Arsenal v Sporting: the referee and the home/away conundrum



By Bulldog Drummond

Our referee is Antonio Mateu Lahoz, from Spain.   And the website “NowArsenal” are running an article under the heading Arsenal appointed super strict referee for Sporting clash

In the table below he is compared with a couple of other referees from that league, and, in the final line, Craig Pawson of the Premier League… and I am not sure sure about this notion of him being “super strict”.


Referee Games Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Pen pg Yel pg
.A.M.M. Lahoz 12 26.17 0.79 0.42 4.58
Pablo González Fuertes 13 30.92 0.94 0.31 6.62
Mario Melero López 14 25.57 0.77 0.29 3.64
Craig Pawson 17 23.94 0.69 0.35 4.06


The figures here show that Referee Lahoz is not especially far out in terms of activity on the pitch with other referees in the Spanish league or with Craig Pawson, taken as a representative of the Premier League.  The two other Spanish league players are taken from either end of this season’s fouls perspective.

So the next thing we look at is a comparison of Mr Lahoz’ home and away record, and his comparison with Craig Pawson of the Premier League


Referee Games Fouls per game Fouls/Tackles Pen pg Yellow cards YelLOW per game
A.M.M. Lahoz home 12 12.83 0.86 0.17 24 2.00
Craig Pawson home 17 11.76 0.65 0.18 38 2.24
A.M.M. Lahoz away 12 13.33 0.74 0.25 31 2.58
Craig Pawson away 17 12.18 0.73 0.18 31 1.82


Mr Lahoz follows the general Premier League tendency of giving more fouls against the away team – a tendency that Mr Pawson doesn’t follow.  But his numbers are not massively out of line with the norm that we find in league games.

But the main difference is between the top and the bottom of the league.  The bottom three in Portugal have scored 52 goals in 72 games (0.72 goals a game).   In the Premier League, the bottom three have scored 76 goals in 78 games (0.97 goals a game).   What this suggests is that the clubs near the top of the Portuguese league are much more used to some games where they can simply go in and win the game, than in the Premier League.

However, if that is getting all a bit too technical for you here’s something a bit more fun courtesy of the BBC: “When failing to win a home first leg of a two-legged knockout tie in major European competition, Sporting have been eliminated in 21 of their previous 22 such ties.”

Although on a less than positive note, the last time Arsenal played in the Europa League it did not end well with just one win in the last five games from 18 March to 6 May 2021.  That win was a 4-0 away win to Slavia Prague on 15 April.   But then the two matches before that were a defeat and a draw, and the two matches after that were a defeat and a draw.  Across those four games Arsenal scored two and conceded four.  Not the most exciting of times. 

There was a rather similar dismal end in the 2019/20 campaign in the Europa with Arsenal again losing two, drawing two and winning just one of their last five games.  The win was 0-1 away to Olympiakos but that was followed by a home defeat 1-2.


Date Match Result Score
06 Nov 2019 Vitória Guimarães v Arsenal D 1-1
28 Nov 2019 Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt L 1-2
12 Dec 2019 Standard Liège v Arsenal D 2-2
20 Feb 2020 Olympiakos v Arsenal W 0-1
27 Feb 2020 Arsenal v Olympiakos L 1-2


So we can only hope that the hierarchy have some of their tricks up their collective sleeves to motivate the Arsenal players and get them out of this habit of a poor run once at the end of a Europa season.

One Reply to “Arsenal v Sporting: the referee and the home/away conundrum”

  1. Lahoz seems to be the Spanish version of Mike Dean. He was the referee in the Argentina/Netherlands match in the World Cup, where he dished out 18 yellow cards.

    Massimiliano Irrati will be VAR.

    Lahoz refereed Arsenal vs. Olympique Marseille on 26/11/2013 at the Emirates where we won 2-0. We were awarded a penalty and received no cards.

    Irrati has been VAR for Arsenal 3 times in the Europa League, and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading.

    2018/2019 Final against Chelsea – Lost 4-1
    2022/2023 Away to PSV – Lost 2-0
    2022/2023 Home to Zurich – Won 1-0

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