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July 2021

Stoke v Arsenal Saturday 19 August – The Match Officials: will the improvement continue?

by Andrew Crawshaw

Well last week’s game was a fairly pleasant surprise – a game with Mike Dean in charge and at the end of the match we weren’t all fuming about him having totally screwed us over.

Of course some of the pundits were incensed about what they saw as a handball by Özil, particularly as it led to a goal 90 seconds or so later.  At the time I don’t recall a claim for handball by any Leicester player and I wasn’t aware of it from my seat in the stadium.

Overall our attack was more effective than our defence and, but for some very good saves by Schmeichel, we could easily have won by a more convincing margin.

Our last three games in all competitions have all featured good refereeing – lets all hope that is the start of a pattern.

This week we have

  • Referee – Andre Marriner – Age 46, from the West Midlands (his home Football Association is Birmingham County)
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Beck – From Bedfordshire and FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Scott Ledger – from South Yorkshire
  • Fourth Official – Robert Madley – Age 30, from West Yorkshire

Andre Marriner is one of the longer established referees in the Select Group having been around since the start of the 2005/6 season.  His first Premier League match was in 2004 when he was in the middle as Charlton defeated Norwich.

Last season was his last with FIFA accreditation as that lapses after an official’s 45th birthday.  This could be important if he follows the same patters as Mike Dean who has certainly been far less objectionable since he passed the same point in his career.

Also last season we had him in charge on five occasions (w2, D2, L1) and he missed sending off offences against Darmian in our away draw against United (Min 25 and Min 33) and Navas (Min 8) in our home game against Man City, potentially influencing the outcomes of both games.  Overall though his numbers were good with three scores above 80% and there is little to suggest that we should be unduly worried about him being in charge at Stoke.

In those five games, Simon Beck was partnered with Mr Marriner on four occasions and Scott Ledger twice without either of them making any mistakes that we noted so again nothing to worry about.

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Last week Mr Marriner (along with Mssrs. Beck and Ledger)was in charge of the Newcastle v Tottenham game when he issued 3 yellow cards and a correct red card for a stupid Jonjo Shelvey who stood on Alli’s ankle right in front of the referee – no complaints a clear red card.

Assuming the pattern we saw in the first round of games continues and we get even handed refereeing I am confident that if we get beaten we will only have ourselves to blame.  Let’s have another hatful of goals and three more points.


An Untold Footnote: did we do any good?

Last season Untold’s referee review team reviewed each and every one of the first 160 games played in the Premier League from the point of view of the referees’ performances.  Each review contained video evidence so that everyone could see exactly what was going on and validate our own conclusions.

That set of reviews was then summarised in a series of articles which you can find here, or via the “160 Games Reviewed” tab in the “Pages” list top left on this page.

This was a stupendous not to say overwhelming piece of work by our team of reviewers, and it remains a monument to a proper analysis of refereeing.  PGMO who employ referees could have done it, but have always refused to.  TV, radio and newspapers could have done it, but either sat on their hands or else produced tiny half-baked “analyses” of a handful of events which were no use to anyone.  It was the building of a cumulative database of refereeing performances that was needed, and that is what we provided.

What we are now seeing is whether that remarkable piece of work has actually had an effect in reminding the referees, their secret society, and the media, that we really were watching, and holding them to account, and that last season their performances were nowhere near good enough.

We await further games this season to see if we really might have made a difference.

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11 comments to Stoke v Arsenal Saturday 19 August – The Match Officials: will the improvement continue?

  • Josif

    Excellent preview (as always), Andrew.

    I was thinking how PGMO has sucked one huge part of joy from my football fan life – every week, instead of checking who will be and who won’t be ready for the game from our and the opponents’ team, I spend time thinking who is going to be the referee and will he or won’t he screw us up, will he or won’t he screw us up immediately or only after he sees our opponents can’t handle us themselves.

    The game has already had a bizarre intro as Kolašinac’s clumsy fall on Jese three-and-half years ago that almost ended Jese’s career was compared with Shawcross’ red card foul on Aaron seven-and-half years ago. Given that we play Liverpool after Stoke, we can expect a red card (possibly for Xhaka or Kolašinac) so that we go to Anfield with a weakened side. Not because I think the referees like Liverpool (if anything, the referee analysis made by Untold Review Team last season debunked that myth) but because I think they don’t like us.

  • para

    I do get the impression that there is a (strong?) favourable wind blowing towards Arsenal this season from the refs and media and may it continue.

  • Uwot?

    The main concern tomorrow will be with “elbows crouch” who is a snide fouler.the second “threat” will be one of Darren”serial fouler”fletcher.who is there purely to break up play as often as he can.lastly let’s not forget our old friend Charlie ” cruncher” Adams.a real dirt bag if there ever was one.oh nearly forgot about shawcross but haven’t got all aim will be simple.route one preferably & in their faces.if the ref lets them get away with it.we’ll see.for that reason Bfg playing is a must. & please,please please bench ozil who will only get a right passengers for this game

  • ARSENAL 13


    You better stop watching expert analysis of the games by expert plundits with expert opinions and grow up a little.

    what do you mean by passengers?

  • Uwot?

    Listen to pundits? Never have,never will son.just beleive what my eyes tell me & if you don’t’ think ” ozil” is a passenger most of the time(.that is certainly when the going gets tough.)i suggest you save yourself a lot of anguish & avoid tomorrow’s match.hope if he plays he proves me wrong but I doubt it.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    If ref’ Andre Marriner and his lines men will not intentionally screwed up on the orders of the Pgmol or on their own self impulses to become toxic against Arsenal in this our away PL match to Stoke City tomorrow evening Saturday, then, with no iota of any doubt in my mind, the Gunners will break 3 potteries of the Potters to pieces right there before the eyes of the Potters home partisan supporters right there at the Bet 365 Stadium. And no any Gunner whatsoever, will be hit by any pottery hitting Potters. For, the Gunners will all smartly dodged all the hitting of potteries on them by the Potters and they will not get any Gunner hit,

    my 3-2-4-1 starts:

    Holding Mertesacker Monreal
    Bellerin Kolasinac
    Ozil Ramsey Coquelin Xhaka

    My bench:
    Ospina Mustafi Bramal Chamberlain Elneny Walcott Giroud.

    This is a most powerful Gunners starts and bench to break the potteries of the Potters by 0-3 @FT +.

  • Dom

    wonderful,wonderful piece SAA…you do have a great deal of humour 😀
    Difficult match as always but we are better prepared than before I say.

  • Dom

    Just in case I need my eyes testing, and I do , I know it, I was looking on the Official Arsenal site and going through the training photos…couldn’t see the Ox anywhere ! Have I missed something ?

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Dom, I’ve not checked myself too. But as you’ve not seen the Ox picture in that London Colney Friday’s training sessions, it could he has been deliberately left out of training for Stoke as his reported move away from the club is nearing a deal? Or it’s could be for an issue that is not related to that his alleged move away from Arsenal this summer. Let’s wait and see.

    Notwithstanding, great news for Arsenal! Gabriel has completed his transfer from Arsenal to Valencia for an undisclosed fee by Arsenal. But it’s believed to be in the region of £10 – 11m according to unconfirmed media reports.

    Nonetheless. Despite Liverpool Fenway Sports Group owners record of holding a top class player at club down from moving away to another top club when he sees the opportunity to do and wants to do it, but what is wrong with some players and their agents who failed to have a release clause written into the deals they’ve agreed before signing it? In their happiness to extend his deal to five years last season, both Philippe Coutinoh and his agent have completely forgotten to negotiate with Liverpool to have a release clause written into the new 5 years deal Coutinoh signed. And consequently finding it very difficult now to transfer to Barcelona this summer because there is no release clause written in his current 5 years deal contract at Liverpool, which Barcelona can activate to accelerate his transfer to Nou Camp. But if Fenway Sports Group owned by Henry and Co are lying again as they did during the time Arsenal activated Louis Suarez release clause of £40m to get him transferred to the Emirates Stadium which Arsenal knew was the release clause in Suarez’s contract deal at Liverpool then. But vehemently denied by Henry to stall the transfer of Suarez to Arsenal. I am sure the FA will not leave Fenway Sports Group and it’s owners to go scape free this time around.

  • para

    Let us hope that Arsenal can win this one and are well prepared for Stoke.

    The desire to win now seems to be more apparent in Arsenal so i will go for a 1-4 result today who ever plays.

  • I thought Marriner’s performance was quite poor tonight, although no worse that what I have come to expect from the twit who sent off Kieran Gibbs.
    He missed the penalty for Bellerin, the “goal” wasn’t offside according to the BT Sport freeze-frame, and all of the decisions seemed to go Stoke’s way. There was one incident in the first half where Butland picked up the ball in open play, and held onto it for over 17 seconds, whilst enjoying a leisurely stroll around the penalty box. BT’s premium commentary team failed to spot it, along with the match officials. I weep for the future.