Liverpool v Arsenal overseen by the most home biased referee in the Premier League



By Bulldog Drummond

There is one big piece of news about the Liverpool v Arsenal game and it is one that not a single newspaper or major football website (that I have seen) is making anything of it.   The referee who sees fewer fouls than most.   Indeed game after game week after week those tackles go by and he doesn’t see fouls.   For the referee is Chris Kavanagh, the Premier League’s Mr Home-Win Referee.

As part of this effect, Kavanagh simply doesn’t see fouls.  Indeed he noted 21.5 fouls in an average league game this season, while Andy Madley sees 25.82 in an average game that he oversees.    Meaning Mr Madley blows his whistle for 20% more fouls a game than our Mr K.   This obviously benefits the team that puts in the most tackles.  

Kavanagh is however something of a penalty giver.  He’s given four times as many penalties per game this season as Robert Jones.   Only Taylor hands out more.   

As for the yellow cards, these are certainly worth looking at.   The list below shows all the referees who have handled 10+ Premier League games this season and in the last column, we see the yellow cards per game.   Madley has given out 50% more yellows than Tierney per game.

Now we know that our plea for referees never to see any team more than twice in a season has been ignored by PGMO and the media – but here we can see the impact of this decision.   Clubs getting Tierney a lot will have a distinct advantage in terms of getting fewer yellow cards – although as it turns out that is not the biggest bonus from having this referee at home.  Data below is from WhoScored.


Referee Apps Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Pen pg Yel pg
Robert Jones 11 24.73 0.76 0.27 4.82
Andy Madley 11 25.82 0.72 0.09 5.36
Tim Robinson 11 23.09 0.70 0.09 4.45
Simon Hooper 10 22.70 0.69 0.00 5.40
John Brooks 11 24.45 0.66 0.27 4.64
Anthony Taylor 13 21.38 0.65 0.54 4.77
Paul Tierney 10 20.50 0.63 0.30 3.60
Michael Oliver 12 21.33 0.57 0.25 4.17
Chris Kavanagh 10 21.50 0.54 0.40 4.40


But there is of course more to referees than their propensity to give out cards – some have a strong home team bias, some the reverse.   This comes, as we have noted many times, from the influence the crowds can have on the referee, and we all know how much the Anfield crowd indulges in this sort of behaviour.

But the really bad news for Arsenal is that Kavanagh is not Mr Kavanagh at all but Mr Home Wins.  His home win percentage this season is way out of line with the rest of the PGMO referees.   Where Taylor sees around a third of his games as home wins, for Kavangha it is more than double that.

It is now three and a half years since Untold pulled together the evidence to show just how biased referees are in the Premier League and elsewhere.   And you can read the whole article here:  Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, was on the board of Athletic Bilbao for seven years and was a professor of management, economics and strategy at the London School of Economics, and he wrote the report in the Review of Economics and Statistics (Volume 87 | Issue 2 | May 2005 p.208-216) into Favouritism under Social Pressure.

So now we see it in practice: Kavanagh sees 70% of his games as home wins; more than double the rate of most of his colleagues.    This game is, I am sorry to say, going to be almost impossible for Arsenal to win with this referee running the game.

Indeed the choice of Kavanagh suggests strongly that the PGMO does have a strong interest in Arsenal not winning the league.   If we had had John Brooks we would have stood an even chance, but now… no.  It’s a Liverpool win.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Anthony Taylor 14 35.7 28.6 35.7
Michael Oliver 12 50.0 33.3 16.7
John Brooks 11 36.4 45.5 18.2
Andy Madley 11 36.4 45.5 18.2
Tim Robinson 11 45.5 45.5 9.1
Robert Jones 11 54.5 9.1 36.4
Paul Tierney 10 20.0 40.0 40.0
Simon Hooper 10 50.0 30.0 20.0
Peter Bankes 10 40.0 30.0 30.0
Chris Kavanagh 10 70.0 10.0 20.0


Quite why PGMO insist on using referees with such biases is surely a question for debate – but of course, the PGMO-supporting media will never ever ask such a question.   Can it really be the case that with Tierney and Kavangh each having overseen 10 Premier League games this season, one has seen just two home wins and one has seen seven.

The detailed research we have reported (but the media has ignored) on the subject shows the influence comes from the crowd, and we know the Anfield crowd is one of the noisiest in the league.

So sorry everyone, but this is already a Liverpool victory.  That is what PGMO wants and what PGMO will get.

9 Replies to “Liverpool v Arsenal overseen by the most home biased referee in the Premier League”

  1. This could be one of the most tinfoil hat wearing, straw clutching pile of steaming sh*te, I’ve ever read! I’m actually embarrassed to have read this and embarrassed that someone has written it!

    Pure bottom feeder “journalism”, the spelling mistakes and bad grammar throughout only emphasis the low quality of this, this…whatever this is!

    My advice, give up this blogging (seriously it’s not for you), step outside and touch some grass!

  2. This comment from “Embarrassed” is one of the type I like to get, as it reminds me, and I think quite a lot of us, what a strange bunch of people there are out there. The writer, who hides (as of course he/she is fully entitled to) behind an invented email address tells us all that the article is rubbish, and that such opinions as given here should not be written, let alone published.
    And he she/he refrains from saying why. The piece is based on some statistics which are available for anyone to read and so the implication is that at least some statistics should not be considered.
    Now that is an interesting point: in complex situations we have the choice of working from the basis of statistics or from opinion. Presumably Embarrassed feels that we should not work from statistics – or at least these stats. What would be interesting would be to know why. But sadly it seems he/she does not want to tell us.
    Which really is a bit of a shame.

  3. Embarrassed to read some well researched facts ?
    Here’s another embarrassing prediction : Arteta will be booked once more , that too is beyond doubt .
    That, I would opine will be a disgrace (English meaning)
    In addition virtually the entire media will be shocked and horrified , so much so , that they will again be judge and jury and recommend all sorts of bans , points deductions and an example made of the heinous crimes of the Arsenal manager . You will also notice open season on Saka and Martinelli and no action will be taken. WHEN this happens I want your grovelling apology .

  4. I find comments such as those from ‘Embarrassed’ really quite odd. Basically what he’s saying is that statistics mean nothing. Because all the conclusions made in the article are based on the statistics.

    Yet statistics are used absolutely everywhere in football. In relation to how a match is going in real time. Possession, shots, shots on target, Xg etc. To how well a player played in the match, and beyond that in a season or even career.

    We have organisations dedicated to them. Whoscored, and OPTA, to name but 2.

    Players are bought and sold on them.

    Statistics are in general used absolutely everywhere in life.

    Yet according to ‘Embarrassed’, when they are applied to how a referee performs they mean nothing. But he’s not the only one, because as untold and some of the regulars have pointed out, there currently seems to be a concerted effort in the media to debunk any suggestion there is anything wrong with our referees. Any such suggestion is labelled as a ‘conspiracy’ theory, which is in effect what ‘Embarrassed’ did with his ‘Tin Hat’ comment.

    But one has to ask the question. When everyone in football, including throughout the media, use statistics to such an enormous extent, do they NEVER and I mean NEVER, look at referees statistics?

    I can only assume they are much the same as Embarrassed, and simply don’t like, or cant handle, what they tell us, because it isn’t good.

  5. Les Martin.

    Arteta not booked

    Saka shoves a Liverpool player into his manager and breaks the players collarbone and is not even booked.

    Blatant penalty against us not given

    When is Embarrassed getting his apology?

    Honestly we are far too good a club to sink to this level of PGMOL conspiracy nonsense.

  6. Tony

    Simply as Les Martin asked for a grovelling apology from him when Arteta was booked followed by a demand from the media for Arsenal to have a points deduction and when there was open season on Saka and Martinelli

    So I think it’s only fair.

    But anyway great result and a fair one I think. Teams evenly matched. I would enjoy Christmas more if Everton had got the equaliser they deserved.

  7. Les- Saka did not shove the Liverpool fullback into his manager- ironically the injury arose as a result of Saka standing up to the over physical challenges that Liverpool employed to suppress him-that’s why he was not booked. For sure- If Klopp was not standing on the touch line his player would not have been injured.
    We should start to keep Stats on the number of fouls committed against Saka especially and also Martinelli-before a yellow card is shown. It is clearly a key part of the defensive strategy of teams like Liverpool playing at home- whose fans seem to have a sense of entitlement to foul opposing players and not be penalised.
    I believe this would be more heavily penalised in any other league in Europe . As for VAR the least said the better after defeats at Newcastle and Villa.

    When BBC’s MOD come out and say Arsenal were fortunate there seems to be a reluctance for anyone to contradict them- But I dont expect them to see the game from an Arsenal perspective but I could reasonably expect better balance in their analysis rather than just highlighting their Liverpool favourites. Declan Rice was absolutely magnificent and Saliba was also excellent.

    There was a blatant penalty not given to both sides. Yes Liverpool missed a very good chance and Martinelli also missed a good but not such open chance.
    Nobody mentions that after about 10 minutes of the second half, Liverpool were outplayed in midfield and relied on counterattacks. One of the reasons Liverpool were outplayed in midfield was the role that Zinchenko played in midfield. Everyone can see he can be a weak link when defending at left back- but there is another side which does not get mentioned-I thought this was a real step up in performance at Anfield – and if we can increase our goal threat we could well have won the game. A draw was a fair result in the end.

  8. Apology to embarrassed , I got it wrong big time .
    There again you should check statistics instead of going by that shrapnel wound.

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