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Just under six weeks ago Martin Atkinson refereed our Boxing Day game at Old Trafford and tomorrow he’s in charge when we take on their neighbours Manchester City at home.

Ahead of the United game, I wrote that Atkinson had invariably been fine when refereeing our games but he got himself a lot of criticism for his performance at Old Trafford after going card mad with seven Burnley players seeing yellow.

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In isolation, you could say they were all justified but it did seem on more than one occasion that both teams weren’t being treated equally. Having said that, it is par for the course when playing United at Old Trafford.

It’s a fourth Burnley game this season for the referee who has taken charge of more Burnley games in the Premier League than any other. Besides the United game, he was the referee for our home games against West Brom and Swansea. In total, tomorrow will be his 14th Burnley game in the Premier League.

He is, in my view, one of the best in the league, and his RATE THE REF rating of 74.49 out of 100, an fifth place, is no surprise to me.

This season he’s refereed 20 games. All but two of those have been in the Premier League with one each in the Championship and League Cup. There have been 67 yellow cards and four red cards in those games.

Of those yellows, 32 have gone to home team players and 35 to away team players. He sent off West Brom’s Hal Robson-Kanu at Burnley back in August, the three other reds came in consecutive games in December. They were Davison Sanchez (Spurs) at Watford, Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey at home against Everton and Onyinye Ndidi (Leicester) in their 3-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace.

His last game was Bournemouth’s 1-1 draw at West Ham two weeks ago. There were four yellow cards in that game. He carded James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku (all West Ham) and Bournemouth’s Dan Gosling.

I’m looking forward to a good performance from the referee tomorrow with, hopefully, less cards than we saw on Boxing Day.

The assistant referees are Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) and Lee Betts (Norfolk), who was on the line at Newcastle two days ago. The fourth official is Jon Moss (Horsforth) whose last Burnley game was our 1-0 win at Everton in October.

Previous Burnley Games – Martin Atkinson

SeasonOpponentsVResYRBurnley Players Carded
2004/05Crewea1-110Y: Whittingham
2004/05Sheffield Uniteda1-220Y: Cahill
2006/07Norwichh2-020Y: Caldwell
2008/09Tottenhama1-410Y: Duff
2008/09Readingh1-011
2009/10Wolvesa0-230Y: Gudjonsson
2009/10Boltona0-150Y: Elliott, McDonald
2009/10Hulla4-160Y: Mears
2010/11West Hama1-520Y: Rodriguez, Elliott
2014/15Stokea2-140Y: Ings, Heaton
2014/15Chelseaa1-131Y: Boyd, Kightly
2014/15Tottenhamh0-020Y: Trippier, Mee
2014/15Hulla1-010Y: Ings
2016/17Bournemouthh3-240Y: Arfield, Boyd
2016/17Hulla1-131Y: Westwood, Barnes R: Barnes
2016/17Middlesbrougha0-030Y: Ward, Barnes, Keane
2017/18West Bromh0-111Y: Barnes
2017/18Swanseah2-020Y: Ward
2017/18Manchester Uniteda2-2100Y: Barnes, Taylor, GuĂ°mundsson, Bardsley, Pope, Vokes, Cork
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