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Arsenal v Crystal Palace Sunday 17 April 2016 – The Match Officials. Arsenal achieve the 1 in 2 billion chance.

by Andrew Crawshaw

Following the Referee review of Anthony Taylor’s performance in the Watford game  – here is the updated Table of Shame.  The performance had only one wrong Important Decision when in Min17 Prodl clearly pushed Welbeck in the Watford penalty area with Taylor seeing it quite clearly and deciding not to give a penalty.

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 1 41
Red Cards 1 12
Penalties 3 29
Goals 0 11
Total 5 93
Possible Cost in Points 0 25

As Walter pointed out, a performance that was significantly different in the two halves.

First half 9 correct and 9 wrong decisions (without weighting), the wrong decisions 7 to 2 against Arsenal.  Second half 16 correct decisions and 4 incorrect all in favour of Arsenal – much better overall and totally reversing the usual experience of a balance of wrong decisions against Arsenal.

Overall for the game, once weighting is applied to the decisions a score of 66% and bias figures against both teams of 45/55.

Yes that’s right for the first time this year the overall bias was in favour of Arsenal – it has only taken 32 games for this to happen.  If my maths is correct and the chance of wrong refereeing decisions is random (i.e. the referees are unbiased but make mistakes at random for both teams) the chances of 31 consecutive bias numbers against Arsenal is 1 in 2 to the power 31 or 1 in 2,147,483,648.

Pretty darned unlikely, in fact at 45,000,000 to one (roughly) there is a much better chance of winning the UK Lotto jackpot.

So Mr Taylor didn’t earn a place in the Wall of Shame which looked possible at half time.

Ref Game Weighted Score Bias against (h/a) Link to Ref Review
Craig Pawson Stoke v Arsenal 34 5/95 Stoke – Arsenal
Lee Mason Arsenal v Southampton 34 80/20 Arsenal v Southampton
Robert Madley Arsenal v Swansea 38 93/7 Arsenal – Swansea
Mike Dean Chelsea v Arsenal 41 5/95 Chelsea – Arsenal
Martin Atkinson Arsenal v Spurs 41 82/18 Arsenal – Tottenham
Mark Clattenburg  West Brom v Arsenal 42 9/91 West Brom v Arsenal
Mark Clattenburg  Everton Arsenal 43 6/94 Everton v Arsenal
Anthony Taylor  Arsenal v Newcastle 48 9/91 Arsenal – Newcastle
Jonathan Moss Southampton v Arsenal 49 22/78 Southampton v Arsenal


On Sunday our Officials are :-

  • Referee – Roger East
  • Assistants – R West and M Scholes
  • Fourth Official – Mike Dean

The appointment of Mike Dean as fourth official is, to me, deeply worrying.  He will have refereed the Chelsea v Manchester City match on Saturday, been fourth official for us on the Sunday, he is again fourth official on Monday when Stoke play Spurs and is referee on Wednesday night when West Ham play Watford.

In the space of five days, he is part of the refereeing teams for the second, third, fourth and sixth placed teams in the league.

This is quite ridiculous and clearly leaves the PGMO at risk of a charge of match fixing.  To those who say that the fourth official doesn’t have any significant influence on the outcome of a match, I would say if that is the case then why appoint one of the longest standing referees in the league to that role?  Roger East has been trusted in 22 premier league games this year and Neil Swarbrick, who is the referee for Stoke v Spurs on Monday night, has refereed 15 times this year.  Neither are ‘newbies’ and shouldn’t need their hands holding.

This will be the third time this year that Dean has been fourth official for Roger East; the previous two occasions being 13 Dec Spurs (1) v Newcastle (2) and on12 Mar for the Bournemouth (3) v Swansea (2) game.  Maybe Mr East isn’t yet considered sufficiently ‘on song’ with the wider PGMO agenda – after all he was in charge when the mighty Leicester only drew 1 – 1 at Aston Villa on 16 January.

Regarding the two Assistant Referees, I have one possible flag this season against Mr West for the Watford v Arsenal game when one of the two linesmen wrongly flagged Ramsey offside when through one on one with the keeper in Min 45.  The other assistant that day was Mr Holmes. The referee review didn’t identify which of the officials was at fault.  Mr Scholes is flag free.

On to Mr East

This will be the second time this year that Roger East has refereed an Arsenal game, the first being against Bournemouth when the fourth official was none other than Mr D Deadman (no I hadn’t heard of him either but he was deemed good enough for that game, his only other appearance as fourth official was also in a Bournemouth game)  :-

Ref Review: Arsenal – Bournemouth

67% overall weighted performance, bias against the two teams 69/31 and two wrong Important decisions both missed penalties Min 45+1 Francis on Giroud and Min 59 Gabriel on Gosling.  I couldn’t see how the decisions affected the result of the match which Arsenal won 2 – 0.

In 2014-15 we had Mr East on one occasion

Referee review : Arsenal – Hull : East, West not the best

62% overall, bias against the two teams 82/18 and one wrong Important Decision when in Min 17 the goal that Diame scored for Hull should not have counted due to  a clear foul on Flamini in the build up.  Two points to the PGMO.

In 2013-14 Roger East only refereed 5 games, none involving Arsenal.  Everton v West Brom (0 – 0); Fulham v Stoke (1 – 0); Aston Villa v Swansea (1 – 1); Crystal palace v Hull (1 – 0) and Everton v Cardiff (2 – 1)

I believe that there is an outside possibility that only the first and second placed teams in the PL this season will make the Champions League places for next year.  I think the rules are that the winners of both the Champions League and Europa League get automatic entry for next year.  Man City are in the semi final of the CL and Liverpool are still in the Europa League. Should they both be the winners at the end of the season then there are only two spaces left out of England’s four.  We therefore need every available point and need Spurs in particular to drop some.  I fear PGMO intervention this weekend to ensure that becomes virtually impossible.


1: The appointment of Mike Dean as fourth official for this game is nether wanted or warranted.  The only conclusion that Arsenal supporters can logically come to is that he is there to whisper in Mr East’s ear and guide him to the right way to referee an Arsenal game.  He filled this role earlier this tear when Craig Pawson was transformed from getting a score of 84% in the Leicester v Arsenal game to 34% in the Stoke v Arsenal game.  Mr East has a starting score of 67% – God only knows where he will be on Sunday but I wouldn’t be at all surprised at another entry in the Hall of Shame.

2: If we remove Mr Dean from the equation, there is very little history with Mr East on which to base an opinion.  Two games is really too small a sample.  However, there were similarities in the two performances so here goes.

3: On the negative side, in both games his weighted scores were lower than out 70% minimum requirement (62% last year and 67% this year).  Both also with significant bias in wrong decisions against Arsenal (69 and 82%).

4: On the positive side there weren’t too many wrong Important Decisions, he missed two penalties and he didn’t blow for a foul on one of our defenders in the build up to a Hull goal.  We see more than that on average every week.

5: So far he doesn’t appear to be terribly good on his own, I fail to believe that the presence of Mr Dean will make him any better.  I wonder can Arsenal assign a member of the coaching staff to continually interrupt Mr Dean whenever he is seen talking in his mike?

6: I fear that the refereeing in this game is going to be another travesty, as I  said in my post on Tuesday morning, I then think that for the final games of the season the PGMO will relent in their vendetta against our club. Look out for helping hands for Leicester against West Ham on Saturday,  Spurs at Stoke on Monday Night and West Ham being compensated for recent perceived injustices on Wednesday night in their home game against Watford (sorry Watford but you have no chance in that game).

I’m going to watch the Ladies FA Cup semi-final against Sunderland on Sunday, to whoever has my usual seat in the Emirates, I hope my predictions are wrong and that you will enjoy the game.


On the home page…

  • A selected anniversary from beyond football and a nice picture of the stadium and a train.
  • Today’s Arsenal anniversaries and the Insult of the Day
  • A list of the most recent posts from Untold and the Arsenal History Society
  • Details of all the the books Untold Arsenal has published

Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle.  The books are

  • The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
  • Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace.  By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
  • Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football.  By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
  • Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
  • The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.

You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page

22 comments to Arsenal v Crystal Palace Sunday 17 April 2016 – The Match Officials. Arsenal achieve the 1 in 2 billion chance.

  • Robert

    “I think the rules are that the winners of both the Champions League and Europa League get automatic entry for next year.”

    True. However, while the Champions League winner would take up one of our 4 places, the same is not true of the Europa League. England would have 5 entries in the CL, as Spain had this season.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Arsenal Gunners should not get panic of the presence of Mr Mike Dean at the Ems on Sunday as the 4th official for their match against the visiting Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace team.

    Arsenal are poised to beat Palace by 4 goals to nil. And there is no any amount of teleguiding referee Roger East and his 2 linesmen by Mr Mike Dean through the using of his mick will succeed as Arsenal will totally overcome any ploy by Mike Dean to frustrate their game.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Yes I was wrong on that point, I have seen a fuller explanation since I wrote the article. We need to make sure we finish in third place to be sure of qualification. That way it stays in our hands.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Less I forget, I’ll support the Boss if he’ll continue with his new starting IX and bench for this Palace visit but with 1 change done to that his starts.

    My suggested starts & bench:

    These starts & bench have not lost a Premier League match. They’ve won 2 drawn 1. They know what is at stake for themselves. They’ll beat Palace by 4-0 as I’ve said.

  • Josif

    Didn’t we have a positive bias in Clattenburg’s performance against Chelsea?

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Peter Chec to start tomorrow surely.

  • Jerry

    Good preview Andrew, hoping East can ignoring the whispering in his ear!

    In regards to Mr. Deadman, if I recall correctly, he was the official for the Arsenal-Manchester City FA Youth Cup semifinal where he missed a clear penalty for the Arsenal youth team and sent off Marc Bola.

    Based on what I saw that day, I hope he stays far away from the Premier League! But Riley would probably promote him based off that one game.

  • Rich


    Think Riley’s scouts may be attending a few of our youth games as it goes.

    In last week or so we had the FA game- red for us, missed clear foul you mention (right on or in edge of box- I couldn’t tell), then ditched the ‘red’s a red’ attitude to show the keeper leniency for handball- then onto a must win game at Derby for u21s.

    Denied a very good pen shout in that, and a red before half time for kicking the ball away and dissent. Oh, and the ref overruled the linesman who flagged for offside to give Derby an equaliser.

    3rd red I know of before or just after half time in important youth games this year. Then on Monday there was a very clear pen on Rosicky- with the defender even doing the classic head down arms in air as he walked away thinking he’d given a pen away. But nope,. no pen. Rosicky just laughed his head off at it.\

    Highlights are on the Arsenal player if you haven’t seen them.

    In short, the youth teams seem to get little more ‘luck’ than the seniors. As we’ve had two dismissed for dissent this year though I’m guessing they struggle more to accept it.

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    I have noticed a significant increase in poor decisions against Arsenal at U21 level. I’m going to their last game on Monday evening which, if they win, will see automatic promotion back to the top tier for that age group.

    The Ladies are also seeing some iffy decisions so I’m not at all sure it is Arsène related.

  • Rich


    I’ve tried for ages to resist the idea that our youth teams also do very badly with referees. (Mainly because I figure it makes it easier to paint me as paranoid if I’m talking about youth games, too) .Without success.

    Really caught my eye two years ago that the same referee who sent off Hayden harshly for a shirt tug 15 mins into a derby with Spurs let Chelsea’s keeper stay on after he’d wiped out Maitland Niles on the edge of the box from a position M-N would surely have scored.

    Same ref, in games a few weeks apart. Incredibly harsh on us 15 minutes into a game, very lenient for another team weeks later. Hard to explain. Normal psychology would seem to dictate that ref would realise he was very strict (15 mins into a local derby at youth level, for a slight shirt pull) against us weeks before and so had to do the same, in our favour this time, so soon after. Nope

    Then there’s the amount of pens our u18s concede. Lots and lots. 2 in a game more than once this year. Nearly always soft ones a ref could easily not give (feel like I’ve seen Da Graca alone called for about 5 of them)

    The u21s have been doing very badly in recent times. In general the unspoken rule seems to be that refs are more reluctant to send players off in youth games but, as with our seniors, they seem to pounce on a chance to send our players off. A push and dissent, twice, accounting for 3 of the 4 I can recall this year.

    I think it has gone beyond Wenger at this stage.

    Fingers crossed it goes better for the Ladies game. Heard they were hard done by against City recently.

    Hope they do it on Monday. Feels like promotion, or not, will decide whether or not it goes down as a positive year, results wise, for our youth teams. Player development is a different matter, and I’m confident things are going well on that front.

    Bit worried we’ll line up again without a defensive player in the front six, mind. Never seems to go well no matter how much talent is in side.

  • Andy Mack

    Josif, There’s no doubt that Clattenburg was positively against us…

  • Usama Zaka


    You mentioned this week about some large match-fixing kind of refereeing to happen this week…. well it is.

    With the title only Leicester’s to lose and the Champions League places and relegation dogfight going on, this week strange things are going to happen, just like you talked about.

    I was watching Norwich-Sunderland today (to pass free time). Both are serious relegation candidates, and over the last number of years Sunderland always get favoured to survive in this month. Exactly that happened. Sunderland scored 1 illegal goal, scored 1 illegal penalty and Norwich were denied at least two penalties.

    We better brace ourselves for the “Dean & Riley’s Magic Show”

  • Josif


    According to the final numbers of the ref review he wasn’t. He didn’t give a penalty for Chelsea after Koscielny’s foul on Fabregas in the box and his red card for Mertesacker was regarded as the correct one.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Watching the Chelsea ManC match. Chelsea is sterile and slow with the ball.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Usama zaka
    Spot on.I was also watching Nor vs Sun and the ref was awful. Nor were denied a clear penalty.

  • Menace

    Usama Zaka – spot on re the Norwich – Sunderland officiating. Webb commented on the incidents & wasn’t totally convincing but agreed that Norwich didn’t get a penalty. Kaboul was consistently fouling in the box & should have been booked.

    The Dean appointment is not surprising. I would have sacked the incompetent cheat 2 years ago. Riley should be in jail for impersonating an official. The FA should hang their heads in shame. There is nothing sporting left in any of the football hierarchy.

  • The PGMO clearly has an agenda and that is why Dean has been placed as the fourth official in so many games this weekend.

  • ClockEndRider

    I’m beginning to think that the clubs are implicit in all this rereeing jiggery pokery. Arsenal say next to nothing about the referees despite it being obvious to all and sundry what is and has been going on. The overall volume of anti ref noise in general has been lower despite the atrocious standards set by PIGMOB. Sorry if I’m disappearing into the realms of tin foil hat conspiracy theory but this year is beginning to like it has been cooked up as part of a wider marketing ploy for the premier league.

  • Genorm

    Good to see Dean starring for City yesterday. Chelski were awful, but it was heart-warming to watch the fair-minded Dean chatting to Zabaleta instead of sending him off, after a second obvious yellow card offence. We don’t forget how he could not wait to send Santi off last September here – Santi! I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the Etihad in May. Diabolical pigmob every time.

  • SheWoreAYellowRibbon

    Look out for helping hands for Leicester against West Ham on Saturday.

    Well the game was on Sundah and the referee has awarded a controversial red card and a soft penalty against Leicester.

    This site often asks to be judged on the evidence and this article has proved to be nonsense.

  • finsbury

    SWAYR lines up the shot. And blazes it out of the ground.

    LCFCs penalty differential remains an outlier given the overall drop in penalties awarded this season relative to the past ten years. In other words: remarkable. And so we remark upon it. Even though such simple actions comically offend some 🙂

  • serge

    Roger East had an almost perfect game which I’m sure you’ll reflect on in your post match assessment.