Liverpool v Manchester City – Capital One Cup Final


GB at 2016-02-28 20:41:04

That is it for me until next weekend – until then, please keep your views coming through on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at


GB at 2016-02-28 20:38:16

It seems like a long time ago now when this game started and there turned out to be only a few isolated incidents which need to be reflected on in my final summary. Before I get to them, it is important to emphasize that on the whole, Michael Oliver has controlled this game very well, and has regrettably just messed up on a few incidents which would certainly have made a lot more headlines had Manchester City not justifiably walking away with the trophy.


The key incidents for me were:

  1. The reckless challenge which Lucas Leiva (L 21) got away with at the end of the first half.
  2. The penalty decision which should have gone City’s way when Sergio Agüero (MC 10) was tripped in the Liverpool Penalty Area.
  3. The movement of the Manchester City goalkeeper in making his second penalty save in the shootout.

At the end of the day these will all probably just melt away as the right team won eventually, but everyone has the right to expect perfection from the officials selected to control blue ribbon games like this, so it is a pity that these isolated incidents occurred at all.


Michael Oliver did not have a “bad” game by any means, but this performance just goes to show how tight the margins are at the top of his profession.


The level of teamwork was another thing which had a few judders, but probably not enough to write home about. Both assistants did well with their off-side judgements but the synergy was not always their between the crew on a few other incidents. Close, but no cigar!


Michael Oliver did well to get this appointment and he will live to officiate another day and will no doubt get many more finals in his career, so I expect him to reflect on this one for a long time!

More RefCam to come

GB at 2016-02-28 20:18:19

My final summary will follow very shortly.


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


There is plenty more action to come in the next 7 days for RefCam followers, which cumulates with the return of our coverage of the MLS beginning next Sunday:


Tuesday 1st March KO 19.45 pm Bournemouth v Southampton

Wednesday 2nd March KO 20.00 pm Liverpool v Manchester City

Saturday 5th March  KO 12.45 pm Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

Saturday 5th March  KO 17.30 pm Watford v Leicester City KO 17.30 pm

Sunday 6th March KO 13.30 pm Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Sunday 6th March KO 6.00 pm West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United

Sunday 6th March KO 21.30 pm Portland Timbers v Columbus Crew


A list of all the big games coming up on YATR is always available at:

Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:17:12

Game Over


Liverpool 1 v 3 Manchester City

after 8

Manchester City are Champions and the referee can at last breath a sigh of relief!

Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:15:16


Liverpool 1 v 2 Manchester City

after 7

Anyone else think the keeper may have moved before he saved that one – that would be brave for the referee now

Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:13:45


Liverpool 1 v 2 Manchester City

after 6

Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:13:00


Liverpool 1 v 1 Manchester City

after 5

Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:12:13


Liverpool 1 v 1 Manchester City

after 4

GB at 2016-02-28 20:10:43

The other assistant helps the referee ensure that the goalkeeper does not move and that the ball crosses the goal line

Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:09:42

The referee decides which end the penalties are taken from

The assistant in the centre is in charge of making sure all the players remain in the centre circle


Penalty Shootout

GB at 2016-02-28 20:08:06

Another toss of the coin takes place now and the winner takes the first penalty.

Did you know that the goalkeeper is the only player who can be substituted in a penalty shootout if he get injured provided all the substitutes have not all been used?

GB at 2016-02-28 20:05:40

Penalty Shoot Out

Looks like I was not far out with my prediction before the game:


“My prediction for today’s game is for a cagey start, a feisty middle and a close finish “


GB at 2016-02-28 20:03:50

Extra TimeFull Time

Liverpool 1 v 1 Manchester City


GB at 2016-02-28 20:03:00

reflecting on the mass confrontation, Michael Oliver showed how important it is for the referee to stay calm and not get drawn into the players


GB at 2016-02-28 20:01:07

Yellow CardAdam Lallana (L 20)

Yellow CardYaya Touré (MC 42)

Was the expectation after that mass confrontation


GB at 2016-02-28 19:59:40

That was a dreadful challenge which started that spat between the players


GB at 2016-02-28 19:55:39

the more exciting this extra time gets the more disappointing it is that the referee will be talked about after the game. The teams are both doing their best to entertain their fans, but City will feel really hard done by if they don’t get something out of this game now


GB at 2016-02-28 19:53:11

Yellow Card for Nicolas Otamendi (MC 30)

That was probably the most reckless challenge since the one that got away in the first half!


GB at 2016-02-28 19:52:01

what a scramble that was – it looked like an off-side missed in the centre as well with Liverpool players all over the place


GB at 2016-02-28 19:50:03

Adrian’s sprinting seems to have improved as the game has gone on – good strong running technique on show then


GB at 2016-02-28 19:47:38

Extra Time

Half Time

Liverpool 1 v 1 Manchester City

The teams should switch straight round with no gap in extra time


GB at 2016-02-28 19:46:10

That would have been justice for Sergio Agüero (MC 10) had his shot gone in at the end then

GB at 2016-02-28 19:44:43

apologies to Adrian Holmes, it was Simon Bennett who failed to assist the referee with that foul on Sergio Agüero (MC 10) a few minutes ago


GB at 2016-02-28 19:42:39

composure and above all concentration is required from all the officials to close this game out without another major talking point


GB at 2016-02-28 19:41:00

Unfortunately it looks like fatigue is effecting the officials more than the players as there was no excuse for Adrian Holmes not giving that foul just now right in front of him


GB at 2016-02-28 19:39:42

straight forward careless challenge in the centre. The referee needs to return to his safe refereeing style to keep the lid on this one now


GB at 2016-02-28 19:37:07

That looked sloppy communication between the officials and also did not look like the whole of the ball had crossed the touchline either.

Come on officials, there is a lot more officiating to go in this game yet


GB at 2016-02-28 19:34:36

The referee was well placed again to see no penalty for Liverpool as the players tangle in the City Box – he will need to be certain if he gives a penalty to the Reds now


GB at 2016-02-28 19:31:39

Extra time under way and already the first foul after 30 seconds!

the story so far

GB at 2016-02-28 19:30:38

By the high standards Michael Oliver has set for himself this season, he will no doubt be very disappointed when he sees that trip on Sergio Agüero (MC 10) again. It was such a pity as he had done so well to get from one end to the other, then missed the opportunity of putting the icing on the cake and getting the big call right. With Liverpool getting back in the game, that one decision has already had a major effect on the game as we approach extra time.


With 6 cautions in the game so far, that could also affect how some players challenge for the rest of the game.


Nathaniel Clyne (L 2)

Philippe Coutinho (L 10)

Alberto Moreno (L 18)

Joe Allen (L 24)


Manchester City

Vincent Kompany (MC 4)

Fernando (MC 6)


Still a lot of work for the officials to do yet.


GB at 2016-02-28 19:24:12

Full Time

Liverpool 1 v 1 Manchester City


GB at 2016-02-28 19:22:50

This has the making for a very feisty extra half an hour


GB at 2016-02-28 19:20:11

minimum of 4 added minutes


GB at 2016-02-28 19:17:57

Yellow Card

Vincent Kompany (MC 4) the card count continues to rise as another reckless challenge gets what it deserved



GB at 2016-02-28 19:16:35

Has it occurred to anyone else yet that the penalty which got away looks likely to come back to haunt Michael Oliver at the moment following that Liverpool equaliser?


GB at 2016-02-28 19:14:57

Yellow Card Emre Can (L 23) clear reckless challenge


GB at 2016-02-28 19:14:13

GOAL! Philippe Coutinho (L 10)

Liverpool 1 v 1 Manchester City

and Yellow Cardfor taking his shirt off




GB at 2016-02-28 19:12:52

more and more referees are asking the taker of the free kick in attacking situations whether they intend to shoot or cross – nothing wrong with that as it helps him position himself for the restart


GB at 2016-02-28 19:10:54

You have to admire the positions this referee gets into as the play enters the penalty area – so many of his colleagues drop anchor outside of the box but he is never afraid to press inside to get a better view.


GB at 2016-02-28 19:06:42

Both the assistants have displayed sound judgement with their off-side decision so far in this game


GB at 2016-02-28 19:05:40

Yellow CardFernando (MC 6) for unsporting behaviour as his foul challenge broke up a promising move

GB at 2016-02-28 19:04:16

Thanks to Mark, Rob and Shane for joining in on Twitter

GB at 2016-02-28 19:03:20

As the Tweets start to pop up, I have yet to see one support the referee for not giving a penalty yet


GB at 2016-02-28 19:02:18

It remains to be seen if that penalty not given to Manchester City will have a effect on the final result on this game, but we should not loose sight that if the referee had correctly seen the offence, was there a case for a red card as well – what do you think? @youaretheref or email us at


GB at 2016-02-28 19:00:03

There will be cries of inconsistency now following that trip – a trip is a trip, inside the box or outside


GB at 2016-02-28 18:57:42

Yellow Card Alberto Moreno (L 18) as the tempo is really rising now


GB at 2016-02-28 18:56:44

I must agree with the commentators that said that we have “seen them given” for that challenge in the box on Sergio Agüero (MC 10) but fair play to the referee, he was close enough to make a credible call as the offensive player made a meal of the outstretched leg – but there we have the rub. The leg was definitely placed in his path, so for me there would have been few complaints had the penalty been given.


GB at 2016-02-28 18:52:49

And that’s another fantastic example of this referees fitness and how it pays off – he was right there when the play switched from one end to the other to make the big call in the penalty area


GB at 2016-02-28 18:50:24

once again there was Michael Oliver racing into the penalty area as the City shot went in – he has been all over this pitch today


GB at 2016-02-28 18:44:46

look where the referee was standing again as the Liverpool player entered the penalty area. I can remember a few times last season when Michaels positioning let him down a few times in those circumstances so it is great to see that he has worked on that aspect of his game and that it is paying dividends!


GB at 2016-02-28 18:42:48

I expect Michael Oliver will be thinking it will be time to raise his profile now as we can expect this game to come to life very quickly

AND there we have it Yellow CardNathaniel Clyne (L 2)


Just what was required


GB at 2016-02-28 18:39:16

GOAL! Fernandinho (MC 25)

Liverpool 0 v1  Manchester City

That was just what the game needed



GB at 2016-02-28 18:37:11

MO very quick on the whistle for the first careless challenge in the second half


GB at 2016-02-28 18:35:02

off we go again for the second half

Question Time is Back!

GB at 2016-02-28 18:33:50

Don’t miss out on #YATR Question Time at Walkabout Glasgow in March, with a host of special guests – former FIFA officials Keith Hackett and Mark Halsey, talkSPORT host Alan Brazil, and Bolton Wanderers Official manager Neil Lennon! Reserve your tickets now.



GB at 2016-02-28 18:29:32

I think the interval has come at a great time for the officials. It will give the referee an opportunity to reflect on that caution that “got away” for Lucas Leiva (L 21) right near the end. That was a reckless challenge in any game and at any time and he will need to re-establish his tolerance level for all to see earlier in the second half, otherwise if everyone gets a free one like that, his control will quickly slip away. Up until that point he clearly seemed to have the game in his pocket, so I would expect his coach to be kicking his behind and reminding him of the pitfalls of becoming “over confident” in a quiet game. I mentioned a few times in my blog that the officials needed to be prepared for the unexpected, but it was also evident that the intensity of the challenges was raising, so I am surprised that the referee missed his opportunity to snuff it out!


But looking at the rest of the 91 minutes and 59 seconds – the refereeing team will be happy with how things have gone for them so far.


The important thing now is for them all to come out and hit the ground running from the start of the second half and not get drawn into the fatal mistake of refereeing the occasion and not the game itself!


GB at 2016-02-28 18:21:47

Here are a couple of links to articles posted on our web site this week which capture the diversity of what You Are The Ref is all about: have taken it upon themselves to highlight the plight of grass roots referees suffering abuse from participants both on and off the field of play, whilst undertaking what should be an enjoyable and rewarding pastime of managing a game of football! As the shocking real examples of the types of behaviour faced around the country continue to come into the office, the former Head of Refereeing in England has made a passionate plea to the man currently at the helm of the Football Association in England, to take urgent steps to stop the tide. Read Keith Hackett’s open letter to the Football Association


With the start of the new Major League Soccer season soon to be upon us, which we will be taking a keen interest in again this year, top MLS and FIFA Official Mark Geiger has produced an insightful Guest Blog covering My career and my crew


Don’t forget to catch up with Ref Show each week where our panellists continue to run the rule over all the big decisions made across the board in the professional game in England, and offer educational tips when the highest standards expected from our top officials fail to be displayed.


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 work a “like” at


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


GB at 2016-02-28 18:19:47

Half Time

Liverpool 0 v 0 Manchester City


GB at 2016-02-28 18:18:17

minimum of 2 added minutes to play


GB at 2016-02-28 18:17:49

going back to that last challenge I think the replay confirmed that Michael would have been far better off issuing a caution – by the way the player was hardly in control of his actions it looked like a yellow card should have been issued


GB at 2016-02-28 18:15:38

It certainly looked to me as if Michael was playing that challenge over in his head before making a decision. I could sense that the challenges were about to get meatier, so I expected the officials to be reading the same game as me


GB at 2016-02-28 18:13:57

Thinking time?


GB at 2016-02-28 18:13:23

that was the type of increase in the intensity of the challenges I was expecting


GB at 2016-02-28 18:12:38

Another good example of this referee’s alertness as he was seen squeezing the play over towards his assistant in the that last City offensive move


GB at 2016-02-28 18:10:00

A nice calm clear off-side signal then by Adrian Holmes – very neat and tidy!


GB at 2016-02-28 18:09:17

We have not had anything close to a reckless challenge yet, but I expect the two teams to start to up the anti as we approach half time


GB at 2016-02-28 18:07:43

Michael Oliver’s presence was perfect back then to see that it was never a penalty to Liverpool. That’s how to sell a decision by being right there


GB at 2016-02-28 18:05:34

excellent positioning then by the referee. I often comment on referees lining themselves up with the edge of the penalty area on the far side from the assistant and that is precisely why, so that they can adjudge if an offence is outside or inside


GB at 2016-02-28 18:03:32

Michael Oliver never fails to deliver on showing off basic refereeing skills – watch how he starts in an ideal side on position for clearances from the goalkeeper, then moves towards the dropping ball whilst it is in the air


GB at 2016-02-28 18:01:33

as the teams continue to dance around the handbags in this first half, I am sure the officials will be telling each other to stay focussed as they do not need to raise their profiles just at the moment, but need to be ready to react to the unexpected at any time

GB at 2016-02-28 17:58:55

Kolo Touré (L 4) replaces Mamadou Sakho (L 17)


GB at 2016-02-28 17:58:00

The Liverpool player certainly looked wobbly after that clash of heads – so safety first has to be the right call to take him off


GB at 2016-02-28 17:56:08

Close call for Adrian Holmes then for his first off-side, but he could have permed any one from 5!


GB at 2016-02-28 17:55:13

That was a good example of the referee being ahead of the game – he was mentally prepared for the miss-timed challenge by the City player so he was able to blow instantaneously


GB at 2016-02-28 17:53:54

great advantage then from MO – excellent signal


GB at 2016-02-28 17:52:54

Adrian Holmes looked a little behind the play then, or seemed to be caught between stopping and flagging or keeping up with play. As an assistant you need to decide what you are going to do and go with it, otherwise you look indecisive or get caught out of position


GB at 2016-02-28 17:50:11

looking forwards to next season there may well be changes to the law in respect to players leaving the field of play for treatment in certain circumstances – two from the same team may be another one which needs to be looked at?


GB at 2016-02-28 17:48:33

Michael Oliver showing excellent awareness then in spotting that clash of heads and stopping the game immediately for the safety of the players


GB at 2016-02-28 17:47:21

The first 15 minute block seems to have flown by and even though there has not been much action in front of goals, the pace and competitiveness has been worthy of the build up for this game. So far the officials have just let the teams get on with their jobs.


GB at 2016-02-28 17:44:01

Michael Oliver is doing the right thing to pick off these careless challenges early in the game – much easier to let the rope out later than to try to reign it in if you have let too much go too early


GB at 2016-02-28 17:42:34

Safe refereeing then to give that free kick for high feet


GB at 2016-02-28 17:41:58

I am particularly pleased to see that the officials do not class with the colours worn by the Liverpool keeper today as that is one of my pet hates! Even though I know it should have been the keeper who changed, at lease they do not clash in the showcase game!


GB at 2016-02-28 17:39:56

First free kick given in the centre from a very credible distance from the play, then we have the second offence following another careless challenge just outside of the Liverpool Penalty Area


GB at 2016-02-28 17:38:34

This referee invariably signals for throw-in direction even if it is obvious to everyone. There are different schools of thought on whether this is always necessary, but I have always thought it adds a little extra polish.


GB at 2016-02-28 17:35:48

Michael Oliver already making his presence felt right out on the left channel


GB at 2016-02-28 17:34:39

nice straight forward free kick for Simon Bennett to give there right in front of him – looks good when flag and whistle are in unison

GB at 2016-02-28 17:32:48

AR1: Simon Bennett (SB) is patrolling the touchline in front of the technical areas.


GB at 2016-02-28 17:32:22

Manchester City won the toss so it will be Liverpool 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 2016-02-28 17:23:58

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


GB at 2016-02-28 17:22:38

We know one thing for sure already – Craig Pawson has set the bar really high already this afternoon with a cracking performance in the Manchester United  v Arsenal game earlier!


GB at 2016-02-28 17:21:44

Today’s officials are:

Referee: Michael Oliver (MO)

AR1: Simon Bennett (SB)

AR2: Adrian Holmes (AH)

4th Official: Robert Madley (RM)

Reserve AR: Eddie Smart (ES)

Michael Oliver

There can be very few people who would begrudge today’s referee of the honour to take charge of the first major domestic cup final of the season. Michael Oliver has earned his place in the middle today by consistently putting in the type of quality performances expected from our elite referees.

He is no stranger to refereeing on the hallowed turf, having already taken charge of FA Cup Semi-Finals, Play-Off Finals, the Community Shield and the FA Trophy Final at the HQ of football in England.

This has already been an outstanding season for the Northumberland-born Official as this final appointment comes on the back of the prestigious honour of refereeing the FIFA U17 World Cup final in Chile in November last year in his first FIFA tournament.

Michael started refereeing when he was 14 and since then he has really set the standard for how to progress to the top of the refereeing pyramid in the quickest time possible in England. His rise to the top has been a shining example to all budding referees out there as to what is possible providing you can demonstrate the fitness, availability and ability required!

Michael (30 years old now), was only 22 when he refereed the 2007 Conference national play-off final at Wembley Stadium and soon became the youngest ever person to referee an English Premier League match aged just 25 in 2010. In addition he had already been the youngest-ever Football League Assistant Referee, youngest-ever Football League Referee, and would also become the youngest ever Fourth Official in the Premier League. On top of all this of course, in 2012, he was elevated to the FIFA list of referees and is now already staking a claim to break into the elite group in the UEFA List.

This will be Michael’s second appearance at the League Cup Final as he was appointed Fourth Official in 2013.

Refereeing certainly runs in the family for Michael as his father Clive is a former National League Referee, while his wife Lucy officiates in the FA Women’s Super League.

Everyone here at You-Are-The-Ref sincerely congratulates today’s referee for this appointment and trust that all goes well this afternoon for all the officials.

Both Assistant Referees, Simon Bennett (who has been on the FIFA list since 2013) and Adrian Holmes (who has been on the Select Group since 2012), made up Michael Oliver’s crew for his last Premier League game on 13th February. This was the first time that all three of them had worked together as a unit and in fact was also the first that Adrian had been appointed to a Premier League game with Michael in the middle.  Your name doesn’t just get pulled out of a hat for these games though, so I am not expecting any errors in teamwork due to the lack of familiarity to be an issue today.

Fellow FIFA Official Robert Madley has the often underappreciated responsibility of officiating as 4th Official today and he will be fully aware of what an important position that actually is in the modern game.


Eddie Smart makes up the crew as the Reserve Assistant Referee, ready to take over from one of his colleagues in an emergency. Eddie was coincidentally on the line when these two teams met in the Premier League on the 19th November, as was Simon Bennett.

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2016-02-28 17:15:56




Simon Mignolet (L 22)

Nathaniel Clyne (L 2)

James Milner (L 7)

Philippe Coutinho (L 10)

Roberto Firmino (L 11)

Jordan Henderson (L 14)

Daniel Sturridge (L 15)

Mamadou Sakho (L 17)

Alberto Moreno (L 18)

Lucas Leiva (L 21)

Emre Can (L 23)


Kolo Touré (L 4)

Christian Benteke (L 9)

Adam Lallana (L 20)

Joe Allen (L 24)

Divock Origi (L 27)

Ádám Bogdán L 34)

Jon Flanagan (L 38)


Manchester City



Wilfredo Caballero (MC 13)

Bacary Sagna (MC 3)

Vincent Kompany (MC 4)

Fernando (MC 6)

Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

Sergio Agüero (MC 10)

David Silva (MC 21)

Gaël Clichy (MC 22)

Fernandinho (MC 25)

Nicolas Otamendi (MC 30)

Yaya Touré (MC 42)


Joe Hart (MC 1)

Pablo Zabaleta (MC 5)

Aleksandar Kolarov (MC 11)

Wilfred Bony (MC14)

Jesús Navas (MC 15)

Martin Demichelis (MC 26)

Kelechi Iheanacho (MC 72)


GB at 2016-02-28 17:13:32

As Manchester City prepare to line-up for their third cup match in a row, the debate rolls on over their tactical decision to play a severely weakened team in the FA Cup last weekend ahead of their Champions League fixture which resulted in them demolishing Dynamo Kiev 3 – 1. Whilst I will leave it to others to argue the rights and wrongs of the manager’s actions last Sunday, I can’t help but reflect on the irony in respect to today’s game. Over the years it has increasingly been the “League Cup” which has regularly been spurned by the BIG clubs in their team selection for the earlier rounds, but they always seem to scrape together enough fit “first teamers” to make a go of the final!

This competition has not been particularly salubrious for the Sky Blues since its inaugural event back in 1960, however, City have appeared in 4 Finals with 3 victories in their role of honour, which places them 8th in the all-time winners table.


And so enter the Gladiators in the shape of Liverpool, all geared up and ready for a fight to the bitter end in the Competition they have made their own. It would be fair to say that Jürgen Klopp’s reign at the top has produced a bit of a rollercoaster ride so far, but he has certainly attempted to restore the pride and passion which supporters of The Reds expect from their players. Last weekend’s blank fixture card might have done the Merseysiders a power of good to prepare for their best opportunity to bag some silverware this season.

Liverpool have the stand-out record in this competition with this being their 11th appearance in the Final since 1960 in which they have amassed an impressive record of coming away with the title on 8 occasions, including a run of 4 straight wins between 1981 and 1984 and two penalty shoot-out victories in 2001 and 2012.


Team Won Runner-up Title Years Years Runner-up
Liverpool 8 3 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2012 1978, 1987, 2005
Aston Villa 5 3 1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996 1963, 1971, 2010
Chelsea 5 2 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2015 1972, 2008
Manchester Utd 4 4 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010 1983, 1991, 1994, 2003
Spurs 4 4 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008 1982, 2002, 2009, 2015
Notts Forest 4 2 1978, 1979, 1989, 1990 1980, 1992
Leicester City 3 2 1964, 1997, 2000 1965, 1999
Manchester City 3 1 1970, 1976, 2014 1974


My prediction for today’s game is for a cagey start, a feisty middle and a close finish – let me know what you think might happen and keep your opinions coming on the big decisions on Twitter @youaretheref


GB at 2016-02-28 17:12:27

Welcome to this afternoons RefCam coverage today of the Capital One Cup Final between Liverpool and Manchester City. Often referred to as the “Fans Cup Final” with over 63,000 tickets split between the two finalists, the atmosphere promises to be electric this afternoon and it already looks like a beautiful day for the beautiful game!

Thanks to Rob Harris for keeping the seat warm for a terrific game just now with a “big match performance” from the officials to commentate one.

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