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RefWatch – Manchester City Vs Arsenal (18/12/2011 – 16:10)


Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By DogFace

  • Referee: Phil Dowd
  • Assistant 1: Mick McDonough
  • Assistant 2: David Richardson
  • 4th Official: Michael Oliver

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch…

This match day we face Manchester City away and the Asian markets are showing an interesting ‘quarter ball’ market with Manchester City giving a ¾ of a goal to Arsenal; and Arsenal priced as the long odds:

Home Handicap Away
1.925 0 – 3/4 1.975

I say this is interesting as ¾ of a goal handicap in City’s favour seems very tempting… I mean – City would only have to beat Arsenal by 1 goal and you’d be quids in; and with City offering 1.69 on the Fixed Odds market [as opposed to Arsenal’s 5.07] – they are the clear favourite.

Sounds a bit the kelong one to me what?!

The Under/Over market is also showing a ‘quarter ball’ market here [at 2 ¾ ball] with 3 goals total (or over) being the long odds:

Over Handicap Under
1.825 2 3/4 2.075

This match is also the 16:10 fixture (that stands on its own) which means high exposure and very high liquidity.

You can find a breakdown on the Asian markets and why they are important in our calculations here and a breakdown on the calculations themselves here.

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Phil Dowd
  • Date of birth: 26-Jan-1963 (Age 48)
  • Place of birth: Staffordshire
  • Resides: Staffordshire
  • EPL Referee Since: 2001/2002
  • EPL Games to date: 217

Phil Dowd
Here’s one for you; a Referee, a Manager and an Asian Bookie walk into a bar…

It’s Phil Dowd again… you remember him:

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.

Phil Dowd has had 22 games for Manchester City consisting of 7 wins, 5 draws and 10 losses.

Manchester City are currently in 16th in Phil Dowd’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 1.18 PPG.

In Phil Dowd’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Manchester City come 13th with an average positive swing of 0.03.

Manchester City are currently in 14th in Phil Dowd’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 2.00 BPM.

In Phil Dowd’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Manchester City come 17th with an overall average of 6.61 FPB.

Wow – look at that wobbly blue line! Like a rocket from the crypt Manchester City have gone from somewhere around -4 against the handicap to +4. This will cause problems with our final graph as Manchester City’s line under Phil down will blow both the top and the bottom off.

Bear in mind that this relates to relative performance and not general performance – so this an incredible turnaround and the most marked I have ever seen.

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 Manchester City took all their bookings under Phil Dowd.

Manchester city’s bookings under Phil Dowd concentrate very early in the game and mainly around the defence up until the 2009/2010 season where we see a change with some late bookings to the substitutes and attack. This season we have also seen a few early midfield bookings thrown at city – but over all these are few and far between.

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 Manchester City’s opposition took all their bookings under Phil Dowd.

Manchester city’s opponent’s bookings under Phil Dowd also concentrate very early in the game and mainly around the defence up until the 2009/2010 season (sound familiar) where we see a change with some heavy booking to the midfield around the 65 minute mark. These bookings get progressively earlier up to the current season.

Let’s check out how Arsenal do:

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.

Phil Dowd has had 18 games for Arsenal consisting of 10 wins, 6 draws and 2 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 2nd in Phil Dowd’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 2.00 PPG.

In Phil Dowd’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 15th with an average negative swing of -0.04.

Arsenal are currently in 12th in Phil Dowd’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 1.78 BPM.

In Phil Dowd’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 19th with an overall average of 6.47 FPB.

We can see that overall, under Phil Dowd, that we have done ok in terms of our PPG. Our relative performance has gone from about even to a hefty over performance in the 2009/2010 season. The 2010/2011 season, however, was one to forget under Phil Dowd as not only did we underperform massively but we also got the rough end of the cards (with a low fat red line).

This season however has seen a flip back to a good return of points, an even performance and no bookings.

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 Phil Dowd.

There’s a clear change here and it kicks in around the 2009/2010 season where we took some horrible bookings – our defence and midfield were taken out of the challenge early in the second half… before that season everything looked great, we took our bookings late [on average] and they were therefore fairly meaningless.

This season – as you can see, we are yet to take a booking.

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 Phil Dowd.

Due to a technical fault – our oppositions bookings for this season are not showing – this (off the top of me head) is probably due to a bug in my SQL where as we have 0 bookings a Null value is fucking the ‘where’ clause… might even be in an ‘In’ (always catches me that one). But seeing as it’s 23:08 on a Friday night [and none of that made any sense to you] – you’re going to have to put up with that until I fix it.

Other than that; our opposition’s bookings under Dowd are fairly consistent but are trending slowly towards later in the match.

Let’s move on now to check out how Phil Dowd 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 we can see Chelsea’s relative performance merrily sine-waving under Dowd (curious) and, as I said earlier, Manchester City ripping right through our graph from the gutter to the stars. Manchester United tend to under-perform under Dowd but still bring in some points and Arsenal, who were doing rather well, have definitely bounced.

Is this a sign of performance recovery or just a ‘dead cat’ as they say in the markets?

The Predictortron gives Manchester City a 0.802083 of a goal advantage Which pretty much reflects what the markets are giving in the east (3/4 ball) – so not much in the way of glaring opportunity there to make a quick buck… flip a coin if you must gamble.

And, if you must gamble, then [as part of my recent pact with Beelzebub] I must offer you an opportunity to support this site by pissing your cash up against the wall here. But remember – even though The Predictortron ™ has verily nailed it of late – you can never beat the bookie… ever. And if you do – then they will just close your account.

Bastards.

My gut feeling is that this is going to be as tricky a fixture as it looks but I will watch it with extreme interest and wait with baited breath for the Referee Review. This game will answer for me a lot of questions I have about Phil Dowd.


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Making the Arsenal

25 comments to RefWatch – Manchester City Vs Arsenal (18/12/2011 – 16:10)

  • Zgooner

    Phil Dowd is the worst in my book against Arsenal…

    Let’s just pray he has a change of heart come Sunday..

    Fingers crossed. We can beat them God willing.. as we are willing.

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    You know, I have to give you credit for succeeding in an area of my life where every educator I’ve ever encountered up to this point has failed. And by that I mean, you’ve made me both interested in statistics, and determined to learn statistics.

    I remember back in college, as I was just barely passing my required stats course (I had a bet on with a friend at the time as to whether I could pass the course without ever studying once. And yes, I really was that obnoxious), I had this one professor, Mrs. Mann, who, despite the fact that what I really deserved was a good slap in the face, would call me to her office after every test, and tell me “Anne, you could be good at this if you would just apply yourself.”

    Wherever she is now, I’m sure it would bring tears to her eyes if she could read this comment. Because the truth is that I find these ref watches so damn fascinating that I can’t stand the fact that I don’t fully understand the statistics! So, ten years too late, I’m finally forced to concede defeat and admit that, yes, I SHOULD have applied myself in statistics 🙂

    But anyway, between learning statistics (finally) and getting myself up to speed on the finer points of the Asian gambling markets, it might take awhile. But I swear to God that, one of these days, I will be able to have an intelligent and fully informed conversation about one of these ref watches. Anyone want to put money on it? 🙂

  • You’re on Anne!

    I had the same experience as you through medical school, imagine that. I still get the turn off about Statistics even now, but i can’t resist reading dogface every week. Maybe i’ll get over it someday like you, but i’ve already taken more than 10 years.

  • RedGooner

    I think it will take a lot of fair decision making from Phil dowd to ever make Arsenal fans have any respect for him we dont want any favors but are fed up of some of the poor decisions he has been responsible for in the past.
    Its hard to stomach each times he is in charge of an Arsenal fixture, especialy one as important as this.

  • bob

    Dogface
    I still think that an actual primer – a real abc on how an idiot like me is to make sense of the terminology and graphs, with very basic labels, definitions and examples – would be friendly and more inclusive. It’s a burden on your time, but if you got very elementary and basis one time, which could be a reference for the statistically challenged you’d get a lot more and more meaningful responses. That your work is comprehensive and prodigious is clear. I wish that you’d do a prime for us, even over a period of time, which would usher many more into the commentaries. If you read between the lines, some folks who have commented here are working on getting more up to speed with the stats. How about some more to help us get on the same page with your significant work.

  • Bob – I’ve done this in the previous RefWatches linked in this article, look at the start for the ‘here’ and ‘here’ links. I really did take your requests on board and went through it all.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Apparently, you’re less ambitious than I am. Ask in a few weeks if you can borrow my notes 🙂

  • FinnGun

    His decisions in the Newcastle draw were so consistently bad and one-sided that he must have been bribed.

  • saketh

    hey dogface,

    I got the stats after reading the explanatory article ..

    but I can see why people do not get it .. that article is still intimidating. Try making it bigger and into more articles .. with examples of graphs explaining what trends they represent .. in the explanatory article itself .. each case an example – high with small width, low with small width, low with big width and low with small width etc.

    It might be more work for you, but I think once done, you’ll feel really good about it .. basically, make it REALLY basic, don’t worry about length of article .. people are huge enough football fans, and the fact that the stats come every week are motivating enough for them to go through it all

  • Kentetsu

    Nice addition to add the ref’s previous RefReview scores and the match’s final score.

    And now you made me really curious about the joke of the referee, the manager and the Asian bookie…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Based upon the numbers we got from the reviews he was the most appropriate ref to get this match. He has outscored all the other refs in our reviews so far. And as Clattenburg did the Chelsea-City game last monday he couldn’t do City again this weekend. Clattenburg should have been the second ref to do this game if Dowd could not get this game. So if Dowd keeps up his games like he did this season he should be a good ref.

    Of course since Newcastle last season as a Gooners we lost all faith in Dowd….. and it will take a few years to get that game out of our head…

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    In your explanation about the Asian betting markets, I was really interested in the part about market makers, and whether they’re aware of referee bias when they decide on the handicap for a particular match.

    And I was actually wondering about that in relation to your AHS/PPG graph on ManC under Phil Dowd. Because basically, unless I’m reading it wrong, it shows a fairly consistent pattern of handicaps that are just way, way off, going first one way and then the other, and in a manner that’s inconsistent with the accuracy of the handicaps in other matches (at least on the graphs that I’ve had time to look at).

    Based on that, I wanted to ask whether you would consider it likely that these market makers could have set handicaps that were that far off, that consistently, and over that period of time, without some sort of intent to do so?

    Because it seems like, even if Dowd was initially influencing the results in some way that caused a deviation from the handicap, the market makers would still have picked up on that trend eventually. Obviously, I don’t really know much about how they operate, but it does seem strange to me.

    So, specifically, what kind of incentive, financial or otherwise, could a market maker have to set a handicap that is too high or too low, if any?

    Also, is it strange in any way (given Phil Dowd’s and ManC’s recent trend of exceeding handicaps at exponential levels), that the handicap in tomorrow’s match is set as low as it is?

    Oh, and I was also wanting to know more about the exposure and liquidity issues that you were talking about. Do you happen to know of any credible websites or anything where I could look into that? Most of the ones I’m finding seem to be primarily interested in “educating” me on how to lose money.

  • bob

    Dogface,
    Cheers, I’ll get on to those soon, the next step in overcoming that set of mental blocks.

  • bob

    Anne,
    I can’t wait to borrow your notes.
    Works-in-progress r us.
    : )

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I’ll never understand statistics better than DogFace, but I’m hoping that, if I work hard, I might be able to edge him out in terms of my qualifications to write “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Stats.”

  • bob

    Anne,
    Complete Idiot’s?!
    I resemble that remark!
    (p.s. sign me up)

  • Sometimes I fucking hate the Predictortron.

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    🙂

  • @Anne – I will return to answer your questions in the morning!

  • Mahdain

    phil dowd proved what a twat he is…shit refereeing

  • novicegooner

    You nailed it again, Dogface!

    Im literally confused whether to congratulate you or not, but Im sure you’ve got answers from this match about Phil Dowd.

    I did enjoy watching the boys’ never say die attitude and it was a cracking match

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    Damn it, I misunderstood that graph 🙂 Oh well, I guess that’s how you learn…

  • Anne

    Although I do wish I had misunderstood it in some way other than neglecting to properly read the acronym that was in boldface and all caps right at the top 🙂

  • jitty

    I had the confidence to call Dowd before the game

    Went away to make pizza – no point watching Dowd games.

    But you could tell how the game would be when Ramsey got penalised for being fouled by Yaya

    😀

  • @Anne

    The market makers make their markets on a few things – first if where the money is going and second is the competition. This is a fairly efficient market in which punters will seek the best price.

    Our AHS is calculated from the betting line from around 30-50 bookmakers across Europe and Asia – so it represents a mean figure in an efficient market.

    There is a ‘However’ though and that is in the efficiency of the market in that any inside information a bookmaker has on a fixture will be extremely valuable in terms of how they set the betting line and the odds – and this is where the real fun starts and what drives competition in the marketplace.

    Inside information is an edge and we can see, with regards to the EPL, that a number of European and Asian gambling entities have tied themselves into lucrative sponsorship deals with a number of clubs – what do they get out of this one might ask? Clicks and traffic… possibly – but is a world where you can get your best odds via dedicated search engines, this seems unlikely. These businesses also wish to raise their profile which gives value but the real value would be inside information as to team news, injuries, squad selection, ‘agreed draws’ (happens with tournament football a lot – all part of the game), use of PES and instructed ‘effort’ in terms of “save your legs against Team A as we’ll aim to take points from Team B when we have them at home with Ref A” etc. All very valuable – and where one bookie goes then others will assess relative risk and follow.

    The other source of inside information is via the punter – say a football manager of an EPL team putting money against his team via his broker – this sort of thing is tolerated simply because, even though the bookie is onto a loser with that bet, the information he gleams from accepting it more than covers his loss… the same thing applies to certain players, agents, referee and match fixers – information is money and is traded though the murk.

    Whether the bookies take into account the Referee is, well, possible and probible, most of the time they are speculating against public opinion and Joe Bettor will usually take the form book or his favorite team into account when he is picking a winner – I would call this a feedback loop of credulity that has a stabilising effect on the markets with regard to Referee selection… this will change, however, as time plods on – with my data I can identify markets on some fixtures that I would call an absolute gift – yet, it seems, the market does not respond.

    If you want to do some research and get into the mind of the markets then there is no bettor place to go [see what I did there] than:

    http://www.asianbookie.com/