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July 2021

Untold Ref Review: Manchester United 4 – 0 Aston Villa. And the bias index shows…


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 Mark Halsey –

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Mark Halsey (2012-04-15)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
1 OTHER Evans Agbonlahor N/C Push in back 1
6 PENALTY Clark Young N/C Young contrives the contact and swallow dives, Villa defender withdraws his foot and it is planted on ground 3
6 YELLOW Young N/C Should have been the easiest yellow of his career 2
7 GOAL Rooney N/C Wayne does not celebrate the goal, wonder why 3
8 OTHER Carrick Gardner C 1
8 YELLOW Carrick C Went to ground got none of the ball 4
12 OTHER Valencia Lichaj C 1
14 OTHER Evans Agbonlahor C Same push as in 1st minute but this time spotted 1
16 OTHER Ireland Young C 1
19 OTHER Rooney Hutton C 1
29 OTHER N/C Halsey tells Villa to kick the ball out because Paul Scholes is injured, it is not a head injury, and Scholes does get up and carry on playing, Villa were denied a good situation, but hey it was Paul Scholes. 1
36 OTHER Bannon Young C 1
37 OTHER C Good advantage played after a foul by Gardner on Scholes 1
37 YELLOW Gardner C First stop in play Ref issues the Yellow 2
40 OTHER Rafael Ireland C 1
43 GOAL Wellbeck C Woeful defending 3
44 OTHER Agbonlahor N/C Controls ball with his arm, nothing given 1
45 OTHER Agbonlahor Evans C 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
48 OTHER Scholes Agbonlahor C 1
48 YELLOW Scholes C An easy yellow 2
51 OTHER Hutton Young C 1
51 YELLOW Hutton C This could have been a red, he was so late the stadium was almost empty 2
55 OTHER N/C A bizarre moment, Evra goes down with a head injury, but Rooney is attacking the Villa goal so the Ref allows play on, the attack comes to nothing, so the Ref calls it back. Realises the serious injury is to a Villa player who was behind him, and restarts with a drop ball. 1
64 PENALTY Baker C big shout for a pen against Baker but his hand was close to his body in a vertical position, and moving away from the ball, so not deliberate 3
64 OFFSIDE Valencia C 1
66 OTHER N/C Handball against Villa when ball clearly came of head, Villa deprived a good situation 1
70 OTHER Baker Rooney C 1
71 OTHER Lichaj Valencia N/C Push in back missed 1
73 GOAL Rooney C 3
75 OTHER Carrick Curruthers C 1
82 OTHER Evans Heskey N/C Evans comes through the back leading with the arm into Heskey 1
82 OTHER C Again having missed the foul he stops play when he sees how badly the big man is injured, and it is to the head 1
87 OTHER Baker Berbatov C 1
90 OTHER Bannon Carrick C 1
91 OTHER Nani Hutton C 1
91 YELLOW Nani C Replay was from bad angle so I am going with Ref 2
92 GOAL Nani C 3

Alan Smith is a Gooner Legend, I was there in Copenhagen for his left foot volley, and there for the FA cup 3rd round V Man Utd when Brian McClair missed his penalty and Smith scored a great header. I never made Anfield but the goal has been replayed millions of times on TV and millions more in my head.  So the following quote from him as a Sky TV Pundit saddened me hugely. Referring to Ashley Young

“Whatever you say about the penalty he is playing an important part for Man Utd including his penalty V QPR”

For fuck sake Smudge, you really have sold your soul to the devil and become an apologist for cheating. That is not how you played the game, and not how the game should be played, and you know that. If you too jump on the bandwagon what chance have we got!!

Mark Haley got the big decision wrong and he knew it.  In the 6th minute Ashley Young cut inside Clark the Villa defender at some pace. He dived to the ground as one would into a swimming pool. He moved not one but both his feet into Clark, who was simply helpless. The crowd roared, the whistle blew, job done by Young. The apologists for English diving came flooding out of the woodwork. Apparently there was some contact; apparently that makes it a foul. Utter tosh, this was such a blatant dive I was waiting for a splash. Halsey reffed the game from there on in knowing he had to show no bias. And he did just that. However there were two moments of poor judgement that also favoured Man Utd. In the 29th minute Paul Scholes received a dead leg, Scholes did this whilst making a tackle, Scholes went down injured, but play was waived on leaving Villa in a good position, The crowd roared, so the Ref decided to stop play with Villa on the attack. It was weak Reffing, Scholes did not have a head injury, and he got up and carried on playing. The drop ball was kicked back to Given in the Villa goal. Villa nullified.

Then in the 55th minute Evra and Gardner challenged for a ball in the air, Evra came out with the ball but the Ref had his back to the fact that Gardner was badly injured, it was a head injury and Halsey was oblivious. He allowed play on even as Evra fell to the ground with a head injury. Rooney was running at the Villa back 3. Then Rooney lost the ball, so the Ref stopped play for Evra, only then did he realise that the Villa player was almost unconscious Halsey got away with that one. It was again poor reffing and showed that Halsey was not aware of what had happened in the challenge. Had Rooney gone onto to score, and Halsey did invite that scenario, it would have been an outrage, especially considering the Scholes incident earlier.

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COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Mark Halsey (2012-04-15)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 1 2 50.00
OTHER 9 12 75.00
PENALTY 0 1 0.00
YELLOW 2 3 66.67
TOTAL 12 18 66.67
WEIGHTED 16 26 61.54
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 1 1 100.00
OTHER 8 12 66.67
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 3 3 100.00
TOTAL 15 19 78.95
WEIGHTED 24 28 85.71
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 3 4 75.00
OFFSIDE 1 1 100.00
OTHER 17 24 70.83
PENALTY 1 2 50.00
YELLOW 5 6 83.33
TOTAL 27 37 72.97
WEIGHTED 40 54 74.07

Apart from the above it was a half decent performance from the Ref, heavily tainted by Ashley Splish Splash Young.

BIAS SUMMARY – Mark Halsey (2012-04-15)
Period 1 Manchester United % Aston Villa % Total
Correct For 6 50.00 6 50.00 12
Correct For Weighted 9 56.25 7 43.75 16
Incorrect Against 2 28.57 5 71.43 7
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 23.08 10 76.92 13
Fouls Commited 6 60.00 4 40.00 10
Fouls Penalised 5 83.33 4 100.00 9
Period 2 Manchester United % Aston Villa % Total
Correct For 7 46.67 8 53.33 15
Correct For Weighted 12 50.00 12 50.00 24
Incorrect Against 1 25.00 3 75.00 4
Incorrect Against Weighted 1 25.00 3 75.00 4
Fouls Commited 4 44.44 5 55.56 9
Fouls Penalised 3 75.00 4 80.00 7
Totals Manchester United % Aston Villa % Total
Correct For 13 48.15 14 51.85 27
Correct For Weighted 21 52.50 19 47.50 40
Incorrect Against 3 27.27 8 72.73 11
Incorrect Against Weighted 4 23.53 13 76.47 17
Fouls Commited 10 52.63 9 47.37 19
Fouls Penalised 8 80.00 8 88.89 16

The bias index shows the usual Old Trafford treatment of visiting teams.



10 comments to Untold Ref Review: Manchester United 4 – 0 Aston Villa. And the bias index shows…

  • dan

    My Brother is a villa fan, he was speechless and not to mention pissed off.

  • danceoftheshamen

    Glad to see somebody is analysing the ridiculous bias towards Man Utd 🙂 Ashley Young is a disgrace.. To dive like that is bad enough but to do it against your old club where he was adored by the fans & when they are battling relegation too was downright disrespectful & a really low thing to do..The guy has now lost mine & most other Villa fans respect after that. As for Halsey actually giving it! Says it all!.. No wonder Man U are so “impregnable” at home hey? What a joke!

    Ashley will now be known as

    Ashley Flung

  • danceoftheshamen

    Also just to add that whilst it would be very easy to say “Ah but Man U would have won easily anyway so it didn’t really matter”..I disagree. Most likely yes they would of course but that one incident so early in the game when a side is low on confidence anyway makes a huge difference & for me that is often overlooked by many pundits & the like. Football is a game decided by the tiniest of margins & that one decision has a massive impact on a game..

    Again well done on spending the time to do this research i just hope it gets the attention it deserves from those that matter!.. Something tells me however that they will just continue brushing it conveniently under the carpet.. After all wouldn’t want to upset the status quo now would we?!

  • rafuuru sama

    what a damn shame about alan smith. . sell out! respect = none

  • WalterBroeckx

    welcome to this site and thanks for the comment.

    I agree with you that such an early decision can be a hard blow for a team. A bit like what happened to QPR and Derry the game before (or was it after…?? – not important) who then even got sent off.

    Probably MU could have won both games even without those decisions. But we will never know it.

    Going to Old Trafford is hard for any team and you know you will have a difficult 90 minutes. And if you then also have to face an early blow like that it can easily happen that players let their head hang down and think: oh no, again the same old shit like always let us just focus on the next game we have to play.

    Well it will give Young a ticket for a summer tournament. don’t know if it will be the euro’s or the Olympic diving team but he will be a contender.

    Also compare the which hunt when Eduardo (after his leg break he was scared) when he jumped trying to avoid the onrushing keeper and got a penalty a few years back from all the media and now the rather silent reaction from that same media about those two blatant dives in two games.

    By the way thanks for Sunday 😉

  • Stuart


    I like that, Ashley Flung! I reckon that could stick!!

  • bob

    Hear ye! Hear ye!
    The following is what happens after Don Fungus had A WORD with Ash Flungus. Remember? Two weeks ago Lord Football had – a very well media publicized – WORD with his second (to Rooney) Divemaster about diving. His Master’s Voice apparently was only meant for the always-willing Media Stenographers at places such as the Manchester Guardian football department, who, verily, did TRUMPET The Rednose in full snort, gushing over his breathtaking Willingness to have said WORD with Ash Flungus. FUNGUS TO FLUNGUS: You now have THE WORD. (Subtext: this because of the uproar over the chronic non-calls on the chronic diving.)

    Now, dear mates and mes amis, Behold the inner meaning of THE WORD, with well-deserved kudos to our intrepid ref reviewer:

    “He dived to the ground as one would into a swimming pool. He moved not one but both his feet into Clark, who was simply helpless. The crowd roared, the whistle blew, job done by Young. The apologists for English diving came flooding out of the woodwork. Apparently there was some contact; apparently that makes it a foul. Utter tosh, this was such a blatant dive I was waiting for a splash.” 🙂

  • bob

    Anyone interested in the massive Italian football scandal that is now be tried, have a look:

  • jake

    @danceoftheshamen if they brush much more under the carpet it will be touching the ceiling

    p.s not having a go at you but the refs who officiate in the EPL