By Walter Broeckx
As Tony said it earlier today we will write what we think we should write. So for those not liking, sorry. But here is another whining,…er….article about the ref we have today.
Of course this is a cup game and in cup games there are different rules. Well not in the laws of the game but I have noticed and written about refs behaving in a completely different way in cup games compared to PL games. The one exception might be Mike Dean. He always is out to get us. PL, Carling Cup, FA cup, no matter the competition he will do all he can to keep the surface in such a way we have to climb uphill to get a result.
But I have also noticed for example Phil Dowd being a total biased ref in the PL on occasion against Arsenal and then suddenly in a cup game he behaves as the ref he can and always should be. So it is difficult to compare the way a ref behaves. I once suggested in an article that as cup games are games rather standing on their own with only two teams directly involved that there would be less pressure on the refs to …. well you know.
To start with the ref that is appointed for today’s game is always a smart thing I think.
Michael Oliver is the name of the young man in charge. And young he is. Only 27 years old and already in the top league since August 2010. I think he will be one if not the youngest ref in the PL lately.
So far we had Oliver in 5 games in the PL. Not really much. But the record is…BAD. For the moment my nice graphic presentation doesn’t work for some reason that is beyond me so I will just have to write it down:
5 games : 1 win – 1 draw – 3 losses meaning a win % of 20%. Compared to the overall Arsenal win % over the last years that is around 60% it is obvious that this is a really bad number for Arsenal. Are we looking at the younger brother of Mike Dean? That is of course to soon to say.
Because as we reviewed all 5 of those games we can say that he was not really the reason why we lost those games. His first game was a 2-3 home defeat to WBA if you still remember that painful day at the Emirates when Nasri scored two goals in extra time. I think the ref got one of the highest scores in that season. The only win under Oliver came one year later. In a game against WBA. A 3-0 win that time.
Less good was his performance at Swansea last year when he gave a penalty to Swansea when it actually was a foul on Ramsey. But it helped Swansea to win the game 3-2.
The last game we had this ref was earlier this season at Everton when we had a 1-1 draw. For the moment I can’t really remember any clangers from him so I think he did rather fine in that game. Unless my memory is not what it used to be.
If we take a look at Brighton Hove and Albion his record is even worse. They had him once and they lost that game. It was a league cup game that they lost 1-2 against Liverpool. That was the only time they had him according to my records. I sure wouldn’t mind him keeping up his 0% wins for Brighton Hove and Albion after this weekend.
So what did we find about this ref in last years review? Well we only did 8 games of him last season. But in those 8 games we found that when it came to making decisions he really was one of the better refs. An overall score of 79,15% correct decisions overall is very good. That is excellent in fact. When we put the weight to the decisions it went down to 77,26% correct decisions but still this is well above the league average we found.
If we look at the home/away bias we see that he has a home bias but the home bias is close to the league average. So he doesn’t look to be a completely home ref. But at times he can become a bit home biased.
If we look at the team bias we see that Arsenal had a negative bias. The Swansea game playing a big part in that score when he made a few wrong decisions. But we have seen worse negative bias against Arsenal from other refs.
So the final conclusion is that he is a ref who is general rather good in spotting a foul. That is always a good thing I would say. But he can be slightly in favour of the home team and as we play away this is not good. And he has a small bias against Arsenal and as I have just checked against all London teams. Maybe he doesn’t like it down there?
But as said before: this is a cup game. And then things can change. Refs can change. And it will be important for Arsenal to come up with a decent performance. A West Ham United like performance I would say. So let us hope we can produce another good game. And let us hope that the ref has a good game and cannot be faulted by either side about the outcome of the game.