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RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Liverpool (Sat 20/08/2011 – 12:45)

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By DogFace

  • Referee: Martin Atkinson
  • Assistant 1: Peter Kirkup
  • Assistant 2: Michael Mullarkey
  • 4th Official: Michael Oliver

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch…

It seems that we may have caused a wee bit of a stink with our unfashionable interest in the selection of match officials last season; so much so that the official PGMOL site remains static and unyielding of data with regards to the fixtures. Can we take the credit for this.. no – for it is not a matter of ‘credit’ – less transparency is a bad thing but with such isolation comes the silver lining of suspicion and ultimately the loss of credibility in the company leading to a public outcry and independent regulation.

We can dream eh!?

Anyhoo – I’ve found an alternate source, although I’m not 100% sure yet that it’s accurate so if an entirely different referee turns up to the match well… sorry. Although – to be fair, the PGMOL have chopped and changed referee’s last minute so many times without explanation (more than any other professional league to my knowledge) that it really makes no odds… in fact unofficial sources may actually prove to be more reliable.

Let’s have a look at who we reckon the Referee might be:

  • Full name: Martin Atkinson
  • Date of birth: 31-Mar-1971 (Age 40)
  • Place of birth: Bradford
  • Resides: West Yorkshire
  • EPL Referee Since: 2004/2005
  • EPL Games to date: 155

Martin Atkinson
Rouf on a red, top of the head… any takers?

It’s Martin Atkinson again… you remember him; he’s the one that Wenger slapped upside the head after the Sunderland game when Darren Bent equalised 15 seconds after the allotted extra time… The scarlet side of Liverpool might recall him suggesting that Andy Carroll probably deserved the repeated kicking off the ball he got against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Hawthorns for daring to upset the desired score line… or for being a striker or whatever?!

Manchester United fans may recall him mugging them blind at the Bridge and, Scotsman, Slur Alex throwing an ironic wobbler… but that seems to be par for the course with Atkinson when he officiates in that particular venue. One could just as easily bitch about Webb at Old Trafford couldn’t one? But I degress…

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…let’s check out his stats!

Martin Atkinson Vs. Arsenal (EPL)

Martin Atkinson has had 15 games for Arsenal consisting of 8 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 3rd in Martin Atkinson’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 1.93 PPG.

In Martin Atkinson’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 3rd with an average positive swing of 0.63.

Arsenal are currently in 11th in Martin Atkinson’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 1.80 BPM.

In Martin Atkinson’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Arsenal come 15th with an overall average of 5.93 FPB.

Martin Atkinson Vs. Liverpool (EPL)

Martin Atkinson has had 20 games for Liverpool consisting of 8 wins, 6 draws and 6 losses.

Liverpool are currently in 10th in Martin Atkinson’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an average of 1.50 PPG.

In Martin Atkinson’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Liverpool come 7th with an average positive swing of 0.18.

Liverpool are currently in 10th in Martin Atkinson’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, with an overall average of 1.75 BPM.

In Martin Atkinson’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the English Premier, Liverpool come 11th with an overall average of 6.71 FPB.

Let’s move on now to check out how Martin Atkinson performs against selected teams in the EPL:

Martin Atkinson Vs. EPL (AHS)

As you can see we look OK in this and Chelsea (given comments I made earlier) look OK but don’t appear all that great – this is a handicap swing and does not correlate to the average PPG in which, despite sometimes underachieving against the handicap, they come a clear #1 with an astounding average of 2.85 PPG. So the question is, or could be (if we dare to theorise a conflict of interest [this season] between Atkinson and Abramovich’s plaything), do Liverpool or Arsenal represent any threat to Chelsea’s title ambitions and/or do Chelsea have any title abmitions this season? Time will tell no doubt.

Back to reality; Liverpool’s AHS reflects about ‘to form’ (from Atkinson) and there seems to be a slight Southern bias in terms of team AHS from the Yorkshire man.

The Predictortron gives us a 0.704167 of a goal advantage, but as we have said many a time before – look at the fixture time of this match. You can throw the form book for both team and referee when it comes to game with this kind of exposure – and look at the teams! Oh yes – this is going to be big one in the Asian markets! So if I were a betting man I would forget everything I have just said – take you best guess and go completely the other way.

Let’s hope it’s an ‘over’ game eh!

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37 comments to RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Liverpool (Sat 20/08/2011 – 12:45)

  • Sammy The Snake

    Good to have u back, Dogface.

  • Jimin

    Remember when he did the cup game between man city and Arsenal when Wenger refused to shake Huges hand. Feggy latter said the man needed a man city player to use an axe on an arsenal player to be given a card, hypocrites. The guy was very poor in the second half considering the fact that the squad was very young. Please Walter, can you explain why most refs are poor in the second half against arsenal. I think thats when they become desperate to help the other teams. Remember Dowd was not bad at all in the last game against Arsenal that we didnt score. At home against tots it was in the second half he did it, at new castle it was in the second half. I think they just wait to see how it will go. Today, I’m sure they know how close they are to catching up with wenger. See the FA decision after NC. They ll make sure Liverpool win by all means so that the press can instigate fans to do what the FA wants but cannot do. Just get Wenger out.

  • @Jimin – it’s all about the ‘in play’.

  • Jimin

    @ Dogface – but the least we can do is let them know that its not every arsenal fan that can be cajoled into crying that arsenal have not won a trophy in six years. I’m still thinking of a plan to create awareness for fans who will be willing to support arsenal come rain or sunshine. I’ll partner with you and Walter in a few weeks time. Its funny, and I have never being to the Emirates myself. Those fans that have the opportunity of watching life matches and booing are a disgrace to football except if i dont who a fan is.

  • Hmmm… just noticed that Sunderland v Newcastle is on @ 12:00 – that could take the heat off a bit.

    @Jimin – it’s all coming to a head I think, the hate bubble is going to burst.

  • walter

    one of the reasons why we started the ref reviews is to try and find out if there can be found a pattern And not just in the Arsenal games.

    And if we can find a pattern like you say (and which has happened a few times last season) it will get exposed. And if there is a different pattern between the Arsenal games and the other games it will get exposed.

    If we can keep it up like we are doing and planning this season we will have a lot of information on how the refs do in the Arsenal games but also in the other games. And then by comparing their performances we will be able to see much clearer

  • Johnny Deigh

    Can’t say I’m too pleased with Atkinson’s performance in the first half.

  • walter

    Under the eye of the master of the evil empire Mike Riley we could see that the word was to book Frimpong as soon as possible. That first booking looked ridiculous. Frimpong thought the ball was for Arsenal so wanted to claim it. No need to book a player for that.
    And then it was waiting for the first occasion after that to book him again. The second booking looked correct. But the first… a joke

  • walter

    First goal was offside from Suarez who put pressure on the defender who kicked against Ramsey so clearly interfered with the play. Oh well… better leave that to the ref reviewer to sort that out

  • walter

    Do we have any defenders left? Gibbs, Traore, Djourou, Koscielny all out…
    Certainly a right footed player on the left back is more difficult to go forward.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Right Walter. All I could think about when Frimpy got booked was that there must be some unwritten rule to put Arsenal’s black holding midfielder on a card as soon as possible, be it Song or Frimpong.

  • Walter, DogFace, Anne, Tony, Sammy, i think the only way we’ll get any reprieve from English referees is for AW to leave England. It is clear they don’t like him, and in effect Arsenal. It’s really frustrating.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @johnny deigh,
    spot on, i am anxiously waiting for the ref review for an explanation of that particular rule, i wonder how many yellows essien is going to get for precisely the same sort of tackle frimpers was sent off for?

  • Well – there were a few dodgy calls but Liverpool did well I feel, very unlucky for the first goal and our mid week game showed as Liverpool were giving full effort and out for the win. Frimpong looks to be a very good player – despite the second yellow, he’s just young, hot headed and trying to impress. Verminator had control of Carroll – but when we went down a man it was always going to be difficult.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Well I definitely felt their was significant bias against Arsenal in the first half.

  • Johnny Deigh

    There were things like how easily Frimpong was booked, but when Lucas took out Theo minutes later to kill a counter attack, nothing. Or when Carroll simulated falling in the area, he wasn’t booked. Note that both of these players picked up bookings later in the match.

  • I saw a couple of things too Johnny, the first goal looked offside – but I’ll wait for the ref review to see if that’s correct. Looking forward to it!

  • Johnny Deigh

    Yes, I thought it was offside as well, but that’s a difficult call for a linesman to make at full speed…

  • bjtgooner

    I agree the first goal looked offside – do we have yet another lineman with defective vision? Also some inconsistent calls by the ref, but look forward to the ref report.

    Can anyone confirm how often refs and linesmen have vision checks?

  • Domhuaille

    In most professional leagues all officials have to submit to a full medical and fitness testing but, as far as I know, there is no specific requirement for vision tests. Many officials actually wear reading glasses as they age(a normal process) but it isn’t their eyesight that is at issue here, it is in fact their strong selective vision, which is always clear and focused enough to allow them to see one thing and not another .in Arsenal’s case.
    I don’t feel we should be overly surprised by today’s result…we had 8 youngsters out there and a want-away player along with a midfield abnormally inexperienced and stretched. Some of our key players didn’t do their thing and if this happens in Italy, we could end this week very badly. Had Diaby Song,Gervinho, Djourou, Wilshere, Troaore,Gibbs and Rosicky been available, this game would have ended differently. Keep in
    mind that song,Gervinho,wilshere and Rosicky should be available for Italy and that will help a lot.

  • walter

    I really hope Wilshere is back fit soon as he brings something special

  • bjtgooner

    @ Domhuaille

    Thanks for the info. I understand and concur with your comments re-selective vision, many officials seem to suffer from the problem.

    But, if officials are not at present required to have an eye examination (and correction if necessary) how can the PGMOL be sure the officials are seeing all aspects of the game – especially when they refuse technology as a back up.

    NB an eye examination should include a colour vision test – after all we don’t want any grey areas!

    As a further aside, lady refs were described in derogatory terms by a certain commentator, but it should be noted that the incidence of defective colour vision in females is much rarer than in males!

  • Johnny Deigh

    I think Wilshere came back to training sometime this past week. Hopefully he’ll be fit to make the trip to Italy.

  • Kentetsu

    Although I do believe the first goal was offside, I think it was a very difficult call for the linesman to make. It was maybe only a leg that was offside and at that speed it’s very difficult to see. Considering that the linesman needs to be a) aware of the moment the ball is played (and who plays it), b) the position of the last defender and c) the position of the forwardmost attacker involved in play, you cannot expect them to have it right all the time, even if they would want to. It is humanely impossible to keep an eye on all three aspects at the same time. That is why video technology is much more important for offside decisions than for goal line decisions, in my opinion. But let’s take it one step at a time and hope that they do indeed implement goalline technology within a season or to.

  • bob

    Walter, Dogface, all:
    Further on Bad Calls: Yesterday, kentetsu offered us an important link to the Daily Mail’s Nick Harris’ assessment of how bad calls were, indeed, ruining us, and that current accusations that Arsene’s “lost the plot” are dead wrong. Wenger was often portrayed as being paranoid or having ‘lost the plot’. “But research shows that if all the key decisions had been called correctly, with no refereeing bloopers on penalties, goal-line decisions and offside calls leading to goals (or not), Arsenal would have finished second to Manchester United, with Chelsea third and Manchester City fourth. City would have had to endure a Champions League qualifier, not Arsenal.” Read more:

    @Walter, Dogface:
    In addition, Nick Harris has been using the potentially very important research of one Tim Long. It’s to be aired on BBC Radio Manchester AND elsewhere at 2PM today – which would be GREAT if someone on UA could listen to and report on? Harris is crediting “Tim Long, a broadcaster and sports journalist. His radio documentary, Beyond The Goal Line: Football’s Technology Debate, is airing among other places on BBC Radio Manchester at 2pm today.” Again, video replay is the best disinfectant for ref-shite.

  • bob

    It’s being pointed out a little bit that the linesman Andy Garratt was involved in both the bad Newcastle decisions on Gervinho last week and on last year’s bad decision on Arshavin in our draw vs. Sunderland. This to say that game changing decisions might have a sub-watch, as in which linesmen are involved. Remembering how when Sagna was stomped on 3 times in a match last season and none of the incidents were penalized. This meant, of course, that either linesmen weren’t reporting them, or were reporting them and the ref overruled or ignored them, or both ref and linesmen were collaborating in the ref-shite. Anyway, just something to think about and possibly to table-ize at least on an ad hoc basis?

  • bob

    Walter, all,
    If, as Nick Harris/Tim Long say, and implied or more in your Ref Reviews that we would have finished second last season, then this factor should be kept in high profile these days. If readers on UA, let alone outside UA, would take the bad ref decisions only half as seriously as the rest of the factors (players, tactics, etc.) that we argue about, then everyone could have a far more accurate and better discussion about what we are witnessing and what is to be done. N’est-ce pas? It’s both aspects – the ref-shite and the rest – that paint a full picture. (As in chewing gum and walking a straight line at the same time.)

  • Johnny Deigh

    @bob – It wouldn’t surprise me if this Garratt character becomes a EPL ref within the next few years.

  • jjgsol

    Referees and linesmen are professionals and could not possibly be appointed to Premier league games unless that are competant.

    The speed of play is irrelevant. Offsides and fouls are what they are trained and paid to see.

    That the linesman did not see the clear offside for the first goal is a deficiency in his ability, nothing less and nothing more.

    Turning to the Newcastle game, why was barton booked?

    If the referee did not see barton’s assault on Gervinho, and booked bartion for the ensuing melee, then barton was unpunished for the assault, which meant that it would have been appropriate for the Premier league to look at it and punish him for it.

    One wonders what would have happened had it been the toher way around.

    We Gooners are becoming paranoid, but surely, do we not have good reason to be?

  • Johnny Deigh

    jjgsol, that’s what I was wondering – why was the reason given that Barton was booked? Was it for simulation? Red to Gervinho for slapping at Barton, and yellow for Barton for pretending he was shot?

    Because he couldn’t have been booked for accosting Gervinho in the area because it would have been a penalty shot for Arsenal.

  • C4

    Somebody on UA actually predicted that Frimpong would get an early yellow to keep him in check, who was it?
    I missed the 1st half, and then when I had a look at match highlights on (ALL other sports highlights I’ve seen on TV are not showing the 1st booking) to see what I had missed, I had to replay it to try and see why he was booked…
    I just don’t get it. Walter or Laundryender, as a ref, would you call that a bookable offense??? I see worse things go unpunished all the time!

  • walter

    Thanks for the link C4. I already signed it. 😉

  • Kentetsu

    Thanks C4, just signed the petition. Maybe Untold should put the link on the main page?

    @jjgsol: yes, linesman are trained and paid to make the correct offside decisions, but that does not make it physically possible to always make the correct decision. If both passing player and recipient are ten, twenty meters apart, it’s not even possible to have a clear view on both players; your eyes can focus only on one point at a time. Then if the recipient is making a run at 5 m/s (18 km/hour), and 10 cm makes already a difference between offside or not, 0.02 second difference in your decisionmaking already makes a difference. The two points combined and it becomes basically impossible to correctly determine the close calls.

  • Laundryender


    The fact is the referee was entitled to caution Frimpong for deliberately delaying the restart of play, he also showed aggression to the thrower with the assistant referee telling Frimpong to walk away. So long as the ref then shows consistency for the whole game it was an appropriate caution. I was at the game on at the other end, i was confused by the caution, but when i watched on Arsenal Player i though it was fair enough. It put Frimpong on a tightrope, sadly through lack of experience he fell off with no safety net.

  • Ed

    I agree with Laundryender. The first card was silly of Frimpong, and pedantic of Atkinson, and was so easily avoidable. That is one of the things which annoy me… these cheap yellow cards that some players pick up (not just arsenal players) such as taking off their shirts, arguing with the ref. Some ppl say it is just emotions, but i’m sorry, just cos im really really really happy, doesnt mean i take off my clothes. Just cos im really really really angry, doesnt mean i shout at my boss or my clients.

    The second challenge, i was wincing as soon as i saw frimpong chasing down the loose ball at full speed. U know that he would stick out a leg to try and block the ball, but at that speed, if he didnt get the ball, he would follow through on the man.

    I am quite worried about all the injuries we are picking up in addition to the stupid suspensions from red cards. we’re only 3 games into the season and already so many of our first choices are unavailable. Is there a reason why our players are injured so easily? only a few are directly related to thuggish behaviour from opposing teams, but there are so many which are hamstrings, muscle strains etc. Its really frustrating, because if our first choice players were fit most of the time, we wud do pretty well. but when our first choice and even second choice are out, then we have a lot of problems. If its just a few games, then thats fine, but we always have some who are out for a few months (usually van persie) and even gibbs was injured for alot of last season and he wasn’t even first choice (and already injured this season). last season we even had our first and second choice goalies out injured… how often do goalies get injured???

  • C4

    OK, thanks, I was really thinking that was another garbage call, but if it’s within the rules, then fine I guess. Hopefully Frimpong learns that he doesn’t enjoy the same immunity as say, Joey Barton, and he never repeats it again.