The notion that refereeing in the Premier League is balanced and fair is itself a conspiracy theory


How the Flat Earthers took over football journalism at the Guardian.

By Tony Attwood

From my perspective one has to be either fairly silly or rather desperate to dismiss a proposition as “ludicrous” without giving any reasoning or evidence, especially in a newspaper that prides itself on the quality of its journalism and ability to analyse, as does the Guardian.

And yet generally speaking, in the media any rules that might apply in reporting the rest of the news absolutely don’t apply when it comes to football.  As with…

“The accusation of some kind of premeditated campaign by referees against Arsenal is ludicrous”. But of course because this is football journalism, we can have predictions, such as  “Wenger’s referee paranoia will chip away at Arsenal’s conviction.”

The prediction is fine.  The notion that there might be something amiss with the ultra secretive PGMO is not.

And one can imagine the need that was felt in that paper and others to hit back, because once football supporters do start to think not only that journalist reporting is biased, but is also biased because of the rules laid down by the League and PGMO, then the edifice of journalism begins to fall down.

So Wenger is called “paranoid”, and his arguments are dismissed as “claims” and these “claims” are dismissed as “extraordinary”.

But no.  The Guardian, a paper that ceaselessly promotes the quality of its journalism, gives us not one hint of the need for such analysis, but instead comments only on this match saying Mr Wenger “was fuming when the referee, Anthony Taylor, awarded a penalty for the visitors, even though there was contact from Bellerín on Eden Hazard.”

It is the traditional game played by the media.  Take one incident and then generalise outwards from there, and then question the mental stability of the person involved. One might as well have a reporter write, “The Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, was left fuming when the Daily Express reported that the earth was flat, even though it does indeed look flat from my bedroom window.”

No broader context or analysis is permitted.   And one has to ask why, since self-evidently, there is broader analysis elsewhere else.  It is as if the flat earthers have taken taken over football journalism in the Guardian.

The article continues,

Wenger had been raging since the award of a controversial penalty against his team at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, which in effect cost them two points.

Notice at once the use of the pejorative “raging since”.   It suggests a person out of control, not a person who has undertaken any analysis (even though the Guardian clearly hasn’t).  He’s demented, running around nonstop like a headless chicken.  A clever ploy, when in fact a little deconstruction of the article shows that it is the journalist who is jumping from proposition to proposition without context, without evidence, without connectivity.

Then we were told

Wenger’s tone turned darkly conspiratorial when he highlighted how Tottenham Hotspur’s first goal in their win at Swansea City on Tuesday night had been offside while they also might have had Davinson Sánchez sent off.   “The referees get away with you, with the English press, always, no matter what they do,” Wenger said.

So rather than analyse the nature of reporting via the media (which is how most people get their football news) they now consider Mr Wenger’s sanity…

The notion that the accusation is “ludicrous” is taken as self-evident, without any analysis, and then suggests that as a result the mindset of the players is affected negatively by this is just given: it is not a proposition, it is a fact.

And yet, if referees are making large numbers of mistakes, and our two major analyses suggest that is the case, then the question of why? must be asked.  And if those mistakes don’t all balance out in the end, that question of why? must also be asked.  And if the newspaper itself is not investigating the accuracy of referee decisions across a season (as it clearly has the resources to do) and making all the evidence public, then a very, very big question of why? is left hanging in the air.  They would only have to do ten games with video evidence as we did, and ideally let us know in advance, then they, ourselves and anyone else interested, could do analyses, see how the referees do, and we could all compare results.

Why don’t they?  That is a real question.

Elsewhere in the same report Mr Wenger is quoted as giving an answer to the point about his mindset, where he is reported as saying “We have to account in our preparations for that’s what we have to face.”

In other words the manager is saying to the players, “the referee is likely to give more decisions against you than for you, and there might be a dodgy penalty.  Prepare yourself for that, and if it happens, redouble your resolve to fight back.   In this match you are taking on the opposition, and the referee, and to win you have to be twice as good as the other side who have the referee with them.  Don’t let the ref get at you.”  That is a perfectly reasonable way to motivate, but clearly beyond the grasp of David Hytner.

Thus throughout various articles the paper quickly put out about the match and Mr Wenger’s commentary we get headlines and sub-headings such as  “Arsène Wenger’s high-wire act exposes hole at heart of Arsenal”.   And the justification for the “hole in the heart” is… well apparently it was that as Mr Wenger was leaving the press room a journalist called out that Jack Wilshere might have been sent off for a second bookable offence if he had been booked for a dive following a challenge from Andreas Christensen.  And then seemingly as he was reaching the door Mr Wenger then said, “That would have made you happy.”

The journalist persists, even though the press conference is over saying, “Seriously, Arsène, what did you make of it? Did you see the incident?”

“Honestly, no,” Wenger replied, and then he goes through the door, having had the courtesy to answer.

And from this we get the hole in the heart comment, and the comment that “Wenger also saw something deeper and more sinister”.   But by utterly refusing to investigate what that “something deeper and more sinister” might be the paper leaves the reader with the notion that Wenger is a nutter.

Yet in reality this is the classic manipulation of the reader by a reporter and editor for we have been reporting that “something deeper and more sinister” for around ten years, and have provided a range of supporting evidence to suggest that there might well be Type III match fixing going on.

As I’ve often reported, we can’t prove it, in the way it was proven in Italy, because that proof took the resources of hundreds of jouranlists and their newspapers who wanted to investigate, and a series of phone taps.   Here we don’t have that, but we can still produce evidence.   Evidence from the 160 games analysis, supported by the utter secrecy surrounding PGMO, and its decision year after year to restrict the number of referees in such a way that were there to be Type III match fixing of the type seen in Italy, would flourish rather than be restricted.

It is a simple notion to say that there should be enough referees so that no club gets the same referee more than twice in a season, but the Guardian refuses even to consider that as an issue, just as it won’t consider the utter secrecy surrounding PGMO as an issue, or its own failure to investigate any of these issues, as an issue.

Instead they report events suggesting that Arsenal official believe “that Arsenal are persecuted by officials.”   And of course they resort to that old journalist trick, the sneering headline.  For example


55 Replies to “The notion that refereeing in the Premier League is balanced and fair is itself a conspiracy theory”

  1. I have never seen any evidence “that it all evens out in the end”.

    Our research gave as a result that in fact it doesn’t even out for most teams.
    And those others who did something likewise it in the past came to the same result: it doesn’t even out.

  2. I would say, conspiracies are done in dark alleys…Arsenal gets robbed in broad daylight in front of children even..

    I am also surprised how some of our fans can not see it …especially since eduardo years where the M.O of the rest of premier league was to kick and injure and stop by all means necessary the fast technical fluid football of some 19 yearolds. I do it as well, i kick the youngsters in my wedsnsday 8 x8 games to avoid being embarassed but a) we have no refs b) we are not professional c) nor televised

    The easiness our opponents get penalties in our own home ground while we have to see our players get hacked 3-4 times before one is awarded is sickening.

    It was happening before too but back then we had the players to overcome the referees. Give Owen five penalties if you wish, Thierry will score 6 kind of thinking and mentality. Today we dont. And it hurts.

    We moan at gallas but clichy did not committ penalty. We moan for hleb but the refs fucked him when he walzed through 7 liverpool players and pulled back last minute by kuyt. then babbel dives 2nd leg..endless examples..tuncay scores from offside when minutes before arshavin’s is cancelled for offside. that cunt at newcastle who sent diabby off and discovered two penalties against us. old as well.

    personal opinion…wenger is bad for the ‘industry’ of tv contracts,sponsors, bank loan departments, agents like raiola and owners like psg, roman etc etc… we want a casino, not the nerd coming over to square the circle and win it everytime. because if he can still beat us when we spend 200 and 300 and 500m per summer with bellerin and walcoot , we might as well go home and grow tomatoes..

  3. These stunted hacks also attempted and also failed with the same smear on Rafa Benitez another hugely respected figure in European Football.

  4. Great article, Tony.

    Hunter13, your last paragraph really hits the nail on the head. Send it to the Guardian!

  5. Not just AW hunter.

    To my knowledge AFC are the only club to have sacked a manager for taking a bung (before AW era).

    Think the bungs are just a leeeetle big bigger these days…

  6. I notice arseblogger has come down firmly on the side of the newspapers/media this morning and declared that there is no great conspiracy, even though if you read his blog, you will see he regularly complains about the refereeing against Arsenal(and which appears, from some referees, to be personal).
    Do you think he is being lent on by someone from the media (I know he has previously been influenced by John Cross of the Mirror).
    It’s a pity because he, more than any other Arsenal fan/blog, has the power to make a large part of the Arsenal fan base aware of what is going on (that is, people believe what he says, in the same way that they believe that the papers are truthful!).

  7. At least the other hacks who don’t like to think of themselves as above the “working classes” or the “deserving poor” unlike the gibberish mongers from the Manchester Grunt are more honest with their bias against AFC.

    eg.: Ozil the legendary footballer who orchestrated the humiliation of not just England but Brazil at two different world cups, historical events in the sport, is “nicking a living” or doesn’t know the basics of Football (“tracking back”).

    Perhaps we are expecting too much from hacks that evidentially don’t know what Football is?

    Now that I mention it some people were so upset by that pasting from Germany over England that goal line technology came in shortly thereafter. Looks like the refs in the modern high speed game do need some help after all. 🙂

    (The above is not an opinion: it is the record!).

  8. Of course the aforementioned blagger will defend his colleagues he makes a living with, the kind of people that declare that Danny Rose is one of the best FBs in Europe – I don’t think they were paying attention to the Football when Rosicky repetitively targeted hat unfortunately vastly overrated footballer, only leading to four or five goals…or missed his display of supreme technique against Iceland…or Tottenham’s drop in form since he took over from Davis…

    Nevermind the Football eh?

  9. They manage ok with their officials in the national hockey league.

    Down at East Grinstead you’ll get a crowd of a few thousand, and a referee miked up for the record and the crowd (?) with the aid of VARs. And a football fan can and should accept that field hockey with its smaller ball, faster speed, sticks blocking the view, is a harder sport to referee then association football.

    That would be the same field hockey that is understood to be Football’s sister sport, which is why many coaches in football work with or have worked with hockey coaches…think they had some influence back in the day in Holland over some chap called Cruyff…

  10. Tony my opinion is this, the next step in this fight of yours should be to try and convince other groups or some people in main stream media to conduct a whole scale study like the ones untold has been doing. Because if you ask me, despite you continually making statements like “despite all the evidence” (based on work by this site), if you are interested in being pragmatic you will see that “evidence” compiled by a glaringly biased pro-arsenal(even Walter confesses) site will attract the same kind of derision arsene wengers statements will attract. The sort of derision this same site held mourinhos campaign against the refs in his final days at Chelsea. Don’t come up with the ref decisions work as an excuse, that was still Walter and gang.

  11. Maybe we have different opinions of what a conspiracy theory entails, but some professions are by nature assumed to be fair. For example, you assume that your doctor works towards helping be in good health, unless proven beyond reasonable doubt to be otherwise. The referees by the nature of their jobs are assumed to be unbiased arbiters. Unless you can prove otherwise beyond reasonable doubt( something you can’t lay claim to yet), it cannot be considered conspiracy theory for people to assume they are fair and balanced, the word to use in that situation I believe is “judicial notice”. To suggest otherwise without the benefit of evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt, would be in the realms of “conspiracy theory”

  12. I think you haven’t really looked at the work that we have done Ahmad. With the Referee Decisions project for example we only use referees and ex referees who were not Arsenal supporters. Since you dismiss it I can’t hope to convince you, but for the sake of completeness I’ll continue…
    So although the analysis of the 160 games in a separate project was done by Arsenal supporters each decision was accompanied by video evidence which can then be questioned. Indeed a few verdicts were questioned but of the 1000 or so decisions reports it has been only a few.
    The newspapers know full well who we are and what we are doing, and in private I have had conversations with a few journalists. They know.
    Anyway, you and a number of other people are not convinced, so fine, you carry on with your line of thinking. No one is stopping you.

  13. Arseblog used to be my go-to blog for Arsenal news and I have had the utmost respect for him. But in the last season or two he’s positioned himself firmly in the Wenger Out camp and that means he can’t be neutral in this debate. If it is all just a mad conspiracy theory then it spins as Wenger making excuses for Arsenal’s failure to compete; if there really is a conspiracy to hurt the Gunners then it vindicates Arsene. Untold is a pro-AW site, almost unique in the field these day. Arseblog used to be pro-club and team at least, and often pro-AW, but no longer is.

    Now, like so much in the 21st century we are left with a binary choice. I have pretty much stopped reading Arseblog and haven’t read newspaper reports of the Arsenal for years because I know they spout rubbish and I won;t give them my money or my time.

    I have a pair of eyes, and a brain, and I’ll continue to use both

  14. Ahmad. As far as fairness is concerned; well yes, people are generally fair. However, Doctors are not likely to be swayed by a bias towards a particular type of patient. Perhaps, if a patient has abused the receptionist or the doctor, then he may treat them less sympathetically. Would you agree?

    Therefore, bias exists. Now you can add to that by saying that referees will have their own ‘favourite’ football team, anothe rpossible motive that ‘may’ affect decision making. This may be subliminal but it exists.

    Now consider this past history. Does that affect bias? For example, does Wenger pushing Anthony Taylor make Anthony Taylor less or more likely to award Arsenal a favourable decision? Does Wenger criticising Mike Dean make it more or less likely said referee will be kind to Arsenal or their opponents?

    I am not pretending to know the Answer. However, based on what I have seen and the number of unfavourable decisions awarded against us, things seem wrong. We had 3 stonewall penalties (the medias words) turned down at Stoke. We also had a goal disallowed in the same game for offside where it was judged a toenail was offside. That is 4 in one game. We had the Ricarlison dive at Watford, Hazards dive the other day and the unforgettable and inexcusable Mike Dean handball. A handball that makes no sense because it fails the three tests. Hand to ball, proximity & unnatural position. What makes this even more suspicious is the fact the same referee (Mike Dean) failed to award us a penalty when Leicesters Ndidi had his hand up in the air and outside the line of his body. How can he make that inconsistent error? It seems very strange.

  15. You’re all losing your sense of perspective. Yes, the Hazard incident was a dive, but it’s offset by the two blatant and quite embarrassing dives earlier in the match by Lacazette and Wilshere. All this yelling and screaming about conspiracies is veering dangerously close to a victim mentality; thus, nobody anywhere will take Arsenal fans’ complaints seriously. We have to be squeaky clean before we go too far with the accusations. He who casts the first stone etc.

  16. There’s a coincidence. I’ve been following these Hytner reports in The Guardian and been annoyed enough to post some remarks of my own. In fact I had just come over here, before seeing Tony’s article, to point out that on checking this morning I noticed, in a thread I had already participated in, that ‘Untold’ had been rubbished in the comments section. I posted an appropriate rebuttal:

    “JacuzziSplot Lord Popo
    10h ago

    Those alternative tables and reviews of refereeing history are always carried out by people who have no interest in being as objective as possible. There is never any methodology produced, just some headline analysis which is then spread all over social media by anyone who shares that partisan viewpoint or anyone who is lazy enough to have no interest in rigour in analysis.

    I’ve seen the revisionism and selective bias in this type of analysis on websites like Untold Arsenal. You can guarantee that their readership would universally agree with any alternative table that regarded both of the last two penalty decisions as being certain mistakes, because their house view is that the primary reason for Arsenal’s failures in recent years has been centralised refereeing conspiracy. There’s nothing objective or valuable in that.
    27m ago

    I’ve checked in to that Untold site a number of times and your comments, as far as they relate to them, are simply lies. Whereas it’s true their readership and comments section are partisan, the same cannot be said for the area that performs referee reviews. A respected Belgian ref is involved with several other officials and the stats they present are thorough, totally transparent, cover the whole of the game in minute detail, are based on a host of games over several seasons and directed at both teams involved. In fact, everything that Hytner’s piece is not.

    Maybe you would like to point us in the direction of your research so that we can compare your findings and come to a conclusion on your opinions?”

  17. Despite UA having castigated me for posting an alternate view, since people are questioning Arseblog and Andrew Mangan, I feel like I have to make a comment. If you read his post today, you will see that he accepts the fact that there needs to be a discussion on refereeing standards, which are really poor right now. He doesn’t dismiss the issue, he is being objective and not drawing wrong conclusions from information.
    Also, if you listen to Arsecasts, you will know the high level of respect Andrew has for Wenger. He has clearly stated that he would like to see a change in leadership at the club and that it should start with the manager. He holds as much credibility to discuss the issue as UA. And Arseblog was strictly pro Wenger and their stand has been shaped by Arsenal’s dropping standards.
    And Wenger himself was hoping to talk about football in his press conference. And Arseblog has rightly questioned the poor level of defensive performance against Chelsea and this season overall. When you ignore the problems under our control and make the narrative all about something outside the control of the fans, manager, players and the club, it does look like a conspiracy. Discussion on refereeing standards is essential, but unproven theories don’t help. Arseblog has probably had the most balanced opinion in this discussion.

  18. F*ck it. I am going to try to calculate the likelihood of Arsenal’s penalties for and against since 2009 being down to chance. This will take a while, and there may be errors. I am OK at statistics but not an expert. But it needs to be done.

    Not just to convince people like Ahmad – but far more importantly the wider world and even the footballing powers-that-be.

    Watch this space.

  19. Flares.

    I am not sure about conspiracy theory because I agree that would be ridiculous.

    However, that does not mean to say there are not inconsistencies that need to be explored. We can all go through games and say he dived and he did that etc which would go on endlessly. Thsi is about KEY decisions and inconsistent application of the rules.This should be important irrespective of who you support.

    The difference is recognising where ‘soft’ or inconsistent KEY decisions are being made. This is not just about Arsenal but is important for every fan that the rules of the game are interpreted consistently. I feel that referees should be accountable because I believe that is the only way to ensure robust fairness. Making honest mistakes is fine but we do need consistency. When you compare the Ndidi handball for Leicester to the Chambers ‘handball’ at West Brom it is obvious the same referee has somehow applied two different sets of rules. That is not right. A rule is a rule.

    With regards to the Wilshere dive, yes that was poor and he should be cited. However, it did not lead to a penalty, a foul was not awarded AND the referee waved play on. He did not apply the same rule to the Hazard dive, instead he awarded a foul.

    Hope that makes sense. Its about inconsistency and lack of accountability for making bad KEY decisions. You will know Dean, despite his howler, was give the Spurs v West Ham game a couple of days after his misunderstanding of the rules.

  20. @ Percy

    Interestingly, having just used your link it takes me to the comments on that article but states “the link to that comment cannot be found”. Now obviously if I call that odd it would be a conspiracy theory and I’d be told I’m losing it and need a new tin foil hat…………

  21. The phrase “Conspiracy theory” is designed to throw ridicule at attempts to question the real conspiracies that ruin our life, including those in football.

    Most people have not got a clue if the Earth is flat or round.
    They have been given pictures that are “faked” and most believe them without ever getting the chance to see for themselves, or indeed even looking at the other side of the coin.
    After all “Greece” is the start of civilisation as we were taught in school, but today we know this is not true yet this is still taught in schools. Why?

    Newspaper and media tell lies, this has been proven for so long yet people still buy and read them and even depend on them for their information. They are owned by those who want to project a certain idea and concept. Any new media that goes against this, is swallowed up(bought out) or publicly disgraced by character assasination.
    All this is hard facts, proven over and over again by those that can stand it no longer and speak out, even to their own detriment.

    To get a frequency to broadcast is a no go, that is unless you decide to go along with the program.
    There are enough details of many trying to do this who have been threatened, and even family members murdered(after all the media(ha) just reports it as a robbery or such) to stop them buying established media stations.

    Many will just go along with the “official” stories because they think that they would not lie to us.
    Even the facts of the whole Vietnam wars, Iraq invasions(twice), Syria, Libya and even the truth about the two World Wars has been falsified on media and they continue to do so, even when the real truth gets revealed.

    And people refuse to acknowledge the truths being revealed every day, and dismiss them as “conspiracy theories”.
    See how the phrase is doing its work?

    No one has to point to research to validate their conclusions, first, all research is biased as it is, the important thing is to get information from all sources and then make your own mind up. No point getting info from just one source and refuse to look at the many contra reports.

    Its about informing yourselves and there is much information about,
    not all of it true, but this goes equally for the “official” as for the so called “conspiracists”, but we each have a mind to make that decision for ourselves.

    Why than is there such an attempt to kill any contra points that are being made. Ask yourself why.
    Because those that dictate world policy in their own image want to be sure that only a very few get to hear any contra opinions. These few can never be a danger to them if the masses believe the “offocial” stories.

    Inform yourselves people, and you will see a completely different world view, and then start to understand why things are the way they are in football.

    Same people ruling and dictating football as those ruling and dictating the world.
    One thing is for sure, where there is much money(and football generates much money)
    these parasites with their stolen(from the people) monies jump in and take over.
    This is a fact that is becoming even clearer everyday.

    The mergers and takeovers of successful companies into one big Corporation is continuing right before our eyes and soon (if not already) the illusion of freedom will be just that, an illusion designed to stop you from rebelling and changing things.

  22. @AFC Nemesis
    I’ve commented on the Kolasinac/Ndidi incident before but an interesting thought has occurred to me whilst considering this latest bout of Wenger bashing. Imagine that Ndidi is in his own goal area and clearing the ball out of defence, Kolasinac is close by and spreads himself in the same fashion that Ndidi did with arms spread wide and high to make himself big, the ball strikes Kolasinac’s arm/hand and rebounds into the Leicester goal. What does Dean do? Obviously he awards a goal for The Arsenal because it’s not a handball is it; he motions a coming together of arm and ball and that no offence has been committed. Yep, we all believe that one, don’t we?

  23. It has to be highlighted how funny the spectacle of Dean flapping his arms up high when everyone saw where the ball hit Chambers is properly properly amusing.

    As he raises his arm up high in order to reveal to all and sundry that he missed the incident or that he is lying about or making up what he saw, which is unfortunate for him 🙂
    Perhaps on instruction regarding the now famous “Game management” in order to provide the paying punters with some, and I quote: “Theatre” (nevermind the Football eh?), one could not but help reflect that this flapping idiot is no Dickie Bird.
    Far from it.

  24. Pete

    Good on you. You may of seen I suggested that UA with all there resources should do it with video links and all.

    Real professional like.

    Alas it didn’t seem to raise much interest.

    Good luck with your stab at something akin to what I had in mind.

  25. Micko
    If arseblogger wants to continue having adverts they will have to follow the program, else the companies will not advertise on their blog. So is it.

  26. Not fit for purpose:

    Should such an individual even be allowed inside a sporting event*, or anywhere near one? It’s just a reasonable question. Based on evidence, from the Manchester Grunt’s own archive. Though i imagine that a squealing hack at that rag top would object to such an application of the scientific method when it doesn’t match with their valuble opinion.

    *Including an online poker game 😉

  27. Thanks all.

    It will be a statistical analysis – so not looking at individual incidents at all. Percy is heading in the right direction.

    I intend to look at expected penalties (for and against) in the PL before and after 2009 through correlating from goals scored/conceded (less penalty goals). I will then compare to actual penalties and see where that falls on the probability distribution.

    So, using Percy’s example, if Arsenal’s expected penalties over the last 7 seasons is 45, what is the likelihood of getting 33 (or fewer)?

    This data is available (per Percy) and I hope the analysis is within the bounds of my very faded statistics knowledge.

    So I hope to be able to state that “the likelihood of Arsenal being awarded X (or fewer) penalties since 2009 is Y%” – and similar with penalties conceded – which I think is even more out of line per a current article on Positively Arsenal.

    Then one can multiply these two likelihoods together to look at the overall likelihood of the period since 2009 being done to pure chance.

    My prediction is < 0.01% but lets see. If anyone has any other predictions let me know!

    I would also very much appreciate any critiques of my methodology before I do the work so can avoid wasting time…

    Gord – where are you? Hopefully not buried in a snowdrift somewhere!

  28. Tony I’ve indeed followed the works you cite. The work on referee decisions was still done by Walter and co. The 160 game if you’re willing to be truthful got much more criticism, you just refused to publish them. But that isn’t the point, the point is that as long as the study is done by you guys it’s just gonna be seen moaning and whingeing, just as every thing mourinho says is considered as moaning by you guys

  29. I think it is important to distinguish between top down and bottom up analyses.

    Bottom up analysis is looking at individual incidents and seeing if an error occurred. The 160 game-by-game review that UA did last season is an excellent example of this. However there is always the possibility that errors could be written off as bad luck or an innocent mistake – and that it all evens out…

    A top down analysis is taking a very large data set and searching for patterns. The incidence of penalties is an obvious place to start as the information is readily available.

    This analysis could also be done for fouls and cards for example.

    So looking at: the total tackles a team attempts, the number of fouls awarded as a proportion of these, the number of yellow and red cards issued. This would show the percentage of Arsenal tackles resulting in fouls and cards. And ditto for their opponents. This would be very interesting (and could also correlate with penalties by looking at tackles inside the box) but the data is not readily available, as far as I know, and would take a huge amount of work to analyse.

  30. Pete

    I feel confident in predicting that your statistics will show we are being well and truly shafted.

  31. Pete.

    As you say, doing some of this analysis will take a lot of work, which is why I suggested UA do it.

    Or baring that an independent body that does this sort of thing for a living.

    Yes it might cost but I would be Happy to contribute. I mean getting it all correlated with supporting evidence via video, making direct comparisons between conflicting decisions, often within one match, using split screens ect could be extremely effective.

    Personally I prefer something like that to flying a plane over the ground for example.

    That lasts 30 seconds. Get all these stats for pens/cards etc. Proffessionally assembled in one is ‘out there’ forever.

  32. Tony writes,

    ”Why than is there such an attempt to kill any contra points that are being made. Ask yourself why.
    Because those that dictate world policy in their own image want to be sure that only a very few get to hear any contra opinions. These few can never be a danger to them if the masses believe the “official” stories.”

    John Lennon wrote

    ”Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
    And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
    But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be”

    What was obvious living in Copenhagen in the 1960s, 1970s – English football was profoundly different. It was known to be different to such an extent Danes would discuss playing ”English football.”

    The same rules of football applied.

    Therefore, because the same rules apply, there had to be ”English refs” to generate ”English football.”

    Obviously when Mr Wenger said, ”“The referees get away with you, with the English press, always, no matter what they do,” he is also saying ”English referees” officiating ”English football” get away with you, with the English press.

    The same rules of football still apply.

    When Mr Wenger says ” “The referees get away with you, with the English press, always, no matter what they do,” he is also saying the whole world is watching.

  33. I like Nitram’s suggestion to get a professional analysis done and would willingly contribute a few pounds. Doesn’t Stan K or the club own a stats company, maybe they would give us a discount or even do it for free (if they haven’t already done something similar!).

  34. Ahmad you have gone way beyond the bounds of what is allowed on this site. You are telling me that I am not being truthful. Since I believe I am, and that you have provided no evidence for that assertion that I am not, and since you have strayed way beyond what is deemed acceptable on this site as laid out in our comments page, I think it is time to say farewell.

  35. @Goonermikey
    Mike, I’ve just clicked on it and got there. Try it again; the thread is on Page 2, just over half-way down the page and the first entry is by a contributor using the alias Lord Popo.
    As expected JacuzziSplot has not come back with any kind of a response.

  36. “Arsène Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban and a £40,000 fine following a Football Association misconduct charge over comments he made about the refereeing of Arsenal’s game against West Brom”
    “It follows an independent regulatory commission hearing today at which the Arsenal manager admitted that his language and behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the West Brom game on Sunday was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee.”

    Sounds like they might actually agree with him. If he admitted that, and with his previous, I would have expected something more drastic. Looks like he’s got the minimum they can save face with in the circumstances.

  37. Percy, yes the Ndidi one is interesting.

    The three tests for handball, as I call them are:

    1. Is it ball to hand or hand to ball – in other words deliberate?
    2. Does proximity mean the player cannot avoid the contact?
    3. Are the arms in an unnatural position?

    Well the 1st one is all about ‘deliberate’ handball. Should be simple.

    The second one is again pretty simple. How close is the player and can he be expected to get his arm out of the way.

    The third is again fairly simple, although more open to a grey area. However, has the player put his arms in a position to make his body bigger or to stop the ball getting past him. So for me, if a player has his arms above his shoulder (as Ndidi did) or stretched out wide, then deliberate or not he has gained an advantage.

    Of course it is all a bit contentious, Ndidi was certainly ball to hand and he was unable to avoid the contact due to proximity. However, his arms were in an unnatural position which prevented the ball going past him into the penalty area.

    I really have no explanation why Mike Dean could possibly get those two the wrong way around. Its not a conspiracy theory, I do think he is more reluctant to give us decisions. You would have to ask him to know why. He may not even realise it, he could simply have subliminal bias. Or perhaps he wanted the West Brom fans to cheer and the stadium erupt thanks to his decision. Whatever the reason, the fact it is now Wenger being criticised and not Dean is pathetic.and all too familiar.Conspiracy theory or are we right to expect Dean to have been sanctioned?

  38. “Arsène Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban and a £40,000 fine following a Football Association misconduct charge over comments he made about the refereeing of Arsenal’s game against West Brom”

    So fined for telling the truth.

    What sanction has Mike Dean been given? He should be reprimand and reminded of the rules of the game in relation to handball. Instead, they have him the Spurs v West Ham game. Brilliant. That will help maintain the integrity of the game.

    Meanwhile, despite their professional status, no English referee has been deemed good enough to go to the World Cup.


  39. @Tony Attwood
    This posted this afternoon in the comments on the Hytner article. It appears on the current page 1:

    2h ago

    Yes David. Absolutely spot on, but you wouldn’t think so if you read Untold Arsenal (a blog) who are in meltdown over your article. For some reason they (Tony Attwood) hate the Guardian (especially Amy L. to the point of continuously libelling her

  40. Here are some FACTS:

    1. Mike Dean said, and he demonstrated with his own body, how Chambers “lifted” his arm towards the ball.
    2. TV pictures from every angle show that Chambers’ arms were static.
    3. Chambers didn’t move his arms at all, let alone in the way Dean demonstrated.
    4. Wenger gets punished for pointing this out.
    5. Dean gets NO punishment.

    Conclusions to be drawn from the facts are that ONE person is lying!

  41. Oooh, I’m on a roll, you can tell I’ve not much on this afternoon. Been stating Tony’s reputation against that pillock quoted above. Just posted this on Hytner’s comments:

    29m ago
    Actually , they argue the case regarding this rag’s comments very cogently. What is it that you have a problem with in understanding? Why don’t you give us a run-down of where they miss the mark with your assessment? ‘Spot on’ doesn’t really crack it you know.

    As far as Amy is concerned, she has just contributed an article thoroughly slagging off Wenger’s defensive record. I’ve just posted a comment over there pointing out that after 984 EPL games, vast majority with Wenger in charge, Arsenal are second only to United when it comes to goals conceded. That’s a massive data set where United have a goals against average of 0.88 and Arsenal are just behind on 0.95; Chelsea the only other team with a figure below 1.0. Get this in context, Tottenham, over the same period have a goal difference that is bigger by 603 and have conceded 313 more goals. Yet Amy thinks that Wenger’s ‘fatal attraction to playing at all costs leaves defence as an afterthought’. Now you have to have a strange grasp on numeracy to come up with an opinion piece linking that comment to those numbers. You sure that you have the right person being libelled?”

  42. @ The Ledge

    Footage & stills of a pgmob official that exposes him as being incompetent or a liar?
    Blimey. That is not the kind of VARs that the pgMOB are hoping for! It’s too funny…

    🙂 LOOOOOL 🙂

  43. Percy

    And I love this:

    ‘Untold Arsenal (a blog) who are in meltdown’


    Yes we’re pissed, but it’s hardly a meltdown. Seems to me all that’s being done on here is the production of stat after stat that highlight the ludicrous nature of what’s been written in there articles.

    Put simply they just don’t like it, and more to the point they don’t have an answer, so in a similar way to how they attack Wenger, they attack us, by saying we’re having a ‘meltdown’ or we’re ‘Paranoid’.

    I’d be much more impressed with some counter arguments rather than that, or just saying ‘spot on’. I think ‘spot on’ is one thing those articles are not.

    This site has, over the years produced stats on both penalties and cards that are damming, and these stats have nothing to do with subjectivity. Nothing to do with being an Arsenal fan or not. They are facts.

    And when we produce them they never have an answer, except for the standard you’re ‘paranoid’ one.

    It seems to me it’s the Guardian that’s had a melt by producing articles without any basis in reality.

  44. Well done UA you’ll never be popular by stating the truth but your stance and research deserves to be seen by a wider thinking audience keep up the good work

  45. Wouldn’t it be ironic if one day, the corruption is blown wide open, and Wenger is one of the people appointed to put things right , starting with Mike Riley.

  46. Pete

    > Gord – where are you? Hopefully not buried in a snowdrift somewhere!

    Weren’t you one of the people I told how to find my email?

    No, I’m not buried in a snowdrift. Thanks for asking. We had an unusually cold spell (got to -38C one morning), but there are lots of fields around here that have almost no snow on them. Seeing black/dark brown fields in January is unusual.

    I got fed up with all the transfer related crap, and the transfer door hadn’t even opened yet. My intention was to not come back until after the door closed.

    But, if you have ideas on where you want to go, we can toss that around. I’ve got a new machine with 32GB of RAM and a Ryzen 5-1600X processor (to go along with 4 other computers). NVMe SSD are really fast boot devices. 🙂

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