Referee Martin Atkinson was the target of scathing criticism from a large number of Crystal Palace fans during and after the Eagles’ 0-0 draw at Watford earlier today.
Wilfried Zaha came in for some rough treatment from the Hornets, with six fouls given for challenges on the Ivorian, who was the most fouled player at Vicarage Road this afternoon. [via WhoScored]
Although the 27-year-old “endured a difficult and physical afternoon”, in the words of BBC reporter Mantej Mann, he ended up being booked for a tangle with Christian Kabasele in the first half.
A video clip shared by @footballdaily on Twitter showed Zaha’s frustration with Atkinson immediately after the final whistle blew.
The match report on Sky Sports noted that the Eagles forward was “frequently being floored with tactical fouls from Watford, which resulted in several heated exchanges throughout the game”, while The Athletic‘s Matt Woosnam reported that he has now been fouled more than 500 times in the Premier League.
These Crystal Palace fans on Twitter vented their fury at Atkinson’s refereeing performance today:
I don’t quite understand what Atkinson is trying to achieve with this agenda against Zaha. There’s no reason to hate him because the home fans do.
— Sam (@SWPalace) December 7, 2019
Atkinson has allowed Watford's anti-Zaha agenda to dictate the narrative of this game. It's been an awful spectacle as a result, which you'd imagine was very much their game plan. https://t.co/2l5B4sChk5
— The Eagles Beak (@TheEaglesBeak) December 7, 2019
By my count, Watford should've had 8 players left on the pitch – Femenia, Capoue & Cathcart. Atkinson should've sent himself off too.
The worst thing is, Atkinson had so many opportunities to redeem himself but he didn't put away the shovel & kept digging a deeper hole#WATCRY
— Jerome (@xxmcwizardxx) December 7, 2019
Zaha’s been kicked to the floor, tries to keep the ball with his feet whilst 3 players kick at him. Free kick to Watford.
Zaha runs off the ball, player sticks his leg out to make contact with Wilf, Atkinson has his back turned, booming for Wilf.
Atkinson has a strange agenda
— • Phil • (@Phillyconcarne) December 7, 2019
How can this be a booking for Zaha. Martin Atkinson please explain ? pic.twitter.com/RAux2YWE8G
— Paul Jeeves (@PJeevesie) December 7, 2019
Martin Atkinson feel hook, line and sinker for the home tactics today. Awful ref #cpfc
— Gary Byfield (@GaryBizzle) December 7, 2019
If I was as bad at my job as Martin Atkinson, I’d be unemployable. Absolutely abysmal referee. #cpfc
— Sam Hesketh (@abjekt) December 7, 2019
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