Date: 8th October 2018 at 8:25am
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Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City: A lot of pre-match debate centered around Martin Atkinson’s previous dubious decisions when taking charge of Manchester City matches and whether he was going to continue to turn away and bottle it when the pressure was on.

Previous examples

August 2018 – Who remembers when Martin failed to award City a penalty when Wolves Willy Boly handled the ball inside the penalty area?

April 2018 – Pep’s side was two goals up in the Manchester derby, and we know what happened. Could Atkinson be an MCFC jinx?

In response to my Martin Atkinson negative attitude article City supporter Andrew Shaw said this:

“I have to disagree with you over the choice of referee. We may have come a cropper on a couple of recent occasions but Atkinson is well known around City for being absolutely appalling, and yet we contrive to win the game despite him.

“Think Everton when the ball was apparently over the dead ball line for a goal kick when it was crossed, and we scored. Overall our record when he is in charge is impressive.

“Since Mancini took over Atkinson has refereed us on 33 occasions, and we have lost just 8, drawn 6 and won 19. I’d say that’s quite lucky.

“And let us not forget that he was the referee for our only FA Cup final win in decades and our League Cup final victory over Sunderland so he’s not all bad, although he was in charge and had a shocker for a match at Liverpool when we lost 3-0 a few years ago.”

Sunday 7 October 2018 Anfield performance

I’ll put my hands up and happily admit the 47-year-old ref played, at times a blinder (ish).

Debatable

Did Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo, and Sergio deserve yellow cards?

Did Liverpool midfielder Georginio Winjnaldum deserve his?

Dead certs

Atkinson was spot-on when he awarded City a penalty following Virgil van Dijk’s clumsy challenge on Leroy Sane. It’s just a pity what happened next?

Lovren struck Gabriel Jesus in the face (possibly accidental) and deserved a caution. Sadly, no action was taken.

Earlier on in the game, Sergio went down in the penalty area when the same protagonist climbed on Aguero’s back. Kun made no issue of the incident but, if VAR had been in operation, I suspect City would have been awarded a spot-kick.

Van Dijk handled the ball in the box – nothing was given. VAR?

Overall

I think Atkinson performed far better than I had initially anticipated hence my 6.5 out of 10 rating.

 

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