On Sunday afternoon, Martin Atkinson made himself, once again, one of the main talking points of a game that had so much more to offer than his inability to referee a game adequately.
Speaking after the match, Claudio Ranieri was left fuming with what he saw was a harsh red for Danny ‘let’s not forget the one I got away with in the first half’ Simpson. Arsenal fans, on the other hand, were livid at what they had seen from Atkinson with him being roundly booed as he left the pitch at halftime.
So how did Atkinson really do?
Well, not that well if we’re honest.
I know I write this with Arsenal-tinted glasses but by my count Arsenal had 10 incorrect decisions go against them, Leicester just one, and there were two that were questionable and could, perhaps, have gone either way.
The biggest miss was Danny Drinkwater’s horrendous, leg-breaking challenge on Aaron Ramsey that was a red if ever I saw one. Surely that warrants talking about, no?
— Arsenal Edits (@ArsenalEdits) February 14, 2016
— Deborah mck (@Deborah_08) February 14, 2016
We also mustn’t forget that he made a deliberate foul on Alexis Sanchez not long after the game had started that should also have seen him carded. He finished with zero cards.
So what are the Leicester fans and manager upset about? Well, Ranieri said after the game “I’m angry. An international referee gives two yellow cards for normal fouls. In second half, maybe the crowd put him (Atkinson) under pressure.”
Maybe they did, but if that was so, it was only because in the first half he had let Leicester get away with whatever they wanted. Simpson’s two cards were both correct.
Shall we discuss Marcin Wasilewski, who was booked in the fourth minute of injury time when he could have quite easily saw red?
Wasilewski’nin son dk yaptigi faul, adeta bir semih kaya pic.twitter.com/0oHRcErf8u
— Erdem (@erdm_on) February 14, 2016
Or what about the handball in the box that was waved away but given later against Alexis Sanchez for an almost carbon-copy offence outside the box?
Or what about the second handball, arm outstretched in an unnatural position?
We’ll not discuss the Leicetser penalty, which is more and more a dive the more you look at it, or Riyad Mahrez’s dive later in the game.
In reality, the only decision of note that went against Leicester was when Shinji Okazaki was flagged as offside in the first half when he was on, but then Arsenal had one of those as well when it happened to Mesut Ozil not long after.
In addition to what is listed above, Leicester escaped with countless unpunished fouls, shoves, pulls and blocks.
Leicester can try to feel hard done by because of what they see is a poor refereeing performance, but they would be wrong to do so.
They came with a game plan and got punished for it.
Ya, Gunners, ya!