RefWatch – Arsenal v Aston Villa (15/05/2011 16:00)

RefWatch – Arsenal v Aston Villa (15/05/2011 16:00)

By DogFace

  • Referee:              Michael Oliver
  • Assistant 1:         Ron Ganfield
  • Assistant 2:         Bob Pollock
  • 4th Official:        Andy D’Urso

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to the penultimate RefWatch [of the 2010/2011 season]!  But before we get started on Michael Oliver (of which we don’t have a lot of data to tell the truth).  Let us just spend a moment to welcome my favourite referee as the 4th official.  Andy D’Urso – a quite excellent official in my book… which is probably why he doesn’t get many games.

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name:                          Michael Oliver
  • Date of birth:                     20 February 1985 (1985-02-20) (age 26)
  • Place of birth:                   Ashington, Northumberland, England
  • EPL Referee Since:          2010/2011
  • EPL Games to date:         15

This is my rifle, this is my gun; this is for fighting, this is for fun

Michael is one of the new batch – I reckon he’s a twat… but he is very young so he may get better.  Interestingly we had him as the 4th official in the last game – this is a trend that I’m noticing quite a lot (and I’ll probably analyse this over the summer). Like a handover to a home fixture – one would imagine that Wenger would pick up on this and spend at least some of the match getting trying to get these guys on side while the one on the pitch is giving us nowt.  This is something that I thought Mourinho excelled at… it’s not football but a little ego stroking every now and then might be the difference between 3 points and nothing… and yes – I know this is wrong but it is and remains a blind-spot in our Arsenal.

Michael Oliver has had 1 game for Arsenal consisting of 0 wins, 0 draws and 1 loss

Arsenal are currently in 14th in Michael Oliver’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 0.00 PPG.

In Michael Oliver’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 12th with an average negative swing of -1.00.

Arsenal are currently in 16th in Michael Oliver’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 4.00 BPM.

In Michael Oliver’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 16th with an overall average of 3.75 FPB.

So yeah… 1 match, we lost – take from that what you will: Arsenal 2-3 West Bromwich Albion on the 25/09/2010.  Check out Walter’s Ref Review for more info.

Michael Oliver has had 2 games for Aston Villa consisting of 0 wins, 0 draws and 2 losses

Aston Villa are currently in 15th in Michael Oliver’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 0.00 PPG.

In Michael Oliver’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Aston Villa come 16th with an average negative swing of -2.50.

Aston Villa are currently in 8th in Michael Oliver’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 1.50 BPM.

In Michael Oliver’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 1 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Aston Villa come 8th with an overall average of 7.33 FPB.

So two matches for Villa – 2 losses… and bad losses at that – so it’s not all bad news!

This is interesting – although there is only one season’s data we can clearly see that all of the big 6 that Michael has refereed do very badly with the exception of Manchester City – who blow the roof off the graph with a +3 goal over performance against the handicap..!

I’m going to this game, it’s the last home game of the season… so all I want is a good fair game and both teams really going out to play – with regards to the league, neither team have got anything to win or lose – with regards to the global gambling markets… who can say!?

The predictortron gives us 1.804546 goals advantage – and I’ll see you in the pub beforehand, mine’s a pint.

158 Replies to “RefWatch – Arsenal v Aston Villa (15/05/2011 16:00)”

  1. thanks dogface,
    i have appreciated your work immensely this season and it cannot have escaped your attention that since your foray into the national media with auntie, there has been atleast an acknowledgement that united won the trophy because they had a helping hand from the refs- and of course well done that researcher who gave hansen the script yesterday to mitigate the united love fest on MOTD.
    To paraphrase the lad jack – the inconsistency of the officials is killing the game pour moi

  2. Dogface,

    A lot of respect for all the hard work you put in (despite the fact that I clearly think that statistics are vastly overrated as means to prove a point) – but really, even you – and the rest of the stat gang – must admit that trying to present something that presumes to have any value, with only 3 (three! THREE!!!) matches (2 for Villa, 1 for us) as your database, is a bit disrespectful to the intelligence of your readers (and in my very humble opinion, supports my stance, that stats regarding refs, do not and cannot support the conclusion that they are bent or that Arsenal get treated worse than other clubs).

  3. Thank You steven Taylor chelsea just dropped two points and have to play everton away come lets get second

  4. 30mins gone not sure whether to laugh or cry
    some defending by us and offcourse the REF is as blind as you would expect from an EPL REF ……

  5. Gooner80- arsenal deserve this…another poor defensive performance and we’re trailin by 2 goals…looks like a 4th position for me

  6. Dark we will finish 4th and we deserved to go 2-0 down.
    BUT this muppet of a REF it should be 2-2 right now.
    Another poor performance by the defence and the Ref.

  7. We started poorly, but the ref is not having a good game. Even my Man U loving son thinks this is the 2nd worst performance he has ever seen by a ref. I assured him I had seen worse … 🙁

  8. Rich, I guess he thought the Ref was great yesterday 🙂
    PS was the worst performance he seen when ManUtd beat the invicibles after Rooney’s dive 🙂

  9. RedGooner- other than d penalty decision, the ref has been fairly right in his decisions. But Arsenal’s performance today was just like our performance last week against stoke. Really i’m starting to think, should Wenger really step down??

  10. Dark I think we need Keown back or one of the invincibles for defensive coaching and to remind a few what wearing the badge means.
    Also I thought RVP been pushed of the ball was wrong in the box and he did nothing wrong or illegal when turning Dunne inside out cant believe they stopped play.

  11. There was also the ‘foul’ when RVP rolled Dunne

    (worst performance was a ref in the local league, where the opposition parents apologised for his bias)

  12. RedGooner- that was a clear foul by RVP. He shoved him with his whole arm. That should be a foul in a neutral perspective.

    Regarding the defence, i dont know why we should still keep up with Squillaci. We definately need one more world class defender. And more importantly, its highly necessary that we keep Cesc and Nasri. You can see what happens when we dont have them.

  13. Dark, I agree on the Cesc and Nasri.
    Infact my biggest Grumble this year is that somehow we let both Nasri and Clychy get down to one year left each on their contracts I find that totaly unaceptable that they are in a position to hold us to randsom.

    Walter said something a week or so ago that caught my attention and I would like to see it happen.
    Play Thomas Vermalen at left back….. then id sell clychy to madrid as part of a deal to bring benzema in and buy one proper centre back world class even if I had to pay 20 mill for him.

    After that I would just release players sell to cover the cost probably vela almunia rosiscky and denilson to allow Coquelin and Landsbury a place in the team.

  14. RedGooner- to be honest. I dont want to sell Clichy. I dont Vermaelen to play in left back either. Vermaelen is best at centre back. We should not play him out of position. Clichy is a superb left back, so lets not sell a guy whom we need. For me, we need one world class defender, one world class winger and change our formation to 4-4-2. Thats all we need in my opinion.

  15. Dark, I dont as such disagree with what your saying.
    Vermalen has played left back a lot previously for clubs and at international level, I think he would be a monster there though also agree he is great in the centre.
    BUT I do think we need another good forward along with returning to 442. and then as we both said a centre back.
    not playing 442 has killed Bendtners progress and chamaks this season NOT enough playing time for either.

  16. @RedGooner- they’re lots of issues to be solved in our team. I still dont know why we start so slowly??

  17. Now that was crap refereeing…now 2 important decisions against us.

  18. I think they just need a shake up with some extra back room staff someone like Keown shouting at them 🙂 might solve the starting slow getting them on their toes before they go out !!!

  19. Jayj only one thing worse than a shyte team ….Thats a shyte supporter “JOG ON”

  20. Dont kno wats wrong. But this season has been very unlucky for us. First the injuries, then bad decisions, and then when everything seems to be comin to place, we come out with a embarrassing performance. Really not our season.

  21. Arsene Wenger already stating he ain’t spending this summer the squad is good enough especially our backline he most impressed.

  22. Dog Face does it again – calls out the pro-Man City bias of the ref. Oliver was disgustingly biased and it showed. Who benefits? Man City.

  23. I would support this team even if it comes 15th. If we can not see whats going on with refs and dont support the team who do you think should support the team.

    Even Richard Dunne seemed sure to get red card in the end but he was also left with warning.

  24. Exactly Johnny Deigh. Dogface has done it yet again. Unfortunately so has the referee.

    What we are seeing here is not sport. It is something entirely different. My guess.. We will not be playing Champions League next year. ManCity will get 3rd. We’ll have to play 2 qualifying matches in which we will against all odds draw a Spanish or Italian team, and we will be denied 2 penalties, and get someone sent off, and the other team will score the winner from a wrongly given penalty or a handball goal. No more Champions League for Arsenal, no more talk about stability, so we can all say in one huge chorus WENGER OUT!!

  25. Petrov should have also been sent off too at around 70 minutes with a scissor tackle from behind on Song. That could have been straight red and he was already on a yellow.

  26. The ref was shit but so were we.
    Cesc is gone and Song cant pass for shit.
    This was last game @ home the team should be up for it, bad decisions but this team wants to go fight for the CL groups stages.
    Wenger will stick with this team but 6% raise in tickets the fans will see no benefit.
    If we cant win the game then dont fucking lose it but this team cant hold out for that, bullshit defense and next season the same.
    Pat Rice stays so does most of these useless bunch.

  27. The NHS should be doing free eye exams for the Ref Association and to make it easy they should hold them in the Greater Manchester area so 12 out of the 16 dont have far to travel 🙂
    Walter will have a stroke having to watch this twice for his review.

  28. Actually the Gunners should be grateful that referee gave him perfect excuse for a really pathetic performance. There was no officiating controversies involved with Arsenal going 2-0 down. If Arsenal were a champion caliber team they wouldn’t have conceded two goals in the first 15 minutes. And they would have won it on RVP goal on 89s minute regardless of bad referee calls.

  29. 2 Disallowed goals, a penalty not given, bogus call against RVP when he turned Dunne, Petrov not being sent off, etc.

  30. We’ve had dodgy keepers, shaky defense, forever injured players, a tight penny pinching board and a manager who I believe now is doubting his own ability.
    This will not be resolved come this summer, it will take along time just like the frustration will get worse. Looking back this season has been the worst yet and the worries for next season have started already. Nasri/Cesc our two most influential players are guarentees they’ll be there. Even fans walked out today our players walked around the pitch with barely 4 thousand in the stands, this is not good!
    This summer will be the most difficult for Wenger.

  31. I think your nuts Andrei
    No one has any qualms about the fact we were poor and went 2-0 down.
    It doesnt change the fact we were cheated and should have won 3-2.

  32. I now understand why Wenger said 4th place is not guaranteed next season. He had in mind the refs but he would not have mentioned that unless he was prepared to write a cheque to the fa in fines. I feel sorry for the players who work so hard only for refs to deny them even legit goals-Chamaks headed goal and RVP’s goal against Spurs wrongly ruled off-side. Soon the EPL will go the calcio way!!

  33. @RedGooner “…doesnt change the fact we were cheated and should have won 3-2”

    It is not a fact it is an opinion. That is what I mean by perfect excuse. Focus on thing that you have control over. Like not conceding early goals from amateurish defensive mistakes.

  34. I would like AW to invest in the team this summer but if he doesn’t I don’t want to hear things from him next season like “This is the best group of players I have ever had”.

    Can you imagine this team going toe to toe with the invincibles team? Please.

    Just ask yourself what Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljunberg would do to our current defence.

  35. Why are we so crap at set pieces, free kicks and corners we’re useless. we average 60% possession in the last 10 games but cant score outside of the 18yr box, even today Freidel didn’t have much to do every team knows how to stop us. EPL may be fixed does that mean Arsenal only pay enough to get fourth? Think about it before you post it.
    Did the ref score/assist villa in the 1st 20min? I think not and yes the he made bad calls but this may have been his 1st real test in PL but our team didn’t take advantage of our home support. They didn’t wake until 2 nil down and thats happened far too often this term.

  36. @andrei

    and close your eyes to all the injustice and wrongs in the world. never seek to address something that is seemingly beyond you. It is simply God’s will and you must learn to accept it. You should be a life coach.

    And just to be clear. We have clear problems in defense, and we have trouble motivating ourselves. How much of those mental issues are a result of constant pressure from the referees who abdicate their position as fair arbiters of the game? Oh sorry. That is not in our control.

    By your logic, we must seek to be perfect in order to win. Every game. And if we are not then there are no reasons for are loss. Just excuses.. Yet ManU are clearly not perfect, and even if you say they weren’t helped by the refs, why are they applauded for winning without really being anywhere near the perfection that you demand from us?

  37. It’s true, we can’t defend.

    AW has never taught defence, he inherited a superb back four and went on to build as brilliant attack on it. He added Sol which was good.

    But since then our defence has been lacking. Execpt for a good run in CL 2006 competetion we have always been a bit suspect at the back.

    Going four years with not brilliant keepers for example has been painful.

    AW needs help. A good defensive coach who he allows to challenge him.

  38. @shared
    Points made but you forget Man u for all their faults they still have hunger and heads dont go down, maybe they create there own luck have you ever thought about that. The invincible season we had our luck and dodgy calls but that team responded do you recall last week @ stoke, manu fight until the final whistle not like us. Be honest we’ve had almunia for 4/5 seasons as our number one would Fergie put up with that?

  39. @jayj. That is a very good point, it’s not like it wasn’t an important game.

    Who wants qualifying games for the CL?

  40. Something has changed in Wenger, remember the line “never cross his path”, now that seems relaxed. Wenger maybe close to breaking did you see his sky interview that man does not look well.

  41. The invincibles wouldn’t have won the league if they had had to face referee performances like this.

  42. @jayj

    ManU have been burning money. If we could afford it (not that they necessarily can) we’d get rid of players and buy ready made replacements for top dollar. But we can’t. As for ManU fighting till the end, we did that today too. Why we don’t do it more often is a question that can be asked. One potential answer, or rather partial answer is, that at some point, it has got to affect the team when they see the refs blatantly harm us, and equally blatantly help ManU. Sure we’d all like to think that the team should just try harder, but it doesn’t work that way. ManU’s mentality comes from having won in the past and knowing that the refs will only help them. Our mentality is suspect because we haven’t won, and because we know that refs are only too keen to screw us over.

    PS If we’re talking about learning from ManU, some fans might like to take a look at their fans. They crib about the loss to Chelsea last year where Chelsea scored an offside goal.. ManU’s goal was handled over the line and as I recall they were also lucky to not concede a penalty. But the ManU fans have successfully made people believe that they were wronged simply because they are blind to their team’s faults, and constant displays of classless behaviour, and shout to the rafters about injustice where it is indeed them who are favoured every year.

  43. @tone
    I sat scratching my head thinking WHY TODAY???????
    WHY feature this player today, Doujouru and Koshelny left out?? for all their faults and miscommunication.

  44. The refs give the calls to the teams with most balls. The invincibles had balls and got the calls. What ref is going to f*ck with Patrick Vieira?

    Its the same this season, overall MU had the most balls and yes they got some outrageos decision this year. 2 nil down at Blackpool, Gary Neville at West Brom I think.

    Refs want to be associated with winners it’s human nature… and a bit of bribery.

  45. Besides, what exactly did Vermaelen do wrong? The goals weren’t down to him. In fact they are more a systemic problem rather than a personnel issue. Which is something that needs to be addressed. But criticising and nit picking every decision is of no value. Especially when the discussion by itself means nothing and only relies on the no trophy = failure = I am right to criticise, argument.

  46. Djourou was useless the past 2 games. Don’t you remember? i am sure you said so.. And Jackass.. It’s time to get the name right and stop being the star I called you because you were being one.

  47. @Shard
    Vermanator slipped for the one of the goals and why risk him today?

  48. If not him then who? The slipping didn’t cause the goal anyway, and how does a slip equal a mistake? It can happen to anyone. It has nothing to do with the player’s skill or concentration.

  49. @shard
    thanks for complement missing some letter mind you, Yes Djourou has been useless but wouldn’t Vermanator be more of risk this time of the season? He didn’t play with Squilachi pre-season. Dont get worked up Bro!

  50. Worked up about what? Djorou may have been the lower risk option or may not. In any case Vermaelen’s selection wasn’t wrong and I don’t see why people try to micro manage everything. If Wenger played Djourou and he messed up, or even slipped, it is just as easy to say why not play Vermaelen if he was fit.

  51. @shard
    True but Wenger’s decision to play Vermanator has been questioned.

  52. @shard
    No one is saying Vermanator is useless, it just his inclusion this time in the season? Thats all we’re questioning.

  53. jayj

    Questioned by who? You? Pundits on Sky? Is that why you are on about it? I really don’t see where this is coming from. the only difference I noticed with Vermaelen there was a positive one. He is a genuine threat when we are attacking corners. And even with his shots from distance.

  54. According to Tone Slipping over is only down to the players skill level and nothing else.. Vermaelen slipped. So he’s not skilled enough.

  55. @shard. Vermaelen is great when he is match practiced. With the speed of the game at this level being slightly off the pace can show up as a big difference.

    We saw what happened to Michael Shcumaker after a spell out of racing.

    You can not just pick up where you left off.

  56. “This is interesting – although there is only one season’s data we can clearly see that all of the big 6 that Michael has refereed do very badly with the exception of Manchester City – who blow the roof off the graph with a +3 goal over performance against the handicap..!”



  57. Schumacher is 40 years old and had retired from the game. Don’t give examples which have no relation to this. At some point vermaelen has to play. He’s been training. He’s played a reserve game. And with Koscielny injured, and Djourou not playing for whatever reason, what else was there for the manager to do? And he played well for chrissakes. Why is this even a talking point?

  58. @Shard Are you suggesting that Arsenal go on a quixotic quest of eradicating the ills of FA injustice? Do you have any practical plan of accomplishing this? And what did this perceived or real injustice have to do with the team failing to show up in their last home game with automatic CL qualification still on the line?

  59. English team has to face only one qualifier i guess.

    Like tots played only young boys if i remember correctly.

  60. @shard
    OK mate but our problems lay with miscommunication and including Vermaelen today only adds to the lack of the communication in our team. we dont want to be fighting for the CL group stages.

  61. Andrei

    I have mentioned that referees costing us points at some stage will result in the team feeling fragile, even more than they are. that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. We were useless the first few minutes. the rest of the game, we did enough to have won it.

    But, it is not Arsenal, but us on this site are the ones saying this. For that matter even Arsenal’s team selection and performance is not in our control, nor in yours, so by your own logic, please do not talk about it.

  62. This is yet another ref who has done everything possible against this team. Lets face facts, the powers that be are trying to kill our manager – not especially the club but our current manager and set up, that is beyond doubt. As Wenger has implied they will do anything possible to take us out of the top 4 while Wenger remains.
    So WTF do this team at times make it so easy for them. We may never know what goes on behind closed doors, especially with this club but it seems to me something has fractured since the CC. Maybe a few bad apples, lack of confidence in themselves and the manager. But whatever the reason, something has gone terribly wrong.
    AKB, AMG, AMC or whatever, we all know Wenger faces possibly his biggest summer in his Arsenal career. Next year, these very same authorities will be backing media darlings, Liverpool, Spurs to take our place – we now know this.
    This team really are going to have to get it right. Whatever Wenger has done to annoy these people – he is going to have to beat 12 men regularly.
    I do not know why he is so hated. Foreign, a threat to the English game? At at a legends function, I was told there is huge anger at Wenger from within the LMA – they believe Wenger has almost single handledly made Big Sam (LMA number 2, we all know who is number one!) – unemployable at the highest levels in this country.
    Whatever the reason, this team will have to massively improve to get anything next season. And he will have to deal with the fractures that clearly exist within this team.

    As a footnote – Bayern Munich – surely we will both be seeded if we have to go the qualifying route for the CL?

  63. @Andrei

    Why do you take it as an either/or situation. We can have flaws and play badly and make mistakes and still be good enough to win. Which we were today. We have been punished for our flaws by dropping points throughout the season. But we have not always been rewarded with points when we have earned them.

  64. Match stats show that Scillacci was the worst performer and Vermaelen one of the best. Maybe it should have been Vermaelen and Djourou after all what has Scillacci ever done for us?

    I love talking about team selection.

  65. I’m tired on how wenger does his transfer policy. Every season he will promise that he will strengthens the squad where? who? no one knows, until after the transfer period he will say we almost signed…., i dont like how he fools us the fans of this great club, fool key players like v.persie and cesc. At the end of the day he will sign a squillaci or silverster. Please Mr man this is not your club is ours, allow us know who you are to sign and where to strengthen we are obsessed from your tricks and deception. Wenger, you are a fantastic manager no doubt about that but you should better land us a trophy next season and stop wrangling, whighning because is absolutely monotonous, if not your time will be over as that is not the end of the world. Mark me guys i’m not a pro wenger or anti wenger i’m just obsessed.

  66. @Mandy

    So basically, we will be screwed out of the Champions League because they want Wenger fired? I say stick it to them and gather proof of what is up. I don’t know how, I don’t know whether its through the courts, or in the shady channels of FIFA, UEFA and FA. But we should not get into a feeling of despair and doubting ourselves only because they say so.

  67. We support the BSM march and some of us will be on that march.

    When positing on other Forums we have promoted our group and yours, recognising we share some mutual aims.

    The photo I posted is banter based on Bournemouth and Flash’s comments, it is not taking the piss out of your campaign. Having a laugh is part of the culture of this website, this is not a BSM website. Plenty of people have taken the piss out of us on here, with multiple “joke campaigns” starting up in the wake of ours. It’s just banter.

    We are building support online and will be dong our own events at a later date.

  68. I am angry but as someone else has said not surprised.

    I would love Wenger to get sacked but there is little hope of that happening so I can only hope he has the good grace to resign…….but that won’t happen either.

    I think it is shameful the way the club has become more and more detached from its true fans whilst at the same time indulging sub-standard, passionless wankers with wages generated by our hard earned money.

    I only have one way of protesting and have done that since the turn of the year……..not going and I won’t pay for a ticket again until Wenger is gone.

    I agree with the BSM totally but I also believe that the club’s arrogance towards us can be linked to Wenger and that he has little respect for us. He, the marvellous economist that he is, has bought into this business plan that sees the club get richer while the genuine fans get less in return. Don’t disassociate Wenger from the board as he is as much a part of it as Gazidis, Kroenke etc etc. Wenger is simply the public figure whose bullshit some believe due to long forgotten past glories.

    I am angry, sad, disillusioned but most of all I am just bored of Arsenal and being treated like shit by them.

  69. @Mandy Dodd, I think you are right the establishment here want AW to leave.

    Maybe that would explain Eduardo and Ramsey, that kind of attitude filters down.

    Or is that all getting a little too conspiratorial?

  70. Ah. So, Mandy, out of interest, how has Wenger made Allardyce unemployable at the highest levels of the English game?

    Apart from keeping him out of the Arsenal job.

  71. shard
    I feel the frustration but lets get our house in order before we start pointing fingers, bad decisions have been made and not just by the refs, our manager and especially the team have contributed to much our collapse. We didn’t have many issues before the carling cup final and our real test isn’t until feb/march with the current crop. The refs didn’t fuck us over before the carling cup and neither did our team. We cant control the FA or refs but we can hopefully make our manager understand and see the problems so fucking crystal clear. 1 month ago we were fighting for the PL 2 weeks ago it was second place and now we really dont want a fight to avoid fourth, one thing this team lacks is fight. So for all this lack of spending the teams with finances and not scared to spend sit on top. This holding back is already going to cost us our captain and maybe even nasri, who do we sign after that, who really wants to come to a team that never fulfills this potential we hear come august and its a cycle that keeps repeating we lose our best player only for our manager to find a replacement who becomes a household names and then our lack of spending calls theses player to question the ambition of the club, so in the long run its costing us more.

  72. @Shard I don’t think you can point my posts where I discussed team selection. As for team performance I simply share my impressions of the game and a bit puzzled by disproportional focus on game officiating. Though there is nothing wrong with discussing referee performance but unfortunately it very often overshadows other more relevant in my opinion topics. Like lack of motivation – it appears that some players have already checked out and are busy planning their future after Arsenal. Or perpetual weakness in defense that Arsenal seem to struggle to fix. Or the reasons why players tend to degrade after starting brightly for Arsenal (e.g. Arshavin, Chamakh). Or never ending injury problems with the leading players. In other words, topics focusing on forces inside Arsenal that they are in control.

  73. jayj

    We’re not losing our captain. How can you be certain. I agree completely that we have flaws, and those have to be addressed by Arsene. I think he will. Also, I do not agree that the same flaws have been there for 5 seasons. That is lazy in my view and not really accurate. (Not saying you said that now, just mentioning it) My only point was that a lack of fight can also stem from knowing that they will be screwed over. We were being screwed over even before the CC. But we didn’t lose that because of the referee. And yes that loss has affected us.

    I don’t think it’s as bad as we think. There really isn’t THAT much wrong with the team. We do need a few signings and do need to get rid of a few squad players. And we do need to try something different coaching wise.

    BUT.. We also need to figure out how to counter the propaganda doing the rounds against us, and how to control the refs and put pressure on the FA to basically do their job and not play dirty games.

    My man reason for frustration isn’t that we lost this season. It’s more that what is happening is not sport. I can take a loss if we actually deserve it on the basis of what we see on the field. Today we didn’t. and that has been the theme this year.

  74. Really does seem that way to me Shard. I know the FA/EPL may favour all sorts of teams, especially one for different reasons, discussed frequently on this site
    If it had not been for this site and its stats,and what we have all witnessed, I would not have believed the anti Arsenal bias I have see this season could occur in this country. I spent a lot of time in southern Italy, I could beleive it there but not here.
    I recognise this team are often the authors of their misfortune. I know Wenger has been at times far too quick to lose experience and replace with callow youth.
    But now , for whatever reason, Wenger has the authorities, the refs, the media and even some of his own fans (and I do not doubt at least 2 senior players) who want him out.
    Other great leaders and have backed their own principles, visions and beliefs, standing against far greater odds and foes than Wenger, with a risk or far more dire consequences…and come out on top.
    But looks like a few things need to change for this outcome.

  75. @Tone, you are anything but conspiratorial, the evidence speaks for itself.
    Big Sam (a lot of friends in high places) cannot get a top job anymore – blames Wenger.
    After being sent off at OT, Wenger says he will contest every decision against him.
    Arsenal use lawyers to get Eduardo cleared – authorities do not like that sort of thing.
    Wenger is French, heaven forbid and a threat to the cosy status quo.
    Wenger now gives scoops / exclusives to french journalists, not Sky or the Sun, and does not appear on TalkShite.
    Wenger tries to move away from the kick and rush game that keeps half the EPL managers in a job (and has rewarded England oh so well)
    Wenger made a fool of the UK media from day 1
    Wenger called Riley, head of PGMOL a cheat
    Perceived lack of interest in English players and desire to strengthen the French national team

    Ok so not a great exercise in making friends and influencing people – but to get to the point, these are many with a vested interest in Wenger out. And that is what we are now seeing.

  76. @Andrei

    Good points of discussion. There are many blogs that do discuss that and to some extent it is talked on here too. But the forum is mainly about a focus on the refs as of now. That is the only way to try and bring attention to what is a theory that many here hold to be true. What i’m saying is that a fair reflection of our weaknesses and flaws cannot be made without a) acknowledging the referees role in it, because let’s face it, our poor set piece defending notwithstanding, no one would have mentioned it if we had won the league. b)without acknowledging that we don’t have all the facts and knowledge of the way the club is run. Too often people just come on here with proclaimed facts. In countering that, true discussion is sometimes lost.

    Lastly, I’d like to apologise to you, and even to jayj for reacting so sharply, but what I saw from the referee today had me spitting fire, because it has happened all season and because people still seem reluctant to acknowledge that it plays a role, and in the EPL a more defining role than usual, in deciding the fate of matches and the title. And That is not what Sport is supposed to be about. Anytime we have refs deciding the outcome of the matches rather than the skill and performance of the teams, is a disgrace to the sport and should not be tolerated.

  77. @Mandy Dodd

    Well summed up. I’m now off to watch the NBA playoffs. Sport where the refs don’t decide the outcome is what I need right now… And for the ones that don’t know. The NBA did have a scandal where refs were calling matches a certain way. But they dealt with it, removed the guilty ones, have moved on, and do everything possible to ensure the right call is made.

  78. But why does Allardyice blame Wenger Mandy?

    That is somewhat bizarre.

    I think this animosity towards Wenger goes back a long way.But I am not sure what it stems from..

    Wenger’s arrogance, percieved or otherwise, not sharing a drink at the end of the game, not being one of the ‘club’?

    What is for certain is that either has seriously pissed off the establishment, or they simply have ganged up on him out of fear.

    But it is not new, it was visible in 2004 when they sabotaged the invincibles at OT.

  79. Shard/Mandy Dodd
    FA/EPL & the ref our beyond our control.
    If Wenger really wants to fight then sign a few known players thus shutting the fans up and highlighting the bias decisions, its no good doing the opposite and hope for the best. today we lost the game in 20mins, yes the ref was crap but why was the team day dreaming? Cesc/Nasri must of had alarm bells firing off, if we lose these two next season is another rebuilding project and so will the season after that which we cant afford, which Wenger really cant afford because some of fans R pissed and if boards loses some sales do you thinks they’ll hold onto Wenger? Its all been shit bricks since the departure of D.Dein, could bringing D.Dein back help Wenger? He was the only one watching his back and did major firefighting.

  80. Well that was pretty fixed. Anyone catch the lino yank RvP’s shorts as he went the take the corner?


    Still, Manchester City will be pleased with that…

    …Wenger needs to sign a couple of refs in the summer – no question.

  81. There are no Premier Legue refs from London or the south east. there are three from Cheshire two from lancashire and One from Manchester, A graphic showing where refs come from and where teams are would make very interesting viewing, especially when adjusted for population. Phil Dowd comes from Staffordshire, home of Stoke City.

  82. @TommieGun

    “despite the fact that I clearly think that statistics are vastly overrated as means to prove a point) – but really, even you – and the rest of the stat gang – must admit that trying to present something that presumes to have any value, with only 3 (three! THREE!!!) matches (2 for Villa, 1 for us) as your database, is a bit disrespectful to the intelligence of your readers”

    It’s that or nothing TommieGun – these articles are for reference and 90% auto-generated. The lack of data is clearly stated… I know you’ve read this because you quote it back to me in your ‘critique’.

  83. @mandy dodd

    a very good point indeed, we and bayern will be seeded. vill-areal be also seeded??? Maybe some italian team will not be seeded.

    By the way if we can’t win qualifier of cl then what’s the point in entering the competition? We will stroll through it.

    But things remains….. glory hunters like fabregase and nasri might leave us for “NEW” challenges(one of them being counting 0’s in their new salary slips).

    A very big flaw of arsene’s youth project perhaps and the cascading effect of MANC and Charity fc spending powers.


    don’t be stupid. Wenger don’t want to spend in transfer market. I, He and true modern arsenal fan wants to win the title with his way , THE ARSENAL WAY. coz winners can’t be bought!!!

  84. good news people

    just google it.

  85. @Marcus, quite a bit around about Big Sams bitterness towards Wenger, just one example – see paragraph about other managers ruining his rep – do not think this was aimed at SAF, Pulis or Big Eck!

    To put it in context, the League Managers Association, of which Sam was/ is amongst the leading lights – purely as a puppet to SAF – is hugely influential amongsy UK managers, buta bit of a cabal some would say. You may recall Alladryce and Fergie backing each other up in the most cosy manner whenever Rafa Benitez has the courage to have a go
    – one of many examples out there

    Just saying that Wenger has upset many with friends in high places, as Rafa did.
    The LMA in essence is nothing more than a vehicle for selective managers to help out Fergie , and receive help in return. Wrnger stays away from all this.
    As a footnote, remember when Phil Brown falsely accused Cesc of spitting, then his star witness was mysteriously abroad when the case came to be heard, he did so wit LMA backing.
    Just one of the many forces acting against Wenger I’m afraid.
    Wenger is in the Alamo, defended by a few, under an onslaught by many.

  86. We have a superabundance of NO 10’s ,

    Arshavin, Ramsey, RVP, Nasri, Fabregas

    Would we really miss Fabregas that much?

    As a totally world class player, yes

    but if for 60 million we bought 30 of the below


    Would we be so badly off?

    Would RVP behind a traditional NO 9 like Bent be a bad idea?

    I imagine someone like Bent could fill his boots at Arsenal

  87. Jayj, agree on how we miss Deins influence, in more ways than one. I think he had a lot more influence on those very authorities that have it in for us than anyone at the club at the moment. He was on the board but acted, lived and thought as a fan, why fans love him but other board members despised him.
    Critic – I hope / am convinced we are seeded but take your point. This team should never have put itself in this position from where we were a few weeks ago. Guess Wenger will not be wanting that Asian pre season if we are 4th!

  88. TBH I think the fans and squad are going to see Wengers ruthless side I have noticed, he hasnt backed them in post match commentary like before, but fans just accuse him of not buying anyone when sometimes a deal was close but there was hiccups and it fail through, we will only know the truth if AW does an autobiography,

    have to admit today was the low point of my season, and the only thing that makes me optimistic is that I think the big man will change it up

  89. Agree 80. The refs have not helped but some of those players are not playing for Wenger. Maybe some know their time is up hence that performance.
    Cannot remember a worse implosion under Wenger and lets face it, there have been some bad ones. – something is going on here, as you say we need an autobiography but not sure we will ever get one.

  90. The players are clinically brow-beaten Mandy. They know the whole shooting match is rigged, and that winning anything is as difficult as knocking off a nailed down coconut at the fair.

    Wenger knows and they know.

    MAybe also some players are trying to manouevre politically. Maybe a player refuses to sign a contract unless a certain type of player is bought.

    To be quite honest, RVP can score a goal a game until the cows come home, but if Goalie A lets in critical goals all the time, it matters little.

    The problem for Wenger is that he is so undermined by the system. He knows that his team is the best in the league, at a very very young age. For 3/4 of the season they were up there, in spite of very poor officiating, and the usual Man U stitch ups. They very nearly did a job on Barca too. But a certain amount of immaturity/lack of edge call it what you will let them down at key moments….

    After the league Cup , the Barca fiasco, and the Dowd massacre, (and lets face it, the refereeing had been blatantly against us all season, it just went into overdrive super snuff out all hope mode) the team imploded.

    To be perfectly honest, i don’t blame them either.

    If they didn’t somebody would probably lamp a ref and get banned for life anyway.

  91. Well that is really a pile of (horse) manure.
    Coming home after a day out in London and having met some interesting people I was thinking of starting my ref review here at midnight only to find out that those twats from my sports channel have reshuffled their programm and I recorded nothing. So I have to wait till I can download it from ArsenalTV. Damned….

    Well one of the great things was that it was great meeting you all over there at the Auld Triangle. What a pleasant surprise it was I must say. If we only had more time….

  92. @#$%^&*&^%$#@#$%^!!!!!
    I missed the game too due to channel shuffling…
    Bloody hell, the fact that DogFace called it beforehand really irks me.
    TWO disallowed goals???
    There’s got to be something we can do fight this evil.
    And are you kidding about the linesman pulling RVP’s shorts? Has it gotten so bad that they’re interfering directly with play on the field, like when the ref was playing defensive mid in the Arsenal 1 – 0 manure match?
    This bullcrap, really. who the f#@! ever said this stuff evens out over the season? Why are we constantly on the wrong end of bad decisions? When are they gonna go the other way, like maybe Aston Villa having both their goals disallowed? We just don’t get those game-deciding decisions in our favour. We just don’t. And now the opposition know this, but they’re only too glad to take the helping hand. They arrive at a game against knowing they can do what they want. Confident they’ll be helped, and we’ll be impeded. I agree, I think it’s affecting the team. It would take a massive chunk out of your motivation if you knew you were playing 11 regular players plus anything from 1 to 4 extra, untouchable guys. We need to back the team through this or things will get worse. This really isn’t the time for blind, media-brainwashed AAA parrots to be adding their negativity, they will only make things worse. Rise up against the evil and fight it by backing the team, not compounding the problem by joining the likes of talkshite!

  93. @Andrei: You could focus on what is in your capacity to do and still not win the match. To win a match you need to score goals but still the ref has the last word!!
    Chamak scores a goal and the ref disallows it for God knows what reason. A penalty is not given for a foul against Wilshere and you compare that with the title winning penalty awarded to Man U, you begin to understand there is something wrong in this league!!!

  94. @ Dr. Kox: Why not support Birmingham City then, they won the Curling Cup!
    You love Arsenal for a reason that is why you will not quit. True we conceded early goals which we should not have but the boys went all out to win the game and were undone by the ref.

  95. @ Dogface – I’d say, that when you have so little data, just don’t publish a report… (not taking anything away from your spot on prediction).

    I still refuse to adopt the “fixed league” claim. It’s based on very little data, and does not take into account refs’ decisions in matches played by other teams.

    For instance, if you find that Walter’s refs’ grades are more or less consistent for all matches, then you can come to the conclusion that the refs are just crap, but not rigged. Or if you find out that there are other clubs that get less favourable decisions – that also supports the same conclusion.

    I look at things that are visible – body language, position on the pitch, off the ball movement, creativity. All those things are very difficult to be addressed by stats. I also think that a lot of people miss the point when they point out “defensive” problems or “midfield” problems. In my opinion that’s not how a team works. The team defends as a team and attacks as one. When we screw up it’s a team thing. And as for me, aside from Robin, who stands out in defiance, the lack of will and ambition is visible. Hell, it’s almost tangible.

    I was watching the Rome final last night, Nadal v. Djoko. You can see that every second, every move, they are always 100% focused on winning. You can see it on their faces and in their posture. And then I thought about a few of our players, and not only yesterday, who didn’t seem interested. They do not respect themselves and the club. And that’s very sad because it’s the first time I really thought about it in this way.

    Look at Real Madrid. They lost the league and secured 2nd place, but still played their asses last night. Why? because they are professionals and they respect themselves.

  96. @TommieGun

    I’m not claiming anything – I’m just publishing a weekly report on the referee’s previous matches for both teams playing – the ref vs EPL chart at the end does take into account other teams – this is merely to premote discussion (of which I’m glad you are taking part).

    I will admit that this one had not much data but that is not always the case and Michael Oliver, I suspect, will be with us a long time… so consider these threads a historical record rather than a claim of proof.

  97. That bent ref cost us the game yesterday.

    “Andy D’Urso – a quite excellent official in my book” – D’urso was the ref in the away game against Bolton in 2003 when they were allowed to kick us off the park and ended up pulling the score back to 2-2 (from being 2-0 down). That game turned the season (against us), as we were heading for the title at that point. That’s where the myth of ‘Arsenal don’t like it up ’em’ started from and teams, from that point onwards, have been allowed to kick us without punishment.
    Of course that prolific partnership that Manu had up front also powered them to the title that year – the Mike Riley/Ruud Van Horseface double act (Ruud, I’ll take the dives, and Mike, I’ll award the pens).

  98. A typical boring day at work, therefore I love to trick my company’s firewall system and go through all the Arsenal blogs and read all the comments, reviews etc. and add more information to my overall dilemma called: “What the hell is wrong with Arsenal?” I’ve just been on, read a couple of articles there, well in comaparison to Untold, those were proper shite, stupid points like: “Kroenke should spend money on players without consulting AW” Bullshit! But comments by fans killed me completely, people are actually saying that they hoped Arsenal would lose to Villa so AW and the board would finally realise that there are major problems. Bloody hell, are they all retarded or what!? I mean if you would have some sort of intelligence in you, one would know that a football club like Arsenal are not that stupid to not see the obvious, but anyway, actually wishing your team to lose!? Get out! Anyway back to the game, after watching it in sports cafe in London, having to listen to shit cheers from some Man Shity fans, who actually just came there to support Villa, I just thought how crap can Sebastien S. be? I was also wondering how many goals does it take for Arsenal to concede before they finally wake up?! I am not even starting with the ref, he was a complete twat, I am cursing myself everytime video replies show the obvious, but it’s isn’t applied to the game! Arsenal really do need a clearout and a record breaking sprending spree to bring in replacements. Do we fans have to chip in a fiver each or what? Usmanov offered the board £100 lemons for new players, but the board were affraid of his power, but Kroenke agrees a 6% ticket price rise and is that much better? What the hell is going on down there?! Things got to change for sure, i will always be an Arsenal fan, but yesterday’s result made me wonder if the team is sleeping or they are simply not bothered to start a game properly and go through it the same way.

  99. Sorry for the mistakes guys, been typing too quick, hope you understood what I meant 🙂

  100. @ Dogface/Casual Obs. – I know that what you and Walter do are 2 different things, and that your project does take into account refs’ peformance vs. the league. I also know that your project does not aim to support the claim that the league is fixed – it’s a predictory tool (and might be quite a good one, or not…). My bigger issue is with the “ref report” and the fact that they are used as basis for the claim that the league is fixed/refs are bent/and it all goes against AFC.

    Thank you and I do think that collecting evidence is important, despite the fact that as of NOW it is still uselss to base a theory around it.

  101. @Tommie Gun

    It is NOT useless to base a theory around it. It cannot be claimed as ‘proof’ yet maybe. But a viable workable theory is definitely probable based on what has been done by Walter.

    Any investigative process has to start with a theory before trying to ascertain facts. Only thing is that the facts have to be acknowledged regardless of whether they fit the theory or not, and subsequently the theory can be modified while presenting it as proof.

  102. @Miko – there are always games you can pick out as bad… I would have to review that one but, on the whole, I never really had a problem with him – although I wasn’t really as ‘aware’ back in 2003 as we did our fair share of physical play too – although well done to you for remembering that!

    @TommieGun – this is something that we discussed at the match and we will try to address this over the summer if we can get a group of referee’s together willing to review all the matches.

  103. @C4 – yes, the lino pulled his shorts as he took the corner and shouted at him to try and stop him but then distanced himself as RvP fluffed it.

    I also saw Yong go up to the lino after yet another incorrect call (throw in given against Walcott) and slap him on the shoulder tellling him he was the best lino they ever had.

    The lino in question (Ron Ganfield) kept prodding his earpiece – like he was just calliong what he was told to call.

  104. @ Shard – fair enough, if what you are trying to do, at this stage, is to try and see if your theory is viable and workable or whether the facts fit it and to what extent.

    I think I can argue with that proposition as well, due to the following fact:

    (1) we only have ref reports of Arsenal matches and not matches where other clubs are involved – so we don’t know how we are doing in comparison to other clubs;

    (2) there are enough instances where we won matches despite bad refereeing (the ManU match for instance);

    (3) there are enough instances where we got very important controversial decisions going our way (which if the theory was correct, would have been the perfect opportunities for bent refs to use);

    (4) the facts are collected and analyzed by us – and we have to recogize the fact that we are biased, subjective supporters of AFC (I for once KNOW that I could not be impartial).

    But that’s not my main concern.

    My main concern is that some people are not looking at what you’re suggesting as a “theory on trial”, but are rather CONVINCED that the EPL is fixed, FA is against Arsenal and that consequentially we get bent corrupt refs who are instructed to rule in a certain way to ensure certain results, and that THAT is the reason why we failed to win the championship this year.

    I’m telling you that as a criminal lawyer, the difference between those two things is HUGE. To make a statement like the above statement – or for that matter, any allegation of fraud – you need to convince beyond reasonable doubt. It’s not responsible, and it’s not fair, to fling such allegations into the atmosphere.

    And I’m not just talking about the right of refs to good reputation – and yes, being a shit ref is very different to being a bent (criminal) ref. I am talking about our image as a club.

    Do we really want to be perceived as a club who focuses on some unproven, loosely founded theory as the root of our failures? I don’t think it’s healthy for us. I don’t even think it ends with image alone – clinging on to the “bent refs” theory brushes aside any hope for accountability and lesson learning.

  105. @TommieGun – I rather think they are watching the football on offer and come to the conclusion that the EPL is fixed. And not just Arsenal fans either.

    You are putting the cart before the horse in this as we are adressing and exploring those concerns rather than generating them.

  106. Also – “clinging on to the “bent refs” theory brushes aside any hope for accountability and lesson learning”.

    May I extrapolate and paraphrase?

    “be good little gooners and chow down on the big bullshit sandwich the EPL is giving you”

    We will never brush aside the issues of importance in football here.

  107. @ Dogface – fair enough, if your starting point is that the EPL is fixed, and you’re now just looking for evidence to support that, then I don’t really think there is anything significantly contributive for me to say, except that I desparatly believe and hope that you are very wrong.

    I reject your extrapolation on the same grounds: I don’t think the EPL is bent.

    One suggestion I would make, though, directed at all good Gooners convinced, partially or totally, that the EPL is fixed – try to look at things as though the EPL ISN’T fixed. I think the “fixed” stances prevents, or rather, blocks, some of the things that I (sadly) see – being no expert, I’m just talking body language, posture, commitment and focus. To me it seems we are not going in the right direction in those areas.

  108. @TommieGun – my starting point is that something stinks… exactly what it is will be discovered through investigation.

  109. @tommiegun, so you’re not an expert on body language, posture etc etc etc, but you choose to put your amateur views before a detailed, season long study? Let me tell you what you’ve just said to everbody who reads this blog – “I haven’t read your refwatch. I havent read your ref reviews. I have no idea what the f**k i’m talking about but I’ve got a FEELING that what i’m saying is right, and all your research is wrong”. I hope this makes you feel stupid, cos stupids exactly how you sound.

  110. @ Stevie – I am sorry you – not part of the team who did bother to gather the evidence and come up with the conclusions – is the only (first?) person to stoop down to a lower level. A shame really. Dogface, Casual and others didn’t. Why? Did I step on a nerve or anything?

    I would very much appreciate it if you can keep it polite.

    By the way – did YOU bother read what I wrote? Doesn’t seem so, really. I am sure you would find out that I had nothing wrong to say about the reasearch or the project – on the contrary. I think it’s very important, I only said that (a) I don’t think the data gathered as of now proves the EPL is bent (b) I personally don’t believe the EPL is bent [and I think, unless I misunderstood, that the research does not claim to prove that – only that some ref bias exists – whether subliminal or intentional, was left open].

    As it is, I have read most posts made on this site since October 2010, and ALL posts regarding refwatch, ref review, match fixing, the stats that support those posts, usually more than once, and ocassionaly even read the webpages connected thru to by the links provided in some of those posts. Hope you’re satisfied.

    Actually, body language is something I know quite a lot about – I cross examine witnesses on a weekly basis for the past 7 years or so. I might even say I’m pretty good at it, and a pretty good reader of body language, rather – though I have not academic diploma in that specifc area [sorry about that].

    Obviously, though, you have missed my point. I think that criticism which presumes to be professional, football wise, such as “we should buy X” and “Y is crap” or “Z can’t defend” or “we should be playing 4-4-2 instead of 4-3-3” – is not very serious when made by me, or you, or anyone who is not a pro. It’s professional criticsm made by laymen.

    Body language and posture – you don’t need to be a professional to describe what you see. Can’t you tell when a person is smiling? Can’t you tell when a person is tired? Can’t you tell a focused face from a disinterested face? I don’t really think you need to be an expert… you need to be a human being with 2 ounces of sensitivity and observational skills.

    I trust Arsene knows 1,000,000,000 times more than the combined critics about football, formations, scouting, fitness, set pieces, and all other professional aspects where I dare not criticize him or the club [actually I don’t think I criticized Arsene – I just don’t understand why thing are as they are].

    Hope [again] you are satisfied.

  111. @TommieGun – firstly i would like to apologise, my comments were based on the last paragraph of your last post. In my defence, I had just spent the last 30mins reading abuse thrown at AW and had fallen into “scan mode”. By the time I’d read your comments, I was already into “defence” mode, which automatically kicks me into “attack” mode. Again, I apologise.
    However, I DO believe the PL is fixed. I have seem things this season which begger belief and have cost us dearly. Having read all the ref reviews this season, even the most sceptical has to admit “something” is amiss? I would be interested to hear your opinion on the refs body language. They must make signs at the moment of a big decision? Maybe this is something you could add to Walters ref reviews, a subliminal review?

  112. When I’ve seen several calls this season which are totally inexplicable, like not sending off the last defender who blatantly takes out a player who is about to shoot on goal from 7 yards out, and then I see that the ref is not punished or relieved of his duties, then I can only come to the conclusion that there is something very rotten in the state of England.

  113. @ Stevie – apology accepted. Sadly enough, I admit, I never bothered looking at the refs throughout the season so there is nothing for me to contribute for this year – will do my best next season.

    Just to clear things up: I do believe we are getting screwed a lot by the refs, and I do believe Manure did get a lot of very favorable decisions over the years. I am not saying the evidence do not support THAT conclusion. What I’m saying is, as someone who always needs to examine the weakest link of every allegation, that it does not prove the LEAGUE is bent. It could prove that there are a few refs who are biased against us – as it could prove that there are some refs who are biased against other clubs.

    I would also quote the great Mike Kryzevski (US National basketball team) – when he coached DUKE university, they used to get tons of favorable decisions. When asked about it by reporters, he said: “Well, it comes with the territory”. The evidence gathered by Dogface seems to support that as well – bigger, successful clubs get more favorable decisions. It just comes with the territory. It’s psychological, despite the fact that it’s unfair.

    But it doesn’t mean it’s all part of a big conspiracy, or a bent league.

    Another comment I would like to make – I totally support Walter’s call for a greater number of refs and/or introduction of refs from outside the UK (in Israel we do it sometimes for big matches – when both clubs complain that they will not get a fair ref).

    BTW, on a side note: this year, I think Sir Red Nose crossed the line and actually over-bullied the refs: they used to do things to please him, and this year I clearly remember a few incidents where he (and his team of lumberjacks) got screwed (I would have laughed if you told me, last year, that the precedent for sending off for swearing at the camera will be set at Shrek’s expense…)

    Closing comment: I agree that some decisions that left me with my jaw dropped. The Newcastle match comes to mind, and so many other matches as well. It does beggar belief. But I still don’t think it proves something is directed from above – it just proves that the refs in the UK are utter crap. I mean – Graham Poll’s 3rd yellow card @ the world cup… need I say more? It wasn’t fixed, the guy’s an idiot. Plain and simple. So are some other refs.

  114. @Tommie Gun

    Fair points. Especially about the football side of things and what is wrong really. If people would only acknowledge that they don’t have the professional expertise to pass judgment on what is required, and crucially, they also lack access to knowledge of the internal workings both in training and finance, then I think we’ll see a lot less abuse, and a lot more analysis.

    When it comes to it being fixed, while you are right about the reasonable doubt bit. Exactly how do you propose that is removed? Even if Walter or someone else does a complete analysis of every match, there will still be allegations of bias, along with the proposition that refereeing the game is not the same as re-refereeing it. Which are again reasonable points. Without access to how the PGMOL and FA function, without transparency, doubt can never be removed. Plausible deniability is a term that comes to mind.
    As to why people are CONVINCED the EPL is fixed. I doubt it’s to do with this site. I formed that theory independently, and prior to knowing about this site. It is based on what we see. Which also brings to mind the tenet, that justice should not only be done, but seen to be done. At the moment we are made to just trust in the infallibility, along with the absolute incorruptibility and unbiasedness (is that a word?) of the referee. Coupled with the huge money going around in football, illegally and legally, I think it is more reasonable to assume that it is not functioning in a fair manner.

    PS Other sports like Cricket and Basketball have had their trouble with match fixing, and they are relatively smaller sports in terms of their reach. Football is played everywhere, and watched all over. It also has 1 referee in charge who’s authority is unquestionable with no accountability. (Look at Rugby, the ref is miked up for the crowd) Indeed there has been ‘fixing’ of one sort or another in Belgium, germany, Italy, even a Champions League match apparently. Why is England any less suspect? When it has the most money and among the least transparency?

  115. I just read your last post Tommie Gun.. You’re right. Big teams (including us at times) do get the benefit of the calls. But not of blatantly wrong calls. Only close, tight calls, where there is some doubt. ManU on the whole, have been receiving the benefit of calls which beggar belief. It was funny for a while, and quotes like Fergie Time, or “Sir Alex is an institution” (A TV Pundit says that on the Asian ESPN broadcast, whenever ManU-ref question comes up) are simply euphemisms for ManU are cheats, and are allowed to get away with it. Everybody, at some level knows it. But it is just never mentioned directly. Instead you have people asking “Do you think ManU are worthy champs?” Pat comes the reply, “Oh absolutely” Like anyone is going to say no they are not.

  116. Tommie Gun, I love your name

    And I welcome your contribution to the debate. My feelings are similar to yours, however I do see far too much that needs explanation.

    Re proving a conspiracy, a bias or an out right fixing. surely if we collect the data, it will come out in the statistics, but first we collect the data.

    You have a part to play, please continue to do so, reasoned argument must be the direction we seek, backed up with facts and statistics.

    You may enjoy this

  117. I’ve seen many matches where Arsenal have been battered yet have gone away with three referee-gifted points in the bag. This is football. A transitional, managerless Villa quite simply tore Arsenal apart, went two goals up in the process, and simply sat back allowing Arsenal to come forward and press without menace. A fairly textbook win for Villa.

    Posters who are blaming a refereeing conspiracy for Arsenal’s slump are blinding themselves to the harsh reality that their club is in slow decline. Arsenal simply have not got the resources to compete for squad building and paying top-level wages. Wenger is hamstrung, also, in the fact that many clubs have now woken up to the availability of quality, cheap foreign talent. The chances of him repeating transfers of the Henry, Anelka, Pires kind are remote.

    It will be an interesting summer for Gooners and some cold, hard truths will be swallowed along the way. It’ll be back to the boring days of Brian Talbot and Lee Chapman – the real Arsenal- before long.

  118. @Tommie Gun – I think your being a criminal lawyer makes you look for proof beyond reasonable doubt. If u watch Arsenal play week in week out it will became imposible not to believe it’s fixed. Tell me for example how often do refs get in the way of passes in games not involving Arsenal? They intercept Arsenal passes every so often it’s rediculous! Against Man U I joked to Man U fans that the ref may crown his peformance with a goal! The Man U fans were embarrased. Some of the Man U fans are also beginning to believe something is wrong..

  119. Macca please tell me which matches have been gift wrapped to Arsenal by Refs. This site is trying to build debate based on fact, not statements plucked from the ether.

    So please clarify

  120. Bias and bent league are two completley different things.
    While I think the former exists to some extent – the latter is a serious criminal allegation. Not backing it up with proof is simply slandering people involved in the game. Hence the need to prove it

  121. @TommieGun

    What if the bias makes you act in a way that is unfair, or criminal? Is it only criminal if money changes hands? In any case, either is wrong. And while bias is ever present, when sport is being decided in a major way by referees, for whatever reason, rather than the skill and performance of the teams, then it is not sport anymore.

  122. @ Shard – if the bias makes you act in an unfair way, then it’s a problem. But you’ll have to agree it’s a much lesser problem than having a bent league, a league where the winner is decided regardless of what really happens on the pitch.

    I agree that if the league is bent – it’s not a sport anymore. That’s why I believe (and hope) that we don’t play in a bent league. I can’t stand the thought that I spent all those hours and invested all that energy in something similar to WWE.

    But if there’s bias – to some extent, and I don’t think that it went to the extent of deciding who won the league – it’s something that needs to be addressed in a constructive way, notwithstanding the things which seemed to happen to our mentality.

    You would concede that losing to WBA & Newcastle @ the ems was not down to ref’s decisions; you would also concede that drawing the Spuds @ the ems wasn’t down to ref’s decisions; I, on the other hand, agree that the 4-0 to 4-4 @ St. James’ Park was Dowd’s masterwork (despite the fact that we could’ve won that game if we had not got all mixed up in our heads) or drawing against Liverpool was the extra extra extra time added (but then again, it’s not like we didn’t panic in those minutes).

    So what I’m basically saying is this: some refs’ decisions cost us dearly, but they were rarely the single undisputed factor of the adverse outcome. It’s usually a combination of some bad decsions, coupled by us not handling the situation well enough.

    On top of that, we did (as I recall, for instance, at least 2 goals scored by us from offside positions, or penalty not given against us) enjoy a bit of luck as well with the refs so it’s not all consistently bad.

    But, as Dogface said, since the good people are trying to assemble a stat tool whcih will provide information similar to Walter’s ref reports based on OTHER clubs – and not just us – I think we will be a lot smarter next season.

  123. @TommieGun:

    “Bias and bent league are two completley different things.
    While I think the former exists to some extent – the latter is a serious criminal allegation.”

    I wasn’t aware that the laws of the game were taken so seriously… it seems to me that the laws of the land don’t fully exist on the pitch (in particular in terms of premeditated physical assault) – so why should the justice system be interested in how a business tailors its product?

    The PGMO Ltd is a business, the EPL is a business and Sky is a business as is the BBC [and MOTD].

    The FA is an organisation.. but even then – I’m not sure how accountable it is for anything that goes on with regards to the EPL?

    Is this a fuzzy area of law or can this be argued, with regards to any litigation, as part of contract law between the clubs and the EPL and the EPL and th PGMOL? Could fraud be conceivably argued? Is there any way we can see the contracts betweent he EPL and the other interested parties in the EPL?

    Inquiring minds need to know!

  124. I have sometime back written and I rewrite again. Manchester United as brand sells across the world. Its mighty. Its massive. Its big and its sought after. Having Manchester United play more and win more would mean everyone makes more money. Its pretty fuckin simple as that.

    I believe even last time it was Manchester United’s turn to win but sadly they could not win it thanks to Chelsea cos on field things don’t always work out as you plan it.

    Unless Arsenal or for that reason Chelsea or any club puts in better impetus on its marketing and wins more support internationally things really won’t change.

    After all its the money that matters. Not the sport.

  125. I felt very sick this weekend after watching two games….

    1. The Blackburn vs Manchester United game. There was no penalty there. Phil Dowd was made to give a penalty by the linesman and I doubt Phil ever thought it was a penalty. The ball was going nowhere and at worst it was a rash touch and I doubt it was a challenge at all.

    2. The Aaron Ramsey incident at the box. If what Phil Dowd awarded was a penalty then this was a straight Red Card incident. But you see perceptions differ from person to person and this was not considered a fat chance for a penalty to be awarded.

    3. The Marouane Chamakh goal. I feel kind of sad for this guy. Ever since Persie came he found less matches. Wenger said this guy needed a break due to French league n all. I doubt Wenger really had it in him to find a regular place for him. May be Chamakh should have started more. Ok leaving it aside..whats wrong with his goal? What wrong did referee find in his goal? Neither Bendtner nor Chamakh had any foul on any player but his goal is ruled null and void for what reasons which the referee alone can fathom.

    Sadly there exists no system where the decisions can be debated. Neither the English media which I get to read bother to debate it out wide open(except when may be it goes against Manchester United…).

  126. @TommieGun

    bias in a way has always existed in the league. There are certain steps that can be taken to at least reduce that. Bias by itself I can live with. But the bias is not all that is happening here. There are many interest groups and as has been pointed out before, ManU are Sky and the League’s largest money maker. Their success is the foundation of the EPL brand across the globe. It wasn’t like this before when we were the only team competing against ManU on a much smaller budget, and occasionally winning playing some good football. But when Chelsea got in on the act, ManU’s financial might was no longer supreme. And us announcing a new stadium meant that we would soon be at par too. ManU in a way needed help. 2007-08 (which at the time I put down to refs mistakes), 2008-09 (when I realised something is amiss) and this season are to me tainted victories for ManU, and I have no respect left for them. All of that is just my theory of course, but something which seems to fit the facts, the pattern of what I have seen.

    What you say regarding the decisions not being the single factor of our defeats is absolutely true. We need to improve. But why must we put in a situation where our flaws have a chance to show themselves, if it is not a result of our performances. Even with all those problems we could still have won the title. We could have lost it as well. But we’ll never know because of the refs calls, and when that sort of thing happens consistently, it really is not something that should be tolerated in the game.

    Encouragingly, there have some articles across various publications about the ghost of match fixing and it’s relevance to England. None of them have said that it exists (for obvious reasons) but the fact that people are starting to talk about it to me shows that more people are edging towards the same conclusion as people on this site.

  127. @Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    True dat – it’s all about grobal branding and product enhancement the integrity of the sport can go rot as long as everyone gets paid.

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