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July 2021

Untold Ref Review: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – 3 Arsenal

Today’s referee is Neil Swarbrick – We had a good impression after our first game at Sunderland from this relatively unknown ref for Arsenal. Did he lived up to the expectations?

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Neil Swarbrick (2012-04-11)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
8 PENALTY Bassong Walcott C Wrapped a leg around Walcott and bundled him over, catching his leg between his own legs 3
8 RED Bassong C Bringing down a player on his way to the keeper as the last defender 3
9 GOAL Arsenal C correct goal 3
11 OTHER Edwards Arteta C trip 1
12 GOAL Arsenal C correct goal 3
12 YELLOW Zubar NC came in with a flying tackle taking Theo completely off after he took his shot on goal, should have been given a yellow card. If Theo wouldn’t have a scored should have been another penalty and a red card 2
18 OTHER Djourou Doyle NC Push not given 1
18 OTHER Doyle Arteta C trip 1
25 OTHER Stearman RVP NC He blocks the path of RVP and brings him down without the ball even near, he moved in the direction of RVP so was an onbstruction. Not given 1
25 YELLOW Stearman NC was a deliberate off the ball foul, should have been booked 2
33 OTHER NC ref gives a throw to Arsenal and should have gone to Wolves. Doyle furiously protests 1
35 OTHER Kigthly Arteta C came late again the Wolves player protest with gestures and shouting. Can’t understand why this time 1
40 OTHER Zubar Benayoun NC flying tackle from behind, ref let the play continue as Arsenal keep possession. Not the best solution 1
40 OTHER Doyle Arteta C flying tackle from behind that eventually lead to Doyle touchting the ball because Arteta took no risk and jumped up to avoid the complete impact 1
40 YELLOW Doyle C ref is trying to stop those tackles, correct card 2
42 OFFSIDE Wolves C correct decision 1
43 OTHER Doyle Santos C assumed correct not shown on TV 1
46 OFFSIDE Wolves C as the ball goes to Szczesny the assistant and the ref let the game continue 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
46 OTHER Wolves Benayoun NC tripped him after the ball was played, no advantage signal given 1
52 OTHER Sagna Henry C Pull 1
56 OTHER Zubar Benayoun C wild challenge 1
56 YELLOW Zubar C Dangerous attack on the ankle 2
58 OTHER Kightly Santos C Held him 1
58 YELLOW Kightly NC Not much wrong with this one, or it should be that he took this chance to book him for an earlier dissent? 2
59 OTHER Arteta Doyle C High foot 1
62 OTHER Benayoun Stearman C trip on defender in his own penalto box 1
65 OFFSIDE Wolves C Correct decision 1
69 GOAL Arsenal C correct goal 3
71 OFFSIDE Wolves C assumed correct 1
73 OTHER Djourou Doyle NC Push in the back, not givenn no advantage signal 2
79 OTHER Ramsey Kightly C Push in the back, ref waited to see an advantage then came back to the foul 1
84 PENALTY Milijas Ramsey NC Milijas clips the ankle from Ramsey from behind. Ref gives no penalty. I think partly because Ramsey standing up on his feet and shooting at goal resulting in a corner 3
87 OTHER Wolves Vermaelen C Advantage given, Arsenal have the ball wiht no pressure, final minutes of the game, 1
91 PENALTY Zubar RVP C I give the ref the benefit of the doubt on this. It looked that he blocked the ball on the replay they showed. Not 100% frontal tackle and feet on the ground 3
93 OTHER Jarvis Arteta NC clear push in the back not given 1

He started very well and showed he was not afraid to  do what a ref has to do when needed.  Some refs would have backed away from the decision and given a penalty but not a red card. But as Theo was on his way to the keeper in front of goal and he had no option but the give the penalty and a red card.

The second goal he could and should have given Zubar a yellow for his late challenge on Theo. But I think he neglected it but still it was a strong, dangerous and very late tackle. Maybe he started to feel a bit sorry for Wolves?

He also let go when Stearman attacked RVP who came running past him to try to put pressure on another Wolves defender. A deliberate block on a player running by should have been punished with a free kick and a yellow card. Such off the ball fouls are disgusting I think. It cost him some points and a rather low score despite a good yellow card when Doyle came jumping in from behind.

Slightly better performance in the second half but at the end he seemed to let a few things go from Wolves. Feeling sorry is a human reflex but as a ref you don’t have to feel sorry you just have to call the fouls. And give another penalty when it is needed. It is your job as a ref to give the fouls and not to feel sorry.

If I can tell you this little story of a game I once did between two women’s teams. It was the team first in the league against the last one in the league. The last one was down to 10 players because of injury and was losing the game with something between 8 or 9 goals. The last placed team had been defending the whole game with hardly getting to the other goal.

But in the last minute of the game the team in first place threw all their players forward. And two players of the other team escaped towards the goal. Would they score a consolation goal? I think all of us hoped they would. The crowd, even the players of the winning team. So one girl ran with the ball at her feet and the other came rushing by and overtook here. The girl with the ball then played the ball forward to the faster running girl who was offside.  So I did what I had to do and blew my whistle to stop the attack for offside. I think  all present felt bad and sorry at that moment. I felt miserable and as it was the final minute I had to stop the game.

The coach of the winning team came up to me and said that I could have let them get away with it. I apologised to the coach of the losing team but he said that I had done what I should have done. I still felt sorry for the girls but I knew that I had done what I had to do. I was there to make sure the rules were applied and I was not there to help a team to a goal they did not deserve.

So I can understand the human reaction to feel sorry for the underdog, but it cannot get in the way with what you are doing on that field: make sure the rules are applied.


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COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Neil Swarbrick (2012-04-11)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
OTHER 5 9 55.56
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
RED 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 1 3 33.33
TOTAL 12 18 66.67
WEIGHTED 21 29 72.41
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 1 1 100.00
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
OTHER 7 10 70.00
PENALTY 1 2 50.00
YELLOW 1 2 50.00
TOTAL 12 17 70.59
WEIGHTED 17 25 68.00
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 3 3 100.00
OFFSIDE 4 4 100.00
OTHER 12 19 63.16
PENALTY 2 3 66.67
RED 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 2 5 40.00
TOTAL 24 35 68.57
WEIGHTED 38 54 70.37

An average score for the ref at the end of the game.  Good on the important decisions most of the time but still let a few things go.

BIAS SUMMARY – Neil Swarbrick (2012-04-11)
Period 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 0 0.00 12 100.00 12
Correct For Weighted 0 0.00 21 100.00 21
Incorrect Against 2 33.33 4 66.67 6
Incorrect Against Weighted 2 25.00 6 75.00 8
Fouls Commited 10 90.91 1 9.09 11
Fouls Penalised 8 80.00 0 0.00 8
Period 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 5 41.67 7 58.33 12
Correct For Weighted 7 41.18 10 58.82 17
Incorrect Against 2 40.00 3 60.00 5
Incorrect Against Weighted 4 44.44 5 55.56 9
Fouls Commited 8 61.54 5 38.46 13
Fouls Penalised 5 62.50 4 80.00 9
Totals Wolverhampton Wanderers % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 5 20.83 19 79.17 24
Correct For Weighted 7 18.42 31 81.58 38
Incorrect Against 4 36.36 7 63.64 11
Incorrect Against Weighted 6 35.29 11 64.71 17
Fouls Commited 18 75.00 6 25.00 24
Fouls Penalised 13 72.22 4 66.67 17

The bias index is telling us that he just got the about normal home/away bias. So we are satisfied with that.

Final conclusion: if him feeling sorry hadn’t influenced his game he would have had a better score.

4 comments to Untold Ref Review: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – 3 Arsenal

  • legolas still trust Wenger

    it was weird we got a penalty anyway i don’t see any of the referees give us that even that we deserve it lol but the moment other teams fall into our penalty area immediately a penalty …. no wonder

  • Tasos

    Neil Swarbrick is a newcomer to the EPL and this was only the second Arsenal game he has taken control of but once again he left a good impression. Yes he made some mistakes but he got the major decisions correct and over the 90 mins did not display any noticeable bias against Arsenal.

    Wolves fought for their lives, even after going two goals behind and having Bassong sent-off, they pressed Arsenal hard and got stuck-in but Swarbrick maintained control of the game, much to the home supporters frustration.

    Neil Swarbrick has now refed two Arsenal matches, both of them tough away fixtures consisting of no dodgy penalties given against us, no Arsenal red cards, only ONE Arsenal yellow card and two vital victories.

    I notice the PGMOL have assigned Neil Swarbrick as fourth official for the Chelsea match tomorrow, with Mike Dean taking centre stage it would appear Mr Swarbrick has been sanctioned with a “watch and learn” exercise .

  • bob

    Yes, THE DEAN will “school” young Neil in the ways of the Hives of Riley. Does it mean we have to beat 13 men now?

  • Dan T


    I have a bad feeling about tomorrow – not the result, I don’t think any ref will be able to stop us tomorrow But I feel it is not going to be a level playing field. We will have to put in an extra special performance to guarantee the result I think.