Chelsea v Arsenal


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-09-17 15:43:43


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

  • Simply excellent performance by Michael Oliver from start to finish
  • “Minor” discussion point surrounding first yellow card of the game for David Luiz (C 30) for his “bicycle” kick which the law permits, but the referee considered to be reckless.
  • No debate on the red card for David Luiz (C 30) though as his pace into that reckless challenge with excessive force left the referee with no option but to be strong!

Michael Oliver may have come of age with that performance which was simply excellent and just what the game needed. He kept out of it in the first half, then raised his profile when required in the second half and maintained control and authority throughout, without over managing the frenetic closing stages. When the going gets tough, the tough get going they say, and that’s what Oliver did for me in this game. Last season I thought there were times when this referee froze on the big stage, but there was an extra maturity about his performance for me today which puts him a great position to point back to this game and say “Now I am ready to move on”!

The first yellow card for David Luiz (C 30) opens the debate about endangering a player’s safety, but that was never a red card offence for me – there is even a case for the yellow being harsh. But to be fair to the referee, he was putting a marker down that he felt the action was reckless. I can live with that, but at the same time it couls have been managed it the context of how the game had gone before that challenge.

That was the turning point though and the game suddenly came to life and Oliver to his credit went along with it – onwards and upwards. When the act of serous foul play came along, I was in no doubt that Oliver would be strong and quite correctly issued the ultimate sanction for that horrible “over the top challenge” committed at pace with excessive force. Before I move on from that incident though, I have to say that I do not think it was best practice for Michael Oliver to have engaged in a discussion with the Chelsea manager straight after he had raised the red card. That could open up all sorts of accusations so I would recommend referees do not get involved with the officials in those situation. Just do the job and move one – any discussion can take place in the dressing room half an hour after the game if necessary! That’s the place for them, not on the field of play.

But at the end of the day, this will be a game that Oliver can look back on with pride.

A final word for his wing-men, I felt the whole team proved why they were selected for this game and supported each other really well.

Now it is over to Mark Halsey to talk you through Manchester United v Everton which has a lot to live up to, to match the last half hour of this game.

More Ref Cam this weekend

GB at 2017-09-17 15:24:17


My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage so far this weekend and please stay tuned for Manchester United v Everton with Coach Mark Halsey talking you through all the major incidents in the game kicking off in just over an hour’s time.

Then we have 4 more games lined up for next weekend:

23.09.17 West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur KO 12.30 pm

23.09.17 Leicester City v Liverpool KO 17.30 pm

24.09.17 Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United KO 16.00 pm

25.09.17 Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion KO 20.00 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 2017-09-17 15:23:23

Full Time

Chelsea 0 v 0 Arsenal


GB at 2017-09-17 15:22:13

Héctor Bellerín (A 24) Yellow Card as Oliver is consistent to the end to maintain his control and authority right to the end


GB at 2017-09-17 15:20:47

4 added minute to play as Sead Kolasinac (A 31) picks up a yellow card Yellow Card for a reckless challenge then Oliver holds his nerve when he commites the next offence. Maturity shown by the referee again not to over-react and be seen to try to even things up with another red


GB at 2017-09-17 15:17:42


Red Card Red Card for David Luiz (C 30) for serious foul play for a really dangerous challenge. Surely there cant be any complaints about that one?


GB at 2017-09-17 15:14:44

Mohamed Elneny (A 35) picks up a yellow card Yellow Card for what looked like the referee just putting his foot on the game then and managing the tempo. That looked like one for the team as Oliver sends out a message that he WILL NOT let this game get away from him. He certainly has the temperament to ensure that and seems to be showing a high degree of experience which he sometimes lacked last season.


GB at 2017-09-17 15:11:14

Oliver continues to use his excellent communication skills as he moves around with purpose and energy


GB at 2017-09-17 15:09:08

I spoke about a foul count of 7 to 1 in Arsenals favour at half time and now it is 10 committed by Arsenal and 8 by Chelsea which shows how the game has changed and how the referee has reacted to it


GB at 2017-09-17 15:07:24

Definately a game of two half for the officials as they have all needed to raise their profile in the second half but have also each reacted superbly. There we have another excellent advantage played by Oliver.


GB at 2017-09-17 15:04:58


AR Stuart Burt has been on fire today and gets another very important decision spot on – offside at the moment the free kick was taken!

GB at 2017-09-17 15:03:31

As always, it is helpful to go back to the Law as this Tweet displays:

@youaretheref Your interpretation is ridiculous. LOTG state – “A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that it is not dangerous to an opponent’

Here is the full text:

Playing in a dangerous manner Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.
A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that it is not dangerous to
an opponent.


GB at 2017-09-17 14:58:51

20 minutes left for the officials to keep the lid on this one which I expect to get pretty frenetic from here on in.

Substitutions change games as we know, so Michael Oliver needs to be alert to what instructions the new players have been sent on with so they do not upset the apple cart!


GB at 2017-09-17 14:55:34


The tempo continues to rise as Michael Oliver seems to suggest that the yellow card Yellow Card for Alvaro Morata (C 9) was more for persistent infringement that for that challenge. Of course it could have been for dissent for his outburst to the Assistant Referee. Either way Olivier demonstrating that he is in no mind to let this game get away from him.


GB at 2017-09-17 14:50:32

Twitter comes to life following the Luiz yellow card as I suspected it might – no debate about a possible red for me, only whether it was worthy of a yellow?

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GB at 2017-09-17 14:48:17


Now the game is coming to life even more and the pressure starts to build on the man in the middle. Oliver seems to be reacting accordingly and has even more zip in his movement as he has many more decisions to make in these opening minutes of the second half. Still cool calm and collected for me and not over reacting.


GB at 2017-09-17 14:45:02

All of a sudden the Referee’s profile is raised with that first yellow card and the debate returns to last weekends decision by Moss. For me I don’t think anyone would have been surprised if the Luiz challenge had just resulted in a warning to be careful from Michael Oliver.


GB at 2017-09-17 14:41:59

David Luiz (C 30) picks up the first Yellow Card yellow card for that dangerous challenge. May be the referee could have managed that one?


GB at 2017-09-17 14:39:38

Careless challenge again by Arsenal player who know exactly what he was doing to knock the Chelsea player off the ball


GB at 2017-09-17 14:37:59

First decision for Oliver in the second half – no hand ball again as the Arsenal player did not move his arm (which was by his side) towards the ball – never deliberate and the referee was right to turn down the appeals from the crowd!


GB at 2017-09-17 14:35:44


All referees know that all that good work in the first half can soon be undone by one split second of loss of concentration so Michael Oliver will be telling himself to block out the first half and knuckle down again now


GB at 2017-09-17 14:33:17

Arsenal get second half underway

GB at 2017-09-17 14:26:01

Thanks for your Tweet Ken – my thoughts precisely:

@youaretheref A very impressive half from the ref, always close to action and allowing match to flow. Oliver is now the no 1 PL ref.

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-09-17 14:24:18


100% pure football in that opening 45 minutes and nothing for the officials to get too busy about! Michael Oliver has looked supremely comfortable so far and he has been expertly assisted by his colleagues.

A foul count of 7 offences committed by Arsenal and just 1 by Chelsea mean very little as there has not been a reckless challenge yet and Arsenal have simple shown that they have not come here to be rolled over.

No surprises from the officials so far, but that is only half the job done. The 3rd Team will need to refocus for the second half now and aim to keep out of it as much as they did in the first period.

Some excellent advantages played by the referee and his game plan to just let these players get on with it is clearly working for him at the moment.

GB at 2017-09-17 14:19:16


You can get the latest opinion pieces from, Mark Halsey, Rob Harris, myself and others on our Verdict section of the Academy. Read the latest views on the weekend’s football action….


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GB at 2017-09-17 14:18:29

Half Time

Chelsea 0 v 0 Arsenal


GB at 2017-09-17 14:17:22

Petr Cech (A 33) taking no chances that that could have been adjudged as back pass as he expertly chested the ball down!


GB at 2017-09-17 14:16:09

Minimum of 2 added minutes to be played due to the 2 stoppages for injuries to Chelsea players


GB at 2017-09-17 14:13:01

#CHEARS #CFC #AFC Great camera shot then of Michael Oliver sweeping wide as the Arsenal player moved towards the Chelsea goal, giving himself a great angle to judge any challenge coming in


GB at 2017-09-17 14:10:47

AR Burt ticking one of my boxes then as he moved down the line and looked back as the player came towards him instead of moving backwards away from the touchline so he was perfectly placed to see the ball out of play!


GB at 2017-09-17 14:07:40

And Chelsea break their cherry at last with their first free kick conceded for that holding offence


GB at 2017-09-17 14:06:29

A bit of pro-active man management then by Oliver as he speaks to the Chelsea player with a smile on his face “I saw that one – take it easy”!


GB at 2017-09-17 14:05:04

The stats continue to confirm how one sided the foul count is with Chelsea still not committing a foul yet as Arsenal rack up their 6th offence with that careless challenge


GB at 2017-09-17 14:03:43

May have been some slight grappling at that last cross into the Arsenal penalty area, but this is not a game which needs micro managing at the moment. Oliver doing really well to keep in going and the players seem to be respecting his efforts so far


GB at 2017-09-17 14:01:34


30 minutes gone and no surprises from the officials so far – just what a game of this nature required


GB at 2017-09-17 14:00:35

5th Free Kick to Chelsea for that careless challenge and Chelsea yet to commit an offence!


GB at 2017-09-17 13:58:12

AR Bennett was looking very closely at the players as he ran down the line at speed and made a good call for no foul again – he is really earning his crust in this game

GB at 2017-09-17 13:56:50

Replays suggest there was a movement of the shoulder, but still not hand ball in my opinion, shoulder not arm making contact with the ball.


GB at 2017-09-17 13:55:00

No hand ball for me as the ball bounced up into the Chelsea players shoulder – no movement toward the ball so could not be deliberate even if it had touched his arm


GB at 2017-09-17 13:53:15

Very tight call for AR Bennett then which he was up to! Excellent not offside decision – he has certainly had more to do and is performing very well so far


GB at 2017-09-17 13:51:21

Clear careless challenge for Oliver to give in the Chelsea penalty area – safe free kick!


GB at 2017-09-17 13:49:36

Good awareness displayed again there by the referee as nothing wrong with that challenge which led to another injury to a Chelsea player


GB at 2017-09-17 13:47:58


Very steady opening 15 minutes for all the officials with just one foul and lots of quick fire passing which means the officials can just keep out of it


GB at 2017-09-17 13:46:08

Michael Oliver making his intentions clear then with that excellent advantage played that he does not want to interrupt the high tempo of this game unless he really has to


GB at 2017-09-17 13:44:46

Very good wait and see then by AR Bennett as the ball did not get past last defender so no need to raise the flag


GB at 2017-09-17 13:42:37

The way that the grass has been cut and the clear contrast in colours will both help the ARs with their offside decisions today


GB at 2017-09-17 13:40:00

Play re-started with a drop ball which the law is very clear about now that the referee may not “manufacture”


GB at 2017-09-17 13:38:40

Oliver was very close to that challenge to “sell” his decision of no foul but quick to assess that play needed to be stopped due to an injury


GB at 2017-09-17 13:37:09

Good to see the defender within playing distance of the ball then as he shielded it out of play – no offence of impeding provided the player could reach the ball if he wanted to


GB at 2017-09-17 13:34:35

With the ball being pinged around as fast as this, Michael Oliver’s fitness and speed off the mark is sure to be tested today

GB at 2017-09-17 13:32:50

Nice to see some penalty spots out there today!


GB at 2017-09-17 13:31:53

Offside after 20 seconds – shows the AR has hit the ground running!

Kick Off

GB at 2017-09-17 13:30:38

Arsenal won the toss so it will be Chelsea 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 2017-09-17 13:27:08

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GB at 2017-09-17 13:25:51

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

GB at 2017-09-17 13:22:06

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GB at 2017-09-17 13:18:04

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GB at 2017-09-17 12:47:36

A lot of water has flown under the “Bridge” since to first time I ran the line in this fixture, along with fellow YATR Coach Rob Harris, back in April 1992, when the teams met for the last time in the Football League. Paul (Danno) Danson was in the middle, who went on to become one of the “chosen few” who were sent the coveted Green Shirts which identified them as Premier League officials. Now there was a referee who epitomised how to bounce back from adversity during his career at the top, and a more genuine and likeable chap you might never meet. I read recently that Danno finally hung up hid boots in July this year as Leicestershire FA’s Referee Fitness co-ordinator, a post he had held for 20 years – now that’s what I call a great innings! Good luck with whatever you are doing now Danno!


GB at 2017-09-17 12:46:04


Today’s officials are:

Referee:  Michael Oliver

AR1: Simon Bennett (Technical Area)

AR2: Stuart Burt

4th Official: Neil Swarbrick

This is the perfect stage for Michael Oliver to continue to throw down the gauntlet to Anthony Taylor as the scrap is well and truly on for at least one of them to make it up onto the Elite List of Referees in UEFA in January.

If you are going to earn the title of one of England’s top two referees, these are the type of games that you need to be able to take in your stride! The pressure out there will be immense this afternoon and if there was ever a game when Oliver does not want to be the centre of attention in the end, then this is it!

Michael is fresh from his exploits in Germany on Wednesday night, when he orchestrated RB Leipzig v AS Monaco in Group G of the UCL. That match seemed to go all according to plan with just 5 routine cautions and no mention of the officials in a 1 – 1 draw which was unanimously accepted as a “fair” result. Michael and his team will no doubt have breathed an almighty sigh of relief after that one, as the finishing touches to the short lists are about to be completed, so now they will be hoping for another “anonymous performance” under the spotlights this afternoon.

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-09-17 12:44:51


13     Thibaut Courtois (C 13)

28     César Azpilicueta (C 28)

24     Gary Cahill (C 24)

30     David Luiz (C 30)

15     Victor Moses (C 15)

7       N’Golo Kanté (C 7)

4       Cesc Fàbregas (C 4)

3       Marcos Alonso (C 3)

22     Willian (C 22)

11     Pedro (C 11)

9       Alvaro Morata (C 9)


1       Will Carballero (C 1)

2       Antonio Rudiger (C 2)

10     Eden Hazard (C 10)

14     Tiemoue Bakayoko (C 14)

21     Davide Zappacosta (C 21)

23     Michy Batshuayi (C 23)

27     Andreas Christensen (C 27)


33     Petr Cech (A 33)

6       Laurent Koscielny (A 6)

20     Shkodran Mustafi (A 20)

18     Nacho Monreal (A 18)

24     Héctor Bellerín (A 24)

8       Aaron Ramsey (A 8)

29     Granit Xhaka (A 29)

31     Sead Kolasinac (A 31)

23     Danny Welbeck (A 23)

17     Alex Iwobi (A 17)

9       Alexandre Lacazette (A 9)


4       Per Mertesacker (A 4)

7       Alexis Sánchez  (A 7)

12     Olivier Giroud (A 12)

13     David Ospina (A 13)

14     Theo Walcott (A 14)

30     Ainsley Maitland-Niles (A 30)

35     Mohamed Elneny (A 35)


GB at 2017-09-17 12:42:41


No sooner have Arsenal bounced back from a thrashing with a comfortable win of their own, against this season’s early whipping boys, then they have another opportunity to show the world if they are really “up for it” this season?

Capital City Derbies are no place for the faint hearted believe me, so we can expect passions to be high out there today and the referee will have to deliver a really positive game plan to kip the lid on this one today.


GB at 2017-09-17 12:41:21


Welcome to this afternoon’s RefCam coverage of the Premier League game between Chelsea and Arsenal which kicks off at 1.30. 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 over the weekend so far?