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Have the referees been any better in Arsenal games recently?

Have the referees been any better in Arsenal games recently?

by Andrew Crawshaw

This question arose as Tony, Blacksheep and I were having a drink in a bar before the Cup Semi-final.  The essence of the conversation was that both of them were convinced that the refereeing had improved in more recent games. I was unsure and said that I would add  something to the Referee Preview for the Chelsea game covering it.  Having looked at it I think it warrants a piece on it’s own.

I have decided to use the following rules to present the information :-

  1. I have divided the season into four quarters and am presenting the results of the first three in this piece (Walter has only just published the review for Week 30 which would be the first game in quarter 4).
  2. I am going to use the wrong Important Decisions – by now you know that I mean Second Yellow Cards, Straight Red Cards, Penalty Decisions and Wrong Goal decisions.
  3. As the majority of these decisions are against Arsenal, I will quote the Net figure against Arsenal, any negative numbers will indicate a balance in favour of Arsenal.
  4. I will also quote the weighted overall competence figure of the referee in each game and the bias of the referee
  5. I am also ignoring the correct decisions made by the referee

Quarter 1 Weeks 1 to 10

  • Wrong Second Yellow Cards : 5
  • Wrong Red Cards   : 3
  • Penalties : 5
  • Goals : 2
  • Total :  15 i.e.1.5 per game
  • Possible cost in points : 11

Referees overall Performance Scores : 81, 60, 61, 71, 82, 66, 45, 62, 65, 72

Bias against Arsenal : 100/0, 89/11, 93/7, 73/27, 80/20, 85/15, 86/14, 82/18, 75/25, 86/14

Quarter 2 Weeks 11 to 19

  • Wrong Second Yellow Cards : 6
  • Wrong Red Cards   : 5
  • Penalties : 6
  • Goals : 4
  • Total : 21 i.e. 2.33 per game
  • Possible cost in points : 10

Referees overall Performance Scores : 73, 53, 70, 59, 59, 76, 67, 70, 80

Bias against Arsenal : 88/12, 80/20, 78/22, 77/23, 100/0, 100/0, 100/0, 87/13, 89/11

Quarter 3 Weeks 20 to 29

  • Wrong Second Yellow Cards : 6
  • Wrong Red Cards   : 4
  • Penalties : 4
  • Goals : 0
  • Total : 14 i.e.1.4 per game
  • Possible cost in points : (-3)

Referees overall Performance Scores : 78, 72, 64, 85, 61, 54, 80, 69, 69, 73, 77

Bias against Arsenal : 86/14, 90/10, 73/27, 100/0, 90/10, 90/10, 82/18, 75/25, 80/20, 83/17, 100/0

I must be honest and say I can’t see much of an improvement in the numbers.

  1. The Disciplinary cards have remained distinctly absent. 8 in Quarter 1, 11 in Quarter 2 and 10 in Quarter 3 – averaging above one a game so we should be playing with at least a one man advantage in virtually every time.  Opposition players are certainly being allowed to ‘kick the shit ‘out of us.
  2. Wrong penalties are consistent, 5, 6 and 4 in the three quarters
  3. In Quarter three there were no wrong goal decisions which is better than 2 and 4 in the first two quarters.
  4. If we regard a score of 80 plus as a decent one for a referee, In Quarter 1 there were two, Quarter 2 there was 1 and Quarter 3 two, so again no real signs of any improvement
  5. A score of 70 plus should be the minimum we see. Quarter 1 – 2, Quarter 2 – 4 and Quarter 3 – 4 again no real signs of improvement.
  6. In my opinion a score of 60 to 70 should require the referee to be demoted. Quarter 1 – 5, Quarter 2 – 1 and Quarter 3 – 4 so again no signs of improvement.
  7. Again in my opinion a score below 60 % should require the referee to be re-trained and re-assessed before being allowed anywhere near the a professional game of football. Quarter 1 – 1, Quarter 2 – 3 and Quarter 3 – one
  8. The overall bias against Arsenal in every game is staggering, the nearest we have seen to level handed is 73/27 or 3 to 1 against Arsenal. At the other end of the scale we have had 100/0 six times.

What does seem to have changed is our ability to cope with the stuff the referees throw at us.  In general we are not allowing the referees crap to upset us or throw us too far out of rhythm and seem to be playing as though we are expecting it.  Unquestionably we are playing better as well.


Today on the History Site

Why did we play a friendly against Hibernian on a Wednesday in October 1952, and why did 55,000 people turn up to watch?

And from the Anniversary Files

  • 22 April 1911: Although no one thought of calling it St Totteringham Day, the first occasion on which Arsenal finished above Tottenham was on this day – with one game to spare. Between 1894 and 2014 there were 49 occasions when Arsenal were above Tottenham at the conclusion, and only 28 the other way round.  On 32 other seasons the clubs were not in the same league. Arsenal and Tottenham


58 comments to Have the referees been any better in Arsenal games recently?

  • James N

    Andrew, I really don’t understand this article. Firstly it is full of totally impenetrable statistics, how in the name of god have there been that many red cards? I’m clearly missing something. Secondly, is it really a helpful exercise? We all have our issues with certain decisions made by the ref but this article reads like a child who claims the teacher’s picking on him. I’m not saying there is no bias but there’s a lot of other kids in the class mate and they all say the same thing.

  • nicky

    Where was this bar you visited?
    According to Tony, the only available tavern required a £5 entry and poor quality over-priced grog.
    On the subject of referees I simply can’t make up my mind whether we are receiving a fairer deal in order to win games OR we are winning in spite of the referees. 😉

  • Anicoll5

    I particularly enjoyed the sight of Angel di Maria, eyes bulging in surprise, trudging off at Trafford Park following the red card produced by the excellent of Mr Andrew Oliver.

    I never thought I would live to see the day, and nor did Sir Alex. I think therefore that on occasions we have benefitted from some generally more robust refereeing in recent months.

  • BNG

    The 2nd yellow for Di Maria for grabbing hold of Oliver’s shirt was a total cop out and was and should have been a straight red and by only giving a yellow Oliver has pretty much stuffed all park level refs

  • Menace

    There is a very difficult balance to measure & that is the assessment of referees by Untold is based on playback of video. It is sufficient to get a good idea but not sufficient to die for. My visual assessment has a bias in that I am a passionate Arsenal supporter. I do however have a very keen eye on sportsmanship of all involved in football – including officials. In my opinion there is no ‘improvement’ in officiating from home games since 26th March & FA cup semi. The improvement is in the way Arsenal have played. Arsenal do not leave the defense unattended. The movement up front is measured and more effective. The officiating is still biased (cheating) beyond the pale. To ignore clear fouls within a few feet can be nothing other than cheating. The responsibility lies with Dyke & the FA.

  • Mahdain

    I just dont know why people think the refs have been fair to us recently. Is it because we are winning despite them? Every match i see opposition being allowed to kick us off the back without any reprecussions. The opposition players need to commit atleast 6 fouls for them to be booked and some blatant penalties end up not given at all. Are refs getting better? Absolutely not. Are they being fair to us? No chance at that happening with Riley still im charge as the numbers show

  • finsbury

    “To ignore clear fouls within a few feet can be nothing other then cheating”

    Arsenal players who have suffered serious injury I fouls that were not even called as simple fouls in 2014-15

    Arteta, Debuchy (twice), Wilshere, Sczczcz, Ozil, Mertesacker….so far. It is, what it is.

    If anyone chooses to believe that this pattern did not impact the club’s season, please watch again! If you go back a few seasons, adding in the likes of Walcott from last year for example, you will find a clear and consistent pattern that is not matched elsewhere and is purely the result of impact injuries. This is not a debate, it’s not an opinion, it’s a sequence.

    “Have the referees been any better in Arsenal games recently?”

    The contrast in what constituted a foul in the FA cup semi final and the Munich-Porto game was there for all to see. Same referee! PGMOB Rules Football, it can be observed to be a different code when AFC are playing. An that’s not forgetting the missed red on Batstuber which could’ve changed the tie. I like to keep my eyes on the Football.

    It is. What it is.

  • Mahdain

    Take Michael Oliver against United for example. He got a lot of praise for standing up to United players diving and their fans bullying. I totally commend for that but still he was not perfect as some people are saying. He let Fellaini get away with persistent fouling and it took him 8 fouls to get if i am not mistaken. With the publicity he got in that match i do worry that Riley might have some special orders for him especially if Maureen called. I really hope that isnt the case and he refs it fair and square and i really hope we smash them this time. Imagine the scenes. Somebody will have to restrain Maureen

  • Anicoll5

    What a pity Mr Oliver is not up to the required standard then BNG – as I said I thought a United payer getting his marching orders for diving and manhandling a referee at Trafford Park against us is a good step forward, for us. And all within a few seconds. M’jaw dropped.

    And did the exit of the malicious Argentine elf and the CLEAR MESSAGE ON DIVING sent out by Mr Oliver make any difference to the result do you think ?

    I think it probably did, on the balance of probability.

  • Mahdain

    @Finsbury funny you should mention Atkinson and the Bayern game. Yesterday when i was watching the match somebody was actually a great ref if not the best in England. You can imagine my reaction to that as i gave a serious WTF face. Martin Atkinson is one of the worst PGMOL have to offer and thats saying something considering what Riley is offering. He is blatantly biased and i seriously doubt he even knows the rules of the game. To say that he the best in the league or even a decent referee would constitute serious delusion

  • Mahdain

    I believe Oliver can be the exception to the norm and actually think he is among of the decent referees PGMOL have to offer. Mind thats not much to be proud of considering the absolute trash and shitness that comprise the PGMOL select Group.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Mahdain -April 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm – ” Somebody will have to restrain Maureen.”
    Why ?
    I’d love to see him lose it and make a fool of himself !
    It could be the highlight of our season !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    As for the question – no ! The refs are still shite !
    We just been playing well enough , and avoiding all little miscalculations and the pitfalls .

  • finsbury

    It’s too early to heap as much praise upon Oliver as that received by Clattenburg, Though it has to be said it appears that Riley, Gazprom and others are not Clattenburg’s biggest fans, which is odd considering that many have more respect for this official. Some people have already expressed the opinion that Moss getting the Final over Clattenburg is a reffing disgrace! 🙂

  • Anicoll5

    I thought Atkinson was good last night Fins, possibly a red card rather than a yellow for Badstuber but it was a judgement call, and he called yellow. That is what referees do I think, make on the spot judgements. He gave players onboth sides plenty of rope before pulling out a card.

    Considering Atkinson put in a solid 120 minutes on Saturday tea time at Wembley, then was fresh as a daisy for a Tuesday QF in the Allianz, he seems quite fit for an old ‘un. Most footballers and managers would be whingeing about that “Two games in Four days” schedule.

  • Jambug

    James N

    You say a couple of things:

    a) “how in the name of god have there been that many red cards? I’m clearly missing something.”

    Yes you are.

    It is not just about Reds and 2nd Yellows issued, but ones that have NOT been issued, and that is the point that has been highlighted by the Referee reviews this season, and that Andrew has summarised in his article.

    There should, in the opinion of the reviewers, (and it is subjective), of been far more of those cards issued against our opposition, hence the conclusion made by Andrew that “Opposition players are certainly being allowed to ‘kick the shit ‘out of us.”

    b) “We all have our issues with certain decisions made by the ref but this article reads like a child who claims the teacher’s picking on him”

    I can only assume by this that you are new to Untold. The whole reason behind Untold being established was to investigate the, at the time, unsubstantiated feeling, claim, accusation, call it what you like, that we got a raw deal from Referees. Ergo they where biased against Arsenal.

    To this purpose the ‘Referee Reviews’ where established and have been running for years.

    They proved beyond doubt that there was indeed an anti Arsenal bias perpetrated by Referees.

    Although, as I said, the reviews are by there nature subjective, they are in depth and carried out with honesty, integrity.

    Even if you chose not to believe there conclusions they can hardly be dismissed as a mere ‘Childs tantrum’ as you suggest.

  • Gord

    To add to Jambug, the wrong (missing) red cards, does include reds that should have been issued to Arsenal, just in case other supporters come by claiming bias.
    I think I remember 2 or 3 in this seasons reviews.

  • Andy Mack

    It does feel like we’re getting a little less going against us but I think it’s more a case of less of the fouls being missed are the ankle breakers (like Cahill on Alexis or the one that put Jack out) and less obvious hand balls like the Boyd one. The refs are still letting the opposition get away with annoying fouls but not so much the dangerous ones.

  • Jambug

    I posted this elsewhere but it seems very appropriate to this debate. At least I hope so 🙂

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, this is my thoughts on what’s been happening, referee wise, this season.

    I’m still of the mind that our high injury count is very much a consequence of lenient refereeing.What I saw on Saturday is a trend I think I’ve been seeing for a majority of this season.That is, that by and large, regarding a majority of decisions such as off sides, penalties, hand balls etc., we are getting a better, though still not perfect by any means, crack of the whip.

    We have had penalties awarded to us the like of which we wouldn’t of got in the past. When did we ever get a ‘soft’ pen or an ‘I’ve seen ‘em given’ type penalty? But we have this year.Add to that the fact we’ve got away with, if that’s the right word, a few borderline decisions that would of definitely been given prior to this season.

    And this has even been happening with Dean and the like.

    So I just sense that some things have changed, in some areas, but not everything.

    And the area it hasn’t is the latitude our opposition are still given to attempt to kick us off the park. It was more through luck than judgement that we got through Saturdays game with what seems like just one costly injury, to Per. Kos and Mesut where assaulted with Red Card challenges that weren’t even called as fouls and, as usual, they where completely ‘fobbed off’ by the media, as if they never even happened.

    Our injuries are looking better, but with the latitude still being afforded our opponents I fear another bad one is just around the corner.

    I really hope I’m wrong.

  • finsbury


    “That is what referees do I think”

    Yes. I think almost all understand that. It’s why people (here and elsewhere, probably most places) have had respect for Clattenburg and Oliver even before they had earned the ire of and blatant attacks from Riley or put in that at performance at OT. As for Ferguson, given the state of e squad he handed over, the RVP contract and signing, his concern for what happens at Utd now is for show only. It was, as others here understood, it was always about Rednose XX. No man is bigger then a club, except…

    Dickie Bird was right on all accounts in his career save one: the adoption of video tech./replay did not diminish respect and admiration for the officials, it only increased it. The proof (in cricket) is there for all to see.

  • finsbury

    < Corr.:

    Dickie bird was correct with almost all the on the spot judgment calls he had to make in his career, save one…

  • goonersince72

    Thanks Andrew
    I asked this question a few weeks ago and asked for opinions. An entire column is better! It seems the refs are treating us better or, more accurately, not as badly. Like some others I think the refs are influenced by our play lately, i.e.; ‘they must be good, I won’t let you hack them as much as usual”. Let’s see what happens Sunday & on 30 May.

  • finsbury

    Last season’s Home game against Gazprom was a fascinating contest. Gazprom as usual coming away for a point. Arsenal almost out-parking the Gazprom bus and edging the winner. Shame that the on the spot judgment calls by gollum within the space of a few seconds informed all sane observers that he is palpably not fit to make such judgments. Missing the unmissable red and easy to give pelanty call within a second? Decisions easy to spot and judge from halfway across the ground, which is not often the case! Really?

    We have seen unfit referees in the PL.

  • Rantetta

    Well, where to start?
    I’d say, ref Moss spraying the white stuff so it went into Santi’s eyes was the least of our problems.

    I think the stats in the article, and the comments above – show; there’s been no improvement in the way Arsenal are treated by the refs.
    I believe the difference is that Arsenal have won a few more matches than they previously have managed, against the handicap.

    There was a huge price to pay for getting to and winning the FACup (yes, the Fk-up, from the Fk-All)!
    The glaringly obvious one is Theo. (Courtesy of Clattenburg, the same ref who from 5 yards watched Adebayor stamp on van Puss’s face, and many, many other assaults on our players, and always let go with a shrug and/or a smile, followed by a brief stare, and then a quick sprint to catch up with the next infringement, which may also be ignored).

    Back to fkup: Did you see what the Brighton players were doing in that match? “Ho ho”, said the commentators.

    Don’t kid yourself about Oliver. As pointed out above, he let Fellanielbowy smash his way around long before giving him the magical yellow. And poor Micheal got thoroughly pissed off due to ManU players being in his ears twice per minute, so he flipped, and done what he should’ve been doing throughout the match.

    Don’t even bother thinking this’ll make things ok for the match against Chelsea. It doesn’t work like that!

    TwAtkinson reffed the Brazil v Chile game. I was there with friends. Twatters allowed Brazil to kick Chile all over the park, especially our Alexis. Neymar dived and gave a few kicks himself, but generally got the very best of any decisions – just like his team. The best thing about the match was the semi clad dancing girls parading around the concourse prior to kick off.

    Every sodding match seems to be an exercise in showing the world a template for reffing Arsenal matches. Yes, other teams experience this but not on such a consistent basis.

    BillfromManhatten (BFM) summed up the wider shebang excellently:

    Here’s Theo. Just as that went unpunished, so the same happened to Özil, just days ago:

  • Menace

    Andy Mack – (from the FA semi) I’m not sure you feel pain if you think that the stamp on Santi or the rake on Ozils ankle are just caresses. The studs first on BFG’s ankle/shin causing him to ask to be subbed. The elbow in Kos’ face or the gouge of Ramsey’s eye. Painless? only if you’re on heroin.

    Finsbury you’re spot on. Rednose made ‘mucho dinero’ while in office & that without having to take Santa anywhere.

    Looking forward to Maureen being stretchered off by 2 guys in 118 outfits!!

  • finsbury

    The very reason why i mentioned the Batstuber foul is because it’s not unheard of for an official in a game to get such a call slightly wrong, or decide it was a different colour to what others may have chosen. All fairly normal. Judgment calls. We all understand.

    In most Arsenal PL games we get several such fouls against. Usually not even a consideration of a card. But we do on most occasiions see a friendly chat with the player making the foul. PGMO Rules Football: It is, what it is! 🙂

  • Al

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, in my book we won the league and the FA cup last year. We would be on course for a repeat again this year, if only the pgmob would let us. This article confirms that.

  • Menace

    Finsbury – the friendly chat is usually soliciting. Watch Rooney in most matches with his SS armband offering grannies in Manchester. 😉

  • @Swales1968

    Arsenal will play 46 games in the PL & CL (sorry no stats on the other cup games)
    First 23 games
    Arsenal Fouls 278 yellows 77
    Opponents fouls 278 yellows 83

    Next 17 games
    Arsenal fouls 161 yellows 63
    Opponents fouls 193 yellows 96

    If we were to average out the remaing 6 games the end of 23 games would look like
    Arsenal fouls 227 yellows 84
    Opponents fouls 265 yellows 111

    The second half of the season less fouls by Arseanl and their opponents but a higher yellow card count
    Arsenal a yellow card every 3 fouls
    Opponents a yellow every 2.7 fouls

  • ARSENAL 13

    Has the officiating improved… A big NO.

    That was just my opinion when watching the game live. And during the match days I post my feelings here, and if I make a compilation of all those…. Not much has changed from game to game.

    Why are people making Oliver a saint???….All he did was give cards for dives. Which, apparently, Man Utd did so balantly that he had no other options but to show the yellow. But he did nothing to stop the niggly fouls. Nothing has changed.

  • para

    Maybe the refs are just trying to lure us into a false security by giving us calls that they would not have given before, but at the same time increasing the number of “minor” fouls they ignore.

    Anyway, Untold is vigilant and will not be fooled. Keeping the pressure on until fairness has become a standard in reality and not just in people’s fantasies.

  • para

    by giving us DESERVED calls

  • Andy Mack

    Menace, I didn’t say there weren’t any bad fouls, just the ones where the guys diving in = obvious foul. The Santi, Ozil and BFG fouls were horrible and should have resulted in cards but they weren’t as obvious as the ones that we saw earlier in the season.

  • Mahdain

    How Mike Riley is still in charge after taking the refereeing standards to the gutter is beyond me. He should have been sacked long ago

  • Gord


    Congratulations to Chris Willock and Stephy Mavididi for being named to the England U17 team.

  • Pete

    Oliver has certainly screwed us over in the past. He has improved a bit recently though.

    The Clattenburg/Moss brou-ha-ha is now on the BBC website. Some pretty direct accusations by Halsey:

  • Pat

    Thanks Andrew for presenting the evidence that the refs aren’t any better.

    All credit to the manager and the players for nevertheless going on an 8 match winning run.

    One of the things Arsene Wenger has said is that when things don’t work on the pitch the team doesn’t feel sorry for itself, it keeps up its efforts.

    So in the end persistence, team work and quality play get their just reward.

    No thanks to the PGMOL.

  • Mahdain

    Thanks for the link pete.

    “It’s no disrespect to Jon, but is he the best man? Has he been given a big game by the PGMOL? The Manchester derby, Man United v Liverpool, Man United v Chelsea – has he been trusted in those games? No, he hasn’t.
    “How many times has Mark done massive games? He’s done the Uefa Super Cup this year, big Champions League games and earned plaudits. It just doesn’t make sense.”
    I agree with Halsey. There is something really strange going on with Clattenburg and Riley. It seems like Riley really doesnt like Clattenburg at all and he is doing his best to try and demote him. Why is it though? Is it because maybe Clattenburg has been denying to do Riley’s dirty work? Maybe he is among of the few in the Select Group that actually has some integrity?

  • Mahdain

    Or does it boil down to those 3 penalties he gave against United in their match vs Liverpool? We all know Riley is a big united fan so maybe this is his punishment

  • Micheal Ram

    I clearly believe that the referees are a lot less brutal towards Arsenal because the players themselves. I noticed for the past 3 years, Arsenal players had really behaved themselves by respecting the officials meanwhile players from other club had gone wild and still are. Players like Arteta, Ozil, Mertesacker and Sanchez has brought a level of professionalism towards Arsenal game that the existing players followed along. One of the highlights of Arsenal’s great form right now is because the players took care of themselves really well that they are still going full force as most EPL teams begin to tire. I’m still awestruck with Sanchez who is still full of energy and running despite some concerns by his own teammates earlier this season. At least, some morons know why AW’s pre-season training is tough.

  • James N

    Very good point Micheal Ram, the arsenal players’ attitude towards refs is something we can all take pride in, particularly in recent times, not to say they are without fault but they are certainly better than most in this regard.

    As to the comments from Jambug and Gord, thank you for the assistance comprehending the stats we’ve been presented with, I was interpreting them quite wrongly indeed. My apologies to Mr Crawshaw. I have been aware of this site for a while but not aware of these ref reviews. On reflection of my earlier comment I must say I do find it interesting (and pretty appaling) that such a bias exists with the refs I thought it was just my inner gooner making me think we were hard done by. I would be interested to see the results of the same reviews done by a West Ham fan for example. Perhaps a special article could be made for such an experiment (or some sort of comparison where you review another PL teams’ matches for example) I realise this may not be possible as it probably is a lot of work and who really wants to watch that many matches where the gunners aren’t involved? Besides it’s not Untold Burnley 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    James N,
    If you go to you will find a few hundred referee reviews done under our supervision.
    Our reviewing team consisted of various referees from all over the world and the majority (70% in fact) didn’t support Arsenal.

    I can tell you that in that season the bias against Arsenal was found much higher than when we did the reviews with only Arsenal supporting referees the season before.

  • BNG

    The last time we got the 2nd choice ref like Moss for a final was in the Champions League of 2006 when that clown Terje Hauge of Norway slaughtered us with his sending off of Lehman

  • Anicoll5

    So the overwhelming conclusion is its poor old Arsenal when it comes to referees then – same as before.

    And just when I thought Arsene had got Oliver, Dean and Taylor in his pocket, just shows how wrong I could be.

    Mark Halsey is quite a catch for the media, a bit like Katy Hopkins but with an axe to grind with Mike Riley. I wonder what the story is there ?

  • Al

    Halsey is right, Moss has struck me as someone following someone’special orders every time I’ve seen him in the last year or so. And to think I used to think he was one of the best. He looks like he’s unsure of himself, the look Mariner had when wrongly sent Gibbs off. He’s certainly not looked assertive, but rather clumsy and hesitant, as if he’s not sure if he’s doing the right thing. Expect some dubious refereeing on the 30th of may.

  • Jambug

    James N

    Thanks for the acknowledgement.

    Personally I have complete faith in the referee reviewers. I believe they are balanced and are carried out with integrity.

    The problem is they will always be looked at with some scepticism, for the simple reason they are carried out by predominantly Arsenal fans, on an Arsenal blog.

    Even though, as pointed out by Walter, during the one season they where carried out by reviewers with a cross section of allegiances, the bias was shown to be even higher.

    But the fact remains, integrity or no integrity, until this in depth analysis is carried out by a completely neutral body the reviews will always be regarded with scepticism, by some.

    The fact is, there is even a small, but unwavering core, of Arsenal fans/posters here on Untold that point blank refuse to acknowledge there is any credibility in the reviews what so ever.

    As the Refereeing reviews, and there conclusions, are what underpins Untold, I do question why these ‘doubters’ frequent a blog they clearly believe to be run by people they consider to be frauds. Maybe that’s another point and for another day.

    James N/Micheal Ram

    “Very good point Micheal Ram, the arsenal players’ attitude towards refs is something we can all take pride in, particularly in recent times, not to say they are without fault but they are certainly better than most in this regard.”

    This is a fantastic point and something I had noticed. I even think we are sometimes TOO polite.

    But the thing is, I think I saw an article recently, referred to on Untold somewhere I think but I cant find it, that suggests we are well down/or up depending on what way you look at it, the league table of ‘Respect to Referees’.

    In plain language, Arsenal are seen as a disrespectful towards Referees.

    If I have read that right I think that is way way wide of the mark.

    NB: Maybe somebody could point me in the direction of the article/table to which I refer. Thanks in advance for any help in this.

  • Gord


    I had looked at the table of data on players attitudes towards referees, and as near as I can tell, all the values in the table are (statistically) the same. I suspect those numbers are derived from other numbers, and there is so much noise in all those other numbers, that there is no significant difference between the tabulated values of player attitude.

    I think the Telegraph was the source of the table I looked at, there were 2 other tables in there.

  • Jambug


    Thanks. Any Links?

    I know you are a ‘statistics’ person. I must admit I am on occasions baffled by some of your analysis/explanations, but I always try to interpret and appreciate your efforts.

    Alas I am not the sharpest knife in the draw.

    If I read you right, are you saying that basically the statistics used are pretty meaningless?

  • Gord


    I only looked at the one table, to me it says all teams treat the referees the same. In reading about games, it is obvious this isn’t true. However those numbers are derived, they have removed whatever difference was there.

  • Jambug


    They somehow still manage to portray us as ‘Disrespectful’ though.

    Don’t know how.

    Honestly I cannot remember the last time I saw one of our players get ‘in the face’ of the referee a la Rooney, yet Man Utd are somehow miraculously portrayed as ‘Respectful’.

    let alone surrounding the ref.

    Maybe it’s selective memory but considering what we have to face on occasion I think our players are verging on Angelic. o:-)

  • Gord

    If a person had a time-series of when a player on a team accepted the ball, redirected a ball, or delivered a ball; as well as the ball going over the end line or side line, what does that get us?

    We can get the time the ball is in bounds, by noting when it goes out over the end or side lines, and when the next time a ball is delivered. (A throw-in is a delivery, as is a corner kick, a goal kick or kickoff.) By noting the times when the ball’s possession by a team changes, we have most of what is needed to determine possession (when a ball is delivered in play, possession could be presumed lost?). If a ball is accepted by a player on the same team, a pass has been completed. If the team changes, an interception has been made.

    Does this get us as much information as we can get from such a possession time-series? It does not get us game time, as we have no indication of when the officials have stopped play. It can give us information as to how often officials do not stop play when the ball is out of bounds, but how do we indicate that? Does having this information for Arsenal games pose a problem for Arsenal in that competitive information has been given away?

  • Gord

    The above time-series does tell us something about how often each player touches the ball, which might be of value to another team. It also gives us information about how much or little time any player needs to move it to another. I suppose we need to add another state, that being the idea of stealing the ball. I wonder what else is missing?

  • Gord

    If we add to the possession time-series, a time series for all stoppages initiated by the referee, we now
    have the information required to finish calculating possession by both teams (and proportioning time in which neither team has possession), and we can accurately measure the length of time the ball is in play. This includes estimating the accuracy at which time is added on for stoppages.

    It is likely that this time-series needs to indicate when a referee is “playing advantage”.

  • Gord

    In general, the referee is stopping play for a foul, offside, an injury or unsafe condition, beyond side lines, beyond end-lines (could be a goal), or a mistake (drop ball to follow). For fouls and injuries, presumably there is a location involved.

  • Gord

    Some may think I am just babbling. But I am trying to build an idea, as to what fans might want in terms of something a bit different from Arsenal, that leverages work Arsenal does, and doesn’t release significant proprietary data.

    The next item to be added, is a set of time-series, that being the location of each official on a regular basis. As the called foul time-series has the locations of the fouls, combined with this set of time-series we can all calculate how far and in what direction a foul is from any official.

    And the foul series needs the locations of the offsides.

    Officials may not like having their location as a function time known to all, releasing it is not exposing proprietary information.

  • Gord

    For people like Walter, there is now enough information to review what has been called. You know when and where the foul is, and you know where the officials are. Not only do you know where the officials are, you know where they are coming from and how fast. It should help in reviewing incidents.

    We also have most of the data needed, to write a program to generate game commentary based on the ball possession and foul time-series.

    This is not even remotely real-time, but it should be complete. Tired of biased commentary from the news organizations? Roll your own.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes saw that Pete, Atkinson does seem flavour of the month with the pgmol these days. Flies in the face of at least one of my pet conspiracy theories, as Atkinson has certainly never been a Utd ref, but I guess Chelsea have a lot of say in the grand scheme of things.

  • Gord

    Next I would like to have for time-series, are a set of series that track the location of the second last defender (just instantaneous, if N players are vying, just note the one that is second last), and another set of time-series giving the location of 0 or more attackers. If no players are remotely near the line of second last defender, don’t list any. But having the second last defender all the time, the position of attacker(s), and the foul series (which includes offside time and location), we have all the information to look at all offside incidents, not just the ones called or not called. Including goals called back for offside. The possession series tells us which team kicked the ball, and when.

    In any event, the above and a couple of static files, could constitute a RSS feed of a previously analysed Arsenal game. And it exposes very little proprietary information (in my opinion).

    I think writing a program to generate commentary could be done fairly easily. Sync it to a previous recording, and you could enjoy a private screening with subtitles. N o more annoying pudnits.