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August 2021

Untold Ref Review: Sunderland 0 – 1 Manchester United


Today’s referee is Howard Webb –

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.

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Howard Webb (2012-05-13)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
1 OTHER NC Utd players rush in before the whistle, then go back but ref allows the kick off while they still are standing in the circle – beginners mistake 1
2 OTHER Bardsley Evra NC Not given trip 1
3 OTHER Giggs Bardsley C Little contact on the ankle 1
5 OTHER Mignolet NC Keeper takes 14 seconds to release the ball from his hands after an easy catch 1
12 OTHER Young Sun defender NC not given push in the back 1
13 OTHER Evans Sessegnon NC not given push in the back 1
19 OTHER Young Bardsley C Little contact on the ankle 1
20 GOAL MU C correct goal 3
21 OTHER McClean Jones C lttle push 1
23 OTHER Campbell Evra C frontal sliding tackle 1
23 YELLOW Campbell C his leg was not straight and his studs were not showing but dangerous so correct card 2
24 OTHER Vaughan Scholes C Trip 1
29 OTHER Bramble Rooney C Trip 1
31 OTHER Bardsley Young C A wild kick 1
31 YELLOW Bardsley C Is he ref setting a new standard for himself? 2
33 OTHER Valencia McClean C push in the back, given by assistant 1
36 OFFSIDE Sunderland NC 1
37 OTHER Evra Campbell NC Trip 1
37 OTHER Evra Sun? NC High foot, strectched leg not given 1
37 YELLOW Evra NC Almost the same like Bardsley but nothing given this time 2
37 OTHER Jones McClean C came in wild 1
37 YELLOW Jones C Came late and wild, things where getting a bit heated because of the ref not giving a few fouls from utd 2
38 OTHER Jones Campbell NC not given push in the back 1
38 OTHER Evans Sessegnon NC Hand in the back when he jumped 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
47 OTHER Evra Elmohamady C push 1
49 OTHER Bardsley Scholes C assumed correct but have my doubts because it looked as if Scholes was holding him an he tried to free himself, no replays given bad camera angle 1
50 OTHER Sessegnon Scholes C Assumed correct, no images shown 1
52 PENALTY Young Campbell C No replays were shown of this incident when Young blocked Campbell so have to stick with the ref. It was amazing to see that in the replays this part of the scen was cut out 3
56 OTHER Giggs Elmohamady C Blocked him 1
56 YELLOW Giggs C possible promising attack 2
59 OTHER Giggs NC frontal tackle not given 1
59 OTHER Giggs Bardsley NC not given “”Mertens-push”” almost causing colission between keeper and player 1
61 OTHER Valencia Bardsley C kick on the ankle 1
63 OTHER Elmohamady Rooney C Trip 1
65 OTHER McClean Valencia C Not intentional but he slipped and so brought Valencia down 1
67 OTHER Turner Scholes C Trip 1
67 YELLOW Turner C promising attack 2
69 OFFSIDE MU NC Giggs come back from offside, doesn’t challenge the defender first, then decides to attack him, should be given at that moment 1
69 OTHER Jones McClean C Trip 1
69 YELLOW Jones NC should have been a yellow, his second 2
70 OTHER Scholes Elmohamady C Trip 1
70 YELLOW Scholes C Deliberate foul 2
73 OTHER Vaughan Rooney C Trip 1
74 OTHER Rooney McClean C Trip 1
74 YELLOW Rooney NC No way he could have played the ball, a deliberate trip from behind. Hand from the ref goes to his pocket where the yellow card is but then changes his mind 2
78 OTHER Wickham Young NC advantage given but there was non 1
78 YELLOW Wickham NC that was a deliberate foul, should have been a yellow card 2
82 OTHER Giggs McClean C Trip 1
86 OTHER Gardner Giggs C Trip 1
87 OTHER Wickham Valencia C assumed correct 1
89 OTHER Bramble Rooney C Trip 1

Talking about a rubbish start…. The United players came rushing in the centre circle before the game was started. Okay Webb did what he should do blow again to cancel the start of the game. But then he let the game start with I think 3 United players still in the centre circle.  Now if you want to undermine your authority even before kick off, this was the way to do it. This is Sunday pub league stuff refereeing. This is about letting the players know that the ref is the boss and nobody else. Webb showed that the United players where the boss at the start.

His start was a disaster. From the first 7 calls he had to make 6 (six) where wrong. Luckily for him he improved a bit. But still a score of just above 50% in the first half was not what you expect of one of the “best referees in the world”.

A good moment was when he punished a wild kick on Young and even gave a yellow card for it. The kick didn’t hit Young but if it would have it could have been dangerous. A great moment one could say but minutes later Evra went in twice with a high foot and as dangerous as Bardsley did minutes before. This time twice no foul and no card of course.

The second half he improved a bit.  But “Consistency” was not in the ground. Maybe because “Arbitrary” had taken his place. Rooney was excused his yellow card this week after a cynical trip from behind. Webb went for his pocket where he had pulled his yellow card from a few times in this game and then refused to take out the card.

I must say that the persons who operated the replays seemed to have an agenda. Two possible penalty decisions in favour of Sunderland could not properly be reviewed. I left one out completely even. And then to think that right after the incident the ball was put out of play to get some medical attention to the players involved. And the director managed to not show a proper replay of the incident when Evra could have bundled Campbell over.  Instead they chose to show an elderly person chewing or show images from the crowd where people just stood there, some talking a bit, some listening to the radio, some also chewing a bit…. yeah that were the images I had been subscribing and paying my sports channel all year long.

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The same happened in the second half when a possible penalty against United could have been given. The replay this time started after the trip and then showed the chance that came right after that. There was enough time to show the whole thing but when nothing is shown, we cannot judge. So I gave the ref the benefit of the doubt.

Jones escaped a second yellow card for an exact copy of the foul he got a yellow in the first half.

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Howard Webb (2012-05-13)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 1 1 100.00
OFFSIDE 0 1 0.00
OTHER 9 18 50.00
YELLOW 3 4 75.00
TOTAL 13 24 54.17
WEIGHTED 18 30 60.00
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
OFFSIDE 0 1 0.00
OTHER 16 19 84.21
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 3 6 50.00
TOTAL 20 27 74.07
WEIGHTED 25 35 71.43
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 1 1 100.00
OFFSIDE 0 2 0.00
OTHER 25 37 67.57
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 6 10 60.00
TOTAL 33 51 64.71
WEIGHTED 43 65 66.15

The final score is not what you expect from a top ref. I sometimes had the impression that he was a bit busy pushing things in a certain direction. That is just a feeling I had based in my experience and maybe this could be backed up with the bias index….

BIAS SUMMARY – Howard Webb (2012-05-13)
Period 1 Sunderland % Manchester United % Total
Correct For 5 38.46 8 61.54 13
Correct For Weighted 6 33.33 12 66.67 18
Incorrect Against 8 72.73 3 27.27 11
Incorrect Against Weighted 9 75.00 3 25.00 12
Fouls Commited 8 42.11 11 57.89 19
Fouls Penalised 5 62.50 4 36.36 9
Period 2 Sunderland % Manchester United % Total
Correct For 9 45.00 11 55.00 20
Correct For Weighted 11 44.00 14 56.00 25
Incorrect Against 5 71.43 2 28.57 7
Incorrect Against Weighted 7 70.00 3 30.00 10
Fouls Commited 10 50.00 10 50.00 20
Fouls Penalised 9 90.00 7 70.00 16
Totals Sunderland % Manchester United % Total
Correct For 14 42.42 19 57.58 33
Correct For Weighted 17 39.53 26 60.47 43
Incorrect Against 13 72.22 5 27.78 18
Incorrect Against Weighted 16 72.73 6 27.27 22
Fouls Commited 18 46.15 21 53.85 39
Fouls Penalised 14 77.78 11 52.38 25

And well the majority of wrong calls going in favour of the visitors, Manchester United. So Webb was certainly not a home ref in this game. But this will not come to a surprise to most people I think.


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17 comments to Untold Ref Review: Sunderland 0 – 1 Manchester United

  • wookie warrior

    Anyone who watched this game will wonder how united didnt in 5-0.
    But as with your usual disappointing anti united summaries, it was only thanks to the ref.
    Indeed, after reading many of your reports now, it could seem if it wasn’t for all the corrupt referees, united could be relegated by Christmas.

  • Wookie – why don’t you give us some details. Our ref reviewers work for hours going through these matches over and over again. If you think we are biased, give some details. global generalisations don’t really cut it.

  • It is also curious now I come to think of it, that two months ago you wrote

    Im so glad somebody is bringing this stuff to public attention.
    Me and my mate say this every week, we get no decisions, united get them all, & its so clear to see!!
    Basically, we have been robbed of at leadt two league titles in the last 4 yesrs in my opinion if true refereeing had been implemented.
    It makes the Italian game look honest!!

    Are you someone else in disguise?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I seem to recall in the madness of the final day that all the commentators, limited in their understanding of the game as they are, thought that United were lucky to hang on for the win and that Sunderland were the better team in the second half.

    Some might say they got ‘lucky’, the knowledgeable would say they got Howard Webb.

  • wookie warrior


    Yes, well remembered Tony.
    I an indeed somebody in disguise. The reason for that being that on that report i made 3 or 4 posts that were perfectly relevant under the name Eric the king, after reading your summary of your”no surprise, teams don’t get pens at old trafford, etc etc, do i pointed out that arsenal had, & i posed the question of was it also the referees fault that you missed it?
    You totally ignored all my posts, the only posts published were the ones that went along with your x-files referee conspiracies, so i decided to put a post up saying exactly what you wanted to gear, going by the other published stuff, & lo & behold…..
    Your reads probably went up as i passed the link between my mates who all had a good laugh at the report, & that WAS including gooners who i know.
    However, if Im wrong, show me a match report where you say united were worthy winners, & I’ll retract my statement.
  • wookie warrior

    @ woolwich.
    Yeah, very lucky hitting woodwork countless times & mignolet using several good saves.
    Still, go by what these ‘commentators’ say instead of actually watching the game then……

  • Wookie warrior – I can find no records of the posts you claim were deleted – it could be that your first post was so offensive that you were blacklisted and the subsequent posts were bounced?

    Anyway – thanks for the update, I’ll remove your original post where you said nice things about the article as you clearly didn’t mean it.

  • Tasos

    Off subject but……Looks like Bye Bye Harry

  • Mike

    Wookie you’re a fool. There is such a wealth of evidence to prove that Man U get favours it’s hardly worth debating anymore……….even some of my Kentish and Essex Man U supporting chums agree with that. The blindness of Man U fans is stunning even when presented with overwhelming evidence they come back with some anecdote about a penalty awarded against them in the 1990’s that was possibly a bit unfair. You’re very, very sad…………but at least the surfing is good in Cornwall.

  • Damien Luu

    @Wookie aka urine moron: “However, if Im wrong, show me a match report where you say united were worthy winners, & I’ll retract my statement.” – Sorry, they never were, never be and never will be. They are, just like you, a bunch of cheaters.

    Of course you can fool yourself by saying “No, I am not a cheater and my team/club are not cheaters” 1008 times everyday, but that will make the misery much greater when Rednose leaves and your club collapse, which is inevitable. So, suit yourself, ’cause we will surely have the last laugh.

  • yoppie

    I’m over it

  • Asif

    @Wookie – ManU may have scored a dozen but who cares!!! The article talks about the refree’s performance and not the team’s…you should have rather written that how come Utd didn’t score 5, with Web as the ref and inspite of putting in a good shift! Just answer this for me, why on earth did FA allow Webb when the entire world (except Utd fans) acknowledges the fact that he favours Utd? The whole charade would one day come crumbling down and fans like you would be running for cover!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well look at that. Not really the open thing we do but they are coming closer to what we do.

    Can we ask copyright? 😉

    Maybe we should join forces next season to do EPL games?

  • the timewookie warlord

    I see you blocked my perfectly fair responses yet again. What alleged offensive remarks am i supposed to have made this time??

    As for that pitiful icon, you are really showing your maturity & respect for somebody having a different opinion to yourself…..

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wookie if you would be blocked why would this appear?

    Just go through the game minute per minute and tell us where we are wrong and tell us why we are wrong. If possible pointing out the rules of course. That would be a fair response.

  • Wookie – you were blocked for trolling and using multiple identities.

    Please leave us alone.