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There ain’t penalties til it’s over. Arsenal v Liverpool 24 August 2015 – The Referee Preview

Arsenal v Liverpool Monday 24 August 2015 – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Firstly a reminder that Arsenal U21s will play their next game at the Emirates against West Ham on Friday 28 August evening Kick off 19:00  Tickets are on general sale at a cost of £4 (£2 concessions).  Here is a link to the page with ticketing information Ticket Info.  Should be well worth a visit but you do need to stay to the final whistle (4 goals in their first two games have been scored in the last 5 minutes).  The U21s have won both of their games so far and a third will will put them top of the table.

Now o to Liverpool on Monday – Kick off is 20:00

  • Referee – Michael Oliver
  • Assistants – S Bennett and J Brooks
  • Fourth Official – N Swarbrick

Mr Oliver is a Northumberland referee who is FIFA accredited.  To date he has refereed 116 Premier League matches issuing 16 red and 370 yellow cards – pretty much in line with everyone else.

In the results table from last season Mr Oliver was mid-table he got nearly four fifths of his decisions right (not 98.5% or whatever figure the PGMO have come up with recently) and just over one fifth wrong.

Referee Correct total Wrong total
Lee Mason 86.44% 13.56%
Moss 83.17% 16.83%
Pawson 80.82% 19.18%
Clattenberg 78.85% 21.15%
Oliver 78.18% 21.82%
Dowd 73.44% 26.56%
Taylor 72.88% 27.12%
Friend 70.59% 29.41%
Marinner 70.42% 29.58%
Jones 70.00% 30.00%
East 67.92% 32.08%
Dean 67.37% 32.63%
Atkinson 66.47% 33.53%


The question really is were those errors costly or not?

Mr Oliver was in charge for three games last Season of which there are ref reviews for two.

REFEREE REVIEW: Arsenal – Tottenham

66% overall rating (after weighting applied to the decisions), bias against the two teams 85/15.  

In Minute 72 Mason should have had a straight red card for a foul on Özil, In Minute 30 Arsenal should have had a penalty for a foul by Rose on Wilshere.  The combination of those errors almost certainly cost Arsenal two points, the game resulting in a draw rather than an Arsenal victory.

Ref Review Liverpool – Arsenal. Someone put something in the ref’s tea at half time

67% overall (weighted), bias against both teams 0/100 (yes every wrong decision was in favour of Liverpool).  

In Minute 46 Stirling should have been booked for a dive (Debuchy was booked instead), in Minute 61 Stirling should have had a second yellow card for deliberate handball, in Minute 91 Borini should have had a straight red card for a challenge on Cazorla instead of the second yellow he actually got (yes it didn’t make any difference to this game but he deserved a three game ban rather than one).  Arsenal were well on top at times in the second half and should have had a man advantage for the last half hour. Another draw that could conceivably been a win for Arsenal.

The third game was Arsenal v Chelsea on 26 April  there isn’t a full review of the referee’s performance but this was Walter’s  take on the game Arsenal – Chelsea, wake us up at the final whistle.  Another non-given penalty to Arsenal when Cahill handled in the penalty area in the first half.  Chelsea came for a draw and with the help of the referee achieved their objective.

So three games last year, three draws all, in large part, decided by Mr Oliver, not a great recommendation for his appointment.  On a more positive note his first half performance in the Liverpool game was brilliant 14 correct decisions and 2 wrong (neither important) – If only that were his normal pattern!

Going back to 2013-14 there were again three games

Arsenal v Tottenam 1 Sept 2013 (1 – 0)  Again no full ref review but this is Walter’s post game piece Arsenal v £100.000.000: 1-0.  No specific mention of Mr Oliver so we can assume that he was OK.

Man United v Arsenal 10 Nov 2013 (1 – 0)

Lost a battle, the war is still in our hands  Phantom fouls made an appearance – designed to help United escape the heavy pressure they were under in the second half, no big decisions just a biased performance designed to assist our opponents.  We had twice the number of shots as United and the same number on target.  Unfortunately we made one error that cost us.

Liverpool v Arsenal 8 Feb 2014 (5 – 1)  Liverpool needed no assistance from Mr Oliver in this game; the first half from Arsenal was suicidal – it nearly cost me a new i-pad on which I was watching the game. Disastrous start leaves us empty handed  In the second half we got a penalty (no harm or danger of Mr Oliver getting a sanction from his bosses in giving that one!).

Three games one win and two losses none really affected by Mr Oliver.

Looking back one more year to 2012-13

Everton v Arsenal  was the only game

Match Review: Michael Oliver – Everton Vs Arsenal (1 – 1) [28/11/2012]

70% overall (weighted), bias against the two teams 21/79.  No major decisions were wrong, two missed yellow cards for Everton players being his worst decisions.  Not great refereeing but we are used to worse.


  1. Mr Oliver is a typical PGMO referee and knows who pays his salary.  He is well versed in the “black arts” of favouring one team over another by (for example) inappropriate application of advantage following an infringement and inventing phantom fouls to break up play.
  2. His weighted performances are usually around the 70% correct level  and in our reviews from last year he got 21% of all of his decisions wrong.
  3. He is another referee who is averse to awarding Arsenal penalties (unless the result of the game is already decided) so I wouldn’t put money on one on Monday night.
  4. There have been a number of instances when he hasn’t sent off players for dangerous challenges, I hope this doesn’t happen again against Liverpool.
  5. Last year he seemed to be largely responsible for two of our games being draws rather than wins through wrong Important Decisions (second yellow or red cards, penalties and Goals).  The Emirates Crowd will have to be our twelfth man as I fear he will be Liverpool’s


From today’s anniversary files

23 August 1975: Arsenal 0 Stoke 1. Arsenal won only two games in the first ten and ultimately ended the league in 17th.

23 August 1986: Arsenal 1 Man U 0.  George Graham started his career as Arsenal manager.  Unfortunately this was one of only two wins in the first eight.  Charlie Nicholas scored.

  • @UntoldArsenal on Twitter
  • Arsenal Annivesaries each day on the home page
  • Remember, remember.  The history of Arsenal’s pre-seasons: now covering every season from 1983 to 2014, with more articles forthcoming.



6 comments to There ain’t penalties til it’s over. Arsenal v Liverpool 24 August 2015 – The Referee Preview

  • Mandy Dodd

    Liverpool in general worry me when it comes to refs, what I saw in their recent game against Bournemouth has not eased this worry, those officials won that game for Liverpool, even the EPL for once came out and said an error was made. Were they intimidated by the Kop, incompetent, just a couple of mistakes, or something else??
    Then there was the media backlash against….Webb I think in our cup tie a couple years ago, when the ref failed to give Liverpool what they and the media perceived a penalty against us. That was a season in which conversely, rather a lot of decisions seemed to go pools way, the season of Suarez, I still do not know how they didn’t win the league and even double with the help they had that year.
    Still, Oilver did put in a strong performance in the second half of last seasons cup game when we played at OT so maybe some grounds for hope.
    Liverpool seem far more defensive this year, think they will try to replicate what West Ham did, any ref help for them gratefully received. If they get a lead , they will park the bus, waste time, hope we get frustrated, naive in our play and maybe try and strike again. But I expect us to be much improved compared to the West Ham game. More like against Palace, with hopefully our shooting boots on.
    Whatever happens, hope the game is not won or lost by the officials.
    Goes without saying, the media have over reacted ….compared to their usual reactions to multiple /rotational fouls committed by non Arsenal players, and made Coq a marked man, he needs to be careful, and the bench may need to react quickly if he is in trouble.

  • Genorm

    I think that Coq will be persona non grata with PGMOL, for the whole season now; leaving the likes of Ramires, Cahill, Valencia, Stoke FC to do as they please. We need to look out for Couthino’s antics tomorrow night, tricky player but Hazard-like in his love of the turf. Another who is not all he seems: Milner, he needs watching for dives and dirty play. Skrtel’s ugly mug will be even uglier when he manages to stamp on himself. I cannot bear another media love-in with the scousers. Carragher could hardly contain himself after the dreadful shafting of Bournemouth. I predict Santi to star in a decisive win. COYG!

  • Menace

    Mandy – you are not far off my thinking. We only need one player. A midfield Guru. One that generally wears black & blows a whistle!

    This player is only available on contract from PGMO & their chairman Riley. How this player is got, only ‘special’ ones know. Hopefully we will have some of them enjoying the Wenger way of playing the beautiful game. It is difficult for them to accept his French roots because they have ties to some far distant land where huge amounts of money is ‘made’. There is half a chance they will keep a balanced view and allow quality to win through.

    I am sure Sir Hardly from Yardley will be able to alter their aroma to suit our preference.

  • para

    Quote from the “pool” manager:
    “”We know that we’ve got that ability to scrap and fight to get a result as well as play good football.”

    So Arsenal know what to expect Mon night.

    I’m looking for Arsenal to get on form now and create a run. We need to score goals. Our goal tally is really lacking.

    Time to step up Arsenal, time to step up and start to perform on the field.
    Nuff said.


  • Pete

    Was a review written of the FA cup tie at Old Trafford? Thought Oliver did much better there.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    That’s what I meant by saying that he knows who his paymaster is. I suspect that they don’t give quite the same instructions in cup games as in the league.. If he referees tonight in the manner of that game then I will have no concerns. I’m not putting any money on that outcome though.