Manchester City v Arsenal: the referee, the bias and the team



By Sir Hardly Anyone

Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistant Referee: Gary Beswick.
Assistant Referee: Adam Nunn.
Fourth Official: Thomas Bramall.
Video Assistant Referee: Jared Gillett.
Additional Video Assistant Referee: Darren Cann.

Ahead of this game I thought it might be interesting to look at the comparative figures of the six referees most used by PGMO in a season – including of course Anthony Taylor who we have for the Manchester City / Arsenal game.

And at the foot of each table I have shown the variation between the referee with the highest statistic and the ref with the lowest.

For fouls and fouls-per-tackle (with figures provided by Who this regard) the variations are 15% and 19% which I would suggest is not unreasonable for a fast moving game in which decisions have to be made immediately.  But the variation in the number of yellow cards handed out is 42%, and surely that cannot be good for the game.

In essence, how many cards a club gets depends in part on which referee oversees most of its games.

In effect it means that among these most experienced referees who are overseeing all the top games in the league, clubs will enter a game knowing that under Robert Jones they are an astonishing 42% more likely to get a card than under Stuart Attwell.


Referee Games Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Yel pg
Michael Oliver 30 21.33 0.63 2.90
Paul Tierney 30 20.97 0.58 3.80
Anthony Taylor 30 19.87 0.57 3.80
Simon Hooper 29 20.66 0.59 3.45
Robert Jones 26 22.81 0.68 4.12
Stuart Attwell 25 20.12 0.61 3.24
Range 15% 19% 42%


Of course, it can be argued that Premier League football is a fast moving game with decisions made on the spot, but now we have VAR, as well as all these years of experience, and yet still one top referee gives out 42% more cards than another top referee.

That figure is of course not published anywhere else, presumably because either the media think that us football goes are too thick to understand percentages and their implications, or because they know about this and want to keep the numbers hidden – probably at the PGMO bequest.

But let us move on to Anthony Tayor and compare him with other referees who have overseen 20+ games this season

Anthony Tayor gives the lowest number of fouls per game, the lowest number of fouls per tackle.  Robert Jones gives the highest number of yellow cards per game, Craig Pawson gives the highest number of fouls per game and David Cotte the lowest number of yellow cards per game.

So let now look at what this means in practice.

  • David Coote sees 18% more fouls than Anthony Taylo per game.
  • David Coote sees 28% more fouls per tackle than Anthony Tayor
  • Robert Jones hands out 12% more yellow cards than David Coote

But what of the results?

Again restricting ourselves to referees who have overseen 20 games or more in the Premier League this season we find this


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Anthony Taylor 30 33.3% 43.3% 23.3%
Robert Jones 26 65.4% 26.9% 7.7%
Stuart Attwell 25 72.0*% 12.0% 16.0%
Craig Pawson 21 33.3% 47.6% 19.0%
Peter Bankes 21 61.9% 4.8% 33.3%


This is where the range becomes almost obscene, and we can immediately understand why no mainstream media outlet will ever publish these figures

72% of Stuart Attwell’s games end as home wins.   But only 33% of Taylor’s and Pawson’s games end as home wins!

47.6% of Pawson’s games end as away wins but only 4.8% of Bankes’ games end as away wins!

33.3% of Bankes’ games end as draws but only 7.7% of Jones’ games end as draws!

In short, although knowing which referee you have will not exactly determine what the result will be, it most certainly does give an insight into the likely outcome.

For this match, Arsenal have Taylor as the referee who is a referee whose most likely outcome from a match is an away win, which is obviously helpful.  But overall he is the most balanced of referees in terms of getting close to equal numbers of home wins, away wins and draws.    Unless he reads this and determines to adjust his figures!

You’ll know Manchester City have lost Stones and Walker.  Arsenal are reported by the Independent to be likely not to have Saka, Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes

But the Standard says, “Arsenal are confident all of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes will be fit after recent injury issues.”

The also add that “Oleksandr Zinchenko, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jakub Kiwior are all competing for the left-back berth and Mikel Arteta will have to decide whether to start Jorginho, Thomas Partey or Leandro Trossard in central midfield with Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard if Martinelli is fit,” and predict a 1-1 draw.

The Arsenal hating Football.London site run by the Mirror tells us that there are Four key Arsenal players who could miss the game, but that’s normal for them.

Sports Mole also predict a 1-1 draw and offer us the team of


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice;

Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

which I would certainly say is a pretty good line up, all things considered, and by and large a 1-1 draw wouldn’t leave me crying into my Merlot.




8 Replies to “Manchester City v Arsenal: the referee, the bias and the team”

  1. First of all – to Untolders everywhere a Happy and Joyous Easter.

    Secondly, the fical of the Women’s League Cup is this afternook kickoff id 15:00 ans we are playing Chelsea. The game is at Wolves ground Milineux in the Midlands and is being shown live on BBC2. As both extra time and penalties are a possibility some juggling between TV channels will be necessary to follow the ens of this match and the start of the game at the Etihad.

    Come on you Gunners!

  2. Listening to SKY Sports it doesn’t take long to hear their normal Liverpool leaning slant on things, as well as Carragher talking his normal gibberish.

    Apparently Liverpool are looking for their 2nd title in 5 seasons. Which is true…..but only to a degree. Surely it would be more accurate to say they are looking for their 2nd title in 35 years. Doesn’t look quite so good when put like that though does it.

    And as for Carragher, apparently we have to talk about ‘The Elephant In The Room’. And what you may ask is the ‘Elephant’? Well, apparently it’s the fact that Klopp is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season. Well blow me down, nobody ever talks about that.

    It didn’t take me long to realise why I have the volume down.

  3. Better to take a point at $ity than to go empty handed. We nullified them as we did in the first match and maybe had the best chance at the end with Trossard who was a bit selfish maybe…. could have played it to Martinelli or Havertz….

  4. I was watching on two screens with one eye at the Womens match. Good news is that we won. Bad news is that Maanum collapsed late in the game with nobody near her. Scaring moment. I hope she is fine…

  5. 2 games and they’ve managed just 2 shots on target and zero goals. That is remarkable. Not as dangerous on the break as perhaps we should of been but I’ll take that point all day long.

    And well done the ladies.

    All round great day.

  6. City had possession but Arsenal had the chances. One shot on goal, from a corner. They grabbed a tough, well earned point without the usual verve. But it shows that they can play many different styles with squad they have now. Right in the thick of it. Ohhhhhhh
    this is great! COYG!

  7. For some reason I was confident that we would not lose this game . I have never felt this way before , not after the hiding we got from City in the past. We could have and should have won it , but poor judgment cost us. Still we are unbeaten in the league against the big two .
    I just hope that we win all our other games , while somebody does us a favour , or two , along the way !

    Up the Gunners !

  8. For me the most obscene sight on a football pitch is the sight of a player going up to the referee & raising his arm with an imaginary card in his hand, And then complaining to the press afterwards that cards were not shown like Manuel Akanji has done in todays Mail.
    Any player showing an imaginary card to the referee should themselves be carded to stop this obscene gesture.
    PS Will Chelsea’s manager be charged with bringing the game into disrepute with her aggressive behaviour towards the Arsenal manager or will she be given a free pass because of her sex?

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