Which teams are benefitting most from referee decision making this season?

By Bulldog Drummond

As we saw in Gordon’s super-analysis of referee actions earlier this week, Arsenal have inflicted the need for treatment on the opposition 11 times this season while Wolverhampton have inflicted the need for treatment on opposition players 5 times.  So we shouldn’t have too much worry about fouls from them resulting in injury to Arsenal players.

But now let’s do another analysis.  How many man-minutes do teams have in which player/s on the pitch are playing knowing they have already had a caution?  It’s an important figure because once a player has a yellow he is bound to change the way he plays and so, particularly as a defender, becomes far less effective.

In this table the first column shows the number of times the club has inflicted the need for treatment on opposition players.  So the higher the number, the dirtier the club.  Southampton has inflicted the need for treatment on a player 18 times this season which is the worst of any team, so they are bottom of “inflicted treatment” league in 20th.

In column three we look at the position in the caution minutes league.  In a perfect world Southampton would be 20th in the caution minutes league, for having inflicted more injuries on opponents that needed treatment they ought to have played more minutes under caution.

Likwise a team that is 1st in the caution minutes league having inflicted few injuries on opponents that need treatment, ought to have played fewer minutes under caution.

But Southampton only come 13th when we measure the number of player minutes played under caution, so they are 7 places higher up the difference table than they should be.

In the final column we look at this difference.   A club that has fouled a lot but only played with a small number of caution minutes would be top of this final “Diff pos” (difference position) table.  Tottenham as we can see are well and truly top.   They are the 18th worst team at inflicting the need for treatment but only 5th in terms of the number of player minutes they play under caution.

Thus they are liberated from having players under caution, leaving them free to go on and commit more and more fouls.  As many fouls as they want in fact, knowing the chances of being yellow carded are very low.

Cardiff are also great beneficiaries of this being the 14th worst team at inflicting injuries of opposition players who need treatment but only 7th in the league of clubs when measured by the number of minutes their players play under caution.

Leicester, Brighton and Watford are the teams that get penalised the most.  They don’t inflict the need for treatment much but their players are forced to play having had a yellow card – and thus play more cautiously.

Club Times inflicted need for treatment Inflicted treatment position Caution mins position Difference between positions Diff pos (higher = most benefit)
Liverpool 10 6 1 +5 5
Chelsea 8 4 2 +2 8
Newcastle 11 9 3 +6 4
Wolverhampton 5 1 4 -3 13
Tottenham 16 18 5 +13 1
Bournemouth 11 9 6 +3 6
Cardiff 13 14 7 +7 2
Man City 10 6 8 -2 12
Arsenal 11 9 9 0 10
Huddersfield 11 9 10 -1 11
C Palace 13 14 11 +3 6
West Ham 11 9 12 -3 13
Southampton 18 20 13 +7 2
Burnley 8 4 14 -10 18
Leicester 6 2 15 -13 19
Watford 10 6 16 -10 18
Everton 17 19 17 +2 8
Man U 13 14 18 -4 15
Brighton 6 2 19 -17 20
Fulham 13 14 20 -6 16

Arsenal as we can see are mid-table – we have inflicted the need for treatment nine times and are 9th in the caution league, which places us right in the middle.

The teams to be careful of are the teams that are inflicting injuries on the opposition but not getting cautions because they can get away with, if not murder, then something akin.

I have highlighted the five teams who are gaining the benefit of referees gentleness on them, while they go around harming seeming without much punishment.

Of course all tables like this are only an approximation.  We are only measuring serious or repeated fouls – those getting yellow cards, but some referees could be biased in favour or against a team from the off, so the measure is not perfect.






10 Replies to “Which teams are benefitting most from referee decision making this season?”

  1. Tottenham being top does not surprise me. Their game appears set up on the press and closedown on the opposition with a full follow through often given as a play-on by the referees after the ball has been moved on. The great Pochettino has the dark arts mastered along with the falling before the tackle with a leg sideways(diving). The referees for some reason seem to think this largely OK.

  2. I’ve watched MC a few times and I’m surprised they have not had more booking due to the cynical nature of their fouling which was also brought to the attention of the newspapers by Gary Neville recently

  3. Further confirmation of what we can all see on a weekly basis. Spurs are, for some reason, treated in a most lenient fashion. This has been going on for several years now unless my eyes deceive me. I have noticed that for every foul given against them, rather than accept the decision, the culprit always seems to give the referee the ‘what have I done ref, surprised look at having been penalized, coupled with the mr inocent posturing’. All part of the carefully schooled training they no doubt get from their manager in order to gain an unfair advantage.

  4. Mick Hazel

    I do not think your eyes deceive you at all.

    Didn’t Spurs manage to go a couple of seasons without a single red card in the PL, and this during a time when Alli was at his cynical worst prompting several comments in the media about his need to ‘Chanel his enthusiasm’ more carefully .

    That dipstick Durham was at pains to say ‘Alli only tries to break players legs because he loves Spurs so much’ or words to that effect.

    Spurs get away with murder it’s as simple as that.

  5. Where I get information from to start with, leaves out some facts. Two of the treatments that Arsenal “inflicted” on the opposition, were actually the opposition player hurting themself. In a sense self-inflicted. In part I know that information, as I am an Arsenal fan. But, I don’t know of when treatments for other teams are similar. You can’t adjust the data for one team without at least trying to do so for the other teams.

  6. Just watched the Cardiff v Brighton game and Atkinson was the Referee. I could not believe how much he favoured Cardiff through the game. The assistants must be in on the Tan effect because they seemed to be selectively blind as well.

    For any Brighton supporters who visit Untold, please accept my sympathy for the cheating that has robbed you of a point. Bamba was offside when he attacked the ball and wasn’t flagged. Few seconds later he was able to put the ball in the net and Tan must have made a few Rings Dings or whatever.

  7. Oh sorry Bulldog, thanks for the praise!

    The early game today, Cardiff (596:16,-13) vs Brighton (856:16,-6) has now ended. Martin Atkinson was the referee (2nd worst with 19 treatments managed for 43 minutes short handed).

    A Brighton player got a straight red in the 34th minute (a Cardiff player seen yellow in the same incident I think). Until that point, Brighton had not received any cards. After this point, it was about half way through time added on that Brighton received their next card. A yellow. According to my data, Brighton had 22 fouls in the game (to 7 for Cardiff). Really, 22 fouls is only worth 1 card? So far this season, Atkinson is pretty even for treatments home:away, time short home:away and number of substitutions needed home:away. Why did he let the fouls to cards ratio get so out of whack for Brighton? Why give Brighton a straight red and Cardiff only a yellow in whatever happened at 34 minutes? Or was that 2 separate incidents very close together?

    Oh, I knew that when my source of data changed their system in the middle of the 3rd GameDay, that my refereeing data would change. Craig Pawson is no longer the worst, Anthony Taylor is (and as mentioned above, Atkinson is 2nd).

  8. Gord – of those 22 fouls several were pseudo fouls (the kind we have to put up with). The red was deserved as was the yellow that initially created the environment for the red card foul. Two separate incidents close together.

    The winning goal should never have happened if the officials were honest & fair.

  9. Thanks Menace.

    Looking at the general sports “news” after writing my previous comment, what caught my eye is that the win for Cardiff was solely to get them out of the bottom place.

    Is PGMO going to gift Fulham a win as well (away to Liverpool!)?

  10. Thank you Mr. Bulldog and also to Gordon to for a great effort on behalf of all football fans.

    The team that Guardiola described as “the most physical team in Europe”, that struggles when playing in Europe and not the PL (unless they get the official from the Sporting game the other night?!), is, wait for it, the most protected team in the premier league/by the PGMOB. The hacks may of heard that as praise from Guardiola but we know him better then that.

    A team favoured by some politicians amidst a billion dollar or pound stadium development mired in inappropriate contracts, nice work of you can get it hehe, strange actions involving the club trying to take the local council to court so that they can act like feudal overlords, strange relationships with feudal overlords etc.

    Yep. Not a surprise to see a quantitative and undeniable account showing that this club is protected on the pitch.

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