Arsenal v Newcastle – 28 April 2014 – The most biased ref of all.

Arsenal v Newcastle – 28 April 2014 – The Match Officials

By Andrew Crawshaw

  • Referee – Neil Swarbrick
  • Assistants – L Betts & I Hussin
  • Fourth Official – C Pawson


A second time this year for Mr Swarbrick, we had him in our away game to Villa in January which we won 2 – 1.  One game at home and one away is what the PGMOL should aim for with every referee/team combination as a maximum, so we shouldn’t have any complaints about this appointment should we?

But is he any good though I hear you ask?

In last year’s hall of shame he was by far the worst referee we had in terms of bias against us with a massive score of -61, our last two referees Kevin Friend and Jonathan Moss scored -4.5 and 6.67 as a comparison, and Moss should have, but didn’t, given us two penalties against Hull and probably sent off a Hull Player as well.

Aston Villa v Arsenal 13 January 2014 – Here is a link to Walter’s post game piece :-

Aston Villa – Arsenal: the happy, angry Gooner  When reading the piece it is important to remember that Atkinson was the fourth official and that Walter referring to him wasn’t a mistake.

We won the game with two first half goals in the space of two minutes and then basically controlled the game.  Swarbrick showed what a poor ref he is by allowing a number of physical assaults on our players going unpunished, culminating in Rosicky getting a broken nose following a deliberate elbow that wasn’t even called a foul.  Furthermore despite it being a head injury Swarbrick didn’t stop play in direct contravention of the rules!  Completely unacceptable!!

Last year there was only one game he did for us

Match Review: Neil Swarbrick – Arsenal Vs Everton (0 – 0) [16/04/2013] – 58% overall, bias against 84/16 and one wrong Important Decision (second yellow, red card, penalties or goals).  Key talking points were:-

  • Minute 4 – First wrong decision Arsenal player holding, not given
  • Minute 13 – Everton player trips Arsenal player not given
  • Minute 14 – Everton Player throws himself into Cazorla blocking his leg on the ground, not given
  • Minute 16 – Arteta tries to recover ball but is pulled back by Pienaar, nothing given
  • Minute 20 – Jagielka runs into the back of Giroud preventing him heading the ball, nothing given
  • Minute 22 – Mirallas comes in late to Arsenal player, nothing given.
  • Minute 25 – Everton player displays open dissent to linesman , should be yellow card but nothing given
  • Minute 27 – Gibson rightly gets yellow card for foul.
  • Minute 32 – Gibson commits blatant body check should have been a second yellow card.  Wrong Important Decision.  Arsenal should have had a man advantage for nearly an hour.
  • Minute 34 – Pienaar rightly gets a yellow card for a foul.
  • Minute 36 – Sliding tackle from Arsenal player should have been called a foul
  • Minute 46 – Gibbs tripped but retains his footing then is pushed – where is the free kick?
  • Minute 53 – Fellaini fouling Giroud long before ball arrives, foul not given
  • Minute 55 – Arteta rightly given yellow card for foul
  • Minute 67 – Anichebe comes in late to the back of Mertesacker, nothing given
  • Minute 69 – Barkley rightly given yellow card for foul
  • Minute 74 – Baines takes out Arsenal player at full speed stopping promising attack.  Foul given but this should have been a yellow card
  • Minute 90+3 – Monreal rightly given a yellow card for foul.  This time the ref remembers the rules (or was it just that the offence was committed by an Arsenal player?)

A dreadful piece of refereeing – 58% overall score, only Lee Mason in the Stoke v Arsenal game managed lower 55%.  There were 26 wrong decisions called against Arsenal, 5 against Everton.  Everton should have been reduced to 10 men in Minute 32 which surely would have made Arsenal favourites to win the game rather than draw.  Thirty one wrong decisions in total – one every three minutes – Unbelievably bad!

Interestingly all five of his other reviewed games were judged at 80% or better, WestHam v Southampton got 95% and Wigan v West Brom 100% so it seems to be something about Arsenal that causes his judgement to disappear.

In 2011/12, he was in charge for two games:-

Sunderland v Arsenal (1-2); 82% overall, bias against 0/100 but no wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red cards, penalties and goals)

Wolves v Arsenal (0-3); 70% overall, bias against 35/65 including two wrong Important Decisions.  Zubar should have been booked for a wild late challenge on Walcott when he scored in Minute 12, he got a booking in minute 56 for a second wild tackle on Benayoun and so should have been sent off.  In Minute 84, Ramsey was fouled in the penalty area but kept his feet and shot resulting in a corner, a foul in the penalty area should result in a penalty kick not a corner.

For Arsenal Swarbrick is a dangerous referee, his inability to apply the laws of the game means that our players are at severe risk of being physically injured.

What is Mr Swarbrick’s history with Newcastle?

Last year there was one reviewed game:-

Match Review: Neil Swarbrick – Manchester City Vs Newcastle United (4 – 0) [30/03/2013];  86% overall, bias against 100/0 and no wrong Important Decisions.  Key moments were:-

  • Min 7 – first foul correctly called against David Silva
  • Min 15 – first Newcastle foul correctly called against Sissoko
  • Min 25 – Sissoko should be booked for persistent fouling, he was warned following his previous foul
  • Min 25 – Anita rightly booked for foul
  • Min 28 – Cabaye rightly booked for foul
  • Min 40 – Tevez scores (1-0)
  • Min 45+1 – Silva scores (2-0)
  • Min 55 – Kompany scores (3-0)
  • Min 63 – Jonas should be booked for foul on Nasri
  • Min 68 – Perch scores own goal (4-0)

With 86% overall not a lot wrong, but two Newcastle players allowed to get away with challenges for which they should have been booked.

This year Crystal Palace v Newcastle on 21 December 2013 (0-3)

A comfortable win for Newcastle, Cabaye scored in Min 25, an own goal by Gabbidon in Min 39 and Ben Arfa (penalty) in Min 86 were the scorers, Yellow cards for Tiote (min 64), Coloccini (min 670 and Chamakh (min 83) were the headline decisions.  The text coverage on the Newcastle site raised no questions about any decisions.

Newcastle v Spurs on 12 Feb 2014 (0-4)

Newcastle well beaten in the end, two from Adebayor, Paulinho and a late goal from Chadli from long range curling into the top corner.  Loris had a good game repelling a number of goal bound efforts, Tim Krul made three saves which fell directly to Spurs players to score from close range.  Again no mention on the Newcastle site of any significant wrong decisions.

In Summary

  1. For teams other than Arsenal, Swarbrick seems to be a fairly decent referee
  2. For Arsenal he is not a good referee – unbelievably bad at times
  3. He has problems generally in being able to consistently award cards being far too lenient – this is exaggerated in Arsenal games where he allows our opponents almost free range to kick the s..t out of us.
  4. I am fearful that one of our players will get a serious injury in this game, Rosicky got his nose broken in the last game he was in charge of without it even being called a foul.

13 Replies to “Arsenal v Newcastle – 28 April 2014 – The most biased ref of all.”

  1. Thanks Andrew. That is worrying. Newcastle may…or may not be especially motivated at the moment,but the team cannot be complacent, and Newcastle do have some physical players , as we saw up there this season.
    They will have Pardew back on the touchline after his ban, this may…or may not motivate them, depending on who you believe.
    Whatever this ref does…or does not do,hopefully we will have enough this evening. If he is up to anything, hope the captain and the fans lay into him.
    The fear will be them scoring first, sounds like they will get a licence to kick anyway…lets not give them the chance to time waste with this ref.
    Yet another ref from the North West…..nothing wong with people from the north west of course, just so many of them seem to be refs who dont like us!

  2. Was the FA informed of the Rosicky broken nose incident and did anything transpire? It is quite amazing that Ramires gets 4 match ban for a backhand slap and the Villain got away with assault & GBH.

    Nothing surprises me anymore. The games this weekend had so many incidents that were ignored by the PGMOL officials. Some of them were just impossible to believe.

    The most enjoyable was Jose and his bus (or maybe buses) that taught a couple or three divers to swim. I just love it when arrogance has to eat humble pie.

    I’ll be at the game tonight inspite of the RMT strike and look forward to another fine display of the Beautiful Game the Arsenal way (& Swarbrick can do whatever he wants to but he cannot stop the cannonisation of St Totteringham).

  3. Yes, Jose shut a few up this weekend, but the only problem is, we have a Jose media love in inflicted on us. Tactical genius? He is an ultra defensive manager with one of the most expensively assembled squads in the history of the game, who admittedly tends to get things right against bigger teams….but tactical genius….Sunderland, Palace, Newcastle, Villa for starters? Some would say the result is everything, maybe they are right, but with unlimited resources…do you really have to play like Stoke more often than not? If every team played like that, the game would die as a spectacle. Lets remember Chelseas owner previously got bored with this brand of football. Yes, Liverpool played into their hands during that game, I have been critical of Liverpools diving…and favours…they have received this season, but at least, in general, they have a go, as do City
    He even parked the bus against us at our home game. Unfortunatly we have had a season of blowing fuses away to the big boys, especially Chelsea in a manner that is unacceptable and must be put right next season. This after we were showing overall signs in the last year of being more defensively aware

  4. sorry Bootoomee, just realised I have inadvertantly pretty much copied your opinions of Jose’s tactical prowess from the other thread

  5. If Newcastle wants to kick the shit out of us, they will be allowed to. The thing that scares me most is injuries to be honest.
    Keeping my fingers crossed for a win without injuries to one of our players and certainly to the likes of Ramsey and Özil.

  6. Could the fact that this is the only game today bring so much attention that the referee will try to behave?

  7. Mandy Dodd,

    Please don’t apologise. Great minds think alike 🙂

    Mourhino is ‘tactical genius’ while Wenger “doesn’t do tactics” but:

    – Wenger beat Newcastle away 1-0, Mourhino lost 2-0 at the same venue

    – Wenger beat Sunderland at the Emirates 4-1, Mourhino lost at the Bridge 2-1

    – Wenger beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa park, Mourhino lost 1-0 at the same venue

    – Wenger beat Crystal Palace away 2-0, Mourhino lost 1-0 at the same venue.

    – Wenger beat West Ham 3-1 at the Emirates, Mourhino couldn’t score against them at the Bridge,

    The fact that in 6 games against the other 3 teams in top 4, only Arsenal got a point shows that Mourhino has perfected the art of frustrating attacking teams which these other teams are. Against smaller teams with similar tactics, however, he is frequently found wanting.

    Tactical genius my ass.

  8. Just a comment on the referees. What I found most amazing was when I researched the towns and county’s where the Premier league referees actually came from. The majority were from Manchester and the North of England, with just one from the South, Wiltshire. Is that relevant, well I think so.

    It will come as a huge surprise to some people to learn but referees are human beings, just like the rest of us. They have football opinions, they have teams they support and they have teams they dislike. The fact is they will be biased, whether deliberately or otherwise. Why would they not be?

    My own opinion, which I have always held and had disagreements over, is that the FA should log who referees support. They should not be given games involving ‘their’ team or games that may affect ‘their’ teams situation. It seems fairly obvious.

    I do not care how ‘honest’ or ‘fair’ a referee believes he is, bias will play a part even if subconsciously. Take the last game of the season. The team the referee has followed man and boy, will be relegated if, lets say, Norwich win. He is referring the Norwich game and 3 minutes into injury time with the score nil nil, a Norwich player falls in the penalty area under what looks like a foul. Would he give it? I don’t care he fair he is, he is not going to give that unless he has no other choice. And would he have to be as ‘certain’ to award a similar incident at the other end?

    I think referees are biased and get fed up with supporters who think they are somehow less human than the rest of us.

  9. I wish the lads today to be so good that any false decisions against us are nullified, but really hope for NO MORE INJURIES.

    How about a call/petition for there to be at least 15 refs available every season, and that the games they are to ref are pulled out of the hat at the beginning of the season, like the games are.
    Each ref can and should be allowed to ref ONLY 2 games per season in PL.
    Concerning bias, there should be an open panel to address the refs mistakes, and punishments implemented, a sort of league table of refs, which would then allow the top 3 of them to ref in CL.
    Give them something to work towards, this would surely increase the efficiency of “honest” refs.

    The media needs (should be made)to stop sucking up to refs when a bad decision is made, and it should be allowed to highlight and discuss this, showing the refs league table. I hate when the pundits obscure a blatant mistake made by saying the ref is right, because they are too scared to highlight it.

    As long as the ref situation stays the same, nothing will change.

    Anyway, onto the matter tonight:
    Come on Arsenal, two games to win.

  10. Thanks to Untold/Andrew for the another enjoyable preview.

    So far this Swarbrick looks like he is a completely different person to the one I saw officiate during the 0-0 against Moyes’ Everton towards the end of last season. Almost as if he now knows the rules? Strange. Hopefully I haven’t written too soon.

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