HACKETT’S VERDICT: Best performance of the season

HACKETT’S VERDICT: Best performance of the season

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MARTIN ATKINSON produced a master class refereeing performance today  in what was always going to be a challenging game to officiate. This was the refereeing performance of the season.

His game reading was first class, ensuring that he was well positioned when making his decisions. He used tempo management, judging when to intervene and in a period in the second half when it was beginning to bubble he put his foot on the ball, punishing those small fouls to slow things down and demonstrate to everyone that he was in control.

The award of a penalty kick to Chelsea saw Martin Atkinson hesitate despite a strong and accurate flag from his assistant Hussin. The decision was spot on and I just wondered if The Football Association were operating below the radar with a Video Assistant referee.

Atkinson and the game reaped the rewards of the way Atkinson had sensibly kept his cards in his pocket, his body language and facial expressions were calm and respectful of the pressure the players were under.

Take a bow Martin Atkinson and your team for the superb way you and your colleagues have controlled this game and produced the best refereeing performance of the season!