Martin Atkinson has been put in charge of this weekend’s game between Manchester United and Chelsea. How can the same incompetent referee, who has cost us this fixture time and again, still be chosen to referee this game?

October 2016: Luiz red card

Martin Atkinson awarded David Luiz with just a yellow card for this studs on the knee challenge on Maroaune Fellaini, despite having a perfect view.


December 2015: Two penalties
In the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, United were denied two clear penalties by Atkinson. The first was when Willian handled the ball in the area, and the second when Azpilicueta fouled Mata in the penalty area.

The Guardian: The Brazilian clearly handles the ball in the box. Definite penalty.

The Telegraph: Van Gaal also, understandably, questioned why United were not awarded two penalties – both in the second half – when the ball reared up and struck Willian on the arm and then when Juan Mata was challenged by Cesar Azpilicueta as he threatened to skirt around the Chelsea defender. Both appeals were waved away by referee Martin Atkinson.

BBC: They were unlucky not to get a penalty when Willian handled.

August 2013: Penalty

Atkinson gave nothing when Frank Lampard blocked Tom Cleverley’s shot with his hand in the box.

March 2011: Luiz red card

Already on a yellow card, Luiz kicked Wayne Rooney, yet Atkinson failed to send the Brazilian off. Carlo Ancelotti conceded the player should have been sent off, but Atkinson failed to do so.

Telegraph: David Luiz, was everywhere, delivering good and bad, equalising with a majestic volley and then flirting with expulsion for a dreadful challenge on Rooney. How Martin Atkinson missed it beggared belief, particularly as the referee was 10 yards away.

BBC: Ferguson also had a case when he questioned how the £21m defender escaped a red card after the break for a hack at Rooney, with the Brazilian having already been booked.

Daily Mail: Ferguson was right in stating that the otherwise outstanding David Luiz – scorer of a marvellous 54th-minute equaliser – should have been dismissed for a foul on Wayne Rooney.

The Guardian: David Luiz’s three challenges, the first of which floored Javier Hernández some three minutes after the Chelsea defender had drawn them level. That went unpunished, with the Brazilian then booked for a late tackle on Rooney only for a second brush with the England striker to go ignored.

Luiz-and-Rooney (1)

March 2011: Chelsea penalty

With 10 minutes left to play, Atkinson awarded a penalty to Chelsea when Zhirkov ran in to Chris Smalling and dived. Branislav admitted it wasn’t a penalty.

Daily Mail: Ferguson was right. Right to question the validity of the 80th-minute penalty that Frank Lampard converted to reignite the title race.

The penalty was soft, to say the least, Yury Zhirkov knocking the ball through the legs of the excellent Chris Smalling and collapsing under a non-existent challenge. It looked suspiciously like a dive, but Atkinson thought otherwise and Lampard did the rest.

Telegraph: When Atkinson, who loves a penalty, awarded his 11th of the season for a seemingly innocuous challenge by Chris Smalling on Yuri Zhirkov, Sir Alex Ferguson began making that well-worn journey to apoplexy.

November 2009: Too many incidents to summarise

The Times: They [United] had been the more assertive team throughout, defending diligently and attacking with purpose when the opportunity arose, and would surely have claimed something from the game, quite possibly a victory, had not the two big refereeing decisions gone in Chelsea’s favour.

Had the match ended goalless, Martin Atkinson, the referee, would have ended up with a stern rebuke from Ferguson for refusing to award United a penalty in the fourteenth minute, when Antonio Valencia tumbled after appearing to be impeded by Terry. As it was, the United manager was left in a fury, deeply unhappy both with Atkinson’s award of a free kick, for what looked like a fair tackle by Darren Fletcher on Ashley Cole, and with the manner that Wes Brown was obstructed by Didier Drogba when the ball was whipped in from the left-hand side by Lampard.

The game was transformed when Fletcher was penalised for his challenge on Ashley Cole. As Lampard swung in the free kick, Terry and Anelka attacked the ball with greater conviction than any of United’s defenders, although Brown had an excuse, having been felled, deliberately or otherwise, by Drogba.

The Guardian: Wayne Rooney is played in and the flag goes up, with the striker entirely on his own and clean through, 30 yards from the nearest outfield player and 20 yards from goal. But Ashley Cole, on the near side, is clearly playing him onside. Bad – and crucial – decision.

Frank Lampard’s left-wing free-kick, Terry’s header (maybe his shoulder), and Chelsea take the lead a) against the run of play; b) from a free-kick given against Fletcher for winning the ball pretty cleanly. Controversyometer shoots to 10.

The Telegraph: This was such a travesty of justice that Manchester United should follow Chelsea’s recent example and appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.