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Calling true supporters “conspiracy theorists”: the classic approach to destroying the club.

By Billy “the Dog” McGraw

In my last piece about how outdated views of logic and reason have come to dominate the debate on football I tried to suggest that the contemporary vision of considering evidence and then looking for the simplest most straightforward explanation based on evidence, has been thrown out of the window.

Instead we have assertion of the kind use by mediaeval philosophers, but rejected by thinkers from the 18th century onwards – a statement that says that this is how it is because (either) it is God’s will, or because it is so obvious that even a moron in a hurry could see it.

Now I’d like to expand this further by taking another text sent to Untold which we chose not to publish.

The reason for not publishing was fourfold.

a) we had heard it all before with many other writers expressing similar views, and nothing much new was said here

b) it took a line that was against the essence of Untold, in that as we say on the home page – we support the manager and the team

c) it offered no evidence or logical basis for the position taken.

d) there are many other web sites that are both supportive of the same mode of thinking as expressed in this message, and which approve of the notion of personal assertion as factual commentary.  Since our title is “Untold” a repetition of their point of view without anything new added doesn’t really meet our brief.

However I do think the points mentioned are worthy of discussion, and here is part of the piece sent in.

You also have take into account the pre-season regime that Wenger sets to prepare players for a season. His methods are dated. Shad Forsythe was still with the German World Cup team while we were going through pre-season, so he couldn’t influence things this season. But I must admit I’d hoped we’d be seeing noticeable improvements in the speed at which our injured players return and their capacity to stay on the pitch. But Wenger has the balance so wrong he’s having to play guys like Koscielny and the Ox before they’re fully fit and they just get injured again.

This piece, which is typical of many that we see, uses a trick that many football journalists use today – mixing straight opinion with no evidence within a quickly changing landscape.  As a result, in this piece the waves of complaint pour forth one after the other so quickly that it almost seems as if they are connected and have a powerful logic of their own.  But even a cursory analysis proves that they don’t.

Just consider the number of points raised in these few lines

1.  Wenger’s methods are dated.

There is no explanation as to what this means, and no evidence to support whatever it does mean.  What methods?  In what way dated?

2.  I’d hoped we’d be seeing noticeable improvements in the speed at which our injured players return and their capacity to stay on the pitch.

This is thus about recovery time – the treatment by the surgeon, the club doctor and the physio.  The suggestion seems to be that they have not been doing their job very well, and the writer hoped that they would be improving this season.

Given the context there is the sub-plot that Mr Wenger controls how these three do their job.  Since the complaints are all about Wenger we pick up the point that Wenger is somehow stopping the medical team from doing what they could do to, to help recovery times.  An amazing assertion, and one that needs some evidence.

3.  But Wenger has the balance so wrong he’s having to play guys like Koscielny and the Ox before they’re fully fit and they just get injured again.

There is no evidence for this.  True, Kos and Ox have had injuries, come back, and been injured again, but there is no evidence given, or indeed published anywhere, that this is Mr Wenger’s fault.

The implication is that the medics are saying that Kos is not fit, but Wenger plays him anyway.

At this point we would have to ask “why?”  “Why does he insist on bringing back players too early, presumably against all medical evidence?”

Indeed that leads to the question, of this is what is happening, why don’t the medics leave much more quickly than they do?  If I were a medic at Arsenal and I saw my professional judgement being over ruled all the time, I’d complain, and if not listened to, I’d leave.

Colin Lewin has been at Arsenal for seven years – his cousin Gary (now with England) was at Arsenal for longer.  Yet neither seem to object to Wenger’s supposed rushing back of players.  Why?

Now this illustrates what I mean by mediaeval journalism – the failure to ask “why”.  The sun rises and the sun sets, and the mediaevalist says, “It is God’s will.”  That’s fine if that is your view – but it is not the underlying view of Untold.  We believe in more contemporary approaches which ask “why?” and look for answers that don’t invoke the will of the Almighty.

The argument of Wenger forcing players back too quickly, over and over again, to cover his own stupidity, depends not just on him being stupid, and being a bully, but on all the professional, highly trained and highly skilled staff around him, bowing down to him, and staying in their jobs.

It seems unlikely.  Not impossible, but unlikely, and thus worthy of debate – but it is a debate which those who make the claims won’t give us.

And there is another twist to this twisted vision of reality.

When writers on Untold and elsewhere come forth with the view that sometimes there is something odd going on – with perhaps one or two dominant clubs using the Italian system of manipulating referees to ensure that certain clubs win and certain clubs lose – or get lots and lots of injuries – then we are told we are engaging in conspiracy theories and there are rather childish suggestions made about putting on tin hats.

The phrase “conspiracy theory” is itself a misleading one, since in essence much of history is made up a conspiracies.  The Gunpowder Plot that we celebrate on November 5 in England is one such.  The Cato Street Conspiracy to murder all the top politicians in England in 1820 was another.  The Watergate cover up of 1972 another.

The notion of a club bribing half a dozen referees to ensure that when the referee club A B or C they do all they can (without being spotted) to get that club to lose, is an example of a conspiracy that would explain what we observe.

However the notion that Mr Wenger is pushing injured players back too quickly, and that the medical team are allowing this to happen and despite their best work being undone all the time, stay at the club and continue to work with Mr Wenger, really takes us into the conspiracy theory at a different level.

The difference between the two is that the first (bent refs) is a simple explanation of what we see, while the second (a medical team allowing their work to be undone month after month) is a complex explanation.

Accusing the people who put forward the simplest explanation of conspiracy theory, while one’s own explanation is far more convoluted and involves many other people, is clever, but that does not make it right.

In terms of the medics there is no back up logic or chain of argument that leads us to the conclusion that Wenger is going against their views all the time.

However when we look at refs we can back up our approach by examining the organisation that runs refs.  If it was wide open, published detailed analyses of each game, had refs from all across the UK on its books, and enough refs to ensure that no one took control of a match involving any one club twice a season, then one could say, “look this is a fair and reasonable organisation – suggesting otherwise is perverse.”

Indeed if it had just a couple of those factors going for it, we might be swayed in our opinion.

But when we come to it, PGMO is not open, does not publish evidence, does not have enough refs, and does not have an even spread, so our suspicions remain valid.

It is, perhaps, this ability of those who do put forward conspiracy theories such that Wenger deliberately undermines the work of his medical staff, and uses “outdated” (but undefined methods) that is the really clever part of the aaa and their journalist allies’ approach.

The create wild conspiracies without any supporting evidence, and then accuse those of us who try and build a logical case to explain what we see, of “conspiracy theories”.

That is, I must say, an extremely clever approach – which is probably why it has become so popular and why the aaa has gained so many journalist allies.

I’ll continue the story anon.

==================

Classic untold…

Untold index today

 

 

48 comments to Calling true supporters “conspiracy theorists”: the classic approach to destroying the club.

  • Rantetta

    Excellent, Tony.

    And I’ve only just noticed that the dot com pointed to the preview to the QPR game. http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/39835

    Good stuff. Keep us informed, please.

  • nicky

    Doc, Your assertion that you would leave Arsenal if your medical opinion was ignored by the manager simply doesn’t hold water.
    You are fortunate to have another job to fall back on at the University Hospital of the North Circular. Others aren’t so lucky.
    I still feel this patching up of Kos is misguided.

  • Tom

    I’m going to refrain from discussing logic or reason because what’s logical to me ,is not necessarily logical to you, but I will say this much about playing players who might or might not be a 100% fit to play.

    Whenever you hear ‘ a player X is a game time decision. He will have a fitness test tomorrow before the game….’ , unless he has a flue or something like that, he is never a 100% fit, period.

    When you have tendinitis or a groin pull , you don’t become fully fit from one day to the next . It’s not the way a healing process works.

    What happens is this. A player is close to being fit to play and if short of other options , the manager will ask the physio and the player if he can go.
    At this stage, the fhysio will usually let the player decide for himself , but ultimately it’s the managers decision.

    I don’t remember ever any player refusing to play when he was fit enough , even though not a 100%.

  • John Abraham

    Well Billy, what do I say to comfort you and the rest of the Untold writers? Doom sayers and nay sayers only know one thing and that is, how to run down other people’s genuine efforts. I have heard and seen many run down Arsene Wenger, Arsenal as a Football Club and the Board of the club. For what? For being prudent in the management of their resources. When Arsenal does not win, it is because Arsene’s methods are dated. If Arsenal wins, as in the games against QPR and West Ham, ”oh they should have put the game to bed in the first half,” or ”oh, the players are so fragile they cannot even defend a lead without panicking”. Yet, two games, maximum points of 6! Our aaa and thier journalistic associates should go comfort QPR and West Ham with their treatise on how panicky Arsenal looked. As for you in Untold, I say keep on keeping on. I hope to wish you a very happy New Year after another ”panicky” win over Southampton on New Year’s day. Happy hunting.

  • Gord

    OT: Barcelona has their appeal (against transfer) denied.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30633737

    As Barcelona was allowed to sign some players (and one vampire) in the last transfer window because it was appealing to CAS, does that mean the 14 month ban starts today?

  • Andy Mack

    Tom, you’re obviously correct that many problems don’t suddenly disappear but you can only judge if it’s ok to ‘stress test’ in a competitive game if it passes a non-competitive ‘stress test’.

  • jambug

    Tom

    Ah Tom, up you pop like a bad penny.

    This is from the West Ham/Arsenal match day thread.

    Do you remember it?

    “”jambug

    December 28, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Tom

    You said:

    “As for the conspiracy theorists on here , their heads must be spinning after today. Chelsea had Fabregas yellow carded for a dive that should’ve been a penalty, Man City had a goal scored from a clear offside position by a Burnley player but I’m sure someone will come along shortly to make ‘sense’ of this for me :)”

    Yes I will.

    1)….At what point EVER did anyone on UA EVER say that decisions don’t go AGAINST other teams, or FOR Arsenal?

    If you can find it please show me because that is what your sarcastic comment is inferring.

    So come on, where has that EVER been said?

    UA’s claims of bias are made on the basis of pages and pages of statistics, over many seasons, and many many games, by professional and Amateur Referees, both of an Arsenal persuasion and otherwise, and NOT ON THE BASIS OF ONE DAYS EVENTS.

    I find your out of hand dismissal of all the hard work done on this site most perplexing, considering, save from the type of ridiculous comment above, you never have a single shred of evidence to back up your contrary point of view.

    As I’ve said many times, you think this site is run by a bunch of lying, deluded and paranoid fools yet you insist on keep coming back.

    Strange man.””

    And yet here you are again.

    As usual when asked to explain your baseless little digs, you vanish faster than a Turkey on the run up to Christmas.

    Some come on, have some balls man and explain your little ‘head spinning’ jibe !!

    And why your at it, explain how Stering didn’t see Red (3 match ban)or RVP a Yellow (accumulative ban) over the weekend?

    I’d be interested to hear how you can justify those appalling miscarriages of justice.

  • If Wenger is forcing unfit players to play, then why is Theo still on the Arsenal bench. Sometimes we need to do a little bit of checks before we put in submissions.

  • Mick

    @jambug
    The very same Sterling who manhandled referee Howard Webb a few months back with no action taken against him. He obviously has permission to do whatever he pleases as Englands big hope for the future. Could you imagine the furore if it had been Jack who had done similar.

  • ron

    I suffer from tendonitus and it is like a headache. It comes at times and then goes completely, from one hour to the next. There is a minor op to cure it. Patching up’ is so misleading as its not possible to do this but it suits anti wengers to suggest this. I totally agree with this article. Supporters love to chat shit without any basis for argument. I am amazed that wenger has not sued over some of the scurrilous rumours bandied about.
    Keep up the good, and reasonable, work

  • Gord

    The only thing I would change in Tom’s comment, is that in the circumstance of head injuries, that how the player feels about it is of less concern than other injuries. The brain has no receptors to report pain from itself. Consequently, it is hard for a player to determine if they have a hurt brain or not.

  • Alex

    hello from unblocked true supporter “till the final whistle”
    thanks for unblocking
    unthanks for blocking…

  • colario

    @Gord
    December 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    There is also the fact that our brain is our number one deceiver.

  • Pete

    Something has changed on the medical side. Both Giroud and Debuchy came back significantly ahead of schedule – perhaps Shad is earning his corn here? Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    According to .com Welbeck is probably out. Giroud really is a fool. Sanogo seems out of the picture – perhaps Poldi or even Akpom will start? Another left field suggestion is to play Chambers in DM – his height would come in useful. I really do think we struggle without a tall target man.

    For what it’s worth, I thought before the game that we played far too strong a side away at Galatasaray – why risk any of the starting players? We got our comeuppance with Ramsey’s injury. On the other hand, we would never have had “that” goal… which is a very fond memory!

  • jambug

    I see Shelvey has been charged. No surprise there.

    Lets see what happens to Sterling.

  • jambug

    Also hear that Barcelona lost there appeal, which does surprise me.

  • ob1977

    Two points:
    1) Aimed at the unnamed person quoted in the article, he complains that he would expect our players to come back quicker with new fitness coaches etc, but then says Arsene is rushing players back before they are fit? Strange. Also ignores Giroud coming back so strongly over a month before he was due.
    And
    2) Tom, you say you cant go from unfit to fit in a day, surely that is what happens, one day you are not fit for competition then the next day you are, that might be 2 weeks later, 4 months later, 18 months later, but one day you are not ready the next you are, you may not be match fit in other words mainly cardio but you are otherwise “fit” to play.

  • ob1977

    Also our players fitness levels look right up there and hopefully can carry that on into the Southampton game before some much needed recovery.

  • bob mac

    Arsene is one of the most advanced and knowledgeable coaches in the world.

    His abilities are far more expansive than just what you see on the pitch.

    Stop the bloody moaning and rejoice.

  • bob mac

    Pete,

    Wonder if he will start Theo!!!!!

  • Tony Attwood

    Just got in from a day in London. Thanks Gord.

  • Gord

    ob1977

    Tom is more correct. Fitness is not a binary variable that switches from 0 to 1 over a day. Fitness behaves like a variable that asympototically approaches a limit, such as F * (1-exp(-l * t)). To make a substantial recovery often takes on the order of 6 weeks. A person recovering on that time scale, may find themselves judged fit enough to face an easy team one week, and then judged not fit enough one week later to face a more difficult team.

    Bob Mac, I suspect Theo might get in as a substitute, I doubt he starts. Podolski, Campbell, possibly Gnabry (if healed) seem more likely to me. I would have thought that if he was in a “hurry” to get Theo some game time, they might have tried to get a game behind closed doors, or a game with the U21 in.

    Oh, I’m not rejoicing at the moment. Jambug told me where to find some number, so I am taking a break from handling the numbers.

  • jambug

    ob1977

    “you say you cant go from unfit to fit in a day, surely that is what happens, one day you are not fit for competition then the next day you are,”

    Exactly. I was going to say something similar. But having said that there is a caveat to that.

    The art is to pinpoint when that exact ‘moment’.

    There must be a window of time over which the % certainty that that ‘moment’ has arrived gets better and better.

    What I’m saying is:

    Monday they may be 50% certain that ‘moments’ arrived.

    Wednesday they may be 75% certain.

    Saturday 95%.

    (This window would probably vary according to the type of injury. The physicality of the player. The players history. etc. etc.)

    And this is where the art of the medical team is tested. Yes there is a ‘One day he’s not fit, the next day he is fit’ ‘moment’ but the skill is getting that ‘moment’ right more often than you get it wrong.

    There is of course external influences that could affect the timing of a players return, such as:

    Team needs, due to other injuries/suspensions.

    Importance of the match.

    Importance of the player.

    What the player tells you.

    But ultimately it’s up to the medical team to get the ‘moment’ right and it is possible, with the recurrence of some of the injuries to some of the players that we are not always getting that ‘moment’ right.

    The thing to remember though is that this dilemma is not unique to Arsenal.

  • Gord

    Tony

    Thanks? About the Barcelona news? You’re welcome.

    Okay, some stuff from Arsenal’s cache of Opta.net statistics. The median number of goals allowed by teams in the first 19 games is 24.5, with a median absolute deviation of 3.5 goals. The median number of goals scored is 23, with a median absolute deviation of 6.

  • Gord

    Numbers for the goalkeepers.

    The median number of shots faced by teams is 82, with a median absolute deviation of 12.5. On a per game basis, that is 4.32 shots per game, with a deviation of 0.66. The lowest number of shots faced was 48(Chelsea), and the highest was 109 (QPR). Southampton was close to Chelsea at 52.

  • Gord

    Numbers for the shooters.

    Shots on target has a median of 80.5, with a median absolute deviation of 13. Shots off target has a median of 97, with a median absolute deviation of 12. On a per game basis, that is 4.24 shots on target per game with a deviation (which is close to the 4.32 shots per game seen by the goaltenders). There is 5.11 shots off target per game, with a deviation of 0.63.

    If I was to use averages, instead of medians, the shots that hit the target (point of view of shooter) should equal the shots on target (point of view of goalkeeper). Finding the median of a set is a non-linear operation, which is why these 2 numbers are not the same. As both the median and mean (aka average) are measures of central tendency, the two numbers should be similar.

  • Gord

    The lowest number of shots on target was Aston Villa (52), and the most was Chelsea (114). The lowest number of shots off target was Everton(64), and the highest was ManCity(121).

  • ob1977

    Gore you say a lot and use the term “fit enough” but that is my point lets not talk relative as in opponents as we are just talking gambling, you definitely go from one day say feeling maybe a niggle to the next day feeling no pain or aggregation or whatever you want to call it, but one day you will not be deemed fit to play, the next day you will be, when that day occurs depends when the injury is healed.

  • jambug

    Sterling NOT charged.

    Could the ‘There is no Conspiracy’ theorists explain that one then?

  • Quincy

    Good work from Billy, and scarlet, demolishing the arguments about our medical staff and Wenger.

    The fact of the matter is we only began getting these high numbers of injuries around the time we moved to Ashburton Grove. So what happened, before then Wenger’s training methods were fine, and suddenly after the move they were out-dated and causing all our injuries? If Wenger’s training methods are the problem then why didn’t we get this many injuries at Highbury? That for me is the most obvious rebuttal to these claims.

  • Pat

    Great article Tony. You have really gone to so much trouble to logically demolish the argument.

    I was amazed and pleased to see how our players were able to put on a fantastic performance in the match against West Ham two days after the previous match. This especially contrasted with the moaning from Man U and Chelsea about how hard it was to perform, and their less vigorous performances.

    I hope the doubters noted that.

  • blaisehayest

    Of all the excellent and well reasoned articles I have read on Untold this just may be my favorite. Thank you for yet again taking apart the aaa. Keep them coming.

  • Gord

    I have 2 longish comments to go through. If people don’t understand something, please ask. Well, unless you are aaa. And I suspect Nick Lee is aaa (and paid to be annoying on UA), but he also appears to be a racist.

    These are not related to the “conspiracy theory” thread, but go back to the Howard Webb interview.

    The reason for me to go into this pile of numbers, when I have other things to do; is all because Howard Webb said that PGMO had thoroughly analysed EVERY GAME of the first 140 games, and that they had found there were 38,717 points of interest (I am going from memory, it was between 38,000 and 39,000). And he mentioned specifically simulation (diving), saying that of those 38k events, there were only 9 instances of simulation. He did not say whether they were called or not. So, that was one fact that a person could get him on, it ONLY requires looking at 140 games to have other experts determine how many incidences of simulation are present. And the statistical test for PGMO, is to observe something like 18 or more.

    It is a big job to go through all those games.

    So, when Jambug said where he got some data about tackling (and that it was free), I jumped at it. Somebody might notice I was looking at everything, and decide to charge for it tomorrow.

    To have 38,000 events in 140 games (12,600 minutes), has something happening on average about 3 times a minute (or every 20 seconds). What criteria do you have, that generates that many potential items of interest? What I was interested in, was the comparisons of team data. A common problem with this, is double counting (you count for A vs B, and then you count for B vs A).

    Twenty teams, compare one against another, 10 pairs covers the data. The data is currently for 19 games, Webb was only talking the first 14 gamedays, so multiply my numbers by 14/19. For passes in 19 games, there were 170,081 passes, so I am guessing 125,323 passes in the first 14 gamedays (about 10 per minute). Which is way beyond the 38k that Webb mentioned. If double counting is present, we really have about 63,000. Assume a pass is equally likely to go forwards or backwards (forward passes can lead to offside), so maybe we divide by 2 again for 31,500? Yes, I added together successful and unsuccessful passes, but I can’t see double counting as happenning. Obviously PGMO is not examining every pass for their QC ideas.

    To have a player dribble the ball, invites the attention of defenders and possibly generates incidents for the referee to consider. Again, I don’t see how double counting would happen, and there were 6729 dribbles in each team playing 19 games. If dribbling generated on average 8 incidents that needed referee attention, that would use up the 38k events that Howard Webb mentioned.

    In those first 19 games for each team are 43,486 “duels”. Duels can easily include all tackles, and can easily be subject to double counting. Converting to 14 games and no double counting we would have 16,021 duels. I would imagine every duel needs to be examined for fouls, which leaves about 22k events to cover all the other fouls, offside, out of bounds, and so on.

    PGMO, via Howard Webb, is claiming about 270 incidents per game (about 3 per minute). Walter and the other referees have done a number of games, and a person could go through and count up those. I believe that Walter and the other referees ignored offsides, and may have ignored one or two other things. There should be data somewhere on how many offsides were in games, so a person could augment the number of decisions by Walter et al per game, with the number of offsides.

    Just looking at the numbers available via Arsenal.com from Opta.net, I think that if PGMO only found 38k points of interest across those 140 games, they missed a LOT. I don’t know if the number should be as high as half a million, but after looking at all this I think a number like 200,000 is probably reasonable. Which is an incident of interest about every 4 seconds.

    And we still have the published fact that PGMO feels that the first 140 games only had 9 instances of simulation. And they did not say how many of those resulted in a yellow card being issued (either during the game, or afterwards by the FA Disciplinary committee).

  • Gord

    This note (and most of the earlier comments by me in this thread), is largely play by play, not a formal document written after all is analyzed. UA found itself trying to PROVE something statistically, which theoretically is not posssible. All one can do, is show that something is very, very unlikely.

    The remaining categories of data I gathered, was duels, passes, crosses, dribbles, tackles and fouls. It would not surprise me to find that tackles are part of duels (tackles on the order of 400, duels on the order of 2000), and that crosses were also regarded as passes.

    The median number of duels was 2179, with a median absolute deviation of 118.5. The median number of tackles observed was 380, with a median absolute deviation of 18.5. Tackles and duels are not identified by the officials, fouls are. The median number of fouls is 427.5, with a median absolute deviation of 16.5.

    The fractional deviation of duels, is 5.4%, for tackles is 4.9% and for fouls is 3.9%. Because I belive duels to be a catchall, it is not a single process, and it would be unusual for multiple processes lumped together to display a probability distribution like a Poisson. How fouls has such a low fractional deviation is unknown.

    If I compare the fractional deviation squared to the median, I see that these 2 quantities are reasonably close together for tackles. That I am using medians may be part of the reason that they are as different as they are. But, it would seem to be a reasonable start to suggest that the number of tackles observed in a game to be a Poisson process.

    Then we look at fouls that are called by the referee (and the number I am using for each team, is the number of times they are called for fouling, added to how many times they were fouled), and we see our proxy for variance is about 2/3 of the mean. This distribution is distinctly under-dispersed: how many fouls being called has less dispersion (variance) than it probably should.

    Okay, maybe I was wrong to aggregate the fouls.

    The median number of times a team “won” a foul (they were fouled by the other team) is 207.5, with a median absolute deviation of 11.5. Which is a fractional deviation of 5.5%, and is about the same as duels. The distribution is under-dispersed with respect to a Poisson. The median number of times a team had a player foul an opposition player was slightly higher at 218.5, with a median absolute deviation of 17.5. Which is a fractional deviation of 8%. This distribution is over-dispersed with respect to a Poisson.

    How do you add together two distributions which have medians that differ by about 5%, in such a way that the summed distribution has significantly less variance than either of the distributions that were added? That produce a distribution that has 0.8 times the deviation than the difference in the two medians? Random chance? The most likely explanation, is that there is a high degree of correlation between the number of fouls won, and the number of fouls committed. In other words, referee bias. But this is consistent bias applied over 190 games by different referees over many teams.

    Let’s look at cards, which is almost a proper subset of fouls. The median number of yellow cards is 35.5, with a median absolute deviation of 4.5. Or a fractional deviation of 12.7%. And this distribution is under-dispersed with respect to a Poisson.

    My comparing things to Poisson distributions and noting under or over dispersion is not a problem. There are processes which generate binomial or negative-binomial statistics (or others). The problem with trying to look at the statistics of football leagues, is that there just isn’t enough data. We don’t know what the distributions are supposed to be for fair officiating; how do we detect if officiating isn’t fair?

    I think what I seen above for fouls, is also seen from a different point of view when (I believe) Jambug put up data about fouls per card. I will also suggest that if a person would look at what an Arsenal player did to warrant a foul or a card, which cannot be in this numerical data; you would find that officials are exhibiting non-trivial bias. This isn’t bias of one referee against one team, this is bias that is cultivated and cultured, and applied systematically to the EPL. That description pretty much calls for highly correlated data points in what should be poorly correlated data.

    I think this has likely been happening since the beginning of the EPL and posssibly before that. I have looked at selected data over the entire EPL, and some of it “feels” strange all the way back to the beginning. How else, does one have an “average” or slightly above average manager not long with a new team, win almost everything for over a decade?

    Mike Riley 😈 should be drawn and quartered. After that, get a proper manager for referees working in an open system. Get a sufficiently large set of referees from all over England and Wales, including people not born in England (or Wales), and people who are not caucasian. Possibly including officials who are immigrants.

    The FA is not without fault IMHO. They should have caught this long ago.

  • Gord

    Kind of odd. I began this statistical rant with 9 simulations. A bit more than 4 hours ago. I look in the news (Google News), and it was about 4 hours ago, that stories about AW seeking the formation of a panel to punish divers be set up. No mention on the Arsenal.com web site that I can see. Another UA first?

    I am debating going to sleep now. Maybe I can catch a glimpse of C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) tonight?

    Talk to you tomorrow.

  • Pete

    Gord – you don’t mention instances where the ball goes out of play. This clearly happens fairly frequently – perhaps 60-80 times in a game? That must count as a decision point.

    As I think I noted earlier, the stats stated by Webb imply 5 errors per match on average. I am pretty sure that from the games that Walter has reviewed that is a long way short – maybe 10-15 on average (leaving aside the biases)?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice one , Billy , gave them naysayers a good old sock in the choppers ! Good on yer !
    “..mediaeval philosophers,” ?
    Media-evil ? Media – veal ” Or deer !

  • TommieGun

    @ Gord, thanks A LOT for all that work ! Wow.

    I am hopeful that this is still work in process, as I did not notice any conclusion drawn from those stats.

    Can you give us a teaser please ?

    @ Billy – “Conspiracy Theorists” is a washed phrase designed to describe someone who believes in nonsense. For instance: Chemtrails (the belief that there is an international governmental crossing conspiracy to disperse dieseases through the atmosphere by aircraft). The reason to call such people conspiracy theorists is that they look at the phenomenon, and in a lack of a better simple explanation, make up a sinister, complex one (like you said).

    However, on that basis, the claim that PGMO is bent (vs. the claim that EPL refs are biased against AFC) DOES constitute as a conspiracy theory. The simple explanation is that the refs are shit, influenced by media, and are a clique of people coming from the north of england. They don’t want transparency because frankly nobody likes it (if they can get away with concealing stuff). The “bent” explanation is the complex one in this case.

    When talking about the medical conspiracy you mentioned – well it’s not even a conspiracy, it’s just a load of shit. No one has anything to gain by it, and there is no real theory, just baseless accusations.

    The real problem with conspiracy theories is that there is always a large part of the theory that is hard to prove. All of your examples are of course correct, but as far as I remember, they were not called out in real time, without the smoking gun, and then revealed to be true – but were rather revealed together with the smoking gun, simultaneously. So, they never had to be in that stage of being dubbed as conspiracy THEORIES. They were just conspiracies that were revealed.

    Sometimes, conspiracy theories have very dull motives. For instance: the guy who published the (now known as fraudlent) research whereby vaccinations contribute to autism. His motivation: to get published. The magazine were it was published: to get a sensational publication. Who pays the price: all of us (due to imbicles buying into this shit despite every doctor on the planet saying that vaccinations are important).

  • Menace

    Jambug – Sterling was swatting a fly. He was not trying to hurt the opponent at all. He’s not that kind of player!!!! ;))

  • Menace

    Oh! and whereas when Giroud was trying to remain on nodding terms with his neighbour, the Crow mistook it for a head butt.

  • jambug

    Menace

    I’m still waiting for Tom to explain

    1) Why on the back of just a couple of decisions that went against the oilers my head should be spinning. (Apparently that’s what he thinks happens to us ‘conspiracy theorists’ on UA when a decision goes against an oiler)

    2) How the likes of RVP and Sterling can get away without cards when committing the most blatant of offences right under the officials noses.

    I’d also like him, or any of our other detractors would do, to explain how the hypocrisy of charging Shelvy and not Sterling seems to of passed them by so conveniently.

    But alas he’s done his usual, spouted nonsense with no facts to back it up, thinking he’s being funny and clever, then ducked any attempt to explain himself or answer pertinent questions.

  • jambug

    Corr; Should say: ……Passed the media by so conveniently.

  • Menace

    jambug – ignore Tom. He has inhaled too many fumes of Russian fuel when the Rouble had value. He will soon have to eat humble English pie. Cesc went down thinking he would get a penalty. I’m glad the crow thought he was playing for Arsenal and booked him for diving. It’s amazing how bad these guys eyesight is. Remember the Gibbs / Ox scenario.

    I’m sure Wenger is playing a smart game with media & the FA by ‘thinking’ like them. I hope it will lead us to the title that we so deserve. We have the squad to do it all we need is the luck & a fair wind to blow the crows away.

  • Menace

    Wishing all you Untolders & Arsenal supporters a Happy & prosperous New Year.

    I’ll see you at the end of March in the Arsene Wenger Stadium. We sell the Stadium naming rights to help fund the mince pies for the poor at Christmas.

  • Gord

    Bah, sorry guys. I jumped to the conclusion that high correlations were all that is needed. Sleeping on the problem, they have to be correlated. So, I still have work to do.

    And I didn’t get to see the comet last night. I woke up at 3:30, and it had already set for the night.

    Have a great day people.

    And I think it is Brickfields that says it, Up the Gunners!

  • Gord

    Pete, there are lots of things I wasn’t counting. I thought it was going to be hard to get up to 38k. The problem is the opposite, how does one get the number down to 38k. Of course, it would be easier to just critique how PGMO came up with 38k, but they don’t tell secrets.

  • Quincy

    The obvious explanation is Howard Webb is a bull-shitter and they never did the reviews they claim to have done. Anyone sitting on their sofa at home can spot dozens of bad calls every round of fixtures, like Sterling slapping someone, that the PGMO misses entirely. Conclusion: Webb is talking shite. PGMO OUT!!!

  • Proudkev

    A brilliant article. The United-named commentator is another of those that are blindly following a narrative. A narrative that has gone unchecked and which is being deliberately manipulated. I saw someone provide a list of injured Arsenal players from a website ,which they used as proof Wenger is somehow at fault. They even cited the mishandling of Jack, trying to include the assault by McNair as evidence against Mr. wenger. The list included past injuries too and included the like of Ramsey, Eduardo. There is no evidence provided and no attempt to breakdown which injuries were Mr. Wengers fault and which aren’t. Instead, it is far easier to just to lump them all in. ‘That’ blog writer and his tiny army of regular posters have been peddling this rubbish for ages. Ask them ‘which’ players and explain ‘how’ they were mismanaged and they don’t like it.

    I know everyone seems to believe they are a football expert nowadays, due largely to the introduction of games consoles but now they’are all physiotherapists and doctors. It’s really very bizarre.

    These idiots are well aware that trying to criticise Wenger based on actual evidence is almost impossible. Evidence demonstrates what a great manager he is. So they are desperate for ‘evidence’ to support their argument. Therefore, they jump on anything and blindly refuse to give Mr. Wenger any excuses or any credit. When the team is weakened through injuries, it is Mr. Wengers fault, they won’t allow any excuses. Should we perform what they expect, it is because the other team have had some issues or we have been lucky. It is funny how people who really do believe they know best and are so aggressive with their opinions are incapable of rational thinking.

    It is almost like a cult, they appear to have been brainwashed. No doubt the anti-Arsenal media and the anti-Wenger blogs are partly responsible for that but surely any person with half a brain can’t seriously believe Wenger is responsible for ALL our injuries?