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RefWatch – Wigan Athletic Vs Arsenal (03/12/2011 15:00)


Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By DogFace

  • Referee: Mark Clattenburg
  • Assistant 1: Mike Mullarkey
  • Assistant 2: Peter Kirkup
  • 4th Official: Phil Dowd

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch – today we welcome Mark Clattenburg, the subject of the first ever RefWatch; if cast you mind back way back to 2010 (yes, I’ve been around for over a year now); it was back then when Tony first called me up and said: “OK kid, I’ll give you yer shot for the Untold First Team – let’s see what you can do!” and I tentatively burst onto your computer screens… my, my – how times have changed eh!?

  • Full name: Mark Clattenburg
  • Date of birth: 13-Mar-1975 (Age 36)
  • Place of birth: Consett, County Durham
  • Resides: Tyne & Wear
  • EPL Referee Since: 2004/2005
  • EPL Games to date: 149

Mark Clattenburg
Untold needs YOU… to click here for another great article!

Actually – it wasn’t quite like that; I reckon Tony found me a bit annoying at the time as I promised that I’d write an article on something vaguely to do with referees and finally produced it some five months later. I was then immediately informed that the cut of my jib was there or there abouts and I now had a regular slot on the blog… oh – and that I should really do my best to bang something out for the site on a weekly basis.

Bizarrely the evolution of the articles to what you see now were down to time constraints i.e. I didn’t have the time to write/research them so I got a computer to do it for me, of course I programmed the computer and gathered the data for it… or at least I programmed another computer to gather the data for it [from other computers] (but then I’m good at that sort of thing) and so, what you see now would be perhaps a 3-4 week exercise in research and analysis that can be generated at the click of a picklist and the press of a button. Hence now a push button publishing system [of sorts] exists which I aim to maintain, evolve and improve as we continue our journey into RefWatch…

…I still have to write these bits – of course – and (DogFace Château nerf de pap 2011 aside [it was very fruity and I do apologise for last week]) I try to provide some analysis to go with the overall ‘Blah’.

With regards to the ‘Blah’ – I have received some requests to go over a few bits and bobs and explain exactly what and why the data is significant [or at least interesting] in terms of referee performance, bias and possibly corruption – so here goes:

Term Information
EPL English Premier League
All RefWatch analysis is based upon EPL data only i.e. no cup games feature in any of the equations.
PGMOL Professional Game Match Officials Limited
The PGMOL (formerly the PGMOB) are the rather shady organisation that oversees the appointment of referee’s to the EPL and FA leagues. I use the term ‘shady’ as there does not appear to be any transparency within this organisation with regards to performance review or the allocation process of officials.
Richard Scudamore (CEO of the Premier League) recently stood down as CE of the PGMOL as, I imagine, that it could be construed as a conflict of interest to have the man at the helm of a global sporting brand (that is distributed by a major European bookmaker [Sky/SkyBet]) to also have potential ‘considerable sway’ over the engineering of that brand and/or the profit margins of its generous distributor through manipulation of the match officials? What… nobody else thought of that? Just me? Anyhoo – as a matter of coincidence – Mike Riley took over from Keith Hackett at this time as the manager of the PGMOL, so that’s ok then.
FPB Fouls Per Booking
The average Fouls Per Booking for the specified team, played in the specified Season under the specified Referee.
The FPB figures are based on what the referee defines as a foul during the course of a match – as we know from experience these figures do not reflect exactly what happened on the day but, given a wide enough sample group, we can hope (baring an extreme negative/positive bias that is hard to measure from the data) that they roughly indicate the form for that season.
BPM Bookings Per Match
This represents the average number of bookings the referee has given be it a red or yellow card.
AHS Asian Handicap Swing
This is the deviation, be it positive or negative from the bookmaker assigned betting line or ‘handicap’)
The ‘Asian Handicap’ represents the expected performance of the team in the match immediately prior to kickoff i.e. Manchester United might have a large handicap against a team such as Crystal Palace – say “2 ¼ ball” [i.e. bookies reckon that Man U are 2 and a bit goals better than Palace and will build their market on that assumption] – this is used predominantly in Asia as the fundamental ‘two position’ betting model (although it’s not always that simple) as punters over there would not place money on a win/draw/loss model [as favoured by Europeans] which gives two losing positions to one win for your stake.
It is worthy of note the sheer size of the ‘illegal’ Asian gambling markets – these dwarf the Eurpoean markets and have an estimated liquidity of circa £5,000,000,000 for every EPL w/e.
The AHS in our graphs is based on a mean of data gathered from around 30-50 European and Asian bookmakers.
PPG Points Per Game
This figure is based on the number of points (0, 1 or 3) the specified team recieves in a match.
Exposure Market liquidity (gambling)
I will often mention the exposure of a match with regards to how much money will be on a game in the European and Asian gambling markets. It is fair to say that non-3pm games or Sky/ESPN games have a high exposure in the European markets both in terms of the ‘fixed odds’ and ‘in play’ markets. The exposure will also be significantly higher in the Asian markets for the non-3pm fixtures or the ‘big game’ fixtures.
It is worthy of note that the liquidity on matches in the Asian markets drops considerably during the period of the Chinese new year – this year (the year of the dragon) kicks in on the 23rd January 2012.

The Referee Vs Team graph

This graph is the first you will see and represents some basic factors of the referee’s performance against the specified team – these being the fouls called and bookings given both, to the team in question and their opposition, on a seasonal basis. The ASH and PPG numbers are represented in blue as comparison; given the scale of the graph the context of any trends aren’t always clear – so these figures are repeated, for comparison against selected other EPL teams, in the “Referee Vs EPL” graph.

The graph breaks down like this:

  • Season = horizontal axis
  • FPB = vertical axis
  • BPM = line width
  • AHS = vertical axis
  • PPG = 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.

The Booking Index graph

This graph is a breakdown of the booking figures and it is an attempt to reveal where and at what time a given team (or their opponents) take their bookings under a specified referee. We have all seen matches that have been ‘difficult’ where the defensive midfielder is carded out of the challenge at the earliest opportunity and then stats are ‘evened up’ with a few pointless late yellows – well, this is a first attempt to reveal any [seasonal] trends to you graphically as there really is an awful lot of data here and it’s kind of hard to make sense of by looking at the reams of numbers that build it.

The graph breaks down like this:

  • Time in the match = vertical axis
  • Season = horizontal axis

The colour of the line represents the player type:

  • Goalkeeper = blue
  • Defence = orange
  • Midfield = red
  • Attack = purple
  • Substitute = silver

The position of the coloured line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking where as the thickness of the line will indicate the average number of bookings of players in that position for the specified season.

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. For your comfort and convenience; the number of minutes on the vertical axis bottoms out at 100 to indicate ‘no bookings’.

The Referee Vs EPL graph

This graph is usually the last you will see and will contain the AHS/PPG data only – in this it is a repeat of the data represented by the wobbly blue line in the “Referee Vs Team” graph. What differs is that there are also included a selection of other teams from the EPL for comparison. The other difference is the scale of the vertical axis being something more sensible, i.e. -3 to +3, rather than -5 to 20 as shown in the “Referee Vs Team” graph. This will give a more visual representation of the relative performance of the selected teams for the specified referee.

The graph breaks down like this:

  • Season = horizontal axis
  • AHS = vertical axis
  • PPG = line width

The Referee Vs Manager graph

I will sometimes include this graph if it is deemed worthy of attention i.e. if an opposing team has a manager with significant performance record against a specified referee as in the curious case of Mike Dean. This graph breaks down identically to the “Referee Vs EPL graph” with regards to data representation.

Anyhoo, as I’ve said, it’s Mark Clattenburg again… you remember him; he’s the one that, of late, has had some terrific games for us!

As we can see; Walter’s reviews have been generally full of praise:

A small note here is that you may notice a bit of a gap in the data below around the 2008/2009 season where Mark Clattenburg was lying low and taking a bit of a sabbatical relating to his ‘off pitch’ business affairs.

So without further ado and armed with the knowledge of a RefWatch graduate of DogFace Polytechnic; 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.

Mark Clattenburg has had 19 games for Wigan Athletic consisting of 6 wins, 2 draws and 11 losses.

Wigan Athletic are currently in 13th in Mark Clattenburg’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 1.05 PPG.

In Mark Clattenburg’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Wigan Athletic come 13th with an average negative swing of -0.22.

Wigan Athletic are currently in 13th in Mark Clattenburg’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 1.74 BPM.

In Mark Clattenburg’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Wigan Athletic come 8th with an overall average of 7.42 FPB.

As we can see from our first graph [above] Wigan Athletics’ performance under Mark Clattenburg has crashed since the 2009/2010 season. Since then they have generally received less bookings per challenge than their opposition but, as we can see from this season, there were no bookings at all for their opposition despite them comitting more fouls.

This change in form that we can see under Mark Clattenburg correlates with the appointment of Roberto Martinez as the Wigan Manager which could be significant in terms of how Wigan approach the game under him?

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 Wigan Athletic took all their bookings under Mark Clattenburg.

This is clear as crystal – and really begins to explain the drop in form of Wigan under Clattenburg. We can see the defence is showing a clear trend towards taking cards very early in the game – is this an anti-Wigan bias or reflection of Mark Clattenburgs’ refereeing style combined with a Wigan tactic to ‘foul what they cannot catch’?

Either way – with this in mind – Arsenal should definitely be using their pace to go run at the Wigan defence from the start – if they resort to fouls to stop us; it looks like Mark Clattenburg will not tolerate this and book them out of the challenge early – this [threat of a second yellow] in itself will provide clear chances for the Arsenal wingers to get behind the defence and feed the striker.

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 Wigan Athletic’s opposition took all their bookings under Mark Clattenburg.

Right – if it wasn’t clear before why Wigan do badly under Mark Clattenburg then it should be now – look at the way both the bookings in the midfield and the defence for Wigan’s opposition drop off to late in the second half and finally, this season, to none whatsoever.

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.

Mark Clattenburg has had 18 games for Arsenal consisting of 12 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 3rd in Mark Clattenburg’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 2.06 PPG.

In Mark Clattenburg’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 1st with an average positive swing of 1.01.

Arsenal are currently in 7th in Mark Clattenburg’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 1.61 BPM.

In Mark Clattenburg’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 15th with an overall average of 6.34 FPB.

You can see here how, since the 2009/2010 season, our fortunes under Mark Clattenburg have taken a considerable up-swing – look at how fat and wobbly our blue line is in comparison to [scroll up] Wigan’s? In fact our “Referee Vs Team” graph stands polar-opposite to that of Wigan in that we appear to have shown a distinct over-performance, taken maximum points and received no bookings this season… although we did commit less fouls.

Nice one Mark – I take it all back what I said about your hair!

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 Arsenal took all their bookings under Mark Clattenburg.

We can see that we have taken our bookings fairly early under Mark Clattenburg mainly in the defence and midfield with some dished out to our strikers last season – although this season we are yet to be booked, which is nice… in fact last season we received the most booking under him since [my] records began but (if we perchance to glance below) this seems entirely consistent with the treatment our opposition received.

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 Arsenal’s opposition took all their bookings under Mark Clattenburg.

As I have already mentioned – the two graphs look fairly consistent – we seemed to take our bookings slightly earlier than our opposition up until this season where our opposition’s [Bolton] defence was carded heavily on average around the half way mark. This is encouraging for an attacking team, such as Arsenal, especially when we take this into account with Mark Clattenburg’s booking history against our opposition for this match [above].

Three words :- Attack, Attack, Attack!

Let’s move on now to check out how Mark Clattenburg 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.

It seems fairly obvious, to me at least, that the standout performers under Mark Clattenburg are Manchester City and Arsenal – Interestingly Manchester City’s performance shows a significant drop last season to our rise – but that can be explained by the fact that we humped them 3-0. They [Manchester City] seem to have recovered nicely this season to Manchester United’s detriment with the 6-1 thumping they gave them at Old Trafford.

The Predictortron gives Wigan Athletic a -3.860120 goal disadvantage… and, baring any sudden change of form from Mark Clattenburg, I reckon that’s about right – in fact the only thing that worries me is the inclusion of Phil Dowd as the 4th Official!

If you trust the Predictortron, and it’s cold calculations, then why not lose only what you can afford (and support our site) by clicking here.

Currently Arsenal are giving a “1 ball” handicap on the Asian markets – the odds are:

Arsenal pays: 1.875
Wigan Athletic pays: 2.025


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18 comments to RefWatch – Wigan Athletic Vs Arsenal (03/12/2011 15:00)

  • RashGunner

    lookin’ 4 d 1st pk of d season. Someone should correct me though if we had one.. Enjoying d analysis.

  • Mahdain

    @rash against united in the match that should not be mentioned

  • Sammy The Snake

    I didn’t expect you to promote betting, arguably the biggest motivation in match fixing by officials.
    Go Gunners!

  • Kentetsu

    We had a penalty against Man United; RvP missed.

  • Kentetsu

    Dogface, this year (2011) is the year of the Rabbit and Chinese New Year was on 3 February. For next year, the year of the Dragon, New Year is on 23 January.
    Apart from that, another great RefWatch. Thx.

  • Thanks Kentetsu I will correct

  • @Sammy The Snake – not just officials, players too!

  • Mahdain

    8 minutes of newcastle vs chelsea match just summed up what a horrible ref mike dean is… how is that guy still refereeing?

  • Alek

    @DogFace
    Thanks for tutorial. Very helpful.

    I think it may be temporarily but I cannot adjust myself to graphical representation of some data.

    I mean AHS/PPG is very understandable: the higher AHS-line the better for a team. Also the thicker PPG-line the better for a team.
    But FPB/BPM is makes a mess in my brain: the higher FPB -line the better for a team. But the thinner BPM-line the better for a team. I mean the better must to be the thicker not the thinner.
    I hope this is temporarily. 🙂

  • T Ross

    Oh and here we go: Clattenburg with a spectacularly bad decision to not call a penalty in our favour.

  • All hail the Predictortron!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Must we take a bow Dogface? 😉

    Serious now: amazing in fact….

    Rinus Michels, the coach that led Holland to two finals (WC and EC and won one) once said: football is war.

    Our own Dogface can say: Football is science 😉

  • Mahdain

    clattenburg was really appalling today… a stonewall penalty brushed away and let wigan get away with some bad reckless tackles

  • Mahdain – I’m going to wait for the RefReview, other than the lack of penalty I didn’t think he had a bad game.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Congrats Dogface on predicting the 4 goal margin.

  • Well… it was only a 3.860120 goal margin – but thanks! 🙂

  • Mahdain

    @dogface well i did see a few reckless tackles going unpunished and i can say clattenburg did mess up in the 2nd half..lets see what the review say maybe i had my red tinted glasses on 🙂

  • RashGunner

    Thanx all, luv 2 4get d match though.