Referee in Focus: Michael Oliver appointed for Man City vs Chelsea clash

Michael Oliver has been appointed referee of this weekend’s clash between Manchester City and Chelsea. The two sides meet at the Etihad on Sunday with one flying high at the top of the league and the other reaching a breaking point.

Chelsea need to bounce back from their loss at Old Trafford, but have drawn both matches refereed by Oliver this season. Chelsea fans would do well to remember Oliver at the 1-1 draw at Anfield – there were no cards in that match. The other Chelsea match Oliver has taken charge of is a bit more memorable, a 0-0 draw with Arsenal in which David Luiz was sent off for a rash tackle.

Oliver has taken charge of Manchester City three times this season, all three of which have resulted in wins for Pep Guardiola’s men, including the 2-1 win at Old Trafford in December and the 3-1 victory over Arsenal earlier in the season. While that may be a confidence boost for City fans, Oliver boasts the second highest away win bias in the league at 39%, so there’s plenty of reason for Chelsea fans to keep faith too.

It’s no surprise that Oliver is often given the biggest matches in the league to take charge of, the 33 year-old is certainly one of the better referees in the league.

Of the 19 men to take charge of a Premier League fixture this season, Oliver is 4th in fouls per game and 6th in yellow cards per game, perhaps no surprise given the amount of heated top six clashes he has had, but surely a recipe for fireworks on Sunday. He also dished out two reds, four yellows and a penalty in a match between Watford and Huddersfield in December.

One stat that could certainly come into play on Sunday – Oliver is fifth amongst Premier League referees for penalties per game, averaging more than one every three games. Here’s to a fiery clash at the Etihad on Sunday.

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