Southampton v Swansea City


GB at 2015-02-01 19:00:55

Don’t forget to join us again next weekend on the Ref Cam for two of the season’s classic derby fixtures on Saturday:


Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal KO 12.45 pm, and;

Everton v Liverpool KO 17.30 pm


Followed on Sunday by:

Burnley v West Bromwich Albion KO 12, and;

West Ham United v Manchester United KO 16.15


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


That’s it for me for this week.

Thanks for following the website this afternoon

Until the next time, keep your comments coming through on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

GB at 2015-02-01 18:59:56

I have to give Michael Oliver full credit for just doing what he needed to do and coming off the field of play with nobody talking about any of the decisions he made, even the red card at the end. These are the types of games which are a lot easier to mess up than to look good in if the referee is not carful and raises his profile unnecessarily. Michael just kept a low profile until he needed to step up to the plate.



The Red Card at the end was the icing on the cake for me. Those are precisely the type of challenges which FIFA have been trying to stamp out over the past few years where the player has no way to prepare himself for the contact, which was clearly reckless and had excessive force behind it.



It has to be said that he will have much tougher games to manage in his career, but you need to grind these out sometimes and Michael will be happy with the way things went this afternoon.



So well done for this one Michael – a good confidence builder after Tuesday, so bank it and move on.



Both assistants seemed to be fully tuned in to the referee’s game plan and consistent tolerance level, and as a result (apart from an isolated difference of opinion in the first half), the standard of teamwork displayed was generally very good.

GB at 2015-02-01 18:53:27

Full Time

Summary to follow

GB at 2015-02-01 18:52:39

MO needs to remain focussed right to the end here as the temperature suddenly reaches boiling point

GB at 2015-02-01 18:49:48

Minimum of 4 minutes of stoppage time, but there is sure to be more

GB at 2015-02-01 18:48:22

That was a leg breaker. MO knew what he was going to do all the way then and just took his time to get his thoughts in order before correctly showing the red card.

GB at 2015-02-01 18:46:39

Red Card Ryan Bertrand (S 21)

No complaints from me!


At last I can comment on a referee getting the big call right at the end of the game

GB at 2015-02-01 18:43:45

How nice to see a player stay on his feet in the penalty area for a change!

GB at 2015-02-01 18:42:08

GB at 2015-02-01 18:41:50

Without wishing to put the “mockers on” the referee (like I seemed to do to Robert Madley in my last RefCam), it would appear that with 5 minutes of regular play to go, MO has continued the much better performances across the Premier League this weekend. Good for him – now close the game out!

GB at 2015-02-01 18:40:06

Now we have a game on for the last 7 minutes

GB at 2015-02-01 18:39:45


Jonjo Shelvey (SW 8)

0 -1

OK – hands up who saw that coming?

GB at 2015-02-01 18:39:00

Good to see SB walking onto the field of play there. The touch line should not be a brick wall to the assistants if their presence can stop misconduct escalating

GB at 2015-02-01 18:31:42

To be fair to MO – he has hardly missed a thing today and has kept the game firmly under his control by been consistent with his stoppages for foul play. It might look like an easy game to referee, but it could be because of the way he is reacting to the challenges and interacting with the players.

GB at 2015-02-01 18:27:10

Important for AG to give that free kick right in front of him again

GB at 2015-02-01 18:26:07

Well done SB – the WHOLE BALL must cross the line

GB at 2015-02-01 18:22:09

Yellow Card Maya Yoshida (S 3). Great call then for free kick for pushing on the edge of the  penalty area and a mandatory caution. MO very well placed to react accordingly

GB at 2015-02-01 18:19:52

The officials have to be alert now as the shape of the game could change as the managers send on players to try to set this game alive

GB at 2015-02-01 18:16:56

A third of the way through the second half and from the officials perspective they will be happy with the way the game is going, but as a sceptical for the supporters it has hardly been a classic until the last few minutes.

GB at 2015-02-01 18:15:34

Great sprint down to the goal line then by SB

GB at 2015-02-01 18:12:53

Good intervention there by SB. It is important to give those free kicks as an assistant when they are right under your nose. Timing is important though, the assistant should not be tempted to “bolt on” a flag signal if the referee has already blown his whistle. In that case the teamwork was very good.

GB at 2015-02-01 18:08:37

followed by another “safety first” free kick

GB at 2015-02-01 18:08:02

MO quick to play the advantage there again in the centre

GB at 2015-02-01 18:07:07

No sign of any drastic changes to the temperature and tempo of the game in the first 5 minutes of the second half.

GB at 2015-02-01 18:04:42

MO starting where he left off in the first half – just give it!

GB at 2015-02-01 18:01:51

Swansea get the second half started

GB at 2015-02-01 18:00:44

For those of you who have just joined us for the second half, today’s officials are:

Referee: Michael Oliver (MO)

AR1: Simon Bennett (SB)

AR2: Andy Garrett (AG)

4th Official: Lee Probert (LP)


It has been a quiet day at the office for all of them so far, but only half a job done at the moment.

GB at 2015-02-01 17:54:09

Keith Hackett’s first blog this week analysed Michael Oliver’s performance in the Capital One Cup Semi-Final and offered advice on how referees need to have the skill to tempo-manage big games in their locker.  He also identified the requirement for referees to respond appropriately to the antics of players going “head-to-head”, which is becoming more and more prevalent in games at all levels recently. Personally, I have never understood the difference in interpretation between players touching an opponent above the shoulders with his hands? It has been universally accepted that if a player makes contact with an opponent’s face with his hand (however softly), then he can expect to be sent off. So for me, it is a very short step towards making even the slightest movement of a head towards and opponent’s face, a universally accepted red card offence too. That would soon stop this entire macho stag rutting season!


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GB at 2015-02-01 17:52:19

Half Time

So far this has been a great game for Michael Oliver to referee to get his confidence back after the hectic proceedings at Chelsea on Tuesday. The sporting way the players have approached the game has enabled him to get back to basics and not need to be the centre of attention.


Just that one unexplained incident when he choose to overrule the much better placed Assistant Referee Simon Bennett and give a goal kick when his assistant had given a corner. Not exactly the end of the world, and not really worth dwelling on, but it just goes to show how important full concentration is as I had just mentioned in my commentary.


I would not be at all surprised if the teams come out with a lot more passion in the second half so the officials cannot afford to relax on the back of their first half performances.

GB at 2015-02-01 17:46:25

Half Time

GB at 2015-02-01 17:45:59

Minimum of 1 added minute to be played. I am sure the officials will settle for that first half

GB at 2015-02-01 17:45:12

Always a great time to get a caution just before half time so the players do not think you are a “push over” as there has been nothing in the game so far

GB at 2015-02-01 17:44:21

Yellow Card Neil Taylor (SW 3). Good to see MO not trying to manage that but giving the player what the foul deserved

GB at 2015-02-01 17:43:26

And the grappling continues. This could become an issue in the second half is MO does not take strong action

GB at 2015-02-01 17:42:17

MO is finishing the game as he started with no surprises and not trying to be too clever – just give those small free kicks and be consistent.

GB at 2015-02-01 17:40:02

Good lining by SB by not raising his flag as the Southampton player ran back from an off side position but made no attempt to play the ball

GB at 2015-02-01 17:38:40

MO clearly using his voice as well as arm signal for that advantage in the centre of the field of play. This is certainly the type of game to play as many advantages as he can

GB at 2015-02-01 17:35:59

Clear case of the buzzer being used then to help MO realise that the flag had gone up for off-side by AG

GB at 2015-02-01 17:34:44

Good to see MO always looking to readjust his position just outside of the penalty area to keep that optimum angle for when the challenge comes in

GB at 2015-02-01 17:32:35

In tennis you would have called that “an unforced error” by MO when he over ruled SB. The top referees just don’t make mistakes

GB at 2015-02-01 17:30:53

What on earth was MO thinking then in over ruling SB and giving a goal kick? SB gave a good early signal for a corner. That is the type of unexplained event which separates the good from the great at the top of the refereeing ladder.

GB at 2015-02-01 17:29:13

What did I say?

GB at 2015-02-01 17:28:19

Sometimes I have described early exchanges in games as being like a chess match – but this is more like a game of draughts at the moment, with Southampton having all kings on the board. It only takes on decision or one reckless challenge to change things though so all the officials need to remain focussed.

GB at 2015-02-01 17:21:28

AG getting a nice routine off-side under his belt there. Good stance and holding of the flag until the ball was placed for the free kick

GB at 2015-02-01 17:20:32

Good spot on the holding there by MO

GB at 2015-02-01 17:19:13

Another example of MO safety first tactics with that clash of “heads on the ball”!

GB at 2015-02-01 17:18:29

Great little burst of speed there by MO to get himself an angle as the Southampton player shaped to soot

GB at 2015-02-01 17:16:25

Mo has been consistent so far and has adopted a “safety first” strategy in the first 15 minutes. The skill comes in knowing when he can loosen his grip without jeopardising his overall control

GB at 2015-02-01 17:13:33

Swansea just letting Southampton know that they will be having it all their own way

GB at 2015-02-01 17:11:46

So far MO is looking very comfortable and confident as the teams settle down in this game – long way to go yet though!

GB at 2015-02-01 17:10:20

MO is setting out his tolerance level with 3 free kicks in the first 10 minutes

GB at 2015-02-01 17:09:06

I am sure MO will be feeling a lot more comfortable with the opening tempo of this game compared to Tuesday night. But if you are going to shine at the top, you need to be able to manage everything which is put in front of you.


GB at 2015-02-01 17:05:21

MO close in on that challenge on the edge of the penalty area so he could see there was no offence

GB at 2015-02-01 17:04:33

Not quite so many lines on the field of play to help the assistants as there were at Hull yesterday, but they will certainly appreciate the way the grass has been cut

GB at 2015-02-01 17:02:43

Good to see MO just letting the players know that he saw that holding then but is prepared to let the game flow at this stage

GB at 2015-02-01 17:01:45

1st free kick was an easy one there for MO to break his duck on

GB at 2015-02-01 17:00:53

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

GB at 2015-02-01 17:00:31

Swansea won the toss so it will be Southamptonto 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 2015-02-01 16:56:46

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

GB at 2015-02-01 16:52:47

You Are The Ref Question Time is back:

The next instalment of the very popular You Are The Ref Question Time Panel will be taking place in London on February 26th.  A number of priority tickets for the event are still available on a first come first served basis and you can check out the all the latest details of the event now, along with how to apply for tickets at

GB at 2015-02-01 16:49:19

Today’s 4th Official:

Lee Probert should be well used to holding up the board at the moment, having come back onto the fixtures a few weeks ago following his recovery from the injury which meant he missed the first half of the season. Since his return to the fold he has refereed a few Football League games already and was out in the Fourth Round FA Cup last week at Cardiff. It can’t be long before he is back in action in the middle of the Premier League, and I expect he won’t want another red card decision to make after 23 seconds when he returns to the top flight, unlike the controversial incident at Bournemouth on Friday night.

GB at 2015-02-01 16:48:27

Today’s Assistants:

Simon Bennett was promoted to the Premier League Line in 2011 and was appointed to the FIFA List of Assistant Referees in 2013. Since then he has officiated at over 70 top flight matches in this country as well as 15 international fixtures in different competitions.

Andy Garrett is one of the longest serving Assistant Referees on the Premier League having joined the Select Group back in 1999. He was never promoted to the FIFA List, however, he is a consistent high performer and can list both the League Cup and the FA Cup Final appointments amongst his prestigious achievements so far.

With all this experience on the line, there should be no excuses for any poor teamwork to be displayed this afternoon.

GB at 2015-02-01 16:46:40

Today’s officials are:

Referee: Michael Oliver (MO)

AR1: Simon Bennett (SB)

AR2: Andy Garrett (AG)

4th Official: Lee Probert (LP)


At just 25 years of age, Michael Oliver became the youngest referee in Premier League history in August 2010, and he has remained a top flight official ever since.

Michael will obviously be eager to bury the ghost of the big mid-week semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, which was not exactly his best day at the office, but one I am sure he will take a lot of educational points from, as suggested in Keith Hackett’s blog on Wednesday.

GB at 2015-02-01 16:43:40

Returning to the erroneous off side decision at Tottenham again, I would like to revisit the application of law from and educational perspective:

  1. Some commentators and pundits have stated that the decision to penalise the Tottenham player for being off side when he was nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent, was wrong because he “received” the ball in his own half of the Field of Play. The crux of the matter is that he was positioned in his own half when the ball was played. It is important to clarify that the decision is made at the moment the ball is played by a member of his own team, so it is at this moment that his position on the Field of Play is critical – not where he was “when he received the ball”. He could have run onto the ball and touched it in his opponent’s half and still not have committed an offence, even though he still did not have two defenders between him and his opponent’s goal line, as he was in his own half when the ball was last touched or played by a member of his own team.
  2. There is also an important learning point to be made from the position of the Assistant Referee in this incident. As an Assistant Referee faced with this type of scenario when a goalkeeper moves out, leaving one or less defenders in their own half, the correct position for the Assistant Referee should be on the half way line. From here the Assistant is perfectly placed to judge whether attacking players are in their own half when the ball is played, and is also ready to “pick-up” the second-last opponent (or may be more) as soon as one (or more) comes back into the defending half of the Field of Play (see my diagram). In the Tottenham incident, the Assistant Referee was confused and had taken up his position in line with the “last-opponent” rather than the second-last (as there wasn’t one).  He obviously couldn’t stand adjacent to the second-last opponent, as that player was in the opposite half, that’s why the Assistant should be stationed at the half way line.

    This is where the Assistant should have been standing:

2nd last defender


The other off-side situation involving the goalkeeper when the Assistant needs to remain fully vigilant and alert, is when the goalkeeper moves out to become the second-last opponent with another defender behind them on the goal line. In these cases it is vital for the Assistant to stay in line with the goalkeeper as the second-last opponent, as they will be the marker beyond which an attacking player must stray to be in an off side position.

GB at 2015-02-01 16:40:04

Back to today’s game and the history of this particular encounter in the various League at Southampton over the years, the home team hold the honours with 22 wins to Swansea City’s 4, with 5 draws since the first time the two teams met on the South Coast back in 1920. Taking all League games into consideration both home and away, Southampton have 30 wins to Swansea City’s 18, and there have been 15 draws.


The last meeting of these two teams happened on 20th September at The Liberty Stadium, when Jon Moss presided over a 0 – 1 away win for Southampton, when Victor Wanyama’s first goal for the team saw off 10-man Swansea and moved Saints up to second in the Premier League. Swansea manager Garry Monk had no qualms with the Sending off of Wilfried Bony in the 39th minute for receiving two yellow cards. This was the only disciplinary sanction for Swansea and Southampton had 4 players cautioned.

GB at 2015-02-01 16:38:49

Before I move on to this afternoon’s game though, I need to get something off my chest. I fully understand that the FA Cup appointments would have been made before the last round of Premier League games on 17th January, AND I am aware of the fact that The English Football Association and the FA Premier League are autonomous in respect of their appoint of officials to their respective competitions. But what kind of message did it send out to the rest of the world to have the referee who presided over one of the most embarrassingly basic errors in Application of Law seen in a Premier League game in a long time (player given off-side in his own half in Spurs v Sunderland game), refereeing the live 4th Round FA Cup curtain raiser on Friday night? For me this just shows how “disjointed” the current management of our top referees is at the moment. I am not advocating that Chris Foy be put in front of a firing squad, but surely there will never be a more open-and-shut case for the respective referee mangers to have had the courage to consult each other and to have “rested” a referee for a week? During my 19 years officiating on the Football League and the Premier League, there were periods when Referees felt that they were officiating in fear of the consequences of making an error, and not everyone thought that this was necessarily the most a satisfactory way for them to approach their responsibilities each week, but there needs to be a balance achieved across the board in this day and age for professional officials to be accountable for of their actions. Where is the consistency between this chain of events where a referee is rewarded for making a big error by refereeing a prestigious cup tie the following week and Mark Clattenburg being sent into the wilderness earlier in the season for his (albeit ill-advised) failure to adhere to protocol “off the field of play”? I note that Chris Foy and Adam Nunn were together in The Championship at Huddersfield Town yesterday, but for me, the horse had already bolted. Rant over!

GB at 2015-02-01 16:37:56

25 minutes to go before KO and welcome to this evenings live Ref Cam coverage of the game between Southampton and Swansea City. Feel free to interact with me during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at

Both teams will probably be pleased to get back to Premier League action, having both been eliminated from the FA Cup last week on an extraordinary weekend for a number of top flight clubs. It will be of no consolation to the supporters of all the top teams whose FA Cup dreams disappeared in the Fourth Round this season, but at least none of the departures could be put down entirely to a particular error by a referee. In a season when so many result changing decisions have been called incorrectly by our “elite” referees in League matches, I think we should be thankful for small mercies that most of the FA Cup fixtures passed with little controversy last week .

GB at 2015-02-01 16:36:27