Swansea v Arsenal 09 November 2014 – The Match officials


by Andrew Crawshaw

Following Walter’s referee review of the Burnley Game, I have included a Second Yellow Card and a Penalty for the not given deliberate handball at Min 20. No other wrong Important Decisions. There is still no signs of these decisions evening out, now nearly 5 to 1 against Arsenal and nearly two a game!

imp decisions pre swansea

The Match Officials for Sunday

Referee – Phil Dowd
Assistants – D Cann and S Ledger
Fourth Official – R East

Phil Dowd This will be his eighth game of the year, most of them featuring top teams, as you would probably expect given his position as one of the most experienced and senior referees. He has been in charge of Liverpool, Chelsea and United (twice each) and this is the first time for us this season. He was born in 1963 so is now relatively elderly for a first class referee. His home FA is Staffordshire so should be neutral for this game. He started refereeing at 21 and has been on the Premier League list since 2001, He has officiated in 294 matches issuing 65 red and 1026 yellow cards.

All athletes slow down with age (and referees are no different) and will find it harder to make top quality decisions consistently throughout a 90 minute game. Two seasons ago in the four reviewed games featuring Swansea and Arsenal his second half performances were better than first half so there was no evidence to support a diminution in decision making as the games progressed, a full 18 months on it will be interesting to see if the same thing applies. There were no independent referee reviews last year to compare.

History with Arsenal

This Season – no previous games

2013/14 – Only one game West Ham v Arsenal on 26 December 2013 (Arsenal won 3-1), Assistants were D Cann and L Betts. Walter’s post game post didn’t mention Dowd once, so he certainly wasn’t the talking point which is certainly positive.

2012/13 – Three games

Match Review: Phil Dowd – West Ham United Vs Arsenal (1 – 3) [06/10/2012] 76% overall, bias against 0/100 and three wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red cards, penalties and goals)- In Minute 26 Diame should have had a second yellow for a late foul on Arteta, in Minute 59 Vaz Te should have had a straight red for a foul on Manone and in Minute 71 Arsenal should have had a penalty when Ramsey was fouled.

Match Review: Phil Dowd – Arsenal Vs Fulham (3 – 3) [10/11/2012] 71% overall, bias against 78/22 and two wrong Important Decisions – Minute 28 The Berbatov goal should have been disallowed for an earlier foul on Sagna and in Minute 59 Sidwell should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Ramsey, Ramsey was wrongly booked for the same foul)

Match Review: Phil Dowd – Arsenal Vs Manchester United (1 – 1) [28/04/2013] 75% Overall, bias against 44/56 and two wrong Important Decisions, both favouring Arsenal. In the second Minute Walcott’s goal shouldn’t have stood as he was offside and in Minute 60 Sagna should have had a second yellow card for a bad tackle.

Not good refereeing in any of these games, far too many wrong Important Decisions. Interestingly since the United game where the wrong decisions helped Arsenal, Mr Dowd has only had one Arsenal game (Sunday will be his second).

History with Swansea

This Season – None

2013/14 – Four games, all at Swansea.

17 Aug 2013 – Swansea v United (1-4)
27 Oct 2013 – Swansea v West Ham (0-0)
01 Jan 2014 – Swansea v Man City (2-3)
13 April 2014 – Swansea v Chelsea (0-1)

I would think that Swansea would have been glad to see the back of Mr Dowd last season, four home games and only one point to show in the goal-less draw with West Ham. Four games from one referee in a season is a joke no matter who the referee is.


Only one game

Match Review: Phil Dowd – Everton Vs Swansea City (0 – 0) [12/01/2013] 81% overall, bias against 0/100 but no wrong Important Decisions

D Cann has only been paired with Mr Dowd once before this year (the one all draw between United and Chelsea on 26 October), they were also paired three times last year

S Ledger is a regular assistant with Mr Dowd this will be their 5th pairing this year, and 9 last year. I noted in my preparations for the Burnley Referee preview that in the Swansea v Burnley match Mr Ledger appeared to miss a handball right in front of him (83rd minute). This poor decision making will be something to look out from him.


1. Mr Dowd is one of the oldest referees officiating in the Premier League, on age grounds alone he would not be allowed to take charge of a top flight fixture in any other top European league.
2. I hope Mr Dowd will have the stamina to keep up with two teams who both like to play the ball quickly, if he can’t he should seriously consider if he should continue refereeing at this level.
3. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Dowd will favour either team in this game, he doesn’t seem to particularly like either Swansea or Arsenal.
4. Since Mr Dowd gave Arsenal the benefit of two Wrong Important Decisions in April 2013, we have only seen him once, lets hope he doesn’t put in a really damming performance to get back in with the PGMOL heirarchy.
5. The decision making of the Assistants also needs to be watched.
6. This should be a good open game of football between two of the best passing teams in the League. I hope the officials allow the football to be the winner.


52 Replies to “Swansea v Arsenal 09 November 2014 – The Match officials”

  1. Tricky ref, he may do Swansea but think only aagainst other sides than aren’t us. And the fourth official…

  2. My phone is used to me typing lots of aaaaaas it’s adding it’s own aaas to words such as aagainst 🙂

  3. Thanks Andrew, wonder if Gary monks recent complaints of referees will have an effect?

  4. Age is probably more important for linesmen. How many bad off-side decisions have we seen, and not just against Arsenal, because the linesman was badly positioned/too slow? I would love to see an age restriction for linesman, and/or some sort of fitness test as well. Of course, this wouldn’t be such a big problem if FIFA decided to use technology to help make decisions…

  5. Don’t forget Down was referee for the famous 4/4 draw against Newcastle a few years back, when he let Barton get away with two horrible challenges on Arshavin and Diaby (the latter leading to Diaby being sent off for “just” a push), when he let Nolan get away with wrestling on Szczesny, when he awarded two very generous (to say the least) penalties to Newcastle (and if I remember correctly, the 4th goal came from a really soft free kick too), when he let Best score after a clear handball…

  6. Think they would need usain Bolt as a ref to keep up with some of our players. We probably wouldn’t do too well with him, as he is a Manc supporter, but then again, so are a considerable proportion of the pgmol it sometimes seems.

  7. Its an interesting point, is the speed of the Arsenal forward line with Theo included a benefit to us or a hindrance when it comes to ref decisions.

    By which I mean, if the officials can’t keep up do they favour the attacking team or the defending team over what they can’t see?

  8. Think that if in doubt, the refs favour the non Arsenal team.
    Another very very poor day for the refs, bet we don’t hear a word from their glorious leader. Chelsea and City seemed to be the main beneficiaries today. Cannot think what it is…..maybe those two teams have something in common?
    But ref performances don’t get any better tomorrow either.

  9. The referees and linesness are told they must give the decisions to the non arsenal team if they can’t keep up with the arsenal player as this is the ‘fair’ thing to do because Chelsea and man city have spent so much money.

    Either way I think well give Swansea Wales a bog thrashing

  10. I didn’t need any convincing but it’s now definitely clear there’s an agenda in the media against us. Motd showed replays from different angles of all the key points in today’s matches involving Liverpool, city and Chelsea(the Cahill handballs, the joe hart goal kick and arguero handball, etc). They even showed the moment sterling got elbowed by ramirez. If a controversial decision goes against us it doesn’t even get shown in the highlights! Just gets edited out as if it never happened. Like when fabregas handled when we played Chelsea(I may be wrong but don’t think motd replayed that incident). Explain that one, AKB bashers.

  11. Also, was that Sagna’s first match of the season? Don’t think I had seen him play before this…

  12. AL – your asking for honesty from cheats. MOTD are part of the problem that hides the FAs failings and the PGMOL stink.

    Looking forward to Alexis completing the game uninjured. Fabianski will be playing out of his skin to show us what we’re missing.

  13. Obviously no linesman is going to keep up with Walcott, Sanchez, Welbeck, etc., but the younger, fitter, and quikcer they are, obviously that will make it better.

  14. Oh come on guys stop going on about refs and using it as an excuse. Most teams throughout a season have decisions go against them. Maybe the top teams get a few more decisions go their way, especially fergies United in their prime. The way you lot moan about refs and decisions going against us, your basically admitting we’re no longer a top team.

  15. @jonfromwellington, the teams that spend the most money are the main contenders for the league, it’s a very simple truism. If you believe that nonsense you spout about all refs and officials being told not to give us decisions go find another sport, football will only make you miserable.

    This game will be an interesting test. So far the only teams we’ve beaten are those that spend most of the season lurking in the depths of the EPL. Swansea are decent opposition and we need the win badly. The league title is way beyond us and right now our form is mid table so we better perform at our best. I just hope Chelsea don’t become the new invincibles, they’ve had a tougher start to the season than we have and have now played all the big clubs away bar us and we know what happens when Mourinho plays a Wenger team. I just hope we can beat them and ruin their hopes of an unbeaten season like they did to George Graham’s Arsenal some 20 odd years ago.

  16. Chapman’s Ghost and Realist…

    If you have actually read our analysis of referee decisions (which I suggest you have not, because if you had you would be commenting on the actual conclusions – not making them up (Chapman’s Ghost) or ignoring them (Realist) ) then you would know we base our conclusions on the analyses we undertake.

    If you think they are flawed, of course do say how, specifically, but please do note that many others have tried to point out ways they are flawed, but have only succeeded in revealing they have not read the evidence provided on this site.

  17. @Al do you think the Cheal$ki goal could have counted if it was Arsenal’s?All those angles where never brought back with the mertesacker’s goal!

  18. Tony is spot on. The analysis is based on the FACTS of what the referees have done based on arsenal fans like me opinions. That is data that you can not dispute – and that is why you can not dispute that referees are 100% biased against arsenal. This is a FACT and the reason we are not top

  19. @ChapmansGhost@realist with all due respect to the blind are you blind you mean you don’t see anything at all,Chelsea prayers elbowing others(Ramires) and instead given yellow cards(Sterling)Cahill handling the ball twice and its okay i mean are you really blind or you are just deluded??

  20. @Tony Attwood, I’ve made this point several times and of course it’s always ignored. Having someone watch a game from the comfort of their home with video access to decisions, with maybe more than one angle to view each decision, is very different from actually refereeing the game in real time with no access to replays. I wonder how many decisions would have been different if Walter had actually refereed the game, not observed each dubious decision numerous times on tv. You cannot replicate the exact circumstances that the ref encounters so it’s all a bit weak.

    I mean we’ve had crazy arguments on here which have no credence in reality whatsoever, for instance if we’d have been given all the penalties we should have had we’d be top of the league. Now that doesn’t take into account two major flaws in said argument. First you have to convert the penalty and secondly you have to consider all the other teams that have been denied obvious penalties.

    Refs are not infallible. Having said that I think the standard of refereeing is poor in every division and video technology should be introduced forthwith although knowing football and its retreat from the modern world I’ll probably not live to see it happen.

    @Jonfromwellington, the reason we are not top is because we’ve been bloody ordinary, that’s a FACT. Your bias is blinding your judgement.

  21. @kAMPALA Gun, what’s Chelsea got to do with what we do? I said refs are poor and if Chelsea can get away with cheating they will.

  22. Chapman’s Ghost,
    Our reviews are done almost in the same way that the Dutch Fa tested their video ref. A ref (just like Untold referee reviewers) sitting in the comfort of a studio(ours in their sofa) having the chance to look at all the angles he wants from every camera (we only the ones shown on TV).

    In a way you could say that what we do is show how the match would be judged if the video ref would be active.

    And about the bias existing I can only repeat that the bias never was found bigger than in the season when we have done most games and done the reviewing with referees supporting other teams.

  23. Kampala
    Yes, you’re right. Chelsea’s goal, even though it was more obvious than ours, got 3 or 4 different conventional replays (including one from above the cross bar which is almost always conclusive in these cases) before the GLT one. You’d think a less clearer incident like ours would have merited more replays, but we didn’t get even one, apart from the GLT which stopped at the point the keeper made the initial contact (which wasn’t the contentious part!).

    It doesn’t make sense at all, and yet you hear someone dismiss all this as fantasy. The thing I’d be curious about, if I didn’t have my own conclusions, is how that person is wired to dismiss such blatantly obvious discrepancies.

  24. Bias or poor refereeing, you take your pick. Yours is the first choice, mine the second. Of course loads of decisions are wrong because refs only get one chance to get it right. A video ref has loads of chances to make a decision based on video technology, that’s why such technology should be introduced.

    As I’ve asked numerous times, why should anyone be bias against us? Yet to hear a reasonable answer to that.

  25. Chapman, I really appreciate your response(s). Its more matured than some on here. But let me say this that, just as you believe that refs are humans and they do make mistakes but will u consider it a mistake or an oversight when this “mistake” actually becomes a PATTERN to the extent that you can 90% predict correctly how they will officiate regarding Arsenal matches. This I believe is what Tony and co are trying to bring out to the fore. we all make mistakes but when it becomes a pattern, then something is wrong somewhere.

  26. @Chapman Ghost,

    Then how about the bias against Arsenal? Fine, the ref has not the luxury Walter had, but what about the results that shows total bias against Arsenal? Shouldn’t the mistakes be spreaded evenly against all teams? And how is it every year people like you keep telleing us that later the ref mistakes will come our way, and against chelsea, while all that happens is the bias increase against us? What is it with the refs? Are they like a God to u in England you all should not accuse them of anything? Blame them? Its fun when u tell other people in here they are blind!

  27. Now now, we cannot let things like extensive research on this site into ref bias get in the way of the assumption that everything is wengers fault

  28. @soglorious & yassin, if there’s a pattern fine. I think refs are far too lenient with cards across all divisions. Do you really believe that all officials have a bias against Arsenal? Do you know how difficult it would be to have a concerted attack on us by every official? Bit far fetched if you ask me. And why? Still no logical reason I’ve heard. We’ve only played well in fits and starts this season, it’s totally disingenuous to suggest we’d be top if refs weren’t “bias”. Injuries and one or two players being inconsistent has been our main problem. The refs maybe corrupt, I don’t know for sure, but I doubt they all are and I doubt everyone hates Arsenal.

  29. It is very comforting to know that regardless of what the final score is it’s always someone else’s fault

  30. Chapman’s Ghost,
    It only takes a handful of people to do it. Just as in Italy once.
    If the top man of the refs is in the mix you already have all the refs in the pocket.
    You can dismiss it of course as not reasonable but it is this top person who decides who gets the honour of the fifa badge and together with that the extra dosh for doing European matches. (And we talk of a lot of money for a European match)
    Unreasonable? Well then you explain me how it comes that Taylor who is a poor ref gets a fifa badge? You know Taylor from the Aston Villa referee travesty?
    How come Probert gets a Fifa badge? Probert from doing us over and over and over and over and over. At Fulham a few seasons ago, at Wigan, 4 not given penalties in the cup final, …. Probert from whom I know that he was around the lowest positions in the referee merit table for a couple of seasons. And yet after that but having taken points away from Arsenal on many occasions he finds himself with a Fifa badge on his shirt.

    Or do you really think that the referee world is a clean, ethical, moral high ground world? No it is please the one in charge and get rewarded or find yourself on the wrong side of things.
    No they are not all corrupt but they all think about their own careers first. And if that career will force them (NOT ALL!) to bend the rules in order to please the one in charge most of them will do just that.

    Unreasonable? No it’s just the way it goes.

  31. Difficult game today. Swansea are a very well run club, capable of beating anyone in this league on their day.

    Arsenal are forced to play yet another domestic away match after a mid-week Champions League encounter. Dam that random fixture compiler (cough cough)

    What price Swansea awarded a penalty today? or a red card to Arsenal? or both?

    Justice for the hard done by Gary Monk at the expense of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal live on Sky tv. Some might say, a perfect scenario.

  32. It’s all about licking the right body parts of the top dogs… and they lick by doing things in the way that they know the top dogs like it to be done.
    Sad and simple in fact.

  33. TAsos,
    And with Dowd someone who has done it before….the footage of that match by the way was also rather incredible…

  34. @Walter, course some refs are corrupt. The most famous case from years back is when Leeds were cheated out of a European Cup win by a corrupt ref. Italy is rife with corruption, that’s the nature of that country, it’s almost endemic in every political sphere. One word, Berlusconi. I have no belief that this country is superior because I loathe all political parties here, they are full of lies but I doubt the corruption is so deep-rooted or even accepted as it is in Italy.

    I have no idea why these refs you mention get badges. I’m sure they are as inept reffing other matches not just ours. Look at that English ref’s performance in the Spain/Netherlands World Cup final, it was atrocious. Bias, maybe, inept, definitely.

    The debate will rage on.

  35. Strange. For all the refereeing decisions this year, some terrible, some bizarre….and some may fall into a different category, perhaps when this years team of choice, Chelsea are involved, the only ref to be stood down…..was for going to an Ed Sheeran concert straight after a game.
    Perhaps a crime against music, but surely not in the league of the likes of Atkinson for crimes against football?
    Clattenberg , the ed sheeran fan seems one of our better refs…..sometimes, but they seem to have it in for him, not getting so many top games after Leicester 5 Utd 3.
    Wonder why?

  36. Arsenal are forced to play yet another domestic away match after a mid-week Champions League encounter. Dam that random fixture compiler (cough cough)

    @Tasos, as were Chelsea after an away game in Europe. And Man City.

  37. I’m not going to try and convince those that refuse to see the unusual pattern of refereeing decisions as bias. They think the refs are fair to all (fair my foot) but they can’t even explain the media’s behaviour of blacking out controversial decisions against us while going to town about any injustice against one of their beloved clubs.

    Any half decent human being knows the media, wherever in the whole world, is the most effective vehicle for propaganda, yet they refuse to question the most blatant anomalies they see daily. I only have one thing to say about such people; bloody cowards. They don’t want Wenger to still be in charge at Arsenal and try and come to give us the runaround here by questioning why anyone would have it in for our club, refusing to acknowledge any biases decisions against us(there have been tonnes, yet you hear someone ask which bias, so that we start going into the archives again to pull each and every one of them, resulting in us moving in circles). What these cowards are afraid to do is just spell it out; I want Wenger out. Simple. Then we will know how to respond, ignore, or act accordingly when they make posts. But they will not, rather they waste our time here arguing in favour of the refs, the dirty players from the other team, the media, etc etc. It’s all a charade, designed to show Wenger in bad light. Why can’t they just come out and declare their dislike for the man? They’re cowards.

    I’ve never shied away from voicing my support/allegiance for our manager, I’ll tell everyone where I stand; Wenger iswithout question the best man to lead our club. chapman, ab,og, vincelorna, fishpie, etc., can you show your hand please. I didn’t like sperez but at least he was man enough to say he wanted Wenger out. As a result you knew where he was coming from in his posts. I detest fake people, be real and say it out if you don’t like Wenger. After all its not a crime to say he’s not the best man for the job. We will get more from you going forward, rather than this revolving nonsense of repeating where is the evidence, where is the evidence. You’re wasting people’s time.I know it’s not this site’s objective to have everyone that comes on this blog declare their stance, but I think I speak for many here when I say that you lot seem to make everyone move in circles here. Either you state where you stand or piss off. Wimps.

  38. I used to be very tolerant to differing views, and still am, but when the same individuals keep bleating the same question ‘show me the evidence, show me the evidence…’ then they should be shown the door imo.

  39. Al calm down I really do like AW and will surport him until he leaves but I do believe he’s flawed

  40. You ever see that talking and singing frog on the cartoon but it only sings when it’s owner is around?
    It’s funny, or it was until the day my dog began talking.

    He pulled the same trick on me. He would never talk around anyone else.

    That is until I had my beer party and I saw the dog go get a snack in the bathroom and a friend go in to take a whiz.

    The no-longer-friend came out running with the legs of his pants wet and left, while calling me names about a bad joke. So everyone left.

    “So what happened in there, Bruno?”

    “That guy was taking a whiz in MY big white water dish and I gave him a good cussing out is what happened.”

    I’m moving out Friday.

  41. What’s that you say ? Just beep them out ? Hmmm…

    Just once, just once I’d like to see Wiley Coyote catch that road runner and barbecue that little sucker!

    Oh, I don’t feel like that about Speedy Gonzales or Tweety Bird and that Sylvester.

    But they never let you hear what all that filthy road runner says to bait poor old Wiley.

    The censors always beep that part out!

  42. Survey results reveal that the funniest word in the English language is ‘fart’. The word ‘snot’ came in second place in this survey, with ‘poop’ running a close third.
    Critics of the survey respond that the sampling group was too heavily weighted to boys between the ages of nine and fourteen years.

    What they probably didn’t clarify is that it was their mental age they were talking about ! Very much like of those moronic AAAA who come on here !
    Guess what they’d say about AW , Stan , Ivan and the AKBs !

  43. @Chapman,

    Everton game, offside goal, 2pts
    Chelsea game, red card, 1pts for us 2pts off chelsea
    Hull city, foul on hull for their first goal. 2pts Arsenal
    Am not gonna go and tell u how chelsea is helped during each game (like yesterday penlaty). But this puts us 2pts of them.

    Conclusion: Refs destroy our seasons time and time again, and some Arsenal supporters refuse to just admit it.
    dont get me started on last season 😉

  44. @Chapmans Ghost

    And Man city could only draw whilst Chelsea played against another Champions League team.

    Anyhow My point was the repetitive nature of the random fixture compiler.

    Arsenal will have played a minimum of 8 Champions League matches this season which will have been followed by 7 away premier league fixtures and only 1 home fixture.

    Maybe I should’ve explained that earlier.

  45. So Dowd is showing his desire to become a basketball referee now. Well Phil, check the rules, when a player uses both hands to knock the ball to the ground it’s known as a “double dribble”. Illegal in basketball as well as football…..dummy

  46. ” There is a time in life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it ,and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard , that you forget the bad and focus solely on the good.
    After all life is too short to be anything but happy .”

    Thank you ,my fellow AKBs for always focusing on the good and being positive .
    Thank you too, you shitty AAAAs , for making me laugh so hard that often I cry , snot , fart and pee myself all at the same time !

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