The Referees’ accuracy 2014-15. When it’s important you might as well toss a coin.

The Referees 2014-15 A quick summary


by Andrew Crawshaw


First breaking news from the referees announced for this coming weekend – the PGMO have introduced an additional referee who is not on their Elite List.  Simon Hooper is to take charge of the Norwich v Crystal Palace game.  It will be interesting to see how he does and if he appears again.

I want to show in a single table the extent of the problems with the refereeing of Arsenal matches during the course of last season.  I have included all 30 of the games that Walter reviewed (the Arsenal v West Ham game is listed twice as Chris Foy who started as referee was injured after 59 minutes and was replaced by Anthony Taylor.

I have deliberately not included the scores in the games, partly to keep the table more manageable but also because for the purposes of this review the score is irrelevant, what matters are the calls (decisions) the referee and his linesmen made during the course of the game.

For the purpose of this table, Important calls are those that either did or should have resulted in yellow cards, red cards, penalties or goals, Normal calls are run-of-the-mill fouls, corners, goal kicks, throw-ins etc..

There are two issues that we can look at using this table, general competence (ratio of correct calls to wrong) and bias (were the wrong calls evenly split between Arsenal and our opponents on the day.

Referee Correct Calls Wrong Calls in Favour of…
Arsenal Opponent
Normal Important Normal Important Normal Important
Arsenal v Crystal Palace Jonathan Moss 31 12 0 0 2 5
Everton v Arsenal Kevin Friend 25 5 1 1 11 5
Leicester v Arsenal Anthony Taylor 28 1 1 0 6 7
Arsenal v Man City Mark Clattenberg 27 9 0 3 3 5
Aston Villa v Arsenal Mike Jones 23 8 1 0 1 3
Arsenal v Spurs Michael Oliver 45 8 1 1 5 6
Chelsea v Arsenal Martin Atkinson 25 7 0 4 11 13
Arsenal v Hull Roger East 26 10 3 0 10 4
Sunderland v Arsenal Kevin Friend 26 7 2 1 4 5
Arsenal v Burnley Craig Pawson 24 4 0 1 4 2
Swansea v Arsenal Phil Dowd 38 9 1 1 6 9
Arsenal v Man United Mike Dean 25 5 2 1 7 6
West Brom v Arsenal Chris Foy 21 5 2 0 5 2
Arsenal v Southampton Andre Marriner 25 2 2 1 6 4
Stoke v Arsenal Anthony Taylor 43 4 0 0 11 11
Arsenal v Newcastle Lee Mason 39 12 0 0 2 6
Liverpool v Arsenal Michael Oliver 26 7 0 0 6 5
Arsenal v QPR Martin Atkinson 29 9 0 1 3 4
West Ham v Arsenal Neil Swarbrick 35 10 1 0 8 2
Southampton v Arsenal Craig Pawson 25 6 1 0 3 3
Arsenal v Stoke John Moss 34 7 1 0 4 5
Man City v Arsenal Mike Dean 27 7 3 1 5 6
Arsenal v Aston Villa Anthony Taylor 25 11 0 0 5 1
Spurs v Arsenal Martin Atkinson 32 11 1 1 11 8
Arsenal v Leicester Mike Jones 31 4 1 1 9 9
Crystal Palace v Arsenal Mark Clattenberg 37 9 1 1 7 2
Arsenal v Everton Andre Marriner 20 3 2 0 4 2
QPR v Arsenal Kevin Friend 28 5 1 1 5 3
Arsenal v West Ham Chris Foy (0 to 59 min) 17 2 0 0 0 2
Arsenal v West Ham Anthony Taylor (Min 59 to end) 14 3 1 0 4 1
Newcastle v Arsenal Mike Jones 27 5 0 1 7 9
TOTALS 878 207 29 21 175 155


Looking first at overall competence

  1. The referees got 1085 decisions correct, 878 normal and 207 important. Now the PGMO claim to get 95% of all decisions correct so we would expect to see about 50 wrong calls and we actually got 50 wrong decisions in favour of Arsenal, unfortunately there were also 330 wrong decisions favouring our various opponents.
  2. So the overall competency figure over 30 games was 1085/1465 correct or 74% not the 95% claimed by PGMO.
  3. If we look at the Important decisions on their own the figures are far worse, 207 correct and 176 wrong – that’s a ratio of 54% correct and 46% wrong. Little better than tossing a coin and totally unacceptable
  4. The PGMO figures can clearly be shown to be a complete fabrication and if they lie about such easily checked facts they can’t be trusted about anything else they say!

Let’s now look at the question of Bias

  1. In the games analysed Arsenal benefited from 29 normal wrong calls – one a game on average.
  2. Our opponents got the ‘rub of the green’ on 175 occasions virtually six a game and it happened game after game irrespective of the referee.
  3. Arsenal benefited from 21 Important wrong calls, again about one per game
  4. Our opponents benefited from 155 Important wrong calls that’s five per game, like the Normal wrong calls game after game and irrespective of the referee in charge.
  5. Bias exists, all referees display it in every game and it is always against Arsenal. The systematic nature of the bias points to a cause other than the individual referees, be it Type 3 match fixing, a concerted plan by the PGMO or some other reason is something we all have our own opinions on.
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21 Replies to “The Referees’ accuracy 2014-15. When it’s important you might as well toss a coin.”

  1. I am not disputing the dexterity or accuracy but how do you establish a wrong decision?
    Who has concluded its wrong. Maybe this has been explained in previous articles but if then they are independently established then your statements are authentic.

  2. Brilliant summery Andrew. Thanks for all the hard work.

    Shocking Statistics.

    The usual suspects will still call it ‘bo!!ocks without a shred of counter evidence or analysis.

    They just ‘know’ you see.

  3. As excellent presentation.

    As noted on an earlier thread, for Arsenal to win we have to play well enough not just to beat the opponent, but to beat the opponent when playing uphill on a PGMO tilted playing surface.

    I wonder why the PGMO are telling lies – there are a variety of reasons for this – but which one might be the correct one – and why are the normally vociferous media so silent on this subject?

    As we know, the media prefer to waste airtime on the distracting subject of handshakes, or lack of, rather than ref incompetence/bias.

    Riley, incompetent as a referee and incompetent as a manager has to go.

  4. Excellent work…with comprehensive detail…Thank you!!!

    In other news on BBC…


    Usmanov, Arsenal’s second largest shareholder, believes it was the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 that hampered Wenger’s ability to challenge for more trophies.
    “Arsene had a very, very difficult position when club shareholders didn’t want to put their money into constructing the new stadium,” added Uzbek-born billionaire Usmanov, who is not on the club’s board.
    “Because of this Wenger lost five years, maybe the best of his career, without a trophy. In reality, 10 years.
    “If I had the right, I would keep Arsene until he wants because until he cannot perform his activity as a manager, it is a gift for any club to have a coach like Arsene Wenger.”

  5. apo Armani

    “Arsene had a very, very difficult position when club shareholders didn’t want to put their money into constructing the new stadium,”

    I don’t know what you think apo but I’m sure Wenger was in full support of this strategy.

    Also, what people have to remember is, that when all the projections and predictions regarding the financial impact of the building of the Emirates where made, they could not possibly of predicted the imminent financial crisis and certainly couldn’t of foreseen the arrival of the oil money, both of which enormously increased the impact the financial constraints had on us, both with our ability to compete for trophies and for how long.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  6. Usmanov would be a disaster as a majority shareholder. His comments are self-serving and I doubt he would be able to resist interfering in football affairs. Also too close a friend with Abramavich and Putin.

  7. @Jambug
    August 5, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    As you well know…I always stand by the manager, and I am well aware of the hindsight shield Usmanov is using…I mealy showing what BBC are doing!

  8. Usmanov appeared to knife AW and the club in the back at the time of van Pursey’s departure.

    His present statement is calculating – it outwardly appears supportive – but raises the specter of being one player short of being able to challenge for the Champions League (possibly also the EPL – depending on the version in print). It looks as if he is setting a barb to use against Stan, the Club or AW at a suitable future date.

  9. Excellent. It pains me that Arsenal get robbed like this by Riley and his mob and the media just turn a blind eye. Looking at this table it’s a miracle we even finished as high third; imagine facing on a regular basis 7 to a staggering 13 incorrect important decisions against you in one match. And have that happen in about a 3rd of your games per season.

    Being severely hampered like this while fighting against billionaire clubs with endless resources who get a massive helping hand they shouldn’t really be needing. We should be fighting relegation at this rate, and I expect worse this season (if the way the CS was refereed is anything to go by). And then you hear someone who claims to support Arsenal dismissing all these injustices as paranoia/nonsense. It makes my blood boil.

  10. Data update. I have processed all of Arsenal’s and Chelsea’s games from last season, and I am currently through November for ManCity. That is 125 games (EPL, CL, FA-Cup, League Cup, Community Shield). I may have a UTF-8 issue for one game, to be investigated. I only download a file once. I sometimes (6 times in 125?) need to edit the file for mistakes. This initial push is to process all the data once, and in doing so, download all the data.

    If there are people in Untold that are computer literate (and Perl literate), each game is saved as a Perl hash using DBM::Deep. The structure is ad hoc. If people would like play with some of the data, I can send the DBM::Deep file(s). Occasionally events in a game are corrected, so you seen nominally the same time stamps with multiple events. I haven’t dealt with that yet. I probably have duplicated structure in places.

    For me, normal Perl code as I am still learning what is there.

    On the Arsenal front, there is Wilshere news. Even though it is very early in the morning in the UK on August 6, The Guardian has already seen scans of Wilshere’s ankle that are going to be taken on August 7 (Friday). And they are saying that Jack Wilshere has a hairline fracture of the fibula. There are two bones in your lower leg: tibia and fibula. The tibia is a fairly big bone, and most of us would call it the shin bone. The fibula is the smaller bone that is behind the shin bone.

    Hairline implies that there is little or no separation, and hence the two surfaces still approximate (medically speaking) each other. And there are probably no pieces floating around. Hairline also implies no surgery is needed. And it is often possible for the athlete to continue doing no-impact exercise. No running, but yes to bicycle, elliptical, ….

    The Guardian is reporting that it is “much worse” than initially expected. Initially reported, was a few days. Question is, what does a medja person regard as being “much worse”?

    I had a player break his fibula mid-season (not hairline, a break) and he was back playing in 6-8 weeks. He had red hair and I think he was of Welsh descent. I didn’t notice a difference in play from before to after. But this was amateur, not a lot of testing.

    For me, “much worse” means it is not a hairline fracture, and the Guardian story is made up. At which point you start wondering what little bits are truth and what are imagination of the author who is trying to sell advertising.

    Best to wait until some official announcement from Arsenal. But, if you want the Guardian article:

    I hadn’t looked at the URL before. This article is not written with an Arsenal point of view, it is written with an England point of view.

    Yes, Jack’s ankle is completely hooped and he will not be able to play (get his ankle really broken) for England in September.

  11. There is an issue to consider. The stats are based on video of the game. There are off the ball incidents that go unseen by the TV cameras. That is at least 5% more bias that is missed. I see this regularly on the pitch during live games. The illegal blocks or pulls /pushes of players making runs are not covered & therefore not included in stats. PGMO are an absolute disgrace when it comes to clean officiating of football in the EPL.

    What is amazing is that in spite of this Arsenal perform at an incredible level.

  12. Just incredible figures. And this in a season where the general Gooner perception is that the referees were starting to become less anti-Arsenal than in the previous years…

  13. Gerry: our referee commentary articles are written by referees and ex-refs. To check against their accuracy for one season we ran Referee Decisions in which we recruited a group of refs who support clubs other than Arsenal and they each did reviews of clubs other than the one they supported. It was a massive exercise and not one we could keep operational beyond that time frame, but it proved that our analyses when using our own small team were right.

    Beyond that is the fact that PGMO take decisions which can only enhance concerns: the most notorious being their decision never to explain or give data for the claim that decisions in the PL are 97% accurate, and their decision to restrict the number of refs so greatly, so that clubs like Arsenal can get the same ref multiple times in a season.

    That’s about a thousand articles in summary.

  14. It’s outrageous the Wilshere is out for three months yet that thug Gabriel gets away with assaulting him.

    That Mike Riley, what a scandal…

  15. Umma of is a fat oily snake. Where was he when we needed to finance the stadium? The twat only appeared once the board and AW had done an amazing job and then tried to profit from all their hard work.

    Who cares what this duplicitous twat says?

  16. I couldn’t find the pictures you mention on the link, para, just a video of the interview with Mourinho which I didn’t watch for obvious reasons. Are they still there?

  17. apo Armani

    Indeed I do my friend.

    I was really just reiterating the point I think you where making, re the duplicity behind the Usmanov comments you highlighted.

    I do not trust that man one inch.

    August 6, 2015 at 4:37 am

    Very true.

  18. Talkshite – Smiling St Jose! Cheating lying barsteward. Specialist in squirming. Who won the Community Shield? Bitch! Using same principle as PGMO safe on the football field bitch on the streets.

    The truth is Jose will never reach the moral high that Wenger commands.

    1 – 0 and he can’t sleep neither can his media pals & AAA. Live with it. Arsenal are here & have always been better than the rest in spite of the PGMO slanted pitch.

  19. Jack Wilshere, England’s best footballer apart from maybe the Ox missed most of last season after being hacked off the park by a clear foul, the kind of foul that was easily called C1850, that the official, the MOB representative, somehow ignored as he attempted to play some kind of made up notional advantage no one else could see in order to cover the hack that caused an injury.

    I suppose that if hacks against AFC players are not to be considered as fouls then the PGMOB/RICO Enterprise’s figures can be considered as being reasonably correct 😉

    Interesting to see how the newscorp hacks airbrush that record when branding said player as injury prone in today’s press. What are they attempting to propagate?

  20. Menace

    Talkshite: Full of odious, Wenger hating, double talking, dip shits.

    Hardly surprising then that they fawn over the odious, Wenger hating, double talking dip shit that is Jose Mourinho is it.

    They deserve each other.

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