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We’ve had to wait until November, but Martin Atkinson has finally been selected to referee an Arsenal match this season.
There has been no sign of Martin Aktinson anywhere near an Arsenal game and this is a good thing but the 49-year-old returns for Matchweek 8.
No official was in charge of more Arsenal games last seaosn with Atkinson being handed 25% of the Gunners’ games until the match against Brighton which saw Bernd Leno injured.
After that, Atkinson was not involved in another Arsenal match despite being referee seven times, fourth official twice and VAR once.
Until that Brighton game Arsenal had 13 referees in charge of Premier League games, which doesn’t sound too bad until you break it down and realise that of the 30 games played to that point, just four referees have took charge of 20 of those games – that’s two-thirds or 66.66% if you prefer:
- Martin Atkinson – 7
- Mike Dean – 5
- Chris Kavanagh – 4
- Anthony Taylor – 4
When you take in total involvements either as ref, assistant ref, fourth official, and all the VAR people, Atkinson’s total is even worse. He was involved in a full 30% of Arsenal’s matches as he was the fourth official for our match against City just before Brighton when football returned.
It is impossible for referees not to form biases, conscious or unconscious, when they are in charge of the same players so often. It simply cannot be fair. I don’t know if the same thing happens with other teams and referees, but it shouldn’t.