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RefWatch – Arsenal Vs. Sunderland (16/10/2011 – 13:30)



Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By DogFace

  • Referee: Howard Webb
  • Assistant 1: Darren Cann
  • Assistant 2: Jake Collin
  • 4th Official: Peter Walton

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch… I’ve got to keep it short and sweet today I’m afraid – so please feel free to chew over the numbers yourself and make whatever casual observations you will… and perhaps, if you’re feeling cheeky, make a comment?

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Howard Webb
  • Date of birth: 14-Jul-1971 (Age 40)
  • Place of birth: Rotherham
  • Resides: South Yorkshire
  • EPL Referee Since: 2003/2004
  • EPL Games to date: 211

Howard Webb
Say hello to my little friend.

It’s Howard Webb again… you remember him from THAT GAME WE NEVER TALK ABOUT… and the world cup final – not sure which one was more embarrassing?!

I would normally ramble on at this point but it’s been a very long week and I’m approaching burnout… also it’s another early start tomorrow so I need to get some sleep. When was the last time we played at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon eh… these games give us maximum market exposure. Does this have significance; in that it is somehow detrimental to our form (and if so what does that say for the PGMOL officials and our team), or is this just a case of synchronicity?

Inquiring minds need to know!

Anyway, we all know who Howard Webb is so let’s check out his stats!

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Howard Webb has had 22 games for Arsenal consisting of 8 wins, 8 draws and 6 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 10th in Howard Webb’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 1.45 PPG.

In Howard Webb’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 18th with an average negative swing of -0.34.

Arsenal are currently in 24th in Howard Webb’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 2.45 BPM.

In Howard Webb’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 24th with an overall average of 5.17 FPB.

Right – quick overview of the graph… it’s not great – you can see by the wobbly blue line that we are barely breaking even on the handicap and this season we crashed to an underperformance of -5 goals in that game which is lost to memory.

If we look at the FPB/BPM for us and our opposition we can see that, excluding the 2009/2010 season, we have been treated more harshly than our opponents under Howard Webb – our line [red] is fat and low indicating that we get booked a lot and for fewer fouls than our opposition [orange] who sail high and thin.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where we took all our bookings under Howard Webb – you can see this season (that game) we were booked very early in the midfield and later on extensively throughout our defence.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where our opposition took their bookings under Howard Webb.

Let’s move on now to see how Sunderland fair under the whistle of Howard Webb:

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Howard Webb has had 12 games for Sunderland consisting of 4 wins, 5 draws and 3 losses.

Sunderland are currently in 12th in Howard Webb’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 1.42 PPG.

In Howard Webb’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Sunderland come 11th with an average positive swing of 0.13.

Sunderland are currently in 25th in Howard Webb’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 2.50 BPM.

In Howard Webb’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Sunderland come 20th with an overall average of 5.87 FPB.

OK – what is very obvious here is that since the 2010/2011 season, Sunderland have done badly under Howard Webb – you can see the blue line crash to a negative handicap swing and the PPG dwindling to a spindly zero this season… there are also distinct changes in the FPB/BPM lines and you can see a clear crossover – could this be the Steve Bruce effect? I’ve run the manager data for Steve Bruce against Howard Webb and the only time that Webb and Bruce ever really clicked was when he was at Wigan – other than that, not much luck.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Sunderland took all their bookings under Howard Webb… we can see pretty constant bookings around, on average, the half way mark for the midfield and defence.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Sunderland’s opposition took all their bookings under Howard Webb… we can see that most of the time they have been fairly meaningless late bookings, quite bizarrely, focusing mainly in the substitutes – although this season these have migrated to earlier bookings in the midfield.

Let’s move on now to check out how Howard Webb performs against selected teams in the EPL:

The ine thickness represents the average Points Per Game and the position of the line against the vertical axis represents the average swing againd the handicap.

Right – now we can see a little more of the makeup of Howard Webb against the EPL – the solid performers of late are Manchester City – Manchester United also do very well across the seasons and even when they do show an underperformance against the handicap under Webb – they still rake in the points. Sunderland’s line under Webb was riding unusually high considering their relative overall performances in that time under Roy Keane and Ricky Sbragia – I would say that this was odd. Chelsea we can see never really get on very well with Howard Webb and Arsenal as of this season have fallen off the chart (as Manchester United have broken through the roof) – but this is only due to that game which… well – you know the one.

The Predictortron gives Arsenal a 1.792857 goal advantage… I have a feeling that we will do the business.



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Making the Arsenal

34 comments to RefWatch – Arsenal Vs. Sunderland (16/10/2011 – 13:30)

  • menace

    Same old story – we have to win in spite of poor officials from the monopoly PGMOL. It’s like we are handicapped in almost every EPL game.

  • Johnny Deigh

    I’m shocked to see Howard Webb ref us again so quickly.

  • nicky

    After a full English breakfast, Dogface, the last thing I needed was an in-depth survey into why Harold Webb is not on Arsenal’s Christmas card list.
    Let’s remember the year of the Invincibles when, against all odds (and refereeing)we soldiered on to victory.
    Today we may well start a revival that will create a squeaky bum time among all our rivals for the rest of the season. Much will depend on the support given to the team AND the Manager during 90 minutes and all true fans will be aware of the important role they will play in the match.

  • Keme

    Arsenal is always a target for Howard Webb. I dnt knw wat we really did to him dat makes him to always derive pleasure in hunting down Arsenal. The F.A are also hunting Arsenal dats why they always give us Webb in crucial matches. But no matter wat, we are winning Sunderland by 3-0.

  • Shafiu

    I don’t know this Webb is always against us, what do think if its against the like of manchester united?

  • Anne

    @Nicky:

    I appreciate that you drew attention to the fan support of the team. I believe that it is very important. I’m saving up my money to be able to get there myself one day 🙂

  • nicky

    Anne,
    And me, dear.

  • Anne

    @dogface:

    Having taken statistics myself, I can’t even begin to imagine how much work must have gone into compiling these graphs. I’m honestly in so much awe that I can’t even think of a comment, but I wanted to show my respect nonetheless. 🙂

  • Dave Highbury

    1940’s shorts and a flag just don’t wash any more when it comes to multi-million pound decisions. There is only one reason for this, and that has to be CONTROL OVER THE OUTCOME. There is no other reason. “it evens out in the end” IS A LIE! It does not even out in the end. Goals and Off-sides need sorting. Camera with rewind. We’ve been doing replays for years!

  • Anne

    @Dogface:

    So, yeah, I feel kind of stupid about this (ok, fine, I admit it, I failed stats in college! 🙂 ) But I seriously can’t work out how you calculated Arsenal’s handicap. If this is something you’ve addressed in an earlier article, could you give me a key word so I can find it? Or link me? Thanks 🙂 -A

  • bjtgooner

    @Dogface:

    Webb’s poor record against us is well defined in this excellent presentation. Lets hope this “man in black” is not able to shaft us today.

  • Rodelero

    Their first (hopefully only) goal came from a handball – but surely it wasn’t intentional or a foul?

  • finsbury

    Webb is so blatant.
    It’s a joke.

  • Rodelero

    5 Minutes extra time deserves at least one ‘wrong’ decision. No justification.

  • Big Dave

    NEWS JUST IN: Arsenal beat Sunderland 2-1 despite Howard Webb being the ref. Other stats from game: Arsenal 9 fouls, 3 bookings. Sunderland 19 fouls, 3 bookings!

  • slim

    Big Dave: Well to be honest one of the bookings DID come from van persie’s celebration- that aside, I felt Webb had a pretty decent performance today.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Webb looked very poor today.

  • Rodelero

    Webb was awful in my mind. The handball for the freekick wasn’t deliberate and thus not a foul. He was extremely soft on Sunderland – Wes Brown’s tackle in particular seemed both dangerous and extremely cynical. In fact, Sunderland’s second half (pre our goal) was built around stopping our attacks before they formed through fouling, something Webb allowed to happen.

    Perhaps the best decision of all though was the 5 minutes of extra time, which is mind boggling.

  • Didn’t understand the yellow for Koscielny, thought Sunderland could’ve had one or two more but overall didn’t think Webb was too bad.

    Will wait for the ref review eagerly though!

  • bjtgooner

    Good win for the team!

    I thought Webb could have given Sunderland one or two more yellows, but chose not to. It seemed in the second half, when Arsenal were attacking a lot, that Webb was influencing the game against us by not giving some decisions. Anyway, I will defer to the Untold reviewer.

    Does anyone know how seriously Gibbs is injured?

  • bjtgooner

    One further thought – why did the officials decide on 5 mins “Fergie” time? I can’t remember any serious delays in the second half. If the scores had been level, or if we had been behind, I wonder how much “Fergie” time we would have been given.

  • dan

    Does anyone know why we haven’t seen Ju Yung Park?

    Any insight will help.

  • Anne – the handicap calculation is taken as a mean figure from 30-50 bookmakers betting line odds across europe and asia. Mosy of the above is generated from a database… although it did take a while to program the database to do that.

    I though that Webb’s first half was ok but he had a poor second half in terms of his consistancy.

  • dan

    Jenkinson looked good still young very promising. My brother commented on Jenkinsons runs, one our better players today.

  • Gord

    I believe Gibb’s injury is a “minor” stomach muscle problem.

    I am going to guess that Park hasn’t been playing due to communication difficulties. Yes, Park was at Monaco before, but looking over his page at Wikipedia, he doesn’t seem to have spent much time outside of South Korea. As the “fans” want to jump down anyone’s throat who isn’t perfect, giving him time to acclimate is reasonable. Mertesacker has mentioned communication difficulties in the news, but unfortunately the need for defenders outweighed any time to develop the communication.

    I was a bit annoyed to see van Persie get a card for celebrating. It was nice to see him get the goal, that this yellow might hurt later was what was annoying.

  • nicky

    Dan & Gord,
    I too thought Jenkinson had a good game, especially when attacking down the wing. He’s learning by experience.
    I think Van Persie’s card was mainly due to him removing his shirt.

  • wes

    I’m sorry. Not convinced by this teams performance one bit

  • Anne

    @bjtgooner:

    I couldn’t figure out the five minutes fergie time either. I was chatting with a friend while watching the match, and when I looked back, what I said at the time was “5 minutes?! For what?” 🙂

  • Anne

    @Dogface:

    Again, I’m impressed 🙂

  • Ameh

    We thank God for the win against all odd. If howard had started the booking earlier on we would have won by a wider margin. All the same the 3 points were vital.

  • Ed

    @dan and nicky

    I also thought i should praise Jenkinson.

    i thought in the first half, he was a bit out of his depth, lacking in confidence and hitting early crosses when he could have taken on the defender and got closer to the touchline. similar to his other games – he was steady but did not instil confidence.

    however, i dont know whether wenger said something to him at half time, but in the second half he was excellent. he pushed up, overlapped, got past defenders and at them occasionally. he also showed he cud put in a decent cross wit his left foot. if he can keep it up and keep improving, we will not miss sagna that much!

    i also thought the 5 minutes was quite long… there were some fouls (specially by sunderland) and they got deserved yellows – none were red in my opinion, but webb seemed to do ok.

    I would like to see the liverpool v man utd refwatch tho… personally, i felt the ref was very biased for liverpool, and gave them a number of contentious decisions, inc the dive for gerrards goal. did anyone else feel the same?

    im starting to wonder in King kennys talk with the ref didnt include a few brown evelopes and prostitutes promising a good time?

  • cape gooner

    The Guardian headline (online) “Van Persie hides Arsenal’s weakness”.

    I have seen no mention anywhere of the two penalties Webb denied us. When RvP chipped against the post, Gervinho was at hand for the tap in off the rebound. The goalie went at him, arms raised and knocked him over. Why no penalty; why no red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity?

    When Theo had the ball on the right, Richardson had his arm raised at 90°. He seemed to me to realise this, and moved his arm down to his side. However, Theo crossed the ball and instead of it getting into the centre, it hit the still outstretched arm and was deflected to a Sunderland player. They gained a distinct advantage from the handball; why no penalty?

  • Ref Reviewer 03

    @Cape gooner,

    I just finished the ref review and sent it to Walter. It should be up soon.

    You are right about the foul by the Sunderland keeper on Gervinho in the 12th minute. It was an intentional push to deny an obvious goalscoring opportunity, and should have been punished with a red card.

    Theo’s shot against Richardson struck him principally in the stomach from close range. Also he brought his arms into his body because he didn’t want the ball to strike his outstretched arms which could be construed as a penalty if that had happened, but in this case it was not a penalty.

    However, there was an incident in the 87th minute involving Michael Turner which I also felt should have been a penalty and a sending off. Surprisingly Sky didn’t show any replays of that incident.

  • The ref review article is now online at http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/15574

    This comment gives you a flavour

    Webb’s score in the first half was a dismal 54.29%, and 63.38% overall. Wrong calls were numerous and almost exclusively in favour of Sunderland with 23 of the 25 incorrect decisions going against Arsenal.