Chelsea v Manchester United


Good night

GB at 2016-10-23 18:22:18

That’s it from me – please keep your comments coming in and I hope you can join me again next weekend.


GB at 2016-10-23 18:20:40

Here are the main talking points in respect to the officials in this game:

  • A game which was controlled calmly throughout, still manged to throw up some big talking points.
  • A caution for overzealous goal celebrations in the first minute may have been a bit overzealous in its self in accordance to the law!
  • A yellow card for David Luiz (C 30) in the 41st minute looks very hard to defend after replays show that the challenge which was clearly reckless, also endangered the safety of his opponent.
  • The referee at least produced an abject lesson in how to close a game out with safe refereeing and tempo management in the second half with very little focus on him in the final stages.

At half time I summed up two of the major talking points mentioned in the above bullet points, and I therefore emphasise what I said at the time again here.

The first was Martin Atkinson’s decision to Caution Pedro (C 11) for his celebrations after scoring in the first 30 seconds. When you read the law in the context of this sanction, it is actually difficult to see the offence committed by the player. Of course it could come down to the coverage on the TV, but unless the player climbed into the crowd off camera, it was difficult to say what justified his yellow card.

Celebration of a goal

Players can celebrate when a goal is scored, but the celebration must not be excessive; choreographed celebrations are not encouraged and must not cause excessive time-wasting.

Leaving the field of play to celebrate a goal is not a cautionable offence but players should return as soon as possible.

A player must be cautioned for:

  • climbing onto a perimeter fence
  • gesturing in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way
  • covering the head or face with a mask or other similar item
  • removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt

The other incident was the caution for David Luiz (C 30) in the 41st minute. I will hold my hand up and admit it looked orange to me the first time I saw it, but with the benefit of replays I am now sure in my mind that a red card offence had been committed. The player’s action definitely endangered the safety of his opponent. To put it another way, It will be far more difficult for the referee to justify his yellow card, than would have been for him to justify the ultimate sanction! If in doubt – be strong is what I always tell the referees I coach. Would a send-off have made an effect on that game? Who knows, but the decision was still wrong.

In the second half, Martin Atkinson demonstrated perfectly how to referee with damage limitation following a controversial decision. He used his fitness very well and kept concentration to ensure his proximity to the play to give his decisions. If anything he even got a bit too close to play at times, but what he did was “kill the game” with safe free kicks which ensured that it never looked like “getting away from him” at any time.

So in the end, I think what we saw today was a game managed by one of our top referees, who unfortunately was not always on the top of his game. And at the end of the day, as a Referee, it does not matter how “big” or “low key” the game is, you have to get the big calls right if you want to slip away without anyone talking about you!

More RefCam to come

GB at 2016-10-23 17:52:38

My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage this weekend and please keep your views coming on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

Next weekend sees us covering 4 more Premier League games from the referee’s perspective:

29th Sunderland v Arsenal KO 12.30 pm

29th Crystal Palace v Liverpool KO 17.30 pm

30th Southampton v Chelsea KO 16.00 pm

31st Stoke v Swansea KO 20.00 pm

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


GB at 2016-10-23 17:51:47

Full Time

Chelsea 4 v 0 Manchester United


GB at 2016-10-23 17:50:23

Good stamina displayed by the referee right to the end, nothing wrong with his fitness in this game.


GB at 2016-10-23 17:48:15

minimum of 3 added minutes to be played


GB at 2016-10-23 17:43:05

I know I might be sounding like a stuck record, but that free kick for the little nudge after the ball was cleared is just what is needed in the game at this stage. Safe refereeing is all about keeping the lid on things and being pro-active rather than complacent as games like this enter the final stages.


GB at 2016-10-23 17:36:11

More safe refereeing in evidence. At least this is turning into a lesson in tempo management at the end as this experienced referee hangs on to what he has so far. To be fair the game has always been under total control, but there have just been a few decisions which will cause debate afterwards. Which of course all officials try to avoid!


GB at 2016-10-23 17:33:41

Yellow Card Paul Pogba (MU 6). That was precisely the type of undisciplined reckless challenge that the referee would have been on the look out for as the United heads start going down


GB at 2016-10-23 17:31:16

Thats the type of straight forward safe free kick for that arm raised out on the wing which the referee will be looking to give for the rest of the game. No need for any chances to be taken with his control from now on


GB at 2016-10-23 17:29:19

GOAL! N’Golo Kante (C 7)

I was on the line a few years ago for this game when United shipped 5 looks like it could be another one of those days!

GB at 2016-10-23 17:27:57

for holding Paul Pogba (MU 6)


GB at 2016-10-23 17:25:25

Yellow Card for Marcos Alonso (C 3). Mandatory for holding Marcos Alonso (C 3). Very pleased to see the referee carry out best practice and not show yellow card until player stood up.


GB at 2016-10-23 17:22:53

Martin Atkinson will be well aware that whatever the score, there is still a game to close out here without any more controversy. So I would not be surprised to see a few more safe free kicks creeping in the closing stages.


GB at 2016-10-23 17:21:02

GOAL! Eden Hazard (C 10)

That could be game over for United now. It will be interesting to see if they can keep their discipline more than Tottenham here did last season now.


GB at 2016-10-23 17:19:18

The tempo is certainly faster in the second half and this game looks like it could have some more twists in it


GB at 2016-10-23 17:15:27

Martin Atkinson is certainly proving that his fitness has improved this season but his decision making may have suffered as a result as he is making more “unforced errors” this season than is expected of an official of his status


GB at 2016-10-23 17:12:34

Was that a lack of concentration by the referee then I wonder as the advantage seemed to be the best action for that careless trip in the centre? I wonder if he is thinking back to that missed  Red card and decided to not take any chances in this half?


GB at 2016-10-23 17:08:15

Interesting “fall” by Eden Hazard (C 10) as he made sure he ran into the United player on the edge of the penalty area – good decision by the referee to ignore that one


GB at 2016-10-23 17:06:11

Costa clearly offside as the ball was played in before the deflection so the officials have started well with that on in the second half


GB at 2016-10-23 17:03:39

Second half underway

GB at 2016-10-23 17:02:59

Twitter reacting to the yellow card for David Luiz (C 30) at the end of the 1st half – I have to say that on reflection i agree a Red would not have caused much debate.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:58:54

Martin Atkinson has gone about his business calmly and confidently so far but to be fair he has had little to challenge him.

That said, there were two talking points which demonstrate the need for 100% concentration when there is not much going on.

The first was his decision to Caution Pedro (C 11) for his actions after scoring in the first 30 seconds. Here is the extract from the law for you to consider if he interpreted it correctly?

Celebration of a goal

Players can celebrate when a goal is scored, but the celebration must not be excessive; choreographed celebrations are not encouraged and must not cause excessive time-wasting.

Leaving the field of play to celebrate a goal is not a cautionable offence but players should return as soon as possible.

A player must be cautioned for:

  • climbing onto a perimeter fence
  • gesturing in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way
  • covering the head or face with a mask or other similar item
  • removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt

Did the player climb on the perimeter fence? If not, was it for delaying restart? I have to say that may have been a bit soft.

The late caution for David Luiz (C 30) is also looking far more debatable than I thought from one view in the game as well. Replays have led me to the conclusion that the player was extremely fortunate not to be sent off, as his actions have clearly endangered the safety of his opponent.

So as I have said a few times already, even “quiet” games like this can expose the officials at the highest levels.

Any thoughts on the big decisions so far? Do you think the officials got them right? Let us know on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

GB at 2016-10-23 16:50:44

Yesterday’s action has already thrown up plenty of discussion points for our weekly panel to review on the Ref Show tomorrow night. All the previous editions are available here Ref Show

As always, YATR values your opinions on all the points raised by out experts via Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

The You Are The Ref Facebook page is also proving to be a great place to keep track on what’s new and is well worth a “like” at

GB at 2016-10-23 16:49:46

Half Time

Chelsea 2 – 0 Manchester United


GB at 2016-10-23 16:48:26

Marouane Fellaini (MU 27) needs to be careful not to push his luck today as I am sure Martin Atkinson will not shirk his responsibilities in this game.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:45:53

Minimise of 2 added minutes to be played


GB at 2016-10-23 16:45:01

The game is at least becoming more competitive as United eventually settle in and stop looking so shell-shocked as they did after that first minute. Still a walk in the park for the officials though – but these are the ones which can suddenly turn ……


GB at 2016-10-23 16:42:39

Just a bit of tetchiness creeping in now as David Luiz (C 30) picks up a Yellow Card for that clearly reckless challenge. I can back the referee giving a yellow for that as there was no excessive force used although the foot was high and the challenge mistimed.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:34:25

Martin Atkinson is being consistent again with the position for throw ins. That was something which was drilled into the officials at the Euros in the summer so it is good to see him bring that home with him


GB at 2016-10-23 16:30:39

Yellow Card Eric Bailly (MU3) – unsporting behaviour as he blatantly pulls Diego Costa (C 19) to the ground and breaks up a promising move. That one could not be managed, however “friendly” the game has been so far.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:28:07

Very positive quick signal for the throw-in in front of the technical areas by the referee! You need to be positive and confident with your decisions in that area.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:26:41

MA was right there for when Marouane Fellaini (MU 27) committed the 3rd careless challenge of the game in the centre circle. Chelsea still yet to commit an offence!


GB at 2016-10-23 16:23:51

This has been a perfect game for the referee to just “keep out of it” so far, and Martin Atkinson is very good at keeping a low profile when it is required.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:22:21

GOAL! Gary Cahill (C 24)

Not a good day at the office so far for the United defence!

Chelsea 2 – 0 Manchester United


GB at 2016-10-23 16:21:02

Good to see MA being fussy with the position of that last throw-in near to the half-way line. The top officials need to lead by example for basic things like that so the “parks” referees don’t get as much stick when then ensure the ball comes back in from where it left the field of play.

GB at 2016-10-23 16:18:23

Twitter reacts to that caution for celebrating the goal, but like I said, the Referee cannot decide which laws he is going to administer in each game! The players know that if they go int the crowd then they will be sanctioned.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:15:32

14 minutes in and the fist foul challenge sets the referees tolerance level for the game. No problem with that careless challenge.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:14:19

Just as well nothing came from that last attach as there was clearly an offside which went un-noticed by Stephen Childs then. He needs to be sharper than that today.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:12:37

Replays have just confirmed that Pedro (C 11) picked up a Yellow Card for over zealous goal calibrations after his goal in the first minute. The Officials do not make the laws, they only administer them, so the player only has himself to blame for that.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:10:12

Well we have almost had more excitement in the first 10 minutes as we had for 90 on Monday night.

Nothing for the officials to pop their heads above the parapet for yet though.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:07:21

7 minutes gone without a foul challenge. Those opening few minutes can often set the tone for a game. This one does not have a history of getting out of hand though, probably because it always has a top Ref on it


GB at 2016-10-23 16:05:09

No holding at that first corner is a good sign

GB at 2016-10-23 16:03:43

AR1: Stephen Child (SC) is patrolling the touchline in front of the technical areas.


GB at 2016-10-23 16:03:06

That it why we always say it is important for the officials to be switched on from the first second.

30 second!

GB at 2016-10-23 16:02:00

GOAL!  Pedro (C 11)

Well looks like we have a game on!


GB at 2016-10-23 16:00:23

Manchester United won the toss so it will be Chelsea to kick off.

Good luck to all the officials 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 2016-10-23 15:56:01

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


GB at 2016-10-23 15:51:43

Referee: Martin Atkinson (MA)

AR1:  Stephen Child (SC)

AR2:  Stuart Burt (SB)

4th Official: Andre Marriner (AM)

Martin Atkinson 5

Martin Atkinson’s judgement was called into question last week when a caution for diving which should have been a penalty and second yellow prompted by a “busy” Assistant, marred an otherwise sound performance. Well if there was ever a time to “park it and move on”, then this is it today! Minor lapses in concentration in a game like this and all hell can let loose, so the team will be keen to ensure they nail all the big decisions right from the off.

Martin is no stranger to the pressures surrounding big game of course, so he is well placed to take this one in his stride, unlike some the others in the elite group at the moment, and that’s where the difficulty lies for the PGMOL. With only about a dozen referees who could be relied upon to bring fixtures like this to a satisfactory conclusion, they find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place sometimes. It is all very well saying that other referees need to be given the experience in the BIG games of the season, but with so much money involved at the top these days, who wants to take the risk when so many of them still seem to have that moment’s lack of concentration in their locker when it comes to the key match decisions each week?

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2016-10-23 15:48:19

Chelsea Chelsea


13     Thibaut Courtois (C 13)

3       Marcos Alonso (C 3)

7       N’Golo Kante (C 7)

10     Eden Hazard (C 10)

11     Pedro (C 11)

15     Victor Moses (C 15)

19     Diego Costa (C 19)

21     Nemanja Mati? (C 21)

24     Gary Cahill (C 24)

28     César Azpilicueta (C 28)

30     David Luiz (C 30)


1       Asmir Begovi? (C 1)

8       Oscar (C 8)

22     Willian (C 22)

23     Michy Batshuayi (C 23)

26     John Terry (C 26)

29     Nathaniel Chalobah (C 29)

34     Ola Aina (C34)

Manchester United man_utd


1       David De Gea (MU 1)

3       Eric Bailly (MU3)

6       Paul Pogba (MU 6)

9       Zlatan Ibrahimovic (MU 9)

12     Chris Smalling (MU 12)

14     Jesse Lingard MU 14)

17     Daley Blind (MU 17)

19     Marcus Rashford (MU 19)

21     Ander Herrera (MU 21)

25     Luis Antonio Valencia (MU 25)

27     Marouane Fellaini (MU 27)


5       Marcos Rojo (MU 5)

8       Juan Mata (MU 8)

11     Anthony Martial (MU 11)

16     Michael Carrick (MU 16)

18     Ashley Young (MU 18)

20     Sergio Romero (MU 20)

36     Matteo Darmian (MU 36)


GB at 2016-10-23 15:45:35

Well I am not a betting man, but I would hazard a guess that this one should turn out to be a bit more exciting than the Liverpool v Manchester United game on Monday night! With an estimated over £700M on display between the two squads and management teams, someone should surely be able to find something to set this one alight. I just hope it is not the officials, as we don’t want this one to be decided by a controversial decision today.

One thing’s for certain though, the Away manager should be in for a good reception from the Home supporters, which is something not usually afforded to a travelling United boss arriving at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho obviously knows the Chelsea team better than anyone, so it will be very interesting to see if he employs any specific tactics to exploit any of the weaknesses he was aware of when he left so unceremoniously last season.

These two teams have had stark differences in the way they could prepare for this game. For United, Monday’s battle against Liverpool may not have been a classic, but it was still fast and furious, followed by Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday, whilst Chelsea have been able to rest and focus on today since they convincingly turned over years Champions eight days ago. So it looks like the odds are stacked against the Red Devils before a ball is kicked, as they look to halt a run of 7 games without a win against Chelsea who they have lost more Premier League fixtures against than any other side.

The usual teams are still all jockeying for positions at the top of table at the moment as their personal head-to-heads start appearing in the fixture lists, which presents the opportunity for one or two to set the pace. Manchester City looked like it would be them early doors, but as their recent wobble has continued again today with another home draw, the stage is still set for anyone of the top 6 to stake their claim to be the force to be reckoned with this season.


GB at 2016-10-23 15:44:14

Welcome to this afternoon’s RefCam coverage of the Premier League game between Chelsea and Manchester United.

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