Watford v Manchester City



GB at 2016-01-02 20:33:15

I expect that all the officials would have settled for that before the game! It was just what the doctor ordered for one of our teams of officials selected for the European Finals. In particular, it was certainly a much better day at the office for Martin Atkinson than the last time he was on RefCam. The difference this time was a stark improvement in concentration throughout the game and a much better foul recognition as fair and unfair challenges were consistently recognised for the whole game and the referee never became centre of attention.


It must be conceded that the game was played in an excellent spirit by both teams (on a difficult surface which held up well) and this undoubtedly made the referee’s job easier. That said, he had one opportunity to raise his profile with a yellow card for a challenge from behind in the first half which he chose to manage by taking the conditions into consideration and in the end this worked for him on the day.


His movement did get better as the game progressed and I am happy to give him the benefit of any doubt in the end about his fitness, but there were definitely times when it did look like it was his third game in 7 days in the first half.


So there we have it, a much better performance this time from our referee and a quiet day for his wingmen as well who will also not be mentioned in despatches tomorrow. Bank that one boys and it’s time to start focussing on the next one after the longest break you are about to have in the last two weeks!

More RefCam to come

GB at 2016-01-02 20:22:18

My final summary will follow very shortly.


I trust you have enjoyed this RefCam coverage so far this weekend and please keep your views coming on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at Info@you-are-the-ref.com Coming up tomorrow we have:
Crystal Palace v Chelsea 1:30pm, followed by Everton v Spurs 4:00pm


A list of all the big games coming up on YATR is always available at: http://you-are-the-ref.com/ref-cam/


Happy New Year! – Have a look at our web site here!


GB at 2016-01-02 20:21:23

Full Time

Watford 1 v 2 Manchester City


GB at 2016-01-02 20:20:35

Good teamwork right to the end as Mullarkey gives his second free kick in quick succession to enhance the referees control


GB at 2016-01-02 20:18:36

great sprint then by MA as he senses it will soon be time for him to rest his legs!


GB at 2016-01-02 20:17:01

minimum of 4 added minutes at the end of 90 minutes to be played


GB at 2016-01-02 20:15:09

Three goals and not a wife of controversy surrounding any of them – the officials will be happy to bank that at get to the end of this one now


GB at 2016-01-02 20:12:01

GOAL! Sergio Agüero (MC 10)

Excellent finishing again

Watford 1 v 2 Manchester City


GB at 2016-01-02 20:10:56

It is all very well the reefree signalling that he played an advantage and then brought the play back with a “rocking the baby” action – but it helps if you give an advantage signal in the first place!


GB at 2016-01-02 20:09:00

GOAL! Yaya Touré (MC 42)

cracking volley!

Watford 1 v 1 Manchester City


GB at 2016-01-02 20:07:15

Good example there of the referee using up some of that energy he seemed to be conserving in the first half as the Watford break was fast through the centre. He still pulled up a little short of the penalty area then though.


GB at 2016-01-02 20:02:22

I am beginning to get fixated on Martin Atkinson’s throw-in signal ……………. too high for me. I am afraid I am “old school” and like to see the arm cracked out from the waist at 90 degrees. I would never dock marks for a referee on such a thing but I just believe it enhances the referees body language if a throw-in signal is different to a corner signal.


GB at 2016-01-02 19:59:38

just under 20 minutes to go and the officials cannot afford to start coasting in this one


GB at 2016-01-02 19:57:53

In the build up to an earlier City attack there was a great shot across the field of play which a City player off-side in the centre when the ball was played out to the wing – that should be enough evidence to convince some people who are still stuck in the past and think that off-side is off-side and assistants should give them all. The game would be totally void of chances when the ball is pulled back from the touch-line

GB at 2016-01-02 19:55:09

there is the camera angle of the challenge in the penalty area – you pays your money and you takes your choice!


GB at 2016-01-02 19:54:02

on the point of camera angles – if a video referee was to come into play in the future, do you think that every ground should have the same number of cameras in syndactyly the same places? Should that be one of the criteria? Let us know on Twitter @youaretheref


GB at 2016-01-02 19:51:48

big call then for the referee in the Watford penalty area – nothing to see from where he was perfectly placed, but I wonder if there will be a camera angle in a minute which calls his decision into question?


GB at 2016-01-02 19:49:40

proximity to the challenge helped the referee again there as the City player cried foul in the centre – good decision


GB at 2016-01-02 19:46:58

The referee will be fully aware that the tempo has just started to rise and will be happy to give that easy free kick in the centre of the field of play


GB at 2016-01-02 19:45:51

referee well placed again to see no offence in that challenge by City in their defence


GB at 2016-01-02 19:44:41

another great example of the Man City player not using the surface as an excuse and getting straight up to keep playing.

MM, gets the first off-side of the game under his belt


GB at 2016-01-02 19:42:50

Straight up the other end and a clear corner to Watford results in the first GOAL! of the game which looked like an Own Goal

Watford 1 v 0 Manchester City


GB at 2016-01-02 19:41:14

there was a brilliant example then of the referee just giving himself time then and letting the players decide who touched the ball last before it went out of play over the goal-line for a corner to Man City or goal-kick to Watford – good refereeing. The players will normally let you know!


GB at 2016-01-02 19:36:55

Good to see Steven Child coming out alert as I said and giving that free kick right under his nose


GB at 2016-01-02 19:36:08

there was an interesting challenge then with both players having their feet high in the air challenging for the ball – I am sure Atkinson will be finding a foul there in the Euros!


GB at 2016-01-02 19:32:48

The referee could be seen then checking all his communication equipment before he started the second half – some of the early comms sets were prone to problems in the rain!


GB at 2016-01-02 19:31:37

Watford get the second half underway

GB at 2016-01-02 19:29:33

Any thoughts on how the officials are doing so far? Let us know on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at Info@you-are-the-ref.com


GB at 2016-01-02 19:26:51

A very quiet first 45 minutes for the officials with no key match decisions to make and all routine decisions adjudged in accordance with everyone’s expectations.


Martin Atkinson’s movement has improved as the game has progressed and whilst it is fully justifiable for the referee to consider how these conditions might drain his energy over the full 90 minutes. It is important to always display the correct positive energetic body language at all times. His proximity to play has been satisfactory, particularly in and around the penalty area. There was just the one minor transgression I noted where I felt he lacked that little extra which is expected from our top officials to get side-on to the dropping ball in the centre of the field of play.


The referee’s decision not to caution for the first dangerous challenge from behind has so far not come back to haunt him, but he needs to remember that one so as not to be accused of being inconsistent. The only yellow card shown so far for simulation was a fully justified.


I have mentioned the conditions a lot in the first half and to be fair to the players, they have certainly not been using them to their advantage and full marks also must go to the ground staff for all their hard word to ensure that the players have a fully playable surface to work with.


The assistants have had even less involvement than the referee so far, so they must ensure they hit the ground running at the start of the second half.


So far so good for all the officials, but these conditions could play a part in this game so they all need to maintain their concentration in the second half.


GB at 2016-01-02 19:17:12

Last week saw Keith Hackett offer our YATR followers readers the opportunity to join in The Sin Bin Debate as he posed some thought provoking views on how a whole root-and-branch review of disciplinary sanctions should be considered by The International Football Association Board when they meet to discuss possible law changes in 2016.


Check out the You Are The Ref Video Aid Campaign as well. Football is moving ever closer to the use of video referees, as proposed and championed by You Are The Ref experts. The latest major steps will also see this idea discussed by the law making body in March. In England, The Football Association supports the introduction of an extra official in the stand to judge the accuracy of big decisions and help referees accordingly.


As always, YATR values your opinions on all the points raised by out experts via Twitter @youaretheref or email us at Info@you-are-the-ref.com


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  https://www.facebook.com/youaretheref



Sounds like there was a debateable penalty at Leicester this afternoon which Andre Mariner compounded with a red card for Francis which will certainly be dissected on Monday’s edition of Ref Show, along with the other 2 red cards in the Premier League so far today. You can always catch up with all the previous editions here at any time videos


GB at 2016-01-02 19:16:43

Half Time

Watford 0 v 0 Manchester City


GB at 2016-01-02 19:15:45

minimum of one minuted added at end of 1st half


GB at 2016-01-02 19:14:49

both teams seemed content to drift towards half time but the officials must remain focussed during this period and not relax


GB at 2016-01-02 19:11:15

once again, the referee clearly knew that the Watford player was not going to shoot at that free kick as he positioned himself accordingly. There is nothing wrong with the referee asking the taker of the free kick what he intends to do and this can be a very useful communication tool of the referee


GB at 2016-01-02 19:09:12

Yellow Card Allan-Roméo Nyom (W 2)

Not much doubt about that blatant attempt at simulation by the Watford player then


GB at 2016-01-02 19:05:52

The referee was well placed in close to the players in that last attack into the Watford penalty area. With conditions like this you must get in close to spot the difference between a foul and a slip


GB at 2016-01-02 19:01:59

Going back to my earlier comment about the referee looking lethargic, there was a case then when he was happy to stay where he was not quite side on to the dropping ball in the centre of the field of play rather than just moving that bit extra to get fully side-on


GB at 2016-01-02 18:59:52

good example then of an overhead kick by the City player in the Watford penalty area which posed no danger to players in the vicinity so was perfectly legal


GB at 2016-01-02 18:56:02

first real test of the referee’s tolerance level in these conditions with that clear foul challenge from behind – Atkinson deciding to keep his tinder dry but will need to guard against inconsistency from now on


GB at 2016-01-02 18:54:22

the expectations were clearly for hand ball then with the players hands raised above his head


GB at 2016-01-02 18:53:40

Spare a thought for the assistant’s patrol paths in these conditions. On a narrow “outfield” like this you cannot run back further away from the field of play and determinately should not run on it. That’s why more and more clubs are laying artificial turf on the touchline for the officials.


GB at 2016-01-02 18:50:23

20 minutes gone and the referee is picking out the careless challenges sensible so far whilst also making sensible allowances for the conditions which look like they are getting worse


GB at 2016-01-02 18:48:13

No doubt for me that the referee had checked with the taker then if he was going to take a direct shot at goal as he took up the regulation position so he could see the goal and the keeper and all the players in the wall


GB at 2016-01-02 18:46:42

Atkinson excellently placed to see the Watford player pulled to the ground then


GB at 2016-01-02 18:44:34

That would have been a major debate if the Watford player had scored then as the ball seemed to hit him on the arm but he could not do anything about it – no deliberate – no offence.


GB at 2016-01-02 18:42:36

No foul – No penalty – well done Martin – the defender had every right to cut across to get that ball and the attacker would have done better to go for it as well rather than looking for the penalty. Very positive communication from the referee as well.


GB at 2016-01-02 18:39:35

I do hope I am proved wrong the longer this games goes on, but the referee definitely looks slightly lethargic to me so far


GB at 2016-01-02 18:38:27

Safety first then from the referee as he spotted some early contact with the player before the ball by the Watford player. Good to see just a second or two taken out to respond to some minor petulance as well. The most important thing that referees can learn from that is JUST DO SOMETHING – don’t ignore it


GB at 2016-01-02 18:36:08

No foul for me there – well done to MM out on the line for not getting duped into flagging for that one. These officials work with each other so much these days there can be no excuse for the assistants not being on the same wavelength as the referee


GB at 2016-01-02 18:34:19

One thing which we almost take for granted these days is the way the pitches in the Premier League are able to withstand dreadful weather conditions. Even with heavy rain like we are seeing tonight, the playing surface is still perfectly playable and safe for everyone to compete on.


GB at 2016-01-02 18:33:48

When the field of play is as heavy as this the referee needs to consider conserving some energy for the later stages of the game


GB at 2016-01-02 18:32:46

Watford already making their intentions clear with that first goal attempt of the game

GB at 2016-01-02 18:30:56

AR1: Mike Mullarkey (MM) is patrolling the touchline in front of the technical areas.


GB at 2016-01-02 18:30:28

Watford 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 info@you-are-the-ref.com


GB at 2016-01-02 18:26:12

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


GB at 2016-01-02 18:22:12

Today’s officials are:

Referee: Martin Atkinson (MA)

AR1: Mike Mullarkey (MM)

AR2: Steven Child (SC)

4th Official: Tim Robinson

Martin Atkinson 5

Martin Atkinson starts his 3rd game in 7 days this evening but cannot afford to show any signs of fatigue or complacency in this one. With still no red card to his name after 18 games this season, he seemed to be over-running with Christmas cheer in his last outing, as Rooney got away with a dreadful challenge right at the end of the game which had all the hallmarks of serious foul play when he seemed to take aim before planting his studs into his opponent’s calf! It would have taken a lot of courage to have sent off the United Captain at Old Trafford, but that’s why the top officials are sent there. Martin will be aware that he needs to keep as clear as possible from any controversy for the rest of the season if he wants to rock up in France as one of the in-form officials for the Euros.


Assistants Mullarkey and Child have also already been out twice in the last 7 days and team up once again with their normal man in the middle, hoping to cement their own involvement in this summer’s European Championship Finals by keeping out of trouble themselves.


Football League Referee Tim Robinson makes up today’s crew and will no doubt be relishing the opportunity to watch one of England’s top officials at close quarters. Not sure much he would relish taking over from the referee in a top flight Premier League Live TV game, with just 13 Championship Games under his belt since his elevation to the National List in 2012 though? I hope he gets to see a performance from which he can take some positive learning points from.


GB at 2016-01-02 18:19:10

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:




Heurelho Gomes (W 1)

Allan-Roméo Nyom (W 2)

Miguel Angel Britos (W 3)

José Manuel Jurado (W 7)

Troy Deeney (W 9)

Craig Cathcart (W 15)

Almen Abdi (W 22)

Ben Watson (W 23)

Odion Ighalo (W 24)

José Holebas (W 25)

Etienne Capoue (W 29)


Sebastian Prödl (W 5)

Valon Behrami (W 8)

Obbi Oularé (W 10)

Adlène Guédioura (W 17)

Steven Berghuis (W 20)

Ikechi Anya (W 21)

Giedrius Arlauskis (W 34)


Manchester City



Joe Hart (MC 1)

Bacary Sagna (MC 3)

Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

Sergio Agüero (MC 10)

Aleksandar Kolarov (MC 11)

Kevin De Bruyne  (MC 17)

Eliaquim Mangala (MC 20)

David Silva (MC 21)

Fernandinho (MC 25)

Nicolas Otamendi (MC 30)

Yaya Touré (MC 42)


Pablo Zabaleta (MC 5)

Fernando (MC 6)

Wilfredo Caballero (MC 13)

Wilfred Bony (MC14)

Jesús Navas (MC 15)

Gaël Clichy (MC 22)

Martin Demichelis (MC 26)


GB at 2016-01-02 18:15:15

Watford continue to do well in all the examinations set for them recently and (despite their last outing defeat to Spurs), their 2nd position in the Club Form Table going into Matchweek 20 reflects the consistent performances which have seen them propel themselves to 9th position. With the way their strikers have been firing them in this season, the visit by the Sky Blues this today will not faze them at all.


Like all the other top 4 teams this season, Man City have struggled to maintain a sustained attempt to get a grip on poll position and so will be looking at an away trip to Vicarage Road as a good place to regroup again. They have not had it all their own way here in the League though, with only one win in the paltry 6 League meetings between these two teams in their history.


Latest Premier League Form Table before Week 17:

CLUB League
Last 6
Arsenal 1 D W W W L W 13
Watford 9 W W W W D L 13
Crystal Palace 5 W D W W D D 12
Spurs 4 D D L W W W 11
Leicester 2 D W W W L D 11
Bournemouth 16 D W W W D L 11
Stoke 10 L W D L W W 10
Liverpool 7 W L D L W W 10
Man City 3 W L W L W D 10
West Ham 8 D D D D D W 8
Norwich 15 D L D W L W 8
Newcastle 18 L W W D L L 7
West Brom 13 D D D L L W 6
Chelsea 14 D L L W D D 6
Everton 11 D D D L W L 6
Swansea 17 L L L D W D 5
Southampton 12 L D L L W L 4
Man Utd 6 D D L L L D 3
Aston Villa 20 L D L D D L 3
Sunderland 19 W L L L L L 3



GB at 2016-01-02 18:12:08

Welcome to this early evening’s RefCam coverage today of the premier League game between Watford and Manchester City.

Feel free to interact with me at any time during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at info@you-are-the-ref.com