Manchester City v Crystal Palace


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-05-06 14:43:27


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

  • The referee seemed to relax at the end of first half and dropped his guard as the tackles went flying in and he chose to keep the game going instead of putting his foot on the ball.
  • A different approach to second half saw normal service return.
  • Excellent fitness and positioning maintained throughout by one of the fittest referees on the circuit.

There were no key match decisions in this game, which turned out to by slightly trickier than it should have been to keep the lid on. There were just a lot of “routine” challenges to adjudicate on, albeit some of them executed with a great deal of passion at the end of the first half. Around about the 20 mark for fouls awarded is par for the course for a Premier League game these days, but it was the ones not given which attracted my attention in this game. There were a few occasions at the end of the first half when I felt the Michael Oliver took too many chances in not stopping the game and managing the tempo as the temperature began to rise.

In the second half, however, his tactics changed to his normal proficient self and he did not fall into the same trap of “letting the rope out too far”.

Although there were only 20 free kicks awarded, there were many more fouls committed which the referee either chose not to penalise, or played advantage after. Apart from the first one in the first half when play was stopped too quickly, the use of advantage actually came through as a very positive attribute in the game in the end. Michael eventually demonstrated how to delay the whistle, signal early, and either kept the game moving or stopping it for the original offence.On paper this looked like the type of game that he should have been able to do that without any problem, but the last 15 minutes of the first half just showed that there are no easy games in this league, particularly at this stage of the season.

So at the end of the day, Michael will bank that one as a satisfactory performance, not as good as his last game, but nowhere near as bad as some others we have seen this season, and certainly nothing for anyone other than the purists to criticise.


GB at 2017-05-06 14:25:45

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More Ref Cam this weekend

GB at 2017-05-06 14:24:48


My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage so far this weekend. We have 3 more games to come this weekend for you to enjoy some more insightful commentary from the referee’s perspective.

5pm today – Swansea City v Everton

7th May – 4pm Arsenal v Manchester United

8th May – 8pm Chelsea v Middlesbrough

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 2017-05-06 14:24:07

Full Time

Manchester City 5 v 0 Crystal Palace


GB at 2017-05-06 14:22:56

Damien Delaney (CP 27) picks up the 4th Yellow Card of the game for that reckless challenge and the resulting free kick leads to another  GOAL! for City from Nicolas Otamendi (MC 30)


GB at 2017-05-06 14:20:33

The ball did not completely leave the penalty area then at that goal-kick as Yaya Touré (MC 42) played it back to Wilfredo Caballero (MC 13)


GB at 2017-05-06 14:17:34

No comparison that time as the referee clearly held his whistle to wait for a possible advantage before stooping play. Better.


GB at 2017-05-06 14:12:40

The referee seemed to be looking to “milk” an advantage signal then as the two players collided in that last attacking move by City. There have been a lot of advantages in this game and for me there was no offence then so there was no need for a signal.


GB at 2017-05-06 14:10:24

GOAL! Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

Man City 4 v 0 Crystal Palace


GB at 2017-05-06 14:09:09


I think that was an accidental clash between the two players then (although it was still a foul) and the referee was well placed to read it that way as well. The players reactions also worked to keep things calm. There is a lot of blood about from the Palace player now and it is may not just be his shirt he needs to change if he comes back after the bleeding has stopped.

The 4th Official can now check all that.


GB at 2017-05-06 14:05:31

The referee seemed to see the shirt pulling as Leroy Sane (MC 19) broke out of defence then so he must have played advantage even though he did not signal. Much better to just give the free kick in what is know as the RED ZONE for advantage.


GB at 2017-05-06 14:01:00

When you are as nimble on your feet as this referee, you can easily jink your way out of touching the ball or getting in the way!


GB at 2017-05-06 13:58:42

The first half of the second period has seen Michael Oliver begin to revert to his normal stead self. A lot more free kicks awarded and it feels like he has regained full control of this game


GB at 2017-05-06 13:56:09

Good management of that free kick then by Michael Oliver. He had obviously told the City players to “wait for the whistle”, and so they might have only played a short free kick, but the fact was that not only was he not in the position he wanted to be for the restart, but the opposition were not expecting the restart. It is always better to have the free kick re-taken in those circumstances rather ending up the centre of attention if it leads to a highly controversial goal


GB at 2017-05-06 13:51:41


Really tight “not” off side call for AR Eddie Smart in the build up to the third GOAL! for City scored by Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17)

They are the difficult ones right in front of you as Gabriel de Jesus (MC 33) was running back from an off side position.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:47:52

Good communication then as the referee blew his whistle to emphasise the award of the corner when there could have been some debate. It is not best practice to use the whistle every time you award a corner, but using it like Michael did then can prevent any discussion with the players immediately


GB at 2017-05-06 13:45:11

The opening minutes of the second half has seen the referee giving a few more free kicks as the number of foul challenges has not particularly dropped much in volume.

Thinking about the end of the first half again, I have seen many times how games like this one can be far more difficult to referee that those traditionally looked at as “BIG” games.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:42:35


That yellow card Yellow Cardfor Luka Milivojevic (CP 28) was at least consistent with the Kompany on in the first half as that “little” tug certainly broke up a promising move for the Manchester City player.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:39:57

That goal might turn out to be very fortunate for the officials as it could settle the Home side and stop them competing with as much force as they did at the end of the first half


GB at 2017-05-06 13:38:07

GOAL! Vincent Kompany (MC 4)

Man City 2 v 0 Palace


GB at 2017-05-06 13:33:58

second half underway

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-05-06 13:31:08


Well that was a very disappointing end to the first half for me as far as the referee was concerned. It was out of character I must say, but the game seemed to suddenly get away from one of our top referees. It might be easy for me to sit here and see what is happening from numerous different angles, but a referee with as much experience as Michael should have been able to feel the temperature rising in the last 15 minutes and jump in to manage the tempo. Instead, the challenges kept flying in and opportunities to give “safe” free kicks were missed. This led to inconsistencies in discipline as well, as the Vincent Kompany (MC 4) challenge was considered worthy of a caution for stopping a promising attacking move, then a similar offence by Wilfried Zaha (CP 11) went unpunished.

May be the writing was on the wall in the 2nd minute, when an ideal opportunity to play the advantage was missed by Michael Oliver. It is OK putting your hands up when ones goes wrong, and I applaud the referee for that, but you cant get away from the fact it was a poor decision not to delay the whistle for a second or so to see is advantage accrued.

I think half time came at a great time for the referee to regroup with his colleagues for 15 minutes and re-assess his game plan for the second period.

GB at 2017-05-06 13:20:56

During the break, check out this genuinely intuitive use of the “spray” by referee Jose Carlos Rivero in a recent MLS game. When a number of players followed him over towards his AR for a discussion about an off side decision, he instinctively drew a “line in the sand” with his spray about 10 yards from the touchline and informed the players that if anyone wanted to get closer than that to the officials whilst they had their conversation, then they did so at their own risk! I thought this was brilliant and I would love to see it start a trend ingenious use of the spray

GB at 2017-05-06 13:19:58

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GB at 2017-05-06 13:19:19

Half Time

Manchester City 1 v 0 Crystal Palace


GB at 2017-05-06 13:18:10


This is really NOT good refereeing at the moment. The late challenge on Leroy Sane (MC 19) went unpunished on the edge of the penalty area then another very careless challenge follows.

The temperature has been allowed to rise because the referee did not manage the tempo after about 30 minutes IMO.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:15:01

yet another blatant foul committed with no fear of the consequences. That’s what happens when the earlier expected free kicks were not given.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:12:53


That was a classic example of what I just said in my previous post as the referee would do well to put his foot on this game and give some “safe” free kicks to prevent to players taking control of the game. If he fails to read the signs, then he could cause a problem later.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:09:21

The game suddenly came to life then with some strong challenges in the centre as the play seemed to just go on around the referee. I think Michael is just beginning to show side of over confidence in this game at times. It is dangerous to get lulled into a false sense of security when things are going well and not give the expected fouls as the players see this as weakness and the intensity of their tackles suddenly gets higher in the wink of an eye.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:05:49


Clear act of unsporting behaviour results in yellow card Yellow Cardfor Vincent Kompany (MC 4). Not much to debate about that one!


GB at 2017-05-06 13:03:55

I did not expect Palace to come here to park the bus – but there is not much else they can do at the moment as City keep coming forwards in wave after wave.


GB at 2017-05-06 13:02:09


Excellent demonstration of the wait and see technique then from AR Jake Collin as he delayed his signal until the City player became “active” despite the fact he was clearly off side when the shot went in. Had the goalkeeper gathered the ball cleanly, there would have been no requirement to signal.


GB at 2017-05-06 12:59:26

Once again the referees positioning helps him to quickly decide there was no offence on the City play near the edge of the Palace penalty area.

Followed by another confident advantage played. Michael has done well to block out his error surrounding advantage in the 2nd minute.


GB at 2017-05-06 12:56:14

No foul there right in front of AR Jake Collin. He demonstrated that he is on the same wavelength as the referee by not being too “busy” and signalling for an offence in the corner.


GB at 2017-05-06 12:54:05


Much better reading of the game that time as Michael plays the advantage when Raheem Sterling (MC 7) was held on the ground by the Palace defender. That was the perfect area on the FOP play where you need to have the confidence to “hold the whistle” to see what accrues.


GB at 2017-05-06 12:48:27

It could be a long afternoon for Palace as City seem to be playing like this is a training game as they pass it around at will.

The officials will need to be alert to the Palace players getting frustrated with this.


GB at 2017-05-06 12:45:28

That was a strange one – not sure why the referee did not consider that a foul on Raheem Sterling (MC 7) out on the wing. He seemed to have second thoughts and put his whistle to his mouth. That was the “ideal” safe free kick which no one would have argued about.

GB at 2017-05-06 12:43:08


Next season’s changes to the Laws of the Game are now available via the IFAB by the way


GB at 2017-05-06 12:41:57

I am so pleased to see the officials in purple with an all black goalkeeper on the field of play. That has really flipped my switch this season as referees have often stayed in their all black kit


GB at 2017-05-06 12:40:26

Michael Oliver demonstrating his excellent positional sense in the final third as normal as he was perfectly placed well inside of the City penalty area to correctly judge there was no foul challenge and therefore no penalty. Being so close in those situation is vital to sell your decisions


GB at 2017-05-06 12:38:08


Excellent body language displayed by the referee there as he immediately held is hands up to say “sorry Gents”, as he really wished he had played the advantage as the City player was brought down in the centre and City were on a break.

Picking that first foul in every game is so important and the Yellow Card for Martin Kelly (CP 34) was inevitable for the reckless challenge which caused Michael to blow too early.


GB at 2017-05-06 12:34:13

GOAL! David Silva (MC 21)

No quest on off side in the build up

Man City 1 v 0 Palace

GB at 2017-05-06 12:32:24

City start the game with the player kicking off in the opposition half which will be league in accordance to the Laws NEXT SEASON!

Kick Off

GB at 2017-05-06 12:30:57

Crystal Palace won the toss so it will be Manchester City 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 2017-05-06 12:26:29

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


GB at 2017-05-06 12:24:10


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GB at 2017-05-06 12:20:16


Today’s officials are:

Referee:  Michael Oliver

AR1: Jake Collin (Technical Area)

AR2: Eddie Smart

4th Official: Jon Moss

Michael Oliver

This season’s bridesmaid will probably still be smarting from his non-selection for the FA Cup Final, at the end of a season which was set up perfectly for him to stake his claim for a position on the UEFA Elite list next year. Historically, it was generally accepted that the international governing bodies rarely selected officials for their premier tournaments until they had officiated at the major final of their respective federations, so that would have come as another major hammer blow to today’s man in the middle. That said, there have been a lot of examples, in the English game in particular, when referees have really shown their metal and bounced back from disappointment and really set the world alight the following season. I am certain that Michael Oliver has the personality and strength of character to do just that, and I will be looking for another performance today to mirror his handling of the recent North London derby to keep his run-in to the end of this campaign firing on all cylinders.

We always say you are only as good as your last game, so more of what he served up at White Hart Lane will be just what the doctor ordered today!

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-05-06 12:14:34

Manchester City

13     Wilfredo Caballero (MC 13)

4       Vincent Kompany (MC 4)

7       Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

17     Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17)

19     Leroy Sane (MC 19)

21     David Silva (MC 21)

22     Gaël Clichy (MC 22)

25     Fernandinho (MC 25)

30     Nicolas Otamendi (MC 30)

33     Gabriel de Jesus (MC 33)

42     Yaya Touré (MC 42)


3       Bacary Sagna (MC 3)

5       Pablo Zabaleta (MC 5)

6       Fernando Reges (MC 6)

11     Aleksandar Kolarov (MC 11)

15     Jesús Navas (MC 15)

54     Angus Gunn (MC 54)

72     Kelechi Iheanacho (MC 72)

Crystal Palace

13     Wayne Hennessey (CP 13)

2       Joel Ward (CP 2)

3       Patrick Van Aanholt (CP 3)

10     Andros Townsend (CP 10)

11     Wilfried Zaha (CP 11)

17     Christian Benteke (CP 17)

18     James McArthur (CP 18)

28     Luka Milivojevic (CP 28)

31     Jeff Schlupp (CP 31)

34     Martin Kelly (CP 34)

42     Jason Puncheon


1       Julián Speroni (CP 1)

4       Mathieu Flamini (CP 4)

8       Loic Remy (CP 8)

9       Fraizer Campbell (CP 9)

14     Lee Chung-Yong (CP 14)

26     Bakary Sako (CP 26)

27     Damien Delaney (CP 27)


GB at 2017-05-06 12:09:00


With Crystal Palace not quite mathematically assured another season in the top flight, and Manchester City getting the yips about cementing their claim for an automatic place in the group stages of next seasons ECL, this could be a very intriguing game today.

Big Sam certainly has the pedigree to motivate his squads for games like this, and Pep Guardiola needs to prove to the home fans that he can deliver what was so widely expected as the minimum requirement of a top 4 place.

Previous meetings of these two teams certainly point towards a comfortable home win today, as Manchester City have won eight of their last nine Premier League games against Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace haven’t kept a clean sheet against Manchester City in the Premier League since May 1993 under Steve Coppell, conceding in all 11 meetings since.

City will not like the kick off time though, having lost their last two home Premier League games in the early Saturday kick-off slot – 1-3 vs Leicester last season and 1-3 vs Chelsea in December.

Over the last 10 Premier League games, Crystal Palace (19) have won more Premier League points than Manchester City (17), and the away side could be forgiven for parking the bus today in their position. The problem with that will obviously be the quality of the goal-power the Sky Blues have at their disposal. So anything could happen in the next two hours!


GB at 2017-05-06 12:05:17


Welcome to this lunchtime RefCam coverage of the Premier League game between Manchester City and Crystal Palace. 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