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Untold Ref Review: Stoke 1 – ManU 1

Background: Initially Untold Arsenal started to publish referee reviews of Arsenal matches, and through this we found some evidence of what appeared to be consistent bias by referees against Arsenal.  The point was then made we would get a better overall picture of what is going on if we also analysed errors made by referees in non-Arsenal EPL games as well.

This site records our findings.  A summary of our position from the point of view of evidence is given here. There are links to our central sites on ref reviews and on corruption in football here…

Recent games:

By Ref Reviewer 03

Stoke – Manchester United. Ref was Peter Walton.

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight
3 OTHER Nani C A little contact but Nani threw himself to ground as an afterthought – correct non call 1 1
4 PENALTY Woodgate Chicharito NC Woodgate makes contact from behind with the back of Chicharito’s knee.  He also gives a little shove for good measure – not given 0 0
4 RED Woodgate NC Chicharito was through on goal, Woodgate the last defender.  Should have seen red. 0 0
6 OTHER Walters Jones C Foul 1 1
6 OTHER Whelan Evra C Recklessly got to the ball 1st with a dangerous tackle following through on Evra 1 1
6 YELLOW Whelan C This was worth a yellow at an absolute minimum 1 2
7 OTHER Wilson Nani C Trip 1 1
13 OTHER Crouch De Gea NC Interfering with keeper during throw-in – not given 0 0
14 OTHER Crouch Jones C Push 1 1
20 OTHER Crouch Jones NC Ran into Jones after he cleared ball – not given 0 0
23 OTHER Anderson Pennant C Trip 1 1
25 OTHER Crouch Ferdinand C Hand on shoulder to win header 1 1
26 OTHER Wilson Nani C Foul 1 1
27 GOAL C Nani – goal okay 1 3
28 OTHER Delap De Gea C Fouled the keeper during corner kick 1 1
28 YELLOW Delap NC Delap tried to gain advantage by fouling the keeper.  Unsporting tactic should be discouraged with a card 0 0
30 OTHER Wilson Nani NC Shove – not given 0 0
34 OTHER Anderson Wilkinson C High boot – Advantage rightly played 1 1
35 OTHER Whelan NC Handball – not given 0 0
43 OTHER Wilkinson Anderson C Little tug – advantage played 1 1
45+3 OTHER NC Throw-in wrongly given to Stoke 0 0
45+3 OFFSIDE Crouch C Came back from offside position – assumed correct 1 1
45+4 OTHER Evra Crouch NC Shove – not given 0 0
Half time 14 17
CORRECT 60,87% 54,84%
YELLOW 1 2 50,00
RED 0 1 0,00
PENALTY 0 1 0,00
GOAL 1 1 100,00
OTHER 2 2 100,00
4 7 57,14
OFFSIDE 1 1 100,00
Second half
46 OTHER Evra Pennant C Foul 1 1
49 OTHER Walters Fletcher NC raised boot, a bit late – not given 0 0
51 OTHER Young Wilkinson C Foul 1 1
52 GOAL C Crouch – I have my doubts as to if Delap wasn’t interfering with the keeper during the corner, but since it wasn’t an obvious infraction, I’ll give the ref the benefit of the doubt 1 2
58 OFFSIDE Young C 1 1
65 OTHER Nani NC Handball – not given 0 0
65 OTHER Wilkinson Evra C Foul 1 1
67 OTHER Valencia C Handball 1 1
68 OTHER Walters Young NC Shoved Young to open a hole in the defensive wall – not given 0 0
69 OTHER Fletcher Crouch NC Slid in dangerously to win a 50/50 ball – not given 0 0
69 OTHER Nani NC Handball – not given and United almost scored from it 0 0
69 PENALTY Shawcross C Handball not intentional, good non-call 1 3
69 OFFSIDE Owen C 1 1
71 OTHER Evra Walters C Advantage played 1 1
83 OTHER Crouch Jones NC Hands on shoulder to win header from corner – not given 0 0
88 OTHER Nani Woodgate C Foul 1 1
90+3 OTHER Wilson Nani C Pulling 1 1
90+3 OFFSIDE Owen C 1 1
2nd half score
TOTAL 12 15
% CORRECT 66,67% 68,18%
RED 0 0
PENALTY 1 1 100,00
GOAL 1 1 100,00
OTHER 1 2 50,00
3 4 75,00
OFFSIDE 3 3 100,00
TOTAL 26 32
% CORRECT 63,41% 60,38%
YELLOW 1 2 50,00
RED 0 1 0,00
PENALTY 1 2 50,00
GOAL 2 2 100,00
OTHER 3 4 75,00
7 11 63,64
OFFSIDE 4 4 100,00
Correct calls For Stoke 12 46,15%
For Man U 14 53,85%
Total correct calls 26
Wrong calls Against Stoke 4 26,67%
Against Man U 11 73,33%
Total 15

Well, even Manchester United can be hard done by the ref once in a while as they found out in their trip to Stoke.

The ref for the match was Peter Walton who had a rather poor performance getting only 63.4% of the calls right.  Wrong calls were 11 to 4 in Stoke’s favor (8 to 1 in the first half).

Controversy struck early when Chicharito was through on goal and was brought down from behind by Jonathan Woodgate in the 4th minute.  Woodgate may have got the slightest of touches on the ball or maybe he didn’t.  The one thing I know is that he first made contact with the back of Chicharito’s knee, and as a result the Mexican couldn’t control the ball.  Then Woodgate appeared to give Chicharito a shove in the back for good measure.  The United striker then crashed into the Stoke keeper and went off injured minutes later.

Now, the ref and the linesmen are at a distance of maybe 30-35 yards from the action and perhaps they thought that Woodgate won the ball cleanly, and so it’s not the easiest call to make.  However it was a penalty and Woodgate was the last outfield defender taking out a player from behind when he was face to face with the keeper so he should have been sent off.  This is another reason the ref perhaps didn’t give the penalty.  A ref doesn’t want to give a penalty and a sending off especially so early in the match unless he is almost certain of the foul.

Wrong calls were decidedly in Stoke’s favour, especially in the first half.  On set pieces, Stoke almost always had a player trying to distract the keeper, sometimes it was obvious, other times it was more subtitle.

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Stoke’s goal came from a corner.  Delap started out by standing in front of the keeper.  He saw that the keeper had moved to his left and so then Delap also took a step to his left.  He really didn’t mess with the keeper though and for that reason I gave the ref the benefit of the doubt and marked it as correct, but I feel if a player is going to stand next to the keeper like that, he had better keep still until the ball is kicked and then only move towards the ball without interfering with the keeper.

There was another controversial incident from a 68th minute Stoke free kick.  This was a crafty play – Wilson would take the free kick, but first Pennant would walk past the ball.  This looked like a signal that the kick would be taken.  Three Stoke players had formed in the middle of United’s wall, one of them being Walters who pushed Anderson as the three Stoke players broke away from the wall leaving a hole through which Wilson blasted a hard shot that De Gea was lucky to parry.  Peter Walton missed the shove on Anderson and Stoke came close to scoring.

United also wanted a penalty for a handball against Shawcross in the 69th minute, but Peter Walton was right not to give it.  The shot was hard from fairly close range.  Shawcross had turned his back and had his arms tight to his body.  The ball looked like it hit Shawcross in the back of his arm, but this was not an intentional handball and thus he made the right decision


Important notice: All referee reviews on Untold Arsenal are written on the basis of television coverage.  It should be noted that from time to time some TV channels choose not to show an incident involving the referee (preferring for example to show a replay instead).   This can lead to our reviewer missing something that would have been spotted by the crowd.  We’re sorry this happens, but really can’t find any way around this at present.

If you would like to join the panel of referee critics that contribute to Untold Arsenal, please email

6 comments to Untold Ref Review: Stoke 1 – ManU 1

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    From what I got to see on the woodgate Chicharito thingie I really doubt it was a penalty. It was not even a hard contact and I would not call it a shove for a good measure and all.

    I really doubted that it was a penalty. Further it was also accepted by the ESPN pundits(the Sky team) that it would have been a penalty had this happened at Old Trafford but it was not one. I believe it would do a good if you revisit the same.

  • Stevie E

    I hope that this will prove once & for all just how much influence a ref can have on the final result of a game. Even Man U can be held to a draw if the ref “chooses” it. So, to all those who say Arsenal are just making excuses blaming ref decisions to just cover up poor peformances, jut look at this.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I may add another thought to this review: people who say that we are too biased to do this should look at this review and try to think about a few things.
    If our Arsenal bias would get in our way too much we could enjoy Utd losing a point and pretend the ref had nothing to do with it. But no we do our review and at the end of the game we notice that Utd got most of the bad calls against them (the first time this season by the way) and also could/should have had at least one penalty.

    But our reviewers are capable of despite our bias against Utd to show in our review that Utd could have a reason to complain about this game.

    And that is something that fills me, as the starter of the ref review thing, with great joy: our ref reviewers do a great job and can go against their bias in judging the ref in a game.

    This is not the first time I have seen this from our reviewers in fact but as this was a Utd game (and I think we all dislike Utd to some extend) and it was clear that Utd was not given what they usually get and we saw it and reported it.

  • Ref Reviewer 03

    @Prassana – There was contact from behind by Woodgate’s left leg to the back of Chicharito’s knee. This made it difficult for Chicharito to control the ball. Going through a player from behind like that is a penalty.

    There was a little shove by Woodgate.

  • Reviewer 02

    I too believe that it was a penalty to Man Utd and that Woodgate should have been red carded. For me it was obvious that there had been contact with the player from behind, and no contact with the ball.

    Great review I think

  • bjtgooner

    This is a good review and I agree that MU should have had a penalty. However, it is hard to have any sympathy with them – they get more than their fair share.

    Reading through the review I cannot help thinking that while Stoke can play reasonable football, they lower themselves to the lowest of depths to cheat in any way to get a result – and too often they are allowed to do so by the referee.

    I have also started to suspect one or two referees are starting to have “sympathy” with Man Oil.