REF SHOCKER: Penalties far less likely to be given properly in Arsenal games than elsewhere.


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With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By Walter Broeckx

This is part 2 of a early season review. The first article can be found here


Last year some of our readers said that we should review the other games also to be able to see how things are in the whole PL. So as you know we took these words with us and started doing this. So we do the games that we can see and that are available for us via TV.

So far we have done 29 games of other teams. Mostly top teams but when the occasion passes by we also take on the little ones.

And so I have the same numbers as we had for the Arsenal games for the other teams and again we put them in a nice graphic presentation.  And to make things easy for our readers we have added something else. Because one of the reasons we have gone through all this trouble in reviewing the games was to compare it with the Arsenal games. And so we have our first measurement after 9 Arsenal games and 38 games in total so far this season.

So here it is…..

So the higher the number, the better the decisions were. And then we see that when it comes to yellow cards those have been more correct in Arsenal games than in the other games. And the same goes for the red cards in fact. So apart from the fact that the scores in those categories are ridiculously low we can’t complain that much. In fact I do complain about the low numbers of correct decisions.

Let’s take a look at the penalty decisions and then you can see that well suddenly in Arsenal games it seems that the refs somehow throw something out of the window. Could that be a pair of eyes I see flying? Could that be the rulebook I see passing by? Could it be that they are scared of something? Because how on earth can you go from the already faaar tooooooo looooooow 65% of correct penalty decisions to only 36% in Arsenal games?

And also in the goal decisions you get a drop of 5% in Arsenal games of correct allowed or disallowed goals. Penalties and goals are much lower in Arsenal games than in other games. Coincidence?

Also the other decisions there is a rather big gap between the other games and Arsenal games. And so it is not really a big surprise that when it comes to important decisions that in the other games it still is at an unacceptable low level but in the Arsenal games it is even lower.

The same goes for the offside decisions. Now really tell me are there two different rule books? One for Arsenal games and one for the other games?

And so the story goes on with the overall decisions and the weight decisions in which other teams suffer from less bad refereeing than Arsenal does.

So the total average of all averages leads to a difference of some 5%. This means that in Arsenal games the refs suddenly drop 5% compared to doing other games.

Why? Well I wished I could give you the answer. I could guess. I could think of some answers. But what really is happening is something that we just don’t know for now.

But what we can see from these numbers is that there is something terribly wrong in the EPL when it comes to what the refs are doing.

The scores are too low to my liking. And certainly for the important decisions this is something that has to improve. Because if the refs can’t get the important decisions right then what are they doing here? Is the game getting too fast to ref it in a correct way? Are the refs not good enough? Is there any bias? Is there a dark force behind the scenes? It could be a bit of all those things together but it has to come to an end. The PGMOL must do something about it and make sure that the refs do their job better.

And yes the refs can do a better job. Because in some games that we have done this season the refs have managed high scores. A top ref can have a bad day. he could even have 2 bad days. But a real top ref will have more good than bad days. A real top ref will have more games in the +80% area than below that score. So it will be interesting to see how many refs are real top refs in the EPL this season. But that is something for another day, week or month. Because first we have to gather more data on this.  So stay tuned (if we recover completely from our cyber attack) for more later in the season.


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8 Replies to “REF SHOCKER: Penalties far less likely to be given properly in Arsenal games than elsewhere.”

  1. Walter,
    While I have the utmost respect for you and the extremely detailed surveys that you do, I wonder whether your articles are beginning to reek a bit of paranoia. You see, in practically everything you discover in your research, Arsenal doesn’t seem to emerge very well at all in the justice stakes and it seems to me that unless your readers are prepared to dig deep for the positive(difficult to find) they are going to become paranoid and I’m sure you don’t intend that.
    I hope you will take my comments in the right spirit.

  2. No problem Nicky, just look at the first two numbers in which in the Arsenal games the refs get it more correct than in the other games.

  3. Nicky

    Some one had said that there is nothing like coincidence.. So if there is other reason for performance drop than anyone has the right to be paranoid..

    Also I think after following this site I have now realized how Arsenal are treated badly on and off the field everytime.. That’s not a coincidence and that I think is a bigger proof than these stats.. The other day Sagna (yes our right back) also tweeted that why are all the ref always against us.. They cant be paranoid.. Wilshere has complained so many times.. I dont think these top players and coaches will complaint unless they know something much more than us..

  4. I think it’s definitely worth contacting other blogs/forums looking for non Arsenal supporting refs. Because at the moment it is seeming that there is a bias against Arsenal by refs OR Arsenal supporting refs review those games slightly differently.

    FWIW I do think that if you happen to watch other teams you’ll see that there IS a difference in ref standards but it’s a bit too easy to say “of course Arsenal supporting refs will find that Arsenal matches aren’t as well reviewed.”

  5. As the majority of the referees hail from the north of Birmingham, perhaps it is a northern prejudice against the London teams? QPR in London, Noriwch and Swansea are all three new to this season of course we do not have any Welsh referees in the EPL?

    I believe Liverpool and Manchester United have eagle eyed reports on the non-Lancashire referees? Referees will relate to one or two teams nearer home than to teams in other counties. It is a fact of life however green the other fields may be!

    Walter you are doing a great job and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to be as accurate as some would like. ALL the EPL games would have to be covered and what of the preferences of the ref reviewers? Some bloggers are too, too demanding and are frankly nit-picking, so carry on Walter! And more power to your fingers!

  6. @Walter and team:

    I just wanted to say how impressed I am regarding the time and effort that goes into compiling data like this. And I also think you are performing a valuable service for Arsenal FC, as well as the premier league as a whole. So, I tip my hat to all of you. And I can’t wait to see how these comparison numbers end up looking as more and more games are played.

  7. nicky,
    two fortune cookie messages:
    even paranoids can be right.
    even broken clocks are right twice a day.

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