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August 2021

We really do have to blame the refs


Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book   Updated information here

The day when Fulham tried to take over Arsenal – the full story in “Making the Arsenal”

We’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By Abdulaziz Alfarhoud “@azizalfarhoud”

            We started this season with ambition to win trophies after 6 season trophy-less.  But as we all know last summer we lost two important players in Cesc & Nasri along with Jack Wilshere the best AFC players last season. That made it tough enough to compete this year, but I believe there has been another factor at work.  For while it is true that football league matches without ref faults lack somewhat in entertainment value for the fans recently things have got out of hand.

Every team gets some faulty decisions from referees but on the other hand losing 1 point could force you to be outside the competition.  One point can make all the difference.

Last year, Arsenal fans know that refs decision costs Arsenal more than 10 points – for example there were the Newcastle penalties in the away game, Sunderland away when the ref add 1 extra minute and their player used his hand for ball before Glichy passed it to Bent, Sunderland at home – the onside goal for Arshavin was not given because ref was thinking its offside & Arshavin deserved a penalty after the Bramble push, and so on.

 I know Arsenal didn’t play goo on some matches but let us count some points that refs are to be blamed for, because it is getting bigger every season and now each year the referees seem to be costing us more than 10 points.   If  they dealt with Arsenal like others we would be competing for 1st place not the 4th.

Let me show you the matches:

Day 1: Newcastle away game

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Sending off Gervhino & Barton who started the fight but Barton only got a yellow card, Arsene said “Ref should give them either red or yellow cards”. FA suspended Alex Song after stepping on Barton leg the same as Yaya Toure did for Mata when he slapped him and FA didn’t stop him playing against Arsenal.

Day2: Liverpool home game

The Ref  didn’t give Arsenal a penalty after one of their defender tackled Ramsey , they scored their 1st goal on the last 10 minutes and it was an offside goal & it affected the game.

After the 3rd match with Man United, AFC had got 3 red cards.

Day5: Blackburn Away game

It’s unlucky for the team to score 2 own goals, but let’s remember that their 3rd goal by Yakubu who change the game was from offside. On the 1st half, the ref gave Arsenal a free kick which it should be a penalty because their player talked Arteta inside the penalty area. Arsenal deserved a penalty in the last minute after their goalkeeper mistake with Wallcott.

Day7 Tottenham Away game

 VDV used his hand to prepare the ball before he scored the goal and he had a yellow card & after that he went to hug his team fans which normally deserve a 2nd yellow card & ref didn’t sent him away.

 Their 2nd goals by Walker was from distance but if we see it again Adebayor was offside and he didn’t let see Walker decision.  It was the same last year v Aston Villa goal when John Carew blocked Fabianski way so that they could score their 1st goal.

Day 16 Manchester City away game:

After the first 5 minute refs gave Alex Song a yellow cards from his first tackle and it affected  how he performed this game.   RVP scored onside goals and the ref which by the way was Phil Dowd – who said both were offside goals.

 The ref didn’t give Arsenal their two real Penalties: one when Kolo Toure tackled Ramsey for which he deserved a red card & the second from Micah Richards.

Day18: Wolves home game

 Arsenal deserved a penalty after their defender used his hand to block Arsenal’s cross & Vermaelen went to ref to tell him he saw it and he gave a free yellow card.

Day20: Fulham away game

 Arsenal should have had two Penalties, one when their defender used his leg to knock Gervinho & other on the 2nd half when Senderos pushed RVP.

 There was also a harsh decision when the ref sent off Djourou for just 2 tackle “2 yellow card” & the reply showed that the 2nd yellow should be a foul for Arsenal not against them.

Day21: Swansea Away game

Even though Arsenal didn’t play well the ref helped them: he gave them a penalty after Dyar stepped on Ramsey legs and dived to get a fake penalty.

Faults on games Arsenal win

Even when Arsenal won matches the opposition scored goals helped by the refs as when Lukaku knocked down Santos, Morrison of Norwich used his hand to push Mertisaker before scoring, Stoke’s foul wasn’t really a foul that let Crouch score  because he dived to get it. Arsenal were also denied a penalty against Sunderland in away game.

 I know some readers will tell me any team gets a fault decision from refs, and I agree, but Arsenal is the team that gets these bad decisions more than others – as the Untold Refs statistics show. If we want to count these mistakes it will be 16 points refs took it from Arsenal & Arsenal would be on the 2nd place compete with the two Manchester side for EPL this season.

Most of Arsenal competitors get some advantages from refs even if they faced bad decisions on some matches from them, but Arsenal didn’t get any advantages from them that we could say ref helped us this season.

This issue takes into consideration that the 4 own goals + many injured players from Arsenal + ref decision and we get a new trophy less season.

If anyone wants some photo evidence to back up any of this just follow me @azizalfarhoud and ask me for it.



Referees mistakes all even out in the end don’t they?   Well actually, no they don’t

Our latest Untold Ref Review is… Manchester City 3 Fulham 0


Football finance: the AST’s report on Arsenal’s finances analysed:

Part one: The Summer that was: transfer fees, wages and the “best” approach to the market.

34 comments to We really do have to blame the refs

  • Mandy dodd

    Brings it all home when you see it listed like this.

  • yassin

    that is not to 4get the bad mentality these games put on the players and the managers which costed us even more points in other matches, in addition to the milan and sunderland away game.
    but the FA doesn1t give a shit as long as it is not united.

  • zdzis

    Yes, but some of those, as you say, wrong calls were made in contentious situations, in which refs typically side with the defending team. Take the Evra handball, which was close to the body & went unnoticed; apparently the refs didn’t see it, is all. In some cases, it might have been bad luck – maybe if player placement in Richards’ handball was different, the linesman would have waved it up? Finally, in some 50-50 situations refs really overdid it, as with he Dyer penalty. Yes, it was purely accidental, but I wouldn’t say it was Dyer’s foul. There shouldn’t have been any call, as he was completely cut off from the goal and the other Swansea players. But if the ref chose to make that call, it obviously had to go for Swans.
    Agreed about Totts and partly about Blackburn – don’t recall our penalty shout, but Yakubu was offside for sure. The only problem is, we played them onside several times by accident (Mertesacker and Santos often stayed behind unnecessarily), which might have affected the linesman’s view of the situation (i can’t see if it’s an offside, but they played them onside so often, they’re problably wrong again).
    As far as I recall, the yellow card Song got at Old Traf was merited by several fouls committed in the middle of the park, in the build-up for the hosts.
    Blaming the refs is always a good idea, cause they always make mistakes; so I liked the idea of a refwatch, especially if it extended to the other teams in the league. This could give us the necessary perspective. I do think Arsenal is treated unfairly, but whether it’s as significant as that… In most of the games you mention we were outdone by our own inaccuracy – the number of wasted 100% chances were typically appalling – and by defensive issues not affected by the referees’ performance. The refs’ mistakes only added insult to injury in most cases.

  • Arun

    @ Abdulaziz Alfarhoud, was looking for something like this for sometime now. Awesome work, mate. Adding to Yassin, do not forget the s*** the media and AAA publishes after such performance.

  • meaner

    refs belong to United.

  • Arun

    @ zdzis, your point about us missing our chances is correct but the same applies to others as well. Sometimes, they win games despite missing many good chances which is not the case with arsenal.

  • Ryan

    It has been like this for as long as I can remember. I am 20 years old, been a gooner a large part of my life. Do not for one second think it was not like this even back when we were winning things! Every season it is like this. And here we are just talking about major decisions, right? Next time you watch us play, look at all the bad tackles the opposition do not get booked for. Arsenal get the free kick – but no booking. Then, on Arsenal’s first foul – booking straight away. This is CONSTANT and ruins our chances on an equal level as the big decisions through the fact that we can never SETTLE into a game physically. Is there something about Arsenal that just pisses refs off? They seem to HATE the Arsenal. Who can remember a game when Arsenal got a major wrong decision in their favour? And more importantly, who can remember any BIG GAME when Arsenal got A BIG wrong decision in their favour? Nonono, lets go on. I can’t remember a BIG game when we DIDNT get a BIG decision AGAINST US. Going on, when was the last.. just.. GAME when we DIDNT get a major decision against us??

  • sellarshavin

    The most decisive factor in any random football game of teams of unknown quality will always be which team is playing at home. There are many reasons for this like familiarization, having the support to give you the extra adrenaline rush etc. But the most crucial is the pressure put on the referee to make decisions in favor of your team, a reasonable fraction of all decisions are 50-50 and could be called either way but referees normally side with the team that is considered the underdog loosing at that time (so the other team cant complain) or the team that is just moaning at them the most, or occasionally if a game is already wrapped up and wont make a difference the winning team. In the EPL this is even more exaggerated because of the extra amount of physicality allowed in challenges and increase variation in what the referees deem to be the limit to the physicality, aswell as the pace of the game often resulting in their positioning being further away from incidences. Arsenal suffer from this more than most teams because they are the team with the tactics and players catering towards the lower end of the physicality spectrum so the referees justify an even higher percentage of the 50-50s against Arsenal because they know they can justify it by commentators and journalists pointing out Arsenals style of beautiful football as not for the English game.

    In summary, your not a true Arsenal fan unless you boo and abuse the referee at every opportunity in every game at matches even on their good days (they will happily make decisions far easier against teams they aren’t afraid of being moaned at by – its a fact of life). And yes I believe we would have finished higher than we would have otherwise in recent seasons if we all did it as much as some of the other teams in the league.

  • Abdulaziz Alfarhoud

    Thanx guys for your comment, i just wrote this because Refs should be blamed after their decisions, did Arsenal get Advatages on every game like Man United, we just got one Penalty on this season in EPL. even from 1st tackle our players will be booked !

  • William

    You’ve listed all the big ticket items, and its great to have that listed somewhere on line. I think you should have a section ‘it all evens out in the end’ which keeps a running total of favourable/negative outcomes. But the real problem I’ve seen is, the totally uneven view of fouls, similar tackles/fouls not handed the same punishment and for a team like arsenal this is how they can be stopped.

    I don’t believe that all arsenal players are saints, but we don’t have a kick’em off the pitch mentality and don’t really have enforces as it were. But the statics I’m all ways surprised by is the fouls committed and retained possession.

    It seems logical to me that a team who has possession wouldn’t need to foul for that period, although of course it can still happen. So teams that share 50 50 split on possession should also be fairly even in fouls, with any discrepancy being explained by the teams who are known to be ‘robust’ or lacking a good English spine.

    So looking at real statistics for the last Fulham/Arsenal game.
    Fulham 54% (6 fouls) Arsenal 46% (12 fouls), can these figures be real. While Arsenal were poor and the ref had a shocker I don’t believe that they were putting the boot in as the stat show.

    against Sunderland,
    Sunderland 45% (16 fouls) vs Arsenal 55% ( 12 fouls ) this seem more honest.

    Might try put some data together on average fouls per minute of possession per team, and highlight any interesting finds.

  • Pat

    Sellarshavin, why do you call yourself Sellarshavin? I don’t remember any other contributors naming themselves after a call to sell a player. Is it the best way to support the team or the player?

  • zdzis

    @Arun: Ok, but then one only needs to look at the number of goals scored by two of our top wingers, Walcott and Gervinho, both of whom had a significant number of shots, yet neither scored more than 4 goals. If I had the time, I would look for some relevant statistics, but the fact is, as much as I’m inclined to forgive RVP for wasting 100% chances (since he can score even when there seems to be no chance at all), I won’t agree the rest of our frontline fare so well and it’s only the refs to blame.
    I just accidentally bumped into, which purports to hold representative stats on how the refs (mis)treat EPL teams. To be sure, Arsenal is statistically the most mistreated team in the league for them as well; the problem is we’re on even terms with… WBA and only two wrong calls ahead of Everton, ManU and Liverpool (Stoke is apparently the team most favoured by the refs, which is one reason why it’s good to focus on tackling instead of playing football – eehhh…). Tottenham and Chelsea are also not as well off as it might seem. The site also holds an adjusted EPL table with points/goals added and deduced to make up for wrong calls. ManU are in the lead, 1 point ahead of ManCity, and 10 from Tottenham. Arsenal is… 4th, with 49 points (instead of the 43 we actually have).
    Now, I wouldn’t go into so much detail over this particular site (which, as any site, has its faults as well, no doubt), but for the fact that Abdulaziz Alfarhoud claims refs robbed us of 16 points this season; and when I read that number, I said to myself – no, that’s too much, it can’t have been more than 6… Maybe if the refs (mis)treated everyone to the same extent we would have had slightly more edge over our main rivals to the 4th place, but we’d still be battling for 4th.
    Which is to say – even if the game’s rigged, we still won it at times, so why can’t we just go and win it again sometime?

  • Anne

    Off topic, but is anyone else enjoying watching Ajax play ManU off the pitch at OT right now?

  • bjtgooner

    Interesting article Abdulaziz. I would suggest the refs will cost us a few more points before the season is over – unfortunately.


    I have watched a bit of ManU v Ajax. I am not sure if Ajax are outplaying ManU or if the latter are content to play for the draw. However, Rednose must be wanting to tighten up his midfield – he has brought on that supertackler “Scholes”.

  • Abdulaziz Alfarhoud

    @zdzis i agree with on some view but let say, did Arsenal for once this season get a good decision from refs expect Mertisaker handball against Sunderland, How many points did Man United, Chelsea, Tottenham & City get from ref decision ! Why Arsenal didn’t win on the last 11 under Mike Dean in EPL, Why Howard Webb & Phil Dowd are best refs in England but most of their decisions are against Arsenal.

    What i see, when Arsenal get a foul ref will not book the opposition players but when it comes to Arsenal, they will book our players from the 1st tackle.

    How many penalties refs gave to others, imagine Arsenal just get twice in EPL against Aston Villa & Man United. When Eduardu dive against Celtic the Media didn’t stop in insuly Eduardo. Lampard, Rooney & Welbeck, they dive every week and refs gave the penalties.

    I just want to show why Arsenal are the most team whi gets faulse calls from refs, Why Man United and other teams don’t get what we got from refs !

  • yassin

    @zdzis: just for the knowledge, the article only show the obvious mistakes the referees have done, but to watch arsenal-fulham game, as an example, the referee gave only 5 fouls against fulham, in a whole single match. every time arsenal tries to counter-attack, the foul committed by fulham is not given at all thus putting enormous pressure on the un-experienced players. not only costing us the 3points, but also the potential for the next 4 games.
    by the way, man unt and spuds are the most helped by the referee, cause you cant just take into consideraion only the big mistakes a referee makes, but also the big amounts of small mistake in which it destroy the opposing team potential in the game .

  • bjtgooner

    In tonight’s match Ajax fought hard and secured a win – MU were unfortunate, they did not have a PGMOL referee to assist!

  • DC

    I concur; funny that isn’t it?!

  • Charlie

    So it’s not down to a lack of creativity, reliance on a single goalscorer, no real penetration on the wings, defensive errors and a paper-thin squad that leaves you with nobody on the bench who can turn the game in your favour ? It’s purely down to referee mistakes, PLEASE STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE WORST ARSENAL SQUAD IN OVER A DECADE.

  • Charlie

    Fact is that the Invincibles would have swept aside Swansea but this team were totally overwhelmed by them and that is just one bad performance of many this season.

  • Walter

    A bit off topic…

    Has anyone noticed that football is fixed has been shut down?

    It seems that there has been a trial involving the FA… But I can’t find anything more about it. I also cannot find anything about the writer of the blog

  • @Walter

    He does this every now and again – we tried to work together a few years ago but nothing came of it for various reasons.

  • Tasos


    Good point about “The Invincibles” overcoming referees so easily, only thing is, even a team as mentally strong & creative, with penetration on the wings and terrific depth in the squad exc exc exc, even a team as unbelievable good as they were could not overcome a bloke named Mike Riley @ Old Trafford in October 2004.

    As an Arsenal fan, I guess you knew that already?

  • Trennon

    I hate english refs. I believe they are the most biased in the world and never even try to hide that!

    I saw a shocking stat today and I would like someone to PLEASE clarify if this is true. Mike Dean will ref the london derby on sunday. Is it true that Arsenal have not won 1 of their last 13 games that he has been the ref in?

  • Tasos

    Blaming the Ref’s. We are not alone in this, here is a link to a very disgruntled Chelsea fan;

    Chris Foy has been involved with some very dubious performances recently.

  • bob

    @5:51 You say that refshite “ONLY added insult to injury in most cases.” Nice turn of phrase for your argument, but it’s too neat a summation. For one thing, to re-turn your phrase: What about all the NON-CALLS that added injury to insult in too many cases? Or do you simply assume that our out of proportion waves of injuries are all down to crap physios and flawed training? When so many are injured, too many get overplayed, by necessity, and injury follows injury. But waves of injuries are a factor you don’t touch, and, common sense alone would dictate that chronic non-calls will cause a chronic injury list – let alone departures to other leagues or second thoughts about coming to a targeted side like Arsenal in the first place.

  • bob

    Mike who? My cat’s named Mike? Have had friends named Mike… If you possibly mean to insinuate the Mike who sits atop the PGMOL, well, mate, surely you’re being a Conspiracy Theorist. Come now. Fergus victory at Old Trafford in 2004 was down to that Mike? Would so many thousands of fans have not seen what that Mike did on the pitch that day and all have risen to their feet in unison and applause if there was truly one iota of bias? Would all those people – without exception – have accepted such a tarnished gift and applauded Mike for it? Come now, surely you exaggerate. Mike’s elevation to the commanding heights of PGMO after that is, like all of life, is a random evident. Can you even spell C-O-I-N-C-I-D-E-N-C-E ? Next thing you’ll be dropping hints about the need for video replay. When does it ever end? :}

  • bob

    p.s. Oh, and would that Mike so ensure, in plain sight, that a big XX gets forever tied to the name Fergus at the business end of this season? Are you Nostradamus or something? (Should I place my bet?)

  • bob

    We could use fair-minded allies like this. Indeed, just read your AMAZING!!! link to the Chelsea blog. The guy is a ref who says he’s reffed 1,000 matches and knows the rules. Very earnest and has the courage to call out Foy and demand his firing. And, kindred to Walter’s yeoman work hereabouts concludes as follows (worth quoting): “Foy isn’t a referee with a long track record of incompetence of this magnitude, but no ref capable of this degree of ineptitude can be allowed on the pitch, period. It’s harsh to call for a man’s firing, but at the minimum this display was bad enough that the Premier League has no choice but to suspend him and to conduct an investigation. If he is, in fact, this incapable he must be dismissed. And the failure to take action and examine such an outing in greater detail undermines the credibility of the entire EPL officiating organization. Some of these officials are among the best in the world and they don’t deserve to be tainted, even by faint association, with what Chris Foy perpetrated earlier today.”
    (For your finding this link, I take back all my criticisms of your naughty, naughty Conspiracy Theorizing, and applaud your truth-seeking 🙂

  • Tasos


    Thanks for putting me straight on the subject (nudge nudge wink wink), I can now sleep safe in the knowledge that all is well within the confines of the PGMOL.

    Or could it be that such “coincidences” mean we’re on the right path?

    So many questions.

  • Abdulaziz Alfarhoud

    guys, I know some of you will say saying the refs are bias is an execus !
    but let’s compare Arsenal with others !
    How many penalty did Arsenal get from the start of the season?
    why Man United and some other teams win with bad perfomance & why always refs gave them Penalties even if one of their players dive, Remember what they dif for Eduadro after he dives against Crltic.
    There are more than 8 Penalties refs didn’t give Arsenal this season
    1 vs Liverpool
    2 vs City
    1 vs Sunderland
    1 vs Wigan
    1 vs wolves
    2 vs Fulham
    & alot if i return to watch the match !

    even Arsenal players will be booked from the 1st tackle ( Djouro 2 tackle 2 Yellow ard & sent off against fulham) & refs will not think of giving others cards !
    I agree with @Walter some matches are fixed !
    Arsenal don’t have a great squad this season but lets be honest
    Refs calls + injuried + missing many chances = losing the title !

    guys did refs give fault decision to other team like Arsenal ?

    did u remember in 2008 “Eduardu season” the refs took from Arsenal more than 6 points that could let us champions
    2 vs Middelsbourgh
    2 vs Man U at home
    2 vs Birmingham
    & we finished on the 3rd and only 4 or 5 points from the leader !

    did we for get the 12 points last year ?
    Media won’t talk about it cuz they are against Arsenal !

  • mark

    We had good form going into the game with fullham. The ref screws us and this affects the form in the next game. The refs don’t have to manipulate every game just some. I don’t think any one was calling this the worst ever squad before the game with fullham! In previous years the refs screwed us by allowing vicious tackles that injury players. I know that accidents can happen but in the fullham game the ref was allowing fullham to be violent and not calling the fouls. It only takes a couple of games reffed like this to create a trend and the opposition starts to think it can abuse arsenal players without getting cards! The bias is just so great that I think those saying we are just poor losers by blaming the reffs are not really watching the way the refs are working.

  • zdzis

    @bob, yassin, Abdulaziz:
    1. Agreed – on numerous occasions, referees tip the scales in Arsenal’s disfavour. Some of those games are drawn or lost by one goal. In most of those games, Arsenal are the dominant side. What the refs do can be construed as a conspiracy (why not), but can also (even at the same time!) be read as just another element working in the team’s disfavour (next to poor work in the final third, poor crossing, lack of determination, what have you). I don’t question the argument itself, merely the value some of you seem to apply to this particular factor.
    2. Agreed – Arsenal do get more injuries than most other teams in the EPL. Is that refs’ fault? True, on some occasions bad calls will lead to unnecessary foul play on the part of frustrated Gunners. A bad call may also mean not booking an obviously foul challenge on the part of Arsenal’s opponents. But how many times do these challenges lead directly to injuries? How can any of us name the particular challenges that contributed, let’s say, to Santos’, Wilshere’s, Jenkinson’s injuries? This is pure guesswork, as injuries often result from overwork or bad decisions on the pitch. (Also, note that this season, ManU are actually keeping up with us and even doing worse!)
    3. I watched most of today’s game and I will concede Dean did a fairly bad job at times, and should get a solid spanking at least for the penalty decision which I seriously can’t understand. With stakes so high, you can’t but loathe this kind of work. But what Arsenal did in this game (and did not do on most of those occasions Abdulaziz referred to in his insightful post) was impose themselves on the opponent despite it all. This time, they showed that class is permanent, and that Spurs still have a long way to go. That’s the decisive element, that’s what’s been missing. Interestingly, it’s also what some of the players point to themselves – the fact that you can now hear Arteta say that the players are taking the blame for Arsenal’s mishaps.
    In other words: you can blame the refs, and you’re right on more than one occasion; but Arsenal are better than the refs, aren’t they? I’ll drink to that, if you don’t mind.

  • Abdulaziz Alfarhoud

    @zdzis i agree with you, Arsenal are bigger than refs, the players should have the responsibility to take Arsenal into trophies but what i realized, but i think the team need the confidence the same that he had on Tottenham game because if other teams got advantages over Arsenal, some players will lose a little bit confidence like what happened in Milan game.