FA Cup final ref preview: don’t expect Villa cards or a penalty for Arsenal

FA Cup Final Aston Villa v Arsenal – the Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Well here it is – the final referee preview of the season.

  • Referee – Jonathan Moss
  • Assistants – Darren England and Simon Bennett
  • Fourth Official – Craig Pawson
  • Reserve Assistant Referee – Harry Lennard

Referees only get one opportunity to take charge of a FA Cup Final and this year it’s Jonathan Moss.  He is a 44 year old from West Riding in Yorkshire and his day job is Headmaster of a Primary School.

His playing career which started with Sunderland’s youth team and ended aged 29 at Millwall via Connecticut State University.  Upon retiring from playing he concentrated of refereeing which he had started as a teenager.  He claims that his playing time helps him understand the frustrations and emotions which come from first class football saying,

“I was a competitive midfield player and I liked to tackle. Sometimes you mistime a tackle and you get the attention of the referee – but I was always polite!

“But I think it is healthy as a referee to know when the players get a bit frustrated and to take a backseat.”

There is more of this interview on the official FA web site

This season Mr Moss has refereed 30 Premier League games including two from each of Arsenal and Villa…

Arsenal v Crystal Palace (2 – 1) 16 August –

81% overall, bias against the two teams 100/0 and three wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goal decisions).

Minute 8 Ramsey was pushed in the penalty area, nothing given; Minute 64 Chamach should have had a second yellow card for persistent fouling (his first should have come in Minute 8 for a two footed tackle but he was allowed to get away with it) and in Minute 72 Hangerland should have given away a second penalty for pulling Giroud down by the neck.

The Untold Referee review: Arsenal – Crystal Palace

Arsenal v Stoke (3 – 0) 11 January 72% overall, bias against the two teams 90/10 and two wrong Important Decisions.

Minute 10 Arnautovic should have been dismissed for a cowardly shove on Debuchy after the ball had gone which resulted in our full back missing over three months of the season (it wasn’t even called a foul!);

Minute 42 Crouch should have been dismissed for a second yellow card (studs up challenge on Mertesacker), his first should have come in Minute 35 for an elbow on Monreal which needed stitching before Monreal could continue (neither challenge was deemed worthy of a card and the elbow not even called a foul).

REF REVIEW Arsenal – Stoke

West Ham v Aston Villa (0 – 0) 8 Nov

Aston Villa v West Brom (2 – 1) 3 Mar

Unfortunately there aren’t any proper minute by minute reviews available for these games.  If there are any Villa fans reading this piece then please feel free to add comments on Mr Moss’s performances.

In 2013-14 Mr Moss did three games for each of Arsenal and Villa

Arsenal Cardiff 2 – 0 1 Jan 2014
Arsenal Crystal Place 2 – 0 2 Feb 2014
Hull Arsenal 0 – 3 20 Apr 2014
Southampton Aston Villa 2 – 3 4 Dec 2013
Liverpool Aston Villa 2 – 2 18 Jan 2014
Tottenham Aston Villa 3 – 0 11 May 2014

No formal referee reviews for any of these games

Going back one more year to 2012-13 there are three more Arsenal games with referee reviews but no Villa games reviewed.

Date Home Away Score Weighted ref performance Bias against home team Bias against away team Wrong Important Decisions
22 Dec 2012 Wigan Arsenal 0 – 1 75 41 59 0
16 Mar 2013 Swansea Arsenal 0 – 2 92 78 22 0
4 May 2013 QPR Arsenal 0 – 1 73 17 83 0

A number of regular readers of Untold are aware of regular links made in the Football is Fixed blog between Mr Moss and Mr Calhoun who is a football agent (Key Sports), professional gambler and oversees football output at the Guardian newspaper.  As far as I am aware there is absolutely no proven link between the two men that  indicates that either have done anything wrong.  The two men were both at Sunderland as players starting in 1992.

Key Sports appear to represent the following Arsenal and Villa players

Arsenal – Theo Walcott, Dan Crowley, Tolaji Bola, Ryan Huddart (the last three are all members of the junior squads)

Villa – Callum Robinson

With only one of the Key Sports players possibly starting for each team there seems to be little scope for any manipulation of the result through Type 1 match fixing.  Also with the eyes of the world watching there should be little scope for any match fixing directly by the referee (but don’t forget the four not given Arsenal penalties in last year’s final) so we should be able to expect a clean contest.

In Conclusion

  1. Arsenal’s results under Mr Moss are extremely good with 8 wins from 8 in the last three years
  2. Villa’s are more mixed with P5, W2, D2 L1 in the last two years
  3. Mr Moss is, however as biased against Arsenal in his individual decisions as every other referee, 100/0 and 80/20 this year.
  4. Mr Moss is not good at recognising challenges that warrant yellow or red cards, he is far too lenient which can and does lead to injuries to players. Debuchy and Monreal this year alone.
  5. He is also not good at penalty decisions.
  6. His appointment was somewhat of a surprise – let’s all hope he is up to the task in hand on Saturday afternoon.


Up next: It’s Ted Drake Memorial Day – The final preview of the season.

20 Replies to “FA Cup final ref preview: don’t expect Villa cards or a penalty for Arsenal”

  1. Mr Moss says: “But I think it is healthy as a referee to know when the players get a bit frustrated and to take a backseat.”

    Is this why he lets things(fouls) go when they get frustrated at being “dribbled”? Or is he talking about the players that have been fouled and get frustrated? I cannot really tell.

    Let us all hope the win goes without a hitch for us.

  2. There is a very important article in “football is fixed” about Moss’s link to a very big bookie. Its worth a read.

  3. Thank you Andrew for the great you’ve done all season.

    I expect at least one outrageous decision in favour of Villa today. Let’s hope we won’t be talking about the referee long after today’s contest. COYG!!!!

  4. Moss and his ways… again? Well, in spite of his dodgy calls, I believe we will be celebrating a record success in the FA Cup later today. Go boys and show them what you’ve got!

  5. One of my main theories about how we’re reffed as we are is that refs are much more embedded in the football culture here than would be ideal.

    I used to imagine-wishful thinking- them standing outside the game, as slightly unusual, but very welcome and much-needed individuals who knew their most important quality was cultivating impartiality, keeping a distance from and resistance to popular perception and, especially,the media.

    So, for instance, if the football culture, shaped massively by the media, effectively encouraged dangerous tackles or anything else that was dubious or wrong, you could expect referees, being different and separate, might feel differently about things, and act accordingly.

    The more I’ve looked at it and thought about it, the more I’ve come to believe referees are hardly separate at all. They grew up in the football culture here, and-aaargh- are concerned with being liked and respected by the people within it. And they are ambitious. They all want the biggest games. They come to know what their bosses expect from them. They understand what is likely to get them a lot of stick from the media. They are not separate at all.

    My concern is that if they are a kind of extension of popular will…holy crap, judging by a few prominent articles I’ve looked at today, the popular will is gagging for Villa to win.

    We go into today surely knowing we are likely to be denied all but the most outrageously obvious penalty calls, whereas Villa could easily get a weak one. Same with red card incidents. We overcame shocking refereeing last year ,though, so let’s hope if it’s the same again we can do so again.

  6. Rich

    Very well said as usual.

    “My concern is that if they are a kind of extension of popular will…holy crap, judging by a few prominent articles I’ve looked at today, the popular will is gagging for Villa to win.”

    That is exactly my take on why we get crap refereeing.

    They follow the line of least resistance.

    This is how it works:

    Any slightly dubious penalty call, red card or goal in Arsenals favour will see him slaughtered by the pundits after the game, as well as in the media tomorrow morning, Sunday morning, the rest of the week, and possibly the rest of his life, depending on how ‘pissed’ the media are.

    Any slightly, no change that, significantly dubious calls in Villas favour will be brushed aside as a mere irrelevance.

    This is not paranoia, this IS how it works.

    For example, Last years final saw us denied 3 or 4 very very good penalty calls and they where completely overlooked. On the other hand a corner incorrectly given to us that lead to a goal was examined to death and was cited by some as a prime example of ‘the big teams getting all the decisions’.

    The referees should be stronger and they obviously should not be affected by how the media analyse and criticise them, but they are.

    Not only that, but it gets so bad sometimes that they can actually jeopardise there career if they make, in the medias eyes at least, a serious mistake against one of there darlings.

    A referee can make himself very popular if he screws us over, or very unpopular if he fails to do what is expected of him, and he knows that.

  7. The new cup final official will be the same as the last cup final official.
    It could be an insult to the English language to describe them as referees.

    ’91, Viera’s reds, 04/5 onwards, etc. they don’t like the Arsenal, we don’t care.

    Come on the Gunners!

  8. I think it will be an entertaining match, with Sherwood will not hold his players back because he don’t have such players. His players are not really dirty or brutish, but concern for heavy tackles. Big question from me, Giroud or Walcott?

  9. finsbury May 30, 2015 at 11:42 am
    agreed to “grass claat” as bunny wailer would say. 🙂

  10. I’ll be at Wembley & screaming my support. I don’t care how we win but win we must.

    Please God be fair to us. We play the Beautiful Game beautifully.

    It’s time for Wengerball.

    I love you Arsenal. Just win it again.

  11. Micheal Ram

    “Big question from me, Giroud or Walcott?”

    Indeed. Tough one.

    I love Theo and have said many times that before his injury he was my first player on the team sheet.

    But I love Giroud also.

    -I think villa will see high balls into the box, especially from free kicks, as there major weapon. Giroud is a big help defending set pieces.

    -Theo coming on against a tiring side could be crucial.

    For these 2 reasons I see Giroud starting.

    The fact is Wenger is probably as torn as we are. These are the problems you have when you have such a big and good squad. If he just picked one out of his magic hat I’m sure he wouldn’t mind who it was, which is pretty much how I feel. The thing is it’s getting like that with a few positions. Debuchy/Bellarin Gibbs/Monrael? the permutations in midfield are limitless it seems. That is why I’m so confident for the future.

    I digresss.

    For reasons stated I think Giroud will start, but honestly I don’t mind.

  12. Menace

    Enjoy my friend.

    Your love for Arsenal shines through, so spread it around amongst the faithful, cheer the boys to the rooftops, and have a wonderful day.


  13. jambug

    Cheers. I actually considered a shout out to you as I posted it (nobody on here is more vehement and persuasive about the pernicious effects of our media than you. And you’re bloody right)

    I’m now three for three in the articles I’ve read- at random- today. Carragher, Barney Ronay, now Brian Reade- they all want the Villa win and they all paint it as being the result that is good for the game. At least one says football ‘needs’ it. Out come the statistics about how a small group of clubs including us have won most of the prizes, and why this is not good.

    The theory is that I only ‘don’t recall’ such sentiments when it is utd, chelsea or city going for and winning prizes because i don’t read as many articles about them as I do Arsenal and, besides, am not sensitive to what is said about them as i am where Arsenal are concerned. I don’t buy it.

    The last was comical, as I read it having decided beforehand to read no more about the game. The article was about Blatter, and how we shouldn’t think we’re much better morally in how we run the game here. Agreeable enough stuff. Then the last line, ‘Anyway, enjoy today’s FA cup final. And may the least affluent side win’ Phhhh.

    Let’s hope we make em all unhappy today!

    Now to try clear my mind for a couple of hours. In my twenties I’d be hammering the booze already, but those days are over.

    Good luck ,everyone.

  14. This will be a very tough game. It’s really a coin flip. Benteke worries me. His strength may well cause problems. If the Arsenal team that played the first half last week turns up we should win but you just never know what effort and concentration levels the players will turn up with.

  15. Theo or Giroud… , well I’m not a master tactician but couldn’t he find room for both at the same time? I don’t think Villa are going to be attacking us that much, so we could do with an attack minded line up. Anyway, that probably shows how much I know (or more aptly, don’t know) about football by suggesting having both on at the same time.

    What I know is the key lies in who scores first; if its Villa then we are in trouble (they are a counter-attacking side and could easily score a couple more if they have us chasing the game), and we score first then they leave us plenty of room to exploit. So I expect to see villa getting lots of dubious free kicks in the first few minutes, and I wouldn’t even rule out a weak penalty for them early on. They’ll also try and attack us from the off in search of that early goal. Anyway, I firmly believe that if the official is fair we should win it in the end regardless of whatever start we have. But that’s wishful thinking – expecting a pgmob representative to be fair.

  16. Rich

    “‘Anyway, enjoy today’s FA cup final. And may the least affluent side win’ Phhhh.”

    Ignorant fools to a man.

    Net spend seasons ’03/’04 to ’13/’14

    Villa: £133 Million

    Arsenal: £87 Million

    Only finally after the shackles where off did we pass there Net spend last summer. It now stands at:

    Arsenal: £152 Million

    Villa: £137 Million

    So to try and portray this match as the ‘aristocratic’ Millionaires from the South, Versus the ‘paupers’ from the North is a bit of a stretch.

    But still, what do you expect from ignorant, Arsenal hating numbskulls like Reade?

    God I hate the f***ing Media. But you knew that 😉

  17. Rich

    “‘Anyway, enjoy today’s FA cup final. And may the least affluent side win’ Phhhh.”

    If they’re going make sarcastic comments such as that, alluding to one Clubs financial status over another, then surely that statement is more appropriately used when we play the likes of Chelsea, city and United.

    After all our Net transfer spend over the last 11 years is a mere 10% bigger than Villas, where as Chelsea’s for example, is a massive 400% more than ours.

    Still, we all know there’s one judgement imposed on us, and another on everyone else.

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