Chris Kavanagh delivered another refereeing horror show as Arsenal lost to Aston Villa.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Referee Chris Kavanagh awards Ezri Konsa of Aston Villa a yellow card during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on February 06, 2021 in Birmingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 06: Referee Chris Kavanagh awards Ezri Konsa of Aston Villa a yellow card during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on February 06, 2021 in Birmingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal crashed 1-0 at Villa Park thanks to some woeful defending from Cedric when he played a sloppy ball to Gabriel, getting the Brazilian into all sorts of trouble.

But the match could have turned out quite differently if Chris Kavanagh had applied the laws of the game to Aston Villa the way they are applied to Arsenal.

Arsenal were denied a clear penalty when Emi Martinez hauled Alexandre Lacazette to the ground and the referee, Chris Kavanagh, gave a free-kick to Villa.

Here’s a closeup of Lacazette ‘fouling’ Martinez:

Alexandre Lacazette was adjudged to have fouled Emi Martinez by Chris Kavanagh
Alexandre Lacazette was adjudged to have fouled Emi Martinez by Chris Kavanagh

Bukayo Saka was also hauled down when he was through on goal but the Villa defender, Ezri Konsa, was only shown a yellow card.

Bukayo Saka fouled vs Aston Villa
Bukayo Saka fouled vs Aston Villa

In case you’re wondering what happens when Arsenal do this sort of thing, here’s Mikel Arteta being sent off against Crystal Palace in the same area after Marouane Chamakh threw himself at the Arsenal midfielder:

You might also remember Laurent Koscielny being sent off for similar at the Emirates against Newcastle.

In addition:

https://twitter.com/ThreeFiveWho/status/1358042501526016002

After the game, Mikel Arteta was asked about referees and if he felt there was any consistency among them. “No,” he replied. “As you can see me, I was really animated for a few decisions and one big decision that I will not discuss here as well what happened.

“It’s what it is. It’s not an excuse. Regardless of those decisions we have to win the game. It’s as simple as that.”

Asked his opinion on the Lacazette incident Arteta replied simply, “Again I prefer to stay on mute on that.”

As usual, we have managers afraid to speak because they will get a ban and officials who are answerable to nobody.

Arsenal referee tracker

Aston Villa vs Arsenal referee and officials preview

After Craig Pawson and Jon Moss’s horror show for Arsenal vs Wolves, who is taking charge against Aston Villa on Saturday?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh looks on ahead of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Leeds United at The King Power Stadium on January 31, 2021 in Leicester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh looks on ahead of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Leeds United at The King Power Stadium on January 31, 2021 in Leicester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

  • 12.30pm Saturday, 6 February, 2021
    Villa Park
    BT Sport
  • Referee: Chris Kavanagh
  • Line 1: Daniel Cook
  • Line 2: Constantine Hatzidakis
  • Fourth official: Darren England
  • VAR: David Coote
  • Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
Source

Chris Kavanagh – Referee

English referee Chris Kavanagh shows a yellow card to Arsenal's English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe after reviewing his initial red card during the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 9, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
English referee Chris Kavanagh shows a yellow card to Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe after reviewing his initial red card during the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 9, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Chris Kavanagh returns for his fifth Arsenal involvement with Arsenal this season in the Premier League, although you will also remember him from the FA Cup against Newcastle (picture above) when he sent off Emile Smith Rowe only to have to change his mind after a VAR review.

You might also remember him from last season when he sent Eddie Nketiah off against Leicester after initially giving him a yellow and then changing his mind after he got another go.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh checks a VAR decision on screen ahead of showing Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal (not pictured) a red card during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on July 07, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Match Referee, Chris Kavanagh checks a VAR decision on screen ahead of showing Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal (not pictured) a red card during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on July 07, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Kavanagh, a 35-year-old ref from Manchester, has been a regular fixture at Arsenal games over the last few seasons. Last campaign only Paul Tierney had more involvements with Arsenal in an official capacity than Kavanagh who took part 11 times (six as referee, two as fourth official and three as VAR).

This season he only has the four involvements so far but the game against Aston Villa will take him to five (all as referee).

Arsenal have won just one of those games, the opener against Fulham, and the Mancunian has flashed a total of nine yellows with three going to Arsenal and six to their opponents (22 Arsenal fouls v 27 opposition).

Kavanagh has not sent off a player nor given a penalty in any of his Arsenal games so far this season.

Daniel Cook and Constantine Hatzidakis – Line

Dan Cook and Constantine Hatzidakis have been involved in a total of six Arsenal games between them this season (three each).

Darren England –  Fourth official

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30: Assistant referee Darren England looks on during the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 30: Assistant referee Darren England looks on during the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This will only be Darren England’s second Arsenal involvement this season. His previous came as fourth official against West Ham which Arsenal won in the second game of the season.

David Coote VAR

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Bernd Leno of Arsenal remonstrates with Fourth Official, David Coote as he walks off after being shown a red card during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 02: Bernd Leno of Arsenal remonstrates with Fourth Official, David Coote as he walks off after being shown a red card during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on February 02, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

This will be David Coote’s seventh involvement with Arsenal making him the official most likely to get an Arsenal match.

Given the fact that Arsenal have played just 22 games, Coote has been involved in a whopping 27% of games with that percentage rising to 30.4% with his inclusion against Aston Villa.

Three of his previous six appearances have come on VAR, making this his fourth time in charge of the TV. To put it another way, David Coote has been in charge of making Arsenal’s VAR decisions in almost 20% of their games.

Does that seem fair or right?

This was a point I made repeatedly last season. That sort of familiarity breeds contempt.

Coote, an official who Wikipedia doesn’t even have a date of birth, age estimate or place of birth for, was on VAR for Arsenal games against Fulham, Aston Villa (the home match we lost), and Burnley.

He’s from Nottingham and used to be “employed as Football Development Manager by Manchester CFA responsible for football and facility development across Greater Manchester, following extensive development experience,” according to his Linkedin profile.

Given he started his degree in 2000, we can assume he’s around 38 or 39.

He was fourth official for both debacles against Wolves this season.

A National List Referee since 2010, with major honours including refereeing the League 1 Play Off Final and FA Vase Final in 2014, Coote also lists three J League fixtures in Japan that same year as part of an exchange programme on his CV.

A full time Championship referee since 2016, he was then promoted to Premier League referees list in 2018.

Coote became a professional referee in July 2016 and is probably most well known for allowing Jordan Pickford to break Virgil van Dijk.

Sian Massey-Ellis Assistant VAR

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis with referee Paul Tierney during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Adrian Dennis - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: Assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis with referee Paul Tierney during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Adrian Dennis – Pool/Getty Images)

Still awaiting her first match as referee despite being in the league longer than some of her male counterparts from this game who have all been promoted above her, Massey-Ellis is taking part in her sixth Arsenal game of the season (one as line 1, two as line 2, and three assistant VAR).

Massey-Ellis has been a professional for two years more than Coote. Kavanagh was handed his first Premier League matches three years after he first started in the Football League in 2014.

By that time, Massey-Ellis had been involved with Premier League matches since 2008 and was named as an assistant referee for the first time in 2010. She is still yet to be trusted as referee or VAR despite repeatedly proving her ability.

In fact, in 2020 Massey-Ellis, along with Kavanagh and Coote were named as the officials for the Uefa Youth League final.

She was the least senior of all three officials, taking the second assistant spot.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.