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October 2016
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Whoever does the analysing of referee decisions the result is: Arsenal is screwed

By Walter Broeckx

I know in some circles it is a bit the flavour of the day to talk about our ref reviews in a patronizing way. In a tone like: “those deluded fools at Untold with their ref conspiracy theories, oh what they will not do to not blame Wenger.” You can read it even here on Untold from time to time when one of them comes over here or indeed when they take up the idea of flooding us with their comments.

Or they suggest that we (this season that is Usama and myself) should get a life and stop wasting our time. I often wonder if this probably “sincere concern” about how we pass our days is not because they don’t like the outcome but just want to put their head in the sand so they can still blame all and everything on Wenger?

To be honest it does take up a lot of time to go through the matches as deeply as we have been doing all those years, and how Usama and I have been doing this season, but it sure is worth the trouble and the time. And as the season is now finished but still a few referee reviews to do I want to pay tribute to Usama who has been doing an amazing job behind the scene and who is responsible for the clear and transparent way the reviews are done and visualised.

But still the biggest objection we get thrown at our feet is: you are biased. And by using those 3 words they think they can dismiss all our work. Every matchday (and I hope he will do it again when all the reviews are done)  we get a summary of all the wrong decisions that we have found in the Arsenal matches. Andrew not only gives the ones that went against us but also has in his table those decisions that went in our favour. Something that is often overlooked when they want to dismiss our work.

But at the end of the day this is what the last table of shame looked like:

Table of Shame

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 1 44
Red Cards 2 16
Penalties 3 30
Goals 1 11
Total 7 101
Possible Cost in Points 0 29

Now I know that this is a hypothetical table. As some people have said : giving the valid goal from Ramsey against Liverpool in our home match is no guarantee that we would have won that match 1-0 instead of the now final 0-0 result.  And I agree. That goal might have spurred Liverpool on to go forward more themselves and score a goal… but it also might have resulted in giving Arsenal more space and Arsenal scoring another goal.

But yes, I agree the 29 points is hypothetical.  The result we might have seen if a video referee had been in place and he had corrected the decisions from the referee on the field.

However even if a video referee system had been in place but which did not agree with our findings for 50% of the time. Then that would still leave us with a possible benefit of around 14-15 points.

But as we are Arsenal supporters our findings are useless…some say.

I could refer to a few years ago when there was another website ”debatabledecisions” who only covered the decisions shown on MOTD and then a panel with no Arsenal supporters in it made up their mind. I remember that one season they were almost completely in line with our reviews. The final outcome: Arsenal had been hard done by the “errors” from the refs. I then mentioned that our reviews went much deeper than theirs, as they were dependent on what MOTD showed, and as we know they are quite good in distorting reality from football matches.

Now this year there is another website that is doing something a bit similar to what we are doing. It is called ‘The Hypothetical Premier League’ and can be found here

It is a website from a journalist who is very supportive of the idea of introducing video technology to help the referee. Something we at Untold have been asking for since as long as I can remember. Certainly from the moment that I started writing for it.

Now how do they work? Well they also are rather depending on what is shown on TV. And something I do have a bit of trouble with is the fact that they seem to use the “expert pundit opinion” to decide if a decision was correct or not. Relying on pundits to judge referee decisions….. not really what it should be.

But nevertheless it is an effort to simulate what could happen. Now we know that pundits in general know nothing about refereeing and so we should leave that in the hands of real referees. But still it is a good attempt.

So what is the final score in the Hypothetical PL? Those who have clicked the link will know by now. The final league table based on reviewing just the goals and offside leading to goals came to this:

  1. Arsenal 75 points
  2. Leicester 72 pts
  3. West Ham United 70 pts
  4. Tottenham 66 pts
  5. Man City 65 pts

Now compared to what we do this is just a little exercise. What we have done at Untold this season and all the seasons before goes much, much, much deeper. Because we cover all types of decisions and from the whole 90 minutes.

But even so, the HPL based on pundits who are not really are famous for their bias in favour of Arsenal comes up with the conclusion that the referees on the field have been screwing Arsenal more than any other team. In fact the team screwed most was West Ham United as they lost 8 points, just like Newcastle. But for Arsenal it was the difference between finishing 2nd or winning the league.

So people who want to dismiss what we have done this season (and the seasons before) can do this. But if other people who are not linked with Arsenal find the same thing based on the use of video technology then we can only come to the conclusion that there is something terribly wrong in the PGMO referee world. It sure doesn’t even out for Arsenal and never has in the last 7-8 years in fact.

The cry for the use of video technology is an important one. It can only bring more fairness to the PL. Even if not perfect it should result in a more fairer final league table at the end of the season.

I don’t know why it seems to be the daily job of the referees to screw Arsenal as they have been doing. If it is not deliberate then it sure is one hell of a coincidence that almost all referees make most of their mistakes against Arsenal. The other option is rather frightening to think about… is it really so we are seeing some kind of calciopoli in the PL?  Our numbers surely seem to point in that direction. The numbers of the HPL website also point in a basic bias against Arsenal by most of the refs. And there are other numbers that indicate and point in the same direction of possible strange things.

But more on that later on Untold. Oh yes, we will keep on banging the drum.

UP NEXT: How one national English newspaper has just broken ranks and published the league table as it would be if referees did not make “mistakes”.

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41 comments to Whoever does the analysing of referee decisions the result is: Arsenal is screwed

  • Leon

    Thanks for the link to The Hypothetical Premier League I’ll bookmark that and keep checking throughout next season. It’s interesting to see West Ham in 3rd. This may have something to do with the penalties they were denied.
    Their total of 75 points for us was a much more realistic one than the 100 you’re (Andrew Cranshaw) suggesting.
    I remember debatable decisions concluding that we were cheated out of enough points to have won the premier League.
    Keep up the reviews. Of course they’re a little biased, and so they should be.

  • para

    Unless the video tech is completely transparent, that is, the TV has to show it ALL the time and not just when they want like they do now with the goal line tech, they will still find ways to skewer the results of games.

    Viewers would love to see the video tech results on screen, at least i would. They all have screen split technolgies and should be forced to show it so they can be no “deliberate mistakes” made.

    I remember where the ball was clearly over the line(shown much later in the (purposely? delayed goal tec vid) in one game and the goal was not given.

    Vid tech will not change a thing unless it is completely transparent to the viewers.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice article Walter . Continue banging the drums and shout from the walls – one day the truth will come out . We will be vindicated .Of that , I have no doubt . Patience .

    And I still keep wondering , why those who believe us to be totally bias ( and probably untrustworthy ) , continue to come here and criticise us for our delusions ! Why does it bug them so ? They believe know the truth don’t they ?

    And here we are ,the same old crazy hardcore Untolders continuing to believe in and supporting AW and the club in their quest for improvement. Long may we reign !

  • Usama Zaka

    Thanks a lot for the compliments, Walter. 🙂

    I myself want to thank you, Tony and Andrew for working on this issue for so long.

    Little update…. 4 reviews are left for our last 4 league matches. They will done in around 10-13 days. And with that we will have conducted reviews for all 38 Arsenal league games.

    After that Tony, Walter, Andrew or anyone contributing to Untold Arsenal can use all that data and search for findings, summaries, patterns, etc…

    Meanwhile I will work slowly and steadily on my findings.

    P.S Before anyone can criticize, let me point out that every single incorrect decision that you see in all reviews are backed by clear video footage… which are then backed by the book “Laws of the Game 2015/16″…. which are then backed by a referee, Walter Broeckx 😀

    P.P.S Ok now you can critcize 😀

  • bjtgooner

    Well done Walter & Usama, your work is invaluable.

    Some happy say Riley and his small bunch of refs will have a lot of questions to answer – lets hope your work helps to bring that day forward & also helps to have them checkmate in the final analysis!

  • Pete

    So Leon – where is your evidence for thinking that 75 is more accurate than 100 points?

  • Mick

    Strange that the people who discredit the reviews and claim that refs are not biased are quick to accuse Walter and Usama (both referees) of being exactly that; biased.
    Presumably they are saying it is only Arsenal supporting refs who are capable of showing bias.

  • insideright

    Congratulations indeed go to both of you. It’s an unbelievable task, expertly done and hopefully for a very good cause. It must have an effect at some time – hopefully soon. What a happy day that will be and I hope Arsene is still with us to enjoy it.

  • Leon

    Not too long ago himself said (in answer to bias criticism) that of course they’re biased, what do you expect, this is an Arsenal blog

  • Leon

    I actually said “more realistic”.
    I’ve had this same discussion on Untold recently and said then that with the best will in the world you could not call this a 100 point squad.One day maybe, but not yet. With the exception of Cech and possibly Bellerin we don’t have one member of the current team better than our Invincibles and all they could “manage” was 90.
    100 points is the holy grail of Premier league points, and we ain’t there yet.
    75 points seems more realistic to me.

  • Leon

    That should have read: Walter himself said.
    I can assure you I’m not criticising his & Usama’s reports.

  • laos gooner

    I fail to see the bias. I find I agree with those incidents cited when in favour of Arsenal and think us lucky to have escaped the odd booking or 2. It would be interesting to hear opinion on the chavs vs spuds brawl, was that biased. I wonder if they read the entire rule listing about the incidents. I find that the reviews help me greatly with coaching as it helps to focus players on the law of the game. We have used a couple of incidents from the spud game at the wrong part of north London for lively discussion and understanding the diificulties in not reacting to persistent wrong decisions by officials. We much like the Arsenal just have to get on with the game. Sweetens any victory to have beaten the ref as well.

  • Mick

    I may be wrong but I think Walter admitted that he was likely to be biased in his match reports but always did his match analyses scrupulously fairly.
    That aside the point I made is valid. The review rubbishers always proclaim that all is fine and refs are not biased but in the next breath contradict themselves by claiming Walter is.

  • Mick

    ‘I can assure you I’m not criticising his & Usama’s reports.’

    So you are not criticizing, just doubting their value due to your opinion that they are probably tainted because of being biased.

  • Leon


    Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • Mick

    If you think Walter and his team of refs are probably biased in favour of Arsenal you surely must accept that other refs are capable of being biased against Arsenal.

  • Fishpie

    I have posted my doubts about the validity of your work Walter and Usama and have been criticised for doing so by quite a few Untolders. I apologise for doing so because I haven’t studied your reviews carefully enough to justify any criticism on my part. It was assumptive of me. I certainly don’t doubt your integrity. Everything about this site is about trying to get to the truth through evidence and reason and your Ref reviews try to do exactly that.

    I plan to study your reviews of this season more carefully before next season starts in order to tune into what you are seeing.

    As I do so, a number of thoughts come to mind; why is this happening to Arsenal? is it ref bias against us? is it corruption with someone out to get us? is it something to do with the way we play which refs struggle to fit into the nature of the football they normally ref, and ultimately is it something that can be changed? Also, do the Club perceive or concur there is something going on? And should it, on behalf of Arsenal fans who spend their hard earned money on supporting the team, study the data you have and approach the authorities with it?

    You have shown a number of different (and non Arsenal supporting) sources point to the same conclusion, so the Club could not be criticised for being naive or biased.

  • Mick

    Well said.
    An open mind is what we should all aspire to.

  • Leon

    Jesus Christ Mick, how anal can you get,I was repeating what Walter himself said. My opinions on other refs are not relevant in this context.
    But since you’ve asked, yes of course they can be biased against us and often are.

  • Mick

    Hooray, at last a straight answer.

  • goonergerry

    At the end of every season it seems that Untold must publish a ‘we wuz robbed piece”- if it wasn’t for refs, or injuries etc. we would have won.
    After watching us play Man U, Southampton away, Swansea at home- games where defensively we were undone by moderate opposition.- I don’t buy this-at times we did not play well enough to win important games.

    Contrary to the untold assumption behind much of this analysis-that we are a victim of a conspiracy by refs- there is absolutely no actual evidence of corruption or conspiracy at all- only of reported referee errors- which seem to occur frequently.

    If Arsenal are experiencing ref errors like red and yellow cards at a higher rate than anyone else- if- then as you suggest there could be a range of reasons for this- what should the club be doing to reduce the likelihood of ref error? Training with a ref?

  • philip garnier

    According to the sceptics the HPL must be written by arsenal biased fans also. Keep up good work Walter and team.

    Remember just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not watching

  • frenchchloe

    well said goonergerry, i’ll add norwich awway to the list – we were woeful, nothing to do with the ref or injuries, just woeful in our feeble attempt to see off a terrible football team destined for relegation

    why would they bother cheating us when we are more than capable of beating ourselves

  • Jerry

    Excellent article! Various different sources but still the same conclusion: Arsenal are hurt consistently by ref errors.


    Did you mean the Man U game where 2 goal scorer Marcus Rashford committed a handball at the line and was not given a red card or an Arsenal penalty?

    Did you also mean the Southampton away game where 3 of the 4 goals were due to ref errors (1 was offside, 1 Long tripped Koscielny to be wide open, and 1 where the ref awarded them a corner kick incorrectly)?

    You also mention the Swansea game, that’s the one where their first goal was after an uncalled foul on Özil at center half, their 2nd goal was scored from an offside position, and Amat got away with multiple yellow card fouls?

    All 3 matches you mentioned had significant ref errors against Arsenal? But sure keep your eyes closed, “see no evil, hear no evil” right?

  • Jerry

    you can not be serious with the Norwich away game? The match where Norwich players tried pushing our players into camera pits every chance they got without getting a card or even a talking to (Sanchez was pushed into it, Özil was able to avoid falling in). We lost Sanchez and Cazorla to long term injuries in that game.

  • Pete

    Leon – sorry – you did write realistic not accurate. Was doing from a handheld and didn’t scroll back up to your comment.

    I accept that 100 points seems extraordinary, but certainly think we “should” have had significantly more than 75.

    I can (and will) help you a bit. The penalty tally shows 3 errors in favour of Arsenal and 30 in favour of opponents. We actually were awarded 2 and conceded 1. The average is around 4 to 5 penalties awarded/conceded per team per season. About once every other season a team is awarded double figure penalties. Therefore we can conclude that penalties of any kind are awarded in about 1 in 4 games. Without checking I suspect that Usama and Walter would award many more than that. Must be at least 30 – so nearly 1 a game. Therefore we can conclude that ALL teams receive far fewer penalties than they ought (even Leicester!).

    Therefore I think it is reasonable to significantly scale back the additional points we should have won due to non-awarded penalties.

    It is also probably reasonable to scale back the additional points due to red card errors – as fewer players are sent off than ought to be – for all teams. However erroneous goals allowed/disallowed are probably fair.

    I would be interested if someone was able to superimpose a factor for the “underawarding” of decisions (to any team) on top of the literal analysis Usama and Walter have done.

    Big picture issue is that if/when video reviews come in, we are likely to see the numbers of penalties and red cards for all teams rocket (at least until players/referees adjust their behaviour). I am sure other sports have subtly changed when video reviews have been introduced.

    Probably a load of articles coming out of this! I wish I had time to write them…

  • Pete

    So what I am saying, in short, is that on average only 1 in 3 penalties, at most, that should be awarded is actually awarded – for all teams. My gut feel has always been that penalties (and I think red cards) have always been awarded far less often than they ought to be – referees are reluctant to make a positive game-changing decision. Some deep psychological matters there… It is fantastic to see that UA’s ref analysis has clearly demonstrated that that is the case.

    Penalty stats at:

  • Menace

    Leon please do not use Jesus Christ to express your lack of vocabulary.

    The 100 point holy grail belongs to a team of your choosing but not to the current team because you feel there are better players who couldn’t get to the 100.

    In my view, the current Arsenal team would exceed 100 points if the Laws of the Game were interpreted correctly.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Jerry well said.People will not open there eyes
    Wonder people cant see Fergie and Clattenburg hugging each other at the eve of Crystal Palace n united FA cup final.
    My cousin a die hard United fan openly admits Fergie got most of his victories with refs help.

    This year refs went out with the sole motto of handing the title to Leicester.
    Can anyone negate the fact Leicester was heavily benefitted by refs during the yeat? All the newspaper and media doing ref reviews in there respective ways came to the same conclusion. Leicester were most favoured while west ham was the worst hit followed by Arsenal.
    These are the comments from neutral media and not UA.Even if people dont accept Fergie hugging Clattenburg says it all for me.

  • Leon

    Sorry, but there is not one premiership team capable of attaining 100 points, irrespective of how the rules of the game are applied.In their runaway season Chelsea were tipped by some to get there but fell five short. And the points totals are now on the decrease due to more teams competing at the top.
    I’d be very pleased with a 75/80 total if we came first.
    But if you really subscribe to that nonsense that we were cheated out of 29 points (total 100),then all I can say is the best of luck with that.
    There, not one profanity.

  • Leon


  • WalterBroeckx

    So Goonergerry and Frenchcloe, do you consider the Sun as a division of Untold Arsenal? And do you think the HPL website is also part of the Untold Kingdom?
    Keep closing your eyes.

  • Pete

    Leon – a pleasure… happy to debate anyone about anything as long as it is rational and evidence-based.

    Anyway, my posts above have triggered a lot of thoughts. If I have time, a big if, I will try to write up as an article one day. But then I am still working on the article(s) “what makes a successful football club” which I promised Rupert over two years ago… Did manage a draft but then lost it somewhere in my computer at least a year back!

  • Leon

    Ah Rupert! That name again. I was recently compared to him by Mick or OMG. Should I be worried?

  • Mick

    It was me.
    He always found a negative or a ‘but’ in everything and annoyed many on here on many occasions. Generally you are nothing like him, just on that occasion whatever it was you wrote reminded me very much of him. There was no offence meant and you are not the only one to have been compared to him.

  • Leon

    So not someone I should aspire to.
    Looks like I’ve missed out on some classics. BooBoy and others.
    I’m not at all offended. It’s not real life is it? it’s just a blog.

  • Mick

    Bootoomee and Proudkev were two contributors who were well liked by most on here and I miss their contributions a great deal.

  • Andy Mack

    I can understand when people don’t agree with the extent of the poor refereeing we’ve received but for anyone to suggest we’re not sinned against by the officials more than most, just makes me think they don’t understand the game.
    I can never take anything they write seriously after that. I just see their name and think ‘He’s a Twat, read the next one instead’.

  • Menace

    Leon – any number of points is ok if we come first!! I honestly think that Arsenal are capable of getting 100 points in a season. We were robbed of 50 undefeated matches by ‘them’ & will be limited by ‘them’ but we will get to 100 points in a season. There are new challenges ahead like rent free clubs with obscene contracts but that does not mean quality football.

    Andy Mack – my view as well.

  • Leon

    Menace, well it’s certainly a target, but with totals on the decline will need an exceptional team to crack that one. Yes, and honest refereeing.

  • ob1977

    What the Swansea game where 1 goal was as clear a foul as you’ll see and another was offside, that Swansea game?