Chelsea v Arsenal – Carabao Cup SF 1st leg


More RefCam to come

GB at 2018-01-10 23:10:15


I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage tonight. We have four more games lined up over the coming weekend to review from the referee’s perspective:

13.01.18 Tottenham Hotspur v Everton KO 17.30 pm

14.01.18 Bournemouth v Arsenal KO 13.30 pm

14.01.18 Liverpool v Manchester City KO 16.00 pm

15.01.18 Manchester United v Stoke City 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:

Full Time Summary

GB at 2018-01-10 23:08:53


If you take away the spectre of the VAR from that game, then as far as the official’s performance is concerned there would be very little to criticise or want improvement from in that game.

Atkinson’s softly, softly approach in the first half proved consistent and effective in the end as he hit the ground running in the second half and quickly repositioned his line in the sand when it came to unsporting behaviour which ensured he maintained total control of the proceedings.

Good movement throughout and close proximity to play.

Good teamwork as I am sure it was not the VAR in his ear all the time.

So finally to the VAR:

It certainly did look like his colleagues were taking another look at a couple of “penalty shouts” in the game and thankfully the technology kicked in and there was no need for the theatre of the Referee going over to review either of those incidents again which were clearly not penal offences.

No doubt there will be far more high profile incidents to review from now until the end of the season, but at the moment the system was not found wanting tonight.

Interesting point of Twitter though as to who initiated the review because the Chelsea manager was ranting at the 4th Official? I think we can safely say that the VAR in his bunker in Heathrow was not aware of Conte’s behaviour!

As I have said many times before, I do think that there will be tears before bed time with the VAR, but no doubt it was successful this evening.


GB at 2018-01-10 22:54:43

Full Time
Chelsea 0 v 0 Arsenal
I really wish the FA would stop these managers coming onto the field of play to have a rant at then end of the game which was raised by Keith Hackett recently. Conte’s behaviour then was very poor. Banning the managers talking to the officials on the field of play is something which would benefit the game all the way down to grass roots!


GB at 2018-01-10 22:48:46

Minimum of 5 additional minutes to be played – which includes time taken to review incident by VAR of course


GB at 2018-01-10 22:46:44


Definitely a review going on this time and quite rightly no need for Referee Atkinson to go to the screen to see that one again as VAR can confirm no penalty


GB at 2018-01-10 22:43:24

Mohamed Elneny (A 35) takes a yellow Yellow Card for the team that time as three of his colleagues failed to stop the Chelsea player fairly!


GB at 2018-01-10 22:40:31

The Chelsea player just managed to make contact in his opponents back then and not from the side as he made his challenge for the ball – free kick correct


GB at 2018-01-10 22:38:54

Granit Xhaka (A 29) is really walking a tightrope now following those two fouls just before that yellow card. Not every foul by a player on a yellow card should lead to a second yellow, but then persistent infringing after having been cautioned could mean a few little ones as well as one big one!


GB at 2018-01-10 22:36:40

N’Golo Kanté (C 7) picks up his yellow Yellow Card eventually for another reckless challenge from behind


GB at 2018-01-10 22:35:07

Excellent turn of pace demonstrated by Atkinson then to keep up with that last Chelsea beak away. Some of his younger colleagues would do well to aspire to this referee’s fitness levels when he is firing on all cylinders


GB at 2018-01-10 22:32:26

Goodness knows what that offside flag was about? I think there was more chance that Stephen Childs was signalling for a push in the back by the Chelsea player in the centre of the field of play!


GB at 2018-01-10 22:28:00

Use of the comms to the Technical Area was allowed then as the player was injured and so they were enquiring about his safety


GB at 2018-01-10 22:22:09

Good spot by Atkinson as the Arsenal player pushed his opponent in the back


GB at 2018-01-10 22:21:05

I remember the first weekend VAR was used in the MLS earlier this year, they had a brilliant example of an attacker “scoring” a goal by punching the ball when all the officials thought he headed it. The goal was chalked off and the player cautioned – what price we get one of those in the last 25 minutes of this game?

GB at 2018-01-10 22:17:23


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GB at 2018-01-10 22:16:28

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GB at 2018-01-10 22:14:33

The longer this game goes on the more it looks like a goal is coming – the game needs one really

GB at 2018-01-10 22:13:13

The amendment to Law 4, The Players’ Equipment, which came into force in June last year made it abundantly clear that the use of mobile phones by team officials is no longer permitted:

“Electronic communication

Players (including substitutes/substituted and sent off players) are not permitted to wear or use any form of electronic or communication equipment (except where EPTS is allowed). The use of any form of electronic communication by team officials is not permitted except where it directly relates to player welfare or safety.”

We have seen this change continue to be abused on several occasions this season, so it is good to see Arsène Wenger is not flouting the law by keeping in constant communication with his team in the Technical Area. Some may think that there are far more important things going on in the game at the moment for the Football Association to clamp down on, but I have always been of the opinion that the only way to get consistency across the board is not to cherry-pick which aspects of the Laws of the Game it is OK to turn a blind-eye to.


GB at 2018-01-10 22:10:44

When will players learn that it is never hand ball when the ball is blasted at the player from a metre away  (when all referees stop giving them I hear you shout!)


GB at 2018-01-10 22:08:57

First yellow Yellow Card for Granit Xhaka (A 29) for that reckless challenge and normal service is returned again from Martin Atkinson!


GB at 2018-01-10 22:05:41

The tempo seems to be quicker already in the opening minutes of the second half and Atkinson is reviewing his tolerance level straight away with that first free kick of the second half


GB at 2018-01-10 22:02:24

Second half underway


GB at 2018-01-10 22:01:00

Viewers to Sky’s coverage in the UK may have heard the commentator say in the first half that the VAR could have told Jon Moss at the weekend that there had been a double kick at the penalty at Notts Forrest, and that it should have been retaken. As part of our education remit, I must say that whilst the VAR can get involved in the taking of penalties, if it was clear that there had been a double kick, the restart would have been an indirect free kick not a retake.

Hope this helps!

Half time Summary

GB at 2018-01-10 21:56:47


Very little to get very excited about in that opening 45 minutes, apart from two challenges which certainly looked reckless to me and raised an eyebrow when no yellow cards were shown to N’Golo Kanté (C 7) in the 18th minute or Héctor Bellerín (A 24) in the 34th minute. The one thing which has to be said is that Atkinson has been consistent! Whether that will be successful by the end of the game remains to be seen.

As for the VAR, there may have been a chat when a possible penalty call came along in the 38th minute, but there has been nothing else for the VAR to get involved in.

The referee can be seen holding his finger to his ear a lot as the cameras focus in on him all the time, but don’t forget the other three officials are still talking to him all the time.

So far so good, but I do think Atkinson cannot expect to keep his tinder dry for the whole of this one.

GB at 2018-01-10 21:48:41


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GB at 2018-01-10 21:47:31

Half Time

Chelsea 0 v 0 Arsenal


GB at 2018-01-10 21:45:36

Both sets of players are pushing Atkinson to see how much grappling they can get away with at every corner and attacking free kick


GB at 2018-01-10 21:43:36

The game has certainly livened up a bit in the second half of the first half and it is nicely poised for the second period. Particularly if the referee continues to keep his cards in his pocket – this could get feisty!


GB at 2018-01-10 21:41:19

Atkinson obviously saw some contact then with the Chelsea player’s boot onto the Arsenal players foot – and could be seen saying, “lets have another look” – VAR obviously agreed not enough contact for a penalty!


GB at 2018-01-10 21:39:15

Here we go


GB at 2018-01-10 21:37:39

Héctor Bellerín (A 24) becomes the second player to benefit from a lenient Atkinson in this game. I did think referees might delay showing yellow cards if they thought it might be a red, but games could get really out hand if nothing is given instead of a yellow!


GB at 2018-01-10 21:34:49

Here’s another one for you – if VAR spotted that ball did not go out of play before a corner was given from which a goal is scored – they cannot intervene as not one of the 4 subjects they are reviewing. If they spot ball going out of play in the build up to a goal, then they could intervene and inform the referee.


GB at 2018-01-10 21:31:02


It is worth emphasising that the VAR is monitoring the game all the time so if they spot something the officials miss under the 4 categories mentioned above he can get involved. That calling of the players together would have been as a result of an AR or the 4th Official


GB at 2018-01-10 21:27:37

I can understand why Atkinson gave an advantage signal then (because he has had nothing to do!), but there wasn’t a foul committed?


GB at 2018-01-10 21:25:25

AR Kirkup demonstrates the standard signal for when a player comes back from an offside position to get involved with play which everyone understands these days


GB at 2018-01-10 21:23:34

Stephen Child gets the chance to join in by NOT flagging for another very tight offside call. Is the pressure of the VAR keeping everyone on their toes I wonder?


GB at 2018-01-10 21:21:07


That foul from behind by N’Golo Kanté (C 7) may have looked borderline reckless but would only have been a yellow card – VAR will not get involved in yellow card offences, only straight reds or to tell the referee that a straight red was wrong and should have been a yellow card


GB at 2018-01-10 21:18:03

Atkinson was very close to that second careless foul of the game – all very friendly stuff at the moment

GB at 2018-01-10 21:16:32

Well if the VAR is getting paid by results he has hardly covered his petrol money so far


GB at 2018-01-10 21:12:51

Atkinson is showing no signs of the injuries which have dogged him recently and looks very calm so far


GB at 2018-01-10 21:11:05

Nice steady start for everyone so far as the teams suss each other out. No need for the officials to get too involved yet


GB at 2018-01-10 21:06:07

Five minutes in and the first free kick is an easy one for Atkinson


GB at 2018-01-10 21:03:49

First close call for Peter Kirkup which he got right no offside – ARs need to forget about VAR, but the referee needs to remember it so he does not blow too early if the flag goes up then the ball goes into the goal. Once the whistle is blown the offside call stands, even if it was wrong!

Referees therefore will start to delay their whistle.

kick off

GB at 2018-01-10 21:00:22

Chelsea won the toss so it will be Arsenal 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 2018-01-10 20:56:23


Not long to go now as the players and officials prepare to leave the tunnel – I wonder who will be talked about most in the papers tomorrow:


GB at 2018-01-10 20:52:45


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GB at 2018-01-10 20:50:41

If you have any questions about VAR already – fire them away now  on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at


GB at 2018-01-10 20:48:02

Much has been written about how the current protocol laid down by the IFAB should work under the mantle of ‘Minimum Interference – Maximum Benefit’, which dictates that only clear match-changing decisions or serious missed incidents should be reviewed. The categories for these are: Goals, Penalty Kicks, Red Cards and cases of Mistaken Identity.

If the VAR does intervene in this game, I will provide a detailed explanation of the process for the specific incident which is reviewed. At this stage though I will highlight just a few aspects to bear in mind:

  1. There are Two Officials reviewing the game at all times, so that one can replay an incident, whilst the other one continues to monitor the play if it is still going on in case another incident arises.
  2. Even if the VAR informs the referee that they believe an error has been made, the ultimate decision as to whether to change the outcome of any call made by any match official still remains with the match referee under the current protocol.
  3. After every goal is “scored”, the VAR will review the “attacking phase of play” in the build-up. There is no maximum time for this to go back to, as the review will begin from the moment the attacking team gained possession of the ball. In the recent game between Tottenham and West Ham for example, if the VAR considered that Mike Dean had missed a foul on the West Ham player in the centre of the field of play which started the “attacking phase of play”, then the referee would have had the chance to take another look at that challenge and ultimately disallow the goal and restart with a free kick to West Ham, even though there were several more passes made before Son’s wonder strike! So for those of you who have been champing at the bit for VAR to be introduced, I will just say, “Be careful what you wish for”!


GB at 2018-01-10 20:46:26


Today’s officials are:

Referee: Martin Atkinson

AR1: Stephen Child (Technical Area)

AR2: Peter Kirkup

4th Official: Jon Moss


Martin Atkinson’s appointment to this Semi Final seems like a safe bet by the Football League as he certainly has the experience to cope with the pressures of such an important fixture.

All eyes will be on this game not for the performance of the match referee however, but more so on the back-room boys in the VAR studio should they be called upon to be used. Interestingly, AR2 for tonight’s game, Peter Kirkup was the Additional Video Assistant Referee for the FA Cup game between Bright and Crystal Palace on Monday night, so he becomes the first Official in England to have sat on both sides of the fence as the VAR trials begin in earnest in English football this year.

Ultimately we all hope that VAR is not required to intervene in any game, but more importantly that if we do see it used tonight, then the correct conclusion to any review is forthcoming.

For tonight’s encounter Neil Swarbrick is in the hot seat again as the VAR and is accompanied by Mick McDonough as AVAR.

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2018-01-10 20:45:14


13     Thibaut Courtois (C 13)

2       Antonio Rudiger (C 2)

3       Marcos Alonso (C 3)

4       Cesc Fàbregas (C 4)

6       Danny Drinkwater(C 6)

7       N’Golo Kanté (C 7)

9       Alvaro Morata (C 9)

10     Eden Hazard (C 10)

15     Victor Moses (C 15)

27     Andreas Christensen (C 27)

28     César Azpilicueta (C 28)


11     Pedro (C 11)

14     Tiemoue Bakayoko (C 14)

21     Davide Zappacosta (C 21)

22     Willian (C 22)

23     Michy Batshuayi (C 23)

30     David Luiz (C 30)

37     Eduardo (C 37)


13     David Ospina (A 13)

9       Alexandre Lacazette (A 9)

10     Jack Wilshere (A 10)

16     Rob Holding (A 16)

17     Alex Iwobi (A 17)

20     Shkodran Mustafi (A 20)

21     Calum Chambers (A 21)

23     Danny Welbeck (A 23)

24     Héctor Bellerín (A 24)

29     Granit Xhaka (A 29)

30     Ainsley Maitland-Niles (A 30)


27     Joel Campbell (27)

4       Per Mertesacker (A 4)

7       Alexis Sánchez  (A 7)

14     Theo Walcott (A 14)

35     Mohamed Elneny (A 35)

54     Matt Macey (A 54)

61     Reiss Nelson (A 61)


GB at 2018-01-10 20:39:59


This season’s Carabao Cup has produced two excellent Semi Finals, with the perfect balance of a Championship team coming up against the Premier League Champions elect which kicked off last night with a nail-biting finish which left Bristol City with it all to do in the second leg, followed by the clash of the titans this evening.

Both teams will be eager to progress to the final of this competition to try to get some silverware into the cabinet this season, particularly Arsenal following their first exit from the FA Cup in the 3rd Round for nearly 20 years! So let’s hope they both race out of the blocks and go for it in tonight’s game.


GB at 2018-01-10 20:37:22


Welcome to this evenings RefCam coverage of the Carabao Cup Semi Final game between Chelsea and Arsenal. 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