by Andrew Crawshaw
Referee – Neil Swarbrick
Assistants – S Ledger and M Wilkes
Fourth Official – K Stroud
Mr Swarbrick is Lancastrian and has been officiating in the Premier League since December 2010, along with Mr Moss he was officially promoted to the select group at the start of the 2011-12 season. He has refereed 60 games issuing 5 red and 208 yellow cards, the yellow card numbers are broadly in line with other officials but his red card numbers are significantly below the other referees.
This season Mr Swarbrick has refereed neither West Ham or Arsenal, so no recent pointers to form.
13 Jan 2014 Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2 – Aston Villa – Arsenal: the happy, angry Gooner
29 Jan 2014 Chelsea 0 West Ham 0
28 April 2014 Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0 – Natural order restored
So for Arsenal two games, one home the other away – exactly as it should be with all referees; both wins (again exactly as it should be!). Dig beneath the surface however and all is not so rosy. Rosicky getting a broken nose in the Villa game from a deliberate elbow not called a foul and Mr Swarbrick allowing play to continue for ages despite him being on the ground with a head injury is an example.
For West Ham a good point away at Chelsea.
2012-13 – there were 6 of Mr Swarbrick’s games reviewed during the season including:-
Match Review: Neil Swarbrick – Arsenal Vs Everton (0 – 0) [16/04/2013] – 58% overall weighted score, bias against 84/16 and one wrong Important Decision (second yellow, red card, penalty or goal) In Min 27 Darren Gibson is given a yellow card, In Min 32 he should have a second for a blatant body check, the foul was given but the card was lost.
Match Review: Neil Swarbrick – West Ham United Vs Southampton (4 – 1) [20/10/2012] – 95% overall, no bias to speak of and no wrong Important Decisions. An excellent piece of refereeing, three wrong decisions in total none significant
The scores in the Arsenal game were by far the lowest that Mr Swarbrick got all season, the others were 80% (Spurs v Villa), 82% (chelsea v Sunderland), 86% (City v Newcastle), and 100% (Wigan v W Brom). Somewhat worrying that his one Arsenal game was so much worse than any other game. In his other games he showed that he knows how to referee a game.
2011-12 Mr Swarbrick 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.
1. Mr Swarbrick is a referee whose good numbers in non-Arsenal games indicate that he knows the rules. Unfortunately he has a terrible anti-Arsenal bias which seems to influence his decision making in our games.
2. For West Ham he seems to be a perfectly normal referee.
3. Expect uneven treatment of fouls and minor infringements
4. In the event of a bad challenge, Mr Swarbrick is significantly less likely to show a red card than most referees.
5. I just hope Mr Swarbrick forgets that Arsenal are playing and does a decent job, refereeing on merit rather than ‘orders from above’
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