Untold Ref Review: Stoke City 1 – 1 Arsenal


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This article is part of a series stretching over several seasons in which a team of referees analyse the work of refs in Premier League matches.

Our figures show that when we analyse the errors made by refs there are consistent trends which do not “even out” through the season, as some commentators would have it.    All the earlier ref reviews plus analyses of the errors made by refs, and articles relating to our campaign to have the body which organises referees activities reformed, plus an analysis of the background to this campaign, can be found on:

Although this is a site built for Arsenal supporters we welcome comments from fans of other teams, although we tend not to publish comments which are simply abusive or which are completely off topic.

Today’s referee is Chris Foy

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Chris Foy (2012-04-28)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
3 OTHER Whitehead Song C Frontal tackle 1
3 YELLOW Whitehead C After seeing the incident a few times I came to the conclusion that it was a frontal tackle, studs showing but the knee was a little bit bent and his foot was over the floor. So I will agree with the yellow card from the ref 2
4 OTHER Song Pennant NC Pennant misread the ball and then went down when Song ran away with the ball 1
5 OFFSIDE Stoke C correct 1
5 OTHER Gibbs Pennant NC push not given 1
6 OFFSIDE Stoke C assumed correct 1
7 OTHER Whelan? Gervinho NC push not given 1
10 GOAL Stoke C correct 3
14 OFFSIDE Stoke C correct 1
15 GOAL Arsenal C correct 3
20 OFFSIDE Arsenal NC Not given 1
20 OTHER Walker Song C Holding 1
21 OTHER Shawcross RVP NC Jumped in the back, not given 1
26 OFFSIDE Stoke C correct 1
29 OTHER Song Crouch C little nudge 1
35 OFFSIDE Arsenal C assumed correct 1
38 OTHER Benayoun Crouch C well this will be one of the first times I have seen a player punished for someone jumping in his back 1
39 OFFSIDE Stoke C assumed correct 1
41 OTHER Whelan? Rosicky NC push not given 1
41 OTHER Vermaelen Crouch NC from the not given foul results in a free kick to Stoke for the faintest of touches in the back 1
43 OTHER RVP Shotton C assumed correct 1
44 OTHER NC Corner given to Stoke, came of Stoke player 1
44 OTHER Pennant Szczesny NC Pennant places himself in front of the keeper and interferes with the keeper when he tries to come for the ball, is a foul ref 1
44 OTHER Ramsey Etherington C a little bit of pulling going on between the two 1
46 OFFSIDE Arsenal C correct 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
58 OFFSIDE Stoke C assumed correct 1
60 OTHER Stoke Rosicky NC trip not given 1
62 OTHER Benayoun Pennant C trip 1
62 YELLOW Benayoun C Deliberate trip, players was gone 2
67 OTHER Song Etherington C Trip 1
67 YELLOW Song NC a bit harsh, first foul, no real danger, 2
71 OTHER Whelan Vermaelen C trip 1
72 PENALTY Shawcross C appeal for handball but was outside the penalty area, but should have been a free kick as his hands were outside his body 3
75 PENALTY Whelan Benayoun C I can understand a supporter calling for a penalty but as a ref reviewer I cannot find conclusive evidence that there was a deliberate foul on Benayoun. So have to agree with the ref 3
76 OTHER Sagna Pennant C push 1
80 OTHER Wilson Rosicky C Trip 1
81 OTHER Diaby Jerome C High foot 1
83 OTHER Huth Benayoun C trip 1
86 OTHER Shawcross Santos C push 1
88 OTHER Jerome Song C push 1
89 OTHER Upson RVP C trip 1
91 OTHER Crouch Szczesny NC Crouch is holding his arm on the shoulder of the keeper so he cannot go for the ball 1
92 OTHER Stoke? Santos NC push not given 1
92 OTHER Whitehead Song NC Dangerous tackle 1
92 YELLOW Whitehead NC Dangerous frontal tackle, should be a yellow card 2
92 RED Whitehead NC should have been off for 2 yellow cards 3
93 OTHER Koscielny Whitehead NC went down as if he was shot in the back and then took the ball in his hands, ref falls for it 1

The last thing in football you want is a ref that lets things go at Stoke.  So when ref Foy gave a yellow card for Whitehead in the first minutes for a tackle on Song it gave a signal to Stoke that he would not allow that. I know some have called for a red card but after reviewing the incident I can see a few points why the ref did not give a red card. Whitehead stayed on the ground with this foot and his leg was not fully stretched so the impact was somehow reduced.

But he let a lot of things go after that. Pushing and shoving, at times inventing fouls like when Crouch jumped in to the back of Benayoun and the ref gave a foul against Benayoun who clearly could not understand it. Well I couldn’t understand it either.

In the second half the players played a rather fair game. The first real foul was punished with a yellow card against Benayoun and I have no complaints.  The yellow card against Song was very soft.

Certainly when you compare this with the late tackle in the extra time on Song from Whitehead. Again a late tackle and the ref gave advantage which can be given not that there was much on. But then when the ball was out of play he should have booked Whitehead and give him a yellow card and that would have been his second.

Let us move on to the penalties. And I like to remind you of the fact that we ref reviewers only over rule the ref when we are 100% certain of him making a mistake and we have video evidence of this. About the Benayoun incident.  I also had the impression a penalty could have been given. Can you imagine this situation with Young in the place of Benayoun on Old Trafford? I think the ball would have been on the spot before the player touching the ground.  Now as I didn’t find an angle in which I could say for 100% that there was a deliberate foul I have to agree with the ref.

The shout for penalty for handball from Shawcross was a bit easier as Shawcross was just outside the penalty area so it could not be a penalty.

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Chris Foy (2012-04-28)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 7 8 87.50
OTHER 6 14 42.86
YELLOW 1 1 100.00
TOTAL 16 25 64.00
WEIGHTED 21 30 70.00
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
OFFSIDE 1 1 100.00
OTHER 10 15 66.67
PENALTY 2 2 100.00
RED 0 1 0.00
YELLOW 1 3 33.33
TOTAL 14 22 63.64
WEIGHTED 19 31 61.29
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 8 9 88.89
OTHER 16 29 55.17
PENALTY 2 2 100.00
RED 0 1 0.00
YELLOW 2 4 50.00
TOTAL 30 47 63.83
WEIGHTED 40 61 65.57

Despite all this points given to the ref, he still managed to get a low score.

Foy is not a ref who is out there to kill us with some big decisions going against us in general. But he is very soft in some parts of keeping a game within the rules.

BIAS SUMMARY – Chris Foy (2012-04-28)
Period 1 Stoke City % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 6 40.00 9 60.00 15
Correct For Weighted 8 40.00 12 60.00 20
Incorrect Against 2 20.00 8 80.00 10
Incorrect Against Weighted 2 20.00 8 80.00 10
Fouls Commited 12 63.16 7 36.84 19
Fouls Penalised 8 66.67 5 71.43 13
Period 2 Stoke City % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 7 50.00 7 50.00 14
Correct For Weighted 12 63.16 7 36.84 19
Incorrect Against 0 0.00 8 100.00 8
Incorrect Against Weighted 0 0.00 12 100.00 12
Fouls Commited 12 75.00 4 25.00 16
Fouls Penalised 7 58.33 4 100.00 11
Totals Stoke City % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 13 44.83 16 55.17 29
Correct For Weighted 20 51.28 19 48.72 39
Incorrect Against 2 11.11 16 88.89 18
Incorrect Against Weighted 2 9.09 20 90.91 22
Fouls Commited 24 68.57 11 31.43 35
Fouls Penalised 15 62.50 9 81.82 24

And if you look at the wrong calls it is again very much against Arsenal. But most of all for the little fouls somewhere in the middle of the field.

Untold Arsenal

Arsenal History

40 Replies to “Untold Ref Review: Stoke City 1 – 1 Arsenal”

  1. Don’t worry people, there are still two games to go. It will all even out in the end!!

  2. A lot of refs, to me at least are easily intimidated and become either conscious or unconscious ‘Homers’. Pulis has engendered a fotress mentality that allows them to get away with far more than Arsenal (or most other home teams) can.

    Any game involving Stoke at the Britannia requires a very strong disciplinarian. Therefore the decision to give the game to Foy is rather odd.

  3. Are you sure that the high foot of Diaby in de 81th minute was a foul? I thought he just controlled the ball, in my memory Jerome did not go for that ball.

    Anyway, Stoke will always get a lot of help of the referees. They ”represent the English game” or whatever that means. In England the referees and media have the bad habbit to judge teams and individuals related to their known behaviour. So when a dirty player makes a bad tackle he will get away with it, because we are familiar with that… but when a clean (non-English) player does that, the media will slaughter him and the ref will probably send him off. The small amount of red cards players like Rooney and Scholes have, ridiculous.

    Teams and clubs get the same treatment. Stoke gets away with it because it is accepted that their style is the only way they can survive. So all of a sudden they are allowed to attack the goalkeeper and push the striker of the opponents. Every game i see that RvP gest pushed by defenders from other clubs, and every game i see we never get away with that.

  4. 38 listed as C, should be NC.

    Also, it’s a bit late in the season for this query but how did we get “Period 1” and “Period 2”? These are normally known as 1st half and 2nd half. 😮

  5. Thanks reviewer. I think the effort you guys put in is fantastic.

    Although the Shawcross handball was not a penalty, it should have been a free kick.

    You say “Now as I didn’t find an angle in which I could say for 100% that there was a deliberate foul I have to agree with the ref.” Why does a foul have to be deliberate? I know you don’t have the advantage of super slo-mo, but if you did you would see that Whelan clips Yossi’s heels.

  6. Cape Gooner,
    I think this was one of the moments that we are depending on what the broadcasters are dishing up. We have seen it before that they leave angles out of incidents to “colour” them. In the replays they showed during the game there was always an obstacle in the image. Or the players were not central in the picture and came running in so the foul could be committed just before.

    We could have gone for saying it should have been a penalty. But with Arsenal as the team involved we cannot afford of taking the easy way and say: penalty.

    Doing that (just say it should be a penalty without the ultimate proof in a video) could be used against us in saying that we are too biased in the Arsenal games.

    Maybe when Arsenal is involved we as ref reviewers should be sure for 200% for a penalty call to avoid the people saying we are biased.

  7. Why should Crouch (41, and another first-half instance in the penalty area that did not result in a call) and Whitehead (93) get off without yellow cards for simulation? To me it was pretty clear they both fell without being touched in order to get an advantage.

  8. Walter,
    Perhaps in the final report, there could be an addendum that indicates a set of possible to probable incorrect calls which were not counted as incorrect calls because there was inadequate (not total) video evidence. This would show both your care, your not being biased, and also what might have been added to the total statistics if there were adequate (total) video evidence. This would have a lot of benefits and I hope you/the Ref review team considers its value.

  9. Blimey Bob, that would be a great idea. The only problem is that to go back over all those decisions is almost impossible right now.
    Something to think about for next season….

  10. I have to agree with the RefReviewer re: the penalty not given. In a split second, it was hard to determine if a foul had taken place or if Benayoun was embellishing a small touch.

    I am getting concerned about the way Song has been treated. First the Balotelli kick that was apparently seen but not called, and now the tackle from Whitehead. It seems there is an agenda to allow him to be kicked in any fashion.

    1-1 is an acceptable result and the big things are: no one got hurt and we are still in control of our own destiny to finish third. 2 more wins lads!

  11. Walter,
    Thanks. My further thought is that ever were this done for the next few reviews – ours as well as each of the two Manchester games – there might be something interesting (if not amazing) that gets revealed as “the final countdown” approaches. After all, Don Fungus just vented his fury at Mancini and the refs to come that Mancini had “refereed” this last defeat. Amazing reversal really. But perhaps the Don has now put out the word on how the rest of the season is to go. Will there be a Rednose XX or not? And these gray-area stats, if you were to keep them, might harbor something interesting, or not. Anyway, I’m glad the idea generally interests you. It’s a meaningful source of data for lots of good reasons. Cheers.

  12. Bob, I think it will be very telling to see which ref gets assigned to City’s match at Newcastle – something tells me the Don is letting the Dean know in no uncertain terms that City should not win at Newcastle.

  13. Wooby,
    OMG, is it THE DEAN at City v Newcastle?!
    Yes, ver-ry telling, and The Dean surely knows how to craft a desired result.

  14. Wooby,
    Perhaps we shall now see the inner meaning of “the business end of the season”?! 🙂

  15. Howard Webb has been commissioned for Newcastle V Man City this weekend.

    I wonder why the PGMOL waited until after the Man City V Man Utd result before making next weekends referee appointments official.

  16. Haha wow, webb for the newcastle game. Thats why speed dial was invented

  17. We have Taylor and if I’m not mistaken this will be the first time this season. And specially for me they also send Massey. 😉

  18. Walter, any chance you or another RefReviewer can take a look at Webb’s work in the Chelski vs. QPR game? I saw some highlights of the match and was appalled at certain tackles by QPR on Chelski players that Webb ignored – and cannot help but think of Hughes as a former ManUre player and part of the SAF’s clique.

    @Bob, guess the Dean got the Don’s message loud and clear. I wonder if Webb will be so forgiving towards De Jong if he decides to kung fu kick a Newcastle player like he did in the WC final a couple of years back. Hmmm … ;P

  19. Walter – further to Bob’s suggestion, if you had a measure of the “assumed right” calls, perhaps if you took the score the referee got for all correct calls that were certified correct, (say X%) and then give them X% of all the assumed correct calls too.

    This would avoid a positive bias (all unverified calls are presumed correct), and by giving them a percentage of them based on their overall performance, it is probably not a bad approximation.

    It could be a good way to glean a little more from the figures – as it stands the ref review system probably gives the referees better scores than if we could verify all of them.

    That’s just a constructive comment, overall I think the work that you guys do is fantastic, and the evolution of the process over time has been impressive and highly commendable!

  20. Phil,
    It would be great to make some fair/proportionate use of this season’s findings without adding massive burdens and I really like your suggestion.

  21. Dogface,
    The “choice” of refs for each of the key season defining
    end-games would eclipse The Borgias. After all,
    “it’s ‘just’ business.” Perhaps there’s some way you
    could massage the probabilities of each of the assignments,
    especially in light of the final outcome.
    (It will come as no surprise that I soooo want the defeat of Rednose XX; so that the story of this season is ours, The Great Turnaround.)

  22. Lol just read Webb will ref Newcastle vs citeh, and foy utd vs Swansea, congratulations fergie on title number 20

  23. Dean will also be the 4th official for Tottenham’s match away to Villa with Poorbert taking charge in the centre. I wouldn’t trust those two.

  24. @Johny isnt it amazing how Dean has been involved in 4 back to back matches directly implicating spuds? Was ref for our match vs chelsea and wigan v newcastle, he will ref spuds match tomorrow and the a 4th official in their next match..must be coincidence

  25. Walter and admirable ref reviewers: I know you are already overworked but here is a golden opportunity to do an exceedingly meaningful comparison of the last 2 games United and City play. If we can do a fully in-depth review of each match and see whether the officials positively or negatively influenced these crucial games then that would be absolute proof positive that Don Fungus and the FA/PGMOL cabal have conspired to bring title XX to Sir Axis’ throne, hat in hands.
    What a golden opportunity to ensure that United win a 20th title by giving a few penalties, ejecting key opponent(s) and turning a blind eye to United’s serious foul play, simulation and so on. At the same time, City could be the object of ejections, invented penalties against them and whatever else the officials can get away with (which is a great deal indeed).
    United were exposed for the charlatans they are in the City game and Sire Fungus is steaming mad at his minions (officials, the FA and those who promised him another title) who let a bunch of mercenaries and a continental manager steal his crown. It is curious that he had nothing to say about his players and the fact that they didn’t have a shot on net against City! No, he is fuming about Mancini having the nerve to tell the referees how to handle the match, which has always been Fergus McMoaner’s sole prerogative since day 1. I predict 2 victories for United and a tie and a win for City, thus gifting United the trophy by 2 points…a collective sight of relief will echo through the halls of the PGMOL, the FA and the mafia bookies…the three most important cogs in the British Football wheel.

  26. Walter, Dom,
    This is indeed me the chance to micro-analyze an End-Game like never before. There is a great Borgia drama afoot and as yet Untold. A momentus moment. And if Don Fungus cannot work his magic through his public spasm (embarrassing in itself as they had to be separated says one report!), then he is no longer The Don. (Not so quiet flows this Don) as top henchmen – Coy, The Webbmaster and The Dean – will have to perform the service of their lives; and deliver The Rednose XX or there will be Hell to pay. Imagine all the planned odes to the glories of Lord Football that will have to be cancelled if Don Fungus cannot reproduce.

  27. Of course we will be watching those games with eyes wide open.

    But I do wonder if they are getting aware of the pressure some people (like us) put on them. They know now that someone is watching them. And this makes it more difficult to just openly cheat like they could in the past.

    But the again….look at what Riley permitted himself to stop our unbeaten run …. and how he got away with it… But there was no Untold in those days…

    Maybe if all goes well we could publish the reviews together…

  28. What would be great would be if we could do a retrospective Ref Review of Rileys finest hour and publish. Does anyone out there have a full 90 mins of the 50th match in our run.

    I would be fascinated to see just how badly he actually did in this game

  29. Reviewer02, that would be a massive massive thing to do. If anyone could link to that game I would do the complete review at once.

  30. I’m sure it would still be available on Arsenal TV, they tend to have some older games on there.

    I’ve often thought about this – the likes of the Eduardo game versus Birmingham where our season collapsed in 07-08 would be very, very interesting to do indeed.

    Perhaps a couple of reviews over the summer? Not that you guys don’t deserve a summer break!

  31. I just checked Arsenal TV – their full match highlights don’t go back that far unfortunately. It’s probably out there somewhere on the internet available for download, but I’m not sure whether the copyright would have expired yet or not.

    I did also try amazon looking for a cheap DVD of the game but there was nothing.

  32. The Birmingham 2 Arsenal 2 game is available on Arsenal TV however!

    Perhaps the Carling Cup final game Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1 could be interesting too… Webb the referee that day according to the BBC.

  33. @Phil Gregory
    I remember Arsenal got cheated by Webb in that CC game. Arsenal were up 1-0 I think when Julio Batista was 100% tripped in the box but no pen. Then I think Chelsea scored an offside goal or something.

  34. bbc made a mention of the offside goal: it was apparently marginal but I didn’t see the match at the time, I wasn’t in country. A ref review would be interesting indeed!

  35. I seem to remember a lot of rotational fouling going on in that Carling Cup final. Also remember Adebayor getting sent off for no apparent reason. I think Wenger appelaed against it.

  36. I’m trying to find a lower noise place to ask this. The Norwich game isn’t it.

    I sent DogFace a copy of the XLS (spreadsheet) file that I can produce from analysing the Press Association minute:second commentary results the BBC has. I suspect he wants specific formats for certain columns. But, my program is analysing the text of these event descriptions. There are lots of ways of describing the shot was off target and resulted in a goalkick. There are other circumstances which have quite variable descriptions, and hence a person needs to look for lots of things, in order to flag a single item of interest.

    What I am picking out of the Press Association data, for the most part is not part of any referee review. I think it will be useful to reviewers. If nothing else, the PA data is to the second, and using a stopwatch based on PA events (for missed fouls), they will be able to produce better time information, if they choose to do so.

    I’m working in Perl, it is good for analyzing strings. I build up a fairly complicated hash in analyzing results. I could save the hash to a file with things like DBM::Deep, or I could try to produce SQL of this.

    What do people in UntoldArsenal who want to analyze data prefer?

  37. One thing I forgot to mention about this game is that I noticed they had no ball boys (or girls). This may be a common thing that I have missed before, not the first thing I think about whilst watching a game to be honest but I thought it was odd that they had no one retrieving the ball or handing out a new ball yet there were towels dotted all round the pitch to dry the ball for those super long throws.

    On the subject of throw ins, Stoke seemed to hold on to the ball when it was our throw and wait until they were organised before letting us take it. The ref never pulled them up on it and also the amount of extra time seemed too much to me.

    I wondered if anyone else noticed any of this.

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