# So what is wrong with the PL Refs: Case study Atkinson

By Walter Broeckx

After having finished the articles in which we tried to find out under whom the teams did better than usual (or to see under which ref they have a bad to terrible win record) we now are going to have another look at those numbers but looking at it from the point of view of the ref and then show you how a ref performs with all the teams.

I had this planned when I started the series and I think looking at a few questions from people it could make things a bit easier for people who want to keep an eye on how a ref is doing for one team vis a vis another team.

People asking me how do Arsenal and WBA do under Webb? Well up to now you had to go to the Arsenal article and then to the WBA article. But now we will give you a nice and handy tool where you can see how each ref does with all the teams in the PL.

Let me give you an example of this. In general when we get Martin Atkinson Arsenal doesn’t have to fear him a lot.  Let us say that if we were to play Sunderland and Atkinson is in charge, we can expect him to do a good job. I’m not saying he will help us to a win but you can be sure that he will do a professional job. And after all that is all we want from a ref.

But us Untolders know that when we have Atkinson in a game against Chelsea that we are more or less doomed. Chelsea are highly over achieving whenever Atkinson is around. And it is finding out that combination that is teaching us a lot of the possible influence a ref can have on the outcome of a game.

So how should we use the table we are going to present to you? We give you the total numbers of games of each team and the result they had in numbers and in percentage terms. And then we have the result of the mentioned team under the ref.

And then I added a last column: “Achieving”. And that is where I tell how the team is doing under said ref. Average means that the results in general and the results under this ref are very much in line with what can be expected. In this table Arsenal is such a team.

When you see the word “over” this means that the team is over achieving when the refs is in charge. A good example of such a team that has a remarkably better score when the ref is around is Chelsea.  And when you see the word “Under” this means that this team is underachieving when this ref is around. An example of this might be Everton or Liverpool.

Now the art of this is trying to find interesting combinations. Let me try to give you an example. A few weeks ago ref Atkinson did Southampton – Manchester City. Now if you look at the result of Manchester City you see that they are overachieving under Atkinson in general by some 15%. So no big problems ahead for them at first sight. But then we have to look at the numbers of Southampton.  And then we see that for some unknown reason Southampton who only have a win percentage of 29% in general win 57% of their games when Atkinson is in charge. So they are overachieving by some 28%.  Almost the double win percentage than general!

So with those numbers Southampton beating Manchester City with 3-1 looks less surprising than it first was.

With this table in hand any win from Chelsea against any other team looks “normal”. Which it isn’t in fact. Because we all have seen this season how Atkinson tilted the result in favour if Chelsea by not calling obvious fouls against Chelsea and letting them score from this.  Or giving them penalties for players who dived.

Just have a look at the full table and from now on you can see before any game what could be the expected outcome of a game.  Just have a look at the table.

 Total won draw lost won draw lost Achieving Arsenal 797 426 212 159 53,45% 26,60% 19,95% Atkinson 28 14 7 7 50,00% 25,00% 25,00% Average Aston Villa 797 287 249 261 36,01% 31,24% 32,75% Atkinson 26 10 6 10 38,46% 23,08% 38,46% Average Chelsea 797 414 206 177 51,94% 25,85% 22,21% Atkinson 24 18 4 2 75,00% 16,67% 8,33% Over Everton 797 282 230 285 35,38% 28,86% 35,76% Atkinson 22 6 4 12 27,27% 18,18% 54,55% Under Fulham 443 137 128 178 30,93% 28,89% 40,18% Atkinson 22 11 3 8 50,00% 13,64% 36,36% Over Liverpool 797 389 203 205 48,81% 25,47% 25,72% Atkinson 32 13 9 10 40,63% 28,13% 31,25% Under Man City 607 226 159 222 37,23% 26,19% 36,57% Atkinson 23 12 3 8 52,17% 13,04% 34,78% Over MU 797 520 165 112 65,24% 20,70% 14,05% Atkinson 22 15 2 5 68,18% 9,09% 22,73% Average Newcastle 717 284 192 241 39,61% 26,78% 33,61% Atkinson 23 8 5 10 34,78% 21,74% 43,48% Average Norwich 227 68 72 87 29,96% 31,72% 38,33% Atkinson 7 4 0 3 57,14% 0,00% 42,86% Over QPR 227 71 57 99 31,28% 25,11% 43,61% Atkinson 13 3 2 8 23,08% 15,38% 61,54% Under Reading 101 31 21 49 30,69% 20,79% 48,51% Atkinson 8 1 3 4 12,50% 37,50% 50,00% Under Southampton 531 155 146 230 29,19% 27,50% 43,31% Atkinson 7 4 0 3 57,14% 0,00% 42,86% Over Stoke 177 53 54 70 29,94% 30,51% 39,55% Atkinson 21 7 1 13 33,33% 4,76% 61,90% Average Sunderland 443 119 112 212 26,86% 25,28% 47,86% Atkinson 26 6 10 10 23,08% 38,46% 38,46% Average Swansea 63 20 21 22 31,75% 33,33% 34,92% Atkinson 6 2 2 2 33,33% 33,33% 33,33% Average Tottenham 797 307 210 280 38,52% 26,35% 35,13% Atkinson 22 10 5 7 45,45% 22,73% 31,82% Over WBA 253 62 64 127 24,51% 25,30% 50,20% Atkinson 16 6 2 8 37,50% 12,50% 50,00% Over West Ham 641 210 164 267 32,76% 25,59% 41,65% Atkinson 24 10 4 10 41,67% 16,67% 41,67% Over Wigan 291 81 73 137 27,84% 25,09% 47,08% Atkinson 21 7 4 10 33,33% 19,05% 47,62% Average

Now of course this is not written in stone. And accidents might happen. The favourite team having an off day, the ref having a bit of bad luck with the outcome of some of his biased decisions can change a game.

Just imagine, to stay with the latest Chelsea-Arsenal game that he didn’t give the foul on Coquelin as he did, but Chelsea failing to capitalise from his coloured decision. Or he could have done the right thing and give the foul. Nobody in the Chelsea camp could and would have complained. And just imagine him giving the penalty but Chelsea missing the penalty. Those things can happen and then even when you did all you could to help them it might happen that you failed.

A table like this might be a handy instrument if you want to make a few bets. You could use it to win more information about the possible effects of the refs on the games. But always remember the outcome of the games still remains a bit uncertain as I just explained. But if you look you will find some strange things and it might be interesting to put a bet against the odds at times. Don’t blame me if it doesn’t happen of course. Buy me a drink next time I come to the Emirates when you have won a few pounds using this table.  Or the other tables we will show you in the next weeks.

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### 5 comments to So what is wrong with the PL Refs: Case study Atkinson

• Robl

@ Walter, thanks for the analysis yet again.

So what do we think happens if we have Atkinson, are playing Sunderland and fighting Chelsea for a Champions League place….

• ClockEndRider

Excellent effort gents. Please keep up the good work in putting the spotlight on the PGMOL.

• colario

Thank you Walter for the link you gave me in a previous blog. Colario.

• mark

the FA and refs are corrupt. Mediocre refereeing is tolerated in the interest of adding controversy to the spectacle. Here in Australia, we have one of the most complex and chaotic sports, AFL, and the refs are outstanding. By comparison, football is so much simpler, yet the refs will make inexplicably bad decisions routinely. in fairness to the refs, the game is inherently corrupt as diving and simulation is exploited so as to win opportunities for penalties, set pieces and have opposition players carded.
Refs should be given greater discretion to make common sense decisions.
it’s all very simple to rectify, but the EPL isn’t one of the greatest leagues in the world for nothing.

• Vinnie

Interesting and informative as always, Walter. I was wondering if it would be instructive to compare the results under a particular ref with the results against the same opponents under all refs (as opposed to the results against the entire league). I realize this would reduce the sample size of the overall team stats, particularly in cases where the number of games under a ref is small. However, in cases where a ref does not handle games for some opponents at all, removing those opponents from the team results as well might highlight any hidden, or not so hidden, prejudice. Common decency and a sense of fair play should prohibit the mention of the name Dean at this point, but since he doesn’t have either of those traits either, WTF.