RefWatch – Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur. It’s Phil Dowd; see what we can expect.

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RefWatch – Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (20/11/2010 12:45)

By DogFace

  • Referee:           Phil Dowd
  • Assistant 1:     Darren Cann
  • Assistant 2:     Simon Long
  • 4th Official:      Andre Marriner

Just a quick one today I’m afraid… so apologies, it’s been a busy week!

Phil Dowd, in my opinion, is an ‘OK’ ref who veers to a more ‘physical’ type of game – although this may be because he’s getting on a bit and just can’t keep up with the action… so one wonders why he was asked to officiate in what could be one of the fastest paced games of the season?!  Anyway – let’s have a look at his profile:

  • Full name:                   Philip Dowd
  • Date of birth:               26 January 1963 (age 47)
  • Place of birth:              Staffordshire, England
  • Favourite Colour:        Purple

Now…I say ‘Purple’ as really I am not too sure – I’ve been doing a bit of work with the figures this week (as I said, I was busy).  I did this because I noticed that there was a statistician lurking on these pages who made some valid points regarding Walter’s ref review, and it was only a matter of time before he strolled onto my turf and cut me to the quick – as it were.

RefWatch is a work in progress, still in its infancy and I strive to bring to it increasing relevance and/or evidence i.e. it’s all very well slagging off the Ref – but you do need some figures to back it up… but before we get to that – let’s slag off Dowd and rummage through his closet for skeletons!

In the 2006/2007 season, Dowd was took charge of the game between Arsenal and Wigan (11/02/2007) at the Emirates. Dowd controversially turned down a stonewall penalty on Emile Heskey for a foul by Mathieu Flamini on the last man.  Arsenal were trailing 1-0 at the time and this would have given Arsenal quite a hill to climb.  Later on in the same match Wigan’s Josip Skoko was taken off injured and Dowd denied him entry back onto the field of play – leaving them a man down in the face of a spell of mounting pressure from the hosts… Arsenal then went on to score the equaliser even though Flamini (who arguably shouldn’t have been on the field) was clearly offside when he struck in the cross that resulted in the goal.  Arsenal then went on to get another goal to finish 2-1.

Let’s crack on Kirkland so we can get the winner eh?!

In the 2009/2010 season big Phil ‘mugged off’ Liverpool by denying them two penalties in the game against Tottenham (16/10/2009).  He then sent an irate Sammy Lee to the stands for being a bit peeved and making a scene.  Rafa Benitez went on, post match, to make the brilliantly witty quip that he [Dowd] “needs glasses”.  I dined out on that one for months after – cheers Rafa!

Feeding time at the zoo; spot where the away end stops and the home stand starts.

So there we have two good examples of both Tottenham and Arsenal doing OK out of Dowd… and this is reflected in his figures…

…But as I mentioned earlier – I have been doing a bit of work in that area and this is because of, not only the statistician among our ranks but, the designation of Dowd as the referee.  It makes it very hard to pick a winner in terms of referee bias via the normal and more esoteric routes, for example, let’s look at Phil Dowd’s top three teams in regards to Average Points Per Game (EPL only):

Position Team Matches Average PPG Wins Draws Losses
1 Arsenal 14 2.214285714 9 4 1
2 Chelsea 20 2.2 13 5 2
3 Tottenham 19 1.947368421 11 4 4

We are top of the league, and it seems Dowd has something of a London bias… but Tottenham are right up there and, proportionally speaking, seem to be doing better than they should in comparison to the other teams i.e. we all know that, in a fair and consistent competition, Arsenal would be number 1 anyway.

This table is useful but also flawed in that it doesn’t take into account fully the difficulty of the games be it home/away or against a team that is of a high/low standard of technicality and/or fitness.

If we move on and look at the booking index we find that:

Pos Team Matches Bookings Red BPM Most booked
11 Arsenal 14 23 1 1.64 Francesc Fabregas
12 Wigan 14 23 1 1.64 Hendry Thomas
13 Tottenham 19 30 3 1.58 Tom Huddlestone

Again – there is not much between the two teams we sit at 11th and 13th with a slender 0.06 gap of variation in the Average Bookings Per Match (BPM)… although Tottenham have more red cards.  I am still looking for stats for the times in the match the cards were given out if anyone can help me with that I would be very grateful.

My next table is another new RefWatch feature, and with it I hoped to give more insight into the first table – this table takes the Asian Handicap betting line (source BetBrain) for these matches as a gauge to the odds involved – this is an attempt to statistically address difficulty when searching for a bias (some of you will switch off here no doubt but I will continue regardless).

Asian handicap betting works like this – a goal line is drawn in terms of a handicap for one of the teams – this is frequently 0.5 of a goal as this will present to the gambler only two winning positions.  European betting (of which you are more familiar) takes the rather muggy stance of offering 3 winning positions win/lose/draw with the bookie taking 2 winning positions to the bettors 1.

Therefore, with this handicap information I can roughly gleam an insight into the perceived difficulty of the game at the time of kickoff – for example:

In the Arsenal Vs Wigan (above match) Arsenal were giving 1.5 goals i.e. if you bought Arsenal in that match; Arsenal would have had win by 2 goals for you to be in a winning position (odds 1.84) – as we only won by 1 goal you would have lost – if you bought Wigan, even though your team lost, you would have still been a happy chappy and doubled up it as they were the long odds of 2.00.

You dig?

Anyway – let’s have a look at the bit of the table that involves Arsenal and Tottenham – this is again for EPL matches only (unfortunately I don’t have this data going all the way back so our match sample number is lower than the above):

Position Team Matches Average Swing Total Swing
9 Arsenal 10 0.35 3.5
10 Liverpool 17 0.28 4.75
11 Blackburn Rovers 12 0.23 2.75
12 Portsmouth 12 0.21 2.5
13 Tottenham Hotspur 15 0.18 2.75

The important figure (the Average Swing) relates to the deviation from the Asian handicap goal line as stated by the bookmakers just before kickoff – you can see that both Arsenal and Tottenham both have a positive swing of 0.35 and 0.18 of a goal per match respectively… which – given the gulf in class between the two sides, is neither here nor there in terms of picking a favourite.

Not a disaster – far from it – as all I’ve ever wanted was a fair game and, as far as the numbers indicate, it looks like we will could get one… although part of me (the die-hard goner part) really wishes we had a ref with a clear spurs hating streak running though his numbers so we could hoof the scum all over the pitch and mug them good and proper.

“Beat that Chamakh” – more of these please!

SO – Let’s move on now and look at our seasonal form under Dowd:

Arsenal Home with Dowd at the whistle
Season Competition Home Win Draw Away Win
2003/2004 English Premier 1 0 0
2004/2005 English Premier 0 1 0
2005/2006 English League Cup 1 0 0
2006/2007 English Premier 1 0 0
2007/2008 English Premier 1 2 0
2008/2009 English League Cup 1 0 0
2008/2009 English Premier 1 0 1
2009/2010 English Premier 1 0 0
Arsenal Away with Dowd at the whistle
Season Competition Home Win Draw Away Win
2003/2004 English Premier 0 0 1
2004/2005 English FA Cup 0 1 0
2004/2005 English Premier 0 0 1
2005/2006 English League Cup 0 1 0
2008/2009 English Premier 0 0 1
2009/2010 English Premier 0 0 1
2010/2011 English Premier 0 1 0

As you can see – it all looks fairly consistent for us both home/away– and Tottenham’s figures are frighteningly similar.

So what can we expect from Dowd and Marriner tomorrow – as I said, Dowd will do well to keep up, so Marriner’s involvement in the match will be key to getting it right…  If I were a gambling man, I’d put my money on squeaky bum time!

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11 Replies to “RefWatch – Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur. It’s Phil Dowd; see what we can expect.”

  1. In relation to Arsenal, Phil Dowd has recently refereed in our game against Sunderland. And I have to say, I didn’t like his performance at all. Alex Song was sent off in that match for a couple of silly bookings. Also, he turned a blind eye to persistent physical play and fouling by Sunderland, especially in the first half. Although he awarded a penalty to us(which we couldn’t capitalize on), it was a very incompetent performance.

    Oh, and he also did not blow the final whistle when we had cleared a Sunderland corner when the added time was already over.

  2. Thanks DesiGunner – I’m trying to find a format that works for this slot – so it’s all a bit experimental at the moment… the full information I’m getting from my analysis is absolutely facinating – well, it is for me at least!


    Hopefully soon I can model referee data in ways that are easier to understand – with line graphs etc.

  3. And for those who like statistics: We had Dowd earlier this season for the Sunderland-Arsenal game which we conceded in …er… extra time of the extra time.

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