also needs some work on his body language so he portrays authority when speaking to players.  Sometimes it is easy to let the game dictate the tempo but on occasions the referee has to step in and slow things down, again this is an area that Craig needs to work on.  However, a good day at the office for the officials and the VAR.  I thought the technology worked very well today and AR Gary Beswick was in my opinion absolutely first-class.  A one sided game that still needed refereeing and no controversial incidents to discuss.  Well done Craig and his team.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:23:04

Full Time



DM at 2018-02-25 19:22:07

AR Beswick correctly indicates the ball out of play for a throw-in but I think that the decision should have gone to Manchester City.  A couple of lapses of concentration in the last couple of minutes for the officials.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:20:32

A minimum of 3 minutes added time to be played


DM at 2018-02-25 19:20:11

The ball looked to have gone out of play there for a goal kick but AR Nunn did not signal anything


DM at 2018-02-25 19:18:56

The referee needs to shadow A10 who has lost his head and he is likely to do something silly.  I am pleased he cautioned the player – again strong and correct action taken by the referee.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:18:11


10 off, 47 on


DM at 2018-02-25 19:17:36

Yellow CardA10 dissent by action



DM at 2018-02-25 19:17:03

A10 has lost his cool and he is arguing with the referee off the ball.  He has just sarcastically applauded him and I expect the referee to caution him when the ball goes out of play.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:15:10

A10 fouled and the referee correctly awards a free kick.  As MC33 stands over the ball, A10 kicks the ball at him and a minor scuffle entails.  The referee should have been on the spot there to manage the free kick and the wall and his presence would have prevented that from happening.  Whilst rebuking both players, all of the individuals were talking. The referee should have waited and slowed the game down until both were ready to listen.  His approach here lacked some authority.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:11:56

Good advantage by the referee after a foul by MC2 on A29


DM at 2018-02-25 19:11:28

A good learning point for young referees is the way in which the referee carried out the last caution for MC4.  It would have been easy given the scoreline and context of the game for the referee to just award a free kick.  That would have been incorrect and inconsistent.  Referees have to be strong and correct throughout the whole match and Craig Pawson did well there.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:09:48

Yellow CardMC4 cautioned for a trip that prevents a promising attack


DM at 2018-02-25 19:06:52


19 off, 33 on


DM at 2018-02-25 19:06:31

A29 trips MC17 off the ball and the referee is well placed to give a free-kick


DM at 2018-02-25 19:05:44

As the game enters the last 15 minutes, the officials need to remain calm and focused.  Arsenal may as well throw everything at the game now so there could be some decisions for the officials to make.


DM at 2018-02-25 19:01:56

Arsenal Sub

8 OFF, 17 ON


DM at 2018-02-25 18:58:26

As Manchester City were playing the ball in triangles on the far touchline the referee was jumping and moving to get out of the way. Sometimes in that situation standing still is the best option so the players can play around you and you don’t become a moving target.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:56:34

The referee needs to focus here in the last 25 minutes.  The game is all but over but there is a danger of complacency or ill discipline so complete concentration is required.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:55:28

Arsenal Sub

21 off, 23 on


DM at 2018-02-25 18:55:04

GOAL! MC21 scores – VAR will review as it does for all goals but nothing needed to look at there


DM at 2018-02-25 18:53:11

The referee was too central there and caught up with play on the edge of the Arsenal Penalty area.  He missed a foul by MC4 but fortunately Arsenal came away from the ball.  Craig just needs to hang back slightly and try not to get ahead of play in those areas so he has a good peripheral view.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:50:52

Good delayed flag by AR Beswick as A8 was offside when the ball was played

DM at 2018-02-25 18:49:10

Goal given by VAR – again another quick and correct review – well done Neil Swarbrick

DM at 2018-02-25 18:48:31

GOAL! MC4 scores and there will be a VAR review as MC19 is in an offside position but I think a goal will be given as no impact on any other player.



DM at 2018-02-25 18:46:10

Calm, correct and confident award of a free kick by the referee for a foul by A20 on MC19 just outside the penalty area.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:45:02

Excellent and correct flag by AR Beswick who is having a superb game as he spots a holding offence on MC1 in a critical area.  The referee also made up the ground from the other half and was well placed as well to give the free-kick.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:43:40

Better movement from the referee there as he comes wide and sprints through to accurately judge that Manchester City should be awarded a corner-kick


DM at 2018-02-25 18:41:41


25 off, 20 on


DM at 2018-02-25 18:36:29

Yellow CardA21 cautioned for unsporting behaviour as he holds an opponent to prevent a promising attack

DM at 2018-02-25 18:34:59

Referee Craig Pawson gets the second half underway

DM at 2018-02-25 18:31:19

Don’t forget to tune in to the @youaretheref ref show tomorrow as @alanbiggs1 is joined by Roger Dilkes and Mark Lawrenson to discuss the weekend’s action.

DM at 2018-02-25 18:28:05

Half Time Summary

Two interesting incidents in connection with VAR firstly.  Early on it was good to see A18 get straight up and not appeal for a penalty after he went to ground under no contact.  I think VAR discouraged any reaction as a review would have led to a caution for simulation in my opinion.

Secondly and a major positive was the review of Manchester City’s goal.  The incident was reviewed quickly and efficiently and led to the correct outcome – well done VAR.

I have mentioned that Craig is sometimes a little detached from play and although he has not missed much he does need to anticipate play better and read the game so he is closer to play with a better viewing angle.  The referee can achieve this by allowing play to build in the midfield area and then moving wide (preferably towards the left wing but on a quick break he could go right if needed) to gain a good angle.

The three cautions that have been administered I would support and I don’t think the players can have any complaints at his action.  I think the referee could handle the flashpoints by slowing the game down a little and reasserting his authority so that players know exactly where they stand.

A10 will have to be careful as he has gone to ground easy and tried to get another player cautioned with some theatrical rolling around.  Craig will be keeping an eye on the player and I would expect him to speak to him at the half-time interval on the way out to the field to discourage such behaviour in the second half.

Overall a decent first-half performance – let’s hope the referee continues and can take on board the positional advice to further improve.

DM at 2018-02-25 18:19:06

Half Time



DM at 2018-02-25 18:18:51

A10 unhappy with the referee as he goes to ground in midfield after a challenge by an opponent.  It looked a dramatic fall to the ground for me from the Arsenal player and his reaction to the earlier challenge by Fernandinho have not helped him.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:16:39

A minimum of 2 minutes added time to be played


DM at 2018-02-25 18:16:11

The referee is well placed to judge a foul on MC17 and he correctly awards a free kick.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:15:07

The referee plays advantage after a foul by MC25 on A10 and he correctly does not take any disciplinary action in my opinion.  Wilshere jumped straight up when he realised the Manchester City player was not being cautioned and I would like to have seen the referee deal with that and speak to the Arsenal player.  In hindsight I think a free kick award would have been a better option for the referee in that situation.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:09:44

MC8 carelessly challenges A11 and the referee is well positioned to award a free kick.  The players are showing some minor signs of frustration so I hope Craig picks up on this and manages the tempo accordingly.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:07:33

Yellow CardMC25 cautioned for a reckless challenge


DM at 2018-02-25 18:06:35

Another good flag by AR Beswick for a foul by A31 on MC2


DM at 2018-02-25 18:05:41

The caution issued to Ramsey was the only flashpoint of the game so far.  I would like to have seen Craig slow the game down there and isolate Ramsey whilst cautioning him.  When dangerous play is involved the referee has to decide if the incident is careless, reckless or excessive in force.  On that occasion the referee judged it correctly as reckless.


DM at 2018-02-25 18:03:14

Yellow CardA8 correctly cautioned for unsporting behaviour after an incident of dangerous play


DM at 2018-02-25 18:02:13

Decent start to the match from the officials and the VAR.  Craig is doing well and he hasn’t missed much so far, he just needs to be careful not to become detached from play.  Both sides are well disciplined and the caution that was administered was not contested.  Let’s hope the referee can carry on in this vein.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:59:34

Good to see AR Beswick keep a trailing eye on MC10 there and correctly judge no foul had taken place on the touchline close to the dugouts.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:57:14


18 off, 31 on


DM at 2018-02-25 17:56:54

A10 is unlucky not to be awarded a free-kick for a foul on the touchline there but referee Pawson was well placed.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:55:08

Yellow CardA24 cautioned for a holding offence on MC17 which prevented a promising attack



DM at 2018-02-25 17:53:51

Referee Pawson on the spot once again as A8 was fouled outside the penalty area


DM at 2018-02-25 17:52:24

Graham Scott having to intervene between the two managers and act as peace maker – good to see the fourth official being alert and using his presence to diffuse any potential confrontation


DM at 2018-02-25 17:51:00

Goal given – well done VAR and well done Craig Pawson – correct decision given quickly and efficiently.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:49:58

GOAL!MC10 – there will be a VAR review here as there is for all goals. Suggested foul in the build up by Arsenal but I think the goal will stand


DM at 2018-02-25 17:48:46

Free kick for a late foul on A8 – good spot by Craig Pawson as he kept a trailing eye after the ball had been played

DM at 2018-02-25 17:47:19

Going back to the incident with A18, if the referee had incorrectly awarded a penalty there VAR would have in my opinion said the Arsenal player should have been cautioned for simulation.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:45:16

Interesting how A18 got straight up and suggested there was no penalty immediately in that situation.  I suspect if VAR was not in place he would have appealed for a penalty.  The players know that the cameras are watching.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:40:47

Arsenal come close to scoring and as predicted pre-match AR Nunn keeps his flag down despite A14 being in an offside position.  As VAR is in place I suspect the officials will only flag if the offence is very clear so a legitimate goal is not incorrectly disallowed.  VAR will be able to right the wrong if a player is offside and a goal is scored.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:37:22

Two free-kicks in quick succession.  Good flag by AR Beswick as MC2 is fouled on the touchline.


DM at 2018-02-25 17:36:11

First free kick of the match awarded to Arsenal for a clear foul by MC17

DM at 2018-02-25 17:31:17

Craig Pawson gets the match underway

DM at 2018-02-25 17:30:35

#ARSMCI We will be blogging the referee’s performance live on @youaretheref ref cam

DM at 2018-02-25 17:29:32

It will be interesting if such a situation occurs again today what decision the officials will reach and you can guarantee that Craig Pawson will have spent a considerable amount of his pre-match talk covering Law 11 and offside interpretation.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:28:15

Interestingly in midweek the topic of defenders ‘playing the ball’ and offside once again raised its head in the tie between RB Leipzig and Napoli.  Today’s Assistant Referee Adam Nunn flagged offside even though after the ball had been kicked by an attacker, it was kicked by a defender.  The decision was in contrast to the decision given by Eddie Smart in the Liverpool v Tottenham match.  Both Assistants cannot be right as the situations were the same.  I understand the ever sensible Pierluigi Collina had instructed his officials that they should indicate offside in such situations, even though it is not that black and white in Law.  Offside is no different to any other law and black and white interpretations do not help control the game.  That is why Collina is regarded as an outstanding leader and his common sense approach saw him for years being appointed to the major finals and he is still regarded to this date as one of the best officials of all time.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:27:07

Offside is a hot topic and the match officials will need to discuss and agree a way of implementing this Law with common sense and accuracy.  As VAR is in place, the Assistant Referee is best placed to allow tight decisions to play to a conclusion so any goals can be reviewed.  If the referee stops play before the ball enters the goal then a review cannot take place so the benefit of the doubt to the attack is what I would suggest the Assistants will interpret today.  In the previous game between Manchester United and Chelsea, Lee Betts could have done with VAR in place as he made a key match error when incorrectly determining that Morata was offside.  This was a tight decision but one I would expect an official at that level to get right.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:22:12

Neil Swarbrick is a very experienced and calm official and he will be a welcome addition to the team, especially in the important role of VAR.  After last week’s debacle at Huddersfield, he will be hoping that in such an important game the office junior is not sent by Hawkeye to control the technology.  The Replay Operator must be an experienced technician and IFAB’s protocol which states they do not need to receive any specific training is a nonsense.  Straight lines and efficient use of technology is the order of the day this afternoon.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:19:25

Gary Beswick is an outstanding Assistant Referee and the appointment is a thoroughly deserved one. Adam Nunn is very well liked by the powers that be but he has it in him to make a major error.  He infamously and belatedly flagged an horrendous offside at Tottenham a couple of seasons ago when the attacker was well in his own half of the field.  Graham Scott has had an improved season but his appointment as fourth official is a surprise.  All of the refereeing team will have to come in when needed to support Craig so he can do his job well.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:16:51

Craig Pawson has refereed 25 games this season in all competitions, in which he has cautioned 85 players and dismissed 4.  This is Craig’s first major domestic final and we all want the ball to roll kindly for him.  Craig’s performances have improved overall this season and although some may see the appointment as high risk, there were very few alternatives for the appointing authorities as referees can only take charge of the final once, meaning many officials are ruled out.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:14:34

Appointed Match officials:

Referee – Craig Pawson

Assistants – Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn

4th official – Graham Scott

VAR – Neil Swarbrick

DM at 2018-02-25 17:12:35

The referee for the match is Craig Pawson from South Yorkshire and his Assistants are Gary Beswick (technical area side) and Adam Nunn (far side), with Graham Scott holding the boards as fourth official.  The Video Assistant Referee is Neil Swarbrick.

DM at 2018-02-25 17:09:51

Welcome to this afternoon’s ref cam as Arsenal face Manchester City live from Wembley Stadium in the Carabao Cup Final.