REF SHOCKER: 32% of all decisions in Arsenal matches are wrong! Ref Stats part 1


The Christmas gift for the fan with (almost) everything



By Walter Broeckx

Our hard working team of ref reviewers have finished the season at this moment already. Although we’ve only worked on 9 matchdays we managed to do 38 games which we have reviewed until now. So the same number as I did EPL games on my own last season.

First I like to say a big thank you to my team and I really appreciate the time and effort they put in these reviews. And nobody better placed than me to know what it takes not only time wise but also on the mental side. Because believe me reviewing a game that your favourite team loses is not always easy.

But we did our job and so after only 9 games in the season we can look at the same numbers that we could only look at, at the end of May. 38 games played, 38 games reviewed. Now let us see what the numbers are saying.

So first I will start with the Arsenal games. Et voila….

I have tried to put this in a nice graphical way and also add the numbers to it. So you see that of all the decisions on yellow cards around 65% can be considered as correct. When it comes to red cards…only 20% can be considered justified.

Let’s look for a better score in the penalties. Well it is better but still only 36% of the penalty decisions are correct in Arsenal games. Now that is poor. Very poor. But things can get better and if we look at the goals we see that almost 85% of the goals are correctly judged. That is if you look at it from the bright side.

But if you look at it from the other side this means that not all goals are correct. Not even 9 out of 10 goals are correct. No this means 15% of the goal decisions are wrong. And then to think that goals are what football is about. This should be 100% or at least somewhere in the area of 99% correct decisions. How long before football authorities will do something about it?

And if we add the poor result on the other decisions (meaning all calls that had an impact on other things Eg: judging a foul that leads to a red card) of around 55% correct we come up with a total score of just under 63% of all the important decisions in Arsenal games. Now a big warning because this doesn’t mean that all the bad calls were against Arsenal. No, some calls went our way. The first goal against Bolton and er…er… Is it just my memory letting me down when typing this?

Offside decisions in Arsenal games. You remember how Colina and the guy from the FA said about 98% of the offside decisions being correct? Well in Arsenal games only around 87% are correct. And in this we assume that the ones we could not review are correct.  Well a big difference don’t you think?

So this leaves us with an overall decisions (in which all the little fouls in the middle of the field are included) of some 70% correct decisions. And if we take the weight we gave to some decisions this also leads to a final score of 70% correct decisions from the refs in Arsenal games.

And if we add all those numbers we come up with a total score on average of just under 68% correct decisions in Arsenal games so far this season. Based on 9 games reviewed.

Well I don’t know how you feel about it but I must say that I am shocked by these numbers. I think it is awful. So you can let this sink in a bit and wait for part 2 where we look at the other 29 games we done and take the total 38 games on board.


Untold Arsenal – the (fairly) complete index

14 Replies to “REF SHOCKER: 32% of all decisions in Arsenal matches are wrong! Ref Stats part 1”

  1. Super work Walter and team. I think you guys should work for’s official ref review panel and let Arsenal show proof of why we’re victimized. Thanks again!

  2. Sorry walter my fault. Halloween is a big party night in England, and we got back late, so I wasn’t fully focussed in writing the headline. Should have written the “major” decisions in the headline. My mistake.

  3. After yesterday and such a game I can imagine it being a real big party 🙂 :-)If I would drink beer I can imagine I would have drunk a few yesterday… more than a few… 😉 but as I don’t drink and have my own game to do today I must stay sober. The players must have a ref who is up to his task. But they will surely have a ref in a good spirit this afternoon 🙂

    Still feeling great…

  4. @LRV
    i don’t know why people slated kozzer in the first place. He was a great defender in his 1st PL season. Against spurs in CC he was defending for two persons. I became his fan then and there. Now he’s showing it consistently.(touchwood) Amazingly he has taken himself to a whole new level this season.

    I have to agree, he is our 1st choice CB. who plays with him is the real question.

  5. Walter, Ref-Team,
    Against your brilliant backdrop, I think I now know a bit more of what it might be like to be ref Marriner and have the Webbmeister (as a sideline official) whispering a real-time “tutorial” into my earpiece on how to micromanage the end-game: that is, to TRY and craft anything but an Arsenal victory yesterday. Yes, Marriner did not give Szez the red card he might have deserved; nor, of course, did he give Lukski the red he might have deserved before Mata’s killer equalized. This said, would you opine on whether or not Marriner displayed a pattern of calls and non-calls that, at some stage, tried to bring about anything but an Arsenal win. If it’s too inconclusive, no problem. But I’m looking for your take on a possible pattern there, by Marriner, in the end-game to produce a draw or non-victory for us; not just a look at each separate call on Szez and non-call on Lukski. In sum, a qualitative assessment of the last 20 minutes that goes beyond analysing the two individual calls.

  6. Forget referees and their mistakes for the moment. My Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) is going to enjoy life when she goes into work tomorrow. She intends to invite everyone she meets to ask her the time…….to which she will reply “Why, it’s 5 past Chelsea”!.

  7. @ Walter & team

    This is really an excellent piece of work and the presentation of the data is very clear. I can only imagine the amount of hard work involved.

    The balance of correct to incorrect calls is at present beyond expected variation, if it is still the same at the end of the season Mr Riley would owe AFC an explanation!

  8. bjtgooner,
    If you’re patient enough to wait that long, I’d say that Riley then would owe AFC a listening-to, in a hair shirt, and eager acceptance of a one-way ticket – as excess baggage – to the hottest place that Emirates Airlines flies; all as preparation for that Hotter reward which fully awaits him.

  9. Walter, thanks so much for putting this together and coordinating the site’s ref reviewers!

    I do think the graph could be improved if, in addition to percentages, you listed the number of total decisions in each category. For example, is the red card number 2/10? 5/25? It would help those of us keeping track at home tell which bad decisions were flukey and which are more systematic.

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