By Walter Broeckx
I know in some circles it is a bit the flavour of the day to talk about our ref reviews in a patronizing way. In a tone like: “those deluded fools at Untold with their ref conspiracy theories, oh what they will not do to not blame Wenger.” You can read it even here on Untold from time to time when one of them comes over here or indeed when they take up the idea of flooding us with their comments.
Or they suggest that we (this season that is Usama and myself) should get a life and stop wasting our time. I often wonder if this probably “sincere concern” about how we pass our days is not because they don’t like the outcome but just want to put their head in the sand so they can still blame all and everything on Wenger?
To be honest it does take up a lot of time to go through the matches as deeply as we have been doing all those years, and how Usama and I have been doing this season, but it sure is worth the trouble and the time. And as the season is now finished but still a few referee reviews to do I want to pay tribute to Usama who has been doing an amazing job behind the scene and who is responsible for the clear and transparent way the reviews are done and visualised.
But still the biggest objection we get thrown at our feet is: you are biased. And by using those 3 words they think they can dismiss all our work. Every matchday (and I hope he will do it again when all the reviews are done) we get a summary of all the wrong decisions that we have found in the Arsenal matches. Andrew not only gives the ones that went against us but also has in his table those decisions that went in our favour. Something that is often overlooked when they want to dismiss our work.
But at the end of the day this is what the last table of shame looked like:
Table of Shame
|Wrong Important Decisions||Favouring Arsenal||Favouring Opponents|
|2nd Yellow Cards||1||44|
|Possible Cost in Points||0||29|
Now I know that this is a hypothetical table. As some people have said : giving the valid goal from Ramsey against Liverpool in our home match is no guarantee that we would have won that match 1-0 instead of the now final 0-0 result. And I agree. That goal might have spurred Liverpool on to go forward more themselves and score a goal… but it also might have resulted in giving Arsenal more space and Arsenal scoring another goal.
But yes, I agree the 29 points is hypothetical. The result we might have seen if a video referee had been in place and he had corrected the decisions from the referee on the field.
However even if a video referee system had been in place but which did not agree with our findings for 50% of the time. Then that would still leave us with a possible benefit of around 14-15 points.
But as we are Arsenal supporters our findings are useless…some say.
I could refer to a few years ago when there was another website ”debatabledecisions” who only covered the decisions shown on MOTD and then a panel with no Arsenal supporters in it made up their mind. I remember that one season they were almost completely in line with our reviews. The final outcome: Arsenal had been hard done by the “errors” from the refs. I then mentioned that our reviews went much deeper than theirs, as they were dependent on what MOTD showed, and as we know they are quite good in distorting reality from football matches.
Now this year there is another website that is doing something a bit similar to what we are doing. It is called ‘The Hypothetical Premier League’ and can be found here http://thehpl.net/1450-2/
It is a website from a journalist who is very supportive of the idea of introducing video technology to help the referee. Something we at Untold have been asking for since as long as I can remember. Certainly from the moment that I started writing for it.
Now how do they work? Well they also are rather depending on what is shown on TV. And something I do have a bit of trouble with is the fact that they seem to use the “expert pundit opinion” to decide if a decision was correct or not. Relying on pundits to judge referee decisions….. not really what it should be.
But nevertheless it is an effort to simulate what could happen. Now we know that pundits in general know nothing about refereeing and so we should leave that in the hands of real referees. But still it is a good attempt.
So what is the final score in the Hypothetical PL? Those who have clicked the link will know by now. The final league table based on reviewing just the goals and offside leading to goals came to this:
- Arsenal 75 points
- Leicester 72 pts
- West Ham United 70 pts
- Tottenham 66 pts
- Man City 65 pts
Now compared to what we do this is just a little exercise. What we have done at Untold this season and all the seasons before goes much, much, much deeper. Because we cover all types of decisions and from the whole 90 minutes.
But even so, the HPL based on pundits who are not really are famous for their bias in favour of Arsenal comes up with the conclusion that the referees on the field have been screwing Arsenal more than any other team. In fact the team screwed most was West Ham United as they lost 8 points, just like Newcastle. But for Arsenal it was the difference between finishing 2nd or winning the league.
So people who want to dismiss what we have done this season (and the seasons before) can do this. But if other people who are not linked with Arsenal find the same thing based on the use of video technology then we can only come to the conclusion that there is something terribly wrong in the PGMO referee world. It sure doesn’t even out for Arsenal and never has in the last 7-8 years in fact.
The cry for the use of video technology is an important one. It can only bring more fairness to the PL. Even if not perfect it should result in a more fairer final league table at the end of the season.
I don’t know why it seems to be the daily job of the referees to screw Arsenal as they have been doing. If it is not deliberate then it sure is one hell of a coincidence that almost all referees make most of their mistakes against Arsenal. The other option is rather frightening to think about… is it really so we are seeing some kind of calciopoli in the PL? Our numbers surely seem to point in that direction. The numbers of the HPL website also point in a basic bias against Arsenal by most of the refs. And there are other numbers that indicate and point in the same direction of possible strange things.
But more on that later on Untold. Oh yes, we will keep on banging the drum.
UP NEXT: How one national English newspaper has just broken ranks and published the league table as it would be if referees did not make “mistakes”.
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