Chelsea v Manchester City


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-09-30 19:34:27

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

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

  • A game where I definitely felt that the referee’s reputation went before him and he delivered true to form!
  • Excellent big match management by one of the best referees we have on the list at the moment.
  • Supreme fitness displayed throughout which kept him within a credible distance of play to make all his calls.

I have no doubt that all the officials would have settled for that before the game. Yes I know it was not exactly 100 miles per hour with challenges flying in all over the place, but how much was that due to the confidence that the players had in what the referee would do if they did overstep the mark? It takes years to earn as much respect as Atkinson was afforded by all the participants in that game, but when it comes, all the hard work in the past is finally worth it.

I am not aware of any major controversy elsewhere in the EPL so far this weekend, but if there has been any, then that performance we have just seen will go a long way to redress the balance!

It would simple be churlish to try to pick over that one with anything except praise for the way he managed the event from start to finish! For me that was practically perfect in every way!

Well done Martin Atkinson, thank goodness the PGMOL have the likes of you still around to pick up games like this.

As for the rest of the team “you all did very well” as well!

A pleasure to have such a great performance to commentate on.

More RefCam to come this weekend

GB at 2017-09-30 19:24:03

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage so far this weekend and stay tuned for 3 games tomorrow for you to follow from the referee’s perspective as we get October off with a bang:

01.10.17 Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion KO 12 noon

01.10.17 Everton v Burnley KO 14.15 pm

01.10.17 Newcastle United v Liverpool KO 16.30 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 2017-09-30 19:23:10

Full Time

Chelsea 0 v 1 Manchester City


GB at 2017-09-30 19:21:00

Another spot on offside decision by Betts (he was due for a good game) to cap off a very good all round team performance


GB at 2017-09-30 19:19:51

Minimum of 3 added minutes


GB at 2017-09-30 19:19:07

Nicolás Otamendi (MC 30) wins the prise for the most ridiculous challenge of the game! That was a yellow card Yellow Card even in the first minute let alone the last!


GB at 2017-09-30 19:17:19

Just 3 minutes to go and Atkinson showing he still has plenty more in the tank as he takes off on another prolonged sprint up the field of play. Always good to put one in for the Observer near to the end (even if there is not one there like today!)


GB at 2017-09-30 19:12:32

I don’t expect to see this referee take any chances in these last ten minutes or so. He will be looking to close this one out safely now having done all the hard work to get this far without hardly being noticed.


GB at 2017-09-30 19:06:20

Gabriel Jesus (MC 33) must be on his last warning now for persistent infringement


GB at 2017-09-30 19:04:38

Willian’s (C 22) arm in the face was just like the Rooney incident last week (without the blood). “normal” physical contact expected in the game when players challenge, no question of intent, open palm as the player jumped, and excellent reaction from the Chelsea player no to try to get his opponent into trouble!


GB at 2017-09-30 19:01:29

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity Tempo has definitely raised a notch since the goal – now it is Atkinson’s job to make sure the temperature does not rise with is. We talk a lot about tempo management on this site, and this referee should be a master at it with all his experience at the top level.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:56:37

Wonder strike from Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17) GOAL!

Chelsea 0 v 1 Man City



GB at 2017-09-30 18:55:06

Great wait and see that time by Betts as the Chelsea player was offside again but did not continue to chase after the ball so there was no need to raise his flag.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:53:47

Chelsea continue their high line from the first half so AR1 Lee Betts comes into play more this half and reflects the offside calls from his opposite number!


GB at 2017-09-30 18:51:06

Read my last post – would anyone like me to predict the lottery?

Fernandinho (MC 25) picks up first Yellow Card of the game for that reckless challenge. Now we can expect a few more as the line in the ground has been crossed and Atkinson has set his tolerance level.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:48:19

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

I expect that “last warning” was for EVERYONE’S benefit as Atkinson needs to be very careful now that his excellent reading of the game and leniency at times does not affect his overall control as the tempo increases in the final stages.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:43:43

Once again Atkinson’s consistency impressed me there as the City player goes to ground in the penalty area – he has not been givin fouls for that level of contact anywhere else of the field of play in this game.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:41:59

The referee taking no chances again there as two players are down injured – just stop the game and don’t risk anything


GB at 2017-09-30 18:40:27

I noticed in the first half that Atkinson was sprinting towards his AR2 on the far side to squeeze the play. Knowing when to leave your diagonal is a skill which comes with experience, but rarely does a referee do it at such a pace as Atkinson is doing in this match unless they have no confidence in the AR. No reason for that to be the reason with Stphen Child in this game.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:36:55

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity Consistent reading of that as another careless challenge by Atkinson, but sooner or later I am sure someone from Chelsea will be taking one for the team if they continue to break up these Man City moves before they become promising attacks.


GB at 2017-09-30 18:34:11

Second half underway

GB at 2017-09-30 18:33:28

Different opinion on Twitter here:

@youaretheref Atkinson right there – Alonso pulls player back no booking, last week the card was out every first challenge at Everton

Not every foul is a yellow card John – some times you need to keep your tinder dry and wait for the “stand out” offence to come along so you don’t end up with a “soft” second yellow card.

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-09-30 18:28:16

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

So far so good from all the officials who have orchestrated that first half without any problems at all. I know it looks easy, but there is a loot of communication going on from the referee to the players out there, and for a change, the players seem to be responding positively to the referee – could it be something to do with his reputation as I said before the game I wonder?

Whatever it is, Martin Atkinson is taking this one in his stride at the moment and is being ably assisted so the no one as hardly noticed the officials in that first half.

All that can soon change of course, and although there has only been 12 fouls (6 each), plus a few advantages played, some of the players will be on a warning to be careful not to do too many to stay clear of a yellow card. Not even a sniff of one yet, but I expect the force of the challenges to increase as the game goes on so there could still be some fireworks to come in this one.

More of the same please from the officials.

GB at 2017-09-30 18:19:25

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

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GB at 2017-09-30 18:17:57

Half Time

Chelsea 0 v 0 Manchester City


GB at 2017-09-30 18:16:09

Minimum of 2 added minutes to be played


GB at 2017-09-30 18:14:59

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

Martin Atkinson’s recognition of fair and unfair challenges has been spot on so far and he has done really well not to be conned by the players or tempted to go for his cards too early in a game where we have yet to see a reckless challenge!


GB at 2017-09-30 18:12:07

Busy afternoon for AR2 Child! 4/4 100% so far!


GB at 2017-09-30 18:09:01

Great spot by Atkinson then as he saw the Chelsea defender being tripped by Gabriel Jesus (MC 33) then communicated it to everyone that he was watching what was going on off the ball


GB at 2017-09-30 18:07:14

This is a bit more like a chess match at the moment


GB at 2017-09-30 18:04:28

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity Just 7 free kicks in the game after 32 minutes. It seemed like there was more, but the fouls seem to have come in groups, so Atkinson can still keep out of this one for the moment


GB at 2017-09-30 18:01:54

I have mentioned before on RefCam how referees without the fitness levels as high as the best on the list can compensate with their reading of the game. In this game we have a referee who has both strings to his bow, so his anticipation and speed off the mark are keeping him really close to the play


GB at 2017-09-30 17:58:14

Great opportunity then for Atkinson to demonstrate his fitness as play switches from end to end and he is in the other penalty area before the balls goes out for the goalkick – safe to say he is looking back to his fitness level shown last season


GB at 2017-09-30 17:54:37

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity Nothing too much to get too excited about yet as Atkinson keeps his tinder dry again, but definitely enough to make you think it will not be long for the first yellow card to come along.


GB at 2017-09-30 17:51:29

I have to say there is no need for a player with a hand injury to remain on the field of play for his treatment!


GB at 2017-09-30 17:49:30

With the grass cut with wide stripes like this, there can be no excuse for the referee not getting the wall back the required 9.15 metres. Not as helpful for the ARs with not so many lines to help them!

GB at 2017-09-30 17:47:15

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GB at 2017-09-30 17:45:44

AR2 Stephen Child gave himself a split second to replay that one before raising his flag for a sound tight offside decision


GB at 2017-09-30 17:44:33

Excellent advantage by the referee then in the centre as he saw the holding but did not need to stop the play


GB at 2017-09-30 17:43:17

This tactic of short goalkicks is becoming much wider used in football this season so the referee needs to be alert and aware and change his position to cope with incidents like that when it goes wrong


GB at 2017-09-30 17:40:54

Ten minutes in and Atkinson has already had some decisions to make but seems keen to keep things moving as much as he can without missing any easy opportunities to make his mark early in the game


GB at 2017-09-30 17:38:47

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

Raheem Sterling (MC 7) is going down easily already and Atkinson was close enough to sell his no foul call that time


GB at 2017-09-30 17:36:32

Very early doors I know, but Atkinson showing no signs of his recent back injury as he moves around


GB at 2017-09-30 17:34:40

No complaints about that pincer movement either as Chelsea break their duck with their first careless challenge as well


GB at 2017-09-30 17:33:20

Good start by Atkinson, early safe free kick and not too fussy about the quick restart! Bodes well!


GB at 2017-09-30 17:32:04

This is definitely one game which all the officials needed to hit the ground running in

Kick Off

GB at 2017-09-30 17:31:16

Manchester City kick off



GB at 2017-09-30 17:26:10

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

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GB at 2017-09-30 17:24:25

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

Today’s officials are:

Referee:  Martin Atkinson

AR1: Lee Betts (Technical Area)

AR2: Stephen Child

4th Official: Andre Mariner


A fully fit Martin Atkinson gets the responsibility of managing another top-6 head-to-head match, with the weekend’s stand out fixture in front of an audience of millions! And he is just the man to step up to the mark if this one “kicks off” in the last 20 minutes, should there is no clear leader at that stage.

For every referee, whatever league they are officiating on, it is important to create a “good” reputation, and Atkinson has established that for himself in the top flight for his consistency and reliability under pressure. The players should feel comfortable about the man in the middle today, and can have no complaints if they “push their luck too far” with him in this game.

I remember an occasion when I was refereeing a Conference game some years ago, and we could hear the manager of the away team giving his final instructions to his players through the paper-thin walls. He started by saying “Right, you all know what this referee is like ….…..” then he did not hold back with some very choice words about me, and my style of refereeing, before finishing by saying “So if any of you get booked today, you can pay your own fines!” My Linesmen were clearly quite taken aback by the vivid picture the manager had just painted of me. I, on the other hand, was happy that my work had been done the previous times our paths had crossed.  I turned to my ARs and said “There we go then lads, looks like we are going to be in for a quiet afternoon as the manager has just done my job for me!”

You will all have your own opinions about each referee on the Premier League at the moment, but for those referees out there just starting out, never loose sight of the fact that the sooner you establish that positive reputation, like the referee today, the easier your job gets. What you don’t want to do is be remembered for anything negative, or showing signs of a lack of strength when the going gets tough, which teams will remember and exploit the next time you meet!

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-09-30 17:22:13


13     Thibaut Courtois (C 13)

2       Antonio Rudiger (C 2)

3       Marcos Alonso (C 3)

4       Cesc Fàbregas (C 4)

7       N’Golo Kanté (C 7)

9       Alvaro Morata (C 9)

10     Eden Hazard (C 10)

14     Tiemoue Bakayoko (C 14)

24     Gary Cahill (C 24)

27     Andreas Christensen (C 27)

28     César Azpilicueta (C 28)


1       Will Carballero (C 1)

11     Pedro (C 11)

15     Victor Moses (C 15)

16     Kenedy (C 16)

21     Davide Zappacosta (C 21)

22     Willian (C 22)


Manchester City

31     Ederson (MC 31)

2       Kyle Walker (MC 2)

5       John Stones (MC 5)

7       Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

17     Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17)

18     Fabian Delph (MC 18)

19     Leroy Sané (MC 19)

21     David Silva (MC 21)

25     Fernandinho (MC 25)

30     Nicolás Otamendi (MC 30)

33     Gabriel Jesus (MC 33)


1       Claudio Bravo (MC 1)

3       Danilo (MC 3)

8       Ilkay Gundgan (MC 8)

15     Eliaquim Mangala (MC 15)

20     Bernardo Silva (MC 20)

35     Oleksandr Zinchenko (MC 35)

42     Yaya Touré (MC 42)

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

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

The title deciders seem to be getting earlier in the season every year!

Manchester City have already made it clear that anyone who wants to challenge for the title will need to beat them first, but the reigning champions have not exactly given any impression that they are about to let anyone take their crown away this term!

The two title challengers face off as Manchester City look to extend their unbeaten Premier League record against a Chelsea side who have hit top form over the last few weeks.

The past does not favour The Sky Blues as they make the long trip to London though, as no side has beaten Manchester City in the Premier League era more than Chelsea (24). Yet it must be taken into account the incredible strides that Manchester City have taken over the past decade, as Sheik Mansour’s wealth fuelled them into one of the most formidable teams in the EPL. Since the takeover, the gap between Chelsea and Manchester City has shrunk, with the last five meetings between the two just leaning in Chelsea’s favour.

This season, Pep Guardiola’s men have hit form early, being just one of two teams still unbeaten in the Premier League. In fact, Manchester City have won nine of their last 10 Premier League matches, spanning from their 5-0 home win against Crystal Palace in May.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte’s men have gone unbeaten in the Premier League since their opening day hiccup against Burnley, and have won 10 of their last 12 Premier League matches.

I have a feeling that something might have to give today and that neither side will be in the mood to go down without a fight ……..


GB at 2017-09-30 17:12:10

#CFC #MCFC #cfcvcity

Welcome to this afternoon’s RefCam coverage of the Premier League game between Chelsea 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 over the weekend so far?