Brentford v Arsenal: the referee and his influence on the game


There is something a trifle odd about Tim Robinson’s approach to refereeing this season.  He gives more fouls against the home teams he sees, largely because he gives more fouls per tackle against the home team.  (Referee data from Who Scored)

But then he doesn’t give penalties against home teams – at least not yet, and he dishes out more yellow cards against the away team per game – although that generally the rule with referees.

This season

Referee Games Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Pen pg Yel pg
9.Tim Robinson home 7 13.29 0.88 0.00 2.14
9.Tim Robinson away 7 11.00 0.57 0.14 3.14


Last season

Now last season he only undertook two games all season, but in those two games the difference between what the away teams got and what he did to the home teams was something to behold.


Referee Games Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Yel pg
21.Tim Robinson home 2 11.50 0.77 2.00
21.Tim Robinson away 2 17.00 1.17 2.50


This season v last season

So what we can see here is that this season the home team commits 20% more fouls per game than the away team, and 54% more fouls per tackle than the away team.

And yet bizarrely the away team team gets 47% more yellow cards than the home team this season.

But last season the away team committed 48% more fouls than the home team, and so logically got 52% more fouls against them per tackle than the home team.

Those figures from last season make sense.  The home team commits fewer fouls and fewer fouls per tackle.  The away teams commit more fouls and get more fouls against them per tackle.   The away team is penalised more either because that is what referees generally do, or because the teams playing away that this referee saw did the usual thing of tackle and foul more away from home.  So really nothing particularly odd going on.

But this season…. the home teams commit more fouls per game and more fouls per tackle – but under Mr Robinson the away teams get more yellow cards.  Which is odd.

So if this pattern of behaviour by Mr Robinson continues Arsenal are really going to be penalised.  But let us compare Mr Robinson’s habits with the whistle and card, and what Arsenal have been up to so far this season.


Referee Games Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Yel pg
Arsenal away 5 10.60 0.65 1.40
9.Tim Robinson away 7 11.00 0.57 3.14


The significant difference between Arsenal’s performances this season away and Tim Robinson’s behaviour towards away teams comes in the yellow cards per game – otherwise, Arsenal are not on the receiving end of anything particularly different from referees in general.

What is particularly interesting about this referee however is that he is one of the few that seems not to be influenced by the crowd, nor by any desire (latent or otherwise) to help the home team.

In his seven games so far this season, three have finished as home wins, three as away, and one as a draw.   This is of course not the average figure for the league, where referee bias toward the home team (as shown by repeated research during and after the pandemic in matches including and excluding crowds) is dominant.

55 Premier League matches this season have ended as away wins out of 120 games played – which is 46%.   24 out of 120 were draws – which is 20%.  And the remaining 41 which is 34%, were away wins.  So comparing Mr Robinson with the average we see

Referee Home wins Away wins Draws
All referees 46% 34% 20%
Mr Robinson 43% 43% 14%


So yes he is a bit over the top on away wins, but not massively so given that he has only overseen seven games so far.  

And of course, we should note that his figures are what all referee’s figures should be like, because there should be no home bias.  The home bias as has been repeatedly shown, comes from the referees’ response to the home crowd and since the crowd are not playing, they really should not make any difference to the referee.

2 Replies to “Brentford v Arsenal: the referee and his influence on the game”

  1. Blimey a ref who doesn’t follow all the main trends – yet If he plays a straight game tomorrow then we need to start commending him.
    So that’s ironed out. Now , let’s see which officials will be playing in 5he striped red and white tent on Bodmin moor

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