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October 2016
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Referees’ three-quarter Season Review: referee performance compared to results.

By Andrew Crawshaw

We currently have published the Referee Reviews for the first 28 games of the season and our record is Won 15, Drawn 6 and Lost 7 so we have dropped points in 13 games.  Here are three tables highlighting our games to date with some pertinent facts extracted from our referee reviews.

Remember that an Important Decision is one that involves a sending off (second yellow or red card), a penalty or a goal.  These are the decisions that have the potential to change a game.

Please note that the Overall Weighted Score is that which applies after the weighting of the various decisions is given.  Normal fouls, goal kicks, etc all count with a value of 1, yellow cards count 2 and Important Decisions all count 3.

Games We Won

Home Away Score Ref Overall Weighted Score Bias against Home / Away Cost in points Wrong Important Decisions
% For Against
Arsenal Newcastle 1 – 0 Anthony Taylor 48 9/91 0  0 1
Arsenal Leicester 2 – 1 Martin Atkinson 52 94/6 0 0 7
Arsenal Everton 2 – 1 Lee Mason 58 72/28 0 0 2
Arsenal Man City 2 – 1 Andre Marriner 58 87/13 0 0 2
Arsenal Man United 3 – 0 Anthony Taylor 59 ’97/3 0 0 5
Crystal Palace Arsenal 1 – 2 Lee Mason 66 10/90 0 0 2
Arsenal Bournemouth 2 – 0 Roger East 67 69/31 0 0 1
Watford Arsenal 0 – 3 Mike Jones 68 10/90 0 0 2
Arsenal Stoke 2 – 0 Jonathan Moss 71 100/0 0 0 2
Aston Villa Arsenal 0 – 2 Kevin Friend 72 30/70 0 0 1
Bournemouth Arsenal 0 – 2 Kevin Friend 72 18/82 0 0 0
Swansea Arsenal 0 – 3 Kevin Friend 74 40/60 0 1 0
Newcastle Arsenal 0 – 1 Andre Marriner 76 33/67 0 0 2
Leicester Arsenal 2 – 5 Craig Pawson 84 20/80 0 0 0
Arsenal Sunderland 3 – 1 Robert Madley 90 100/0 * 0 0 1

* Please note that the bias figures for this game are really irrelevant as there were only 2 wrong decisions in the game.

Games We Drew

Home Away Score Ref Overall Weighted Score Bias against Home / Away Cost in points Wrong Important Decisions
% For Against
Stoke Arsenal 0 – 0 Craig Pawson 34 5/95 2  0 8
Arsenal Southampton 0 – 0 Lee Mason 34 80/20 2 0 6
Arsenal Spurs 1 – 1 Martin Atkinson 41 82/18 2 1 7
Norwich Arsenal 1 – 1 Jonathan Moss 57 8/92 0 0 3
Liverpool Arsenal 3 – 3 Mike Jones 59 6/94 2 0 2
Arsenal Liverpool 0 – 0 Michael Oliver 67 90/10 2 0 3

Games We Lost

Home Away Score Ref Overall Weighted Score Bias against Home / Away Cost in points Wrong Important Decisions
% For Against
Arsenal Swansea 1 – 2 Robert Madley 38 93/7 3  0 5
Chelsea Arsenal 2 – 0 Mike Dean 41 5/95 3 0 9
West Brom Arsenal 2 – 1 Mark Clattenburg 42 9/91 3 0 5
Southampton Arsenal 4 – 0 Jonathan Moss 49 22/78 0 2 5
Arsenal West Ham 0 – 2 Martin Atkinson 54 100/0 1 0 3
Man United Arsenal 3 – 2 Craig Pawson 64 3/97 3 0 4
Arsenal Chelsea 0 – 1 Mark Clattenburg 76 35/65 0 1 0

What do these tables tell us?

  1. All but one of the best refereeing performances have come in games we have won.  The only exception being the 76% score from Mark Clattenburg in our loss at home to Chelsea.
  2. There is only one entry on the Wall of Shame from games we won.
  3. There is no evidence that I can see that we should not have won any of those games due to refereeing errors in our favour.
  4. In the games we drew the refereeing is demonstrably worse than in the games we won.  Half of the referees in this category are included in our Wall of Shame.
  5. In the games we drew, wrong refereeing decisions almost certainly cost us 10 points.
  6. In some of the drawn games it was a miracle we didn’t lose, six games 29 wrong Important decisions against us – that’s an average of five per game and remember these are all potential game changing decisions.
  7. The one game in this category where I haven’t included cost points was the Norwich game and, for the life of me, I haven’t got the faintest idea why, but I didn’t at the time and am being consistent with the decision I made then and have reported ever since.
  8. In the games we lost 4 out of 7 have earned places on the Wall of Shame.
  9. All three of the games we lost by a single goal were sufficiently influenced by the referee  for me to believe that we should have won them.  The 2 – 0 loss at Chelsea was entirely determined by Mike Dean so I am counting that as another three points.  The 2 – 0 loss against West Ham should have been a draw.  The West Ham goal in Min43 was from a ‘phantom’ foul and West Ham should have had Tomkins dismissed in Min 37 and Noble dismissed in Min 62.
  10. In the 15 games we won there have been 28 wrong Important Decisions against us so an average of 2 per game. NB 12 of those came in one game courtesy of Mr Atkinson and Mr Taylor so excluding those from the numbers gives us an average of 1 per game.
  11. In the 6 games we have drawn there have been 29 wrong decisions – an average of 5 per game.
  12. In the 7 games we have lost there have been 31 wrong decisions against us – an average of 4.5 per game.
  13. There is a clear link between the chances of us winning a game and the fewest number of wrong Important decisions against us, where the number of wrong decisions exceeds 2 we are far more likely to draw or lose.
  14. We have won twice this season with more than two wrong decisions against us (out of 15 wins).
  15. Only two of our draws or losses (out of 13) have involved fewer than three wrong Important Decisions.

Just looking at our last 9 games

Home Away Score W/D/L Referee Overall Weighted Score Wrong Important Decisions Link to referee review
For Against
Arsenal Newcastle 1 – 0 W Anthony Taylor 48 0 1 Ref Review : Arsenal – Newcastle
Liverpool Arsenal 3 – 3 D Mike Jones 59 0 2 Ref Review : Liverpool – Arsenal and the push in the back
Stoke Arsenal 0 – 0 D Craig Pawson 34 0 8 Ref Review: Stoke – Arsenal: who is that voice whispering in my ear….?
Arsenal Chelsea 0 – 1 L Mark Clattenburg 76 1 0 Referee Review: Arsenal – Chelsea
Arsenal Southampton 0 – 0 D Lee Mason 34 0 6 Ref Review: Arsenal – Southampton; Mason doing the PGMO job and doing worse than if he had given decisions at random
Bournemouth Arsenal 0 – 2 W Kevin Friend 72 0 0 Ref Review: Arsenal – Bournemouth
Arsenal Leicester 2 – 1 W Martin Atkinson 52 0 7 Ref Review: Arsenal – Leicester
Man United Arsenal 3 – 2 L Craig Pawson 64 0 4 Ref Review: MU – Arsenal: again no penalty for Arsenal
Arsenal Swansea 1 – 2 L Robert Madley 38 0 5 Ref Review : Arsenal – Swansea, when is it going to start to even out?
    Main Points I noted
      1:  Won 3, Drawn 3 and Lost 3.  But the results are broadly in line with what I would expect given the numbers of wrong Important Decisions in each of the games.


    2:  Four Referees gained places on the Wall of Shame with below 50% scores.
    3:  The best refereeing was in our loss at home to Chelsea.
    4:  Four games with 2 or fewer wrong Important Decisions
  • two wins
  • one draw
  • one loss against Chelsea.
    5: Five games with 4 or more wrong Important Decisions
  • two draws
  • two losses
  • one win against Leicester where Mr Atkinson did everything possible to help Leicester with no fewer than seven  wrong Important Decisions.

Recent Posts 

From the Arsenal History Society


28 comments to Referees’ three-quarter Season Review: referee performance compared to results.

  • Goonermikey

    Before anyone comes out with a standard aaa opinion can I just say thanks to you guys at UA and anybody who chooses to suggest that this is of no relevance can they please submit a well thought out counter argument support by evidence……..not the usual arbitrary drivel.

    NB Sadly there are no surprises

  • Al

    Thanks Andrew for this meticulous analysis. Give us half of those stolen points and we top the league, half only is what we would need.

    I’m counting this year as another obvious title stolen from us by Riley and his cronies, 2008 being another obvious one. Guys like Atkinson are cowards, and make me sick.

  • Jambug


    You know you are up against it when you get a dislike for simply asking for a counter argument to be supported by evidence !!

  • Arwar

    In the past 12 years it is only chelsea and mancity who won the title fair and square and rightfully deserved it.

  • Arwar

    In the past 12 years it is only chelsea who won the title fair and square and rightfully deserved it.

  • Jerry

    Excellent work Andrew and the Untold team!

    Now we just got to wait for Mike Riley and his fantasy PGMO numbers to compare.

    Hope no one is trying to hold their breath waiting!

  • Usama Zaka

    Good work Andrew. You always have a good eye when it comes to finding little links, patterns and separating the odds & evens from all of this huge pile of data.

  • Arwar

    In my honest opinion I feel the stoke manu southampton chelsea and liverpool were fair results

  • WalterBroeckx

    It’s not because we have a bad day on the field, that refs should make it a terrible day by making multiple errors all against one team. The use of the word ‘fair’ is not justified in that case.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Man city deserved their trophy in the last seconds of the season. I think our referee reviews showed that they didn’t get much help from referees in most of their matches. Their opponents MU got lots of help in that season but still couldn’t win it.

  • norman14


    No need to wait, it’s 96%. Mr Riley said 😉

  • para

    Maybe Andrew can get a job reviewing the refs. 🙂

    The proof stands out and can’t be refuted really.

  • rich

    Down with well thought out counter arguments supported by evidence!

    Boo Hiss

  • Al

    OT but sad news regarding Cryuff’s passing on. Real legend. R.I.P.

  • Usama Zaka

    For those silently disliking let me remind you, that all these numbers, facts and figures that you are seeing here are the result of going through and analyzing each and every single incident that has happened in every game that Arsenal has played so far.

  • rich

    I think the damage goes beyond what you can add up from the games as they happen.

    After a bad result, extra pressure comes up the team. Similarly, good results breed confidence.

    Plus, there’s morale and maybe something even more harmful and insidious- what it does to the heads of footballers when they know or even sense that the refereeing isn’t right, and all they’ve learned about the game since they were kids is jeopardised in the process.

    They must surely doubt they’ll get the decisions they should when fouled and also not feel they can play their normal game when competing for the ball. An awful mix really when so much of football is instinctive.

    The starkest contrast of all however is between what we have to put up with and what teams who do a little better than normal with key decisions experience.

    For them, they have the security of knowing they are unlikely to concede a soft penalty,etc, and the incentive to go searching for pens of their own. Incredibly, I think Smalling actually got called once for his holding in the box this year; nevertheless he has still gained so much from it in his career, while our players would be extremely foolish to copy what he does with the same aim.

    It was mentioned on here yesterday what it did to Utd in the first year post Ferguson when the refereeing plummeted back close to normal for them. Threw them immensely and left a bunch of players with umpteen titles between them looking uncertain about how to play.

  • Zedsaunt

    Johan Cruyff made the dream of football possible, somewhere way beyond rugby and the savagery of physical contact. Anticpation, movement, space, skill, these were his qualities. Rest in peace.

  • Really sorry to hear of Johan Cruyff death, what a master of the beautiful game he really was. Well done Andrew because it shows us along what these sorry excuse that call themselves refs are corrupt and doing a deservist to the honest ref’s out there. Thank you to the whole team who put hours in to give us these tables and other new’s. You all do a fantastic job everyone of you.

  • bjtgooner

    A very telling analysis – fantastic work.

    Can anyone out there defend the indefensible?

  • Pete

    Never mind the points we have been unfairly denied – what about the points our opponents have been unfairly awarded? Although we don’t have statistical evidence their is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Makes it even more tilted.

  • Mick

    Off the top of my head Spurs have been gifted two wins instead of draws since Christmas, winning goal against Watford clearly offside and against Man City ridiculous penalty for handball against Sterling helped them to a 2-1 win. That’s 4 points gifted to them. When will we ever get that sort of help.

  • Andy Mack

    rich, as you say, the effect on morale is insidious. When the first few little call go against you, you know it’s going to be a tough game. Then when the ref makes a major call against you, you start to feel like it doesn’t matter how well you play because everything’s against you, including the oppositions goal posts which seem closer together so your snap shot is that little bit closer to their GK who saves it which boosts his confidence. So to you start trying to be clever with the ball to give your team mates the ball in space and on the run but they didn’t understand that you were going to back heel it into that space and instead they come round the other side of you to give you support etc…
    The only way that changes is when a bit of luck comes your way. It could just be a lucky bounce or it could be that your hooked shot takes a deflection and goes in. But we rarely seem to get that luck and even when we do, there’s often a ref who’ll look for some reason to neutralise it…
    Having said that, If it evens out to even a small degree this season then we should win every remaining game 7-0 😀

  • Pat

    There seems to be a campaign gathering pace against abuse of referees. It is currently about the amateur game but no doubt it will start to swing towards the Premier League.

    I have no doubt referees at amateur and youth games get abuse and I feel for them. I also don’t believe referees in the Premier League should be abused by the players either. Of course they have it in their own hands at these highly publicised games – all they have to do is use their yellow and red cards.

    What I fear is that this is going to be used once more to divert from the genuine and factually based concerns, using evidence like that in Untold, about the state of refereeing in the Premier League. These articles have been accompanied by photographs, not from the amateur game, but from the Premier League.

    Forewarned is forearmed. Another diversion from the real PGMO issues is in the offing.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Pat I agree…I don’t think you should abuse referees, ESPECIALLY at the lower levels, as they are learning their trade-particularly players…On the same level however, when a referee, ceases to be a referee…you can understand people’s (our) frustrations.

  • Pat

    Fully agreed, GoingGoingGooner. In fact, I think it is the duty of fans at Arsenal matches to shout cheat when the referee is cheating. We have suffered enough!

  • Rich

    Andy Mack

    Yep, that was the sort of thing I was trying to get at in terms of how it affects players.

    On the most basic level of all, I suppose it’s a matter of all footballers being primed to respond to whether a referee is tough or lenient, always or on the day.

    If he’s lenient, then you have the option of pushing things; tough, and you know you should be more careful. When you get someone who is being lenient and tough, and the other side is benefitting in both cases, how the hell do you go about things? With the scores equal or when you are leading, it’s not as bad, you stick with the plan and try to use your strengths…

    Thinking about it, that sort of refereeing would make it particularly hard to overturn deficits once behind. Haven’t checked in a while, but I believe our record remains pretty awful of coming back into games when behind. Worse than you would expect for any team capable of finishing in a top four place.

  • finsbury

    Thanks Andrew. We’ve seen many farcical officials in AFC matches this season. Is this what it was like watching the 1978 World Cup? Or the Tour de France?

    Perhaps it will all even out before the end?

    When a Troll (and the friend it likes to talk to – that’d be the mirror) is incapable of contesting data, information and evidence, it trolls. The dislike button. What a life! Very amusing.

  • Menace

    Excellent work Andrew.

    Superb comments Usama.