The Untold referee index: Tiny Totts vs Arsenal.

By Walter Broeckx

For the trip to the Lane we got ref Lee Probert in charge. The result was great but how was the ref? We just will find out.

PENALTY: Lansbury runs in the area and falls down. There was a hand of a defender on his back, but I think the ref is right for not giving a penalty. 1/1

GOAL: Nothing to report about this  so a correct decision. 1/1

CARD: Livermore gets a yellow for a heavy tackle on Wilshere. Fully deserved. 1/1

CARD: Pavlyuchenko comes in late against Djourou and gets a yellow. Good decision from the ref. 1/1

OTHER: Wilshere sends Gibbs on his own to goal but Gibbs is flagged offside. The linesman got it wrong. 0/1

CARD: When Rosicky starts a break he is brought down by Naughton who gets a yellow card. A bit of a naughty boy there. Correct decision. 1/1

GOAL: Replay shows that Keane was offside when the ball was played to him. Another bad decision from the linesman. 0/1

CARD: Keane runs past Koscielny and falls down. Yellow card is given. Correct decision. 1/1

CARD: Lansbury gets in a heavy challenge and gets a fully deserved yellow card. 1/1

PENALTY/CARD: Bassong brings down Nasri who was past the last defender. Penalty given there was contact both at his foot and a bit of shirt holding as far as I could see on my stream. Correct decision for the penalty. But the ref does not give a card. The only card he can give is the red one. You are losing points here ref. 1/1 and 0/1

GOAL: correct decision. 1/1

PENALTY/CARD: This time Caulker is bringing Chamakh down who is again clear on goal. He pulls him on his arm. The ref points to the spot. In one the replays you can have a nice look at how the ref was looking at it and his angle. Correct penalty decision. But yet again the ref does not show a card. Okay consistent but consistently wrong one might say. Should have been another red card as he was the last defender and Chamakh was past him. 1/1 and 0/1. Again losing points.

GOAL: correct decision 1/1

GOAL: Quick thinking and nice executed from Arshavin. Correct decision. 1/1

So what does this make in total?

  • GOAL: 4/5
  • CARDS: 5/7
  • PENALTIES: 3/3
  • OTHER: 0/1
  • TOTAL: 12/16 (75%)

My overall impression of the ref was that he had a very good game.

A small remark is the fact that the Tottenham players were doing some rotational fouling on Wilshere with some tackles that could have been a yellow card. But the ref kept an eye on it and punished the fouls and he gave a few verbal warnings to the players.

The only things he really missed was giving 2 red cards for the Tottenham defenders when they brought down the Arsenal players as they both were the last man. It is not the severity of the foul that counts but the fact that there was a clear goal scoring opportunity and that it was the last defender that committed the foul. Then it always should be a red card. He refused to even give a card on both occasions and that really was not good. In fact as a ref you only have two options: you don’t give anything (no penalty and no card) or you give them both. Those are the only options you have.

People always ask for consistency in the refereeing and this was the wrong consistency. Can you imagine that next week we get a red card for the same thing. Then you will look back and ask me why one is given and the other not? Just imagine that one of the players that should have got a red card would score a goal later in the game? So this really was not brave from the ref.

But in a way I also  feel a bit for the ref. He has lost 2 points in my review on which he could not do anything. When you do a game with assistants you form a team. You work together and you trust each other. If the linesman puts up his flag for an offside you follow his decision unless you know and are 100% sure that he is wrong for a reason. For example a defender gives a back pass and the assistant could not see it, he flags but then as a ref you should overrule him. But these are rare occasions on a field. But in normal play you just have to trust on your assistant. The ref did and twice the assistant made a wrong decision. Gibbs and Keane. Twice the decision went against us and in fact it could have cost us the game as it made Tottenham alive. At the end of the day it didn’t matter as we won but it could have gone wrong. But there is not much the ref can do about it but he is missing 2 points for these decisions.

So he had 4 decisions that he had wrong. 2 because of his assistant and 2 for not giving the red cards he should have given. If you add them this would mean that he would have ended up with a score of 16/16 or a 100 % on the important decisions. If you take away the assistants mistakes you could say that he would have had a score of around 85-90%.

So he could have had an excellent game but he missed on a perfect score because of his assistant and his failure to produce the red cards. Still I think overall he had a very good game and kept things very well within the rules.

What’s new, what’s exciting, what’s thrilling, and what’s odd….

Arsenal’s first ever keeper scored the first ever goal by a keeper.  And his  great nephew is now playing in Brazil.

100 years ago Arsenal were owned by Norris, and he was more interested in Fulham reserves than us.

The most detailed pre- and post-match analysis on any web site in the entire universe. The Tinies v Arsenal: everything you wanted to know and a load more on the Untold Index.

Watching the Tinies overseas.  Just what is it like?

23 Replies to “The Untold referee index: Tiny Totts vs Arsenal.”

  1. The ref misses a card on Sandro either from throwing the ball in objection when a decision went against him. Or for the generally foul play during the game.

  2. Pinch of salt – its lunch, and i am work so cant censor my comments below. but this is what I feel

    Firstly, congratulations to Arsenal for a BIG BIG win! Secondly, congratulations to the fringe players like denilson, lansbury, gibbs (arguably fully fledged 1st teamer), njourou eboue, vela and fabianski for playing with flair, passion, intensity and commitment
    Thirdly, well done wilshere, nasri, chamakh, koscielny and arshavin.

    Fourthly – well done spuds for being over confident and selecting a slightly weakened team. The extent to which you were outplayed at times was breathtaking!

    Fifth – well done harry for your ridiculous comments ie I think trophies are more important than being remembered for selecting young players. Well, eat your words! rottenham dont even have a reserve team! hahaha there is no future for your team. Look at arsenal’s team though

    gibbs – under 21
    lansbury – under 21
    wilshere – under 21
    vela – apprx 21
    denilson – 22
    Nasri – 23
    Njourou – 23

    so looks like the youngsters played you, mr dozy twitch

    sixth – the linesmen were completely blind – some offsides against arsenal were ridiculous, and the keane goal was clearly at least a foot offside. Poor, poor. Penalty decision when lansbury brought down, not given. Terrible

    Seventh – van der vaart – eat your words son, your team got owned. Overconfident with not much substance to back up your big headedness.

    eighth – redknapp, you dozy so and so, you were probably half asleep and missed point 6 above, anyhow, serves you right for being such a big talker and not selecting your best 11 against arsenal.

  3. I know you have done well by giving the referee points based on your analysis of each decision which is commendable. I think though, the weighting of some of the wrong decisions, eg offsides etc are far more significant than giving fouls. I give the ref 40% at best

  4. The first penalty, from what I can remember, was in the gray zone of law 12. Was it an obvious goal scoring opportunity?

    As a lifelong gooner, I must confess that my initial reaction to any challenge by a spud on an Arsenal player is met with me yelling at my TV very valgar suggestions to where the spud can take himself. Naturally with this approach, I wanted Bassong to be locked away in one of your fancy english jails..

    As a referee, I don’t think it was an obvious goal scoring opportunity (But I will watch the game again to be sure)

    – Dec

    Oh, and I’m a big fan of this site.

  5. Thanks for this Walter. I really enjoy your analysis.

    PENALTY: Lansbury runs in the area and falls down. There was a hand of a defender on his back, but I think the ref is right for not giving a penalty. 1/1
    I do not understand how the ref, or you, is in a position to judge how much pressure the hand applied nor the effect on the attackers balance. This is where accusations of diving come from. Can a ref give a yellow card for diving if he feels the pressure was insufficient to warrant the attacker falling over?

    As I understand it, you are allowed shoulder to shoulder contact if both players are in close proximity to the ball; otherwise no contact is allowed. The defender is not allowed to rest his hand on the attackers back. If he is not allowed to do it, then must there not be a sanction to be applied?

  6. A very fair assessment of the ref’s performance Walter.
    A good mate of mine regularly comments that he thinks that the penalty plus red card is too much punishment and last night was no exception.
    To be honest it drives me nuts because we will never be on the receiving end of that benevolence and when it happens pundits will say “Well he wa sthe last man so he had to go”
    I fail to recall similar comments last night.

    On a side note we should applaud Spurs safety staff last night who took their work so seriously that they conducted a fire drill 15 minutes before the end of the match.

    Rats deserting a sinking ship.

  7. I have to agree with the above poster – KEY descisions should carry more weight.

    I do however very much enjoy reading these posts… my thoughts watching it were that the officials were on ‘the draw’ in 90 as priority #1 – as there was huge cash both ways.

    Big money was also lumped on a sending off – something to consider.

    After that – best team [Arsenal] won, job done.

  8. Is there anything that refs can do about rotational fouling though walter? IS there an option for example to say the next player who fouls x will get a booking?
    Was starting to get worried last night about the number of fouls on wilshire, his feet are so quick, and his burst of pace means he gets to all sorts of balls that you wouldn’t think he would – but then gets fouled (a la ramsey!)
    Are the media starting to take this dangerous “tackles” thing seriously now – have seen a number of articles on it following the latest stoke assault and messi’s injury on the weekend. Is it a case of Wenger (again) leading the one?

  9. This story comes to you courtesy of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association (

    The Haringey fire service have announced their delight at how successfully the fire drill they initiated at White Hart Lane went last night.

    A spokesman said “Some people said it was a ridiculous idea to try to have a fire drill during the middle of a game between Spurs v Arsenal, but safety is paramount here and we were proved right. It was quite incredible at how quickly most of the crowd left the ground even though there were over 20
    minutes left of the game.

    It was a slight disappointment that the away fans didn’t choose to participate but never the less we were delighted with the results as this was primarily aimed at the Tottenham fans”.

  10. A Casual Observer – who decides what is a “key” decision? Maybe that relatively obscure decision that everyone forgets about is THE key decision in a game. We fans like to think that everything is linear. How many times have us fans said things like “it should have been 5-0 because we missed 3 clear chances” when of course the moment the first chance was missed it completely altered EVERYTHING that occured after it. Life is chaos, not linear.

    So when talking about weighting of key decisions, what is a KEY decision? Maybe the key decision was an obsure tackle in the first half that emboldened players to go in that much harder which resulted in a red card 40 minutes later, which everyone else would see as “key”.

    Every decision is as important as the one before it, or the one to follow, because every decision creates an entirely new reality for the referee and the game in general. I dont think any decision should be weighted more than any other, because for a referee every individual decision should be treated on its own merits.

  11. I would like to see a photo of Wilshere’s poor old body this mornung. It must be all colours of the rainbow. He got my undiluted admiration over the stick he took…..and dished out. He’s going to be a future Arsenal and England skipper….no doubt about that.

  12. To be honest I would take that referee for every match we have for the rest of the season.
    he got the big decisions right.
    He was neither overly lenient nor overly punitive.
    When it was obvious that LJW was the target of rotational fouling he took players aside and started issuing cards when they didn’t listen.
    he never lost control of the game and this was a North london derby at the football equivalent of Helmand province.

    Top man.

  13. The performance of Wilshere yesterday should be an example for ALL Arsenal players. He played excellent, was energetic, when fouled he just got back up and played Spurs off their own turf, no retaliation, etc.
    It was a true revelation and together with Walcott, Lansbury, Gibbs, Frimpong, Eastmond,….. a testament to the quality English players coming up.
    I saw the game yesterday and are about to watch it again – the 15 min after Henri’s goal was a display of possession football. Spurs couldn’t get near the ball without fouling us. Hmmm, feel the sweet taste:-)

  14. Cape Gooner, you can make contact with another player at all time. If players stand next to each other their body may touch each other.
    A hand in the back itself is not punishable. Only when the hand is used to push the player in a way that he is hampered by it it becomes a foul. The problem is that is up to the ref to call the difference. So you will get different opinions from different refs on the same action.
    Some think that you can push a player forward and some will not allow any contact.
    They told us to try to look at it that if a player loses his balance, or cannot jump because of the push at the right time (when he wants to make a jump) you must call the foul. But on the other hand yoy also have strikers who try to fool the ref and pretend that the hand they feel in their back has pushed them.
    So it is difficult to make those calls and is based on how the ref is seeing the action.

    My God, this sounds more difficult than it is in most games. 😉

  15. @Paul C

    I would think it was fairly self explanatory… decisions that carry more weight – penalty, goal line, offside, red card – I would guess you could include any decision that a goal is allowed/disallowed i.e. foul on the keeper.

    The term ‘key decision’ is fairly well used among the industry and is more defined than say the term ‘world class’ which everyone seems to accept as valid without blinking – so I’m not really sure where you are coming from… arguing semantics and drifting off down the road of metaphysical relevance is kind of counterproductive to the level of analysis that Walter is kindly presenting to us – or maybe that was your point?

    Anyway – at least key decisions should be noted as I know that a lot of successful traders analyse these to establish bias in football – whether it be between referee/team or just the general script of the season conspiring against certain teams and for others… you can make your mind up as to the reasons for the bias – but knowing they are there is valuable and relevant information.

    Key decisions are ‘key’.


  16. Yeah that linesman really sucked eh. Screwed us twice and let himself get out of position a few times.

  17. A Casual Observer – I dont see that there is any semantics about it. You say “key” decisions are penalty, red card, goal-line etc and all I am saying is that EVERY decision that a referee makes is a “key” decision. The “last warning” to a persistent fouler is every bit as important a decision as the eventual decision to send a player off. As with Song on the weekend, what was the “key” decision there? The eventual red card, the incorrect yellow card, or the persistent fouls that Song got away with prior to his initial booking (and which almost certainly contributed to him being booked merely for throwing his arms in the air)? Which one was the “key” decision? My argument would be that every single decision was as important as the rest and to single out one as being “key” misses out on a huge amount of valuable information.

    I am just speaking as an ex-referee myself. I used to officate Rugby matches. I never considered any decisions I made to be any more or less important in the final analysis of my performance. If I got a decision wrong, it didnt matter whether a try resulted from it or not. There was no such thing as a “key” decision. That may be the case for the casual fan, but for the official a match is simply a continuous series of decisions, each as important as the last. That is how you assess your performance.

    I agree that for the casual fans “key” decisions are self-explanatory. I just think that when assessing a referees performance that is the wrong way to look at it, and I have always like the way this website tries to avoid the typical stuff. I dont think a decision to give a penalty, for instance, is any more or less important a decision in terms of grading a referees performance than the first foul of the match that the ref whistles for.

  18. @Paul C

    I understand that fundamentally disagree with me, ok – that’s up to you – but to me picking certain descions as ‘key’, as I have explained, is the only way to measure a pattern of bias.

    Just treating decisions as correct/incorrect with no weighting reveals nothing of any relevance whatsoever.

    I know this through discussions with professional gamblers, runners, match fixers and, of course, those rare few trying to clean up corruption in the sport – detection of an official bias can only be measured in this way i.e. I am not the ‘casual fan’ that you allude to.

    If you beleive that no bias or corruption exists in the refereeing fraternity then I accept that, for you, this type of analysis would not be of any interest and mearly the number of correct calls is all it would take to measure the performance of a referee/4th offical – I, however, do not believe this and quite frankly until I see a balanced number of key decisions in the game that prove the old platitude that “it all evens out at the end of the day” I never will.

  19. I can understand the point you bring up Casual Observer. Sometimes a decision looks more important than another.
    Let us take this game: the offside goal from Tottenham. Without this mistake we could have won after 90 minutes. Although that is not something you can prove like you can prove that 1+1=2.

    But like Paul C said, every decision even a small decision can influence the game. I think to really try to analyse every decision would be a day time job. Unfortunatly I do have to work a bit to bring some money home so we can stay alive.

    So I think I will have to stick with the method I am using for the moment even if this means that it doesn’t cover everything.

    (If someone is willing to pay me a lot of money to give up my current job to do this for a living I will consider every offer) 😉

  20. I tell you what Walter… if you can find that person who will pay me to watch football all day, analyse, record and come up with formulas and software to model it then give me a call because it’s my dream!

    These jobs do exist – but only with the major bookmakers and gambling syndicates in Asia.

  21. I was born at the wrong place… well not really. If I would live there I wouldn’t be able to come to the Emirates a few time in the season.

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