The untold ref review: Huddersfield at home – surprising as ever

By Walter Broeckx, the speachless ref

As some supporters had a lot of questions about the ref I tried to be as complete as I could. So I did try to count the numbers of fouls not given during the game from both sides. I did not include the correct given fouls as this is part of the job of the ref.  I have the names (not the minutes) and for those who really want them I can give them in the comment section and say which fouls and from whom and on whom it was.

OTHER/GOAL: Bendtner scores from with a deflected shot. This is not against the laws. Was there a handball from Chamakh just before? Replays suggest that Chamakh controlled the ball with his upper arm. Clattenburg had a clear view on Chamakh. Clattenburg made a gesture with his arms indicating that he thought the arms were close to his body and it was not deliberate.  A border line decision from the ref. But he had seen it as he indicated it not being against the rules.

If you look at it from behind Chamakh it looked different and more a handball. But as the ref saw it from his angle he didn’t see anything wrong with this.  Would we have liked it the other way round? I don’t think so. But I have to make a judgment and I give the handball and cancel the goal. 0/1 and 0/1

CARD: Gibbs gets a stupid yellow card by kicking the ball away. Correct decision from the ref. Something I don’t like at all.  And such a card can be important later in the game 1/1

OTHER/CARD : Squillaci brings down a Huddersfield player and he is the last defender. Some will think it harsh. I don’t. He stuck out his arm to stop the player. It was a deliberate foul. It was not obstruction. By putting his arm out and hitting the player it was a foul. Squillaci could have let him run and then the player would have a free run on Almunia. So in my opinion a correct decision from the ref. It doesn’t matter how far or how close from goal you are. Last defender making a foul = red card. And Clattenburg gives those cards as we have seen at Manchester City.  1/1 and 1/1

PENALTY: a shot from Huddersfield goes over the ground. Gibbs and another attacker stand next to each other. The attacker touches the ball and the ball hits the arm of Gibbs. He was standing with his arms open a bit. But as the ball was on the floor he was entitled to stand in this way. The shot only came to his arm from within a metre distance so this was a case of ball to hand and not hand to ball. Correct decision not to give a penalty. 1/1

Half time

GOAL: Nothing wrong with the goal from Huddersfield. 1/1

OTHER/ CARD : Tackle from behind in a scissor on Diaby. Foul and a yellow card. 1/1 and 1/1

On came Cesc.

OTHER/CARD : Foul on Rosicky given and finally the ref blows and even gives a lecture. This was a series of fouls on Rosicky should have been a card by now/ 1/1 and  0/1

OTHER/CARD: Last minute tackle on Bendtner from behind. The defender got the ball but he also got the man at the same time. A tackle from behind is not a foul when you only play the ball. He plays ball and man so it should have been a foul and a red card. Bendtner was clear on goal and it was the last defender. There was another defender some 3 metres to the side but he could never have interfered if Bendtner would have got a free run on goal. 0/1 and 0/1

OTHER/CARD: Foul on Cesc given and the Huddersfield player kicked the ball away. Just as Gibbs a deserved yellow card for kicking the ball away. 1/1 and 1/1

PENALTY/CARD/GOAL: I will start with saying that at first I thought it was a soft penalty. But after seeing it again the Huddersfield player barged in the back of Bendtner who didn’t feel the need to stay on his feet. The defender held an arm around Bendtner for a split second. There was contact, it was a foul so it was a penalty. Let us move on to the card. I really cannot see how the ref only gave a yellow card. This was wrong. When you give the foul and as it was a clear goal scoring opportunity and Bendtner had a clear way to goal and it was the last defender the only card possible was a red one. Nothing wrong with the conversion by the way. You can slow down while running to take a penalty. So 1/1, 0/1 and 1/1

CARD: Cesc goes in the book for holding on to a ball that was out. Correct decision. 1/1

OTHER/CARD: Foul on Cesc when he tries to enter the penalty area. Correct decisions 1/1 and  1/1 By the way ref Clattenburg the wall was standing very, very close to the ball.

My foul counting in this game came up with this numbers in total:

Foul for Arsenal not given: 19

Foul for Huddersfield not given: 5

Now I am not saying that the ref should have given all 19 fouls. As I can understand that in some moments you just let the game continue as the team stays in possession. But this is a vital way of handling a game: calling the little fouls.

On many occasions I have seen the Huddersfield players do some late pushing in the back when the ball was already gone and on an occasion also a bit of a late kick. I didn’t like it and I  didn’t include them in the numbers for the fouls not given. But this is an annoying way of playing football which went unpunished during the game.

But enough words for now, give me numbers I can hear you shout. Here they are:

CARDS:  6/9


GOAL:  2/3

OTHER:  5/7

Total score:  15/21  (71 %)

Holy cow, bang, boom boom how about that score. You didn’t expect it. Well this is the first time I also was totally on the wrong foot with the ref.

The most important lesson I have learned today is that I will have to look at some things in the future. The valuation of the cards in a different system is on the cards already for next season. But I have to stick with the way I have done it all season. So next season this will be different. But we cannot change the rules during a season, sorry about that.

But what really kicked me out of my shoes was the counting of the fouls not given. As I, like many of you had the impression that he was firm against us and a bit more lenient when it came to Huddersfield and this clearly is visible in the fouls not given numbers but this isn’t visible in his final score.

Which in a way is understandable as the score is focussed on the big decisions. So I have to find a way in getting this in the numbers from next season. Sorry once again, can’t change the rules during the season.

But this was a case of a ref who was not playing with the big decisions which apart from the red card against Huddersfield which he didn’t show were rather correct. No it was a case of the ref who was taking on the little fouls during the game to level the game.

Was it with intent that he let Huddersfield get away with much more than Arsenal? Or was it the underdog sympathy that got in his way when seeing the game in midfield?

Apart from the not given red card he was doing all right in the important things, but I am grateful for the fact that he made clear that we need to fine tune things a bit and add another dimension to this ref reviewing system and find a way to get the little fouls on board and expressed in numbers.

I said on a forum in my country yesterday we are still in the FA cup, thanks to Clattenburg and despite  Clattenburg.

Final note +80 is a good score and everything between 60 and 79 is a bit so and so. Below 60 is bad.

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38 Replies to “The untold ref review: Huddersfield at home – surprising as ever”

  1. Thanks for the follow up count on fouls not given. I hope you can come up with a good method for including that in the overall decision.

    It may be hard though, as often the ref will allow the game to play on, which means he recoginized the foul, but chose not to call it. This may also impact the overall numbers of not called fouls as arsenal often have additional players nearby to recover the ball.

  2. Walter – this project of yours gets bigger and bigger!!! Great work and commitment!!!

    I still think the red card was harsh. I have just watched it a few more times on and Hunt plays the ball inside Squillaci, freezing him. He then goes around the outside of the defender, making it highly unlikely that he would have been able to regain possesion. He really just runs into the defender’s outstretched arm. Had Hunt gone inside Squillaci and been brought down then I would agree with a sending-off, but going outside meant that a huge amount of ground needed to be made up, he was no longer in possession (having just kicked it beyond Squillaci) and it was likely that Almunia could have cleared in time.

    Tough decision. I understand Clattenburg giving it. I just think it was harsh.

  3. Walter Great report as always.

    I just read that liverpool have Andy Carroll at Anfield to do a medical and they are paying 35mill for him ? If Arsenal paid 35mill for Andy Carroll, I would want AW sacked Id need to see a shrink afterwards.
    They deserve to be in the championship next season if that is true and Torres goes to chelsea.

  4. I also thought the red card rather harsh. Looking at how far away Hunt hit the ball, and the direction of his run, it was difficult for him to get the ball back ahead of Almunia. I can’t see a clear goalscoring opportunity.

    What always riles me is the inconsistency. By the strict letter of the law perhaps Squillaci’s red card was deserved, but then the Huddersfield defender who brought down Bendtner should also have got his marching orders!

    Referees seem to alter their decisions for Cup games, an attitude of “let the little guy have a go at the big Premier League stars” and they do their best to even the playing field.

  5. I agree on the card for the penalty also

    What’s the difference between the foul on Bendtner and the one by Caldwell on Cesc last weekend? One’s a red, one’s a yellow.

  6. hi walter,
    i am glad you are thinking of changing your system in the new season, but i think the most valuable aspect of your work is to evaluate a refs performance after the match, most of the time we find that it is not the fouls that are called that are the problem but the fouls that are not called, most of last season it seemed most goals scored against us started with a foul caausing one of our players to loose possession before a counter attack began and i thought thats where the refs let us down. i understand it takes a bit of work but i dont think that improving the system to include this particular development is going to change the overall impressions , afterall we are just about halfway through the season, we might not see one or two ref’s again but most of the usual culprits will be back and then perhaps an average of the the three best/ worst scores to decide their places etc
    like most people i just want an opinion from someone who knows the rules to explain to me that my eyes are not deceiving me- if you go by what the pundits say , well you might as well pay your membership for the AAA.

  7. With regard to the fouls not given, I think the unfortunate result of this leniancy from an Arsenal perspective is that the cummalative effect on the players is anger and frustration. An angry frustrated player is not going to play so well so the team performance drops. How many times have we seen this!! Plus he is more likely to get himself booked if he thinks he is getting a raw deal from the ref. So the advantage is handed to the team that fouls, totally unjust and unfair.

  8. Hi Walter
    Really enjoy reading your appraisal of the ref, but two questions come to mind
    1 If the linesman/woman/person gives an incorrect offside, how is that the Ref’s fault? I think you should eliminate this from your analysis, perhaps replacing it with fouls not given
    2 I always thought a foul by the last defender was irrelevent. Or at least the last defender bit! A red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity Yes, Last defender NO. I have been informed that the ‘last defender’ bit is not found in the laws at all.
    Could you please confirm either way?
    Keep up the good work….

  9. Good stuff Walter,

    I’ve got to admit that I wondered why you didn’t include every foul committed during the game in your scores. Their inclusion in the future would definitely be an improvement. I find it an interesting rational that basic fouls (both given and not given) aren’t included in the review because it is the ref’s job to get them right, after all, isn’t it his job to get the big decisions right to?

    In some cases the big decisions can give themselves too, if that Huddersfield player had punched Nik in the face rather than giving him a little push the red card would have been automatic, that would have given the ref 3 points (penalty/card/goal) for a decision practically impossible to get wrong.

    Of course I understand why you’d want to weight the score towards those decisions which drastically effect the outcome of the match, but which incidents are most important? You could possibly argue that awarding a goal (from a penalty say) is pretty routine, but FAILING to award a goal when the ball has clearly crossed the line is a massive mistake.

    Regardless, I look forward to the rest of this season’s reviews, and to seeing what you come up with for next season also.

  10. Not much time for the moment but just to give you some information: two of the goal scoring chances for Huddersfield came after a not given foul on an Arsenal player. Out of my head: the Almunia save and another which I cant recall but I knew it as I wrote it down but I dont have it on this computer.

    This just shows how important a not given foul can become. Chelsea scored their first against us from such a foul.

    I will try to add the not given fouls and correct given fouls also and try to work something out for next season to give some weight to this. For example when a goal or a goal scoring opportunity comes from this I can give it a rating between 0 (just the foul missend) 1 (goal scoring opportunity) and 2 (a goal scored as a result)
    But this is still not decided. But I will let you know how I think I will take this all aboard next season before the season starts and I will ask the readers to give their opinion on the scale and the points we will give from next season. I will make the calls in the review but you sure can have your input on how many points to give for the different events that can happen.

  11. hey walter, tony, untold…. i have send an article, it may not be a gem but please try to publish it……..and fast…..before transfer deadline….please, if possible give me the email id where i can send it.
    couldn’t read ur article sorry, i am very excited, it’s my first article.

  12. Well done Walter… you’re learning – we are seeing a bigger picture with this analysis. I can tell you are going to put a lot of thought into your marking for next season!

  13. Critic, I have received a mail from Tony that he was having problems with his email address today.
    And I think he wasn’t home this evening so he couldn’t check his email anyway.

  14. hey walter, didn’t i pointed out some of ur shortcomings in ur previous article? Is this one of the reason u have improved ur scoring system?
    If so, then it proves my point – sometimes u need constructive criticism to improve, the only thing lacking at untold. If not, then theory remains proof is yet to be found.

    Although i must admit my comment was perfect example of destructive criticism, and hopefully didn’t hurt u badly.

  15. Bad news – just heard Mike Dean is the ref for the CC final. And Big Eck says he cannot compete with our passing so he will try and deal with us by other methods.
    This combination worries me!

  16. walter it’s a matter of life and death, how iam suppose to get my article published on untold…quickly?

  17. Thanks Walter, I was really waiting to see what you say about this. I really have mixed feelings, comparing what was red card for Squillaci, and what was not later with foul on Bendtner. And again comparing it with Dawson when Olimpiakos got red…
    I really thought Clattenbourg can do better

  18. Walter , Arshavin against leeds in the replay would be a good choice when showing how a foul not given resulted in a goal.

  19. Walter with regards to the 19 fouls not given, playing the advantage (as you know) is at the referees discretion but he/she must use the correct arm gesture to signal this for me this is a foul given in play, If your suggesting that clattenburgh made no decision and gave no signal then i politely suggest an omissions column for next season. maybe foul-stop-play, foul-advantage, foul-not-given. this would be fairly difficult but would be interesting to know how many omissions our so called top refs are making. And as an linesman cannot play advantage then this is solely down to the decision making of the ref.

  20. I think usually in the box with that kind of a foul referees usually just give yellows because I believe the red card is given because of a cynical or professional foul to deny a goal scoring opportunity.
    If it’s an honest foul (like just getting beat by the attacker to the ball) then the referees are less likely to send you off.

    Wenger, too, said that you want to be more lenient in the box.

    What do you think, Walter?

  21. Walter your review is spot on! On the pitch I didn’t like Cescs actions when the penalty was given. In my opinion as a professional footballer you have to respect the ref and not barge at him as he did – captain or not. And isn’t it prohibited to suggest cards for the ref?
    Now just waiting the Everton game and Tonys article of this insane january transfer window, where I would like to know more about the affect of FIFA’s financial rules. Tony: Do I wait in vain for that article?

  22. Critic after my last comment I went to bed (one hour later over here and had to get up early in the morning)

  23. Mick, you are right. Players who feel that the ref is letting things go more from one team get frustrated and will take matters in their own hands and will thus commit fouls and then the ref blows and the player gets even more frustrated and gets a booking eventually and then he loses focus on his game….

  24. Kiwigooner,
    1) Most refs trust their linesman and will follow them. Only if the ref knows that the linesman made a mistake and is sure on this for 200% he will over rule the assistant. For example when the pass is given by a defender and when this rules out the offside. When you do games with assistants you must work as a team. So I look at them as a team.

    2) red card is given: “denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick”. This is the part of the laws that covers the red cards from Squillaci and the not given one. In the instructions they give to the refs they explain this and then they speak about last defender and they give examples of such incidents. So the given red card is within this rule because if Scuillaci would have let him run he surely would have had a goal scoring opportunity. And also Bendtner would have had a goal scoring opportunity.

  25. Waleed, in the instruction they give to refs they make the difference between a red and a yellow card by looking at the direction the player is going. If he runs towards the goal it is a red card (Bendtner ran to the center of the goal so should have been red) when the players runs in a direction that leaves him with a more difficult angle (wide or away from the goal) on goal it is a yellow card.

    In most cases when there is an Arsenal defender involved the refs know the rules very well. 😉

  26. Adam, you are rigth and I kept an eye on the ref but he almost never came up with the advantage signal.
    And I think I will keep your suggestion in mind about the different possibilities on fouls. I like it. Just have to see if the decisions are correct or not.
    The only thing can be that the ref is not always in the picture but then again this would only be in one or two cases in a game I think.

  27. Just on the issue of the article that Critic was sending through. Two things – the email address is the one provided for me by Arsenal Independent Supporters Association and is normally very reliable. But as we all know, the internet does cock up sometimes. the fault may have been mine or theirs or anywhere in between.

    The other point is that I am absolutely not on line all the time. Among other things I have a full time job, I am writing a book on Woolwich Arsenal, I have six grandchildren and three daughters, and I try and stay fit by going to jive clubs several nights a week.

    Actually now I look at that its a wonder I get on line at all.

    But this does mean that being able to publish articles urgently is tough, and almost impossible. If you have an idea for an article please do send it to me but please keep in mind the fact that it might not appear for a few days. If you want to comment on things that are instant, then somehow you have to plan with me how i can know the article is on its way at a certain time. With the regular correspondents we have timings worked out, so it runs more smoothly. So you could propose a series of articles that will always arrive in the inbox at 10am Tuesday for example.

    Last, this little piece is all about me – but the reality is that without Walter in particular none of this would happen. I would add my voice of support to all those who wrote in, in relation to this article, thanking Walter for his endless hard work all the time on this site.

  28. Hi again WAlter….
    So being the last man is completely irrelevent then?
    So why do people keep mentioning it?
    Keep up the good work

  29. I think it is because bringing a player down who has a goal scoring opportunity is most of the time by the last defender. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a goal scoring opportunity…

  30. @tony
    Thanks for ur reply, i have send u my complete article. Publish it when u have time and if it’s worth publishing. I had specifically written it for transfer madness but it wil be a good read anyway . I could have given it to other blogs but it turned out to be tailor-made for untold. Hopefully, it will take readers to the last day of winter transfer window and general madness associated with every transfer window.

  31. Walter
    Have looked at the Squillacci incident a few times- reckon it is stretch even to say that he was the last man- assuming that other defenders are not able to cover -was not the denial of a goalscoring opportunity at the time of the foul. It was a deliberate if mild block and a yellow card in my book. I do not believe that this denial rule was introduced to cover this kind of situation- but for much more clear cut situations where a player is actually clear on goal when fouled. The “last man ” interpretation is in my view an over- interpretation and results in far too many soft red cards being given- which have the effect of ruining matches.
    Is it wise to send off a player every time the defence is standing square and a player going through is blocked?

  32. @tony
    I must admit u guys work slower than indian govt. If ur email is still not working then u cud have provided another email id. Now, if my article gets published, timing wud be horrific on the back of the everton loss….anyway, it seems we cud be out pl already, song gone….and all dat despite all the efforts from arsene and lads. It pains me deeply. Footballing gods are so so cruel.
    But nobody can shake our support, nobody.
    We love u arsenal for what u are and no dimbhead ref could change it.

  33. Apparantly not, and hence a perfect time to consider my article.
    And plz delete all the my comments irrelevant to the current topic.

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