Romanian referee, Ovidiu Haţegan, will take charge of Arsenal’s trip to Napoli, assisted by Octavian Şovre and Sebastian Gheorghe, and additional officials Radu Petrescu and Sebastian Colţescu and the reserve referee Radu Ghinguleac.
Haţegan has issued 107 yellows this season and four reds in 23 games. To compare, only Mike Dean has given out more than 100 yellows this season in England although, admittedly, the Englishman has also flashed 10 reds.
In fact, only Anthony Taylor (in addition to Dean) has issued as many as 90 cards but he’s been in charge of five games more. In short, it seems Haţegan likes to show his cards.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Granit Xhaka and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all sit on two yellows and a third would mean missing out on the first leg of the semi-final, should Arsenal manage to prevail in Naples.
Bookings are then, thankfully, wiped out at the end of the quarter-final stage.
Arsenal picked up no cards in the first leg at the Emirates but it’s hard to imagine that being the case on Thursday night and it almost seems inevitable Sokratis and Xhaka will end the match missing the first leg of the semi-final regardless of the result.
Haţegan might be familiar to you as the referee who was comforted by the Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk back in November. The official had lost his mother in the build-up to the game.