Officially Speaking – with Keith Hackett
It was the weekend when a limited number of spectators were allowed to enter the pitch to watch the matches live. Friday 4 December ASTON VILLA V NEWCASTLE UNITED - Postponed gameReferee: Robert JonesAssistants: Darren Cann, Mark ScholesFourth referee: Martin AtkinsonVAR: Mike DeanVAR Assistant: Andy HallidayI have no doubt that referee Robert Jones was looking […]

It was the weekend when a limited number of spectators were allowed to enter the pitch to watch the matches live.

Friday 4 December

ASTON VILLA V NEWCASTLE UNITED - Postponed game
Referee: Robert Jones
Assistants: Darren Cann, Mark Scholes
Fourth referee: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Mike Dean
VAR Assistant: Andy Halliday
I have no doubt that referee Robert Jones was looking forward to refereeing his second Premier League game.
Unfortunately, with Newcastle United suffering from Covid-19, the game did not go down.

Saturday 5 December

BURNLEY V EVERTON Result 1-1
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Gary Beswick, James Mainwaring
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh
VAR: Mike Dean
VAR Assistant: Andy Halliday
Burnley opened the scoring with a Robbie Brady shot in the third minute. Referee Taylor applied some clever perks to ensure the match went smoothly.
Burnley was looking for a foul to attribute to the midfielder and in all fairness the referee was a few yards away and allowed play to continue.
Everton will score an equalizer. England goalkeepers Pickford and Pope were in top form in this game under the watchful eye of England manager Southgate.
The reruns of a foul cry by manager Dyche were unfounded. Taylor had made the right decision to allow the game to continue.

MANCHESTER CITY V FULHAM Result 2-0
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: Marc Perry, Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Darren Bond
VAR: Graham Scott
VAR Assistant: Matthew Wilkes
City opened the scoring after four minutes with a strike from Sterling which, in the usual way, played a positive role in the game. He has a reputation for going to the ground easily and with the slightest touch that grazed his knee he went to the ground. Moss pointing to the penalty spot and VAR confirming his decision. I have to say that if I had given this during my active career I would have been heavily criticized.
City took a 2-0 lead with Bruyne showing how shots on goal should be executed,
Fulham goalkeeper Areola made some good saves but frankly Fulham needs to strengthen his squad in the January window,

WEST HAM UNITED V MANCHESTER UNITED Result 1-3
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Simon Long, Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: Lee Mason
VAR Assistant: Adrian Holmes
The home side scored early in the game, but when verified by VAR they were correctly ruled out for offside.
West Ham then hit the post before finally taking a well-deserved lead. They wasted other opportunities.
Manchester United then scored with a formidable shot with Moyes standing on the sideline shouting that the ball was out of play. This should have been spotted by the assistant whose goal was to see if the players were out- Game. VAR doesn't have the technology to help you. Later that evening, Match of the Day used its technology to confirm the ball was out of play. It was a rare mistake for the official to miss this.

In the second half, Manchester United brought in substitutes Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes who completely changed the game, Greenwood brilliantly controlled the ball and turned and his shot went into the goal.
Rashford having missed a chance, did not miss his second opportunity and Manchester United won 3-1.

CHELSEA V LEEDS UNITED Result 3-1
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Simon Beck, Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
VAR: Michael Oliver
VAR Assistant: Sian Massey-Ellis
Leeds Calvin Philips managed a nice pass for former Chelsea player Patrick Bamford in the 4th minute of the game which sent him into the net.

Chelsea failed to score on a corner kick as the ball hit Timo Warner who, within a yard, made a complete mess without trying his luck.
Giroud then opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 27th minute. The home side scored a second on a corner kick and poor defense from the away team. Chelsea's third was scored in added time.

Sunday 6 December

WEST BROMWICH ALBION V CRYSTAL PALACE 1-5
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard
Fourth official: Darren England
VAR: Michael Oliver
VAR Assistant: Simon Bennett
It was Crystal Palace's best result away from home in all senior competitions. The facts are, the whole game hinged on the sacking of Costa Pereira from West Brom in the 34th minute.

I believe referee Tierney was in a good position to see the incident and fully support his yellow card. The West Brom player found himself on the ground with his opponent watching him. He certainly straightened his legs to take off. In doing so, he grabbed his opponent and his actions were reckless.

VAR Michael Oliver decided to intervene. At the outset, he must ask himself whether this was a clear and obvious mistake. It wasn't, but as we've seen in other games, he asks Tierney to see the monitor. In an interview earlier in the week, David Elleray put the IFAB's take on clear and obvious. He also said he wanted the referees to show courage.

This walk to the monitor causes the referees to glance at the screen and use VAR. Paul Tierney on this should have stuck with his initial decision of a non-red yellow card. Referees must demonstrate courage.

SHEFFIELD UNITED V LEICESTER CITY SCORE 1-2
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Neil Davies
Fourth official: Peter Bankes
VAR: David Coote
VAR Assistant: Nick Hopton
Perez opened the scoring for Leicester in the 24th minute and we wondered if the bottom club would surrender.
However, this is not the situation with Chris Wilder's teams and in two minutes McBurnie tied the score.

The main topic of discussion centered on Sheffield United number 13 Lowe, who fouled his opponent minutes after receiving a yellow card. It was a CAUTION foul but referee Attwell didn't grab his card and Lowe was a lucky guy to stay. Chris Wilder confirmed this point of view by judiciously replacing Lowe at halftime.

The game was level until Jamie Vardy appeared with a winner. Sheffield United played with a high defensive line and were vulnerable to a quick break.
It came when United's Fleck near the halfway line takes a bad touch, Vardy sprints to the goal and scores. Vardy is truly a 'well done local boy'. However, his celebration of a slip and his kick to the corner flag that he breaks doesn't look good.
Attwell shouldn't have needed to remind that a corner flag is mandatory and the kick-off should have been delayed until substituted.

I thought Attwell refereed the game well.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V ARSENAL 2-0 SCORE
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Adam Nunn, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
VAR: Chris Kavanagh
VAR Assistant: Dan Cook
Tottenham's son's first goal was special. Receiving a pass from Kane, he dribbled the ball towards the goal, looked up and produced a curling shot into the goal, leaving the goalie with no chance to save. They went 2-0 after Kane scored just before half-time.
While in the second half, Arsenal had plenty of possession but were unable to convert it into goals.
Martin Atkinson had a brilliant first half, precise decision making, excellent communication. He is clearly our best referee now.

WANDERERS LIVERPOOL V WOLVERHAMPTON
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Lee Betts, Richard West
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: Jonathan Moss
VAR Assistant: Dan Robathan
We saw good use of VAR in this game. Wolves' Connor Coady went to the ground and referee Pawson pointed to the penalty spot. On this occasion, VAR intervened correctly, it was a clear and obvious error.
After a review from the field monitor, Craig Pawson correctly overturned his penalty decision.
However, if we are to prevent players from trying to cheat the referees, Coady should have been given a yellow card for a clear pretend act.


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The history of the most popular sport in the world is incredible. Centuries have passes since the introduction of the sport we now call soccer or ( or whatever you want to call it ), and in that time, history has been made.

We all know some of the more memorable instants like Diego Maradona’s infamous handball and we know some of the more heartbreaking instants like the Hillsborough tragedy, but what we don’t know is some of the more bizarre and usual stories.

Like anything that has history, soccer has some of the most bizarre and humorous stories around—stories that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

Arsenal played a friendly against Dynamo Moscow in heavy fog in 1945 at White Hart Lane and despite the urging of players to suspend play due to the fog, the referee decided that play should continue.

The fog was so thick that the game turned into an absolute farce, with both sides playing by their own set of rules and suffering their own bad luck because of the inclement weather.

Moscow at one point made a remplacement but didn’t take a player off, with fans watching the match believing that the Russian club had up to 15 players on the pitch at the one time.

Arsenal also made the best of the conditions, with one of their players—who had earlier been sent off—sneaking back onto the pitch and playing the remainder of the game.

However, they did suffer some bad luck, with their goalkeeper knocking himself out cold after running into the goalpost, which bien sûr, he could not see due to the fog. A spectator reportedly took his place in goals and the match continued.

Not too many of the stories to feature on this list take place in the past decade or so, but we have a special place here for the faithful fans at Stamford Bridge, home ground of Chelsea.

You might not know it about the West London club, but Chelsea fans have been bringing celery to the Bridge for decades now—most likely in order to pay homage to their chant ' Celery ' ( warning : inappropriate language ).

However, according to a club statement from 2007, the Blues have reminded fans that bringing celery to the ground is in fact outlawed and that any amateur ou amatrice caught bringing the ' dangerous ' vegetable to the ground could face a lifetime ban from the Blues’ home ground.

Nowadays, Everton and Liverpool form one of the strongest rivalries in the league, with the Merseyside derbies highlighting on every football fan’s calendar.

With Goodison Park ( Everton’s home ground ) just around the corner from Anfield Road ( Liverpool’s home ground ), the two clubs have grown in their hatred and disposition for the other—with the desire to beat their rival one of their biggest goals at the start of the season.

However, what you might not have known about the two clubs is that before the rivalry had existed, Everton’s home ground was in fact Anfield Road—the very ground that Liverpool now call their home and one of the tougher places to travel to in world .

The Toffees would play their first game at Anfield against Earlestown on September 27, 1884, and would play their first Football League match as a professional club on September 8, 1888. Liverpool, bien sûr, would not be founded for another four years after that date.

Everton would leave Anfield Road on January vingt cinq, 1892—opting to move to the north side of Stanley Park, to the ground and area now known as Goodison Park. Liverpool ( who wanted to be called Everton Athletic at the time ) would then claim Anfield Road as their home ground.

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