Matchweek 20 – All the Games, All the Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

Here, courtesy of, are this weekend’s matches:-

NB All matches start at 15:00 UK time unless otherwise noted

Previews will appear shortly in – links are added below as the previews are published.

Saturday 29 December

Brighton v Everton
Referee: Andy Madley
Assistants: Simon Long, Mick McDonough
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

Fulham v Huddersfield Town
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Matthew Wilkes, Andy Garratt
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh

Leicester City v Cardiff City
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Richard West, Derek Eaton
Fourth official: Mike Dean

Tottenham Hotspur v Wolves
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: Stephen Child, Neil Davies
Fourth official: Lee Probert



Watford v Newcastle United
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: Harry Lennard, Simon Beck
Fourth official: Paul Tierney

17:30 Liverpool v Arsenal
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
Fourth official: Jonathan Moss

Sunday 30 December

12:00 Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Ian Hussin, Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

14:15 Burnley v West Ham United
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Daniel Cook
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson

14:15 Southampton v Man City
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Lee Probert

16:30 Man Utd v AFC Bournemouth
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: Marc Perry, Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: Mike Dean

This week the PGMO have, for the most part turned to those referees who have undertaken the fewest matches.

Andy Madley gets his second game of the season at Brighton, Simon Hooper his fourth at Leicester (his second for them) and Roger East his fourth at Watford, David Coote gets his fifth at Burnley, Lee Mason his 10th at Man United (his second there).

Anthony Taylor gets a chance to put his feet up – for the first time this year he neither has a match or is involved as Fourth Official.

In our match against Liverpool we have Michael Oliver – this will be our second time with him in charge but Liverpool’s fourth.

Our previous game with him in charge was the first match of the season when we lost 0 – 2 at home against Man City.  There is, I suppose, a kind of symmetry with him also starting the second half of the season against the new championship favourites Liverpool.  In this game both teams drew 2 yellow cards, we were called for 11 fouls and Man City 14

Liverpool’s three previous matches were their 2 – 0 away win at Crystal Palace in matchweek 2, their 2 – 1 win at Spurs in matchweek 5 and their 1 – 0 win away at Huddersfield in Matchweek 9.  His appointment again in matchweek 20 probably represents to them a sensible timeframe after getting hi, three times in 7 weeks.

In those 3 away matches the home sides were penalised  for just one yellow, one red card and one penalty (all against Palace)  Palace were penalised for just 6 fouls.  Spurs committed 17 home fouls without getting a card of any sort and Huddersfield 9.  Liverpool got 3 yellow cards, one against Palace and 2 against Huddersfield.  They were penalised for 13 fouls in the Palace game, 16 against Spurs and 6 against Huddersfield.

The Spurs v Liverpool game has had by far the highest number of individual fouls without any other form of sanction being issued – 33 fouls without a card is a number that beggars belief.  So far in the League as a whole there have been 4,035 fouls noted, 617 yellow cards, 11 double yellows and 16 red cards so an average of a card every 6.3 fouls.  For there nor to be a single sanction in a game with 33 fouls is so far outside the expected range that it should warrant further investigation.

In all games as the home team Liverpool have 7 yellow cards and one red card from 81 fouls (the lowest number of home fouls by any team in the league) and as an away team Arsenal have 13 yellow cards from 93 fouls.  If we look at the minutes played under caution Liverpool at home have 176 (by far the lowest in the league) and Arsenal away have 664 minutes.  I calculate these figures by taking the minutes remaining in a match when a card or penalty is awarded and doubling the value for a sending off or penalty.

Liverpool are therefore likely to be treated far more leniently than Arsenal, this is entirely natural and has absolutely nothing to do with directed bias by referees when Liverpool play at home.  The whole world knows that when anyone on the Liverpool staff or players sit down the lights go out.

Expect the normal pitch tilting tactics – phantom fouls, Arsenal players being fouled with impunity but being called when they breathe near a Liverpool player.  Probably an offside goal or a wrong penalty and certainly cards against Arsenal players early in the game.


7 Replies to “Matchweek 20 – All the Games, All the Officials”

  1. So we have the surly Oliver. At one point I thought he may be OK, but not at all recently. An ideal referee for media darlings, Liverpool! The disgraceful Salah dive v Newcastle was a star turn indeed. No way was the FA going to ban him for the Arsenal and Man City games. We can expect much kicking from Lovren and especially Milner, ignored by the chewing, grumpy-faced Oliver. No you weren’t picked for the World Cup, were you?

  2. I think Oliver is okay and i also think that giving cards depends on the seriousness of the foul so a team can foul 10 times without getting a card But that does not mean i don’t recognise the bias most PGMO referees have against arsenal.

  3. Don’t forget about persistent infringement.

    Michael Oliver has supervised 27 treatments this season, 13 to home teams and 14 to away. This has resulted in the home team playing short-handed for 23 minutes, and the away team the same. The treatments he has supervised have resulted in the home team making 3 substitutions and the away team 5.

    The Caution data I have is more complex than what Andrew uses. Liverpool plays with the last caution at 538 man-minutes, while Arsenal is fourth highest at 1416 man-minutes.

    To be highly skilled is not easy. But many players have found over the years that a person can cheat to make up for having the skills. A big part of the reason to have fouls, is to stop the cheating. But that only works if the fouls are called. If we look at the infliction of treatments, we are getting a measure of how rough a team is. Not all fouls relate to roughness, but if a team is being rougher than expected, they are probably cheating in other ways as well. The team that has inflicted the large number of treatments on opposition is the Spuds. In their last game kavanagh waited until the 73rd minute to give the Spuds their first foul! Kavanagh had to “even things out”, so I believe the game ended 5:8 (5 to the Spuds).

    Leicester (9) is now 4 inflictions less than the next lowest of Chel$ea (13). Wolves are also at 13 and Man$ity is at 15. Liverpool is middle of the pack at 18. How can you be average in how rough you are, and yet anomalously low on caution? Arsenal have 20 inflictions so far, just slightly higher than the expected number, but I think 3 (more?) of those are self-inflicted. Practically, we are the same as Liverpool.

    In terms of the number of minutes that opposition had to play short-handed because of these inflictions, CPalace(61), StateAid(55), Burnley(52) and Newcastle(51). Newcastle and the Spuds are considerably below the expected amount of Caution, and yet they derive some of the most advantage from inflicting treatments on their opposition.

    Another thing which can result from inflicting the opposition with a treatment, is that the player needs to be substituted. Spuds(8), CPalace(7), Huddersfield(7), Newcastle(7) and ManU(6) are at/near the top in terms of these substitutions. Arsenal are also at 6 (same as ManU), but 4 of those are self-inflicted injuries.

    Liverpool is about middle of the pack in terms of how many treatments its players need at 17. Arsenal are near the top at 25. Cardiff has suffered the largest need for treatments at 33, and having to play short-handed for 70 minutes as a result of that, and needing 8 substitutions. Brighton is next highest on playing short-handed at 55 minutes (Arsenal are at 37), and requiring 8 substitutions of their own player.

    The Spuds were the highest at inflicting treatments on opposition, they also lead in requiring the largest number of substitutions of their own player at 9. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  4. Liverpool (538:17,-18) v Arsenal (1416:25:-20)
    _Michael Oliver (27 13:14 23:23 3:5)

    Spuds (940:14:-25) v Wolves (898:15:-13)
    _Stuart Attwell (18 5:13 6:22 1:4)

    I think the Spuds are going to kick Wolves all over, and Attwell will card Wolves more, and ignore how rough treatment inflictions by Spuds are.

    CPalace (1140:9:-23) v Chel$ea (805:12:-13)
    _Craig Pawson (23 13:10 23:11 3:4)

    I think Pawson is going to be carding CPalace more.

    Southampton (1101:25:-19) v Man$ity (820:10:-15)
    _Paul Tierney (20 9:11 11:15 3:3)

    ManU (1598:11:-21) v Bournemouth (1174:23:-20)
    _Lee Mason (20 15:5 26:6 2:0)

    Mason is being sent to card ManU?

  5. I think your Predictions is BrightonvEverton, not BrightonvBurnley?

    My numbers are
    Brighton (1493:23:-19) v Everton (1275:27:-20)
    _Andy Madley (3 1:2 2:1 0:1)

    Fulham (1330:18:-17) v Huddersfield (1454:25:-21)
    _Kevin Friend (25 14:11 37:15 3:1)

  6. Filling in more blanks.

    There have been multiple occurrences where a player needing treatment, has been worked on more than 4 minutes. One could be a typo (20 instead of 2).

    In terms of teams that were the victim, there are four teams where they were victimised twice (Bournemouth, Brighton, Fulham and Wolves), and one team victimised three times (Spuds).

    In terms of inflicting multiple long treatments we have one team who did it twice (StateAid) and three teams who did it 3 times (Burnley, CPalace and Newcastle).

    Another possibility, is goalkeepers requiring treatment as a result of teams running the keeper. This data is just on treatments, I’ve no idea about the running part in this. Chelsea and Newcastle have done this twice. Brighton and Wolves have had their goaltender require treatment twice, and Huddersfield have had their goaltender require treatment three times.

  7. I’m still working on massaging another set of data.

    But, the EPL is a tough kitty. Most people don’t think about it, and just assume the EPL is one homogeneous unit.

    A few think it partitions into a Top-N, and a Rest of the Pack (ROTP).

    We seem to have N=6, so it is a Top-6. There is a N-S divide, so we have the North Top. For whatever reason, much of the country is split on Arsenal, with most of The (sweet) FA, The Premier League, the PGMO hating Arsenal. And you are left with two other London clubs, which are not similar at all.

    So the Top-6 is itself 4 groups, and we haven’t looked at the ROTB.

    I suppose in terms that 😈 Mike Riley uses; there is the N-S divide and there is the $ or no-$ divide. Any maybe they live with the tilt that provides?

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