West Ham v Arsenal 28 December 2014 – the Match Officials

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.

In Conclusion

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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36 Replies to “West Ham v Arsenal 28 December 2014 – the Match Officials”

  1. Excellent preview.

    It’s interesting to say that in our last two visits to Boleyn Ground it was Phil Dowd who was in charge. Both times we won 3:1 after tracking The Hammers. In both games we were subjected to some hard tackling and lost important players (Gibbs in 2012, Ramsey in 2013) to injuries that caused problems to us in the following matches (Gibbs’ injury opened place for Andre Santos while Ramsey’s injury caused a lot of damage to our title challenge). Dowd spared Diame from the second yellow card in 2012, Swarprick will do the same today, the question is: who’ll be spared? Song?

  2. COYG! Hope you gonna have a good game Mr. Starbuck!

    + getting one over big fat Sam is always a pleasure.

  3. They will be physical hope the ref deals with it if they go outside the rules. As ever and especially after the last game our players must be very careful how they react the giroud thing was understandable when you see what hoes unpunished on our players but both silly and costly to the team and probably player judging by wengers stare.

  4. Mandy, was it that silly? You see that in every game and rarely ends up in a booking, let alone a red card.

  5. This is another win for Arsenal in a true game. It is however officiated by the aliens from PGMO. These are instructed morons who forget honesty & use bad practice to get at Wenger. The media have already started with ‘physical’ just to let the PGMO room to cheat.

    I cannot see a honest official from PGMO so I’m going to sit back & get ready to abuse the images on screen.

    Arsenal are the best football team in the EPL given unbiased free officials.

    I just wish our American shareholder & his wife came to the game. She would certainly have something to say about fairness.

  6. Swarbrick: another one of Riley’s Crows.

    Like the rest of this poor brood that he’s churned out of the waxworks, Swarbrick will never gain the respect achieved by genuine referees in the game, or in any other sport.

    He certainly ain’t no Dickie Bird 😉

    It is, what it is. There is no reasonable or rational explanation that can be given to explain the lack of assistance for the onfield officals in association football in 2014. I suppose that would be a hinderance for what men of the quality of Blatter or Riley would describe as, in their own published words as “Game Management” (Not my words! They don’t need any encouragement, it seems).

    PGMO Rules Football. It’s football Jim, but not as we know it. A world where the bulk of the UKs population do appear to play or understand the rules of football, which is why all the crows hail from outside the SE, etc. it must be simply a random coincidence that defies demographics and all common sense? These past seven years or longer? *coughs* yes, it must be a coincidence.

    In the future perhaps Riley could put his oar in to help resolve the Hull City Tigers debate? HC AFC? Not really appropriate in this current league, or an accurate description. Is it?

    How about HC PGMOFC?

    It has a certain ring to it. Would it catch on?
    To be fair, that would help describe Probert’s “performance” at the FA’s home of PGMO Rules Football in May, which was certainly a strange performance in front of the watching world. Not strange for Warnock, but then again, his assessment may be slightly linked to his lack of ability as a football coach? Is that rude? I wasn’t the want pretending to ignore penalties in a cup final in front of millions!

    I reckon Brucie could sell that one to the chairman. Less popular with the plebs in the Far East who might prefer the name Tiger, but definitely a good advert for the connoisseur punter 😉

  7. <…the UK population do not appear to understand the rules…*

    *to put this demographically incongruous statistic into context: in the UK there are more amateur football clubs and volunteers at grass roots level, per capita, then anywhere else. It is this massive passion ("pashun") and enthusiasm for the game the helps to coach and churn out good players in spite of the FA's relative (to every rival nation) underinvestment in Football, thought it's getting harder and harder to keep up, as seen in the PL.

    Bearing this understanding in mind, this longstanding demographic split of the referees is beyond bizarre? And alongside so much of the structure that stands behind the PGMO which appears to be designed for failure, it is indefensible.

  8. I get that most people believe his work rate does not warrant a starting place, but let me just put it this way that Wenger has been very wrong how he has utilized Rosicky and Podolski. With injuries to Ozil, Theo, Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta they should have been playing MUCH more, not starting every game but used in rotation.

    I mean, Rosicky played 22 minutes of PL football with the amount of injuries we had, they should each have got atleast 20-30 minutes of football each game, but there Wenger screwed up again by waiting till after 8- minutes to bring them on.

    Never knew Wenger as a bad management of players kinda guy, but he handled these two players very poorly. And they have every right to complain, Wenger’s logic doesn’t work here. They’re 29 and 34 respectively, it’s been half a season gone and they still have to ‘Wait for their chance’ with the amount of injuries we’ve had? That’s just bullshitting logic.

  9. Finsbury – Dickie Bird was one of the best sporting officials ever. He was excellent at his job & totally honest in his decisions.

    What wouldn’t we give for a sporting official in the EPL?

    Let’s look forward to a Southampton victory, Burnley surprise and The Arsenal winning v West Ham.

  10. Menace.There is blind optimism in believing how good we are and pure lunacy.I honestly think you should be sectioned if you believe we have the best team in the premiership.The chelsea team and manager are on a completely different level quality wise to us and are taticaly run better.I think bar sanchez not one of our players would make their team and its a sad indictment of how far we have fallen as a team.

  11. Menace

    He was from Ooop Norf too 🙂

    Proof that not all norvan officals make up the rules on “game management” dependant upon their mood, or instruction. It is possible for someone who hails from North of the Watford gap to respect the easy to understand rules of a sport that are over a hundred years old!

  12. Mane with far more joy already then in the league cup game when opposite Hayden Chambers and Bellerin with Coquelin at RB!
    The penalty challenge (a cheeky dive well won I guess) by Rosicky in that game was understandable but I think Bellerin would’ve recovered from his green positioning in that moment with his silly pace (again!).

    Gazprom playing the dreaded high line (that’s what we are told!)?

    The thing with the AAAA that we’ve observed is that they’ll defend Maureen in such circumstances, such as when he sold Mata and cost Gazprom the title last season (as most Chelsea fans I’ve spoken to think!)…that’s why we call them the AAAA!

    Koeman proved long ago that he’s a better manger then the Latin Pulis for me. Hope his players (& the official) can hold out for him.

    However the PGMO official for this big game is Crow Taylor. He is as they say not for to referee, and we say that with sympathy for the hard job they do, good refs don’t deserve the association!

    When will one of these neo-feudalists who call themselves journalists be capable of asking the simple question: “Why are there so few officials sorry Crows on Riley’s roster?” Is that not just a tiny weeny little bit odd, considering that they do have to spend so much time discussing the PGMO officials because they are so poor? Maybe it’s just me who finds that reticence remarkable, but I don’t think so 🙂

  13. Red cards being missed by the crow.. The commentator is an absolute dildo withot batteries!!

  14. Another shin high hack on Alexis not punished with a card, but he seemed to be in a good position (don’t ask me!) for the yellow he gave.

    Good to hear the West Ham fans he long the ref and supporting their team as all home fans do.

  15. They think this crow is a wanker!! I think he has let them get away with so much the ungrateful gits!

    2-0 to the football team. Alexis is just amazing as is the Ox.

  16. Phew! We were lucky in the first 30 mins not to go goals down, and the ass ref was on our side too.
    But the lads upped the performance, and now 2 up. Great.
    Hope we can keep up the good work and take all 3 points.

  17. Incredible and quite obvious tilting there at the end. Transparent is an appropriate word 😉

    “Game managment”

    Six minutes of five minutes added on.

    It is what it is. In your face!

  18. Though the Arsenal could’ve should’ve of course scored a third.

    2-1 to the football team.

  19. Our players should start taking chances efficiently. They had plenty of opportunities to shut the game but lucky West Ham didn’t capitalize it.

  20. Mourinioass is complaining because he didn’t get a penalty, he says the refs are against his team!? Moron, how many times has his team gone off with robbery!?

  21. Anyone out there watching these games of PGMO Rules Football out there game after game for the last few seasons still genuinely genuinely confused as to why or how AFC get more injuries?

    Watch this game again.

    During the late spell of what the PGMO refer to as “Game Management” we saw the non-call for the heavy foul on Monreal. It’s not malicious and maybe not even close to a card (I don’t know!) but you can’t miss a foul like that during play without wearing blinkers. Nacho was always favourite to the ball, there’s nothing to debate there.

    It is, what you see before you.

  22. Finsbury – Arsenal were lucky to come away without serious injuries. The 3 points matter but I’d hate to have seen Monreal if that set of studs had connected. It was a red card offence given the other way!!!

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