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October 2016
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Burnley v Arsenal Sun 02 October 2016 – The Match Officials. Which Mr Pawson will turn up – Jekyll or Hyde?



by Andrew Crawshaw

Before I start on the preview for this week a quick look at how the refereeing compares this year with previous years.

In our six games this year the basic figures are :-

Wk Game  Score Referee Link to Referee review Overall weighted score Bias H/A
1 Arsenal Liverpool 3 – 4 Michael Oliver Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool 82.3 60/40
2 Leicester Arsenal 0 – 0 Mark Clattenberg Ref Review : Leicester – Arsenal 58.9 3/97
3 Watford Arsenal 1 – 3 Kevin Friend Ref Review: Watford – Arsenal 78.0 25/75
4 Arsenal Southampton 2 – 1 Robert Madley Ref Review: Arsenal – Southampton; a perfect example of how the new instructions to refs affects the flow of the game. 70 88/12
5 Hull Arsenal 1 – 4 Roger East Ref Review: Hull – Arsenal. An extraordinary performance by the referee. 89 17/83
6 Arsenal Chelsea 3 – 0 Michael Oliver Ref Review Arsenal – Chelsea : Another good performance from the ref! 81.4 10/90

For the first six games last year the equivalent table looked like this

Wk Game  Score Referee Link to Referee review Overall weighted score Bias H/A
1 Arsenal West Ham 0 – 2 Martin Atkinson ARSENAL vs. WEST HAM UNITED ref review 54 100/0
2 Crystal Palace Arsenal 1 – 2 Lee Mason The most detailed Referee Reviews in the history of football: Crystal Palace – Arsenal 66 10/90
3 Arsenal Liverpool 0 – 0 Michael Oliver Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool 67 90/10
4 Newcastle Arsenal 0 – 1 Andre Marriner Ref Review : Newcastle – Arsenal 76 33/67
5 Arsenal Stoke 2 – 0 Jonathan Moss Ref Review Arsenal – Stoke 71 100/0
6 Chelsea Arsenal 2 – 0 Mike Dean Ref Review : Chelsea – Arsenal. How Mike Dean & Co screwed an entire game 41 5/95

Going back to 2014-15 the equivalent table was :-

Wk Game  Score Referee Link to Referee review Overall weighted score Bias H/A
1 Arsenal Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Jonathan Moss The Untold Referee review: Arsenal – Crystal Palace 81 100/0
2 Everton Arsenal 2 – 2 Kevin Friend Untold Ref Review: Everton/Arsenal. What is an advantage, and what’s wrong with assistant Garratt? 60.3 11/89
3 Leicester Arsenal 1 – 1 Anthony Taylor Ref review Leicester – Arsenal 61 7/93
4 Arsenal Man City 2 – 2 Mark Clattenberg Ref Review : Arsenal – Man City 71 73/27
5 Aston Villa Arsenal 0 – 3 Mike Jones Ref Review Aston Villa – Arsenal 82 20/80
6 Arsenal Spurs 1 – 1 Michael Oliver REFEREE REVIEW: Arsenal – Tottenham 66 85/15

I must caution against trying to read too much into the figures for this year so far – it is really too small a sample to be statistically meaningful.  The games are with different referees and against different opponents.  However there does seem to be an improvement over the diabolical figures from last year but they look remarkably similar to 2014/15.

For now all I am prepared to say is that I welcome the apparent improvement in overall weighted scores but wait for a commensurate improvement in the overall bias scores which are still overwhelmingly against Arsenal.

I worked long enough in the railway industry to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is sometimes the headlight of an oncoming train. It’s too early to make any definitive conclusions.

On to Sunday and our officials are

  • Referee – Craig Pawson – From South Yorkshire 37 years old and FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant 1 – A Holmes – This is the first time this year that I have noticed Adrian Holmes  – he wasn’t on the list of contracted match officials announced in pre-season but he has been used in Pl matches in Matchweeks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and was on duty in our EFL Cup game at Notingham Forest.  He is from West Yorkshire.
  • Assistant 2 – S Ledger – From South Yorkshire
  • Fourth Official – Lee Mason – a 44 year old Lancastrian

Last season 2015-16 we had Mr Pawson on four occasions which was far too often

Leicester v Arsenal (2 – 5) 26 September

Ref Review: Leicester – Arsenal, good performance from the ref

In this match he was excellent 84% overall, bias against the two teams 20/80 (but with very few mistakes at all) and no wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals)

Stoke v Arsenal (0 – 0) 17 January

Ref Review: Stoke – Arsenal: who is that voice whispering in my ear….?

Here Mr Pawson was assisted by Mike Dean as fourth official and between them they made an absolute cock up of the game.  34% overall weighting, bias against the two teams 5/95 and no fewer than 8 wrong Important Decisions.  Min 51 not given penalty for a foul by Woolsheid on Giroud, Min 52 not given penalty for foul by Woolscheid on Walcott, Min 52 not given second yellow card to Woolscheid, Min 58 not given second yellow card to Shawcross for professional foul on Giroud;Min 62 Pieters should have a second yellow card for a dive, Min 71 Pieters again second yellow card for foul on Campbell, Min 80 another not given yellow card for foul by Pieters on Campbell and Min 90+1 another not given second yellow card following yet another foul by Pieters on Campbell.  Tho points robbed from Arsenal by a refereeing team who effectively only got one decision in three right.

Man United v Arsenal (3 – 2) 28 Feb

Ref Review: MU – Arsenal: again no penalty for Arsenal

Another assist from Mr Dean.  This time 64% overall, bias against the two teams of 3/97 and 4 wrong Important Decisions.  Min 45+2 Rashford deliberately handled the ball in the penalty area preventing a goal.  This should have been both a penalty to Arsenal and a red card for Rashford.  Neither were given.  Min 70 Hererra was given a yellow card for unsporting conduct but this should have been a second card his first coming in Min 43 for persistent fouling.  Min 75 Hererra should have had a third yellow card for a foul on Alexis.  Another game where Arsenal were denied points and against a 10 man United for 20 minuted would probably have gone on to win the game.

West Ham v Arsenal (3 – 3) 9 April

REF REVIEW WEST HAM – ARSENAL: A new entry in the table of shame

Another dreadful piece of refereeing 42% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 23/77 and 9 wrong Important Decisions – yes that’s right – nine!

Min 4 Andy Carroll should have had a straight red card for a foul on Kos (who was wrongly given a yellow card); Min 14 Lanzini scored but was wrongly judged offside – the goal should have stood; Min 22 Lanzini should have had a straight red card for a stamp on Bellerin; Min 47 Carroll should have a second yellow card for an elbow to the face of Gabriel; Min 54 Noble should have a second yellow card for deliberately preventing an Arsenal free kick; Min 63 Carroll should have a second straight red card for a foul on Ospina, Min 71 Carroll should have had a third straight red card for a foul on Gabriel – Gabriel should also have had a red card for retalliating; Min 90+2 Reid should have a second yellow card for a foul on Alexis.  As Carroll who scored all three of West Ham’s goals should have been sent off in the fourth minute this should have been a win for Arsenal.

In 2014-15 we had the pleasure of Mr Pawson twice, once at home and once away – exactly as it should be with all referees

Arsenal v Burnley (3 – 0) 1 November

Untold Referee Review : Arsenal – Burnley

72% weighted score, bias against the two teams of 86/14 and 2 wrong Important Decisions both relating to an inciodent in Min 20 when a handball by by Boyd should have resulted in a penalty and a second yellow card for the player – neither were given.  In this instance the decisions didn’t cost Arsenal any points.

Southampton v Arsenal (2 – 0) 1 January

REF REVIEW Southampton – Arsenal

78% overall score, bias against  the two teams of 14/86 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 22 Wanyama should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Alexis (he should have been booked in Min 9 for a foul on the same player); Min 66 Gardos was wrongly given a yellow card for a last man foul it should have been red.  I did not count this as a game where the referee caused us to lose points.


  1. Mr Pawson has a chequered history of refereeing Arsenal matches from the very good (84% Leicester v Arsenal) to the absolute pits (34% Stoke v Arsenal).  It is almost impossible to predict which Mr Pawson will turn up.
  2. At his best he is a referee who we shouldn’t fear; at his worst he is someone who shouldn’t be allowed within 100m of any football ground on the planet.
  3. The good news for us is that he won’t have Mike Dean whispering in his ear on Sunday and if we play anywhere near the level we reached in our last two matches we should be sufficiently far out of sight in the opening 20 minutes or so to allow the referee to influence the game in any meaningful way.
  4. Mr Pawson, if you read this please look again at the reviews of the Leicester and Stoke games.  The Leicester game is the path to follow.  Please also look at your handling of Mr Carroll in the West Ham match, you missed 4 separate sending off offences by him which is really a long way below the way we expect a FIFA accredited referee to act.



3 comments to Burnley v Arsenal Sun 02 October 2016 – The Match Officials. Which Mr Pawson will turn up – Jekyll or Hyde?

  • para

    Let’s hope we can cancel out any doubtful decisions by being on form. We need to increase our goal tally, who ever scores them, have a feeling it may well come down to goal differences.

    Stop feeling sorry for teams that do not measure up to us on the day and punish them with goals.

    I know, we’ll get there.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Andrew, and hope Mr Pawson has a good game tomorrow, and that what seems to be an improvement in our officiating continues unabated.

  • OlegYch

    thanks for doing comparison with previous years, Andrew
    could you also do it for the next previews? i have a feeling that refs performances deteriorate as season progresses

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