This article is part of the series : REFEREE REVIEW 2012
Untold Arsenal has a team of qualified referees who have reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games from last season. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.
By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.
The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.
The next ref in our review is Michael Oliver
We have done 8 of his games in the PL last season. That is a total of 38.10% of his games. If you want us to do more next (this) season and if you are a ref you could always try to help us of course by dropping us a note or a comment and we will get back to you.
Let us first have a look and see if he is a competent ref or not?
And well those are really great numbers! A score of just under 80% is showing that he made a lot of good decisions and certainly was way above the average of all the referees. A great result.
If we put weight on this we see that his points drop a bit to 77.26% correct decision. We will be having a look at this in the next graphics but this could point at the fact that he was a bit more uncertain in the big decisions than in the overall decisions.
So the next thing is to see how he did in those different type of decisions.
The goal decisions are rather good. Only one goal decision wrong in the games we reviewed, so that is all in all a great result.
The offside decisions are a bit below average but this is not just down to the ref of course but comes down to the teamwork.
The “other” decisions are great with a score of more than 80% (81,73 to be precise) and that is all we can ask for. More of this please.
This cannot be said about the penalty decisions. A score of only 53% correct penalty decisions is not good enough. This might be down to “penalty box fever” as it is sometimes called. He has proven he can spot a foul, but he suddenly freezes when the same foul happens in the penalty box. Maybe this is something that will improve with getting more experience.
The red card decisions are bad if you look at the score of 0% correct. But it was only on one decision that he had to make on red cards. I will get back to that later in my final conclusion if you don’t mind.
The yellow cards are also not what we can expect when looking at the rest of the good numbers. Maybe this also is a bit down to being one of the younger referees in the PL?
The next thing to do is look at the bias numbers in general.
Well this is certainly very close to the league average numbers. One could say that he is a bit of a home referee, but not a totally clear one. The league average negative away bias is -1.826 so he just is a bit on the bad site of this but we will not slaughter him for this. Still something to keep in mind and to work on.
If we put weight on the decisions the numbers go up a bit. But again one of the best overall scores from all the refs. So not really bad even though we would like to see it go down so that no home or away bias can be seen. In the mean time, just hope to have him at home.
Let us now go and see at how the different clubs have fared under Michael Oliver in the games we reviewed.
The first thing I would like to point at is the fact that with this ref Arsenal is in a mid-table position when it comes to bias. It is a negative bias and too big to be good but compared to other refs I think we would take it if he would do more Arsenal games. If the PGMOL reads this we probably will not see him again in the next weeks or months.
In total we have numbers of 13 different teams. 7 have a negative bias and 6 a positive bias. We notice that Manchester City had a big negative bias and Manchester United almost the same positive bias. Chelsea is also not one of his favoured teams according to these numbers. Food for thought I would say.
What is remarkable is that he has a big negative bias against Fulham. The biggest of all the clubs he did. And the team that got most things from Oliver last season seems to be Aston Villa.
Let us see what happens if we put weight on the decisions.
Well in a way the general picture remains the same. Fulham is very hard done by this ref. And suddenly Swansea got a few big calls in their favour from this ref to put them in the first place from benefiting from his (big) mistakes.
What is again catching my eye is the fact that Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are having a major negative bias swing. And the one top team that is having a big positive swing is Manchester United. Is this showing his true colours?
Again I would like to point at the fact that even though the negative bias is big against Arsenal it isn’t the biggest of them all and remains well in control compared to other refs.
This is on paper a very competent ref with a lot of potential. He has shown in his games that he can spot a foul. That is of course very important. Certainly a ref to keep in the PL for my part.
Now let us get back to the red and yellow cards decisions as they were a bit out of line with the rest of his excellent numbers.
From the competency numbers we can conclude that he knows a foul when he sees one and that he makes a lot of correct decisions. I really am convinced that the fact that he only had to make one red card decision in the games we reviewed is because he got his calls correct. If a ref in general makes a lot of good calls the players notice that and they will try to play more within the rules. And thus less yellow or red cards have to be given.
The better you are as a ref and the better you have things in control (by making correct decisions) the less problems you will have. A ref that keeps it tight in the beginning of a game will be able to loosen up after some 10 minutes as by then the players have understood the game plan from the ref. And this normally leads to fewer fouls, fewer yellow and red cards.
So not having to make many decisions on those could well be down to doing some good to great games.
My only worry is the difference between one top team and the rest of the top teams. That is worrying as far as I’m concerned. Is he a bit too much in favour of Manchester United? The numbers we have suggest this and certainly when you combine the good numbers from United and the bad numbers of all the other top teams you might get the impression that he is not a big team biased ref but more for one big team in particular. And that is something to keep an eye on. Not just us, but also the PGMOL should do this. But that is day dreaming I think.
But never the less, apart from the bias problem, a very good ref in the games we reviewed.
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