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RefWatch – Queens Park Rangers Vs Arsenal (31/03/2012 – 15:00)



Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By DogFace

  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Assistant 1: Stuart Burt
  • Assistant 2: Adam Watts
  • 4th Official: Lee Probert

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch… before I get started I would like to talk a little bit about confidence – it’s a bit of a subject that’s bouncing around at the moment as we [The Arsenal] are on one heck of a streak in the EPL and looking good for a top 3 spot. Not that we here at Untold ever doubted it of course… well – maybe a little bit but we tried not to let it show too much; besides – the season isn’t done yet and we can take a fine lesson from our north London neighbours in terms of ‘counting ones chickens’ and the fable of the cockerel that crowed too early [and thus choked]. We’ve been the nearly men for a while now and we Arsenal fans know that it takes more than just being the better team to win titles – you need something extra.

And something extra appears to be exactly what Manchester United has in spades this season… a little extra penalty there, a little red card there and a lot of very favourable referee appointments in the run in. It is getting so obvious that the whiff of ‘something Calciopoli’ in the air is fast becoming a stench so strong that even Joe Mug is curling up his nose and checking his shoes for something unpleasant. Let’s face facts – Manchester United’s squad are at present nothing special and are relying on aging players such as Scoles, Giggs and Ferdinand to bolster a squad that is thinning, in terms of talent, as Wayne Rooney’s head was of hair (pre-op). Personally I find Manchester United a bit of an embarrassment to the credibility of the league and hardly convincing as the de-facto jewel in the global brand that is the EPL – but that’s just me.

But don’t get me wrong, Manchester United [as SAF claims in his rather brass-necked rebuttal of Patrick Vierra’s claims of ‘Old Traffordish’ referee performances (giving the Red Devils the edge they need to ‘compete’)] don’t get it all their own way – on the rare occasions this season where they do have to show the ‘spirit of champions’ on a level pitch and/or play uphill they end up looking entirely ordinary and drop points… which is probably why they haven’t had to do that very much?

Part of me wonders whether football was always like this… another part of me knows it wasn’t. In recent history I can recall Manchester United having very good sides and winning titles in a way that you couldn’t really begrudge them being called champions – it all seemed to even out and their seasonal points tally was a fair reflection of the team (even if it didn’t always even out for their competitors); but now… no – it is ridiculous, they are an ‘old lion’ playing purely on their reputation.

Which takes me back to confidence and a concept that I would like to call Promotional-Doping; this is something that is really not new – it’s deeply ingrained in human nature in terms of socially held views of ‘hype’ on the credibility of status… it’s natural – the Alpha male among primates survives from day to day on reputation – it is only when his reputation clashes with an up and coming pretender that he will have to back it up with any kind of fight – and even then, disputes over dominance are usually settled with a lot of display and posturing… posturing in which ego, confidence, arrogance and a certain amount of believing in one’s own hype are key.

But what the heck has a bunch of apes thumping their chests over breeding rights with high ranking females got to do with premiership footballers?

Well we have to understand that, as a species and in the grand scheme of things, we are not all that more advanced than our primate cousins – of course we have iPads, and the wheel and all that marvellous sense of invention and expression in us but when you scratch the surface (or apply five pints of Stella) we find our nature and motivation is entirely animal. For instance – if it is widely accepted in the UK that Wayne Rooney is the most talented player in the world and that illusion is maintained by those whose job it is to inform – then in the mind of your typical EPL defender, who is undoubtedly skilled in his profession but not that perceptive out of it, might feel the pressure of intimidation when it comes to sticking a leg in. Just as when it becomes widely accepted that Arsenal’s defence are poor; as a journeyman striker – you might feel a little more inclined to try your luck, especially when those whose job it is to inform are also informing one and all of the potential weaknesses that might be exploited in a defence that “ain’t worth a damn” or a team that “don’t like it up ‘em”. The reverse is also true – i.e. when said player is in an international fixture and comes up against players who aren’t subjected to repeated images of his shouty face nor forced to inhale the vast plumes of smoke blown up his arse might approach their duties in a more utilitarian fashion against a player who is, well, spoilt.

You may have guessed that when I mention “by those whose job it is to inform” I am talking mostly about the media – but what they churn out is also aped, spun and oscillated by the blogosphere into the casual fan base and repeated ad infinitum over lager soaked pub tables and in discussion groups until it becomes established fact. These groups seem to rely on each other for information and opinion and they ultimately define the narrative of context in which our sport is perceived and judged.

While we have drifted onto the subject of the media; I read an article in The Sun the other day entitled “Wenger in a rush” that struck me as well, rather odd. The main quote of this nugget of *whatever* read thus:

“The Arsenal boss made a mess of his 2011 dealings and had to sign Mikel Arteta, Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker on the transfer window’s final day.”

So The Sun informs us that Mikel Arteta, Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker where what… ‘a mess’ – a bit of bad business? What? Are we to believe that Arsene Wenger is not savvy in the transfer market now? Where is there a mention of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in that ‘mess’ of a transfer window? I don’t understand what they are getting at – am I thick? Where is the story of all the ropey decisions going the way of certain teams, where is the investigation into bias and the referee selection process and the fact that it’s hardly credible to call professional English football a sport anymore? Where is the comparison with Arsenal’s transfer dealings with that of our competitors?

Also in the media this week we have many tales of a cull in the Arsenal ranks – this is not backed up with any sources but it is a story that has wings in terms of engineering expectations in, and a wave of “get rid” and “dead wood” style pontifications from the, Football Manager generation.

Firstly I would like to say that I find the manner of the feedback from how these articles are received in the Arsenal fan base mildly offensive and self-destructive in terms of the mentality it could engender in the squad and reserves… remember we are animal in what drives our decision making process and if we have no sense of loyalty to our clan, our team, our players in terms of their own best interest in combination with the best interests of the whole then what subconscious paths does that lay in the minds of the players coming through our ranks other than distain for the fans and to look after #1 first?

If a player is good enough to play first team football at another club but is not showing signs of stepping up sufficiently to the level to break the first team at Arsenal – then very well, it’s time to think about what is the best course of action for both parties. We have a responsibility to do what is right both as a club and as fans. The wholesale writing off of players as ‘shit’ is not constructive in my opinion and can further affect the confidence of a player trying to find form and belief – it is also dehumanising to refer to someone as ‘dead wood’, remember these guys are still wear the shirt, train with the club and will remain very good and loyal friends with those they leave behind on their wobbly pedestals.

Unfortunately this micro examination and search for flaws in *whomever it may be this month* seems to be sadly lacking in the way we view the match officials and protectors of our game – where is the gasp of horror emanating around the ground for every misplaced whistle and blind eye from a referee having a shocker and thus making life hard for us? Where is the debate in the pub post match that such and such a linesman or referee is ‘dead wood’ and where is Mike Riley to drop him to the bench and get another ambitious young official to step up when he cannot perform his duties effectively?

It seems that there is an overriding culture in football to not question the official in any way shape or form – it is taboo and there have been various official and media drives to re-enforce the desire to ‘respect’ without question. While I agree that the referee’s word on the field of play should be obeyed without question by all those on the field (not excluding requests for clarification and explanation) I do not agree that this culture should persist once he steps off it.

On the contrary – the referee’s performance needs to be scrutinised and evaluated in a transparent way and used as a means for assessing performance leading to promotion or demotion as needs be. We should all be able to look at a referee’s stats and say with confidence that he is a ‘good ref’ who we can trust to give a fair performance and we must give him the benefit of the doubt… I would like to hear Alan Shearer on MOTD state that such and such had an excellent game that he can be proud of with very few mistakes and his stats bear that out (cue graphic), after all – he is but one man, fallible and effectively in control of a multi-billion pound global gambling market.

Something needs to be done to restore the credibility of professional refereeing at the highest level among the ever growing restless cynicism of the fans or the fans will, well, no longer have any confidence in it.

It really is that simple… if this is not done then what are we as consumers of this ‘product’ supposed to read into that – we must surely suspect the worst when a manager is publicly made an example of for privately expressing his displeasure and demanding an explanation from a referee post match and/or we see teams like the 2011/2012 Manchester United squad take the EPL Title?

Let’s check out the markets – remember, it’s a 3pm game today so while they are not massive in Asia, Arsenal will be on a lot of peoples coupons for the multiple – the ‘coupon buster’ being Blackburn vs Manchester Utd… although Howard Webb is in charge of that one so we will watch with interest.

Asian Handicap (betting line) market:

Home Handicap Away
2.225 3/4 – 0 1.750

The Under/Over market:

Over Handicap Under
1.975 2 3/4 1.925

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Mike Leslie Dean
  • Date of birth: 02-Jun-1968 (Age 44)
  • Place of birth: The Wirral
  • Resides: Cheshire
  • EPL/ECH Referee Since: 1999/2000
  • EPL/ECH Games to date: 316

Mike Dean
Mike Dean – Sod the lino, I reckon that’s a nailed on peno. *troll face*

It’s Mike Dean again… you remember him for all the wrong reasons, I’m sure, and also from the excellent referee review series:

Season Score Match
2011/2012 80.000% Manchester City 4 – 0 Swansea City
2011/2012 83.330% Chelsea 4 – 1 Swansea City
2011/2012 68.290% Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Arsenal
2011/2012 54.550% Arsenal 1 – 1 Fulham
2011/2012 77.370% Blackburn Rovers 0 – 1 Chelsea
2011/2012 70.450% Newcastle United 0 – 3 Chelsea
2011/2012 69.700% Manchester City 3 – 0 Stoke City
2011/2012 62.500% Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Sunderland
2011/2012 73.680% Manchester United 2 – 3 Blackburn Rovers
2011/2012 76.000% Arsenal 1 – 2 Manchester United
2011/2012 73.530% Manchester City 3 – 0 Fulham
2011/2012 74.140% Arsenal 5 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Average Score: 71.962%

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.

Mike Dean has had 3 games for Queens Park Rangers consisting of 0 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses.

Queens Park Rangers are currently in 34th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 0.33 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Queens Park Rangers come 32nd with an average negative swing of -0.94.

Queens Park Rangers are currently in 12th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 1.67 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Queens Park Rangers come 14th with an overall average of 7.20 FPB.

It’s pretty clear that, with only 3 matches, we really don’t have enough data on QPR under Mike dean to really comment in any depth. What we can see though is fairly normal FPB/BPM figures for both QPR and their opposition and a pretty shabby return of points from a general trend of underperformance.

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 Queens Park Rangers took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

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 Queens Park Rangers’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

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.

Mike Dean has had 31 games for Arsenal consisting of 14 wins, 10 draws and 7 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 4th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 1.68 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 21st with an average negative swing of -0.15.

Arsenal are currently in 30th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 2.13 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 3 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 32nd with an overall average of 5.48 FPB.

This is Dean’s fifth appointment for an Arsenal game this season so we have lots of data and can look to draw some conclusions – It’s clear from the FPB/BPM lines that Arsenal get a lot less leeway in the challenge than their competitors under Mike Dean and are carded more readily. It’s also clear that we have severely and regularly underperformed under Mike Dean – the only exception being the 2008/2009 season where we saw a good return of points and an average over performance. This season things have improved a little after the 5-2 thumping of Dean’s darlings – but we are still showing a slight average underperformance and a very low return in the way of points.

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 Mike Dean.

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 Mike Dean.

Let’s move on now to check out how Mike Dean 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.

The fat Chelsea streak remains firmly in place in Mike Dean’s figures despite the loss to Manchester City. Manchester City’s numbers have jumped to be top performers of the big teams this season yet there is no real consistency in their numbers. Arsenal’s anaemic blue line shows how poorly we perform in the way of points yet our result over Tottenham has actually placed us above them in terms of the average swing against the handicap. Tottenham, as you can see, have done very well in terms of points under Dean since the arrival of Harry Redknapp.

The Predictortron gives Queens Park Rangers a 0.071429 of a goal advantage but sod the Predictortron – it’s on the fritz… truth is that I started fiddling with it and it’s never been the same since – I’ll get back to it one day but for now I’d just take it with a pinch of salt and use your own Preditortrons i.e. you minds. The brain is a fabulously complex machine and it will work everything out if you just let it – you have the data, you have the overall picture – you know what Dean can do, what QPR can do… what Joey Barton can do and what this Arsenal team can do when they refuse to lie down and be written off in matches like this.

So predictions in the comments section please!

If you would like to go with your gut instinct, with the full understanding that you can never beat the bookie, then please feel free to place bets here.


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37 comments to RefWatch – Queens Park Rangers Vs Arsenal (31/03/2012 – 15:00)

  • toby

    Awesome. An interesting view would be to compare Arsenal’s games under Current Ref (Mike Dean in this case) vs. their performance under all other refs combined. Wouldn’t that highlight perhaps more powerfully the bent-ness (or lack of) of particular refs? Have you thought about that?

  • @toby – yeah… I have that graph – but it’s difficult to compare all referee’s at once as it gets a little congested:

    Arsenal Vs PGMOL/EPL

  • Anne

    Hm… predictions…. Arsenal win! (that’s such a cop out isn’t it? :} )

    Excellent Refwatch, DogFace.

  • Anne

    that was supposed to be a ” 🙂 ” above

  • Anne

    Specifically, loved the aspects related to “promotional-doping” (do you have a copyright on that phrase? Because I might steal it), and primatology as well.

    Wenger’s comments in his pre-match press conference on the subject of refs were quite interesting, btw.

  • Thankyou Anne – I very much enjoyed your last article: click

    Recommended reading!

  • lol Anne nah – you can run with that, I believe that once you put something out there you no longer own it, I just put a name to it – if it sticks then so be it.

  • Gord

    I thought you started with a wonderful essay DogFace. Well, except for the iPod thing. Being a Linux person, it would have to be Android.

    In terms of putting stuff “out there”, on the FOSS side we often find “information wants to be free”. But the term promotional-doping isn’t really information, it is quite descriptive though.

    In terms of predictions, I would like to see Van Persie get back on the goal train. The International Business Times is predicting a 3-1 Arsenal win. I’ll go 3-0 (Szczesny keeps a clean sheet) and RVP gets a brace.

    Bolton play Wolves, and I’ll guess Ryo gets a goal for Bolton.

  • Toby

    Dogface- what if you combine all other refs as a single data line? Using the law of large numbers (games played/analyzed) you would not expect much of a disparity between the two lines: one for arsenal under mike dean, and the other line for arsenal under all other refs combined. Any disparity would be interesting to see. You could then produce the same chart for arsenal vs each ref, And then each team vs each ref….

  • cupsui

    The earlier part of your article boils down to one thing (not man thing)…Rupert F%@king Murdoch.
    Like most evil doings in the world there is little doubt that he is behind it. Is he by any chance a Manure fan? I don believe you were reading the sun? Research of course 😉

    The latest one you probably haven’t heard in the UK is that in Australia when PayTV was taking off his Newscorp group released hacked codes to its competitors, devastating competitors.

    I totally concur with the impunity that exists with referees but its not just FFA just look at UEFA banning wenger again…But troll face…what a disgrace. His little dance after the saha goal was shocking, what happened with that FFA? the penalty? the assistant thought it was a dive and it was Bale a serial diver (but of course protected diver…cause he his british). Well i hope we stay focussed and smash them yet again taking it out of the incompetent mike deans hands

  • mark

    Good article! I liked the phrase “promotional doping.” Some players have a better reputation than they deserve. Some deserve more.

    I think Arsenal will win, unless there is some extreme decisions by the ref. I really don’t want to see Dean dancing when QPR score.

  • Dino Abby

    Granted that in Asia, Arsenal is not as massive as MU but the the fans of the other big clubs including the gooners are now beginning to openly discuss the favors that MU has been getting from Referees and not discounting possible involvement of the betting world.

    Thank you UA for opening the eyes of the football fans the world over. The analysis used are easily quoted by fans in discussions that’s making it more and more visible the unfair influence that match officials are inflicting in the games. The word that has been increasingly associated with a list of MU Referees is “Corrupted” and slowly but surely the asian fans are beginning to see the EPL as a mockery. The hatred towards these group of corrupted Referees are rising very fast, compounded with the mediocre level of MU performances that increasingly require helps from Referees nearly every week. It’s beginning to be very pathetic!

    I really hope UA keep up with this effort of exposing the truth that’s killing the integrity of EPL.

  • Arun

    No matter whatever Dean is up to, he was the one to revitalize our season by giving the totts a 2-goal advantage at the Emirates and I just don’t see him stopping our run of victories at the moment. RVP to score and we win with a clean sheet.
    @Dogface, the intro of the article was just simply exquisite.

  • Gerry Lennon

    I have an interesting parrallel to offer here. Many years ago when I was a student we had a visiting lecture given by (the real) John McVicar, not the Arsenal supporting Roger Daltrey. For those too young to know, McVicar was one of the ‘most wanted’ criminals way back when, and eventually served a long prison sentence, for which he claimed he was ‘fitted up’. Not that he was complaining about that on this lecture tour, because he had got away with plenty, so it balanced out( his words).
    No, the thrust of his lecture was on corruption. He made a very strong case of how it developed, and eventually was exposed when high profile police officers from the then Metroplitan Police Squad were found guilty of corruption.
    Here is the parrallel … McVicar said the problem began when the courts accepted the word of the police over witnesses without question. Thsi led to the odd half-truth, dodgy evidence, and eventually outright ‘fitting up’, all passing through the courts because they were never challenged by those who could have done something about it. Those police who took the odd free food and drink in turn for not looking too closely at what other activities that went on, were the starting point of where the bigger things were allowed ‘because society wanted criminals put away’, and so they were doing a ‘good job’ if they took the odd bribe from ‘porn kings’ in exchange for a free ride(avanced warnings on raids, etc) and got some information on who were doing what. But of course, once you have gone down that road it makes it so much easier to take bigger bribes from bigger criminals.
    The argument is simple, unless those who are responsible for a fair and just world stop blindly accepting ‘the word’ of one side, corruption wll flourish.
    John McVicar was publicising his book, ‘McVicar’, at the time for any that want to follow this up.
    Cheers

  • Reviewer 02

    I have just about finished my review of Man City V Chelsea featuring Mike Dean. He is a consistently average Referee who makes far too many mistakes.
    He fails to read intent in a challenge
    He interprets “Advantage” poorly and never brings the game back if none is gained
    He often misses dangerous and reckless challenges
    His positioning is poor, often being close to play but not with a great view
    And he has an arrogant demeanour the distances him from the players on the pitch
    Mike Dean looks to me like the little boy who took up reffing because he could not play the game, and no one wanted to play with him. His decision making, in my opinion looks like that of a guy who has never played the game, I fear the worst this afternoon. Hughes will send his boys out to bully us, Barton will get away with a few, hurting someone in the process, dangerous challenges will be missed, and Dean will run around the pitch with his arms pointed out shouting “play on” just because someone has appealed for a legitimate foul, and he has not a clue as to what has just happened.
    Why this little fucker again? Only Riley knows, therein lies the answer!!
    @Dogface
    Once again a wonderful analysis, you continue to highlight the fuck awful standard of Journalism in this country as much as you do the unforgiveable bias of the PGMOL. Gooner Legend

  • Gerry Lennon

    On promotional doping … In my large family of dogs, the father thought he was king because he could easily beat up the puppies. They believed he was king … until one of his son’s thought otherwise. Although he lost the first challenge, the day he publicly floored the self-proclaimed top dog. After that the rest simply ignored him (apart from a couple of his ‘toadies’).
    The difference now is, the current leader is tested on a daily basis and still comes out on top … A dog worthy of the title of ‘King’.
    Sorry about missing or mis-placed ‘i’s in my previous post, I think my eyes are getting old?

  • meditation

    if its a gervinho day it could be a win with plenty of goals. could the arsenal score a odd high number. Let the future unfold. Great article Dogface. Great articles Untold.

  • marcus

    The real problem Dogface is that corruption has become the norm in our society. I could cite countless instances of this in society and politics. (Think politics, police, newspapers). Although technically we live in a kind of fascist state, (I say kind of because the root meaning of fascism involves physical oppression), where big business determines the rules, and anyone who dissents is beaten down, in one way or another.

    These political realities are no different in the sphere of football, if anything they are more extreme because of the amounts of money sluicing around.

    Just look at the uproar after Patrick Viera suggested Man U get the rub of the green……
    lol…anyone would have thought he’d committed high treason….

    It’s just a crazy warped and twisted world we live in, where speaking the truth is often seditious.

    Football used to a bit of working class escapism, but that’s not really possible anymore because there is no let up in the system anymore.

  • meditation

    Tiny video of united bias http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpWsLit5Wdc&feature=relateds Im surprised this was on match of the day.

  • Tasos

    Excellent article Dogface.

    As Anne as stated, Arsene Wenger made some interesting comments on referee’s and penalties in his pre-match press conference yesterday;

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-stats-keep-us-out-of-favouritism-argument-

    Mike Dean again!

    What box of delights does Mikey boy have in store for us today?
    And will Mikey boy get the opportunity to display his latest dance routine?

    Logically everything points towards another Arsenal victory, form, confidence, momentum, statistics, odds, the lot. The world of football is rarely that obvious though, especially with Mikey boy choreographing our show.

  • bob

    Dogface,
    Here’s Exhibit A proving the Alpha Male section of your article:

    Today, in sync with your article, the (Manchester) Guardians are baring their incisors:

    First have a look at Don Fergus’s sardonic and wolfish grin on the main page of the home page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football
    This is the true face of Lord Football. Next to him is Mancini caught by their paparazzi with his head in hand, Arsene-style as they showed AW repeatedly in the first months of this season.

    Second, do note the headline of the home page
    Man City are beginning to feel the heat.
    Which is further refined in their Blog (the “Bl” taken from “Bl”itzkrieg):
    Manchester City feel the heat as relentless United grind them down.

    The rose petals phase of the Rednose XX have temporarily been replaced by bared fangs and salivating His stenographers (Manchester) Guardians have turned into unleashed Attack Dogs. (Wondering whether there’s any blood tie between so-called ref Anthony Taylor and Daniel Taylor, this Guardian Blogster? Anyone?)

  • bob

    Anne, as a follow up:
    Arsene twice-endorsed Video Replay in relation to his attempted banning by UEFA for addressing the mis-calls of one of UEFA’s protected shop-stewards (aka refshite). Will The Dean and Probation do their part in the highlight real of EPL lowlights; or is AFC too far from ManUre’s coveted crown that it would do worse harm their interests to backstab us in public and add further proof of their mendacity to a public that has begun to see through their dramaturgy of lies.

  • Adam

    Always a good read “puppy chops”.

  • meditation

    @tasos Interesting that arsene says patrick spoke from the heart and not mind. Is he hinting that patrick is speaking the truth and not playing mind games as the media would have us believe?.Anger of the heart creates confusion of the mind. The future is clarity as the hidden become exposed.

  • bob

    p.s. As for an endorsement of Primatology, one only has to go to the Guardian Great Ape known as David Lacey, whose blog today celebrates the Tony Pull-This Alpha alternative to girly football with this ode to male enhancement:

    “Disciples of the passing game are apt to dismiss those who prefer a more direct approach of sides such as Tony Pulis’s Stoke City but contrasting styles enhance the Premier League.”

  • Promotional-Doping, a great phrase as Anne said. Generous of you Dogface to allow it out into the wild so readily, but I think that it should clearly be seen as an Untold phrase, to go along with our other great phrases like “rotational fouling”.

    Promotional-Doping is rife – although some of the attempts by the AAA are incredibly funny. One of the unexpected benefits of the blog is that the AAA write to us when things are not going so well, but they can’t go back and erase what they have written. I am working on a collection of some of their greatest phrases, for release at some time in the future.

    Brilliant article – I do so love it when I can come to the site, read a superb piece, and not have to behave like an editor. I just sit there and marvel.

  • Tasos

    Will this be the day that QPR owner, Tony Fernandez, gets his reward for sponsoring the PGMOL. A company he founded sponsors the referees.

    Tune Group Sdn. Bhd. — parent company of the budget airline AirAsia, controlled by the tycoon since 2001 — agreed on a three-year contract last year to have its brand emblazoned on the uniforms of match officials. The Professional Game Match Officials board said the deal was worth “seven figures.”

    “I actually conveniently forgot about it,” Fernandes, chief executive officer of AirAsia, said in an interview at QPR’s stadium earlier this season. “I don’t think any referees are going to say ‘Tune is sponsoring me so I am going to make sure QPR win.’”

    Recently Arsenal’s performances have been good enough to overcome any bias/corruption that exists and I hope that run can continue today. However I fear that this game has all the hallmarks of EPL skulduggery and so I have put My money where My mouth is and placed a small wager on an Arsenal red card and/or a penalty awarded to QPR.

    What are the chances?

  • LRV

    A scintillating article, Dogface. Wow, that was a great read.

    My main problem with this whole damn ‘Refshitte’ is the way this damned Football Authorities (FA, UEFA, FIFA, et al) are making Referees sacrosanct. Isn’t that, sort of, too dictatorial? Should that sort of law that allows them never to be questioned, especially after a match, still be imposed in todays world? Isn’t that leaving too much room for corruption to thrive? A manager is somehow punished for refusing to speak to the press after a match but the referee walks away free; why should that be? Why can’t managers of teams who feel hard-done-by be able to seek clarification? What happens to freedom of speech? Freedom of information? Above all, what happens to human rights?

    The banning of Arsene Wenger for having the temerity to ask a legitimate question off the referee… Isn’t it dictatorial? Why is Arsenal Footbal Club not challenging these witch hunt in the Law Courts? Or is there a law that even prevents this? Why are they not getting the AFC law department to step in like they did with the Edwardo Vs UEFA injustice? Is FIFA/UEFA/FA above the laws of the world?

    Please Lawyers on here help me get answers to these questions. Surely they can be sued, can’t they? If the player who went to court to get his freedom to go to a club of his choice had not done so, there would not have been a Bosman, would there? So why is everthing to do with Football outside of normal courts of Law?

    If something is not done, the Mike Rileys, Busacas, Howard Webs, Mike Deans, etc, of this world will keep on screwing football fans over, irrespective of which club they support. I don’t care how much money is in football, but without the spectators, it will peter out into nothingness. Won’t it?

  • RedGooner

    DogFace, Arguably one of thebest articles I have read recently.

    I think we will win 2 or 3-1 today.

    There is so much corruption in football currenty from the the top down I think it might be the most corrupt sport in the world.

  • Goona Gal

    @Dogface, I am currently in a far distant land, where the internet is proving expensive and unreliable. Nevertheless, reading this article, which perfectly articulates the current state of play and is so well written, I had to add to my current bill to say thanks and register my appreciation.

    I really is wrong that we have Dean yet again.

  • Gord

    @DogFace

    Some news out of the general commentary at the BBC

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17571800

    > 1448: Something else to look out for at Goodison Park. Referee Peter Walton is taking charge of his final Premier League game today. He flies over to the United States on Monday to become the head of referees in the MLS.

  • Johnny Deigh

    @Gord – footballisfixed.blogspot.com mentioned this being Peter Walton’s last match and how the PGMOL allowed him to select which match he wanted to ref. They were questioning the integrity of that match.

  • Johnny Deigh

    @Gord – You would have thought the MLS would have got somebody good.

  • I missed the game completely – but thanks for the positive feedback on the article… so we lost eh? Oh well – I will await the Ref Review with great interest.

  • Gf60

    Maybe we have to blame your bloody predictortron and not Dean.

  • Gord

    @Johnie – Who would you have liked to see go to MLS instead of Walton?

    How did Chamakh look in the few minutes he was out there?

  • Johnny Deigh

    @Gord – I would nominate someone with integrity, someone like Walter.