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June 2021

Chelsea v Arsenal : Sunday 17 September – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Our officials for Sunday Afternoon are :-

  • Referee – Michael Oliver  Age 32 from Northumberland FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Bennett  from Staffordshire and FIFA Accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Stuart Burt  from Northamptonshire and FIFA Accredited
  • Fourth Official – Neil Swarbrick  Age 51 from Lancashire

So a FIFA Accredited team.  Unfortunately, as we all know that actually means very little in terms of getting a balanced and unbiased series of decisions on the field.

A number of blogettas have already published that in the 21 Arsenal games Michael Oliver has officiated we have won only four.  Some have gone as far as to say these games haven’t all been against top teams which is also true.

Here at Untold we like to try and look behind these headline numbers to see if there are any underlying patterns.   Here are our numbers relating to the 19 league games he has officiated

Year Match Score Referee Score % Bias against teams Home/Away Wrong Important Decisions
Pro Arsenal Against
2010/11 Arsenal v West Brom 1 – 3 88 n/a
2010/11 Arsenal v Aston Villa 1 – 2 67 12/88 0 4
2011/12 Arsenal v West Brom 3 – 0 84 83/17 1 0
2011/12 Swansea v Arsenal 3 – 2 91 20/80 0 1?
2012/13 Everton v Arsenal 1 – 1 70 21/79 0 0
2013/14 Liverpool v Arsenal 5 – 1 n/a
2013/14 Man United v Arsenal 1 – 0 n/a
2013/14 Arsenal v Spurs 1 – 0 n/a
2014/15 Arsenal v Chelsea 0 – 0 n/a
2014/15 Arsenal v Spurs 1 – 1 66 85/15 0 2
2014/15 Arsenal v Liverpool 2 – 2 67 0/100 0 2
2015/16 Arsenal v Liverpool 0 – 0 67 90/10 0 3
2015/16 Spurs v Arsenal 2 – 2 56 14/86 0 2
2016/17 Arsenal v Everton 3 – 1 n/a
2016/17 Arsenal v Liverpool 3 – 4 82.3 60/40 1 1
2016/17 Crystal Palace v Arsenal 3 – 0 n/a
2016/17 Spurs v Arsenal 2 – 0 n/a
2016/17 Bournemouth v Arsenal 3 – 3 82.4 21/71 0 1
2016/17 Arsenal v Chelsea 3 – 0 81.4 90/10 0

Data from has 19 games league games involving Arsenal with the following statistics:-

Committed by Arsenal Committed by opponents
Fouls per game 11.37 12.05
Fouls per tackle 0.55 0.53
Yellow cards per game 2 2.21
Red cards per game 0.11 0.11
Yellow Cards total 38 42
Red Cards total 2 2

Arsenal have a win% of 21% and average only a single point per game, both of which are significantly below our all referee averages.

Mr Oliver is something of a ‘marmite’ referee, you either love or hate him.  Our results with him in charge are not good but this hasn’t always been his fault.

In some of the games we have been diabolically bad.  He has cost us points in games where we have drawn but where we should probably have won.  The heavy defeats were our fault not his.  His bias figures are certainly heavily against Arsenal and very much in line with PGMO averages.  The fouls and cards data indicates that he gives as many to opponents as he does to Arsenal players – but our bias figures indicate that these are probably misleading.

Last season he was demonstrably the highest performing referee we had, we analysed three games and he was above 80% in each, of those we won one (Chelsea at the Emirates 3 – 0), drew one (away at Bournemouth where, arguably, a wrong decision cost us a win) and lost one (the season opener against Liverpool) where we were second best and always looked like losing.

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As against Bournemouth last weekend we need to start brightly and get an early goal or two to take Mr Oliver out of the equation.


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8 comments to Chelsea v Arsenal : Sunday 17 September – The Match Officials

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebksin

    It’s needless for me to say that Arsenal will beat Chelsea to the collection of all the points at stake in the PL big game on Sunday afternoon at the Bridge. And that the match referee, Michael Oliver and his two assistants will referee the game strictly in accordance with the official laydown rules and regulations guiding the game and that of refereeing a match. For, I am of the believe this is exactly what will happen in the game from the kickoff to the end of it.

    There is no any amount of gearing up the Blues and motivating them that Antonio Conte will do that will stop the Gunners from beating the Blues on Sunday in a lunch time kickoff match as the Gunners will surely beat them comprehensively and take them to the cleaners. This is exactly what Arsenal will do to Chelsea on Sunday noon and I believe my inner mind that told me this. And as a standing order, Mr Oliver, the match referee will not under any disguise or pressure try to interfere with the true result of this match as it’s lawfully played out by swaying it to the advantage of Chelsea if fulfilling his masters, the Pgmol anti-Arsenal PL title win agenda becomes his priority in this game to carryout. But should he decides to do this and did it, such a miss doing will hunt him all the remaining days of his life as his conscience will not be in agreement with him anymore but always trouble him. Consequently, it will be dangerous for him to cheat Arsenal in this their away big PL game against Chelsea at the Bridge on Sunday. Therefore, he should not contemplate doing it talk less of to do it.

  • Gord

    Thanks Andrew.

    I would say it looks suspicious to see the statistics of the opponents be so similar to those of Arsenal. That is tantamount to saying that Arsenal plays the same style as whatever opponent we are playing that day. Which is ridiculous.

  • Mandy Dodd

    There is an upping of the anti against Wenger for having the audacity to sign another contract
    As it is a key London derby, wouldn’t be surprised to see a dodgy penalty, and even a red against us. The Beast beware.
    Still, hope the pgmol don’t resort to allowing them goals via knocking our defenders out again , but nothing would surprise me in this game.
    A chance to hit Arsenal and Wenger, and ingratiate with an oligarch Mr Riley seems to quite like, despite one of his refs being falsely accused of racism by Chelsea.
    Conclusion, out boys will have to be at their very best to get anything from this one , their very best.

  • Dom

    This match should indeed show whether we have made progress. Chelsea are not going to accept three losses in a row against us, that’s for sure.
    We must start the match at the same intensity that we showed in the second half against Cologne.
    As for the three at the back, I feel AW must be a little unsure as to what to start with. We have the players to defend and to attack but as to the actual formation to counter Chelsea effectively…I’m at a loss !
    Let’s hope the Ref doesn’t influence the game, but at the end of the day, it’s our players that will decide the outcome…and that’s the way it should be.
    Good Luck the Gunners :=)

  • para

    Its not about starting with intensity alone, it’s also about closing downg Chel$ and ushering them (no need to tackle every time), breaking up their attacks and making them frustrated, a team like Chel$ is good in attack so we need to diffuse attacks well.

    And of course, defence must be spot on, no mistakes that gift them goals on Sunday please, sharpness and concentration for 96+ minutes please.

    So a big work load for the team on Sunday, let us hope they rise to the challenge and play a great game.

    Team selection will be critical from the off, no dilly dallying and unready or out of position players please.

  • Nitram


    “but at the end of the day, it’s our players that will decide the outcome…and that’s the way it should be.”

    Could you please explain how you know that will be the case, as opposed to the referee sending off our player when clearly he should be sending off a Chelsea player as has happened on past occasions?

    You seem rather dismissive of the massive influence a referee can, and indeed does, have on a match, particularly in this fixture.

  • Scoring first Is essential, relatively early is good, splitting them into their two units def + Atk is key.

    Chelsea are good defensively when the back 5 or 6 are compact, they achieve this by scoring first and ambushing their opponents.

    You just have to play between their lines, to go about winning, the football way. Having a different system, which exploits areas they do not want to occupy, or have vacated is essential. the 3-4-3 5-2-3 give you more offensive and defensive stability by congesting midfield, allowing the 3 behind to sweep.

    if you use a 4-3-3 you can occupy the back 3, which means the full backs become incredibly important, they have to link the defence to midfield, and midfield to attack.

    Why I noted that both scoring, was important.

    Mandy been a while.

    Gord has nailed it, the stats are incriminatingly similar, Oliver has been being a good monkey, probably why he’s got this game, I suspect he will bias on fouls, but let things go, to avoid contention, which may prove contentious. I think the last thing he wants, is a red, Swarbrick, wind up merchant.

    We need to Sugar Ray Robinson this one!

  • City riot, Burney see it out!