For the first time this season, Cardiff City will be playing a competitive match with the same referee as Michael Oliver oversees the Bluebirds big match against defending champions Manchester City.

Oliver was the Nini-Man in the Middle when Cardiff City travelled to the John Smiths Stadium on the 25th August, a game that was sparked into life when the Terriers’ captain Jonathan Hogg was sent off after an off-the-ball altercation with Harry Arter.  This proved to be the only real incident of note in an otherwise drab match, so let’s look a little further back to get a better understanding of what we can expect from this week’s referee.

Oliver has overseen matches involving Cardiff City on 10 different occasions spanning nearly 10 years. It began with a 3-1 loss for the Bluebirds against Sheffield Wednesday on the 26th September 2009 at Hillsborough; a match absolutely filled with controversy. Oliver ruled out two Cardiff City goals for offside and sent Joe Ledley off for a second yellow card in a game which saw Cardiff City drop out of the playoffs for the first time that season.

He then oversaw four straight Cardiff City away wins against QPR, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Bristol City in the Championship. He was also the man in charge for Cardiff’s dead-rubber match at home against Chelsea in the Premier League and prior to this season was in charge for last year’s essential away draw against Sheffield United.

Generally, Oliver is not a referee you’d expect to see bring about too much controversy, but as we saw against Huddersfield, he is more than happy to make unpopular calls if he feels it’s the right one. See below for an overview of his Premier League stats in their entirety:

  • 206 games refereed
  • 676 yellow card issued (an average of 3.28 yellows per game)
  • 21 straight red cards
  • 64 penalties awarded

The last game Oliver oversaw was Tottenham Hotspur’s home loss on the 15th September against Liverpool. The game was notable for an awful accidental injury to Roberto Firmino’s eye and a rare away goal from Georgino Wijnaldum, given by goal line technology after Oliver failed to award it.

Oliver has managed multiple European matches including five Champions League games last season and is perfectly capable of ensuring the vociferous home support don’t affect his performance.  Cardiff City are looking to secure an unlikely home win, so let’s hope Oliver isn’t looking to balance the red cards out after the Huddersfield game and Neil Warnock doesn’t have cause to storm the referee’s room post-match!