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Big 6 Match Referees- Cutting Through the Moss

Big 6 Match Referees- Cutting Through the Moss

By Jerry

Did you get a sense of déjà vu when seeing Martin Atkinson appointed as referee for Week 2’s Chelsea – Arsenal match? My reaction was “again?” or “what the heck?” if you change heck with a much stronger word. Walter pointed out in the comments section that this was Atkinson 5th appointment in Arsenal’s matches against Chelsea over the last 10 seasons.

After reading Walter’s comment, I was curious to see which referees have Arsenal had in Big 6 matches over the last 10 seasons. The Big 6 teams selected for this article are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham.

I collected referee data from WorldFootball.net based on Arsenal’s league matches against the other Big 6 teams starting from the 2008/09 season until the second week of this season. In this time period, there were 20 league matches apiece against Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham while there were 21 league matches against Chelsea and Manchester City (including this season opening matches). So without any further delay, in the 102 matches versus other Big 6 teams, we get:

Arsenal vs Big 6 Match Referees

Name

First ARS PL Match

Last ARS vs Big 6 PL Match

Chelsea

Liverpool

Man City

Man Utd

Spurs

Total

Mike Dean

2000

2017

29%

0%

24%

30%

25%

22%

Martin Atkinson

2006

2018

24%

20%

14%

0%

20%

16%

Michael Oliver

2010

2018

14%

20%

10%

5%

20%

14%

Andre Marriner

2008

2018

14%

5%

19%

15%

0%

11%

Mark Clattenburg

2005

2016

10%

0%

14%

5%

20%

10%

Howard Webb

2004

2012

0%

25%

0%

15%

5%

9%

Anthony Taylor

2011

2018

5%

5%

5%

5%

5%

5%

Phil Dowd

2003

2013

5%

0%

5%

5%

5%

4%

Craig Pawson

2014

2017

0%

5%

0%

5%

0%

2%

Kevin Friend

2011

2018

0%

5%

0%

5%

0%

2%

Mike Jones

2009

2016

0%

5%

5%

0%

0%

2%

Chris Foy

2005

2011

0%

0%

0%

10%

0%

2%

Bobby Madley

2015

2017

0%

5%

0%

0%

0%

1%

Mark Halsey

2001

2012

0%

5%

0%

0%

0%

1%

Alan Wiley

1999

2008

0%

0%

5%

0%

0%

1%

Quick Observations

1. PGMO Top 4 – Dean, Atkinson, Oliver, and Marriner

This will not be a surprise to anyone. The Top 4 officials appointed by Mike Riley in these fixtures have refereed over 60% of Arsenal’s matches (63 matches) against Big 6 teams over the last 10 seasons. Just imagine how crazy the numbers could have been if Mike Dean was not from Wirral.

I am unsure as to the reason why Atkinson was not selected for any Arsenal matches vs. Manchester United, but I am not complaining since United have a 59% winning record in his league matches (in comparison Arsenal have a 47% winning record in his league matches if you were wondering). In fact, six officials were assigned to over 80% of the matches if you include Clattenburg and Webb.

2. Moving On

In the table above, you will notice that there are sevenofficials marked in bold and italicized (depending on formatting). These seven officials are no longer officiating Premier League matches and have moved on to the media, retirement, other leagues, and whatnot. The moved on list includes Clattenburg, Webb, Dowd, Foy, Madley, Halsey, and Wiley. They accounted for 28% of the matches versus other Big 6 teams.

3. Cutting through the Moss

If you are familiar with the list of PGMO referees, you will notice a few names missing but especially Jonathan Moss and Lee Mason. Lee Mason and Jonathan Moss, officials with over 400 Premier League matches combined in the last decade, were never appointed to an Arsenal league match against another Big 6 team. It makes you feel slightly bad for Mason and Moss. Andre Marriner sends the wrong Arsenal player off and was still selected over both of them for six Arsenal matches against Manchester City (3) and Manchester United (3) in the last three years.

In fact, nine officials from last year’s list have never been assigned to an Arsenal match against other Top 6 teams. The list includes both experienced and relatively newer officials. *Neil Swarbrick has retired at the end of last season and Roger East has been deemed unfit for purpose according to PGMO standards. The full list:

The Unselected

Name

First ARSENAL PL Match

Last ARSENAL vs Big 6 PL Match

# of PL Matches

Lee Mason

2006

Never

242

Jonathan Moss

2011

Never

174

Lee Probert

2009

Never

165

*Neil Swarbrick

2012

Never

130

*Roger East

2014

Never

80

Stuart Attwell

2010

Never

74

Graham Scott

2017

Never

34

Paul Tierney

Never

Never

32

Chris Kavanagh

2018

Never

17

 

All of “The Unselected” refs have been assigned to Arsenal matches except for Paul Tierney. Interestingly, almost 20% of Paul Tierney’s Premier League assignments have involved Big 6 clubs from the North (Manchester City – 4, Manchester United – 1, Liverpool – 1) and 0 league matches involving the London based teams (Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham). Is this a way to ensure incorporation of the northern “rough them up” officiating style before sending him south?

Top 4 Refs in Big 6 Matches

A quick summary of the top 4 refs selected over the last decade against each of the Big 6 teams and who will likely get selected again:

1. Chelsea – Mike Dean (29%), Martin Atkinson (24%), Michael Oliver (14%), and Andre Marriner (14%)

All officials still active and likely to be seen again

2. LiverpoolHoward Webb (25%), Martin Atkinson (20%), Michael Oliver (20%)

Howard Webb has retired so expecting Atkinson and Oliver to pick up some of the load against Liverpool. There is a 5 way tie for fourth place (with 5% each) between Andre Marriner, Anthony Taylor, Craig Pawson, Kevin Friend, and Mike Jones. It will be interesting to see which official emerges out of this group. I am expecting Anthony Taylor to take over since he has been given more preference in the Top 6 matches.

3. Manchester City – Dean (24%), Andre Marriner (19%), Atkinson/Clattenburg (14%), Oliver (10%)

Clattenburg is no longer officiating Premier League matches so expecting Michael Oliver to pick up the slack. Anthony Taylor and Mike Jones have also officiated one of the City matches. Taylor with his Manchester ties I think would be a favorite as home location is not usually considered by PGMO during assignment.

4. Manchester United – Mike Dean (30%), Andre Marriner (15%), ??

Who will emerge to complete the Top 4 list of officials likely to be assigned to Arsenal matches against Manchester United?

Howard Webb (15%), Chris Foy (10%), and Mark Clattenburg (5%) are no longer running the middle of the pitch in the Premier League. Early favorites are Michael Oliver (5%) and Anthony Taylor (5%) to take over the two remaining top 4 spots with potential for Craig Pawson (5%) or Kevin Friend (5%) to emerge whenever Mike Dean retires.

5. Tottenham – Dean (25%), Clattenburg (20%), Oliver (20%), Atkinson (20%)

Mark Clattenburg’s 20% is up for grabs in the North London Derby. Early favorite is Anthony Taylor (5%) but Andre Marriner is also a possibility even though he has not done any NLD matches.

This derby is very hard to figure out since 85% of the matches were refereed by 4 officials over the last decade and retired officials (Webb and Dowd) account for the other 10%.

Now all Premier League fans can unfortunately make an educated guess as to who will be the official in all of Arsenal’s Big 6 matches! It will be interesting to see if the pattern continues this season.

5 comments to Big 6 Match Referees- Cutting Through the Moss

  • These bloody referees. I saw the game between Aston Villa & Brentford live last night on TV.It finished 2-2. Fabulous game ruined by that John Moss. Abrentford player tackled AV’s No7 I thought he’d broken his leg. That wally Moss waved play on.
    Later on the guy with the kamikaze tackle went on to score Brentfords 2nd goal. Lets hope that the tackle leads to a suspension.

  • genorm

    Not at all disappointed we haven’t had fat Moss – definitely the most unfit official. Agreed about his rubbish performance in the Villa game last night. Wasn’t he the one who didn’t stop the game after Debuchy was assaulted by Arnautovic? Bound to start getting Moss this season now; he seems like an obedient PGMOLer.

  • Ben

    it would be interesting to see just a table of how often these referees ref the big 6 teams.

  • Jerry

    That would be interesting, but unfortunate it is very time consuming. Even just researching the officials for Arsenal alone vs other Big 6 teams requires a lot of time especially for a team of volunteer writers.

  • timo

    Dowd, Foy, Dean, Atkinson, Taylor,Fat Moss, Marriner, Webb. I wish they were all retired today. Its always my bad day when I see them in any Arsenal match

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