Arsenal fans thought they had received a bit of a boost when it was announced that Michael Oliver will referee their season opener against Liverpool this weekend.
Although Oliver’s record for Arsenal isn’t as good as it might seem, he will forever be remembered for his display at Old Trafford in the FA Cup when he sent Angel di Maria off for touching him.
You might have forgotten about his performance during the Tottenham game in March when he should have sent Eric Dier off in an offensive so blatant that even Aaron Ramsey said he should have gone. Yes, that was the one in which Francis was Le Coq and got himself sent off, most likely costing Arsenal all three points.
Before that game, Arsenal had won only 2 out of the last 12 Oliver had refereed. We didn’t win that one against Spurs, either, with it finishing 2-2.
Oliver was voted second best referee last season, but given that Anthony Taylor won the award, I don’t think we can read too much into that.
Arsenal v Liverpool (Sky Sports)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: S Burt, E Smart
Fourth official: C Pawson