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RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Blackburn Rovers (04/02/2012 – 13:00)



Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By DogFace

  • Referee: Andre Marriner
  • Assistant 1: John Flynn
  • Assistant 2: Sian Massey
  • 4th Official: Paul Tierney

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch…

It’s been a depressing few days to be an Arsenal fan as we saw points drop again – what made this particularly depressing was that we only had the team to blame for a game that was in our hands to win.

This game falls on day 13 of the Chinese new year so, again, the Asian markets don’t really matter all that much, and [despite the early kick-off] we might see something of a competitive fixture… let’s just hope we can get our act together and jolly well fucking win it eh!?

I had a thought this morning as I woke up – it was off the back of a really lucid dream in which I was running away from something stupid, mildly psychotic but not exactly terrifying… I would keep holding it back (whatever it was as it kept changing shape and context) by barricading a door or knocking down a bridge [or something] and watch from relative safety as it somehow managed to overcome my obstacle; and then I’d be off again.

As I was trying to figure it all out and what it meant I felt myself becoming submerged in the act of achieving consciousness and a song that kept going around and around my head. It was the ‘Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine’ cover of the Inspiral Carpets track “This is how it feels”… except the lyrics were changed from “This is how it feels to be lonely” to “This is how it feels to be Tottenham”.

And as I woke up it struck me; all those years of taking it all for granted, duelling with United and Barcelona and laughing at the spuds – those were good times, it makes me wonder why some of the fan base grumbled so much and expressed bitterness about our ‘ambition’ and wrote off this or that player and booed them off the pitch… it seems no matter what we have we will always want more.

I accept that this the way it has always happened in football but now it’s all out of proportion as everything is built up to mean so much. I wonder how fans of clubs that get relegated must feel on the day they go down – how do they cope, how can they cope? Why not just jump off a bridge!?

This isn’t a matter of life and death – it’s much bigger than that, this is football!

And when I say football I mean the game, not just my team and I must say that I do admire some fans out there who enjoy a day out with their mates, watch a game of football and maybe have a bit of a grumble in the pub afterwards if it was a poor performance before going home safe and to some extent happy in the knowledge that they will never see their team win anything in their lifetime ever… when did it all get so spectacular, and when did the fan base get so atomised as to take every miss-kick and dropped point so utterly personally?

What emotion is that supposed to represent… passion, love or something else?

There have been a lot of books written about the lost soul of football by people who are far more talented than I that I can relate to and there has been a lot said by people who sit around me in the stands that I just don’t understand i.e. how can it be right to take the stance that if I pay [this much] money to watch a match then I am well within my rights to get my money’s worth… and if I don’t get my money’s worth of gratification then, QED, I will express my personal dissatisfaction at the situation and vent my money’s worth of bile… after all, they theorise, if I were on 50 grand a week I’d be able to take a on board a bit of criticism [bullying] and just go home and count my cash… as if money, earned or spent, were some tangible psychological shield, opiate or metaphysical shortcut to happiness…

We are, after all fans watching a football match and not some note-clutching crack-scoring addict are we not?

It is from the same mouths, that champion the argument of money equating to happiness, that crow in disbelief when a player leaves for an enhanced salary at a rival club… and it is these same mouths that will then declare in a litany of apologist self-harm that “he left to win trophies” and “we should spend some money” to win some trophies too.

Because money, trophies and individual bragging rights are all that seem to matter these days… it’s what support is all about – obviously.

If you really want to know where our Arsenal has gone – well, it’s right here, right now and it never went anywhere it is the rest of football that climbed aboard the gravy train fucked off into never-neverland – look at Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea… where did they go and who supports them now?

I don’t wish to tell you how to support our team and I don’t want to cause division in the fan base by boxing it up, to the point of exclusion, into the Wenger lovers, prawn sandwich munchers and the glory hunters or whatever. None of that is really important because if you keep dividing it up then all you are left with is a collection of individuals with no sense of direction or purpose other than that of self gratification and finger pointing when it all goes a bit pear-shaped.

Here are the markets:

Asian Handicap (betting line) market: The Under/Over market:
Arsenal Handicap Blackburn Rovers
2.050 0 – 1 3/4 1.850
Over Handicap Under
1.900 3 2.000

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Andre Marriner
  • Date of birth: 01-Jan-1971 (Age 41)
  • Place of birth: Birmingham
  • Resides: West Midlands
  • EPL/ECH Referee Since: 2003/2004
  • EPL/ECH Games to date: 176

Andre Marriner
Andre Marriner – Wot’s with all them black bin liners then?

It’s Andre Marriner again… you remember him from the ground-breaking Untold Ref Review series (now with added clarity and accessibility):

Season Score Match
2011/2012 77.420% Bolton Wanderers 0 – 5 Manchester United
2011/2012 74.510% Blackburn Rovers 4 – 3 Arsenal
2011/2012 63.410% Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester United
2011/2012 66.200% Chelsea 3 – 5 Arsenal
Average Score: 70.385%

Crikey, look at that, we had him in the 4-3 loss against Blackburn earlier this season… *boo*, but we also had him for the 3-5 win against Chelsea – *yay*! But then I remember last season when he gave that dodgy penalty to Liverpool… *boo*.

There’s only one way to sort the bones out of this one – 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.

Andre Marriner has had 11 games for Arsenal consisting of 7 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 3rd in Andre Marriner’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 2.09 PPG.

In Andre Marriner’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 4th with an average positive swing of 0.25.

Arsenal are currently in 5th in Andre Marriner’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 1.18 BPM.

In Andre Marriner’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 5th with an overall average of 9.46 FPB.

As we can see there doesn’t appear to be anything too much to worry about in Marriner’s numbers – we do OK on points per game (although this has dropped a little of late) and he also seems to show a a more punitive approach in the tackle to our opposition (we are the high/thin red line and our opposition is the thicker/lower orange line).

Let’s investigate the booking figures in a little more depth:

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 Andre Marriner.

You can see that we have not had any bookings to our defence since 2009/2010 and the cautions we took to our midfield and attack this season were, on average, very late in the game.

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 Andre Marriner.

It’s fairly clear to see that, of late, our opposition under Marriner get the majority of their cautions in the defence – although this is now trending later in the game and is also showing some bookings to the substitutes.

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.

Andre Marriner has had 13 games for Blackburn Rovers consisting of 7 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses.

Blackburn Rovers are currently in 6th in Andre Marriner’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 1.69 PPG.

In Andre Marriner’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Blackburn Rovers come 6th with an average positive swing of 0.12.

Blackburn Rovers are currently in 25th in Andre Marriner’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 2.23 BPM.

In Andre Marriner’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Blackburn Rovers come 25th with an overall average of 5.86 FPB.

Blackburn Rovers show a slight over performance overall under Andre Marriner – although this is very slight at 0.12 of a goal. I would say, other than that, Blackburn’s data under Andre Marriner looks entirely consistent and reassuringly normal. Just look at how the FPB/BPM for and against interweave – it feels right but let’s investigate these a little closer and see when and where the bookings are distributed.

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 Blackburn Rovers took all their bookings under Andre Marriner.

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 Blackburn Rovers’s opposition took all their bookings under Andre Marriner.

Again – in the above two graphs everything looks fairly well balanced for Blackburn under Andre Marriner although they have taken slightly more bookings this season than their opposition.

Let’s move on now to check out how Andre Marriner 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.

I would say that Manchester United are the standout performers under Andre Marriner, Arsenal do ok and Blackburn also mustn’t grumble… Chelsea are on a downer and Manchester City did well last season but are yet to have a game under Marriner this season.

The Predictortron gives Arsenal a 1.682692 goal advantage – which pretty much exacly tallies up with the markets (if you adjust for odds). All I can say is that I hope the Predictortron, and the markets, are right!

This is how it feels…


Untold Index
History Index
Making the Arsenal

41 comments to RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Blackburn Rovers (04/02/2012 – 13:00)

  • DC

    A must win match if ever there was one! Especially with our true competitors for the 3rd and 4th places (and yes, I’m removing Newcastle from the equation) are playing one another. If all results go well, 2 points behind Chelsea by 10pm GMT on Monday!

  • DC

    Early goal please and more intensity from the lads!

  • Andrei

    @DC I know it is sort of one game at a time and each is game is a final for Arsenal nowadays but here are some sobering numbers to consider in their fight for the 4th place. The points total of the team that finished 4th in the last four seasons were: 10-11: 68pts – 09-10: 70pts – 08-09: 72pts – 07-08: 76pts. So it is realistic to expect the 4th finish in 70-72pts range. With Arsenal on 37 points and 15 games remaining it means at least 10 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses finish. Arsenal would have to go on one hell of the run in order to qualify for CL.

  • DC

    Andrei,
    Absolutely and those are figures that give us hope; but another winning run to pressurise those around us is absolutely essential with early chances taken to open up the games and ease the nervousness and anxiety amongst the fans and players alike! Confidence will then surely follow!
    I feel that it will go right down to the wire between us, the red Scousers, the Spuds, and the Bus-stop at Fulham for 3rd and 4th. This weekend is massive and as Arsene himself has said, every game has to be treated like a cup- final from now onwards. Please bring about the second-half performance against Villa in the first half!

  • Tasos

    Checking the Ref Review on our 4-3 defeat at Ewood park this season reminded Me that Andre Marriner did not have the best of afternoons, with many wrong calls going against Arsenal. To be fair though the team did not help themselves with two own goals and numerous missed opportunities on the day.

    Blackburn are the only EPL team without a clean sheet this season with only Wigan conceding more goals, they will also be without influential players at both ends of the pitch, Yakubu(Suspended) and Samba(Transfer Listed).

    With the return of Bacary Sagna a big boost, defensively he is the best right back in the league, its time for the team to release the handbrake. All things considered Arsenal have a decent opportunity to gain a much needed victory.

  • critic

    on a sidenote, i think arsene reads untold arsenal, his recent comment about creating drama in everything reciprocates what walte said in his article about egypt catastrophe..

  • Toby

    By the way, your intro to this week’s ref preview was poetry, pure bloody poetry.

  • Mahesh

    Off Topic: Just watched, Per’s reaction to Bolton game. He really seems intelligent, and very level headed! And, his English must be better than many British players! 🙂

  • bob

    Andrei,
    Why don’t you crunch the same numbers for Chelsea and Liverpool so that there is a comparative view of this; as first of all there is no iron rule of numerology on this, and second, the rivals for the 4th place are not necessarily at the commanding heights once we see what they have to do to qualify. Perhaps we should have a race for 4th table and see what it looks like. Can you provide that view?

  • Marcus

    Just noticed the Lance Armstrong story. From what I understand, doping is almost ubiquitous in cycling, sadly. Will these admittedly unfounded allegations take the gloss off Armstrong’s achievements?

    http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/prosecutors-close-lance-armstrong-investigation-15509510

    It’s not really a parallel, because in Cycling I was lead to believe that there is widespread, almost ubiquitous, drug-taking, and way back to Eddie Mercxx, who I think, (don’t quote me), admitted as much.

    Perhaps one day one side of the Arsenal terraces will sing this to the other side of the Arsenal terraces:

    Wish You Were Here Lyrics

    So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
    blue skies from pain.
    Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?
    And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees?
    Hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change?
    And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
    How I wish, how I wish you were here.
    We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have you found? The same old fears.
    Wish you were here.

  • Shard

    Hello everyone. I now speak to you from the ..uh..not so sunny..and fairly cold shores of England. London to be precise. I’ll be going for the game today, and because of this Arsenal’s winning run will now begin 🙂

    Is there anybody amongst the royalty of Untold towers, or even the other plebs like me who will be around, and where can I find you?

  • Shard

    Also, does anyone know if it’s ok to take a small backpack with me to the match? Will they allow it in?

  • DC

    @Shard,
    Your backpack should be ok. It’ll be searched for illegal items and food but that should be it.
    Enjoy the match and wrap up very warm!

  • Shard

    Thank you DC. I’ll be sure to do both those things 🙂

  • Thanks Toby – glad somebody read it.

  • @Shard – you can usually find them in the Auld Triangle, enjoy the match and ignore the black bin-baggers.

  • Rich_Fryer

    How common is it to get the same ref for both fixtures against an opponent?

    Also, loved the opening. Reminds me that my love for Arsenal has nothing to do with the style of play, the players or even the manager. I remember cheering along to 1:0 to the Arsenal under Howe and Graham. It also helps me appreciate the style of play we have the privilage to watch now – regardless of the emotional rollercoaster of results.

    COME ON ARSENAL!

  • Norm

    This return game is the one I most want to see put right. At least there is no Samba fouling and barging into our keeper and no Fatubu constantly stood offside. Arteta to score again & make it count this time in a 3 nil win. C’mon you gunners!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Ref antics or not, we really have to win this game, I think we may even beat the predictotron today, it is about time we really hit somebody for a few goals. If you believe some, Blackburn are in meltdown, but they have not done too badly lately, and may feel they have nothing to lose, so lets hope we perform.
    What s that nonsense about the black bags? Protest is a right but.Embarassing for the fans involved in that

    On another, off topic note, it is impossible not to feel some degree of sympathy for John Terry, after all, he would not be the first person with racist views (in his case, allegedly) to lead his country into Poland.

  • Arvind

    Totally awesome Shard. How did you get there? Work? Personal holiday? Do the guided tour too if you get time. I was there in the UK for just 3 days once and a colleague very kindly booked me a tour and Charlie George showed us around. Awesome man. Do let us know about ur experiences and if you meet any AAA around 😉

  • El Gringo

    Just watching the ESPN coverage here in America. It’s half-time, and while the analysts were going through the 1st half highlights, they did not even mention Walcott’s role in either of the goals he assisted, despite having singled him out at the beginning of the match as a player needing to show some better form. His first assist in particular was precise and showed good vision and a nice understanding of how RVP would make his run. I don’t know the significance of the silence, but it is striking.

    Also, the freekick Blackburn scored from was preceded by a clear foul against Per while going up for a header. On the whole, though, I think Marriner’s been pretty fair and good.

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy Dodd

    I usually agree 100% with your thoughts and comments, but I have no symphtahy for Terry. Sorry.

    Watching today’s match on a bad stream, the Ox has scored – what a brilliant player he looks. If I remember correctly someone from Le Gripe criticized Wenger for buying him!

  • Tasos

    6-1 up with 10 mins to play.
    System working, send more bin bags. LOL

  • DAN

    More bags please!!!!

  • El Gringo

    Henri! He’s a legend. And RVP’s pass was completely unselfish; he could’ve scored a fourth if he wanted. 7-1!

  • Ugandan Goon

    it must be great going drinking with ref mariner, the geezer can’t keep his hands out of his pockets! he didn’t disappoint today.
    the atmosphere around the ground was fantastic and wow, the goals that didn’t come at bolton sprung eternal today- wenger and the boys leave the AAA with a rebranding problem, what to cry about now, should be made to wear their bin bags over their arsenal tops on the way back home.

  • Arvind

    @Shard: What a game for you to catch?

    And really what a good performance. Of course the AAA will be out to say that it was against 10 man Blackburn. But really footballistically [ugh], I wiped a virtual tear or two away today.

  • walter

    Shard You lucky man

  • Scholastic Amure

    Did anyone spot the differences btw Rosicky and Ramsey, the midfield played with more intensity, and accurate passing. He get something to learn from the more experienced Rosicky rather keep hesitating on the ball and lose the ball while drilling or pass to opposition player. Come Gunner!

  • LRV

    Oh What a day today. Enjoy it Oh ye Arsenal fans. And tear your rags, eat your hearts, pull your hairs off you AAAs.

  • Arvind

    Which reminds me…where ARE the AAA’s?

  • Marriner was pretty good today – the Arsenal were even better!

  • Mandy Dodd

    What a result, Shard must be a good luck charm. Ox looks a fantastic buy on the evidence of this, just hope Capello does not do anything silly.
    Bjtgooner, do not worry , I have not lost my marbles on John Terry, may not have phrased it too well, but just comparing him, maybe unfairly with another man of racist language who lead his country into Poland over 70 years ago

  • Adam

    I vote for a whip round to keep Shard in England.

  • Shard

    @Adam

    I second that 🙂

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    Glad to know that your Arsenal-related telepathic capabilities are now widely renowned 🙂 I do miss you from my couch seat though…

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    This might be one of my favorite articles that you’ve ever written. Whoever called it “poetic” above was correct, in my opinion.

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    What a naughty, naughty historical reference.
    (You’ve now received a lifelong ban on Sky’s airwaves, you know.)

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    Just in case I didn’t make myself clear earlier, I loved this article. This line in particular made me smile (albeit in kind of a sad way):

    “as if money, earned or spent, were some tangible psychological shield, opiate or metaphysical shortcut to happiness”

  • Anne

    Fucking brilliant, man… 🙂

  • FinnGun

    Excellent stuff!

    Somebody should do a video compilation at the end of the season showing all the referee howlers. Maybe just the game affecting ones (penalties and red cards – given or not given). Otherwise the video would be an hours long epic. Seriously, a video like this would help to increase the pressure to do something about the PL refereeing. In my dreams, video tech now!