Fulham v Arsenal: the foibles of the referee



by Bulldog Drummond

In our regular preview of referees we have a look at the results of matches overseen by referees so far in the season, and from the start of doing this we have noted that the referee figures often stray far from the national average.

This season the premier league teams have cumulatively played 194 games.  Of these 66 have been away wins and 36 draws with 92 home wins.

In percentages that is 34% away wins, 19% draws and 47% home wins, showing a real benefit from being at home.    The reason for the chances of the home win being that much greater than the away win was established in research carried out at London School of Economics (part of the University of London) which is described in full here.  The clear result of that work (which involved looking at matches when crowds were present and when not, and the impact this has on the referee) is that referees can be influenced by the crowd.

But this does not happen in every case as the table below shows.  47% of games have ended as home wins this season but Paul Tierney has seen under 17% of his 12 games as home wins while Stuart Attwell has overseen 63% of his games as home wins.

Three referees have each overseen half of their games as away wins, whereas the average in the league is fractionally over one-third.  Stuart Attwell has not overseen a single draw while Anthony Taylor has overseen over a third of his games as draws.

Now of course there is going to be some variation between referees but these variations from the average are enormous, and given that we know from the LSE research (which has since been replicated by other researchers) that crowds influence referees significantly, this obviously must be a matter of concern – although equally obviously not for PGMO nor their lapdogs in the media.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
League average 2023/4 47% 34% 19%
Anthony Taylor 14* 35.7% 28.6% 35.7%
Paul Tierney 12* 16.7% 50.0% 33.3%
John Brooks 12* 33.3% 50.0% 16.7%
Andy Madley 12* 33.3% 50.0% 16.7%
Stuart Attwell 11* 63.6% 36.4% 0.0%
Josh Smith PL 3 66.7% 0.0% 33.3%
Josh Smith Champ. 16 25.0% 50.0% 25.0%
Josh Smith combined figures 19 31.6% 42.1% 26.3%


Josh Smith as the extracted figures above show is a newcomer to the League and has thus far only been entrusted with three games in the Premier League and that is too low a number of consider in this sort of analysis.

But Mr Smith has been beavering away in the Championship and WhoScored kindly records these games for us and they can be seen in the bottom lines of the table above.    He seems to be one of those referees that has learned just how much a home crowd can influence a referee, and in his 16 Championship matches, half have been away wins.

Looking at all his games this season we can see that 42.1% have been away wins as opposed to a 34% Premier League average which is encouraging for us today.

However, there is a word of warning necessary.  Several times this season we have revealed the statistics of a referee and suggested that this is good or bad news for Arsenal – but the result has not gone that way.  Several points come out of this and one is that of course we are talking about averages here and looking at referees who on average have a tendency to favour the home team because of the crowd.

All we are saying is that this referee does not have that tendency to favour the home team, and generally has a tendency to favour the away team.  That’s good news for us, but doesn’t mean we are bound to win.


Tournament Games Fouls pg* Yel pg*
Smith Championship 16 10.78 1.91
Smith Premier League 3 12.00 1.66
Arsenal 19 9.7 1.53


*The figures in relation to fouls and yellow cards per game is dervied by taking the referee’s figures for both teams and dividing by two so that these can be compared with the figures for Arsenal.   Thus we can see Arsenal are committing a smaller number of fouls per game than this referee normally sees, and are likely to get one or two yellow cards in the game.  Any deviation from this will raise suspicions (although no more than that) that all is not being properly adjudged.

6 Replies to “Fulham v Arsenal: the foibles of the referee”

  1. Another PGMOL agent.

    They should of had at least 3 yellows for fouls, and that’s without one for kicking the ball away on this near touchline. They have got away with tackles that are fouls, including in the build up to their goal. Yes he touched the ball making the challenge, but he didn’t WIN the ball and it was from behind. Then he pulled Saka to the ground and that’s why he won the ball.

    Either way, yet again we are getting nothing from this referee and I’d put money on us getting the first card in the second half.

  2. Referee aside, we are not playing with a great deal of creativity. We are passing/moving too slowly and Fulham is keeping their shape admirably. Frankly, we are playing like the Soviets did…technically sound but lacking a personality that can turn the game on its head.

  3. GoingGoingGooner

    Yep, I have to agree and we ended up with what we deserved, nothing.

    I always try to keep my assessment of the referee completely separate from how we played, except when it has a direct impact on the result, but I don’t think it did today.

    I still think he was poor and and is another we can add to list that allow our players to be kicked up in the air at will, and he certainly did allow them way too much leeway in the first half. That meant they didn’t have at least 3 players on yellows for the entire second half, which can make a difference, but honestly the way we played, would it of made that difference? Unlikely I think.

    Fulham were just better than us today and won fair and square. I’m gutted.

  4. Well i think that’s why the referees do what they want in our games because we expect our players to perform wonders in a tilted ground…..the referee was an absolute crap….. don’t expect any win from this kind of referring….am at peace with it and am gonna enjoy my last hours of 2023

  5. Mhukahura

    “…..don’t expect any win from this kind of referring….”

    I know what you mean. It must get very frustrating for the players because they must see ‘the tilt’ the same as we do.

    The thing is, we’ve faced worst refereeing than this and still managed to get a result, and more importantly, put in a performance. Today we didn’t.

    In recent weeks in matches against Newcastle, Villa and West Ham, to name but 3, massive decisions have gone against us. Game changing decisions. We have had one big call go in our favour, Odegaards handball at Liverpool, but even that was only a 50/50 that went our way. Very few do, most definitely under 50% of them.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m clutching at straws after a bad day at the office, but I certainly think it could be something that is finally getting to Saka. He’s just not the same player we saw last year, and I don’t think it has anything to do with lack of effort.

    Sadly it’s never going to change any time soon, so we will just have to deal with it.

  6. There is a sinister motive going against us and every one is quite ,in our game against WestHam the VAR experts took almost five minutes alledgedly looking at the ball which was out how many minutes did they add?
    Its only in Arsenal’s matches where they don’t remove images and show us the line and the ball.
    Man u game vs Nottingham 11 minutes where added i thought they hated Le professor but no i was wrong,can’t Arsenal as a team hire FBI because something sinister is going on.
    Betting mafias in play.

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