By Tony Attwood
To confirm from the off, that is not a quote from Untold, but from a national UK newspaper – the Sun. OK not my favourite paper, but actually one that I would have said a year ago was the least likely to have taken such a view.
However the Sun has already had one foray into this arena – a foray in which it looked at just a handful of games and found a few that Arsenal should have won. We covered it here last December in passing, along with a mention that the Independent had also ventured into this territory. But I took it that they were just doing a quick filler of a piece. However now look at this.
We have analysed all 380 matches to determine the goals that should not have counted, the ones wrongly ruled out and the key penalty-box calls that went for and against teams.
And… our panel can reveal the real winners deserved to be Arsene Wenger’s side.
In a table that puts a lie to the frequent claim mistakes even themselves out over the course of a season, we can reveal things should have looked very different this term.
Not only did Arsenal deserve to finish top of the pile, with Leicester actually worth only second place, but neither Manchester City nor Manchester United should have finished in the top five.
Southampton, in fact, were robbed of third and Spurs should actually have been fourth. Newcastle were the biggest victims of all as they deserved to finish 14th, not in the drop zone, while Sunderland should have gone down after all.
The analysis found that mistakes were made in 96 games, around one in every four matches, with the final result being ‘wrong’ in 53 of them.
They then produce two complete league tables – the actual final table and how the league should have looked if referees had done their job.
|5||West Ham United||38||18||12||8||67||51||66|
In five games, adding up to a seventh of the season, massive mistakes aided Leicester, in total handing them 12 points more than they should have got — although they were robbed of a win at Southampton.
Arsenal were only involved in three crucial decisions, costing them two points overall, which they lost in the first week of the season.
That came when Aaron Ramsey’s effort was wrongly ruled out for offside in the goalless home draw with Liverpool — which would have taken them to the crown.
The article then continues to look at the implications for each club before returning to Arsenal and Leicester and I list their details for these two clubs at the top of the league…
Aug 24: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0 (Adjusted score 1-0)
Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey was wrongly called offside when he netted.
Nov 21: West Brom 2 Arsenal 1 (1-1)
Baggies’ winner came from a free-kick after Mikel Arteta won the ball fairly.
Apr 9: West Ham 3 Arsenal 3 (4-3)
Manuel Lanzini’s goal should have stood for the Hammers but was chalked off for offside.
Aug 15: West Ham 1 Leicester 2 (2-2)
Kasper Schmeichel somehow escaped punishment when he brought down Diafra Sakho in the box.
Oct 17: Southampton 2 Leicester 2 (1-2)
Saints defender Virgil van Dyke was offside before putting the hosts 2-0 up.
Oct 24: Leicester 1 Crystal Palace 0 (1-2)
Christian Fuchs got away with two offences that should have led to Palace penalties.
Oct 31: West Brom 2 Leicester 3 (4-2)
Riyad Mahrez was offside for Foxes’ second goal while West Brom should have had two spot-kicks.
Dec 29: Leicester 0 Man City 0 (0-1)
Wes Morgan’s blatant foul on Sergio Aguero in the box went unnoticed.
Apr 3: Leicester 1 Southampton 0 (0-2)
Goalscorer Morgan admitted he expected to be penalised as the Saints were denied two spot-kicks.
May 15: Chelsea 1 Leicester 1 (2-1)
Austrian full-back Fuchs’ handball was ignored as the Prem champions finished season with a draw.
These analyses are of course just of a handful of key moments, and don’t get anywhere near the depth of the analyses Walter has run on this site for so many years. But they still raise key issues such as…
It doesn’t all balance out in the end.
- Why are the refs so incompetent or
- Why is this bias being allowed to continue or
- Is it right that football should be based on random decisions?
- Why has the subject been so fulsomely ignored for so long?
- What is the cause of the problem? Is it that the game is too fast to be refereed properly, is it that referees are being fixed, or is it that referees are incompetent?
- Whoever does the analysing of referee decisions the result is: Arsenal is screwed
- The Junior Teams Season End review – Part 1 Overview and Summary
- Are journalists concrete thinkers? We look at the sport editor of the Metro for our first trial
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