- Referee: Howard Webb
- Assistant 1: Darren Cann
- Assistant 2: Andy Garratt
- 4th Official: Andre Marriner
Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch… if you are new to RefWatch or “just don’t get it” then fear not – I covered the basics last week in our rather prescient article on Mark Clattenburg – why not click here to check it out!
This matchday we face Everton at home and the Asian markets are showing a ‘full ball’ market with Arsenal giving a 1 goal to Everton; and Arsenal priced as the long odds:
|1.975||0 – 1||1.925|
Of course the other big market, over in the land of the rising sun is the, Over/Under i.e. over or under the total amount of goals scored in a game – these markets go hand in hand and it is interesting to see what is on offer for this game i.e. a ‘quarter ball’ market here [at 2 ¾ ball] with 3 goals total (or over) being the long odds:
I know a lot of you couldn’t give a hoot about the billions of £ that swill around Asia on a Saturday afternoon but I think that it is becoming increasingly relevant to the European game of late… ask yourself this – why do people in Asia gamble on European football?
The answer is that it is seen as ‘less-fixed’ than Asian football – but sadly for us, power walks on crooked legs and corruption always follows the money.
Let me attempt to explain this market and Asian Handicap betting in general as it’s not only interesting but very relevant in terms of gambling motivated corruption in sport:
- A ‘half ball’ game has only 2 positions win or lose i.e. if the handicap (or betting line) is 1.5 ball then the bettor can take either side of that i.e. if you want to back Arsenal with a handicap of 1.5 then they will have to win by 2 or more goals for you to get a return from your stake.
- A ‘full ball’ game not only has 2 positions for your stake (win and loss) but also has a ‘refund’ option.
Let’s use the example of Arsenal giving 1 goal on the handicap (i.e. the market is based on the assumption that Arsenal are a goal better than the team they are playing) then Arsenal would still have to win by 2 or more goals for you to get a return on your stake BUT if Arsenal only won by 1 goal they your stake would be refunded.
- A ‘quarter ball’ match [set in this case @ 2.75] is actually 2 bets in one – your stake is split into one bet at ‘half ball’ [2.5] and one bet at ‘full ball’ [3.0] so using the example of an Over/Under market giving a handicap of 2 ¾ ball; we place an imaginary bet of £10 on ‘Over’ and, if the score is 2-1, then the full ball bet is refunded and the half ball bet wins – for example (assuming odds split evenly @ 1.95):
|Betting Line @ 2.75 ball|
|Stake||Total goals||Over [pays]||Under [pays]|
|10||2 [or less]||0.00||19.50|
|10||4 [or more]||19.50||0.00|
As a final word about the Asian Handicap (on the Home/Away) markets – the betting line set here is used as a marker in our calculations with regard to expectation of team performance i.e. if a team exceeds the betting line in terms of goals then that can be considered an ‘over performance’ against the handicap (and vice versa). Now if you think about that and how we correlate this with the choice of referee in our analysis – it poses a question i.e. are the market makers (very clever people in their own right with huge resources at their disposal) aware in any way of referee bias when they perform their calculations and make their markets?
If the answer is yes then this will directly affect our analysis in that we actually grossly underestimate the level of bias that exists between referee and club/manager.
If the answer is no then this suggests that the level of bias we are detecting is probably there or there abouts… after all – the Asian bookies are no mugs and it means more when you’ve got something on it.
If you want to learn more about globalisation and how the illegal yet state sponsored Asian markets are impinging upon the game you love (which was already impinged upon by the European markets) then why not read Declan Hill’s excellent book “The Fix” – which is available at all good book stores in time for Christmas.
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: 215
Move along now… nothing to see here.
It’s Howard Webb again… you remember him – tall chap, bald head, world cupsomething-or-other?!
Here are some of the Untold Ref Reviews so you can gauge for yourself how he performs:
- 77.78% – Tottenham Hotspur 3 -1 Queens Park Rangers
- 63,38% – Arsenal 2 – 1 Sunderland
- 75,61% – Man City 2 – 0 Everton
- 69.23% – Fulham 1 – 1 Blackburn
- 78.72% – Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal
- 66.13% – Manchester United 2 – 1 Chelsea
- 45.00% – Manchester United 1 – 0 Arsenal
It’s nice having an ‘Untold library’ to fall back on isn’t it? Just think; one day we could cover all EPL games for all teams and what a wealth of data that would be… I might even model it into graphs!
Let’s check out his stats:
Howard Webb has had 23 games for Arsenal consisting of 9 wins, 8 draws and 6 losses.
Arsenal are currently in 8th 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 1.52 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 -0.33.
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 2.48 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 5.05 FPB.
As you can see from the graph [above] we don’t perform to expectations under Howard Webb. The recent crash in our swing figures this season are mainly down to that match at Old Trafford where Manchester United scored 4 goals for every 1 goal we scored – although this is not as bad as the ratio of 6 goals to 1 which Manchester City inflicted on them soon after (I love statistics).
You can also see from the graph above that Arsenal get the sharp end of the whistle under Webb getting booked more and for less fouls than our opposition i.e. our line [red] is low and fat where as our oppositions line [orange] rides high and thin.
Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal took all their bookings under Howard Webb.
In the last few seasons we took the majority of our bookings in the midfield at around the 60 minute mark – however, this season we can see a change in that our defence have taken the lion’s share of the bookings and our midfield have trended earlier to late in the second half.
Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal’s opposition took all their bookings under Howard Webb.
If you compare these two graphs you can see that our opposition under Howard Webb have taken a lot less bookings than us with the majority of them being in the defence and midfield around the halfway mark.
Let’s move on now and see how Everton get on with him:
Howard Webb has had 24 games for Everton consisting of 9 wins, 9 draws and 6 losses.
Everton are currently in 9th 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 1.50 PPG.
In Howard Webb’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Everton come 3rd with an average positive swing of 0.48.
Everton are currently in 17th 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 1.92 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, Everton come 16th with an overall average of 6.93 FPB.
The first thing I notice is the WDL figures – the totals are almost identical i.e. 9-9-6 for Everton [1.5 PPG] Vs. 9-8-6 for Arsenal [1.52 PPG]. We can see also, from the graph above that Everton’s FPB/BPM lines look fairly consistent with that of their opposition… that is up until this season where Everton took a large amount of bookings for very few fouls while their opposition seemed to get away with a lot more in the challenge; this also resulted in a distinct underperformance and zero PPG – if memory serves this was the Manchester City game – but we’ll discuss more of that later in the Ref Vs. EPL graph.
Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Everton took all their bookings under Howard Webb.
We can see that Everton have taken huge amounts of bookings in the midfield under Webb this season and, on average, very early too. There were also some late bookings in the defence, but I would say that Howard Webb’s booking breakdown does not show much in the way of trends that would indicate any predictability – in fact Everton’s figures this season bear an exaggerated similarity to ours.
Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Everton’s opposition took all their bookings under Howard Webb.
Well – I suppose it’s encouraging [in terms of consistency] to see that Everton’s opposition also took earlier bookings through the midfield this season, but there was not very many – and also there were no other bookings in any other area – but this was just for one game, the Manchester City game, so this is not really enough data here to make any judgements as to trends.
Let’s move on now to check out how Howard Webb performs against selected teams in the EPL:
Okay – as we can see the standout performers under Howard Webb are the Manchester teams – that’s right, both City and United do very well indeed of late under Howard Web. We can see that Arsenal have plunged against the handicap (in response to Manchester United’s stratospheric rise) but this is partly due to the 8-2 loss we suffered under him at Old Trafford – it’s ok to mention this now since we are still in the Champions League as, let’s face it, which is more embarrassing?
Everton seem to do really well in the 2009/2010 season but this season is a strange one for Howard Webb – as I’ve blogged before, in this season (which I call the Webb pinch) is one where all of Howard Webb’s statistics seemed to reach a kind of *normality nirvana* – of course, this probably had nothing whatsoever to do with the World Cup that summer in which he took control of the final.
The Predictortron gives Arsenal a 1.388542 goal advantage… but this is Howard Webb (just as that was Mike Dean); *and* but this is a 3PM kick-off – just as every kick-off this w/e is 3pm.
So with that in mind I would think very carefully before clicking here.
I’ll be at the match – I suspect it will be a tough one.