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August 2021

REF REVIEWS 2012 Team by Team: – Aston Villa


Publication on July 20th: Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

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By DogFace and Walter Broeckx

Untold Arsenal has a team of qualified referees who have reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games from last season. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

The first team we take on in our team review is Aston Villa. They ended just above the relegation zone and at one point in the season things got a bit scary but they managed to get into a safe position. And so McCleish avoided the unique trophy of taking both clubs from Birmingham down in two consecutive seasons.

Untold Vs PGMOL - AstonVilla 2011/2012

But on to the refs. We only did 6 games from Aston Villa last season. If you want to be critical about that….fine. We understand this. We would have loved to have more games reviewed but unfortunately we were not able to review more games. Lack of matches shown on TV is one factor. The other factor is …lack of qualified referees to review more games. So if you want to join us and make sure that next season we will have an ever bigger number of games: please apply by putting a comment in the comment section and we will get back to you – you could even help us to review all the games we missed this season if you have access to the videos.

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If we want to look it from the positive side we did more than 15% of their games. We just will have to to do with this and try to make up some conclusions.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - AstonVilla 2011/2012

The basic decisions look great! Just under 80% of all the decisions in the games we reviewed from Aston Villa were correct. As this is the first team we don’t know yet where we stand but I think this is a high score. Because if you read the first article in the series you will know that the overall league average was 72,49% or 71,35 % when we looked at the weighted decisions.  So this is a great score for the games that had Aston Villa in it.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency Breakdown - AstonVilla 2011/2012

If we take on each of the different decisions type we can see that the goals decisions are as can be expected. 20 decisions had to be made and 18 were correct. Or, more importantly, two  were not correct is more important. So not much out of line with the average.

The offside decisions are rather well dealt with in the games involving Aston Villa. Only one wrong call (that we could check) and this leads to a score of 93%.

The other decisions are also rather good compared to the league average.  Only 21,5% wrong calls compared to the 28% in the whole league.

The penalty decisions are also very good. “Only” 16,67% wrong compared to a league average of more than 37%.

And a perfect score for the red cards decisions in the Aston Villa games. A 100% score and this while the league average is only 21%.

And also the yellow cards could be called good compared to the league average. An average of just under 69% correct compared to the league average of 56%.

Now let us try and find out in in whose favour the wrong decisions went.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Incorrect calls Breakdown - AstonVilla 2011/2012

And if we look at the away games, of which we had 4 you can see that Aston Villa had a big away bias going against them.  But in the two home games they had a big home bias in their favour. But even that big home bias was not enough to win their home games.  But both bias numbers (in favour at home and against away from home) are bigger than the league average.  The away bias against is twice the normal bias. The home bias in favour is even more than three times what can be expected.

If we include the weight in to the decisions the global picture remains the same. Almost twice the normal away bias against and around three times the normal home bias in their favour.

It is interesting to note that at home Aston Villa didn’t manage to win points in those games.  But that could have been because the bias was mostly situated in the small decisions. The refs never went into overdrive in order to tilt the game but away from home they got some big decisions going against them.

The overall average bias score is on both occasions a negative one. So you could say that Aston Villa didn’t get many favours in total from the refs if we take into account all 6 games.

Let us try to see how the different refs did in the Aston Villa games.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - AstonVilla (Un-Weighted) 2011/2012

Mark Halsey did two of their games. And he had a big negative swing in total.  He gave them hardly anything in his decisions. But he certainly gave a lot of wrong calls against them.  So one might be tempted to say that Halsey is not a friend of Villa.

And the same can be said about Anthony Taylor. His total score is lower but that is mainly because he seemed to make a lot of mistakes also in Villa’s favour. But the big mistakes went mostly against Aston Villa.

If we look at the score from Phil Dowd we see that he had a zero score in total. It is clear to see that he had a great game when handling Villa

On the good side for Villa we have Jonathon Moss who gave them a positive swing of 4 decisions. And no wrong decisions against them. And this is also the case with Michael Oliver who gave nothing against them but gave a lot against the opponents in his game.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - AstonVilla (Weighted) 2011/2012

And if we put weight to the decisions we see that Mark Halsey remains very much on top in a negative way for Aston Villa.  As was Anthony Taylor. Good old Phil Dowd remained right in the middle of a probably excellent game. And Jonathon Moss and Michael Oliver had performances that didn’t harm Villa in the wrong calls department.

And now let us move on to something new for our referee reviews. We never will stop to surprise you.

PGMOL Vs AstonVilla - Incorrect calls Seasonal Handicap - AstonVilla (Weighted) 2011/2012

With this new table we are trying something new. We are trying to visualise if something was not really okay somewhere during the season. Let us say if a team gets 5 games in a row only positive bias and suddenly it swings to a negative bias for a while and then after a while it changes back then this could mean that some person was “ordering” a certain swing in results from the refs. Imagine a team suddenly going close to the top of the league and someone else doesn’t like that.   Following the old Italian way of life that person might quickly ensure that this team on a good run only good the refs that would “manageable” and the word would go out.  “Don’t let them win”.  If there is such a thing to see we maybe could expose it in this table?

And it also could be used to see if a bad or biased performance from a ref cost a team points or not.

The green line indicates the number of points and the number is the place in the league table. And in the table below you see the bias swing of the games we reviewed. So when a game was reviewed you can see if there was a positive or negative bias from the ref and in the table above you can see if this has cost that team points or not.

So in this case we can say that the negative bias swing in week 8 cost Aston Villa points as they lost that game. In game in week 33 we again had a bad performance for the ref that cost points to Aston Villa.

And so we can see deeper in to the performances of the refs for the teams and see if it cost points to said teams.


All in all in the games that involved Aston Villa the refs had a rather good overall performance and made more than average correct calls.

Unfortunately for Aston Villa it didn’t help them a lot. Because if we look at the bias results it is clear that most of the wrong decisions (few as they were) went against Aston Villa.

Two refs had a positive bias and two had a negative bias against Aston Villa.

It is likely that the biased negative wrong decisions in the games we reviewed have cost Aston Villa some points.

The series continues…


Some of the reviews of  Villa games

Untold Ref Review: Man U 4 Aston Villa 0

Arsenal v Aston Villa.  Phil Dowd gives a master class;

Villa 0 Man City 1 – what a decent ref looks like

Ref Review: Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 3

Villa 1 Arsenal 2

Man City 4 Aston Villa 1

13 comments to REF REVIEWS 2012 Team by Team: – Aston Villa

  • Gerry Lennon

    Heh! I have been following all this material … just not commenting on it … until you wrap it up with Wolves.
    I would hate to think you were doing all this an nobody was botherig to read it … because it is not about transfer gossip.

  • Matt Clarke

    A huge amount of work to provide this and a lot of work to process it into meaningful summaries – thanks once more…


    …I get hungry for more analysis.

    You were able to review 15 AVilla games, which were selected by the TV channels. So this is obviously a weighted bias towards ‘interesting’ games. I would, therefore like to know how each team’s bias was regionally-related (referring back to your previous articles).

    Anyway, I am sure that you have better things to do, but thanks again.

  • WalterBroeckx

    We decided to go for the ‘top teams’ in the first place. If we then had time we would take on the ‘lesser teams’ (with all respect)

    Another problem is that our ref reviewers are spread around the globe and only one based in England.
    So in my country they only pick Aston Villa when they play the top teams. I think the same goes for the other out of England ref.

    So I hereby make another call upon any qualified ref who could help us: HELP US!

    I think with our team we have done the maximum possible (we do have other jobs) in our spare time

  • Stevie E

    Uh Walter, ARsenal comes before ASton Villa… Please dont tell me you’re going to show Arsenals data right at the end of this series..! I don’t think I can wait that long!

  • Matt Clarke

    Sorry, I think I did not explain my question properly.
    I fully accept why those were the Villa games that were reviewed.
    I feel that the bias was imposed by what was avaialable – not by you/UA.
    My request for more analysis went to the data that you do have.
    I was asking to know: how was the bias for/against Villa regionally spread?
    Did they fare worse against the NW, NE etc?

  • Anne

    Great work, guys. I just realized I hadn’t taken the time to mention how great this series is, and how impressed I am with all your work.

  • Anne

    @Gerry Lennon:

    I’m sure that people are reading this. But it doesn’t matter whether they are or not. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and you can’t put it back in the box at that point 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Steve E,

    We decided to go from the bottom to the top on the basic of games reviewed. So not alphabetical, not league position or not even bias position or so.

    In a way this is to build up a bit and to show the differences between only doing 6 games of a certain team to have 12 games done and the extra data this brings to a team done 24 times and then to 32 times and then to 38 games reviewed.

    The last table will get more filled up the further we come in this series.

  • anatra

    Good work, once again. Absolutely love the new graph ! Great for visualization.

  • Thanks for all the positive comments to Walter and Dogface for this series – and believe me there is a lot more to come yet.

    We might even get a book out of it.

    I have to say, as I read each article through, this series more than anything else makes me proud to be associated with Untold

  • LRV

    Walter, Dogface, very well done. Infact, if you ever catch me sy any bad word against either of you, fine me £200 (except of course if you turn against Arsenal – lol).

  • Stuart

    Hi everyone, just to let you know, Vital Villa are aware of the referee review feature here on untold and have agreed to publish a request for more referees to join so we can work towards entirely unbiased reviewing.

    Many thanks to Jonathan and all at Vital Villa for their help.

    More news to come soon…

  • Stuart

    And a big thanks to Ian at Aston Villa views for publishing my article asking for help from more referees.