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Arsenal v Everton, 21 May 2017 – The Match Officials. This man’s bias against Arsenal in would make Mr Riley proud.

by Andrew Crawshaw

This is the last league game of the season and before I look in detail at the ‘men in black’ for this game, I would like to do a brief reflection.

Here is a table showing the Referees, how many games they have refereed in the league and how many for Arsenal.

Total Games Arsenal
Home Away Total
Michael Oliver 32 3 3 6
Anthony Taylor 30 0 1 1
Robert Madley 30 1 1 2
Mike Dean 30 1 1 2
Jonathan Moss 29 2 1 3
Andre Marriner 28 4 1 5
Martin Atkinson 27 1 3 4
Craig Pawson 24 0 2 2
Neil Swarbrick 24 1 1 2
Mark Clattenburg 23 2 2 4
Kevin Friend 20 0 1 1
Lee Mason 20 1 0 1
Mike Jones 18 2 1 3
Roger East 11 1 1 2
Paul Tierney 11 0 0 0
Stuart Attwell 10 0 0 0
Graham Scott 8 0 0 0
Lee Probert 4 0 0 0
Chris Kavanagh 1 0 0 0

Michael Oliver has been the busiest referee of them all and will have done six Arsenal games.  We have said for years that no referee should be in charge of any club more than twice in a season (preferably one home and one away).  Other referees this season who we have seem too often are Andre Marriner (5 times), Martin Atkinson and Mark Clattenberg (four times) and Jonathan Moss and Mike Jones (three times).

Liverpool have also had the pleasure of Michael Oliver six times and Tottenham have had him seven times.  Man United have had Anthony Taylor six times as well.  No other club has had a referee more than 5 times.

We have published referee reviews for the Arsenal games over the first 30 weeks of the season.  These show that the standard of refereeing has been better this year than last.  Craig Pawson has the only sub 50% score (38% in our 1 – 0 win at Burnley on 2 October) and there have been 9 games where the referee has scored above 80% (Roger East has the highest with 89% in our 4 – 1 away win at Hull on 17 Sept).

Looking at these games here is the total number of wrong decisions and my estimate of the potential cost to Arsenal in terms of points.

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 0 16
Red Cards 3 20
Penalties 3 13
Goals 3 6
Total 9 55
Possible Cost in Points 0 17

No signs at all of “it all evening out in the end” and we could certainly do with some of those ‘lost’ points.

Enough of this for now – the important thing is who do we have for Everton…

  • Referee – Michael Oliver  31 years old from Northumberland and FIFA accredited
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Bennett  from Staffordshire and FIFA accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Adrian Holmes (not in the original list but has 32 appearances this year) from West Yorkshire
  • Fourth Official – Craig Pawson  37 years old from South Yorkshire and FIFA accredited

I have a single ‘flag’ against Mr Bennett from the 0 – 0 draw against Leicester when in Min 22 he failed to register Walcott as being offside, his other 6 games have been clean.  I have no ‘flags’ against Mr Holmes in any of his four games.

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As I said above Michael Oliver has been a very busy boy this year and we have already seen far too much of him particularly of late – this will be the third game since April and we last had him for the Spurs game on 30 April.

Arsenal v Liverpool 14 August (3 – 4)

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

82% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 60/40 and two wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals)

  • Min 45+1 The Liverpool ‘goal’ came from a free kick awarded for a “phantom foul’ – there was no foul and so no free kick so no goal, the second in
  • Min 75 was for Arsenal’s third goal when Chambers was offside.  The wrong decisions didn’t alter the outcome of the game.

Arsenal v Chelsea 24 September (3 – 0)

Ref Review Arsenal – Chelsea : Another good performance from the ref!

81% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 90/10 but no wrong Important decisions.  Kante and Walcott should both have been given yellow cards but Mr Oliver had a good game and missed little of any importance.

Bournemouth v Arsenal (3 – 3)


84% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 21/79 and one wrong Important Decision when in Min 58 Fraser fouled Bellerin in the build up to Bournemouth’s third goal which shouldn’t have counted and thereby robbed Arsenal of two points.  Apart from that it was another really good piece of refereeing.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal 10 April (3 – 0)

No referee review yet for this game but a dismal performance from Arsenal so here is a link to Walter’s immediate post match report

Crystal Palace – Arsenal 3-0

So some dodgy decisions in this game including a very poor one to award a penalty but as well a really poor performance from Arsenal and we really didn’t deserve anything from this game.  I watched the first 20 minutes on TV and felt that we weren’t going to get anything at all from the game but that it was easy for Palace as their forwards were being allowed to foul our defenders the whole time.

Spurs v Arsenal 30 April (2 – 0)

Again no full referee review yet so here is Walter’s post game piece Tottenham – Arsenal : 2-0

A dodgy Kane Penalty for the second goal but a really poor performance from Arsenal so probably the correct result.

What has he been like in the past two seasons?

2015-16 – Two games and two draws

Arsenal v Liverpool 24 August (0 – 0)

Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool

67% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 90/10 and three wrong Important Decisions which certainly cost us two points.

  • Min 8 Aaron Ramsey scored a perfectly good goal only for it to be ruled out for an erroneous offside decision.
  • Min 72 Lucas should have conceded a penalty for a foul on Giroud and in
  • Min 85 Mignolet was correctly given a yellow card for timewasting but that should have been his second as he should have had a first in
  • Min 58 when he deliberately kicked the ball away.

Spurs v Arsenal 5 March (2 – 2)

Ref Review: Tottenham – Arsenal : not the consistency we are asking for

56% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 14/86 and two wrong Important Decisions.

Min 65 Lamella fouls Sanchez for a yellow card (given) and then pushes him for a second (not given),

Min 79 Dier  (already on a yellow card) made a deliberate attack breaking foul – the foul was given but not the second yellow card.  Another two points denied by the referee.  25 minutes against 10 men and 10 against 9 would almost certainly have seen an Arsenal win.

Going back to 2014-15 and we had Mr Oliver on three occasions – three draws against Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea.  We have full reviews for the Spurs and Liverpool games only.

Arsenal v Spurs 27 Sept (1 – 1)

REFEREE REVIEW: Arsenal – Tottenham

66% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 85/15 and two wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 30 Rose should have conceded a penalty for a foul on Wilshere and
  • Min 72 Mason should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Özil (his first should have come in
  • Min 15 for a foul on Wilshere).  Another game where we were denied two points by Mr Oliver.

Liverpool v Arsenal 21 December (2 – 2)

Ref Review Liverpool – Arsenal. Someone put something in the ref’s tea at half time

67% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 0/100 and two wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 61 Sterling should have been dismissed for a second yellow card (deliberate handball) his first should have come in
  • Min 46 for a dive when Debuchy was wrongly booked instead.
  • Min 90+1 Borini was dismissed for a second yellow card, the challenge deserved a straight red card carrying a three match suspension.  Again a draw where the result should probably have been an Arsenal win with a man advantage for 30 minutes.

Arsenal v Chelsea 26 April (0 – 0) – here is a link to Walter’s post game report.

Arsenal – Chelsea, wake us up at the final whistle

Chelsea coming for and getting a draw with a typical Maureen example of anti-football.  No  indications of any howlers from Mr Oliver in this one.


Mr Oliver is one of the better referees with 3 scores over 80% in Arsenal matches this season but six times in a season is still four too many.

  • In 5 of the 11 Arsenal matches he has been in charge of over the last three years his wrong decisions have meant that we drew games we should have won.  I don’t think that his wrong decisions have meant that we have actually lost a game we should have won or drawn.
  • He rarely awards Arsenal a penalty but is more than happy to fall for an opposition dive.
  • His bias against Arsenal in wrong decisions would make Mr Riley proud, only one (reasonably) balanced game in our reviews and 5 games with a bias in excess of 80% against Arsenal.

Of all of the ‘big’ referees we could have had for this game he is probably the least objectionable.  He is unlikely to ‘tilt’ the field too far (he will take a cheap shot if we give him the opportunity but we should expect that of all referees).

In his matches in the first 160 games we covered in detail he averaged 2.27 wrong Important `decisions per game, slightly above the all-referee average, was average in red cards and worse in penalties with 12 wrong out of 25.

The good news is that Walter is over for this game so we should emerge as winners.

The bad news is that Martin Atkinson is in charge of the Liverpool v Middlesbrough match and Jonathan Moss is at Watford for the visit of Man City and I’m sure that both of them are trusted by Mr Riley to ensure that the ‘right’ results occur in those two games so it is most likely that all three of the teams in the fight for third and fourth places will win.


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29 comments to Arsenal v Everton, 21 May 2017 – The Match Officials. This man’s bias against Arsenal in would make Mr Riley proud.

  • Leon

    OT (sorry Andrew)
    Financial Times reporting that Usmanov has made a $1.3 million bid for control of Arsenal.
    Bit opportunistic I’d say, but unlikely to succeed.

  • Leon

    That’s $1.3 billion not million

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Only God the Ominisence knows what’s the future has in store. But nevertheless, that Usmanov’s $1.3b purported bid to take control of Arsenal FC if true, should be given a genuine thought to materialize to hand over the control of the club to him to be controlling it. Hopeful, titles winning wise, Arsenal will be far better of than it’s presently is under majorly share holder Stan Kroenke. But $1.3 billion and not $1.3 million baffled me. How much did Kroenke paid to acquire the majorlty shares he has acquired at Arsenal? And how much did Usmanov too paid for the minority shares he bought at Arsenal? If the purchased price of both the Kroenke’s and Usmanov’s share holding are added together, is the combine price that big now to have hit billions of dollars at current market stoke price value? I wouldn’t know because I am not a stoke marketer.

  • OlegYch

    Leon, the bid reportedly failed
    also copying this from another post
    take a look at and

  • Norman14

    It’s for controlling interest, and isn’t it £ not $?

  • Norman14

    Usmanov values Arsenal FC at £1.6 billion.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think for being young, the younger referee Michael Oliver 31, is physically fit and faster than some older referees in the PL to cope with the pacey demands our home match against Everton will pose to him in the game. So, let’s give him a chance and believing he will not exceed the minimal of error of judgements in his decision making in the game.

    Needless for me to say Le Prof’s Arsenal team will for the first time beat a Ronald Koeman’s team in this match. Of course we all know that Arsenal will unfailingly beat Koeman’s Everton side at the Ems on Sunday and they’ll beat them heavily by 6 goals to nil with Sanchez scoring 4 times in the match to increase his PL goals tally this season to 27, hoping Hull will stop Harry Kane’s goalscoring excesses going beyond his current tally of 26 goals forcing him to concede the PL golden boot of this season to Sanchez on the final day of the PL matches this season. And of course Lukaku effort to score at the Emirates will be frustrated by the Gunners.

    The Gunners have to beat the Toffees and I believe they will beat them resoundingly as the stake is still very high for Arsenal to miss staking their money on the bet for one out of the two ucl places remaining for grab this season. And I believe Arsenal will grab one out of these two places remaining for grabbing between Man City, Liverpool and themselves when the die is cast for the final battle on Sunday.

  • Norman14

    Apologies Leon..

    Just hit me how much the pound has crashed against the dollar since the Brexit vote.

    It was £1 billion and values the club at £1.6 billion

  • Leon

    Almost as wealthy as Beckham

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The bid is likely been rebuffed by Kroenke as he’s yet to respond to Usmanov’s offer of £1bn to buy his controlling share stocks at Arsenal from him according to the BBC sports news I’ve just read. But I think Kroenke should respond to Usmanov’s offer positively to sell his majority shares stocks in the club to Usmanov who has appeared to be passionate like Abram Abromovich of Chelsea is to move Arsenal forward considerably in titles winning. Unlike Kroenke who has appeared to be comfortable in making profit at the club at the expense of seeing Arsenal win titles.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    So Beckham is that very rich?

  • Pat

    So all we can do for Sunday is hope we end the season with a great performance and cross our fingers about the rest. I hope there aren’t any empty seats because the match is sold out and the ticket exchange has closed!

  • OlegYch

    Samuel, i urge you to read this

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Andrew…..the final pgmol nail in arsenals champions league coffin?

  • Gord

    I would rather Stan not sell to Usmanov. I think he just wants a toy to play with. Let him go buy Derby or something. Maybe Leeds.

  • Leon

    Beckham’s rich, but not that rich. And he is buying football club.

  • Gord

    Andrew, would you like some statistics?

    Look for 1920

    That was 100 million trials. The minimum to guess at how rare that event was, I think would be 1 billion trials (1E9). Which would take about a day (non-threaded).

    But, nobody seems interested, so why bother running it?


  • Mandy Dodd

    Usmanov is a dangerous guy, I would imagine there may be some implicit threat over the price he would demand from Stan for AUs shares…..maybe with the hint that Usmanov could use his money to turn Everton….or worse into another city making things very difficult for arsenal. Especially post,Wenger.
    I doubt if Stan will sell, but think there is more to come on this

  • Menace

    OT – I detest monopolies. All these football clubs owned by individuals should be outlawed & forced into UK shareholder ownership. In fact all sporting clubs should be forced into UK shareholder ownership. The FA should also be nationalised. It seems wrong that another countries nationals own the FA.

    Time for the truth to be vented by the club. Open up about the corrupt PGMOL.

  • Menace

    It doesn’t matter how good the stats are for these PGMOL cheats. They still rob us of titles & trophies that some crave. I don’t care too much because I know how good Arsenal are despite these manipulative bastards. I just hope Alexis gets pissed off with their cheating & scores 6 or more so that he can get that golden boot.

  • colario

    @Menace. Agreed

  • Polo

    Ian Wright has been extremely vocal about Arsenal recently, I wonder if there are any link with the Usamov bid? Anybody know why he hate Dick Law?

  • ClockEndRider

    I watched the Dick Law link provided by Arseblog the other week where he was speaking at a conference in Brazil and describing the different operating models used by English and done European clubs. The man is clearly far from the idiot the likes of Wright and certain others seem to portray.

  • Polo

    @ClockEnd, I saw that video too, the man seem intelligent to me, but maybe he has a bad personality or something hence why some don’t like him

  • para

    So oliver is riley’s protege.

  • Menace

    Don’t know Dick Law, but if he’s intelligent, then many of the unintelligent will dislike him.

  • Nitram

    I like Mr Oliver and fully expect a balanced performance from him tomorrow.

    I wish it where he we had for the Cup final as opposed to you know who.

  • Gord

    Number Games

    As mentioned earlier, I had seen a single hit of the Leicester results in a Monte Carlo run of 100 million trials. Basically, this means:

    _ 1 +/- 1

    or rather, what is better is:

    _ 1 +/- n * sqrt(1)

    where we expect ‘n’ to be about 1 and the square root of 1 is 1.

    If you then arrange a longer run, one sort of hopes that you will see more hits.

    If you have 2 hits, you really have:

    _ 2 +/- n * sqrt(2)

    If you have 4 hits, it would be:

    _ 4 +/- n * sqrt(4)

    which if n is less than 2, says that we expect that much of the time it is significantly different from 0.

    If we do another run, with say 10 times as many trials, we expect 10 times as many hits. If for the smaller run we observed 4 hits, to run 10 times as many trials we are hoping for about 40. And often we will find that what the 10 times long run produces, is something between 35 and 45. Less often, it may produce something between 30 and 50 (but outside of 35-45).

    In some respects, to say something is 1, means it is between 0.5 and 1.5. This is similar to the 4th official holding up a sign with ‘N’ minutes of extra time called for. It means more than ‘N-1’ and less than ‘N+1’ (most of the time).

    So, we had Leicester with a single hit. If that hit was ‘real’ and not a fluke, we expected a 10 times longer run to produce something like 10 hits. Which would go a little ways towards confirming that this result might happen once in something like 2000 years. As I was comparing other observed rare results to this one to derive this ratio, the counts observed for that/those results would also go into the calculation. So, instead of 1920 a person might get 1985.

    The original guess at likelihood was once in 1920 years, but that 1920 was not very firm. It was sort of like more than 192 and less than 19280.

    This longer run produced no hits for the Leicester result. While it is still possible that this repeat time span is still less than 1920 years, it is more likely it is longer than 1920 years. How much longer, we don’t know.

    If we repeat this 10 times longer run (which basically takes my computer an entire day to work on, single threaded), if we do get any hits, we are sort of expecting the number of hits to be less than 6. If we don’t see any hits and have to do a third run, we would sort of be expecting less than 3 for that run. But until we get more hits, we really can’t say anything positive.

    Not that there is anything positive to say about 😈 Mike Riley and his PGMOL gang. And their bosses, the EPL and The FA.

    Even if I get hits, the calculations may be “in error”. For instance, I am generating random numbers. There has to be a source for the “entropy” I am drawing from. What happens if I run out of entropy? That could cause odd results.

    I have a couple of different mechanisms “filling” the entropy tank on my computer. One of them, gets timing information from music, like listening to an Internet radio station. So, just in case I will have my computer playing music at the same time. This will slow the calculations down (some unknown amount more than 1 day), but it should help keep the level of entropy higher.

    On another note, I will miss following the game in real time. Radiostations here, never even talk about EPL, so no hope there.

    I’m hoping that Middlesbrough get at 1 point (or more), giving us a chance at 4th.

    Come On You Gunners!

  • MK

    F me this ref is such a cheat. I mean i knew he was before the game but it is just so blatant I don’t know why any of us bother watching this anymore.