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The 10% bias. How refs fix Arsenal over penalties and disallowed goals. The ref review 2 -Who made the mistakes?

By Walter Broeckx

This article lists the decisions concerning penalties and goals that didn’t go our way and those decisions that did go our way.

So this is just a general list of things and it doesn’t matter if they were decisive at the end of a game for the final score. Just a way of making things a bit clearer and to let you know which decisions I was referring to in my weekly ref reviews and of course in my final ref review of the season.

To be clear, just mentioning them here does not mean that I will list them in my lost/won points table which you will be seeing in a few days. Most of them will but not all!

I also include the name of the ref so we can count how many important things went wrong under a certain ref

Let us start with the decisions that went our way when it comes to goals. So this contains goals we scored and that shouldn’t have counted and also goals that were scored against Arsenal and were wrongly disallowed.

Game Ref Comment Total Goals
Fulham Foy How much we would like to see it named goal of the season but the second goal from Nasri will not get my vote. There was an offside in the build up. 1
Newcastle Dowd Well it wasn’t that much Dowd who disallowed a Newcastle goal but it was his assistant who gave an offside which was wrong 1
TOTAL LUCKY DECISIONS 2

But we should also have a look at the goals we were denied or that have been given to other teams which were wrong.

Game Ref Comment Total
Chelsea Dean A not given foul on Song gave the ball to Chelsea and from then on they scored their first goal 1
Everton Webb Webb was so busy with distracting Sagna that he didn’t see that an Everton player was leaning with both arms on Song and pushed him on the floor 1
Aston Villa Clattenburg Clattenburg didn’t see that Carew was in front of Fabianski in an offside position and was interfering with play. And the linesman didn’t signal it. 1
Tottenham Dowd Dowd made a total mess of the first decisions which lead to the penalty for Tottenham. There was no foul from Song on Modric and the free kick should never have been given to Tottenham 1
Wigan Probert I could have mentioned this in the wrong given penalties against Arsenal. There was no foul, just a dive from Nzogbia so it should never have come to a goal for Wigan like this 1
Everton Mason The offside rule a la Mason was wrong. How much the pundits did try their best to turn left in to right or the other way round. The goal should have been cancelled. 1
Sunderland Taylor Arshavin scoring but the assistant giving offside. Our little Russian was onside. 1
Tottenham Atkinson A Robin Van Persie goal was disallowed for offside. Which was wrong 1
Aston Villa Oliver Another goal disallowed from Arsenal for what just looked to be a bit of contact between the striker and the defender 1
TOTAL UNLUCKY DECISIONS 9

This looks to be a bit of an uneven balance after one season I would say. Let us see if we have been better of with the penalties? Once again I don’t see if this was a game changing decision in this table. Just listing the wrong calls.

Let us once again start with the penalties when Arsenal was lucky. And I will be as generous as I can be in this.

Game Ref Comment Total
Aston Villa Clattenburg Villa should have had a penalty 1
Wolves Foy Wolves also should have had a penalty 1
Blackpool Mason And Blackpool also should have gotten a penalty in this game 1
Tottenham Atkinson There should have been another penalty for Tottenham in this game 1
M Utd Foy Generous as I am I will back up the call for a penalty for a foul on Owen and ignore the interference from Berbatov coming from an offside position. 1
TOTAL LUCKY DECISIONS 5

Okay that is 5 in our favour. Let us check the other way round and see if we could have claimed the odd penalty in our favour?  Or did we get a stupid penalty against us? And once again mentioning it here does not mean we would have gotten more points out of the game.

Game Ref Comment Total
Sunderland Dowd Penalty for handball not given 1
West Ham Jones A penalty not given 1
Tottenham Dowd A clear push in the back of Song but the ref ignores it 1
Chelsea Clattenburg A clear foul on Van Persie just inside the penalty area but nothing given 1
Wigan Probert A clear trip on Walcott but nothing given and then a clear handball in the wall but again nothing given 2
Wigan Friend Another penalty in our home game this time not given 1
Newcastle Dowd Do I need to explain? 1
Wolves Foy A foul on Arshavin if I remember correct not given 1
Sunderland Taylor A clear push on Arshavin just when he wants to shoot but nothing given 1
Blackpool Mason A clear push in the back of Van Persie this time and nothing given 1
Liverpool Mariner Djourou being held back with both arms and Kuyt playing for keeper when blocking a shot going on goal but both times nothing given. And then the extra extra extra time penalty given. 3
Bolton Jones A clear foul on Walcott not given, a clear foul on Koscielny not given. But on the other hand a nice dive from Sturridge was given for Bolton 3
M Utd Foy Vidic thinking he was Maradonna and getting away with it. Amazing. 1
Aston Villa Oliver A clear foul on Ramsey and nothing given. 1
TOTAL UNLUCKY DECISIONS 19

Once again in this table it is rather clear to see that we did have a few reasons to complain about certain decisions. We escaped 5 times with a penalty decision but on the other hand we could and should have had 19 penalties more than we have got.

Whether or not it affected our total points is a matter for another article in the coming days. But now I will focus on the ref and see how many times a ref was involved in a wrong decision. And let us see if at the end of the season it evens out with the refs and their decisions when it comes to Arsenal games.

Ref Favour Arsenal Against Arsenal Total mistakes + / –
Foy 3 2 5 +1
Dowd 1 4 5 -3
Dean 1 1 -1
Webb 1 1 -1
Clattenburg 1 2 3 -1
Probert 2 2 -2
Mason 1 2 3 -1
Taylor 2 2 -2
Atkinson 1 1 2 0
Oliver 1 1 -1
Jones 4 4 -4
Friend 1 1 -1
Mariner 3 3 -3
Oliver 1 1 -1
TOTAL 7 28 35 -21
% 20% 80%

So the only ref that can say that his major decisions on goals and penalties did not have any affect at the end of the season is Atkinson. And we also have one ref who has made a few mistakes but we got the benefit at the end of the season. This was Foy. I hope he doesn’t get in to trouble with this.

But on the other side of the coin we must see at decisions going against us. And all the other refs mistakes went all against us at the end of the season. And in this table Jones is standing first with the most mistakes against us and not one mistake in our favour. We also see the high score of Dowd and Mariner in this table.

And then I looked  if there was any difference between the scores of the given penalties and the correct and the wrong decisions and this compared to the total decisions on penalties for and against us.

Penalties in Arsenal games this season
Given Other/not correct Total % correct % not correct
For 7 17 24 29,17% 70,83%
Against 9 7 16 56,25% 43,75%

And then you see that almost 60% of the decisions on penalties against Arsenal are correct. But when it comes to the times we should have got a penalty this goes down to just under 30%. So these numbers do give the impression that the other teams get more things in their favour compared to Arsenal. Their number is almost the double of ours! So when Arsenal players get tripped in the penalty area and should get a penalty only 30% of the penalties are given by the refs.

And then I did the same for the goal decisions. To compare the given goals and the disallowed, not given or wrongly given and see if we can see if there is a difference between what we get and what the other teams have been getting.

Goals in Arsenal games this season
Given Other/not correct Total % correct % not correct
For 72 19 91 79,12% 20,88%
Against 43 5 48 89,58% 10,42%

And also in this table we see that goals are easily given against us but that we get more goals disallowed or not given than the other teams. We only get 80%  (8 out of 10 goals) of the goals we should have been given and the other teams get 90% (9 out of 10 goals).

So the main conclusion from all this is for me that we don’t get as many penalties as the other teams, we get more goals disallowed that should have counted than the other teams.

Also in this series…

Half the penalties in Arsenal games were wrongly given this season!

Untold Arsenal and Arsenal History on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

Untold Arsenal Index

History of Arsenal: when Fulham stole the Arsenal managers.

Making the Arsenal – the book of Arsenal death and rebirth

163 comments to The 10% bias. How refs fix Arsenal over penalties and disallowed goals. The ref review 2 -Who made the mistakes?

  • Naren

    Walter,
    meticulously researched article as ever.
    So we have had seven games which we would have won but ended up drawing, not to mention those we lost, due to erroneous officiating. The margins are really fine. I really pity Arsene and the team.

  • Dave Highbury

    Great stats… have these stats been compared with the stats of other teams in the premiership?

  • Mr Venger

    Walter this is excellent work. Hard to argue with the significance these figures, or try blame it on our supposed continental style of play.

  • Gunner_India

    Please share this with the FA and not Mr. Wenger then he will start blaming the refs and not strengthen the squad at all..

    These kind of analysis have to gain more visibility and as i call sensationalizing the news

  • nicky

    It’s all very well to prove that we are hard done by in the penalty stakes, and indeed by referees in general. Q.E.D. All these statistics merely tend to turn the average Arsenal fan into paranoid whiners.
    What we want to hear is HOW TO PUT MATTERS RIGHT.

  • walter

    Nicky,
    to put things right you first must prove something is wrong.
    And then we should put pressure on the people who are responsable for those things.

  • Ben

    The problem is with subjectiveness of it, with your obvious Arsenal sympathies you’re always likely to perceive there to be more unfair calls against Arsenal than for. That said- even taking into account a certain amount of interpretation bias- it does seem that Arsenal were very unfairly officiated -both from your stats and from our own observation- and who knows how much of a part it played in undermining the team’s confidence and title aspirations this season.

  • nicky

    Walter,
    I think, by now , you have well and truly spelt out what is wrong.
    How about pressurising that pillar of all things good and honest
    ……..FIFA?…….LOL.

  • christine juillet

    thanks -I was beginning to think it was me and my friends being paranoid-no wonder moral was so low by end of season-now Man U ‘tapping’ up Nasri .

  • Dark Prince

    The problem i find in this article is that it has not arrived in a detailed conclusion. Yes, the stats show a trend, especially in the penalty department, but the reasons can be varying and something which has to be analysed more extensively. The correct/incorrect goal stats dont look mischievious. These stats, i’m assuming, includes the wrong goals conceded by wrong penalty decisions plus a lot have been deemed wrongly offside against our players which is more of a mistake by the linesman than any of the referees named in this article. The problem with wrong offside decisions is that you have to give the favour of the doubt to the linesman as offside decisions can be very close and will depend a lot on the refs mentality on being not sure completly while giving ve decision.

  • bob

    @Christine, Nicky: Macho-Man Evra’s a typical raptor out of the ref-abetted Jurassic Park – the kennel that Don Fergus, Riley and (as yet) abettors (wink) have parlayed into their 19th. Have you and your friends tune in here and start thinking, with Nicky, about what we all can do. Walter’s provided a gift. At a minimum, help publicize it far and wide (for starters)…

  • bob

    p.s. meant to say: (as yet) unnamed abettors…. (and bettors?, but not betters)

  • bob

    @Dark Prince: do you find anything, dare I say, right, about this article?: or would your ungenerous-ity of spirit de-rail this one too into it’s all about you? anything even mildly disturbing here about referees to you? Frankly, I find your mildness disturbing.

  • As

    Walter, how about you draw up what the League table would look like if we add all those unlucky decisions, and to balance things, minus those lucky decisions we got, and with the rest of the results of all teams remaining same, will that have meant we would have won the league?

  • Dark Prince

    Bob- yes, i find it disturbing that refs are becoming incompetant. And yes, many penalty decisions have gone against us. But it really doesn’t prove anti-arsenal bias.
    You may even come to a conclusion that the refs are just not used to Arsenal’s current fast paced passing game which draws in more fouls, even in the penalty areas.

    On the other hand, we have to understand that Walter is an Arsenal fan, so having an Arsenal fan judging a ref involving Arsenal wont really help in coming to more realiable conclusions. But as one of a former commentator (dont remember d name), we have to bring in neutral experts.

  • walter

    As,
    I have done this and it will be published in one of the next days.
    There are still other and different points of view on the results from my ref reviews and some 4 or 5 articles on this subject to appear in the next days.

  • walter

    Dark Prince,
    I didn’t mention all the wrong offside decisions that didn’t lead to a goal. For example ahainst Tottenham in the first half we had been called back twice when a player was going on his own on goal and both wrong. I left them out. I only included the moments when we scored only to see us stopped from a wrong flag signal. Because in the other cases I could not prove that we would have scored. The keeper could still have made a stop, the striker could have missed. So I only included the ones that lead to the ball hitting the net.

    Note that in my article I talk about mistakes or wrong decisions. I think that a mistake is a mistake. And the most important thing should be to not have mistakes.
    And if there is a mistake it should be put right immediatly.

  • Naren

    bob,
    Are you new here? If you have some time to spare, just check this out.
    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/12297
    Out of the 287 comments, I think Dark Prince alone made 100+ comments. This will answer your questions.
    I won’t re-engage in the debate with Dark Prince this time though:-)

    Dark Prince,
    If this time too somebody argues with you, please hit the nail on the head and be done with it…it will save your time too.

  • walter

    Dark Prince,

    And the fact that we as being more in the half of the opposition have more penalties against us points at something strange. You should expect the opposite and expect more penalties in our favour and less against us.

    We also have the most penalties giving against us from the whole EPL. 9 in total and this is the second highest score in the last 10 years in the EPL. Only Blackburn once got 10.
    And most of the time teams that got 9 penalties against them have been teams who were fighting to stay in the league and most of the time went down after that season. So most of the time teams that were defending and defending and then making fouls. We are always attacking and still we get that many penalty decisions against us.

  • BobbyP

    Walter

    You present the findings fairly as ‘mistakes’ or ‘wrong decisions’ (even though, as Ben notes, there is a natural element of subjectivity involved).

    Why is the headline of the article ‘How refs fix Arsenal’? ‘Fix’ is effectively an allegation of deliberate cheating/corruption (for which no evidence has been provided), whereas ‘mistake’ is a fair summation of incorrect judgements, as detailed in this article.

    Why the need to resort to tabloid style headlines?

  • Stevie E

    Whilst I rarely ever agree with Dark prince, he does play the devil’s advocate very well. I welcome his involvement in debates, his constant queries make people actually think about their argument instead of just agreeing with everything the masses say. A forum would be a pretty boring place if someone didn’t stand up and question the validity of a comment.

  • BobbyP

    @Walter

    ‘And the fact that we as being more in the half of the opposition have more penalties against us points at something strange. You should expect the opposite and expect more penalties in our favour and less against us. ‘

    Last season Tottenham got 3 penalties and conceded 9, while finishing 4th. In 2008-9, Chelsea only got 2 penalties all season, while finishing 3rd. In 2006-7 they got 3 (when finishing 2nd), while Arsenal got 11 (while finishing 4th).

    Barcelona only got 5 (and conceded 5) this season despite dominating possession in every game, while Sevilla got 12.

    In other words, trying to draw a direct correlation between a team’s success/possession and number of penalties is meaningless.

  • walter

    BobbyP,
    I usually have a working title such as: ‘the untold ref review part 1 or 2 or 3″. So a very boring headline.

    And then Tony comes up with a headline when he puts it online after reading the article. I hope.
    He’s better at those things, I am a better ref than he. Each his job. 😉

    But when writing the article, BobbyP, I start from nothing (apart from the numbers I have gathered during the season) and then gradually by putting them together in one way I come to a conclusion which Tony puts in the title.

    But when I start writing I don’t know just how what the numbers will tell. Suppose if the penalty decisions would show that the refs make as many mistakes for and against us. Then I would say: okay, they are not competent enough and make to many mistakes.

    If however there is a big difference between the mistakes for and against us then we have two options: A) We have been very, very, extremly unlucky. B) There is something wrotten and dirty

  • bob

    @naren: cheers, but I too was a party to that Dark Prince Show with many interventions and postings, and happily, a frequent flyer hereabouts at UA. we must keep meeting this way! cheers. As for this party, seems like DP again wants to repeat all the same arguments as that great UA blog you link us to. However, I fear this will become a re-hash of the same arguments unless we consciously don’t engage that useful, but now tired devil’s advocacy of his. Don’t feel we need another round this time, but to get beyond that into actionable strategizing on how to press foward. Like you, I’m not going to stay on until last call at this merry go round if it comes to that. Let’s get on with it, mates. (And lest anyone doubt whether there is something rotten in the state of Denmark [and I don’t mean Nicky B’s agent], has anyone looked at Shard’s amazing link to Don Fergus’s whisper to the toadie at the CL press conference – warning – in broad daylight – that the reporter who had the temerity to ask him about Giggs’s importance to ManUre be removed from further coverage! Don Fergus in action – Sauron’s unblinking baleful eye seeing all. Perhaps he’s heard about Walter’s series and the Guest coverage on Giggs, and is taking it out on that reporter? C’mon, no more roundabouts, Dark Prince, there is serious stuff on the plate and it’s time to move it all forward…

  • BobbyP

    @Walter

    Fair enough, didn’t realise the headline wasn’t your work. I guess it is the editor’s prerogative…

    I still think the message of the article carries greater weight if it is allowed to speak for itself, without the tabloid-style headlines – but that’s just my opinion.

  • walter

    BobbyP,

    Apart from Barcelona they are counter attacking teams. 😉

    Serious now I don’t know if one can compare La Liga with the EPL. I see less more stupid and last second tackles in Spain when I see a game over there. Well that is the impression I have anyway.
    But I don’t know how many wrong decisions there are in La Liga.

    But I take your point that possession doesn’t necesarily means more penalties.

    But for years it has been an excuse to say why some top teams get more penalties than other teams. I do think it is like that but to investigate this I should have the total possesion time of each team and compare this with the penalties given and against.

    If anyone has this “total possesion time over a season” please let me know as I can use it to make some calculations

  • bob

    @BobbyP: I too don’t like tabloid-style. But UA’s intervention here with this series of blockbuster reviews needs to fight fire with fire, and the tabloid headlines enter the fray. You can’t make an omlette without breaking eggs, so to speak, a lesson that the tabloids know all too well. So, let’s allow (even welcome?) fishing with a tabloid hook to reel in newcomers into deeper waters where, surely, they’ll have something more nourishing to feed on that just fish food. No? Cheers, Tony.

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant “than just fish food”

  • Togba

    To be honest guys, I think the refs in England just stink. We as Arsenal fans don’t watch too many of the other matches cuz our team plays well enough not to want to see other matches. But I saw some of Tottenham, Wigan, West Brom, Fulham, and even Manu games in which the refs were just dismal. AW just need 2 psyche the team up 2 b mentally strong before, during, and after the game.

  • Paul

    Fair football is gone, now the man in charge of the game looks like he’s trying to entertain the crowd, make it more dramatic for everyone (Dowd anyone? Well the Geordies were all smily faces after that game because they didn’t give a shite whether the game was unfair, the main point for them was that their team scrambled to a dramatic draw). I’m not sure whether it is trash united’s 19th title, corruption or plain stupidity of the refs, but they seem to be taking the piss out of Arsenal. “Arsenal think they play entertaining football like the Spanish, well the refs will make sure it will be entertaining for both sections of the crowd”. How come Arsenal are part of the circus games? Well it might be a different philosophy (pundits saying they love to watch Arsenal, best football in the country?), that doesn’t mean the FA particularly like it, they prefer trash united’s style of game. Just remember who ended Arsenal 49 league games unbeaten run in 2004? Who pinched Arsenal to the title in 2008? 2011? Weird things going on, but somehow everyone fancies the mancs, but Arsenal are long forgotten losers who just became part of the refs entertaining circus business which for me sounds like “every English team can beat the french faced spanish playing Arsenal because we said so, cause we are the refs and trash united is the only team which deserves credit cause they are better than Liverpool”.

  • jbh

    BobbyP you make some good points. But a quick look at the video clips (would be good if someone could compile them all) of the poor penalty decisions (for and against) would highlight the problem and justify the headline.

  • bob

    @jbh: Agreed. My understanding is that Walter and a guy from India (whose name I’ve forgotten) are each putting together a companion video to underpin (at least some of ) this analysis. The report and that video, together, will prove a stunning contribution and a massive billboard for fair-minded footballers everywhere. Print and visual media give us the needed coverage, and tabloid headlines, and several ways to publicize this analysis and bring on the direly-needed reforms.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hi Bobby P

    I dont find anything wrong because the article substantiates the headine and the headline is not misleading.

    I think mistakes in one match can be passed as mistake but mistakes on a regular basis in a regular way is quiet simply biasedness or fixing. I no longer expect refs to be fair and give us fouls. All i pray for is that they do not give wrong penalties or disallow our proper goals.

  • Naren

    bob,
    A hint of shock/surprise in your tone towards Dark Prince made me think that you were new here. 🙂 Cheers.

  • Davi

    @walter – is this analysis going to extend to red cards? Imo we have been lucky twice this season, both times for wilshere fouls, but the number that others have been lucky against us must be much higher.
    Also, I know it’s way too much to ask, but it would be interesting to see the same thing with yellows. The problem here is that the numbers would be ridiculously high. I know our players get away with yellow cards pretty often, but I expect the number for our opponents would be something like 5 times higher.

  • BobbyP

    @Walter

    There are some possession stats on the link below, but they are limited (season-wide only), and I have no way of confirming their veracity.

    http://www.whoscored.com/Statistics

    As far as the Premier League is concerned, they list

    Arsenal 59%
    Chelsea 58%
    Man U 56%
    Man C 53%
    Spurs 53%

    Barcelona’s 72% is fairly mind-blowing though…

    Apologies for the (semi) off-topic post

  • Davi

    “yes, i find it disturbing that refs are becoming incompetant. And yes, many penalty decisions have gone against us. But it really doesn’t prove anti-arsenal bias.”
    What is wrong with you? There is no way to *completely* prove bias, we don’t have access to their conscious or their subconscious, but the data on this page surely prove it to within any reasonable doubt. It doesn’t prove there is any intentional bias on the parts of these refs, but fact that there is bias is undeniable, based on this data.

  • jrock

    Perhaps it doesn’t prove an anti-Arsenal bias, but it does prove a systemic bias. “Systemic bias is the inherent tendency of a process to favor particular outcomes…One might refer, for example, to the systemic, systematic, or institutional bias of a particular institution in devaluing contributions by women, men or ethnic minorities. For example, a poetry competition that was consistently won by white women could be subject to suspicion of a bias if there were no inherent reason that white women would consistently be the best poets. Such a bias could be deliberate on the part of the judges or entirely unconscious.”

  • jrrgtd

    Chaps,

    This is a great site and provides great anlysis.

    BUT – until you can produce a reasoned analysis of what went wrong at Arsenal this season and what should be done to fix it you risk looking like people unable to face reality.

    Tony and Walter do you have any constructive criticism of Arsenal and Arsene this year? Or is this site about blind loyalty – somehow I just can’t believe that is true.

  • GoonerVance

    I liked your idea to try and bring in “neutral” former referees to guest post and give their analysis of the decisions. Quite frankly until you do that all of these ref reviews will simply be written off as biased.

    I kind of missed the backlash against the Arsenal fans booing the team in the last 2 games of the season and here are my 2 cents…

    When you price out so many working class people who would simply be grateful to be at an Arsenal game, of course what you have left is a stadium filled with a bunch of spoiled brats and a few die hards such as yourself. And good for them for booing. The fans pay championship money to watch the Arsenal so where are the championships? If the tickets are as expensive as Barca, United, Chelsea, Milan of course the expectation should be “Where are the g-damn trophies?”

    If you pay for a Rolls Royce and you get a BMW…it’s still a good car, but it ain’t no Rolls Royce.

  • zebidiah

    if u lose a coin toss 100 timesin a row it does not mean that there is bias against you. I find this very interesting but to say bias? really? to play the statistician you must please understand the statistics.

  • Naren

    Walter,
    Google has failed us…alas! It is proving very difficult to get the ‘total possession time over a whole season’. If this statistic is very essential for your analysis, I believe we ourselves have to manually calculate it from the possession percent for each match of the season and then add it up. This is very tedious, even if carried out only for Arsenal, let alone the whole league.

    This made me realize that in order to assist your deeper scrutiny of each match, we may need a comprehensive database.

    Nothing to be had out of DogFace?

    Well, the average possession percent per game throughout the season for the Premier League is
    http://i.imgur.com/zNOQO.jpg

    Also, maybe this site may help you with some statistics that are not readily available. Do check it out, if time permits.
    http://www.whoscored.com/Statistics

    Hope it is useful.

  • Mike Collins

    onspiracy theories to match the phantom moon landing. If all this were true over say a period of 5 seasons it would take a massive piece of covert work.
    Basic fact is that we were not good enough mainly because management had not closed the obvious gaps in the quality of our team.
    Why do I feel that this type of so called analysis demeans the intellectual quality of this whole site?

  • Wrenny

    @Zebediah
    You want to compare the random even of tossing a coin to a referee making a decision in a football game? And then ask that people better understand statistics? The irony is far too much for me to take.

  • Wrenny

    @jrrgtd
    The title of the site very clearly reads UNTOLD Arsenal – covering issues that aren’t covered elsewhere, not just regurgitating what you can already find on hundreds of other blogs and websites. There is no shortage or articles on the internet with “constructive criticism of Arsenal and Arsene”.

  • zebidiah

    @wrenny the laughter is out loud at your comment. You cannot assume bias with one data set as it is called post hoc theorizing. Added to this as I have said before the analysis has a logical flaw of defective induction(walters opinion is not made true or valid because he is a referee).

    Conspiracy that refs are intentionally biased against arsenal takes big cover up thousands of people all silent like communist Russia?coin toss just example…how about if you get pulled over by police for speeding 100 times and ur neighbour 10 it not mean automatically the bias…

  • Stevie E

    @zebidiah, your comment that thousands would need to be “in on it” is frankly ridiculous. With only a small pool of refs in the pl, you would only need the man at the top to influence a few and you suddenly you have a team (us) being robbed of title winning points. Your coin toss theory is daft, law of averages against a conscious decision. Pulled over 100 times for speeding??? The police would be watching you after the first 5 don’t you think so, yes there is a definite bias there. This season, nobody set out to prove refs are bent, but after a season of reports we can all safely say there is something wrong. This is why, next season the reviews will be of the top 6 teams, to remove any loyalty bias from UA and see what trends can be seen.

  • Anne

    @christine juillet:

    I agree that you and your friends are not just being paranoid, and I’m glad you found this site. Just one minor issue w/ your post: It’s the media that’s ‘tapping’ up Nasri, not ManU. They trot out these rumors every off season, just to keep people reading, and most of them have no basis whatsoever. A lot of the interviews are even faked.

    I try to make this point whenever I can, because I don’t like to see the ill-feeling between clubs that arises as a result of something that is often not the fault of either club at all. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to have ill-feelings against ManU, but just saying 🙂

  • zebidiah

    okay stevie? a small pool of refs plus the shady smoking man at the top? what about linesmen then? and then the assesors have to be told? Then all the other commentators and journalists who notice nothing strange yet watch football everyday as a job. Then these refs won’t I imagine cheat for free so now u have the accountants too…and these people very silent at home on the pillow? Wifes, friends, drunken talk?

    these things I say are just the examples….The point is that just because things dont go our way a lot of the time IT DOES NOT mean that anyone is cheating. I have pointed out the logical flaws in walter’s defective until my face is blue oh and by the way and your straw man argument is nothing but humourous to me.

    Like I say before if you scream bias and want to play the statistician you must first understand the statistics.

  • Wrenny

    @Zebediah
    Most of us here are well aware of the limitations of the data (as only Arsenal games are being assessed) and the the obvious flaw of having an Arsenal fan as the assessor. But while it might be flawed, it does not necessarily make the findings worthless.

    But coming back to your coin toss analogy – unless it has been tampered with, a coin is an inanimate object and not capable of exercising bias. It bears no comparison to the decision making processes of a referee and was a very poor example.

  • Stevie E

    @zebidiah, explain to me how the referring in the PL this season in games in which Arsenal play has been so bad. You cannot possibly deny it’s been awful so how do you explain it? If the assessors are so on the money spoting every mistake these idiots make, how so they keep getting games? Because, while U may not be a statistician, I ain’t blind and can see when we’re being stitched up.

  • Stevie E

    Where it says U, please read I 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    @walter- i know you haven’t included wrong offside decisions, but u hav included goals wrongly disallowed bcoz offside decisions. And the blame for that cant be merely put on refs…the linesman too hav to be accountable.

  • Dark Prince

    @Naren- yea i know, i became too competitive in that article. But i’ll jus keep to my point now. 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    @walter- i didn’t say that we being in opposition half more makes any difference. What i said was that playin beautiful spanish style football in a rough n tough english footballin culture wil draw more fouls and dont expect a full bred english ref to stop game at every light foul.

  • Dark Prince

    @Stevie E- thanks and appreciate it. 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    @zebidiah- have to agree with many points you have made.

  • Anne

    On the question of evidence…

    I’m going to go ahead and address this one from a criminal investigative standpoint, because I can see that this issue is not going away.

    To everyone who says that Walter’s posts aren’t conclusive evidence of bias or conspiracy, you’re technically correct. Even if you had a statistical analysis of referee decisions in the entire league from a neutral source, this would only be “circumstantial evidence” of bias, and it would be nearly impossible to conclusively establish conspiracy even from such a thorough analysis. The fact that Walter supports Arsenal, and the fact that his data set is incomplete, detracts even more from the evidentiary value of his analyses.

    However, that isn’t to say that they have no evidentiary value. When you investigate a criminal conspiracy, the investigation always starts with a victim (or victims). Someone feels that they have been unfairly hurt or deprived of something of value, and they make a complaint. From there, you gather as much circumstantial evidence as you can to help you focus your investigation. But this is a long process. You don’t start with conclusive evidence that the conspiracy is occuring. You compile it.

    If we’re working on the theory of a refereeing conspiracy against Arsenal, a good first step would be to compile the sort of data that Walter is compiling. Really, you would need to do the whole league, but as Arsenal does play every team in the league twice in a season, Walter’s data identifies enough of a pattern to raise suspicion, and to warrant further investigation.

    Ultimately, to prove a conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, you need direct evidence, not just circumstantial evidence. And by direct evidence, I mean the testimony of witnesses and the documentary evidence they can provide you. The way this is done is to start at the lowest levels, and get people to roll. Offer them immunity from prosecution, witness protection program, etc. Whatever they need to cooperate. And from there, you gradually move up the ladder. Obviously, Walter et al do not have the resources to conduct this type of investigation.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure the FA does either. As far as I know, they don’t have any way of protecting a witness against retaliation from higher level co-conspirators, which completely undermines their ability to investigate (and conclusively prove) something of this nature.

    For an example of what I’m talking about, I highly recomend that you guys check out this video of former referee Jacinto Paixão talking about his role in the Porto match-fixing scandal:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiqtQTxqmJA&feature=youtu.be

    Notice that Ref Paixão said he was making the video in an attempt to protect him and his family against violence. With that type of threat on the table, finding witnesses to come forward is very difficult indeed. What’s the FA supposed to do?

    So, tying all this back into the issues with Untold…I don’t think anyone here is trying to claim that their evidence conclusively establishes bias or conspiracy. However, from a criminal investigative standpoint, I do think they’ve provided sufficient evidence of a suspicious pattern to warrant an investigation. And they’re continuing to do their best to provide additional circumstantial evidence that will help the investigation along, and to help focus it.

    Coming on here and arguing that the conspiracy has not been conclusively proven is beside the point. That fact is obvious and self-evident. We’re all here because we feel we’ve been unfairly victimized, and we’re looking for answers. In other words, we’re investigating, not “proving.” If you’re not interested in the investigation, and you see no basis for it, I’m not sure why you continue to read this blog.

    Why do you?

  • bob

    @Anne: After many good postings, I respect your analytic and empathic, and fair-minded qualities. But they are misleading you in this case re Evra. Are you really saying that Evra didn’t bait a hook for Nasri to bite on? Have you noticed Evra’s constant nasty toxic verbal brickbats – yes ALL echoed by the media – all season. Witness his nasty dismissal of our defeating them as MU’s loss, not Arsenal’s win. Taken together – 4 to 5 of these – Evra has demonstrated that he well knows the abiding – yes abiding – media animus and echo chamber for anti-Arsenal drive-bys. Anytime he has a go at Arsenal, it gets echoed all over. As you will see, mark my words, in the run up to next season, with the next x-fer window opening, this is prime time to try to destabilize Arsenal, and Evra is up to the task. He has been about that all season, depositing his stool samples in the media’s willing and wanting ManUre spreader. He’s just a symptom of the rot and, with all due respect to you, I wouldn’t let your not wanting to foster ill feelings between teams further blind you to what Macho Evra is about. I’d suggest looking to Barca Boys move on Cesc last summer and expect a two-front war – Cesc and Nasri – this summer. Making nice to these people is only to invite their further contempt. Let’s watch, especially as UA’s analysis gains a football in the broader public sphere.

  • bob

    @jrrgtd: I see the interplay of bent/incompetent refereeing – which you seem to have labeled “great analysis” above – and internal factors – what you say needs a “reasonable analysis” to require analysis. UA/Walter, et. al. are doing the external analysis. Why don’t you offer that reasonable analysis of the internal problems? It doesn’t have to be on UA to do that as well as what it does do so well. The problem lies in saying that it is ALL one side (refs) or the other (player-mgt). The complexity is that both need fixing. The fixing will occur in this transfer window or it won’t. So make your “reasonable
    analysis,” at an appropriate time, and offer it up for all to see. Otherwise, it’s useless and petulant at best to sit on a perch and say to UA, you’ve done A brilliantly, but you have no credibility or legitimacy unless you do B brilliantly or “reasonably” as well. C’mon mate. UA does what it does. Don’t trash it for not doing what it doesn’t when you can do it by your lights and provide a reasonable critique, in context, for all to see. Have a go at seeing how your reasonable critique intersects with UA’s brilliant ref critique and then we’d have something to talk about, rather than just end in hand-wringing about what UA doesn’t do (which it doesn’t say it will do).

  • Anne

    @bob:

    You’re probably right about Evra. The words “tapping up” just evoke that type of response in me because I’m still very upset w/ last summer’s Cesc transfer saga. After exhaustive (and I do mean exhaustive) research on the subject, I don’t think that the “Barca boys” were making a move on Cesc at all. I think that almost the entire thing was created and driven by the media.

    Barcelona management was also partly responsible because they didn’t do enough to discourage the story, and they used Cesc as a pawn in their election campaigns. But by and large, most of the saga was manufactured, and I think that the Barca players have been unfairly smeared and slandered by the English media (which we all know will jump at any chance to antagonize Arsenal). If Barca was so interested in signing Cesc, why did they spend their transfer budget on Villa and Mascherano?

    I can back up these claims w/ evidence, but we’re not on topic, so I’m going to let it go. It’s hard, because I feel so strongly about it, but I’ll wait for an on-topic thread. If such a thread turns up, please get back to me 🙂 Sorry to everyone else for going off-topic.

  • Stevie E

    @anne, why don’t you write up an article and submit it to Tony? I would be interested and I’m sure the rest of the UA community would welcome it.

  • bob

    @Anne: if Walter is against deforestation and is the only witness to a clear-cutting rampage that destroys a national heritage or sacred forest, does that mean that the rampage didn’t occur? Obviously not. So then, to prosecute the rampagers, it becomes a matter of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt”, in a court of law: that is getting one of the rampagers to roll, etc., as you say. The other courtroom, is the court of public opinion, where enough evidence and publicizing it – not CONCLUSIVE evidence – is necessary to bring the public onside and oppose clear-cutting and further acts of deforestation. One brings about prosecution and jail for the perpetrators; the other brings about a groundswell for practical reforms that MANY people have come to realize are being BLOCKED by, perhaps, the very perpetrators who might be brought to the dock. It is a two-front project, getting a level playing field, and I don’t think it takes air-tight evidence against the named (but currently concealed) perpetrators to convince the broad public – that is, enough of the public – to get behind or even demand practical simple and obvious measures to make the game fair, or more fair. Better is better. So, while I feel you’d agree with this, I hope you bring your skills and focus your thinking on how to proceed on the basis of what we can do to further impact the public understanding. That is, can UA’s series and the forthcoming videos be part of a way to proceed toward a public demand for reforms. Would you be part of that process, since your analysis precludes finding the bastards guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, of collusion? That is, should we not focus our passions and analysis on doing what’s possible with what UA has been able to fashion and make available – with more to come, mind you. That is, how to widen the scope of the discussion and put the evidence-to-date into the public sphere? I welcome your thoughts.

  • bob

    @zebedia: since your are THE statistician, I humbly ask out of my admitted non-expertise, what is the statistical probability of those 100 coin tosses coming up heads 100 times in a row? And, in the so-called real world, would you say that the person tossing the coin might need to be further analyzed as a possible factor in that outcome? (I say analyze, because I don’t dare say investigated, lest you get into a snit, yet again.)

  • Todd

    Just a thought on ways to try and get this more effectively exposed. Whether we (Untold Arsenal and Arsnela fans) are doing an unbiased review or not, the reality is that there will always be a perception of bias towards arsenal becuase we are arsenal fans. People will dismiss the evidence simply because of that bias. Even next year reviewing the top six will have a percieved bias because Arsenal are in the top six. What about evaluating the bottom teams?
    Getting relegated has huge financial implications for clubs. Enough to make them take legal action if there were a proven bias, or even possibly action against pgmol if the refs were really poor. Setting this stage for a standard of referreeing in the EPL would help understand wether there is an Anti-Arsenal bias or simply poor overall refereeing in the EPL.
    Right now there is no base line to compare arsenal’s scores against. If the ref’s are wrong 50% of the time in Arsenal games, but that is also normal for the bottom 6, then it becomes more challenging to argue for an anti-arsenal bias.

  • bob

    @Todd: Perhaps you/someone can pitch the Telegated to finance a league-wide study, as it’s in their interest. There’s no manpower for it, as you know, or it drops the ongoing Arsenal analysis. But since it’s a good idea, why not pitch them on it?

  • bob

    @Todd: jeez, sorry, “The Relegated”

  • Dark Prince

    Also, jus in case, if you toss a coin 100 times, the probability of getting equal number of heads and tails are very low…mostly one of them will occur more than the other. So, it doesn’t mean bias.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I’ll definitely do anything I can to help bring this to light. Right now, I think what this blog is doing is exactly what needs to be done. The more they can expand it, and the more details and evidence they can give, the better.

    As I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s likely that there’s ever going to be a full and fair investigation into this stuff. The people at the top are just too powerful. What that Portuguese ref said about fearing for the safety of himself and his family is very telling, I think.

    The most we can hope for is something like the Porto scandal, or the Italian C-word (don’t know how to spell it 🙂 ), where some of the low-level players get in trouble, and the league gets cleaned up a bit. When the corruption has gotten so obvious that it’s attracting widespread public attention, it’s probably the beginning of the end. And Arsenal, as a big 4 club, probably has enough power to shake off these problems as they apply to them.

    I don’t think there’s any way to completely eradicate match-fixing in football. There’s just too much money involved. But the people behind it do like to maintain an image of fairness. I would expect this to clean up a bit over time.

  • bob

    @DP: your buddy zebediah used the 100 out of 100 coin toss example. in your world, that coin tosser would be/go scott-free (no offense, Fergie) from further scrutiny.

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    An article about what? I had two posts that you could be referring to 🙂

    If you’re talking about the Cesc stuff, I actually have a lot of notes and research and stuff because I was seriously thinking about writing it up as an article and submitting it. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, though.

    I did leave a long comment debunking part of the transfer saga (with evidence) on the post on this blog titled “Tapping up, Cesc Fabregas and what’s happening this summer.” I was late on the thread, so I don’t think anyone actually read it. Either that, or no one was interested. I was pretty disappointed considering how long it took me to put it together 🙂 Go check it out if this is something you’re interested in.

  • bob

    @Anne: I think it should wait for the right thread. Don’t be disappointed, that time will come, or just write it up. I’d be interested, for sure. But right now it is a big diversion from the implications of UA’s series, from my pov at least. That said, if/when you do submit it, please look at the media role in subverting Arsenal. Perhaps you’ve got a great case study there on how it works and who in the media are the perps who would be about that de-stabilization effort, unless I presume too much.

  • Shard

    @Anne

    You know I respect you, and have no intention of picking a fight or anything of the sort. I just think you are wrong on this one. Yes the media played their usual games, but the clubs share a relationship with the media. Barcelona saw it in it’s best interests to have an unsettled Fabregas, and while many quotes can be and are manufactured, or even twisted out of context, the fact remains that not all are. Besides, players know this will happen and they say enough things to convey the media line while leaving ‘plausible deniability’ for themselves. Besides, it wasn’t the media that pulled a Barca shirt on Cesc during Spanish World Cup celebrations.

  • Shard

    Just read through all the comments. bob.. admit it. You only mentioned my name and the link I gave because you were mentioned in that link. Glory hog :p

  • Shard

    *in that post I should say 🙂

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I know it’s off-topic, and I’m not trying to get into it. I just wanted to direct people to the on-topic thread where I did address it (“Tapping up, Cesc Fabregas and what’s happening this summer.”) Mainly because I was disappointed that I put a lot of work into that post and no one seems to have read it 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    bob- maybe you dont realise that you cant call the coin tosser as biased jus bcoz heads came up more than tails while tossing the coin several times.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    I don’t take it as a sign of disrespect when you disagree w/ me, so don’t worry about that. 🙂 In fact, I would love nothing more than to get into a debate about this topic, because I think I can back up what I say. Maybe someday there will be another on-topic thread, and we can get into it then. Otherwise, let me know the next time you’re in Atlanta. I’ll buy you a beer, and we can argue about it to our hearts’ content 🙂

  • Stevie E

    @Anne: just read the cesc comments, excellent! While I disagree with Bob about it being a diversion (UA more than a ref expose), I really like his idea of turning the spotlight on the media. Theyve started trying to unsettle our boys already, if this is something you can do, put it on the table. Back to topic (sorry Tony), Ref Paixão’s confession kinda proves how a ref can be manipulated by clus to swing results, why anybody would think EPL clubs are above doing the same is a bit naive. When people have vast wealth, they don’t accept people saying no to them, they very much expect to get their own way. If they have to throw money at a problem to find a solution, well that’s just how it’s done.

  • A Casual Observer

    @bob – correct me if I’m wrong but the odds of flipping 100 heads in a row are 1267650600228229401496703205376/1 – do I win a prize?

  • A Casual Observer

    This would suggest a double headed coin… although common sense is difficult to quantify.

  • Shard

    @Anne

    ONE beer will definitely not be enough 🙂

    How about a link to this post Anne. Because I thought I had read something about it, but maybe I didn’t see the one you are talking about.

  • Shard

    I meant the above post to be the last on the Barca topic, but just as a sign of there being at least a good relationship between the clubs, Barcelona are using Arsenal’s training ground to prepare for the Champions League final, for which they had to fly in early due to the volcanic ash.

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/3598925/Arsenal-ride-to-Barcelonas-rescue.html

    I’d like to say, I’m proud of the class that Arsenal show. I’m not sure many other clubs would have done the same in a similar situation.

  • bob

    @casual observer: right, I guess! so, with those odds, zebediah is absurd when he uses that coin toss as an example to try and lecture people about not understanding statistics enough to strongly suspect that there’s something afoot that is worse than random calls and non-calls, right? Just as Dark Prince, master of the logical roundabout, is absurd to ignore a result – like this – which, given those odds, would demonstrate that something is rotten in the state of Denmark (Bendtner’s Dad/agent?). Anyway, I could come out of this with egg or worse on my face, but I didn’t want to surrender ground to these blokes on the face of their unchallenged claims for coincidence in the name of some higher level of statistical understanding than the rest of the great unwashed – like me. If I’m wrong here, do let me know… my little ego can handle it. Cheers.

  • A Casual Observer

    Well you can say that it IS possible because statistically it is – once in 1.26 Nonillion attepmts – which puts the life of the known universe as the inevitibility of entropy redering the result meaningless anyway a guranteed certainty.

    Of that we can be sure!

  • Shard

    bob

    You are probably going to be wrong according to some advanced statistical theory, but then advanced theories very often have very little to do with the real world. When that is applied to statistics, which is a notorious branch (probably because it is misused so often to be fair) then that is nothing but an attempt to use the ‘higher level of statistical understanding’ to discredit a credible study which relies in some part on statistics. The thing they aren’t telling you, and in my experience very few statisticians do, is that stats do not provide answers. In fact stats by themselves don’t even tell you what questions to ask. But even with our poor statistical understanding, one thing is clear, that the questions to ask do not involve a toss of a coin.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    Here’s the link to the Cesc stuff:

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/11213

    Mine are the last 2 comments. I have more where that came from, if I ever get a chance to get into it. Anyway, let’s let this comment close the books on the topic for now, and get back to the merits of Walter’s excellent refereeing analysis.

  • A Casual Observer

    The coin would also wear to nothing (or at least remove the ‘face’ from both sides) around the millionth flip mark anyway – we could always replace the coin but this might render the experiment worthless.

    To save a bit of time, we could always get 1.26 nonillion coins minted and try to flip them heads up all at the same time but alas there isn’t enough matter in the universe to oblige.

    Do you see where I’m going with this?

  • RedGooner

    Walter good job. But here is a question how would it look if you also took into account sending offs versus players who should have been ? I mean like Diabi send off for grabbing Barton but they then chuck our keeper to the ground and nothing or 3 barca players grab ours by the throat and nothing ? yet RVP sent off for something silly.

    There was a lot of stuff that contributed to some of these losses.

  • Stevie E

    Now I may be wrong, but doesn’t the amount of times a coin is flipped have nothing to do with the chances of heads or tails, in as much as it can only ever be one of the other so the odds are 50/50 and each new flip essentially starts the sequence from scratch?

  • bob

    @Shard: yes, as you mentioned me so I credit you! Sounds like the Fergie and Webb show! What I really think is that you/we/us should really not let that amazing rare display of Don Fergus in full snarl (off the pitch), whispering meaningfully in front of the press to his minion there; I would say to chill honest coverage, no doubt, by the rest of the press. What an Operator – a blunt instrument – hiding in plain sight because he can. Kudos to you, yes! and to the BBC for posting that video. Let’s keep it in play for another thread – and perhaps Anne could weigh in on how SAF plays medieval hardball with the media. That said, this video and the pro-UA article by the BBC writer might signal that Walter’s entire series might find coverage – if not neutral to mildly approving coverage – somewhere by someone (maybe that same writer) within the BBC. It’s little openings like these two cracks that might prove massive openings for UA/Walter’s multi-part review. Even if it got lots of attention and a lot of it was predictably negative, that would be good as it would put these issues in bold caps into the public arena, where it could be defended and reach far more people and plant truth-seeds that could bloom in the not so distant (next season) future.
    @Steve E: I agree with you that it’s a great topic (and UA is about more than refs, yes); my thought, and Anne is holding back a bit for another day, is that we should stick to Walter’s series and its implications for what we might want to consider doing going forward. Cheers.

  • Shard

    @bob

    where has been the wall to wall coverage of that incident? Why isn’t anyone saying that for Srallex of Kastle-on-Fergus to get caught on video saying what he did, is only indicative that this is his standard modus operandi? Where is the free press that supposedly exists? Kudos to the BBC but then they do have a legitimate axe to grind, and tellingly, don’t stand to lose anything since they don’t get interviews with him anyway. Despite the rules for managers.

    How would people saying there is no institutional bias explain the lack of coverage over this incident? The only other place I saw this mentioned was an american site.

  • Shard

    I realised I haven’t actually mentioned the article, but I really don;t know what to say. I don’t have anything to add, or suggest. I think Walter has done a brilliant job all season and I hope he continues to take out his time to provide us with his analysis.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Stevie E – As far as my understanding goes you are incorrect – with each flip the odds are indeed 50/50 (or there abouts) for that flip – but in a sequence these odds exponentially increase. This is the difference in the terms of the context of the individual flip and the sequence as your frame of reference.

    For example:

    If you flipped a coin heads up 99 times – the odds of you flipping a head are 50/50 and are not casually affected by the previous flips – each one is indeed 50/50… but working exponentially backwards we can say: to arrive at this point the odds are incredibly high i.e. 2^99.

    I am no expert, however, so I could be wrong.

  • A Casual Observer

    To put it another way – I will glady bet you £10 @ 2/1 that you cannot flip a coin heads up 100 times in a row – I’ll even give you a whole week to do it.

    😉

  • Stevie E

    A Casual Observer – I’m gonna let wiki sort this one out :)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler’s_fallacy @shard that’s fair enough, I do feel this could be a great addition to the cause but know there’s some seriously smart cookies itching for the ref reviews to be the catalyst for change. The BBC angle is definitely worth exploring, maybe BBC London to make it a local interest story?

  • Stevie E

    Sorry, meant to reply to Bob not share (no offence share ;))

  • Stevie E

    Shard not share!!!Sorry, rubbish phone

  • A Casual Observer

    @Stevie E – the Wiki article on the “Gambler’s Fallacy” suggests that my previous statement was correct.

    Although I may have got my initial calculation wrong i.e. 2^100 could possibly be 0.5^100.

    You still want to make that bet?

  • A Casual Observer

    Does anyone here have a degree in mathematics and/or probability theory – is there a doctorate in the house?

    🙂

  • BobbyP

    @ACO

    Only a basic (pure) maths degree, but you’re absolutely spot on – while the odds of any outcome on any individual spin are 1 in 2, the odds on a specified sequence of length n are 1 in 2^n (in this case n=100). You lost me with the bit about entropy though…

  • Wrenny

    Sorry to bring up the Cesc stuff again, but I thought this would be of some interest 😉 : http://yfrog.com/h7bc6mrj
    Taken just today at the Arsenal training ground.

  • bjtgooner

    Great article Walter. As far as I am concerned it shows a very significant bias in the major match changing decisions, not just by one ref but by far too many.

    I am really impressed with the quantity and quality of the work you have put in.

    Have you had any response fron Riley?

  • Stevie E

    @aco… No ta :D.@wrenny, wtf??? Anne, what do you make of that?

  • walter

    Narren,

    Yeah strange but there are not much sources which give the average possession of the teams. But I have found some of the last 2 seasons and will look if I can make something of it

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    Dammit, I’m trying so hard to avoid getting into the Cesc stuff again, and you just had to tempt me, didn’t you?! 🙂

    Alright, I know I should resist the temptation, but here’s my take: Cesc, Pique, and Puyol are really good friends, and they all joke around a lot. Pique and Puyol love to pick on Cesc and make a joke of all the transfer rumor stuff. They find it funny. That explains the whole shirt thing at the WC celebration too (although I don’t defend that, even remotely. In fact, I’m really ashamed of it, and will happily apologize to all of you until the end of time for that one, if need be).

    Notice that the pic you linked to is of Pique and Puyol, YET AGAIN (sigh). (Although Pepe Reina was also involved in the shirt prank. So how come Liverpool has gotten off scot free in the whole Cesc tapping up thing, huh?! 🙂 ) Here’s something from con la roja (a blog that followed the Spanish team through the whole WC), about the events that led up to the shirt prank:

    “As soon as the players got on the bus, they started opening cans of beers. On the bus, Piqué was the life of the party (i.e. the most drunk). He was seen at least twice going down to get more beer. Other things he was seen doing: practicing karate moves on Cesc, being held onto by Cesc as he climbed on to the railing, mock fighting with Cesc and Xavi (Valdés separated them), throwing things at Cesc, getting beer poured on him by Puyol. At one point, his shirt came off and Cesc poured more beer on him.”

    The point is that, off the pitch, Pique and Puyol don’t do anything at all unless they find it funny, as far as I can tell (not saying I like it, but that’s the way it is). I think that’s the context in which you should interpret Wrenny’s link. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I don’t think it’s anything sinister (sigh).

    Sorry for going off topic, but if you guys insist on tempting me… 🙂

  • bob

    @Walter: As a rank non-ref, I feel like who am I to weigh in on this. Still, going with the spirit of UA, I’m keen on learning all I can. This to say, I’m eager for your report on the game-changing calls and non-calls and who made them. I’m also keen on seeing how you’d define a game-changing call. It seems as tricky as it is vital; and, so would appreciate your contextual analysis of each “game changer”. And, of course, tis is where the “subjective”/”open to interpretation”/”you’re pro-Arsenal and therefore inescapably biased” charges will be leveled because a “game-changer” is situational. In other words, it seems that a game-changer has another level than just being a bad call or non-call. A referee has a certain level of (greater or lesser) awareness as to the context of any such call, rather than simply go by the rule book. Anyway, my laundry list would include: an early or late that leads to a red card; a last minute miscall that awards a game winning or equalizer penalty goal; too much “Fergie” time, allowing too much time for a game-winning or leveling rally; allowing too much delay time that kills the possibility of an extra-time game-winner or leveler; an offside miscall that kills an onside breakaway; a miscalled tackle that removes a top player for the game or at a key juncture; etc. I guess there are levels of criticality – an immediate game-changer and an indirect game-changer whose full effect is felt later on. In any case, an in-depth analysis of any such a call and more – the kind of analysis that PGMOL either doesn’t conduct and/or surely doesn’t make public – would be great. At the minimum, many would learn a lot from anything on how you think about it in place at the time; as the game goes forward on the pitch, as well as reflections after the fact. I think this type of analysis, added to what’s been unfolding, would be unique in footballing and a fantastic contribution to footballer’s understanding – for Gooners of the past season, and for anyone who wants to understand the game without the mystification that pundits, cut-away camera shots and the wall of silence surrounds it with. Cheers in advance!

  • bob

    All: Is there a way to reach one another without publicizing one’s private email to the universe? I think some sidebars could be done offline and add to work that then gets shared with the UA community as a whole. For example, as UA has our individual non-published email addresses, could person A and person B write to some address at UA which would then release the email addresses to each of the agreeing parties. I mean it’s not a UA Dating Service (though that would probably raise the financing needed for the league-wide or six team analyses!), but a useful way for people to do online researches which then are not considered “outside the thread” and whose work could later be shared with everyone if A and B wish to do so. Anyway, I think this is a great and productive community and wanted to broach the topic. Cheers for considering.

  • bob

    @Tony, Walter: Good Morning! I had a fund-raising idea for UA/other research work that fans anyone could buy: A best of blog for 2010-2011: whatever you deem the 100 “best” posts to be. Or an edited best entire archive for 2010-2011 (like the other day’s extended party that Walter praised, etc. etc.). Then it goes on sale as an e-book or PDF from the blog. Or, go for a book contract. With some publicity, I think a lot of footballers would want it in any format, and lots of the interchanges are good, etc. You don’t need to proofread the stuff – just select by your lights and there you go. I think it could be cost-effective in time and money and it would always be there. It would also include the end of season review series and whatever else you thought was worthy. I think it would work because people could have a handy reference on the shelf and off the wall (so to speak!). Anyway, I’d keen to help if/as needed. Not to speak for anyone, but Anne wanted to find a way to help and I’m sure others wouldn’t mind sharing any burden. Anyway, as the great Chicago Cubs baseball announcer used to say, I’ve done enough damage for tonight.

  • Pete

    @Anne
    IMO you should think about forwarding your analysis of the Cesc interview to a respected investigative journalist – would love to see it in the mass media, as a case study in media manipulation. Made for gripping reading – thanks for the link!!

  • bob

    @Pete: Ok, but the article would expose media chicanery. Who would that courageous “respected investigative journalist” be? Any names come to mind? their publications?
    @Anne: I think you’ve got a great project going. In you shoes, I’d just finish the interview analysis and re-submit parts 3-4 here, and another compressed/polished/final version under your name to a publication – if any – that has a track record of doing critical pieces on the media itself. It’s tricky. You’re doing a terrific media analysis; why hunt for “a respected investigative journalist” in the UK? You don’t know whether they have the courage to expose the media or whether their editor wouldn’t suppress it. Just be that journalist and check out the possible places. Maybe Pete/others could recommend it.

  • @BobbyP/ACO – but could it not also be said that to call any combination of 100 flips in advance would have the same astronomical odds?

    We are seeing significance in a pattern that is not relevant to the reality of the situation – but that is human nature.

    To give an example – I could say I will flip this coin heads up 10 times in a row would be long odds – I could also say that I will flip this coin in this sequence: HTTHHTTTHT would also have the same astronomical odds.

    And this is the problem with the coin flip analogy of the referee decision making process – one is a pseudo random event while the other [calling a football match according to the laws of the game] is a metaphysical conclusion drawn from a priori perception and a posterior decision i.e. it should not be a random call and the referee should really be applying the laws of the game rather than flipping a coin on the calls he makes.

    But let’s go back to coin flipping for a second – with statistics we can say that even though the two sequences both hold the same astronomical odds – we can take averages over the sequence so given that one sequence is within 50/50 +/- StdErr that looks normal… yet the other has a significance of being unlikely. Furthermore; to draw this analogy closer to our situation – we would have 16 separate coin flippers (the Select Group of coin flippers) of which to draw our averages from and make our conclusions.

  • Shard

    @Anne

    You are right about the Pique and Puyol photo incident not being sinister. Ultimately it is harmless, and even meaningless. But this argument of boys will be boys is not good enough for me. To be fair you don’t condone it either. Puyol is no little boy. He is Barcelona captain, and he is a guest at Arsenal’s training ground who have been kind enough to provide Barcelona the use of their facilities at a time when they needed it. This despite the seeming bad blood caused in the past. I have no problem with that. In fact, I am proud of it. But then respect has to be from both camps, and Puyol’s actions, while harmless as I said, are still disrespectful, and as such reflect badly on FC Barcelona of which he is captain.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    Any specific ordered combination has the same astronomical odds, indeed.

    Must say I can’t really see where the analogy was going – maybe he meant something along the lines of 10 consecutive blacks on a roulette wheel not guaranteeing the wheel to be faulty? As you say, there are clear differences between the two which prevent the analogy from working.

    I think sometimes people are too harsh on referees with the benefit of multiple slow-motion replays from different angles though. I would guess that some decisions seen at full speed from a poor angle do reduce to virtually a 50-50 decision.

    Other decisions do come down to a matter of interpretation – e.g. I know many Arsenal fans (including Arseblog) who thought the Eboue penalty v Liverpool was a definite foul, whereas most people on here think it to be a scandalous decision.

    Having said all that, the numbers still don’t look good…

  • BobbyP

    As an example, here is the link to Walter’s report for the van Persie non-penalty v Chelsea:

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/9811

    Given how incredibly tight that call is, it seems very harsh to qualify that as a refereeing mistake (especially as the benefit of any doubt will always be towards not giving a penalty).

    I honestly don’t think it’s realistic for a referee to make a call like that at full speed from a single angle

  • Pete

    @bob
    “Any names come to mind? their publications?”

    I wish I was sufficiently media savvy to give a useful answer!

    Can anybody suggest *any* investigative journos that have a track-record of exposing members of their own profession – a long, long shot I’m sure… 🙁 …?

  • @BobbyP – it does not matter, all that matters is that it was an incorrect call – all things being even the genuine mistakes will not be significant.

    When gathering data you have to set a bar – and this bar is the letter of the law.

    After that we can determine if a referee holds a bias or is just crap.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    My point is that you can’t call a ref ‘crap’ or ‘biased’ based on a call like that, which (in my opinion) a ref can never be expected to know for sure, and hence will always default to the ‘non-penalty’ option.

    Look at the picture again – half of Malouda’s foot is on the line (and this would be hidden by both his and van Persie’s body). Half of van Persies foot is on the line. Looking at it again, the contact to me actually looks like it’s outside the area, as the outside of Malouda’s leg (which makes contact) is outside the area.

    I’m all for highlighting egregious errors, but including things like this as evidence of systemic bias or ‘match fixing’ seems self-defeating, in terms of the credibility of this survey.

    If the PGMOL were asked about this call, they would say ‘Correct decision made, no way the ref could be sure contact was inside the box’. And they’d be right

  • @BobbyP – yes you can, that is the whole point – genuine mistakes will even out.

    Just because a referee isn’t 100% correct will not make him ‘crap’ – first we need to find the mean figure for incorrect calls across the league for all referees and then guage the referee against that be it on a match/seasonal/career or even team basis.

    What you are doing is taking single incidents out of context of the whole; one incorrect call does not make a bias – when you assess matches and performance statistically you are taking in the bigger picture as a matter of course.

  • Stevie E

    @Anne, agree with your interpretation of the pics, Puyol needs to sort himself out though, he appears to be a bit of an fool. I couldn’t agree more with Bob, this work needs to be seen in it’s entirety, not just on UA but by the public at large and ASAP! It will hopefully open a few peoples eyes to the lies the press tell and could eevn put a lid on the cesc to barca summer nonsense. Really good work

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    No you can’t, if the decision is technically ‘correct’, given the lack of evidence/benefit of the doubt factor. Or if the decision is a matter of interpretation. That way the subjective element makes the whole exercise meaningless, as it becomes an attempt to scientifically assess ‘judgement calls’.

    The only analysis with any statistical validity is on clear mistakes, which all objective observers would qualify as such (e.g. the Vidic handball).

    And I hope most reasonable observers would agree that decision would never be classified as such, and hence should not be included.

  • walter

    BobbyP,
    The ref was wrong anyway. If I remember it correct he even didn’t give a foul for what clearly was a foul. Let alone the fact that it was a penalty or not he should have given a foul.

    In a perfect world and if there would been video evidence then the ref could blow a foul, ask the ref to look at the pictures and then give the penalty.

  • walter

    BobbyP,
    in Belgium the assessor of the refs does it the way I do it.

    Right after the game he goes to the local director and asks a few images from scenes he wants to review immediatly. Then he goes to the ref and tells them a few good and bad things.

    And later the assessor reviews the whole game and if the ref has made a mistake when it comes to giving a penalty or a red card and he has done it wrong he will lose 2 or 3 points on a possible score of 10 points! Over here it cost hime 3 points but mostly on a score of around 60 points!

    They don’t say: well it was close,it was difficult, it was… There are no excuses: right is right and wrong is wrong. The decision was correct or not. And this goes for all the important decisions.
    So for the Belgium FA this would be classified as a wrong decision and cost the ref valuable points for that game. And then it is up to the ref to do better next time to make sure he gets the required score at the end of the season.

  • walter

    And finally you may find this a hard way to judge refs but as they say: when you want to reach the top and stay at the top you must be strong and want to perform each game again.

    No one forces you to stay a ref at the top but yourself. So if you can’t stand the heat, stay out the kitchen. If you cannot live with the system of being judged and strongly judged, just quit the job

  • BobbyP

    Walter

    Regardless of whether the ref gave a foul, it is erroneous to include it in a list of incorrect penalty decisions, because the actual contact is outside the box.

    In your report you quote ‘Is the defender in the penalty area? Yes he is. Is the attacker in the penalty area? Yes he is.’

    Unfortunately (as you should know) the fact that part of the defender’s foot and part of the attacker’s foot are in the area is completely irrelevant – the only relevant factor is where the contact is.

    Draw a line up from the outside of Malouda’s foot (which is outside the box) to the contact, and to me it looks clearly outside the box. At best, you could say it’s debateable, but there’s no way that would be classified as a definite penalty under any system.

    And if the Belgian assessment system makes no differentiation between obvious fouls (e.g. Vidic handball) and borderline decisions or judgement calls, then the system is clearly deficient. In any other walk of life, from driving tests to criminal offences, the scale of error is always taken into account. You’re saying that a one inch offside mistake is treated equally to a 5 yard offside mistake? Seriously?

    This exercise would have value if you were highlighting clearly wrong calls, but borderline decisions and judgement calls are hardly useful evidence of systemic bias or ‘match fixing’, especially with such a non-objective assessment.

  • @BobbyP – yes I can and I will as “technically” it is incorrect – and that is the point.

    It should be pointed out that to set out a data gathering execsise to prove bias or ‘match fixing’ would invalidate the study entirely.

    The laws of the game are the string point and the letter of that law will be the bar at which each match is set – whether the referee sees it or not which is, incidently, a ‘subjective’ assesment on your part.

    Human error will shake out as chaff, do not worry that any official will be judged unfairly by genuine mistakes – to think this indicates a complete lack of understanding of the statistical process.

  • bob

    @Dogface: Is it possible for you to recommend a link to a short primer – a kind of Statistics for Dummies – that everyone who wants to argue whatever aspect of this could refer and look before they leap so to speak. Having a common reference point potentially could save UA posters as well as you and Walter many hours of response time. This would educate all of us as well as free you and Walter to focus your available time on the important contributions ahead.

  • bob

    @dogface: Or, is there is no such handy primer that is sophisticated enough, say, for what comes up hereabouts, perhaps your spending an hour now to list say, 5-10-15 basics for footballers interested in statistics could refer to. My point is that an hour of your time now spent on this will save MANY hours of everyone’s time going round in circles as we grope toward attempts to make sense of the issues that matter to us.

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant “Or IF there is no such handy primer…”

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    ‘Statistics for Dummies’ would be well suited for you. You’ve shown throughout your posts that you don’t understand the statistical process, as you ignore Walter’s bias and preconceived agenda, and assume these figures have statistical relevance.
    While my statistics are not at the level of DogFace, I do have a maths degree and do fully understand the statistical process.

    The key point that DogFace is missing is that the laws of the game are clearly open to interpretation in certain areas, hence why the phrase ‘in the referee’s opinion’ is present in the laws.

    As an example, the handball law says ‘handles the ball deliberately’ – but the current Premier League interpretation is that if your hands aren’t by your side, then it’s handball – even if it was kicked so quickly that it was impossible for your reflexes to ‘handle the ball deliberately’. Would you judge every single handball decision of that nature as incorrect?
    ‘persistent infringement’ is to result in a yellow card. How is that anything but subjective? Does that mean 3, 4, 5, 10? Is a referee wrong to interpret that differently from the assessor?

    There are so many laws open to subjective judgement that a rigorous statistical analysis of the type DogFace seems to be proposing is impossible. You can only perform such an analysis on clearly defined decision points, with no element of subjectivity (on the part of either the referee or the assessor(s)) involved.

  • @Bob

    Look I can see where BobbyP is coming from and I think I have covered this in a previous discussion.

    The situation that he [BobbyP] is describing is a lack of data (correct me if that is not your concern) – more data always makes for more accurate studies (not less) although this example I suspect from experience would have a minimal impact.

    To compensate for this and guard against the kind of criticism that is being described by BobbyP – I would include a method to capture the nature of the infringement i.e. a scale from 50/50 -> nailed on (maybe 3 positions to enforce consistency – “50/50”, “Clear from some angles”, “Clear from all angles”).

    So, for the example given:
    I would give a foul on the line i.e. a penalty and I would weight that as 50/50… you would give no penalty and I imagine that you would weight that 50/50.

    When producing a dataset from all the data we can eliminate 50/50’s to only present clear unquestionable infringements of the laws… or, and this is where it might get interesting, eliminate everything but see if there is any bias in the 50/50 calls i.e. Team A might not get a single 50/50 from Ref B but team B might get a disproportionate amount of 50/50 calls in their favour.

    The argument here should not be over data gathering but in the analysis.

  • bob

    @Shard, Anee: Shard, I agree that boys will be boys is no excuse. Puyol knows what he’s doing: and doing boys will be boys is part of the seduction of Cesc – come over to Barca and life everyday will be this funscape, our bowl of cherries. I believe that Anne is right to point out how Cesc was NOT on board with the transparent manipulations that were pushed in his face by the media; however, I do not believe that the Barca Boys are mere (non-manipulative) innocents who are run amok (boys being boys) and that Barca’s management wasn’t active enough to rein in the media malfeasance and let it slide. Anne, acts of Ommission, even if you are right on this aspect, are just as powerful in their impact as acts of commission. You may want to take Barca off the hook and put it all on the media; but I think that Barca – land of ManUre-like serial diving and vindictive choke holds – is quite capable, by non-denials, to let the press do its dirty work for it. That said, I still think that your focus on Cesc in this press conference is very important to show media manipulation at work. Just as I feel that you are too quick to keep the yellow or red card in your pocket when it comes to letting Barca – the boys or the management – off the hook.

  • @BobbyP – ‘handles the ball deliberately’ – now that is a tricky one… intent, I’ll grant you is an issue and is subjective.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    Absolutely spot on – the clear cut errors need to be differentiated from the judgement calls. A weighting such as you describe would be ideal for that

  • Maybe we could shake out a definitive list on the type of calls and how we can class them… also define if any of the classes of call require further definition and if so – what?

    Who’d have thought it would be this complicated!?

  • bob

    @Dogface, BobbyP: yes weighting will clearly help with intent issues. But, whatever the important outcome of your quantitative project turns out to be – and it matters massively – it still does not rule out the major contributions that qualitative, case study, interpretive analysis brings to the table. If both types of analysis come to the same, or an overlapping or similar conclusion, then we have something of massive power and strength to assert. Just for the record, I’m not on the quantitative study tells all and the rest is silence. Nor am I saying that qualitative study is sufficient unto itself. The great part about the UA and UA-spawned but independent quantitative project, Untold Ref, that you, Dogface, are spearheading, is that the complement and, I would argue, need each other. I fear that we can make a deity of quantification; or alternatively, that we can be luddite-enough to dismiss quantification, and that either way would be a mistake. My bet is that both qualitative/interpretive approach and quantitative/statistical approach will prove the same point in the end. We shall see…

  • Stevie E

    @bobbyp your comment to Bob was well out of order, unlike you & dogface we don’t all have maths degrees but would like to try and get an understanding of the stat process. All Bob is trying to do is be inclusive, getting everybody to understand. Your response is very exclusive, almost saying if you don’t understand, tough you should do a degree. While it may make you feel clever to have your debate with dogface in an open forum, try to remember this is a site for all arsenal fans, even if maths isn’t their strongest subject. People are willing to invest time & money into this project and as such, are well within their rights to ask for clarity on comments or subjects.

  • bob

    As I wrote to Walter earlier, I think there is real complexity at work to try to express, both qualitatively and quantitatively – and it is STILL worth doing our all-out best because it matters: that is, how to deal with – by weighting or interpretively – the following: “my laundry list would include: an early or late that leads to a red card; a last minute miscall that awards a game winning or equalizer penalty goal; too much “Fergie” time, allowing too much time for a game-winning or leveling rally; allowing too much delay time that kills the possibility of an extra-time game-winner or leveler; an offside miscall that kills an onside breakaway; a miscalled tackle that removes a top player for the game or at a key juncture; etc. I guess there are LEVELS OF CRITICALITY – an immediate game-changer and an indirect game-changer whose full effect is felt later on. That said, I do no accept that the burden of proof is entirely on those who criticize the system. To accept that, blindly, is to be brainwashed to Business-As-Usual. So, on with the project…

  • Ok everyone – come on, let’s calm down, it was just getting constructive!

    @Stevie E – I do not have a degree in anything and my highest academic achievement in mathematics was a grade ‘C’ GCSE… due to my crippling dyslexia (or ‘thick’ as it was called in those days) I did not really get on with the educational establishment – but I did not let that stop me persuing my interests at my own pace and in my own way.

  • bob

    @BobbyP: sorry you hate democracy so much. i could go about boasting my degrees too, but it’s all irrelevant. what matters is truth-seeking, not ego’s big or small. i think you can’t abide open thinking and honest exploration, falling back on your degree. thanks to Stevie E for expressing the inclusive spirit and better angels of the UA community. You, obviously, would not provide the primer that I openly asked for. Many of the great unwashed hereabouts, like me, would love that so we could be on the same exalted page that you dwell in. Don’t go about swinging a sledgehammer and trying to intimidate your lessers. If you have part of a quantitative answer, then share it. Your nasty sneering goes nowhere with me and shows where you live. If the quantitative project were in your hands, you wouldn’t get my contribution. This said, I’ll just dust off the rest of what’s left of my withered little ego and carrying on, trying my feeble best to be more inclusive and less intrusive on your self-protected fiefdumb.

  • bob

    @Dogface: you were in no way the object of either my or Stevie E’s last posting. I respect your journey, enormously, as you’ve stated it. Great stuff. I objected, as does Stevie E’s post to BobbyP’s exclusivity. (He and I have been on opposite sides of many prior postings, so I do think the dam(n) has burst hereabouts.) And, cheers, I will carry on as constructively as I’ve been attempting. Let’s stay on point: the analyses (plural) are all that mattered before and now.

  • BobbyP

    @Stevie E

    My comment was in response to his ‘Statistics for Dummies’ quip aimed directly at me, which I thought was totally unwarranted – I was just trying to defend myself

    Apologies if it came across as being exclusive in any way, I agree that we’re all learning from DogFace, Walter etc, and we all want clarity – in no way did I mean to be condescending

  • Also – if anyone would like to buy me a copy of statistics for dummies I would be most grateful.

    🙂

  • bob

    @Dogface, BobbyP: Not quite, yet. The FOR DUMMIES series is a well-known book series in the States that gives a middle-brow level of understanding for very many subjects – Physics for Dummies, Foucault for Dummies, whatever, it’s there. My Statistics for Dummies reference was just that. I’m frankly amazed that BobbyP would have personalized that. Sorry, but I did not have you in mind thereabouts. I’ll leave it at that and just continue as before your projection. We don’t have to make nice; let’s just pursue the truth to the best of our abilities as a smart, kick-ass, passionate community that ostensibly want a level-pitch for the beautiful game to flourish.

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    ‘hate democracy’? ‘big ego’? ‘nasty sneering… shows where you live’? ‘fiefdumb’? ‘Statistics for Dummies’?

    You’re obviously part of the ‘inclusive spirit of the UA community’…

    I’ve been nothing but courteous to everyone, shame you feel the need to insult people who don’t agree with you.

  • bob

    @Dogface: just “Google” it, etc. And I’ll gladly pay the bill. There is a nice primer on Statitics by Robert Niles, called Statistics for Journalists, which I’ve downloaded in the past. But it doesn’t reach or boil down the points that you and BP were discussing. If you were to bullet point of few of the pertinent considerations that have been emerging, and that, inclusively, we might all share at UA, everyone could be on the same page and we would all be moving forward at a higher level of understanding and contribution. So, please (not to prevail on your time, please consider giving an hour to that list, your list, as a gift to the rest of us.

  • Look – I know a way to settle this.

    We’ll all post up a picture of our cocks and see who has the biggest?

    Agreed?

  • @Bob – I am serious, I have been thinking about buying an introduction to statistics book for some time as there are gaps in my knowlege. My work with Zach Slatton really highlighted this as he is excellent with concepts of which I only grasp by my fingertips.

  • bob

    BobbyP: you have the last word. let’s move on…

  • bob

    Dogface: Must run now, but I’ll send links to the FOR DUMMIES and Robert Niles’ primers. Buy yours would be uniquely attuned to our stuff hereabouts, even start with a few points and it could grow a bit over time. Anyway, more later…

  • bob

    p.s. accch, sorry, meant to say: “But yours would be…”

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    Agreed – apologies to everyone else for the sidetrack.

    Although I think DogFace just wanted an excuse to post certain pictures…

  • Stevie E

    @all, I for one am delighted that something is finally being done to fight against what is happening to my beloved club. I lack the necessary numerical skills and am linguistically unable to put anything of this scale together so feel very lucky to be involved, even in the smallest way, with this project. I’ve been amazed by the level of quality of comment I’ve read and honestly feel that if everybody uses their strengths, this project can make a real difference. Group hug Dogface? Hell yeah!!! Kudos and respect for overcoming your life’s hurdles, very impressive. BobbyP, cheers for the apology, accepted… No get back to working out how to sort these bloody refs out!

  • Ok – back to the data capture.

    Most classes of infringement would have the 3 point weighting as discussed:

    “50/50”, “Clear from some angles”, “Clear from all angles”

    Although some we could say are clear cut types – what would these be?

    The ball crossing the line (be it a goal or leaving the field of play) could boil down to a 50/50 so we should maybe apply that to those types as well?

    For cases of intent – we could use a similar scale:

    “50/50”, “Likely intent”, “Clear intent”

    And this would apply to handball.

    What I’m after is a list of event types in order to formulate a template – anyone care to chip in?

  • The object of this is to retain the ability (through capture) to scale the data from the hard factual nuggets to the judgement calls (study dependent).

    There are so many facinating studies that can be done off the back of this if we get it right.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    I guess your basic event types (in rough order of importance) would be

    Goal (i.e. ball crossing line)
    Penalty
    Red card (serious foul play)
    Offside leading to goal/chance on goal
    Yellow card foul
    ‘Regular’ foul
    Timewasting/timekeeping

    I’m sure I’ve missed a few (and they can be classified better) though

  • walter

    If I may come back to the real world in Belgium football and the refs the “he could not see it” is in fact a wrong excuse for a ref. Okay from a human part it is of course a valid excuse because if you cannot see it you cannot call the foul.
    BUT as refs are paid (I would change my job in an instant for the money I could earn as a professional ref – even in Belgium) and have to get certain ‘results’ to earn that money they have little excuses.
    Because they train a lot (every day a minimum is checked by the Belgium FA with all kind of devices like heart beat watches (I’m sorry dont know the right words in English but maybe those who jog and run will know what I mean) who can even see if someone else has been wearing it. I’m wandering off…

    The fact is that the refs should be physicla ready for 100% and should make sure that they just see everything. If they couldn’t see it then it is considered to be their foult because they couldn’t get near enough to the incident or lost sight because they allowed themselves to be on the wrong side of the field or incident and this could point at a bad physical state.

    So the thinking is that the refs just should make sure that they are always near the incidents and have a good view. And if they don’t have that, then it is their own foult (physical/mental/eyes/….. ) but they will pay the price for their foults.

  • walter

    to follow up:

    And this is also why it is important to make good rules with your assistants before the game because in case of a break after a corner you need them to help you out.
    This is the part where the team work comes above water

  • Hmmm… should we also include an “Assistant Flagged” Yes/No/Unsure checkbox?

  • BobbyP

    DogFace

    It seems far easier to do as Walter does, and evaluate the referee+assistants as a team. It does mean the data on individual referees loses some validity though, I guess?

  • Strictly speaking it is always up to the referee to make the call.

    It might be worth it – I’m still trying to work out a user-friendly interface.

    I’m going to put out an appeal I think for a good C# .NET developer with experience in AJAX who would be willing to give me a hand with the project side of things, I can cut code but it a fair body of work (and I’ve got enough to do working out the database) – Walter, you will be the referee Guinea Pig who gets to try it out and give feedback.

    Any developers out there – contact Tony with details and he’ll send them on to me!