Sheffield United v Arsenal: the referee





By Tony Attwood

Normally we integrate our previews of the referee for Arsenal games into the general run of articles before the match, but I thought I would separate out the referee this time, not least because our comments on how the referee normally behaves have generally been a long way off in terms of how the referee does behave in the Arsenal game we are previewing.

In other words if we say for an Arsenal away game, “this referee has a much higher percentage of home wins than his fellow PGMO employees, and rarely oversees away wins in the Premier League” then up pops an Arsenal away win.   And similarly the reverse with home wins.

One reason for this could be that Arsenal are themselves an extreme club in terms of yellow cards.  Arsenal remain where they have been almost all season, bottom of the yellow card totals with just 39 yellows (for all reasons), compared with Sheffield United who are on 73.   They are also one of only four teams that are on four or five red cards this season.   (Arsenal have had two).

So Sheffield United get 87% more cards than Arsenal, and that could help Arsenal if this referee, who is pretty much mid-table for yellow cards, follows the trend, handing out more cards to the home team than the away team.

Now it can be argued that this shows that our referee predictions are a load of old *******s but there are other explanations, the most likely of which is that although a referee might have a predeliction for overseeing home wins, when the away team is strong enough, he doesn’t then force a home win on the sides.   In other words, there is bias, but it only goes so far.

Or it could also be that someone at PGMO is actually reading Untold Arsenal.

Now I know that seems utterly bonkers and unlikely, but then so is the PGMO.   Here we have an organisation that is actively running a set of referees who are between them showing all sorts of bias, and they (the PGMO) are defending that approach by simply refusing to give any interviews.

And amazingly, in an era in which football is utterly dominated by the media, and in which in other countries referees appear on TV before and after matches discussing the game, PGMO has managed not only to remain utterly secretive but has persuaded the media never, ever to question this approach.

Now it is that last bit that interests me particularly.   In every single match there is controversy about referee decisions, and never once does any of the mainstream media say, “Why won’t English referees come on and talk to the media, when in Germany, for example, they are actually giving interviews?”  Or, “Why does this referee oversee so many away wins?”   Or whatever.

Could it be that PGMO have said, “Start running that line and we’ll persuade the clubs to remove your press passes”?  Surely not!

Here’s the lineup from

  • Referee: Sam Barrott.
  • Assistants: Simon Bennett, Dan Robathan.
  • Fourth official: Anthony Taylor.
  • VAR: John Brooks.
  • Assistant VAR: Marc Perry.

And here are the referee’s figures which are absolutely not discussed anywhere else.  We get them from Who Scored who publish them but never pass an opinion.


Referee Fouls pg Yel pg
Samuel Barrott home 8.92 1.33
Samuel Barrott away 11.33 1.92


What we can see is that he habitually gives more fouls per game against the away team than the home team.  And not just a few more, 27% more.  So the away team starts with a real disadvantage in a Samuel Barrott game.

Not surprisingly given the above given the above figure, the away team gets more yellow cards per game – in fact 44% more.  So Sheffield United have a huge advantage before kick off, if the referee and his co-workers behave as the referee normally does.

So what about the results?   This referee has overseen half of the games he has run in the Premier League as home wins.  A lot more than Michael Oliver who has overseen just one third of his games as home wins.  As for the away wins, his 25% is paltry compared with Jarred Gillett for whom 57.1% of the games he has seen are away wins.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Simon Hooper 17 58.8 29.4 11.8
Stuart Attwell 12 58.3 41.7 0.0
Robert Jones 15 53.3 20.0 26.7
Tim Robinson 17 52.9 35.3 11.8
Chris Kavanagh 14 50.0 28.6 21.4
.David Coote 12 50.0 33.3 16.7
Samuel Barrott 12 50.0 25.0 25.0
Craig Pawson 13 46.2 38.5 15.4
Anthony Taylor 19 42.1 31.6 26.3
Andy Madley 17 41.2 41.2 17.6
Peter Bankes 10 40.0 30.0 30.0
Michael Salisbury 10 40.0 30.0 30.0
John Brooks 16 37.5 43.8 18.8
Jarred Gillett 14 35.7 57.1 7.1
Michael Oliver 18 33.3 50.0 16.7


So we are not expecting too much from the referee, and Arsenal will have to play their usual game of receiving almost the lowest number of yellow cards in the Premier League while knocking in the most goals.  Or at least that is what I hope the records to show at the end of the evening’s football.

Please note the “Tackles, fouls and yellow cards” articles was published when we intended but not where we intended.  It has now been included in the run of articles listed above.


6 Replies to “Sheffield United v Arsenal: the referee”

  1. Well that was another pretty impressive performance in the first half. Second half we put ourselves in first gear and didn’t want to put more misery on Sheffield. Partey, Jesus and Vieira getting some first minutes after a long spell on the sidelines and a bit rusty at times but it will bring them some matchrhytm and they still might have an important role to play in the season. Only bad thing was the injury of Martinelli. Hope it is not too bad…. fingers crossed

  2. It is noteworthy that the abysmal refereeing that saw Liverpool gifted a win at the weekend has resulted in Tierney not being trusted to be competent enough to referee this coming weekend. Although he is, apparently, competent enough to be in charge of VAR for Arsenal’s game against Brentford…….not that anybody thinks that the powers that be are in love with Klippety!!

  3. Re: Paul Tierney

    The controversial passage of play had me scratching my head.

    Konate went down with a head injury after a collision with his goalkeeper. He seemed to recover quickly enough after play was stopped.

    However, before this happened, shouldn’t Forest have been given a penalty when Gomez fouled Omobamidele?

    When Tierney stopped play Hudson-Odoi was already in possession of the ball, and the subsequent drop-ball should have gone to Hudson-Odoi.

    After Tierney stopped play Luis Diaz kicks the ball away. I thought that was a yellow-card offence.

    Three incorrect decisions/actions in 5 seconds of action.

    Tierney has been appointed as VAR for our match with Brentford on Saturday.

    I’m still scratching my head. We know what happened against Brentford last season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *