Manchester United -v- Arsenal


TS at 2015-03-09 22:48:34

They don’t come much tougher than this for any referee and Michael Oliver has maintained his composure and coolness despite having some major decisions to make throughout the contest. The second half tested his skill set as a referee and most of his decision make has high credibility with all the cautions being fully deserved. The sending off when Di Maria got hold of him during the caution procedure for his act of simulation was the correct decision. It might be argued that to attempt to hold the referee is a sending off offence! The missed ‘second caution offence’ of Bellerin was the major talking point as if Arsenal had been reduced to 10 men the game had a different balance. It is a critical match incident and just how it was missed should be fully analysed in the posts-match debrief. There was much to admire in the referee’s performance but major match incidents rule! The bloggers have been busy and the talking points will be fully discussed on The Ref Show with Alan Biggs and the You Are The Ref panel. What a game – full of skill and effort but more than difficult for the referee. Keep your views coming! Join us next time on Ref Cam and thanks for your company tonight. Full Time

TS at 2015-03-09 22:35:17

Added time at the end of the game – 5 minutes added.

TS at 2015-03-09 22:34:00

Januzaj cautioned for simulation – looked a good decision as there was some contact but not enough to go down. Well done ref. Yellow CardRamsey cautioned for a rugby tackle – correctly! Yellow Card

TS at 2015-03-09 22:25:37

A handling offence by Ramsey gives United a free kick on the edge. Ramsey was fortunate to escape a caution for that one! Rooney’s shot is well over the bar. 80 minutes gone.

TS at 2015-03-09 22:23:40

Di Maria cautioned for simulation and it appears that he was shown a second card for pushing – or certainly laying hands on the referee. An ugly incident that the game does not need. Yellow Card Two yellows Yellow CardRed Card Di Maria gone!

TS at 2015-03-09 22:19:32

Foul by Valencia gives Arsenal a free kick just outside the area but De Gea holds onto the ball to save for United – 72 minutes gone and the first offside awarded. Rojo off and Januzza on. Welbeck off and Giroud on as De Gea makes a wonderful save to keep United in the game.

TS at 2015-03-09 22:15:44

The Cup shoulders are in front but could have been down to 10 men had Bellerin been cautioned a second time for a quite reckless challenge. It will become a talking point at the end of the game and is the only debatable decision made by the referee tonight.

TS at 2015-03-09 22:11:43

The foul by Bellerin looked a cautionable offence and perhaps the reaction by United saved him! Mr Wenger has taken him off and Chambers replaces him. Good management by the Arsenal manager.

TS at 2015-03-09 22:09:50

Bellerin foul after his earlier caution but Rojo gets a caution for his dissent and asking for Bellerin to be sent-off. Yellow Card

TS at 2015-03-09 22:07:22

Di Maria has a chance GOAL!but shoots past before Welbeck scores for Arsenal after a defensive mix up – Arsenal take the lead.

TS at 2015-03-09 22:05:01

Fellaini has two more fouls awarded against him and can have no grounds for complaint at the caution issued to expectation by the referee. It was good to also see him involve Rooney. Yellow Card Another caution for Ashley Young rightly issued as the tempo increases.Yellow Card

TS at 2015-03-09 22:01:50

Free kick awarded when a delay would have created an advantage in the midfield area as Arsenal had a chance to break. The decision was accepted and the free kick taken quickly.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:59:43

Sanchez deflected shot well saved by De Gea as Arsenal string some passes together with a good spell of possession. Fellaini commits another could – his 4th by my count and he needs to be careful he is not cautioned!

TS at 2015-03-09 21:56:41

Excellent position by referee Oliver as Di Maria goes down and whilst there was contact, it looked a credible decision.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:55:27

Foul by Welbeck gives United a free kick in a good position but Rooney can’t find a United head. Another cross headed wide by Rooney as Oxlade – Chamberlain is down holding his hamstring. Arsenal substitution with Ramsey on.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:52:22

A double advantage played by the referee as United retain possession but it comes to nothing and Arsenal have a throw.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:49:49

Second half under way. What changes will the managers have made to their tactical formations? Adjustments to the referee’s positioning might be necessary as he watches to see what changes have been made by the managers. Remember that the tactical formations of the teams (4-4-2 or 5-3-2-1) have different positional requirements for the referee to get the best viewing angles without being in the way of play.Football Man U make a double change with Carrick and Jones on with Shaw and Herrera off.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:42:24

The pundits at half-time agreed that the Welbeck penalty claim was not valid but in terms of a foul challenge, it was a holding offence in my opinion although from Michael’s view, it was very difficult to detect and Assistant Beswick was too far away to be credible. No big issue was made by the ‘experts’ and the delivery of decisions to expectation is the skill of the referee. Well done Michael Oliver.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:35:29

Half Time


TS at 2015-03-09 21:35:14

That is the end of the first 45’minutes and Michael can be very pleased with his performance in which he has generally delivered his decisions to expectation from good positions. It is cuppa Yorkshire tea time for me now and we will return for more in the second half. Your views are important so please get in touch via the usual contacts.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:31:48

Fellaini body check gives Arsenal a free kick in a good position. The foul was Fellaini’s third and he needs to be careful! Added time of 2 minutes .

TS at 2015-03-09 21:29:20

Corner to Arsenal – not excessive grappling been noted so far and perhaps the award by Michael at Stoke is a consideration!

TS at 2015-03-09 21:27:16

The balance of control with a caution to each team and a fairly even foul count is something that indicates that the referee is fully aware of eventualities. 41 minutes gone.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:25:05

Caution Herrera Yellow Cardfor a reckless challenge to underline control with 38 minutes gone.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:22:48

Welbeck hand ball spotted from a good position as the game still end to end with 35 minutes gone. The early caution seems to have worked as player discipline has responded. Mr Wenger has been the only voice of dissent so far. Corner  United but headed over by Smalling.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:17:55

Welbeck down in the penalty area with Michael Oliver well positioned – nothing given after some subtle holding was undetected. A difficult decision and it may have just been outside the area too.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:15:41

Rooney scores for United with a header from a wonderful Di Maria cross. Game on!GOAL!

TS at 2015-03-09 21:14:15

The referee and his team will need to focus in the coming minutes as goals change games and players have to respond with more desire and commitment.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:12:20

25 minutes gone and another foul by Fellaini gives Arsenal a free kick. It is an even contest so far but Arsenal score with Monreal scoring after a sweeping move. GOAL!

TS at 2015-03-09 21:09:42

Rojo foul was more careless than reckless and Gary Beswick’s flag sold the decision to everyone. No caution rightly issued despite howls from the Arsenal fans.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:06:48

Tensions in the technical area are alway in need of management and more often than not the 4th Official takes an earful for anything the managers both feel the referee has missed. Craig Pawson will try and manage the situation but I can’t help but think, and I’ve mentioned this before, that there has been too much tolerance over recent years as managers have pushed the levels as far as they are allowed. Neil Warnock developed it into an art form! In Europe it doesn’t happen because the penalties are severe. Is it a lesson to be learned for our domestic game? What are your views? Contact us on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

TS at 2015-03-09 21:05:50

Mr Wenger has a blast at the referee from the technical area following a foul in his close proximity. No word by Craig Pawson was shown on TV to remind the Arsenal manager of his responsibilities.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:02:30

15 minutes gone and Michael has done his job by delivering all his decision to expectation. He looks cool and calm and is moving fluidly to attain good position.

TS at 2015-03-09 21:00:33

Another United free kick in a wide position before Fellaini trips a defender to give Arsenal a free kick but it comes to nothing.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:56:20

The early caution has defined his tolerance level  which he will hope the players respect. The early caution can go both ways – for or against the referee’s control of the game. Corner to Arsenal.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:54:24

Sray used by Michael for that free kick in avery wide position which was a bit unnessessary but a good advantage followed for United to get a corner. Only half cleared and United retain possession.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:51:17

Caution for Bellerine for a reckless challenge and a ridiculous comment by the BBC expert! Yellow Card

TS at 2015-03-09 20:49:25

First free kick quickly taken as Arsenal have the first effort at goal. Saved by De Gea.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:46:29

The whistle blows and we’re underway. The referee will have done his homework on both teams in an attempt to be in total control. He’ll be aware of where his problems might arise and let’s hope that he will be able to get into the best viewing positions to judge incidents and that the game is free of pitch incursions! That would be a disappointment to me having been involved for over 10 years in the training of Greater Manchester Police in public order events. My fingers are crossed!

TS at 2015-03-09 20:42:06

The teams are in the tunnel ready to enter the arena for today’s game as the Assistants carry out the equipment check in readiness for the contest.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:39:27

For Manchester United Jonny Evans is banned for the spitting incident last week and Arsenal include Danny Welbeck – back at Old Trafford to make a point! This fixture has had its share on controversial incidents over the years and we hope tonight’s contest will be more skill than muscle to promote the good parts of the game rather than give exposure to unsavoury incidents.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:37:53

I worked with him at the Dallas Cup where he was like a sponge as an 18 year old, soaking up the tips on refereeing from everyone. His father – Clive, was a part of my PGMOL coaching group too and has been an important part of the development of Michael into the quality official he is today. We wish him well in his arbitration of the game today and hope he manages it successfully without being the subject of any major controversy. He needs to totally focus today and not let the issues from his handling of the Manchester derby a few weeks ago play on his mind. Let’s hope for no such errors as key match incidents in this game. Let us have your views on Twitter @youaretheref or email to

TS at 2015-03-09 20:37:06

Referee Michael Oliver was rightly praised for his courage in awarding the penalty, for grappling, at Stoke against the home team earlier in the season and he is certainly one of our outstanding prospect referees. Interestingly his position at the corner was not the ridiculously prescriptive place being adopted by officials where the best viewing angle is not always achieved. Instead, Michael chose to move more central and had a good position to see the grappling. This is something we’ll be watching for tonight in this potentially enthralling game. Michael has adapted to his high-profile position on FIFA very well with his rapid, and deserved, rise to the top over the past 10 years.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:30:25

Following the Saturday pitch invasion at Villa Park in the game against West Brom, I am sure that the referee safety briefing with the police and stewards will have focused on the issue of crowd control. It is a public order offence in the UK to enter the playing area and I know from working as a lecturer on Public Order Training Courses with West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Police forces that planning the event plays a large part in ensuring there is no pitch incursion at the sporting event. The football authorities will be taking action on this matter against Aston Villa for failing to control the crowd and that outcome will be interesting in the coming days and week. From a public order perspective, it was controllable in my opinion, but the goal scoring celebration after the second Aston Villa goal was the spark that lite the flame. Equally the referee should in my opinion, have taken the players off the field until ALL the fans were back behind the fences. Your views as usual are appreciated. What are your thoughts? Contact us on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

TS at 2015-03-09 20:25:03

Welcome to Old Trafford for this evening’s game in the FA Cup and our You Are The Ref minute by minute analysis of the game from a referees perspective. There are no match assessors employed at the game by the PGMOL for their referees which is still a controversial issue but it is different in the FA Cup and Michael Oliver and his team will have the support of a colleague and ‘friend in the stand’ tonight.

TS at 2015-03-09 20:22:27

Manchester United -v- Arsenal
Monday – March 9th 2015 – Kick-Off 19.45 GMT
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant 1: Jake Collin
Assistant 2: Gary Beswick
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson