Arsenal v Fulham 18 January 2014 – the Match Officials

Arsenal v Fulham 18 January 2014 – the Match Officials

Andrew Crawshaw

Referee – Lee Probert; Assistants – S Beck and A Holmes; Fourth Official – L Mason


Lee Probert was born in 1972 so is likely to be around for a while.  His home County FA is Wiltshire so is nominally a “Southerner”.

He started in the Conference South and stepped up to the Football League in 1998.  In 2007 he joined the Premier League Select List and in 2010 was accredited to the FIFA list so can officiate in the Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Internationals.  Let’s look at his recent history with both Arsenal and Fulham.

S Beck is normally with Clattenberg and this is his first time with Mr Probert, Only the eighth appearance for Mr Holmes in the League this year, he doesn’t seem to have a regular referee, he was with Mr Probert for the Everton v Sunderland game on Boxing Day.

Starting in 2011/12 there was only one reviewed game and that one is particularly salient to the game on Saturday

Untold Ref Review : Fulham 2 – Arsenal 1 20 Jan 2012 – 53% overall, bias against 15/85 and one (possibly two) wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red cards, penalties and goals).  Key incidents :-

Minute 9 – Sidwell tackles Arteta from behind getting both man and ball, always a foul not given

Minute 10 – Hangerland catches Ramsey’s leg under the nose of the referee, foul not given

Minute 11 – Song tackles Dembele from behind and gets both ball and man, this time the referee rembers it’s a foul and correctly awards free kick.  (Something of a pattern starting to develop here.  First foul from Arsenal penalised, previous two by Fulham not penalised)

Minute 12 – Song played the ball upfield to RVP in an attacking position, ref called a foul and brought the ball back to Arsenal’s half giving Fulham time to re-organise. (that’s what the advantage rule is for to give the team with the ball an advantage when they are fouled)

Minute 13 – Penalty shout to Arsenal.  Senderos catches Gervinho’s ankle, without the foul hewould have had a shot on goal from 4 metres.  Inexplicable and clearly wrong Important Decision..  Senderos should have had a yellow card at least and possibly a red.  Ref looked the other way

Minute 21 – Arsenal score (0-1)

Minute 25 – Hangerland has difficulty in controlling bouncing ball, Song nicks it off him and passes to RVP in attacking position, ref invents a second ‘phantom’ foul to let Fulham have some respite.

Minute 41 – four incorrect decisions immediately after each other.  Riise goes down and sits on ball making it virtually unplayable and putting himself in danger.  Ref should restart with dropped ball.  Djourou gets the ball from under Riise who then tackles him from behind, clamping Djourou’s legs – very dangerous and should be yellow card.  Djourou gets up and is again fouled by Fulham player, again with ref doing nothing.  Fulham end up with a goal scoring opportunity as a result of the referee’s lack of application of the rules of football.

Minute 45 – Senderos tries to amputate Theo’s legs, Theo jumps out of the way – ref saw nothing

Minute 53 – Murphy has deliberate foul breaking up an attack, late and took Djourou.  Foul given but should also have been a yellow card.

Minute 58 – Penalty shout for Arsenal.  Unclear on replay, Senderos seemed to push RVP into Kelly who went down, Ref awarded foul against RVP.  Possible wrong Important Decision but ref given benefit of doubt as per reviewing rules.

Minute 61 – Riise pushes Theo in the back with both hands ref sees nothing

Minute 63 – Djourou correctly given yellow card following tackle from behind (again as it is an Arsenal player Mr Probert correctly remembers the rules)

Minute 67 – Dempsey handles the ball, Assistant sees and signals the foul against Fulham, Ref initially gives it the other way only giving the decision correctly after the Assistant has another go at him

Minute 78 – Zamora felt Djourou close to him and tumbled as though shot a ridiculous decision when compared with that in minute 61.  Ref buys the foul and gives Djourou a second yellow card.  If the ref saw a foul then he was entitled to give a second yellow as it was a promising attack.

Minute 85 – Fulham score a goal (1-1)

Minute 90+2 – Fulham score a goal (2-1)

Minute 90+3 – Fulham player kicks the ball into the crowd who fail to return it for 30 seconds, no additional time added for this or the excessive time for the goal celebration.

This game had all the hallmarks of biased officials – fouls being consistently treated differently for both teams, advantages not being awarded to give one team time to regroup.  Phantom fouls being awarded for the same reason.  Clear penalty not being given along with the appropriate card.  One team being allowed to waste time.  It really was as bad as you will ever see.  For all of you with Arsenal Digital Membership you can see the full game on the website.  Digital Membership is free so do sign up for it.

Arsene complained about Mr Probert in his post match interview and wasn’t fined for his comments – it was that bad!

For last year Mr Probert was again not one of the best referees Arsenal enjoyed as I am sure you will recall from the ‘table of shame’.  Mr Probert is fourth from bottom with an anti-Arsenal bias of -36.5



For Fulham the equivalent graphic is below, Mr Probert is just over half way down with a score of -8.5.

Putting some flesh on these ‘bones’

Last year

Match Review: Lee Probert – Norwich City Vs Arsenal (1 – 0) [20/10/2012] – 73% overall, bias against 6/94 but no wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red card, penalty or goal)  Key moments were:-

Minute 0 – Advantage played following foul on arsenal defender near own penalty area ball had to be played backwards – this was no advantage and the foul should have been given.

Minute 7 – Gervinho given offside from a ball by Jenkinson.  He was two metres from the sideline but the ball ended up in the middle of the field with Giroud who was clearly onside and who had one defender to beat with Podolski next to him.  A really poor decision.

Minute 17 – Turner wraps his arms around Giroud pulling him to the ground whilst winning a header – should have been a foul to Arsenal.

Minute 19 – Holt scores a goal for Norwich (1-0)

Minute 23 – Johnson gets a yellow card for a foul.

Minute 38 – Holt grabs hold of Arteta then Vermaelen jumps in the back of Holt.  free kick given to Norwich rather than to Arsenal for the first foul.

Minute 54 – Hoolahan gets a yellow card for timewasting.

Minute 57 – imaginary foul by Arsenal giving Norwich a free kick.

Minute 61 – Holt gets a yellow card for dissent.

Minute 70 – Turner gets a yellow card for a foul.

Minute 74 – Giroud attempt to trip a Norwich player but he can jump over the leg of Giroud.  Good advantage given as Norwich can start a counter.

Minute 75 – Vermaelen first to ball, free kick wrongly given against him.

Minute 86 – Another imaginary foul giving Norwich a free kick after Holt goes to ground with the ball.

One incorrect decision favouring Arsenal, fifteen favouring Norwich including the denial of that possible goal scoring opportunity in the seventh minute.  A game we could quite probably have drawn so a point taken away by the referee.

Match Review: Lee Probert – Southampton Vs Arsenal (1 – 1) [01/01/2013] – 68% overall, bias against 23/77 and one wrong Important Decision  The key moments were:-

Minute 34 – Ramirez scores a goal for Southampton (1-0)

Minute 35 – Wilshere tries to start a counter attack but is brought down by Puncheon who should have been booked but wasn’t.

Minute 40 – De Prado scores an own goal (1-1)

Minute 44 (wrong Important Decision) – Southampton defender stuck out his arm to block a pass from Podolski to Wilshere, defender was in the penalty area so penalty should have been given but wasn’t.

Minute 50 – Gaston kicks the ball away in front of the face of Wilshere – dangerous play but nothing given, not even a free kick.

So a game where Arsenal should have been given a penalty but had to settle for a one one draw.  Two points taken by the referee.

Match Review: Lee Probert – Wigan Athletic Vs Fulham (1 – 2) [22/09/2012] – 83% overall, bias against 21/79 and no wrong Important Decisions. Key moments were

Minute 22 – Caldwell slid in got ball and player, foul not given

Minute 30 – Rodallega scores for Fulham (0-1)

Minute 37 – McCarthy pulls Sidwell down by his shirt to stop a promising attack.  Foul given but should have been a yellow card as well

Minute 37 – Kone in an offside position played the ball directly after it rebounded from the post, no free kick awarded

Minute 67 – Duff scores for Fulham (0-2)

Minute 69 – Figueroa knocked over Duff from behind, nothing given

Minute 85 – Penalty shout for Wigan.  Miyaichi’s cross hit Riise’s arm but was no movement of hand to ball and little time to react.  Correct no decision

Minute 86 – Penalty shout for Fulham.  Ball was deflected before it hit Sidwell, contact with hand looked entirely accidental.  Correct No decision

Minute 89 – Ramis (Wigan) played the ball in a dangerous manner, foul not given.

Minute 90 – Kone scores for Wigan (1-2)

Minute 90+3 – Baird (Fulham) rightly gets yellow card for cynical foul.

A decent performance by Mr Probert, two wrong calls against Wigan, eight against Fulham none of them likely to have changed the course of the game.

Match Review: Lee Probert – Fulham Vs Stoke City (1 – 0) [23/02/2013] – 73% overall, bias against 50/50 but 3 wrong Important Decisions Key moments were

Minute 10 – Ruiz rightly receives a yellow card for handball.  (so far 16 right calls and none wrong)

Minute 11 – First wrong call.  Stoke player trips Fulham man, not given

Minute 12 (Wrong Important Decision) – Berbatov plants his elbow in the face of N’Zonzi,should have been a straight red card but Ref gives nothing

Minute 22 – (Wrong Important Decision) – N’Zonzi clearly still frustrated by the not given card for being elbowed seeks retaliation.  He gets a yellow card but this should have been a red.  Completely avoidable had the referee done his job properly in Minute 12.

Minute 34 – Wilson (Stoke) rightly gets a yellow card

Minute 45+1 – Berbatov (who shouldn’t be on the pitch) scores a goal for Fulham (1-0)

Minute 52 – Karagounis is penalised for a foul but should also have been booked as the Stoke player was about to shoot.

Minute 55 – Stoke rightly awarded penalty for handball by Dejagah but fail to score.

Minute 56 – Jerome wrongly given offside, a big wrong decision as he was through on goal.

Minute 63 – (Wrong Important Decision) – Huth makes a run following in a Stoke corner and elbows Senderos in the head.  For the third time in the game the referee is blind for the use of elbows or hands against an opponent’s head.  Unacceptable.  Huth should have red card.

Really poor refereeing and Stoke would be right to feel aggrieved.  Berbatov should have been sent off in the 12th minute, this would have calmed N’Zonzi down so he wouldn’t have been in trouble in the 22nd minute when he should have been sent off (but also wasn’t).  Berbatov added insult to injury by scoring the only goal of the game in extra time at the end of the first half.  To cap it all Huth should have been the third player sent off in Minute 63 for a further assault.

So four games, only one with an acceptable overall score, only one with an even bias, and that wasn’t the one with an acceptable overall score.  Two games with wrong important Decisions, one of which had three!  In three of the four the wrong decisions probably influenced the outcome of the games.  Not the best referee in the world one would be forced to say on this evidence.

Coming now to this year and it is the third time this year for Probert for both sides.

The fastest but incomplete match report : Arsenal – Norwich 4-1 was Walter’s review of the first.  This was memorable for the Wonder goal that Wilshere scored following a blur of first time passes across the team.  Flamini then had to go off following a clash of heads but I don’t think this was anything but an accidental clash.  Ozil put us 2 nil up in the second half, then Norwich got one back that Szcz,  who was unsighted, couldn’t stop.  Ramsey made it 3-1 when he dribbled through most of the Norwich team and Ozil finished the scoring (4-1) late on.  With the score at 2-1 Probert did his best to keep Norwich in the game with a number of obvious fouls by Norwich not being punished including a clear handball just outside the Norwich penalty area.  On the day though we were too strong for both Norwich and Probert.

We then had him three weeks ago for the away game at Newcastle (0-1) and here is Walter’s review of that game; Newcastle – Arsenal, a flash back in time….  Giroud scored the only goal of a very tight game from a pass by Theo.  Probert allowed Newcastle to kick the shit out of Arsenal players then remembered the rules when anyone tried to retaliate.  Tiote and Williamson were the chief culprits from Newcastle and it was incredible that neither of them got a yellow card.  With a referee rather than a spectator one or both of them should probably been sent off.  Arsenal ended up clinging on to their lead for grim death and made it in the end.

For Fulham, he has done the two home games v West Brom (1-1) and United (1-3).

I asked my Fulham supporting friend what he could remember about the officiating in those two games and he responded – “I remember the Manure game clearly and the officiating was abysmal.  United got every 50/50 decisions and two of United’s goals were marginally offside!  I was ranting about the decisions, as were others sitting around me”.

Taking that as gospel, it would seem as though Probert really doesn’t like Fulham either as he normally exhibits a large home bias (unless Arsenal are the home team of course).

I said in my preview of the Newcastle game that I wouldn’t have him in charge of a kindergarden game let alone one in the premier league.  He did nothing in that game to convince me that I was wrong in any way about him.  He is unfit to be a referee, he allows assaults to go unpunished, treats opposing teams differently and is quite willing to invent fouls or not apply advantages to enable a favoured team to regroup.  He is also one of the least likely referees to award Arsenal a penalty or send off an opposing player.

Nevertheless, Arsenal are a far stronger team than Fulham and even with likely defensive strengthening with the return of Stecklenberg in goal and Hangerland in central defence should be too strong.

Supporters, don’t let him get away with cheating – make loads of noise.


Books on Arsenal at a discount


Recent posts


13 Replies to “Arsenal v Fulham 18 January 2014 – the Match Officials”

  1. I thought, surely it won’t be Probert.

    When I clicked on the article and scrolled down – there was his name. I shouted “****ing hell” so loudly, I’m sure people outside my home heard.

    An evil git, that Probert.

    I’ll try and read through later. Thanks for posting.

  2. One consolation is that he is not positively in favour of either team. We can overcome this.

  3. Hello.

    I visit the page almost everyday and read pretty much every article.

    When seeing the referees and their decisions over the past few years, most of them seem to go somewhat against Arsenal, and that is very easy to see for everyone.

    But I think this season things have become a little better, except that opening day disgrace, and maybe against City.

    Could this be because Ferguson is no more?

    I always feel like Ferguson really hate(d/s) Arsenal, and maybe he forced most referees to make decisions against?

  4. Probert is a ref who most of the time displays also a home bias. One thing we can hope for that it evens out his anti-Arsenal bias.

  5. Probert twice in just a few games. Wonder what the pgmol have in store for us as we hit difficult fixtures in February and March……think I can guess …the names Taylor dean Atkinson mason….and strangely probert again keep coming into my psychic thoughts…

  6. How does anyone, drive the manipulation of inadvertent bias, let alone “develop” bias? I spent a day going over SAFs life on Wikipedia. By design, nothing on Wikipedia is supposed to be controversial. And me having autism, I could easily miss hints that might suggest how this twisted system evolved.

    The only thing that occurs to me, is somehow SAF witnesses some serious crime committed by whoever was assigning referees near when he started at Old Tractor.

    I pretty much finished the static analysis of 1992/3, which is not too far removed from when SAF was installed. As mentioned before (by myself in other threads), I am not seeing anti-Arsenal. But, there are strange things in the numbers. And if you go looking for history on this, you can guess at conspiracy.

    But, as I get around to processing other years of the EPL, maybe some of this explains itself.

    I am starting to look at time series related effects, and I am not writing a lot of code, mostly just looking for ideas as to what to look for.


    David Bond has an article up about ManU needing to finish in the Top-4.

    > This year’s budget is based on finishing third in the Premier League and reaching the quarter-finals of all cup competitions.

    > The anti-Glazer camp among United’s support are hoping this is the start of a downward spiral that forces them to sell.

    > At this stage, it would be wrong to overstate the extent of the crisis at United. It is early days.

    I don’t think ManU has a hope of finishing 3rd. Even if SAF gets involved and starts pulling short, curly hairs of Mike Riley.

    I don’t wish ManU well. They have twisted the system for so long, it would serve them right to finish outside of CL and Europa.


    I like Walter’s comment, maybe Probert’s desire to favour home does balance out his hatred of Arsenal.

    I am hoping for 0 new injuries tomorrow. If a wind storm hits England tomorrow, it wouldn’t bother me if someone in the FA associated with policy or discipline got inconvenienced by a tree failing. Minor injury or broken roof or big delay getting to work.

    I would like to see the big miracle, and Cardiff get points 1 or 3) off ManCity. I would like to see AV get 1 point (or 3) against Liverpool. Swansea for the home win, Chelsea and ManU to tie, and to finish the weekend have West Brom win at home to Everton.

    As far as Southampton goes, Cortese has left. Pochettino I think has already decided to leave (the owner doesn’t want to be an owner, who would stay?), and is just going to finish the season. If Cortese finds a new team to work for, I think a bunch of Southampton players will follow Pochettino to the new team. And if that happens, next year Southampton gets relegated.


    The bookies got hit big time last weekend, and they are thinking it is going to happen this weekend to (which means Arsenal winning).

    Injury list being long, I am still calling for Arsenal to win.
    Many potential starting lineups look strong, with a strong bench. COYG!

  7. Keep the faith guys , we will overcome .Up the gunners .
    In the meantime keep smilling or laughing …


    One day in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God, “Lord, I have a problem!”

    “What’s the problem, Eve?”

    “Lord, I know you’ve created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, and that hilarious comedic snake, but I’m just not happy.”

    “Why is that, Eve?” came the reply from above.

    “Lord, I am lonely. And I’m sick to death of apples.”

    “Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you.”

    “What’s a ‘man,’ Lord?”

    “This man will be a flawed creature, with many bad traits. He’ll lie, cheat, and be vainglorious; all in all, he’ll give you a hard time.

    But, he’ll be bigger, faster, and will like to hunt and kill things.

    He will provide you with companionship and satisfy your desires.

    Yet, he’ll be witless and will revel in childish things like fighting and kicking a ball about. He won’t be too smart, so he’ll also need your advice to think properly.”

    “Sounds great,” says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow. “What’s the catch, Lord?”

    “As I said, he’ll be proud, arrogant, and self-admiring, you’ll have to let him believe that I made him first.

    So, just remember: it’s our secret. Woman to Woman.”

  8. Heaven can wait ….

    An old lady dies and goes to heaven.

    She’s chatting it up with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates when all of a sudden she hears the most awful, blood curdling screams.

    Don’t worry about that,’ says St. Peter, ‘It’s only someone having the holes drilled into her shoulder blades for the wings.’

    The old lady looks a little uncomfortable but carries on with the conversation.
    A few minutes later, there are more blood curdling screams.

    ‘Oh my Goodness,’ says the old lady, ‘now what is happening?’

    ‘Not to worry,’ says St. Peter, ‘she’s just having her head drilled to fit the halo.’

    ‘I can’t do this,’ says the old lady, ‘I’m going to hell.’

    ‘You can’t go to that nasty place,’ says St. Peter. ‘You’ll be raped and taken advantage of.’

    ‘Maybe so,’ says the old lady, but I’ve already got the holes for that.’

  9. Meanwhile on Earth ….

    Two Irish nuns have just arrived in USA by boat,
    and one says to the other, “I hear that the people in
    this country actually eat dogs.”

    “Odd,” her companion replies, “but if we shall live in America , we might as well do as the Americans do.”

    As they sit, they hear a push cart vendor yelling, “Hot Dogs, get your dogs here,” and they both walk towards the hot dog cart.

    “Two dogs, please!,” says one. The vendor is very pleased to oblige, wraps both hot dogs in foil and hands them over. Excited, the nuns hurry to a bench and begin to unwrap their ‘dogs.’

    The mother superior is first to open hers. She begins to blush, and then, after staring at it for a moment, leans
    to the other nun and in a soft brogue whispers:
    “What part did you get?”

  10. Of Love and the other stuff…almost brought a tear to me eyes… almost ….. from

    The Shoebox…
    A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

    For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

    In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totalling $95,000.

    He asked her about the contents.
    ‘When we were to be married,’ she said, ‘ my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.’

    The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two Precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two Times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with Happiness.

    ‘Honey,’ he said, ‘that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?’

    ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’s the money I made from selling the other dolls.’

    A Prayer
    Dear Lord,
    I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
    Love to forgive him;
    And Patience for his moods;
    Because Lord, if I pray for Strength,
    I’ll beat him to death,
    Because I don’t have the freaking time to crochet.

  11. Bricksfield, keep it going! its going to be a great day.
    one thing I am sure of is that the pgmol do actually read untold’s ref preview. thus I expect a slight change in today’s officiating. one can hope? if u make it to the emirates today, greet every bias with a loud boo. let them know that we know who they are and what their plan is!
    COYG. 3_0 to the gunners.

  12. Slightly off topic, but seen this quote from Ozil.

    “…That means a lot for us players, we have fans who are right behind us for 90 minutes it doesn’t matter whether we are winning or losing. That’s really important for the team and our goal for the team is to have a good performance and good results to say thank you to the fans. I’m really happy to be part of a team that has such great fans.”

    So in case there was ever any doubt about moaning having a damaging effect…

Comments are closed.