Arsenal will travel to Bournemouth on Monday night for a match refereed, again, by Martin Atkinson, while Mike Dean will run the VAR.
One week ago, as I write this, Arsenal were getting ready to face Sheffield United. I described the refereeing team that day as a ‘horror’ – Mike Dean in charge, Lee Mason as fourth official and Martin Atkinson in charge of the VAR.
They lived up to their billing to rob Arsenal of a win against Sheffield United.
Now, for the fourth round of the FA Cup, we have Martin Atkinson in charge and Mike Dean on VAR. We have Adam Nunn running the line. He also did that for our FA Cup game against Leeds in the last round. It will be the sixth time Nunn has been involved in an Arsenal game.
This is a point I’ve been banging on about all season. For some reason, there seems to be a more limited rotation of officials for Arsenal matches than other teams. It’s also part of the reason we see Arsenal consistently treated more harshly than all other sides in the division.
This season, in the league and FA Cup, Arsenal have played 25 games with Monday night’s match their 26th.
Martin Atkinson will have been involved as referee, fourth official or lead VAR operator in seven games Arsenal games this season by the end of Monday’s match. That’s more than a quarter of our games.
He’s not the only one.
Chris Kavanagh and Paul Tierney have also been involved in seven Arsenal games each this season while linesman Constantine Hatzidakis has done that job in eight games – over 30%.
I looked at every official involved in every Arsenal game this season. Here are the results with the number representing the number of times the official acted as referee, assistant referee, fourth official, VAR or assistant VAR for an Arsenal game.
You know yourselves which ones are mostly assists refs…