Approaching money time in the Premier League. Which clubs get the most wrong calls against them by the refs?
By Walter Broeckx
In my earlier article about how Arsenal and the other teams are being treated by the refs and where I presented not only the evidence our Ref Reviewers team has gathered but also the evidence from other non-Arsenal related blogs I noticed a few people still having misgivings about what we are doing.
And one could say that those people will never be satisfied until we publish the picture of the bank account of ref X where they can see a sum of money being paid from club Z. But until we become members of the police we will never be able to get such evidence. And I really doubt (after reading Anne’s article about money laundering) that any club would be stupid enough to pay directly to any ref or to any person responsible for the refs. Maybe they should look at accounts opened on pets names.
Now should we just discard the findings of ourselves and two other referee focussed sites? No, we shouldn’t. If we were the PGMOL we would of course. We would publish flashing statements about +93% of the calls being correct without any evidence or clarity how they get to such numbers.
But one could say that at Untold Arsenal are the Anti-PGMOL but it would be fairer for us to be called PGMOR which should stand for Professional Game Match Officials Reviewers.
But to return to the critical remarks of one of the readers. And his remark said that we could not compare the numbers of all the teams because for some teams we only have a handful of games and for others we have +20 games reviewed. And in a way he was right. But in order to keep the article interesting for as many people as possible I thought it would be interesting for supporters of teams like WBA, Everton and indeed all the others to see how their favourite team is doing when it comes to treatment of the officials.
Obviously as a volunteer organisation we can’t cover every match of every team in the EPL and we had to make a decision who to focus on at the top of the league. We took the view that the top 6 teams in the EPL would be in alphabetical order Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham. And from all those teams we have done more than 10 games so far.
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(Actually that was not a bad gamble. Replace Liverpool with Newcastle perhaps, but otherwise it looks like we are going to get it right).
In this article I will try to show you if there is an evolution in how the refs have done their job when it comes to making mistakes in the games of those teams. And I must say it was a rather eye opening exercise.
What we present here are some graphics taken at different stages of the season. A first one after 30 games reviewed. A second graphic was made after 73 games reviewed and the last graphic was taken after 103 games reviewed. And remember if you really doubt our point and write us off as a bunch of biased and disgruntled Arsenal moaners just look at the debatable decisions website or the football is fixed blog. Or alternatively, set up your own network of reviewers, plus your own web site, plus a group of half a dozen regular writers, and dedicate maybe 10 man or woman hours a day to the project.
So here we go with the first table after 30 games reviewed.
If we take into account the normal 60/40 bias for home and away teams and the supposed 55/45 bias for big/small teams things should even out in the end. That would mean that each team would get round 50% in wrong calls from the refs.
A club that is getting significantly lower than 50% wrong calls is getting some favours (accidental or deliberate) from the refs.
A club that is getting significantly above 50% wrong calls is being very hard done by, by the refs.
But we are always told by those who believe nothing is wrong that these errors out during the season, so by now we should be seeing most teams getting close to the 50% mark.
Okay after 30 games the world is not exactly perfect, except it is for Manchester City. They are the team that come near the perfect even out number. Arsenal is far away from this number – on 20% to be exact. Chelsea and Tottenham are rather close at this time of the season. Liverpool is getting some things done it seems. Do I remember Kenny complaining at the early stages to a certain Mr. Riley about the refs? And United well they sure are getting the “rub of the green” it seems. It looks as if the word is: when there is doubt give the decision to United and/or against Arsenal.
Let us move on to our findings after 73 games. This was the time at the start of the year 2012.
Same old Arsenal, always being cheated. Those should be the correct words from the song we hear every week. If after reading the first graphic you thought it couldn’t get worse, sorry, it could. After 73 games Arsenal was getting just under 80% of the wrong decisions against them. If we look at the other teams we also see some interesting developments. Not Chelsea because they keep hanging around the same number of decisions and are close to the desired 50% mark. Tottenham was being treated in almost he same way with a very nice score of getting only around 45% of the decisions going against them.
But look at Manchester City and their drop in wrong decisions. From the almost perfect 50% mark they suddenly get some things done from the refs and end up with a score of lower than 40% of the calls going against them. Liverpool has also improved their position a bit and the same goes for United.
The next table is the way things stand after 103 games reviewed so far.
And what do we see? Arsenal is still just a fraction under getting 80% of the decisions going against them. Now I don’t know if you realise how much that is but this is ridiculous. This is a number that is almost impossible to come up against. Not just physical but also mentally.
How can 80% of wrong calls in all these games be against Arsenal?
The only top team that can say: “things even out” is Chelsea. They keep on getting a score of around 50%. The ideal score. They get some things going against them but also get the same amount of things in their favour at times.
The score of Tottenham got slightly worse compared to the earlier stages. That is what happens when you come too close to the big boys. But still wouldn’t we love to see that number above the Arsenal name?
King Kenny’s magic has gone lately. There seems to be a shift. The talk between Riley and Dalglish had an effect early one but is has gone. But still a nice score of around 45% of the calls going against you. What a luxury position.
And now come the interesting part of course. If we look at the battle of Manchester we had seen that City suddenly became the flavour of the refs. But now we are entering money time. We are entering the crucial period of the season. And look at the way that the decisions of City has changed. From totally neutral at the start of the season, to very favourable at one part of the season. But now when the threat for United becomes very clear we suddenly see that they are getting a rise in the “mistakes” table. Still a great score and one we can only dream of but it looks as if someone somewhere at some moment in time has said: enough is enough. Now is the time to act.
And this is also clearly visible in the numbers of Manchester United. Because from a score of 36% wrong decisions against them it has even dropped further to around 30%!! And what is mostly interesting is the fact that the Manchester teams show a different line and I will show this in a next graphic with all those teams and where you can see how things have changed during the season.
If you now look at the City line and compare it with the United line you will see the difference from the start with United getting a rather ridiculously low score (and Arsenal a ridiculously high score) but the most interesting part is the moment between game 73 and game 103. City numbers going up and United numbers going done rapidly.
I think you could say we are seeing what can be called “money time” in the EPL in those graphics.
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