Arsenal v Chelsea – Carabao Cup SF 2nd leg


Full Time Summary

GB at 2018-01-24 23:14:30

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

The main points in this game from the officials perspective were:

  • Michael Oliver simply took that game in his stride from the start to the finish and demonstrated why he is one of the top officials in the country at the moment.
  • He was ably supported tonight by two Assistant Referees who were on top form as they correctly called several very tight offside decisions.
  • Once again, there was no need for any intervention from the VAR

When the officials all perform as well as that, it is no surprise that the VAR was not needed in that game.

Michael Oliver’s recognition of careless and reckless challenges was first class and he maintained total control of the game with just 4 very timely and fully appropriate yellow cards.

There was only one incident which left me feeling confused and uncomfortable:

In the 61st minute, a Yellow Card was shown to Victor Moses (C 15) for a reckless challenge. The card was shown in the correct manner (not too quickly), but the restart seemed to be held up whilst the VAR was checking the foul. This was evident as Michael Oliver was showing the signal prescribed in the IFAB Protocol of holding his finger to his ear. But I do not understand why Oliver was waiting for a check to be made by the VAR when he had already shown the yellow card. It was not a straight red card incident, so it cannot be reviewed by the VAR, even if it was a clear error, as the referee has made his call. If it was an “off the ball incident” which none of the officials on the field of play or the 4th Official saw, then the VAR can advise the referee that a red card should be shown. Or if an incident occurs which the referee sees but does not show any cards, then again the VAR can advise that it was a red card offence. The PGMOL really need to revisit the current IFAB Protocol, because if one of these incidents results in the VAR intervening to encourage the referee to “upgrade” a yellow to a red during the trials in England, it could be very embarrassing for all concerned.

More RefCam to come

GB at 2018-01-24 22:55:01

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

My full time summary will come in a few minutes.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage tonight.

The FA Cup takes over again this weekend, then we are back to EPL action at the end of the month with:

30.01.18 Huddersfield Town v Liverpool KO 20.00 pm

31.01.18 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United KO 20.00 pm

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GB at 2018-01-24 22:53:37

Full Time

Arsenal 2 v 1 Chelsea


GB at 2018-01-24 22:50:43

Minimum of 4 added minutes to play


GB at 2018-01-24 22:49:32

Great to see the referee penetrating into the penalty area right to the end.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:47:22

Definite contact from behind by Shkodran Mustafi (A 20) leads to that free kick which Chelsea make a complete mess of.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:45:52

Easy safe free kick for the referee then as the Chelsea player holds onto his opponent – no need for a yellow card in that area of the field of play though. Careless challenge only.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:42:59

The quality of the offside calls by each AR has been excellent in this game. I hope they maintain that standard right to the end.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:35:57

Oliver demonstrating his superb fitness again as the play switches from one end to the other


GB at 2018-01-24 22:32:50

The officials will be expecting a pretty hectic last 16 minutes as Chelsea go full out to get the goal which will take the game into extra time. They cannot afford to stop concentrating in this one


GB at 2018-01-24 22:28:07

Yellow Card for Nacho Monreal (A 18) – Unsporting behaviour again.

Oliver has been very consistent with his yellow cards in this game.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:26:03

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

Yellow Card Yellow Card shown to Victor Moses (C 15) for a reckless challenge. I do not understand why Oliver is holding his finger to his ear to signal that there is a check going on by the VAR on that one as he has already shown the yellow card, so it was not a straight red card incident. If it was off the ball then the VAR can get involved but once a yellow card is shown the current protocol by IFAB does not permit the VAR to tell the referee it should have been red. He card tell the referee he has completely missed a red card offence, but not “upgrade” a yellow to a red. If that happens in the trials in England it will be very embarrassing for the PGMOL.



GB at 2018-01-24 22:21:04

GOAL! Granit Xhaka (A 29)

Arsenal 2 v 1 Chelsea

Good to see Oliver squeeze the play right over to the AR in the build up to that goal.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:18:47

And yet another very close offside call. At least Scott Ledger had the pitch marks to help him with that one on the edge of the penalty area so there is no excuse for getting those wrong.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:16:57

That was another very tight offside call by Scott Ledger that time, good to see both ARs not thinking about VAR and giving their calls just as they always would.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:13:09

No foul then as Hazard fell over his own feet – now that would have been interesting if the referee had given a foul and Chelsea scored from the free kick, as that could not be reviewed.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:10:41

As Chelsea pack their defence outside of the penalty area, Oliver has to choose his position intelligently to keep out of the Arsenal players’ way as they probe for a way forward.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:06:56

The referee just gave himself a split second thing time then again to see if he could keep the game flowing – correct to come back for free kick.


GB at 2018-01-24 22:04:30

Arsenal get the second half underway

Half time Summary

GB at 2018-01-24 21:57:12

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

Well it’s not clear how many courses we are in for tonight, but that was a nice little starter as far as the officials were concerned.

Michael Oliver has moved around the field of play with ease and done his best not to break up the flow of this game. That said, his two yellow cards were both timely and appropriate for the acts of unsporting behaviour committed. Just after the second yellow, the foul count went up slightly, but this has not been a game where the tackles have exactly gone flying in yet.

The officials have got all their calls right without the need for a review from the VAR and I doubt there was even anything worthy of a check as both ARs have been spot on as well with their offside calls.

It will be important for the officials to come out and hit the ground running again right from the start of the second half to keep this game just where they want it.

GB at 2018-01-24 21:50:24

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GB at 2018-01-24 21:49:22

Full Time

Arsenal 1 v 1 Chelsea


GB at 2018-01-24 21:46:51

Another very tight offside call accurately judged by Simon Bennett


GB at 2018-01-24 21:45:29

Minimum of 3 added minutes to be played


GB at 2018-01-24 21:40:07

That was a tight offside call but it was correct. Good example of Simon Bennett raising his flag before the player got too close to the goalkeeper as he was the only player likely to get involved and it saves the two players clashing unnecessarily.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:36:30

Good alertness from Oliver then. He was aware that Simon Bennett had made a signal, but he just waited for a second to see is he could play on. It needs to be something really special happening to play advantage in the red zone back there so he sensible brought the play back for the free kick.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:33:24

30th minute and a Yellow Card Yellow Card for Jack Wilshere (A 10) for that reckless challenge which was only the 4th foul of the game (and one of those was the first yellow card). It seems to be all or nothing so far.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:31:10

That looked like a “little” push by the Arsenal player in the penalty area then – just as well the ball was out of play, otherwise that would have been an interesting one for VAR to chew over.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:29:21

With Chelsea putting the ball out then it saves the referee making a decision to stop the play. As the ball left the field of play, play restarts with a throw-in not a dropped ball.

I have seen a few referees at this level sensibly dropping the ball to one team in a manufactured restart this season, which was outlawed in the new law changes. Good to see referees using their common sense. At lower levels referees need to be careful not to fall foul of fussy Observers though.

My advice is get a player from each team in and tell them that you cannot tell them what to do, then suggest one steps back – so it looks like they have actually manufactured it themselves.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:24:39

I have watched Michael Oliver referee a number of times this season and it is easy to take his fitness and movement for granted as he never fails to impress. Keeping up with play and being a credible distance away when decisions have to be made helps the referee sell those big calls.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:20:03

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

Early yellow card Yellow Card for Eden Hazard (C 10) issued for unsporting behaviour for breaking up a promising attacking move by Arsenal. That has set Michael Oliver’s tolerance level for the night. Not much argument about that one though – let that go and we could be in for anarchy


GB at 2018-01-24 21:16:01

15 Minutes two goals and not a single review!

Thats the way the officials would have liked it


GB at 2018-01-24 21:13:48

OWN GOAL! Antonio Rudiger (C 2)

Arsenal 1 v 1 Chelsea


GB at 2018-01-24 21:11:24

As the Chelsea goalkeeper looked like he may have handled the ball outside of the penalty area then, it is worth remembering that is not the type of incident which can be reviewed by VAR unless it led to a goal.


GB at 2018-01-24 21:08:46

GOAL! Eden Hazard (C 10)

Arsenal 0 v 1 Chelsea

That’s it then – no chance for penalties tonight


GB at 2018-01-24 21:06:52

No need for VAR on that one as Scott Ledger gets a straight forward offside decision correct to chalk off a “goal”. As the ball did go into the goal though, there would have been a check automatically in the VOR


GB at 2018-01-24 21:05:11

I don’t think I have seen a corner like that so far this season where there was absolutely no holding at all

GB at 2018-01-24 21:03:21

oppps – Michael Oliver!


GB at 2018-01-24 21:02:02

Anthony Taylor just checking his pockets then – bit late if he has forgotten anything now!

kick off

GB at 2018-01-24 21:00:55

Arsenal won the toss so it will be Chelsea to kick off.

Good luck to all! And may the ball run kindly for you.

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GB at 2018-01-24 20:56:33

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


GB at 2018-01-24 20:46:17

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

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GB at 2018-01-24 20:44:20

I actually hope that VAR does not get all the headlines tomorrow, and the game is remembered for the accuracy of the Referees decisions and not skill of the VAR personnel.

Much has been written about the various successes and failures of the system since its rollout in England this month, but one person who has not got much attention is replay operator (RO). Each match has a video assistant referee (VAR) who works with an assistant VAR (AVAR) and RO in a video operation room (VOR). The VAR watches the live action on TV and ‘checks’ every incident, using replays where necessary. The video replay technology is a tailor-made system for football, which is operated by the RO, and provides the VAR with the best available camera angles and replay speeds in the fastest possible time.

We are so used to the various TV Companies getting to the most critical camera angle within seconds of a controversial incident; we can forget that the people normally responsible in the TV studios are consummate professionals in their ability to do just that, which they have been doing for years! So spare a thought for Neil Swarbrick and Mick McDonough tonight, who have been thrown into the lion’s den again, and are reliant upon the RO to manipulate the equipment at the same speed and produce the same results as the main broadcaster, so they can advise the Match Official on what they have just seen from an angle that the referee did not have.

The skill set that the VAR brings to this piece is primarily the ability to assimilate the information regarding the action on the field of play, and the expectation is that they do that within a nanosecond! In the few games we have seen the technology used in England this month, the results might actually have been better if the VARs had just been watching the TV coverage, rather than trying navigate the numerous screens they have in front of them like The Man Who Fell to Earth, to get the best angle before communicating their opinion to the referee.

So that’s why the RO needs to be highly trained and have the skills required for the smooth running of the system. Yes there are two VARs for every game, but one is watching the live action whilst the other reviews an incident. So in order for the system to fulfil its objectives, the technical expertise in manipulating the TV coverage will be as important as the knowledge of the Laws of the Game within the VAR studio. This will not be a problem for big competitions like the forthcoming World Cup, but it might be the difference between total confidence and/or mistrust in the system, when used regularly in domestic competitions, unless the back-room set-up is sufficiently resourced by experts.

The following are extracts from the Media Package made available by IFAB in conjunction with their 132nd Annual Business Meeting this week:

What is the qualification process for VAR replay operators?

Like the VARs, replay operators (ROs) play a crucial role in ensuring a functioning system. For the avoidance of doubt, the operator is the individual that is in direct communication with the main VAR during a match. As such, minimum requirements in terms of training of operators will be required in order for them to be eligible to operate a VAR system for a competitive match.

Operators may be employees of a technology provider, direct employees of a national association, competition, league or independent individuals that meet the criteria.

Who is eligible to work as a VAR and an AVAR?

VARs must be (former or current) top level referees; former referees who are used as VARs must still be involved in top level refereeing. Individual competitions may have further requirements.

Assistant VARs (AVARs) must also be qualified match officials; they can be a former or current referee or assistant referee.


GB at 2018-01-24 20:42:45

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

Today’s officials are:

Referee: Michael Oliver

AR1: Simon Bennett (Technical Area)

AR2: Scott Ledger

4th Official: Andre Marriner

VAR: Neil Swarbrick

AVAR: Mick McDonough

Tonight’s referee is no stranger to the big occasion, and they don’t come much bigger than this one.

With the eyes of the World on him, I am sure Michael has the experience and composure to cope with the added pressure put upon himself and his team as VAR gets another run out today for this game.

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2018-01-24 20:41:26


13     David Ospina (A 13)

6       Laurent Koscielny (A 6)

9       Alexandre Lacazette (A 9)

10     Jack Wilshere (A 10)

11     Mesut Özil (A 11)

17     Alex Iwobi (A 17)

18     Nacho Monreal (A 18)

20     Shkodran Mustafi (A 20)

24     Héctor Bellerín (A 24)

29     Granit Xhaka (A 29)

35     Mohamed Elneny (A 35)


8       Aaron Ramsey (A 8)

21     Calum Chambers (A 21)

30     Ainsley Maitland-Niles (A 30)

31     Sead Kolasinac (A 31)

54     Matt Macey (A 54)

61     Reiss Nelson (A 61)

62     Eddie Nketiah (A 62)


1       Will Carballero (C 1)

2       Antonio Rudiger (C 2)

3       Marcos Alonso (C 3)

7       N’Golo Kanté (C 7)

10     Eden Hazard (C 10)

11     Pedro (C 11)

14     Tiemoue Bakayoko (C 14)

15     Victor Moses (C 15)

22     Willian (C 22)

27     Andreas Christensen (C 27)

28     César Azpilicueta (C 28)


6       Danny Drinkwater(C 6)

8       Ross Barkley (C 8)

21     Davide Zappacosta (C 21)

23     Michy Batshuayi (C 23)

24     Gary Cahill (C 24)

30     David Luiz (C 30)

37     Eduardo (C 37)


GB at 2018-01-24 20:36:41

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

Yesterday’s Semi Final between Bristol City and Manchester City may have gone in accordance to the script, but I am not sure the script has been finalised for this one.

No doubt all eyes will be on the VAR again this evening but let us not forget that the best result for the new technology would be for it not to be used at all.

There has been little to choose between the two teams so far this season, but something has to give tonight in this winner takes all encounter.


GB at 2018-01-24 20:35:05

#AFC #CFC #AFCvCFC #arsche

Welcome to this evenings RefCam coverage of the Carabao Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg game between Arsenal and Chelsea. Minute by minute commentary from the referee’s perspective is about to follow.

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