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The experimental Untold ref review: Arsenal – Barcelona

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By Walter Broeckx, the untold ref with an experiment

You will see a completely different format this time. In bold you will see the things I usually have in my reviews. But I also mention all the decisions the refs had to make in the game. And then I come up with 3 scores. You will see what I mean when you read on.

Ref for the game against Barcelona was Nicola Rizzoli and this sounds Italian and he actually was Italian. A regular champions league ref who did last year’s semi final between Man United and Bayern at Old Trafford. So a high respected and experienced ref.

1.Foul against Arsenal high foot RVP correct 1/1

2. Foul on RVP the ref first signals advantage but then comes back to his decision. Maybe but I don’t know this for sure it was because the linesman signalled an offside from Nasri? Otherwise a strange decision. 1/2

3.4. OTHER/CARD: Song brings down Messi and gets booked. The first border line foul and the ref gets his card out immediately. I wonder if the name Messi got anything to do with this. One could argue that the ref could have given a lecture to Song. A gamble you have to take as a ref. I think he could have taken the lecture solution as the two teams are normally not the kick you dead teams. As a ref you should keep this in mind. A foul yes a booking was possible as it was a bit cynical. 1/1 and 1/1

5. The ref allowing a few challenges round minute 9 and 10 from both teams. 1/1

6. Correct offside against Barcelona 1/1

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7. Foul on Ebou correct 1/1

8. Foul on Nasri not given 0/1

9. Foul on Wilshere not given advantage given 1/1

11 Offside given against Barcelona correct 1/1

12. Foul on RVP correct 1/1

13. Foul against Song correct Song reacts to this decision and is told to leave those gestures behind.  Correct 1/1

14. Foul from song correct given1/1

15.GOAL: I would have loved to see a flag going up at the time but it wasn’t offside from Villa when he raced on to the ball from Messi. So it was a good goal and nothing against the rules. 1/1

16. Foul from Song. correct The Barcelona players try to get him booked again. Cesc tells them to stop 1/1

17+18 OTHER/CARD: Foul from Nasri. The Barcelona player again makes a lot of it and this time the ref falls for it and gets the card out. I think Nasri paid the price for some exaggerated fall by Alves and maybe because he wanted to tell Alves to get up. 1/1 and 0/1

19+20 OTHER/CARD: Arsenal start a counter and a foul is made on Cesc when he receives a late tackle. The ref plays the advantage and gives the card after Van Persie had his shot. 1/1 and 1/1

21. Foul from Song correct. Barcelona player asking cards again 1/1

22. Offside against Barcelona correct 1/1

23. Offside decision not given as Arsenal intercept the ball 1/1

24. Foul on Nasri correct 1/1

25. Foul from Eboue correct 1/1

26. Foul on Eboue not given: arm outstretched in front of Eboue to block him 0/1

27. Foul from Cesc correct 1/1

28. Offside given against pedro correct 1/1

29. GOAL: disallowed for offside from Messi. A correct decision. At the moment that Pedro is taking his shot Messi was onside. The ball then came from the keeper back to the Barcelona player and then  to Messi who at that moment was in an offside position. But it was very close call. 1/1

30. Foul from Wilshere correct 1/1

31. Offside against Pedro correct 1/1

32. Offside against RVP – not visible considered correct 1/1

33. Offside against Villa – not visible considered correct 1/1

34. Foul on Eboue correct 1/1

Half time

1. Foul on Eboue correct 1/1

2. Offside RVP correct 1/1

3. Foul Clichy correct 1/1

4. Foul RVP not given advantage correct 1/1

5. Foul against clichy not correct 0/1

6. No foul given against Koscielny  correct decision. It was Pedro who took the ball with his hand by the way and then fell to the floor. 1/1

7.+ 8. OTHER/CARD: Foul against Cesc and a yellow card against Pique. Pique came late and prevented the attack to go further with a one-two. correct decisions. 1/1 and 1/1

9. Foul from Djourou correct 1/1

10. Foul on Cesc correct 1/1

11. Foul against Eboue not correct. Followed by some time wasting from Barcelona by the way 0/1

12. Barcelona get a corner. Wrong decision even the fifth ref who was standing a few meters away didn’t see it was Villa who pushed the ball out. 0/1

13. Throw in wrongly given to Arsenal 0/1

14. Foul on Wilshere not given not correct 0/1

15. Foul on Koscielny given correct 1/1

16. Foul from RVP not given advantage played 1/1

17. Offside against RVP not visible 1/1

18. Offside against Pedro correct 1/1

19. Foul on Nasri correct 1/1

20. GOAL: No offside from RVP and he scores a magnificent goal. Nothing wrong with that. 1/1

21. Foul on Koscielny correct 1/1

22. Foul on Arshavin correct 1/1

23. Foul RVP correct 1/1

24. GOAL/CARD: again nothing wrong with that goal. But Arshavin should have been given a yellow card for pulling his shirt over his head. 1/1 and 0/1

25. Foul on RVP not given 0/1

26. OTHER/CARD: RVP with a strong challenge on Pique. Foul and a yellow card both are correct. 1/1 and 1/1

27. Offside against Messi correct 1/1

28. PENALTY: Arshavin tries a back header to the keeper but the ball glances from his head and touches his hand. Nothing deliberate so no penalty. Correct 1/1

Regular Untold score:

CARDS: 4/6


GOAL:  4/4

OTHER: 5/5

Total score: 14/16 (87%)

The new format Untold score – a try out!

Total decisions 63

Correct decisions 52

Not correct 11

Score 82%

The Untold weighted decision score – a try out!

CARDS: 7/12


GOAL:  12/12

OTHER: 5/5

Total score: 27/32 (84%)

Some explanations on this weighted score:

I took the following point system:

Yellow card not correct 0/2

Yellow card doubtful 1/2

Yellow card correct 2/2

Red card not correct 0/3

Red card correct 3/3

Goal not correct 0/3

Goal correct 3/3

Penalty not correct 0/3

Penalty correct 3/3

So the more important a decision is, the more points that can be won or lost.

So whatever way you look at it in my scoring table he had a very good game. Now some decisions may not have been liked at the time and in the heat of the moment but I think he did a very solid job over all. He surely didn’t give all the decisions in one direction. On occasions he had a spell where he allowed a few stronger challenges but he let both sides have a go.

The debating point for me was the early yellow card for Song. The first real foul from an Arsenal player and he didn’t give a warning but came up with the card immediately. But I think the ref knew this was a fast given card so after that he kept that in mind. I think he would have walked if he had committed another real bookable foul but the ref allowed Song to commit a few small fouls without getting a harsh second yellow out of his pocket. So apart from taking most of the decisions correct he also showed that he also was doing a bit of psychology and looking at the way the game went he could allow himself this liberty.

And this ref is no home ref as his history has shown in the last year. He was the ref at United when they lost against Bayern and he also was the ref in Madrid when Real lost to Lyon last year.  Damned I would have likened to have him as a ref at Nou Camp.

If I take in account the three scores I used he gets a final result of 84%.

About the new format: I know that the correct decisions are not really that important to read again. So I think I will leave them out next time or next season when I use this way of giving a score to the ref. To know that Van Persie gave a push in the back of a defender in the 87 minute is not something that needs to be written down in the report itself. As it only makes the report longer and longer with not enough time to write some extra thoughts from my part about the ref. But I just wanted to show you how I came to all the decisions and points for this one.

Getting bored waiting for the next game?  Try this

58 comments to The experimental Untold ref review: Arsenal – Barcelona

  • Phil

    Great article, like the new format Walter. I knew Sky’s analysis had got the offside call wrong, as you point out here. Worrying how I spotted that after a few Sangria’s and spanish beers, but that’s punditry for you!

  • dats

    Walter – Great post as always. You say Arshavin should have received a yellow card for pulling his shirt over his head. I thought the directive was that the shirt had to be removed for a referee to take this course of action.

  • I’m pretty certain the advantage of the early decision was taken away because of the offside position of Nasri.

    I remember the commentators mentioning it and even though it is ITV they seemed to notice why the decision was made… so it should be a 2/2.

    I was impressed with the performance. I just pray we got a ref and assistants of the same quality in the away leg.
    I kept arguing the Barca goal that shouldv’e been shouldn’t of been because it bounced back off but my friends shot me down. It’s nice to know I was right.

  • swikrath

    How embarrasing :(, am i the only one in thinking the Barca players went down way too easily on more than one ocassion?And by booking Song he messed up his play real bad.If Song was like one meter from a barca player they would just roll over.OR was it the wind?Or the crowd with its sonorous thunder had them trembling?:)

  • I think Song’s foul was pretty awful and deserved the card. Went through the back of Messi with no chance of winning the ball and even though there were players in front he probably could’ve struck it.

    He knew he needed to make the tackle and accepted the yellow. None of his fouls after that were that bad and the ref noticed that the Barca players were making a meal of it I think, but you can’t book people for making a meal of a foul, only diving (which happened as well to be fair… but then Eboue did it a few times too so we can’t complain)

  • Shard

    Walter, I’ve been meaning to ask you what the reasoning behind giving a yellow card is, for lifting the shirt over your head? The only reason I can think of is commercial in the sense that sponsors won’t like their name hidden on the shirt, but that doesn’t make much sense. The other is perhaps safety. Still doesn’t make much sense but it’s FIFA after all 🙂

    @ dats
    I think anytime the shirt goes over the head, whether to take it off or just celebrate like Arshavin did, it’s supposed to be a yellow card. stupid rule in my opinion, and not universally enforced of course.

  • Phoenix Gunner

    Very interesting approach, Walter! I do think you’ll get more meaningful results this way, would be keen to see how it looks after a few weeks, whether you’re definitely getting more variation from the 60% mark. Obviously this ref had a decent game overall so it’s no surprise he scores highly all round, but I like that you will now better capture the frustration that teams will feel when major unjust decisions occur.

    I also like that you can use ‘OTHER’ to capture less black/white elements, such as control of flow if you think that’s done particularly well or badly, etc. And you could continue to be flexible how you award points in the ‘OTHER’ category, as you have done in the normal format (sometimes taking two points away where something strange has occurred that is not directly card/goal/penalty related).

  • Airport

    I mentioned it in one of your earlier posts, but the ref was also spot on with added time, zero in the first half and only two minutes in the second. I think it’s important referees don’y just hand out four minutes every game, unless its Man U where it’s indefinite.

  • Shard

    Also I think I might have to disagree about the disallowed Messi goal. Maybe you saw more or different angles than me Wlater, but to me he seemed just about level. It looks offside at normal speed, but pausing it at that instant it seemed onside.

  • Talha

    You say Arshavin should get a yellow card for his goal celebration I think you got that wrong mate

  • FinnGun

    The new format is a good improvement. Keep up the good work!

  • MalaysianGooner

    Can anyone can explain to me why Messi’s goal is offside? The whole world are screaming it is a goal. If Pedro execute the ball when Messi is onside, then it is a goal. If you play PES or FIFA, then you would know that the goal is a goal. Am I wrong, can anyone clarify to me the meaning of “offside rules”?

  • harki

    Brilliant piece Walter. i’ve always enjoyed and appreciate your article, which i’m sure you painstakingly took so much time and effort to produce such wonderful piece every week for all the gooners to enjoy. keep it up.

    cheers mate. . .

  • Shard


    Walter already explained the reason for that in the post. Messi got the ball not when Pedro passed to him, but after the ball rebounded off Szczesny onto Pedro, and then to messi (if that makes sense), at which point Messi was offside.. Though I think he was still onside but it was a very tight call.

  • I live in Catalonia, where TV really read it all as if the ref really favoured Arsenal.

    After watching lots of replays, I think the disallowed goal of Messi was actually a goal, as after the ball bounces off Pedro (after Szczesny had saved the first shot) Messi was still onside.

    Then, there was an offside of Pedro when Barça had a free kick that also wasn’t offside, which could have ended up in a goal.

    I think this new format is better, only questionable how much points should each kind of play be given (ex: why not 5 points for a penalty intead of 3?)

    Also, I have a question for you, Walter: in the disallowed goal of Messi, there is a handball of Djourou; I think it is inside the penalty area, so there shouldn’t be any advantage rule right? Wouldn’t it be a penalty?

  • walter

    On the moment Pedro took the first shot Messi was onside. The ball came back from Szczesny to Pedro who touched it again forward. And on that moment the linesman had to make a new decision. And to me it looked at that moment that Messi was just in front of Pedro. so a forward pass, the striker is in front of the ball and the second last defender. I must admit that it was very close and that Messi was only just a bit further. But as we say: even a bit offside is still offside.

    But this can only be sorted out by a computer and software who can draw lines on the field. As the camera angle can deceive me but I don’t have the software to correct such things.

    So for me it looked as if Messi was offside and as I couldn’t get clear evidence that he was onside I had to stick to the decision on field which was offside.

  • walter

    Airport, yes you are right.
    In some countries there is sometimes just no extra time. In this case in the first half the game had never stopped and both teams showed they didn’t wasted time and so no extra time should be awarded.

    I have also seen this in Germany a lot of times where the ref just stops the game after 90 minutes if nothing special has happened.

  • Phoenix Gunner

    We were debating this where I watched the match – do you add 30 secs per goal?

  • walter

    Swikrath, I think the Barca players went down very easy but most of the time the fall when being put under pressure. I didn’t like the fact that they on rather a few occasions held their foot as if it had been kicked to pieces. Most of the fouls where the little kickings and not really heavy challenges. The always wanted it to make it look more serious then it was. Alves is a specialist in this.

    I think that the ref let some possible fouls go but he did it for both teams on occasions so he was keeping the game on a level field for both teams.

  • What I mean is that in TV3 (Catalonia tv), they made some kind of 3D figures with every player in the moment, then they changed the angle and it was really clear he was onside. I mean, with the computers and software you talk about, pretty similar to the system used in tennis.

    Also, I understood that if the ref doubts on whether it is onside or offside, he shouldn’t stop the game; is it possible that this indication has only been given to refs in spanish league??

  • walter

    the guideline is that as a ref you can add 30 seconds for a substition. But if the players are running off the field and are not winning any time you don’t have to add anything.

    For a goal you don’t have to add unless you feel that the celebration was taking a bit too much time.

    So I think the 2 minutes was reasonable and correct

  • walter

    and I must say that I would love to have the same ref in the return leg (which will not happen of course).
    Because as I said: he is not a home referee.

    And it will be important to have a strong ref who can resist the crowd.

  • Cox

    Regarding the disallowed goal from Messi, one can go back to the Everton game again. Messi passes the ball to an already offside Villa, Kos intercepts but the ball goes back to Messi who makes a run into the box resulting in that situation and goal. Maybe the linesman felt it not fair to give the goal for Barca when the initial pass was to an offside player, hence giving advantage to Kos.

  • Shard


    Why are yellow cards supposed to be awarded for lifting the shirt?? It’s a law that makes no sense to me, so I wanna know if they tell referees as to why this law is there..

  • nkunda

    Thought Messi’s goal was legal but who cares?

    may be thats what they call a home advantage.

    All i saw Arsenal were determined and played like a team playing a amtch of their life.

    I fore see other two goals at Camp Nou and we certainly cant concede more than two with our team fit

    Bye Bye Barca!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Adam

    @ Walter, “nicely done sir”, however can i suggest that when a foul is given, can you state that play was stopped then we can get an idea on which refs allow play to continue correctly and which hold up the flow off the game. (I know foul given=stop play but i think it important to state that play was stopped as this also indicates no advantage available or the situation requires further attention from the ref). Point 2 in your write up. I do believe that two infringements occurred in quick succession (foul on RVP & an offside) so the ref gave, in favour of the more serious offence which, for me is correct and inline with the rules as stated by Brett.

  • Wembley79

    If anyone can find an image of the Messi disallowed goal, I am happy to create the “3d line”. Just post a link to it here.

  • Airport

    I think it’s amazing that, a week after Untold’s refereeing reports get national coverage, there are Arsenal fans defending the referee decisions against Walter. That shows how fair this guy was and how bad it has become in the premiership. Lets hope Arsenal get someone similar next match, but my moneys on him being Portuguese.

  • supperflygooner

    Just a question does any one els think that we didnt play at our best the other night cause I do I’m not being negative it’s just from what i’ve seen in the match we still weren’t our best and we won imagine what we could do to them if we were.

    nasri was coming back from injury

    djourou had a bit of an off night

    song wasnt at his best maybe cause of the early yellow card

    cesc played a few good balls but also wasnt at his best

    if I was barca I would be scared in the second leg cause if all these players are on form barca is gona get their butts handed to them.

  • Wembley79

    I have found some images, and will just post them, as you can tell with the naked eye. The first picture shows the moment when the initial shot is taken – Messi is onside. However, the keeper rebounds the ball onto the striker, and it then travels forward again, at this point, Messi is offside. I can do the image thing, but it seems obvious by eye. If someone can find better video (with more frames per second) that I can grab from, I will try to provide better pictures, but these are the best that I could find.

    Image 1

    Image 2

  • Wembley79

    oops, got the images the wrong way round

  • Laundryender

    A great Review Walter,

    I was lucky enough to be at the game, and i felt the ref did well, the 4th and 5th officials are interesting, and i feel they lead to a different behaviour from players when the ball is in the box.

    I thought Song was a booking, he knew what he was doing, he had no chace of getting the ball, Messi had moved it to the other side of his body. Song took one for the team to break up an attack. After that he was walking a tightrope but the Ref did cut him some slack. On more than one occasion i thought oh Shit not again Alex!!

    This was how a game should be played and reffed, if Messi was onside it was very marginal, and the Barca players did not contest it. I thought both teams respected each other, and tried to stay on their feet.

    To the ref, Can we have you every week, or at least alternate with Clattenburg!!!

  • Johnny Deigh

    I think originally they didn’t want players taking off their shirts due to time wasting. Then you had players like Ravanelli lifting his shirt over his head but technically not taking it off.

    Then you had players lift their shirts to reveal a corporate logo or slogan, and thus a rule was made that if a player did this he would receive a yellow card.

    Often, players don’t get in to trouble for personal, non-commercial messages like “I love Jesus” or a “Get well soon” message to a team-mate.

    It’s interesting that Cesc Fabregas lifted his shirt to expose a birthday wish for his mother, but when Messi did the same thing some weeks later, he got in trouble for it.

    As to Arshavin after his goal, instead of running around with his finger over his lip, he lifted his jersey to show one of his own T-shirts with a photo of himself with his finger over his lip. So yes, he probably should have been booked for it.

  • A Casual Observer

    Good stuff Walter – interesting read!



  • Arshavin is probably the only player in the league who wears a t-shirt with a photo of himself on it. I wonder if the booking (which I must admit I didn’t notice what with jumping up and down, screaming and hugging everyone around me before trying to find out where my hat had gone)was the reason why at the end of the game he just ran straight off instead of joining in the on-pitch celebrations.

  • walter

    If Arshavin got booked no one noticed it but the ref and AA himself I think. And if so the ref deserves a few extra points. But even on they didn’t noticed it. Probably also to busy jumping up and down… 😉

  • walter

    Tony, when I drove home from work on Thursday evening with my son Michiel he asked me: “I wonder if Tony lost his hat when we scored that second goal and if he has found it back?” 😉

  • walter

    Johnny Deigh, you are right about the shirt lifting thing. The instructions over here were that from the moment you pull it higher or over your shoulders you must be booked.

    I must say it is a rule that I don’t like that much myself but I don’t write the rules, I just have to make sure I apply them. I think some joy after a goal and even some crazy celebration should be allowed. But if takes to long I just add more time.

  • walter

    About the offside rule the instruction is that in case of doubt you should give advantage to the attacker. So the linesman didn’t have any doubt when he raised his flag.
    And believe me when a ball goes flipping around like in a pinball machine it is very difficult to make the call.

  • Richardr

    I was at the game and certainly saw Arshavin getting booked at the time for the celebration.

    It is on the UEFA site as well:

  • abhishek kumar

    Hey Walter..

    Instead of writing numbers 1,2,3 can we please have the minutes too.. just so that we know which ones u r talking exatly about.. i just thought it would make it even better for lazy ppl like me..

  • Once more great job Walter, hat down. Just I am afraid to do this new format for every game sir Tony will have to pay you as you ll have to quit your regular job :).

    I don’t think Barca players went down to easy, I mean week by week we got used on way the football is played in England. With refferees who allow a bit of roughens so average EPL player don’t even “try” to get down knowing he wont get a thing from it. On the other side, Barca is more familiar with “European” stile where referees are “willing” to protect players so they use it as much as they can.

  • walter

    abhishek, Using the numbers was for the lazy people like me. So I could just add the two halves at the end and have the total decisions to be made. 😉

    I will keep it in mind.

  • Tee Song

    @ Walter Nice job. I thought the ref was pretty good also. He didn’t have to deal with English style “hard but fair” assaults/tackles but neither did he fall for Barca’s fall and roll thirty yards down the pitch exaggerations. Regarding the disallowed goal, I suppose it depends on your interpretation of what constitutes a new phase of play. Does the rebound off an offensive player constitute a new phase of play or not? The ball happens to fall to Messi after Szczesny saves it and rebounding off Pedro. I’m not a ref so I haven’t taken a course of seminar or whatever, but it seems to me that a second phase of play implies some sort of controlled action on the offensive players part. If Szczesny saves that ball and it trickles in front of goal without hitting Pedro, Messi is onside since he was onside at the moment that Pedro shoots. The fact that it bounces back off Pedro, who in that space of time had absolutely no time to react and make a deliberate action, pass or shot, on the ball doesn’t seem to constitute a second phase of play, at least to me. I wonder if you could perhaps enlighten me on what guidelines exist for defining “second phase of play.”

    Finally, for those pundits and opposition fans who wish to devalue a superb victory by our team by pointing out this obviously contentious, debatable call I say FUCK OFF. Go back and find the words you’ve written and stated that “bad decisions even themselves out over the course of the season” or that “great teams overcome poor decisions” or that “refs don’t lose games stop whining”–go back and either admit you’re a fucking hypocrite or just shut the fuck up! If you can’t accept that Arsenal are far more likely to get the wrong of these decisions, FUCK YOU! Go crawl back into your dark little hole, away from the bright shining light that is the Arsenal. Go back and keep telling yourself that this team doesn’t have the greatest collection of young, maturing talent in the world. Keep your head buried in the sand and keep telling yourself that getting stuck in on defense and hoofing it long or blind hopeful crosses on offense are the highest standards of football attainable. Ignore the fact that, properly trained, England can produce as sublime a talent as Jack Wilshere as opposed to leg breakers like Ryan Shawcross. Just crawl back into the darkness for the next decade as this Arsenal team embark on a trophy laden journey which eclipses any other. Open your eyes to the possibilities or FUCK OFF!

  • Homer

    Swikroth, you are dead right, sir.
    Ineista, though skilled he may be, is a diver. Their entire squad is. Alves a repeat offender.
    We all watched the WC final. Though Holland was rough, to say the least (practicing Kung Fu on Alonso … !). Iniesta spent A LOT of time on the carpet. Well, of course, apart from when OUR CAPTAIN wasn’t setting up the cup winning goal for him.

    No denying that barca a great club with bags and bags of skill and a cultural love of footy that is admirable. And Barcelona is a gorgeous city. The women amazing. That said, they’re a pack of diving cheats.

    I hope we stuff them on their home turf.

  • Adam

    Take Arsenal and possibly Man United on a good day out of the PL and what would you be left with? Not much worth watching really, just a number of long ball teams of various qualities. From the crudity of Stoke’s long throws to the hopeful punts to find Crouch’s head from Spurs. Birmingham’s head-on-a-stick Zigic or Cech’s field-length kicks to try and get Tirres one on one with someone, anyone really. But I am afraid our joint euphoria will be short-lived as Tony Pullis, that advocate of beautiful football and his friends Shawcross and Huth are coming to town next week. Oh how I hope Phil Dowd is ref.

  • ugandan goon

    Oh how I hope Phil Dowd is ref.?
    oi leave it!

  • ugandan goon

    thanks for the article walter,
    i am happier that the ref passes against this new system with the weights, i wonder how well your typical Epl blockhead northern ref. would do against it?
    because for one i’d have expected with a larger field, so to speak,the net effect of a single decision on the final overall score would be less, but i think it is fairer for the ref!
    however we still get decisions that a whole match could turn on, etc the ‘foul’ by rosicky on barton from which newcastle pile pressure on the arsenal box- it was a dead cert that newcastle were going to lob that freekick into the box, everybody knew it including the ref!- or the booking of alex song- i am of the opinion that he was booked because the ref needed to show his authority, song’s real crime was reacting to the wrong call by the ref earlier on when we were attacking the barcelona penalty area. just fancy booking the man who is going to mark one of the trickiest and fastest attackers in the world so early without a talking to or anything!
    I suppose all i am saying is that if a wrong decision leads to a goal or a booking to an opposition player in the resulting phase of play perhaps the ref should be accountable somehow.
    I know this would completely mess up the current system and i appreciate that it will cost even more of your time, but i’d like to see if any statisticians out there can give us ideas going forward, because not only do we need to prove bias but to show up the repeat offenders.or perhaps a hacker into PGMOL’s assessment system!
    I understand that it will take time to write down every foul, but in the interests of a comprehensive assessment of the refs performance is it possible to formulate some sort of templates say of 3 minute intervals and the minor decisions given a score, for e.g van persie’s push just marked in 1/1. minor events like having a ball returned to the spot of the foul are imortant because they show the ref is aware of what is going on around him and working well with his linesmen/ woman!- and most importantly he is stamping out on niggly cheating.
    the suggestions are purely amateur, i hope that with the wealth of talent we have on the site someone will come up with something.
    thank you for your time as always and i look forward to reading more of your work.

  • RedGooner

    Walter, Love the new format it gives a better balanced and more telling View of the Refs performance as a whole.
    I thought while the yellow on Song may have been a little harsh The Ref composed himself well with the remaining decisions regarding Song he didnt fall for the play acting and a lesser Ref would have sent Song off.

    Song also doesnt help himself with his reaction to the whistle anytime any Ref blows for a foul Song has committed he reacts badly like he is above the law he needs to calm down its not his place to argue with every decision flinging his arms in the air and disputing all the time.

  • Donnyfan1

    Excellent report Walter. A score of 83 and even-handed– I hope Mike Riley was watching. The first priority of a ref is to ensure safety. The next is to be fair and thirdly — to apply the laws and get decisions right. Let us look forward to Nellie Dean at Wembley. Perhaps- because it is not the league- he will be even-handed in an Arsenal game for the first time I can remember!!

  • Laundryender

    I must say I am astonished by some of the reactions to Songs Caution.

    It does highlight just how subjective many decisions are, and how biased some reactions are. were it RVP making that run, and Scholes bringing him down, with no intent of playing the ball, we would be screaming caution in unison.

    Guys it was a caution, i applaud it, and how the Ref dealt with Song afterwards. I just wish all Refs showed this understanding of the laws and balance in application.

    A question for Riley

    were there any EPL Refs in europe this week, if not, why not???

  • Laundryender

    Please for the credibility of this site, remove the comments of Tee Song from the board.

    They do this site no justice.

  • wen_detta

    good ref. arsenal need that ref. some of epl ref is too bias against arsenal.always favour opposition, allows bad tackle on arsenal and punish small contact in penalty box.getting bored about it though.see 4-4 newcastle match.that ref is very10x weird and seems like have agenda for himself.

  • goonergerry

    Thank you for this analysis Walter.
    This looked like it was a tough game to referee- partly because of the speed, accuracy and rapid close passing of Barca and Messi but also Barca are prone to play acting and diving- Busquets being a prime example and Alves being another. This ref was in a different league to ANY UK ref- partly because he did not appear biased and secondly because he kept up with the play and seemed to be well positioned for all major decisions. Nevertheless there were inconsistencies-Nasri was in my opinion fouled on 3 occaisons without a free kick being given in the first 10 minutes.
    Song took a yellow to prevent a possible goal in Barca’s first real attack-and yes it was a yellow card (and he might have to do the same over there). Can’t say I agreed with RVPs yellow- are you going to give a yellow every time a player mistimes a challenge slightly? Surely that kind of yellow card is excessive.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Can we get this ref to work in the Premier League?

    He seems a bit better than the ones you write reviews on this season……