Arsenal v Hull: The ball was out of play for 31 minutes and 52 seconds


By Andrew Crawshaw


I was at the Emirates on Saturday and, amongst other things was incensed at the time wasting that was going on.  I have just reviewed the whole game on Arsenal Player and here is my analysis of the time that the ball was out of play or being held by a goalkeeper.

In all the ball was out of play for 1912 seconds or 31 minutes and 52 seconds

There were 11 times when stoppages were in the control of the referee (bookings, goals, injuries or substitutions.  These amounted to 749 seconds or 12 minutes 29 seconds.  Of this the Referee added 3 minutes in the first half and 6 minutes 22 seconds in the second half.  The time added on by the referee was short by three minutes and 7 seconds.  Thanks Mr East.

Adding the extra time played by the referee to the 90 minutes off official playing time, the ball was in play for only 67 minutes and 30 seconds.

There were 39 stoppages where Arsenal were in control of the ball (Throw-ins, Free kicks, Goal kicks and Corners) amounting to 462 seconds (8 minutes and 42 seconds) an average of 11.8 seconds per stoppage.

There were 28 stoppages controlled by Hull (throw-ins, Free kicks, Goal kicks and Corners) amounting to 620 seconds (10 minutes and 20 seconds) an average of 22.1 seconds per stoppage.  There were also three incidents when the ball was hugged by the Hull goalkeeper for 23 seconds (twice) and 26 seconds wasting a further one minute and 12 seconds.

This demonstrates both appalling timekeeping by the referee in being unable to allow for the time of stoppages which he was in control of and constant gamesmanship by Hull in deliberately slowing the game down throughout.

The crowd first started whistling Harper over time wasting in Minute 10 when he took 33 seconds over goal kick.  They were calling to the referee over this throughout the game.  At one point the Referee called over the Hull  Captain and warned him about the time wasting but then continued to allow all of the Hull players to do it with impunity.  No Hull player was carded for time wasting, despite a total wastage of 11 minutes and 32 seconds.

Here is the breakdown of the time lost

Throw Ins

Minute Seconds Ball  Not Available Team in control of ball
1 3 Ars
5 6 Ars
7 6 Ars
8 6 Ars
19 4 Ars
29 Ars
36 6 Ars
40 5 Ars
48 3 Ars
56 6 Ars
62 3 Ars
67 2 Ars
70 3 Ars
90+3 3 Ars
90+4 6 Ars
2 9 Hull
10 15 Hull
15 5 Hull
22 14 Hull
28 7 Hull
32 22 Hull
34 7 Hull
51 24 Hull
53 4 Hull
55 33 Hull
45+2 10 Hull
45+3 18 Hull
45+3 15 Hull
90+3 24 Hull
66 15 Ref

The Arsenal throw in in minute 29 was impossible to time as the video was showing a replay of an earlier incident andcut back to live action well after the throw had been taken.  No Arsenal throw took longer than 6 seconds, only 2 Hull throws were within that time but three were longer than 20 seconds and one took 33!

Goal Kicks

Minute Seconds Ball  Not Available Team in control of ball
25 5 Ars
3 30 Hull
5 28 Hull
10 33 Hull
56 30 Hull
66 37 Hull
78 30 Hull
88 31 Hull

All Hull goal kicks averaging 30 seconds plus

Free Kicks

Minute Seconds Ball  Not Available Team in control of ball
8 5 Ars
15 5 Ars
21 3 Ars
23 11 Ars
24 5 Ars
37 45 Ars
44 28 Ars
50 8 Ars
52 8 Ars
71 35 Ars
74 20 Ars
6 32 Hull
27 24 Hull
39 32 Hull
58 22 Hull
64 30 Hull
65 35 Hull
85 28 Hull

Similar story here – The 45 second free kick in minute 37 included a long delay whilst the referee marked out an 8 yard line instead of 10 and got the wall into the wrong position.  The 28 second free kick in minute 44 included a yellow card for the Hull player.


Minute Seconds Ball  Not Available Team in control of ball
10 18 Ars
38 35 Ars
72 18 Ars
73 15 Ars
74 14 Ars
87 20 Ars
89 19 Ars
45+2 20 Ars
90+2 19 Ars
90+5 18 Ars

These were all a complete waste of time as none were in any way threatening.

I will come back to this analysis at some time in the season.


Index to recent articles and today’s anniversaries.

60 Replies to “Arsenal v Hull: The ball was out of play for 31 minutes and 52 seconds”

  1. Andrew,
    Thank you so much for putting in the time to do this analysis. Food for thought for all those who don’t think that time wasting is a problem, especially those not at the games who are hypnotised/anaesthetised by the TV coverage showing prolonged pictures of ugly men walking, spitting, talking while deliberately ignoring shots of time wasting players/goalkeepers. Focusing on these incidents could eliminate the time wasting issue overnight, but hey, we need those shots of ugly men more…..,,

  2. Well put together with startling results. Stopping the clock is the only answer in the interest of fairness to teams who want to play. And very glad to see you used the word ‘gamesmanship’ when others will rush to call it cheating in frustration.

  3. Excellent analysis, I made it to the game as well and could not believe how awful the time wasting was – the ref was atrocious but your analysis in cold facts highlights his poor performance – Great article and entirely refreshing

  4. Great analysis, interesting to see what happen when we played spurs. Acampain should be started to stop time wasting, shirt pulling and diving. All of these are easy to cure.
    Another official stops clock every time ball goes out and starts clock when ball come back, ref told what to added ,this means supporters see 90 min football!
    Shirt puling yellow card each time , within 3 weeks it will stop.
    Diving by tv annalysis after came , 1 match ban, 2 months it will stop.

    Iam a season ticket holder and I will be giving it up because Iam fed up with time wasting

  5. The Arsenal Player coverage made it difficult at times to say how much time was wasted with focussing on earlier incidents, players innocently walking away etc. The referee talking to the Hull captain is entirely missing from the video footage.

  6. We are so far behind rugby on this one – the clock is stopped very quickly when there is any break in action and put on as soon as play restarts. This must mean that the game is likely to last the full 80mins and not a minute less.
    Similarly if a player is injured there is an immediate “blood replacement” sent on if the player has to go off for any period, whereas a football team is automatically down to 10 men through no fault of its own. Simple to improve both.

  7. Thanks Andrew, shocking to say the least. Im with BB and would like to see a system like American football, big clock, stops when out of play.
    Although gamesmanship wont go, unless you make a minimum time allowance for each moment a team breaks up the play to halt the opposing teams movements etc and outside that allocated time is automatic yellow.
    Thanks again.

  8. ‘Referee gives advantage to small club over big club’ shock. in fact twice, if you include our 1st goal!! Guess what? Most clubs have to put up with favouritism shown by refs to the big 7 all the time. Not nice is it.

    Rest of post cut

    Untold has I received a large number of comments along similar lines as this, clearly from people who have their own point of view, but have not taken the time to consider the huge amount of research on this site and on Referees Decisions into the actions of referees not just in matches involving Arsenal but in many others. Some even tell us to go and do the research that we have been doing for years.

    Simply saying that this is a rarity for a small club to get an advantage or that the level of analysis is pointless. It is a point of view, of course, but it a silly one to point on this site of all sites, with so many stats built up over the seasons.

    Fans of other clubs, along with many ARsenal fans may disagree with our work, of course, but saying so here, is a bit like going onto a web site for people who work rescuing drug addicts and saying “They should be left to rot”. It is a completely different point of view, and can be placed in web sites that have that point of view.

    Tony Attwood, published, Untold Arsenal

  9. Sorry to repeat myself but – multiball would have reduced the opportunities for time wasting and an early booking for the keeper is also likely to have had a significant effect.
    If ticket prices can’t or won’t be reduced at least increase the quantity of what the customer is paying to see.

  10. ClockEndRider, anyone who has ever played sport competitively will tell you that gamesmanship is part and parcel competition. Some of the most satisfying gamesmanship I have ever witnessed was our Cup Winners Cup win

  11. Thank you Andrew for this tedious, time consuming work you have shared with us!!!

    It confirms with facts our suspicions of many of us posting here of our observations – followed by posts saying exactly this AND its further EVIDENCE for those who continuously harp on – on this page about the writers and posters having No Evidence!!!

    Grateful big time to UA and all it does to bring truth to surface.

  12. I would appreciate it if the people who feel much rage at the cost of Modern Football (a shame they attack their football manger and not the people runnning the league and the sport in England) directed some of that anger towards the people short changing them game after game on the pitch – the PGMOB.

    How hard can it be for the foruth offcial to use a stopwatch. Doesn’t the on field official have enough to worry about? Do the PGMOB want to help their colleagues do a better job? Apparently not!

  13. Totally unacceptable by the Ref. Time wasting has reached a whole new level.

    One day will come where the other team’s player will just fall down asking the ref for lunch break or drinks break or even the ref himself will just stop the game for a cup of tea.

    And then FIFA and UEFA also FA said that video replays (help offered to refs) will disrupt the flow of game and cause wastage of time.

  14. By the way this is some excellent work done by you Andrew. Not just some numbers but with great detail for each second.

  15. On gamesmanship.:

    The PGMOB representative who was asked to try and referee the Chelsea game gave the very strong impression that gamesmanship for one team was not a problem for him e.g.: Oscar, Cahill etc. but it was a problem when the opposition indulged in such antics, e.g.: Chambers man-marking hazard out the game for opening twenty minutes, all the tricks in the book, cheeky tugs, pulls, but the kid is pretty good so there were no blatant pushes like you see not given the other way around, which is why the PGMOB official used hazard falling over as his excuse to get the player back into the game.

    To conclude, gamesmanship is seen all the time. we expect players to indulge. But we don’t expect the offcials to indulge in gamesmanship, as seen with the chap brandishing that susepct yellow towards Chambers, in order to help out hazard, when not shpowing yellows for far worse to the opposition, in the same game. Because that would no longer be gamesmanship. Simply beceause the referee isn’t meant to be playing the game, they are supposed to be managing it.

    Phil Neville’s comments were very helpful in their transparent disingenuity becasue for them to make sense Chambers must not have been playing at the start as he was, but we all saw it! Instead he attempted to claim that Arsenal players weren’t indulging in such stuff, but then how and why was Chambers shown a yellow ard. His words make no sense, unless he is deliberately trying to mislead people.

  16. You may want to consider the fact that 3 of the longest stoppages were for 2 Hull City players injured and subsequently substituted and are now both out of action for lenghty spells.

  17. Thanks for this Andrew. I am going to stop the clock when the game is stopped and start it when the game restarts from tonight. I wish I had thought of this before.

  18. @ Tiger Dave,

    I have (genuinely) enjoyed all conversations I have had with Hull supporters in the last two years – indeed I was having tea in one of the cafes near the ground when a Hull family came in. I congratulated them on the way the Hull defence was organised and that they were “Bloody difficult to beat”. I also wished them a good season, at least till we meet again.

    My exasperation was not primarily with Hull, as I agree that a degree of “gamesmanship” and intimidation is part and parcel of all sports. My complaint is entirely against Mr East who showed himself totally unable to impose any kind of discipline on the game.

    Compared with virtually every other game we have played this year, your players were not excessive in their tackling, and the one injury we suffered was of our own player’s making so I congratulate you on that aspect of your game as well.

    I look forward to many more competitive games between our clubs in the next few years.

  19. I do wonder why the Groaning trolls have tried their best, their hardest, to ignore Chambers. For example his performance at CB in the super cup opposite the new £30M CB for the Lawrence of Arabia on Tour XI, Mangala, who if we recall was twined and twisted into the ground by one Yaya Sanogo.

    I suppose because it would mean they’d have to credit the manager for spotting this player who will go on to be a good CB, possibly and probably Engalands future CB, whilst still at RB, purchasing him for half of what Luke Shaw cost. And so far he’s proven to be twice as useful as Shaw.
    Southampton have managed to replace Shaw with Bertrand!*
    We all wondered why Clyne didn’t make the WC squad – probably for the very same reason that Shaw did!

    *As Lord Sugar the former owner of Tottenham keeps on telling people:

    “Wenger knows the market”. He should know, but even if he didn’t, there’s plenty of strong recent evidence.

  20. Ok, well I suppose mine wasn’t quite so abusive as you left a part of it on there. I did think football chat was all about football opinions, and mine was (mostly) that. However, just to ask again a valid question… you know that feeling I am talking about, the one you must get when playing Barca, Bayern etc? Because, honestly, that is what most clubs in this country feel like when playing yourselves or the other big clubs. We actually found it funny and even quite refreshing to be allowed our 1st goal. So rarely do we get that sort of decsion against the bigger clubs. Its usually the other way around. I suppose it paid back just a little bit for your equaliser at Wembley when the ref gave a corner when it was actually a goal kick!

  21. Dear Dave,

    If “it all evens out in the end”, then Probert allowing Hull to move their FK forward by fifteen twenty yards forward for their second goal definitely evens that out.

    Untold’s review states that “How on earth do you miss 4 penalties in one match?” Which is a fair question when one of them is a two fisted punch clear of the ball, by a defender, out from the area, and the other two would be called in a friendly kick about in the park they were so blatant.

    I hopeth at you find the above assessment of Probert’s performance in that final helpful. As an Arsenal fan I’m just grateful there was extra time which meant that in the end we got something close to the amount of football they’d paid our money to watch. Lucky us, eh?

  22. Can’t remember the fourth blatant appeal from the final, there were so many in that game!

    The reader, if they were really curious, they could go and read the Untold Referee preview for that game…

    My thanks once again for those taking the time and efforts here at. Untold to provide football fans with this resource. Thank you 🙂

  23. The thing is that IF ALL refs called EVERYTHING in the correct way…there would be no arguments from fans of any side (fans who still had problems should then quit football)…and if its becoming so difficult for refs to call ALL the decisions as they should…then for the sake of fans’ harmony – technology, to assist and confirm calls is a MUST!

  24. We are aware of the penalty shouts. However, there is a shared view amongst most others clubs fans that Arsenals view of a penalty (under Wenger) is different to most others. You do go down very easily, and that can be said even though we are in an era of players who go down if even slightly touched. There is counter argument to each of those incidents that says no pen, just as it was no free kick that led to your 1st goal. Opinions eh!

  25. Apo, for myself, I don’t expect refs to get all calls right, it’s a hard job.

    But the worlds biggest and most popular sport deserves some protection, given the global gambling “industry” which is centered in countries where betting is not legal. The officals themselves deserve the aid in the era of diving players and HD replays. And last but not least the players and fans deserve that important goal/game changing incidents can be challenged using the tired and trusted formats already uuse in hockey and football, so that the sport is not devalued as is currently occurring round by round, league by league. What’s the latest? Herrera from Utd involved in some match rising scandal? ‘It could never happen here’ some say? Really?

    I think the Dutch FA’s pioneering attempts to trial replays is partly a result of the popularity of hockey in holland with the pre-existing strong links between Dutch hockey and football coaches leading the way, as usual I guess. You would think change is inevitable, how they’ve got away with for so long should be a concern for all fans. I hope the format used successfully elsewhere is not changed or compromised when it happens.

  26. @finsbury
    October 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Yeah maybe I went over the top with the word ‘ALL’…and certainly I go along with all that you say. There NEEDS to be in place a system which protects the integrity and FairPlay (as shouted from all corners by FIFA/UEFA/FA). FairPlay applies to refs too!!!

    If the sport looses this key part of it (FairPlay and Integrity), it will be its own downfall.

  27. Bb,
    God I admire you for your unparalleled experience in competitive sport for truly you must be the only person who has competed at any level. I bow before your monopoly on wisdom.
    Gamesmanship is to cheating as simulation is to diving.
    Just because you choose to be Jesuitical in your choice of words doesn’t alter the underlying truth.

  28. Thank you @Andrew Crawshaw. A fairly regular league fixture v Arsenal in recent years does leave me pinching myself still, plus a couple of latter stage cup matches. Whilst we are clearly not an Arsenal etc, we should have had these times fairly regularly over the last 110 years, with even a couple of trophies along the way (thinking working class fairly big city back in the 20’s 30’s etc – prime material for football success). But we have a history of massive underschievement until the last 10 years. As you suggest, long may it continue

  29. Dave,

    So it is your assertion that the that the two foster punch by Livermore was missed because the Arsenal players go down too easily? Er, ok!

    And that the fouls on Carzola were not fouls? Although I helpfully clarified for you and pre-emptied your response by helpfully reminding you that they would be fouls in a five a side friendly game. That’s not my opinion btw, it’s the rules, same rules that existed since the nineteenth century, sorry it’s not my fault, I didn’t write them down, but they are easily understood.

    I don’t think I need to add anymore here.

  30. *sighs*

    Enough of this attempting to work rubbish. Off to watch the game!

  31. And the BBC come up with this (whilst not even showing the possible squad at all): “…Despite the Gunners travelling with a depleted squad…”

  32. Apo to be fair we are missing Giroud and Debuchy but considering the former is supposed to be rubbish and the latter was not even signed (AFC didntreplace outgoing defenders, apparently) and not forgetting that Özil is rubbish and stealing a living, it is a bit of a exaggeration. 😉

    Bit late with this tangental link, but it is mildly interesting:

    It’s a bit gross how much money the two chuckle bruvvers are making out of the taxpayer with that redevelopment, I believe that they only bought West Ham with the selling of the Boleyn Ground in mind, but I suppose rather them then Tottenham. Small mercies.


  33. @Tiger Dave
    You probably don’t know and why should you but Arsenal football club is at the arse end of penalty decisions awarded in our favour and have been for a number of years. We just don’t get them, check the stats. Similarly we are at the arse end of penalty decisions against us, there are plenty of those, deserved or not, so don’t come on spouting these popular myths spread by the media. Go check the facts if you can be bothered otherwise keep quiet. I would guess you only watch a couple of matches a year involving Arsenal so what would you know other than what you hear from the likes of Adrian Durham on Talk Sport. I wouldn’t dream of going on a Hull blog and commenting on anything relating to Hull FC unless it was something I had definite knowledge about. I challenge you to name an Arsenal player from the last few years who has a reputation for serial diving in the Drogbha, Rooney, Bale or Ashley Young bracket.


    Just in case there was any doubt:

    What you are watching is a two fisted flying punch of the football. Think of it as a Superman impersonation. Maradonna would be jeaolus! Probert must have missed it because it’s just another example of an Arsenal player going down too easily.

    *gollum gollum*

  35. Excellent report but one mistake. The Referee called the Hull captain over – and sorry you got that wrong!!! There is no availability of what the officials say during the match. He might have encouraged time wasting for all we know. He might have arranged for some prawn sandwiches to be delivered to Riley or perhaps Hull sausages with halal fillings for a PGMOL party.

  36. Thats not a penalty,no way. The rule book clearly states that for AFC to be awarded a penalty in a situation where the ball is handled, the opposing team player has to actually catch the ball and run around for a bit.And clearly that didn’t happen, so no penalty.

  37. One thing this does do Andrew, it accounts for the expensive tickets at the Ems. Arsenal sell time for watching paint dry. Perhaps the BBC or Guardian would love to add this to their publications.

  38. @Kenneth Widmerpool
    October 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    hahahahahaha “run around for a BIT” hahahahaha

  39. Looks like we have an old FRIEND as ref against Sunderland ……Mason as fourth official……lovely……..

  40. Clock end rider. While your admiration is flattering, I actually never claimed to have unparalleled knowledge of competitive sport or a monopoly on wisdom. I merely stated what most human beings having a natural competitive edge would understand, that anyone who has played competitive sport knows that gamesmanship is not the same as cheating. In fact I cannot understand how anyone even interested in sport cannot realise that. I guess you were the boy who owned the ball…

  41. Your statto forget to mention that Hull City’s second goal was scored without an Arsenal player touching the ball. Fourteen passes straight from the kick off at the start of the second half. Was that a first at the Emirates ?
    I remember s similar ‘argument’ after the FA Cup 6th Round tie between Arsenal and Hull City four years ago, which Arsenal eventually won 2-1. The winning goal scored by Gallas who was stood a good yard off side and a second Hull goal was disallowed because the crowd appealed and the linesman, not the referee, thought it was offside. Hull were accused of time wasting that night too, but no-one mentioned the off-side winner which was clearly shown to be off side on the television replays. This from a club and fans who have forgotten that they made a name for themselves by grinding out one nil wins. Time wasting, winding the clock down ? What’s the difference ?

  42. Andrew an excellent analysis, I appreciate the effort you have put in.

    Unfortunately the trolls and their apologists seem to have taken the debate away from the main point – the ball was out of play for almost a third of the match time, most of this was due to Hull deliberately wasting time & the ref let them away with it.

  43. It would be interesting to see what the normal is for a PL game… According to this article the effective time (ball in play) actually ranges from just 44 minutes to 66 minutes, with the average being 55 minutes 6 seconds. Or put in another way, on average about 35 minutes per match is non playing time. So the Hull game would seem more normal than it looked on the day. Not sure if the stats have been calculated in the same way though…

  44. You know what? None of the pathetic newspapers in the world will show such time-wasting as their headlines, but will always get fed in by the Emirates ticket prices instead. If such unethical practice continues without official enforcement, Emirates ticket price is indeed the most expensive ticket in the world. But, hey, that’s what morons like it, isn’t it? A street fight between a wannabe college thug and a graduate scholar. Wonder whether they will like it if the scholar hits back a fatal blow. I’m with you, Arsene and boys, go gunners!

  45. Can you please explain why my comment was removed? It wasnt abusive in any way, shape or form and i metely pointed out that in the Premier League 62 mins is the average active play time per game so Hull actually timewasted 5 mins less than average.

  46. Tubby – one is counter to the rules one is not. And to other writers making the same point over and over, although we headlined the issue of the number of minutes played (because that is an on going crisis in PL football that we have mentioned before) the issue here was deliberate time wasting, which is contrary to the rules of the game and which the ref did nothing about.

    The arguments that Arsenal did the same, last week, last year, ten years ago, are irrelevant, because here we are talking about this match and the rules as they apply.

  47. I have deleted many message making this and the same type of comment and I will try to explain once again. The argument is not about time without the ball being played – which is a continuing problem in football, but rather it is about deliberate time wasting. Talking about injuries is a different issue and we have dealt with that in many different articles.

    Interesting though, we got more abuse on this article than we have done on the articles about referees and in tottenham games.

    But to be fair, at the Cup Final, the Untold gang met up with a number of Hull fans, and had very reasoned and reasonable conversations all round. I don’t want to say the abuse and seemingly deliberate misunderstanding of the difference between illegal time wasting ignored by referees, and deliberate legal attempts to slow the game down are typical of Hull supporters. Just a small group who came onto Untold for a day.

  48. Tony, you are obviously obsessed with this subject and you argue a good case but is that all you are interested in ?
    Why not make an issue of the blatant cheating, not just by slowing the game down, but by diving and conning the referee (and yes, the paying public) to gain an advantage ? The waving of imaginary cards in front on the referee on an attempt to get a fellow professional booked? Jack Wiltshire faking injury on Saturday v Hull to avoid getting a red card after an appalling late tackle? Is that not cheating and unacceptable too?
    The Arsenal crowd booing Michael Dawson and chanting ‘Cheat!, Cheat!’ when he hobbled off the field? Was that sporting? Dawson is out for up to six week with an ankle injury. Hardly a cheat?
    Sorry pal, people in glasshouses……..

  49. Tubby Lard,
    can’t you see that we mostly aim our arrows at the poor official?
    He should have acted. If Dawson was so seriously injured it was criminal from the referee and the Hull people to make him walk 50 meters to the half way line when he could have walked 5 meters and sit outside the playing field and get carried further.
    The instructions are clear and if you have been watching CL football last night you might have noticed that the Spanish ref did this correct: you send an injured player off to the closest line available. In Dawson’s case this was 5 or 6 metres. The ref should have sent him to the goal line.

    In short: any team can try to waste time, it is up to the referee to act.

  50. Walter I really hope your final comment gets through to people, I don’t care what a player does on the pitch (to a degree), as long as the referee does his job and deals with it correctly according to the laws of the game, not make a game interesting by keeping players on the pitch, not by not giving a team a penalty when winning 6-0 as it’s not fair on the poor losing team, not by allowing time wasting when an away team is likely to be under pressure for long periods and will be tiring, the ref is there simply to do his job, if he is unable to do his job then like in all professions he gets politely asked to move on, if he is allowed to continue to prove his ineptitude then alarm bells should start ringing.

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