Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal


RH at 2017-04-30 18:58:32

So the Refereeing talking points in this game were

  • A big game performance from Michael Oliver
  • Excellent game management
  • Superb final third positioning pays off

Its pleasing to report a great Refereeing display as Michael Oliver delivered a big match performance just when it was needed. He was calm and composed throughout, he kept his powder dry in the first half without issuing a caution on a day when so much was at stake. During the second half he had the conviction and focus to award a penalty that although perfectly correct effectively settled the match. He then raised his game to issue cautions as both teams competed harder than ever as the tempo increased. His game today was based not only on his calm persona, focus, composure and skilful judgement of player challenges, but also on his reading of play to get into great viewing positions and this paid off in the 57th minute to judge Gabriel’s careless trip on Kane, 74 seconds after Spurs had taken the lead. We have seen over the past week Refereeing errors and lessons that need to be learned, but Michael Oliver has experienced that level of disappointment and here the most important point is that he has raised his overall game to another level, so that he could correctly judge a big call when it came today on such a big stage. Both Assistants did well overall but Son’s Cross was prevented from reaching its target in the penalty area by Sanchez’s outstretched arm well out of the view of the Referee. But the thing I will take away from this match is when I covered the game for Refcam the last time it was played at White Hart Lane  I remember saying that although Michael Oliver got a big call wrong that day, he would learn from it and do better next time. It gives me much pleasure to say that today he delivered on that, take a bow Michel Oliver!


RH at 2017-04-30 18:23:41

Full Time

Summary to follow


RH at 2017-04-30 18:20:16

A minimum of four minutes additional time to be played


RH at 2017-04-30 18:17:14

Koscielny goes in hard but fair Kane, no free kick, spot on and an indication of the skill and judgement that Michael Oliver has demonstrated today!

RH at 2017-04-30 18:15:15

We’ve got some great games for you on Refcam during the next week;

  • Tomorrow night @ 20.00 Watford v Liverpool
  • Friday     @ 20.00 West Ham v Tottenham
  • Saturday @ 12.30 Manchester City v Crystal Palace
  • Saturday @ 17.00 Swansea v Everton
  • Sunday   @ 16.00 Arsenal v Manchester United


RH at 2017-04-30 18:14:42

It goes with the territory that in games like this you rarely come out of it with a blemish free performance, but if Michael Oliver can see this game home he can be pleased overall with his performance today!


RH at 2017-04-30 18:10:43

The tempo has certainly risen since those two goals but Michael Oliver is in control here and his performance gives me confidence as we move towards the closing part of the game!


RH at 2017-04-30 18:07:15

Yellow CardWe’re back to yellow though as Monreal gives Michael Oliver no option after his Reckless challenge on Kane



RH at 2017-04-30 18:05:41

The Referee shows his experience after a flurry of yellow cards to take the heat out of the game buy some time and calm down Welbeck and Alderweireld


RH at 2017-04-30 18:03:45

Yellow CardNo doubt though about Girouds reckless challenge on Trippier



RH at 2017-04-30 18:02:40

Yellow CardKane unlucky to earn a caution for what looked to be an innocuous ariel challenge



RH at 2017-04-30 18:01:32

Yellow CardGabriel sees yellow for a robust challenge



RH at 2017-04-30 18:00:21

A TV replay clearly showing Sanchez handled the ball as Son attempted to cross, its a definate penalty, but I would question Assistant Jake Collin more that the Referee as the offence occurred on the goal line Assistants side, certainly Sanchez’sA  arms were not in a natural position!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:57:26

The Referee did well there to demonstrate quick feet as he moved well to get out of the way to avoid that Vertonghen shot

RH at 2017-04-30 17:55:57

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RH at 2017-04-30 17:53:29

Looking back to last Sunday’s FA Cup semi final, the difference between the two Referees is that today the Referee had the composure and focus to award that penalty. It just shows that even at the top of domestic our game Referees can demonstrate a difference even within the FIFA list


RH at 2017-04-30 17:49:57

I talked about Michael Olivers  astute final third positioning in this game, he capitalised on this by being perfectly placed to correctly judge that penalty decision!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:47:56

GOAL!Kane coverts 2-0



RH at 2017-04-30 17:47:26

Penalty! Michael Oliver is well placed to judge that Gabriel catches Kane shin with an outstretched foot


RH at 2017-04-30 17:44:50

GOAL!The deadlock is broken as Ali puts Spurs ahead!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:42:46

Sanchez correctly being flagged offside as he pursued the ball in that passage of play having initially been offside


RH at 2017-04-30 17:40:22

Simon Bennett rightly flags Ramsey’s careless challenge on Vertonghen right in front of him!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:38:31

Players of both teams go to ground but again the Referee has got his involvement level right and can see the opportunities to let the play continue


RH at 2017-04-30 17:36:47

Oxlade Chamberlain concedes the first free kick of the half for a careless challenge on an opponent

RH at 2017-04-30 17:34:10

We’re off again as the second half commences

RH at 2017-04-30 17:24:50

The half time talking point centres on two Spurs misses by Ali and Eriksen, which tells you how this game has gone so far for the Referee, no cautions or key match incidents. But acknowledgement should be noted of the Referee’s movement and final third positioning in the first half, Michael Oliver has moved impressively into position on more than one occasion so far to create good final third viewing angles.  I also like the way that he involved Arsenal Captain Koscielny as he warned Xhaka that his next over exuberant challenge would earn a caution. Overall Michael has pitched it just right so far. Both Assistant’s look sharp so its all to play for in he second half.

RH at 2017-04-30 17:18:43

Half Time



RH at 2017-04-30 17:18:09

Simon Bennett with a close call signalling Harry Kane offside as Spurs attacked the Gunners goal!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:15:57

A minimum of three minutes additional time to be played!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:12:40

Superb positioning and signalling  by the Referee sells a Spurs goal kick despite Gibbs hopeful plea!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:11:02

Wanyama enquiring the grounds of his winning a corner there, but the TV replay was inconclusive

RH at 2017-04-30 17:09:50


We’ve got some great games for you on Refcam during the next week;

  • Tomorrow night @ 20.00 Watford v Liverpool
  • Friday     @ 20.00 West Ham v Tottenham
  • Saturday @ 12.30 Manchester City v Crystal Palace
  • Saturday @ 17.00 Swansea v Everton
  • Sunday   @ 16.00 Arsenal v Manchester United  




RH at 2017-04-30 17:08:44

Players of each team went to ground there but the Referee allowed the game to continue without risk to his management of the match

The skill required by the Referee at this stage of the game is to let enough slack out to keep the spotlight off himself without risk to his control, setting a threshold at which he deems a challenge or any physical contact to be careless is crucial!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:05:45

The first half has been competitive without being over the top, so far so good but in all fairness player respect/discipline has been healthy overall, how soon will that change?

RH at 2017-04-30 17:03:55

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RH at 2017-04-30 17:03:15

Girouds handball right under the Referee’s nose!


RH at 2017-04-30 17:02:03

Xhaka grounds Vertonghen, the Michael Oliver shrewdly involves the Arsenal captain in issuing his warning, good Refereeing!


RH at 2017-04-30 16:58:36

Ozil try’s Michael Oliver’s patience with the placing of the ball at a corner kick, the Referee does well in dealing with it but without creating a confrontation


RH at 2017-04-30 16:56:14

As Son opened up the Arsenal defence Michael Oliver was so impressive in arriving at the right position and at the right time!


RH at 2017-04-30 16:54:07

Before Ali missed that chance to score, Assistant Simon Bennett was spot on judging no offside as Arsenal stepped up to try and catch Kane offside


RH at 2017-04-30 16:52:43

In the opening 20 minutes Its noticeable already that the Referee is getting into good viewing positions quickly in the final third, his movement looking impressive!


RH at 2017-04-30 16:50:41

Spurs high pressing and Arsenals four in midfield ensuring that there are a lot of bodies in midfield, could be a source of competitive challenges especially if one team needs to dig in!


RH at 2017-04-30 16:48:25

Xhaka not getting the verdict in his clash with Son, and making it known he wasn’t happy with the free kick decision!


RH at 2017-04-30 16:44:55

Good advantage played in midfield as Ramsay held Wanyama


RH at 2017-04-30 16:42:03

Lloris clearly gets a hand to the ball ahead of Gibbs after he rushed out of goal!


RH at 2017-04-30 16:39:42

Oxlade Chamberlain getting to grips with Davies and understandably conceding a free kick


RH at 2017-04-30 16:36:49

If you are watching the game on TV, Simon Bennett is operating on the far side and the other Assistant Jake Collin is running the nearside touch line.


RH at 2017-04-30 16:35:19

Hectic first five minutes but no player making their mark just yet!

RH at 2017-04-30 16:30:15

Our match Referee Michael Oliver gets us underway!

RH at 2017-04-30 16:27:12

The teams and Match Officials have entered the field of play!

RH at 2017-04-30 16:22:36

I expect a testing game for Michael Oliver today, there is so much riding on this match, will Spurs still be motivated to keep up the pressure on Chelsea despite the blues 3-0 win at Goodison? Will the Gunners make a late bid for a Champions League place? A Spurs win today will mean that they finish the season above their arch rivals which hasn’t happened in a long time. Tactically it will be very interesting with Arsenal most likely to go 3-4-3 which means that the Gunners will be as Arsene Wenger says ‘bringing more of our players into the game’ that can only mean a combative midfield encounter where Spurs are particularly strong with dare I say the odd fierce challenge that can be expected!   We saw last weekend how an occasion got the better of a promising Referee. Michael Oliver is well beyond that stage but he has learned such lessons already, which is par for the course of any aspiring Referee who seeks to scale the heights of our domestic game. But Michael will be well aware of the pressure that this particular game can place on a Referee, on the 5th March last year he officiated the most recent Spurs hosting of the Gunners in a Premier League match, on that day his failure to dismiss Eric Dier for a second cautionable offence following a shirt pull on Oliver Giroud, cast a shadow over his performance, I don’t expect that Michael will make the same mistake today!

RH at 2017-04-30 16:15:06

The following is an extract from Jason Pettigroves excellent ‘Runners and Riders’ piece that can be found on the ‘You are the Ref’ website ahead of each weekend’s Premier League action!

Michael Oliver: Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal Assistants: S. Bennett and J. Collin Fourth official: A. Marriner

Game of the weekend by a distance and Michael Oliver is the right choice for the White Hart Lane cauldron.

 There was a time when Arsenal supporters would revel in ‘St Totteringham’s Day,’ the time of year when the Gunners results had ensured that they couldn’t be caught by their north London rivals.

 This derby carries more significance than most because if Chelsea have failed to win at Everton, Tottenham can move to within touching distance of the blues.

It promises to be one of the matches of the season and, potentially, one of the best north London derbies we’ve seen for years.

 Arsene Wenger isn’t Oliver’s biggest fan so the Frenchman’s excuses will be ready made if Arsenal happen to have another away-day nightmare here.

With rumours gathering pace that Oliver will depart PGMOL towers at season’s end, this could be his last hurrah.

In front of millions of TV viewers, this is his time to shine. And he will.

Michael Oliver – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 28 (17 on TV) Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 8 Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

RH at 2017-04-30 16:09:57

Today’s Match Referee is Michael Oliver His Assistant Referees are Simon Bennett and Jake Collin. The Fourth Official is Andre Marriner

RH at 2017-04-30 16:08:44

The North London derby is one of the season’s great occasions! This particular game has so much riding on it, can Spurs keep up the pressure on Chelsea? Will Arsenal carry on where they left off in last weekend’s Cup Semi Final? The bragging rights after this one will be so sweet for the winners!

RH at 2017-04-30 16:07:36

My thanks to Refcam colleague Guy Beale for keeping us all informed on yet another season defining game at Goodison Park!