Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur


Merry Christmas to all

GB at 2017-12-16 20:52:43

Thanks for all the Tweets and interactions during the game.

That’s it for me now until the New Year, so may I wish you all Happy Holidays and a peaceful New Year until we meet again!

Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-12-16 20:49:41

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

The main points in this game from the officials perspective were:

  • A debatably penalty shout in the first half which will led to calls of inconsistency aimed at Craig Pawson after the one he gave in the Merseyside Derby last week
  • A reckless challenge with excessive force which endangered the safety of an opponent committed by Dele Alli (TH 20) only results in a yellow card.
  • Not the worst performance we have seen from a referee in the EPL this season, but on the other hand, it was not particularly convincing.

That was a missed opportunity for Craig Pawson to make a name for himself in a really tough “physiological game of Thrones” at times.

The signs were there to read in the first half in the attitude of the Spurs players and for me he failed to read them and as a result he was reacting to things as the temperature just kept rising. It may have never boiled over, but the referee’s tactics were ineffective in stopping the Spurs players doing whatever they wanted. I mentioned a similarity to when Spurs played Chelsea 18 months ago in my blog, and it felt like they were losing their heads again in this one from midway through the first half which made it look like a bad tempered game at times. And one which the referee never looked like he was “ahead of the game” or instilling much confidence that his communication skills were competent enough to manage what was going on out there.

I covered the “penalty shout” in the 20th minute in my half time summary, so I will leave that one there, suffice to say the inconsistency charge is the biggest thing Pawson will need to answer to. At least there will be no debate about the nailed on penalty for a careless challenge in the second half, regardless of whether there was intent to bring the player down.

The other big talking point will be the challenge by Dele Alli (TH 20) on Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17) in the 67th minute. It makes no difference to me how much of the ball the Spurs player got with that challenge, the actions of the player and the force of the challenge clearly endangered his opponent’s safety, and there could have been no complaints had that resulted in a red card.

So there you have it, on the face of that performance, Craig still has a way to go to take games of this statue in his stride. It may not have ever got away from him fully, but at the same time, it never looked like he really had it where he wanted it all the time either!

What do you think? Any thoughts on the big decisions? Do you think the officials got them right? Let us know on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at [email protected]

More RefCam to come

GB at 2017-12-16 20:24:54

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam coverage so far this weekend. We have three more games lined up over the next two days to review from the referee’s perspective:

17.12.17 West Bromwich Albion v Man Utd KO 14.15 pm

17.12.17 Bournemouth v Liverpool KO 16.30 pm

18.12.17 Everton v Swansea KO 20.00 pm

Please keep your views coming on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at [email protected]

A full list of forthcoming RefCam games is always available at:


GB at 2017-12-16 20:24:07

Full Time

Manchester City 4 v 1 Tottenham Hotspur


GB at 2017-12-16 20:23:06

Constellation GOAL! by Christian Eriksen (TH 23) after a good “not handball” call be the referee after the ball struck the hand not hand to ball


GB at 2017-12-16 20:21:19

Moussa Sissoko (TH 17) Yellow Card reckless challenge. There is still plenty for the officials to do in this one to see it home safely!


GB at 2017-12-16 20:19:59

minimum of 3 added minutes to be played


GB at 2017-12-16 20:19:01

GOAL! Raheem Sterling (MC 7)



GB at 2017-12-16 20:17:47

The quality of the football has taken centre stage few a few minutes now at last. This was looking likely to boil over with 10 minutes to go.


GB at 2017-12-16 20:12:41

GOAL!  Raheem Sterling (MC 7) – who was not closer to the goal-line than the ball when it was played by his team mate!


GB at 2017-12-16 20:10:43

Having commentated on the infamous Chelsea v Tottenham gave 18 months ago, I have to say that there are traits about the behaviour of the Spurs players today which I saw that night!


GB at 2017-12-16 20:08:28

That was refreshing to see a player not “looking for a penalty” as the Spurs attacker stayed on his feet that time.

It has to come down to discipline now for the Away side or this one could finish with a bang!


GB at 2017-12-16 20:05:49

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

Clear penalty for City as Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17) is brought down inside the penalty area – no card required for that one.


GB at 2017-12-16 20:04:14

GOAL!  Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17)

That second goal may actually help the Spurs players to calm down!


GB at 2017-12-16 20:02:10

I mentioned the intensity of the contact of the fouls was rising earlier and also mentioned the frustrations of the Spurs players were coming out in their challenges. That dreadful challenge by Dele Alli (TH 20) which was punished by a yellow card Yellow Card should really seen the player seeing RED in my opinion. There was no consideration of the players safety in that challenge and there was sufficient force for that to require the ultimate sanction from the referee.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:55:46

The frustration of the Spurs players was evident again then when Pawson picks of a clear careless foul with that push on the City player.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:52:41

It was only a matter of time before Mousa Dembélé (TH 19) was going to pick up a yellow card Yellow Card. That was definitely not “one for the team”  Mousa Dembélé (TH 19) earned that one on his own for persistent infringement!


GB at 2017-12-16 19:48:41

There still seems like there is a lot left in this game if the Spurs players get frustrated again as they did at the end of the first half. All the officials will need to remain switched on right to the end of this one


GB at 2017-12-16 19:46:28

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

Great bit of refereeing then by Pawson to keep his trailing eye on Harry Kane to spot his reckless challenge on an opponent which earned the Spurs player a Yellow Card which he accepted with grace! In slow motion that looked a lot worse than it probably was, but I have seen a different colour cars from some referees when the contact is on the shin like that. The main thing is that Pawson realised that it was worthy of disciplinary action by spotting the contact out of the corner of his eye.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:42:00

1 minute later and Referee Pawson gets a great importunity to stamp his authority on things with a yellow card Yellow Cardfor Fabian Delph (MC 18) for that reckless challenge.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:40:13

There was a demonstration of the referee’s confidence or over confidence – he was strong to say no foul for the City player when the shout went up, but he needs to be careful not to over egg the omelette and give the expected stoppages.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:37:53

Second half underway

Half time Summary

GB at 2017-12-16 19:36:40

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

That was a relatively straightforward half for Craig Pawson with just one main talking point over was that a penalty in the 20th minute when Danny Rose (TH 3) seemed to push Eliaquim Mangala (MC 15) in the back with two hands. The first thing to point out is that Pawson’s position meant that he had no chance of seeming the contact from behind with enough certainty to give suck a key decision without guessing – was he too far detached? May be, but he has not been too far away from many decisions in this game. So that leads on to could the AR1 Lee Betts have helped him? Well that would have been a big ask for the AR to give a penalty then, when in real time it looked like the defender was “feeling for the player backing in, and as soon as the attacker felt the hands of the defender, he actually moved forwards himself, yes there could have been a “slight” push, but the AR could not really be criticized for not spotting that from where he was. The big problem for Pawson is of course that he gave a penalty for a “soft” push last week – which was a push in anyone’s book! So if this is a push for you, then it was a penalty missed, if it was the player moving forwards after feeling the hands of the defender, then it was not worthy of a penalty – you pays your money and you takes your choice.

GB at 2017-12-16 19:23:32

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

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GB at 2017-12-16 19:22:40

Half Time

Manchester City 1 v 0 Tottenham Hotspur


GB at 2017-12-16 19:21:45

Minimum of 2 added minutes


GB at 2017-12-16 19:21:02

Tottenham commit their 9th foul of the first half and is is beginning to look like some of these are born of frustration. The referee will need to work hard to manage these players in the second half.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:19:21

City’s shouts for a penalty thankfully fall on deaf ears as that was never deliberate hand ball by the defender!


GB at 2017-12-16 19:17:57

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

From the free kick after the yellow card, Spurs complain that the City player was not 9.15 metres away when the kick was taken – well don’t take it then! No good complaining afterwards!

Then seemed to have some “choice words” right in the face of AR1 Lee Betts after he correctly awarded a free kick for a push.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:14:19

Nicolás Otamendi (MC 30) picks up the first yellow card Yellow Card for that reckless challenge which ended with a boot in Harry Kane (TH 10) face. At first I thought that was going to be poor practice by the referee as he put his hand into his pocket but did not bring the card out. Then I realised that he was deliberately delaying the process so the Spurs player would not have to go off the field of play for treatment. The treatment actually took longer to complete so the yellow came out than Harry Kane (TH 10) had to leave the field of play.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:08:33

Pawson in a great position again to spot that deliberate hand ball by the Spurs player in the centre circle.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:04:49

The intensity of the physical contact is starting to rise now and although the referee is doing well to stay calm and composed, he needs to use his body language to show everyone that he is aware that it would not take much for someone to “put one in” soon in this game. Pro-active refereeing is all about letting everyone one know that it would not be a good idea, rather than picking up the pieces after the event.


GB at 2017-12-16 19:01:03

Much better “early” advantage signal used by the referee that time – so much easier to bring the play back if you need to if you signal advantage early,


GB at 2017-12-16 18:58:41

Safe free kick awarded then by Pawson as the City players boot was high – careless challenge.


GB at 2017-12-16 18:57:12

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

Danny Rose (TH 3) is taking a big chance then with two hands in the back of Eliaquim Mangala (MC 15). That would have been a very harsh penalty to award as the defender seemed to have his arms up to “feel for” the attacker backing in, then eased him away from his “dance space”. I have seen them given, but I support the referee for using his common sense then – “Football did not need that to be a penalty”.


GB at 2017-12-16 18:52:47

The referee’s Advantage signal was bolted on after the fact that time as the play moved away from the position of the “offence”. Best to show everyone what you are doing, not what you have done.


GB at 2017-12-16 18:50:11

After 6 minutes without a foul Pawson steps in again with that clear push in the back of Raheem Sterling (MC 7). The referee is doing well to not look for reasons to stop this game but has been quick to give the expected fouls so far.


GB at 2017-12-16 18:47:06

GOAL! Ilkay Gundgan (MC 8)

Manchester City 1 v 0 Tottenham Hotspur


GB at 2017-12-16 18:45:36


Adam Nunn is on the far side as stated in my pre-match notes, which was clear then after that sound first offside signal


GB at 2017-12-16 18:41:59

Referee Pawson got himself into a great position for that last City attempt on goal, he was really wide to give himself an angle whilst also inside of the penalty area. He has struggled with his positioning over the past season but there have definitely been improvements this season.

GB at 2017-12-16 18:39:40

AR2 Adam Nunn is running the line in front of the Technical Areas now.


GB at 2017-12-16 18:37:59

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

And there we have the 3rd foul of the game inside 5 minutes. Nothing wrong with these tactics by Pawson, if it is a foul “Just Give IT” – cant afford to take chances. All the offences have been careless so far but if you don’t give those little ones early in the game it can soon get away from you.


GB at 2017-12-16 18:34:57

Pawson then sets his tolerance level with that shove by Harry Kane (TH 10) and shows everyone he has hit the ground running with that free kick


GB at 2017-12-16 18:33:27

First “point of contact” as the City player goes down easily and Pawson does well to disregard that one

kick off

GB at 2017-12-16 18:31:39

Tottenham Hotspur won the toss so it will be Manchester City to kick off.

Good luck to all! And may the ball run kindly for you.

Feel free to interact with me during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at [email protected]


GB at 2017-12-16 18:28:56

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

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GB at 2017-12-16 18:26:25

Not long to go now as the players and officials prepare to leave the tunnel


GB at 2017-12-16 18:23:56

#MCFC #THFC #cityvspurs

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GB at 2017-12-16 18:19:51

#MCFC #THFC #cityvtot

Today’s officials are:

Referee: Craig Pawson

AR1: Lee Betts (Technical Area)

AR2: Adam Nunn

4th Official: Lee Mason

The PGMOL continue to show their faith in the ability of this South Yorkshire official to manage the match of the weekend, and so they should after his handling of the Merseyside derby last week.

Craig will have known for some time now that his goal to be promoted to Category 1 in the UEFA Bandings has not been achieved again this year, although it only became common knowledge this week. If Craig is to move upwards in the UEFA rankings, these are just the type of high profile games he needs to get under his belt to deliver on his obvious potential and better consistency displayed this season. The most important thing he needs to improve on is his movement around the field of play. He has shown in the past that he is a very fit young man, but he needs to regain that impression again to stand out amongst all the other sharks in the Category 2 pool – including Stuart Attwell and Paul Tierney, whose respective promotions to the FIFA List straight into UEFA Category 2 were made public this week.

Also announced was the news that Martin Atkinson has been granted an extended extension! Along with confirmation that Andre Marriner has been removed from the FIFA Panel after 8 years of reliable service which saw him boss over 40 international games since 2009.

The stand out news of course was that both Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver have both been promoted to the Elite list of UEFA Officials for 2018: Congratulations to Taylor and Oliver

Here is how the English FIFA/UEFA List will line up at the start of 2018:

2017 UEFA Referee Categories


Martin Atkinson

Michael Oliver

Anthony Taylor

First Category


Second Category

Stuart Attwell

Robert Madley

Craig Pawson

Paul Tierney

Third Category


Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-12-16 18:15:51

Manchester City

31     Ederson (MC 31)

2       Kyle Walker (MC 2)

7       Raheem Sterling (MC 7)

8       Ilkay Gundgan (MC 8)

10     Sergio Agüero (MC 10)

15     Eliaquim Mangala (MC 15)

17     Kevin De Bruyne (MC 17)

18     Fabian Delph (MC 18)

19     Leroy Sané (MC 19)

25     Fernandinho (MC 25)

30     Nicolás Otamendi (MC 30)


1       Claudio Bravo (MC 1)

3       Danilo (MC 3)

20     Bernardo Silva (MC 20)

33     Gabriel Jesus (MC 33)

35     Oleksandr Zinchenko (MC 35)

42     Yaya Touré (MC 42)

47     Phil Forden (MC 47)

Tottenham Hotspur

1       Hugo Lloris (TH 1)

2       Kieran Trippier (TH 2)

3       Danny Rose (TH 3)

5       Jan Vertonghen (TH 5)

7       Heung-Min Son (TH 7)

10     Harry Kane (TH 10)

15     Eric Dier (TH 15)

19     Mousa Dembélé (TH 19)

20     Dele Alli (TH 20)

23     Christian Eriksen (TH 23)

29     Harry Winks (TH 29)


11     Erik Lamela (TH 11)

13     Michel Vorm (TH 13)

17     Moussa Sissoko (TH 17)

18     Fernando Llorente (TH 18)

21     Juan Foyth (TH 21)

24     Serge Aurier (TH 24)

33     Ben Davies (TH 33)


GB at 2017-12-16 18:08:41

#MCFC #THFC #cityvtot

The Tottenham yips have started earlier than usual this season with only 2 wins out of their last 6 in the EPL, so this fixture comes at a great time for them to prove they have a squad which is mature enough to turn the corner before the rush of Christmas games. The lilywhites have won more away Premier League matches at Manchester City (10) than they have at any other club.

Manchester City will not have to worry about keeping the noise down after this one back at the ranch if they continue with their 100% record today, but I am sure they will be hoping for the headlines to be concerned with what they do on the green bit this week, and not what goes on off it!


GB at 2017-12-16 18:05:43

#MCFC #THFC #cityvtot

Welcome to this evenings RefCam coverage of the EPL game between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Minute by minute commentary from the referee’s perspective is about to follow.

Feel free to interact with me at any time during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at [email protected]

Any thoughts on the big calls in the EPL over the weekend so far?