RefWatch – Arsenal v Fulham (04/12/2010 15:00)

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RefWatch – Arsenal v Fulham (04/12/2010 15:00)

By DogFace

  • Referee:              Chris Foy
  • Assistant 1:         Darren Cann
  • Assistant 2:         Bob Pollock
  • 4th Official:        Mark Halsey

Greetings pop pickers – and welcome to another all-new RefWatch… now – first of all; I know I’m in danger of being rather boring here but I’m going to fly in the face of my hit-count and continue with my steady slide [with this series] into the statistical as, basically, the numbers fascinate me and are worthy of your analysis and understanding… so indulge me in my quest and as I keep digging for dirt in all the right places.  But before all that – Let’s check out the referee’s profile:

  • Full name:                          Christopher J Foy
  • Date of birth:                     1962-11-20 (age 48)
  • Place of birth:                   St Helens, Lancashire, England
  • EPL Referee Since:          2001
  • EPL Games to date:         163

Cracking on a bit eh Foy… but apparently they all [EPL referees] do rigorous fitness tests and, from the picture above, he looks to be in both fine physical and mental health.

Moving on – here, for the uninitiated, is the key to the graphs:

  • EPL

o        English Premier League

  • Matches

o        The ‘sample group’ or number of matches played in the specified Season under the specified Referee.

  • ARS/FUL Avg. FPB*

o        The Average Fouls Per Booking, be it Arsenal (ARS) or Fulham (FUL), played in the specified Season under the specified Referee.

  • OPP Avg. FPB*

o        The Average Fouls Per Booking for all Opposition sides played in the specified Season under the specified Referee.

  • Avg. PPG

o        The Average Points Per Game for the specified team, played in the specified Season under the specified Referee.

  • Avg. AH Swing

o        The Average Asian Handicap ‘swing’ played in the specified Season under the specified Referee (this is the deviation, be it positive or negative from the bookmaker assigned betting line or ‘handicap’).

*The FPB figures are based on what the referee defines as a foul during the course of a match – as we know from experience these figures do not reflect exactly what happened on the day but, given a wide enough sample group, we can hope (baring an extreme negative/positive bias that is hard to measure from the data) that they roughly indicate the form for that season.

Don’t worry – it will all become clear when you look at the pretty lines and single out the bits of data that interest you… I’ll give a bit of a run down on each graph too – but if you notice anything I haven’t and/or you think I could model the data in a more revealing way then please leave a comment and I’ll get right on it for next time.

Our referee for this weekend is Chris Foy; his EPL form for us, over 15 matches, constitutes some 13 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, averaging out at circa 2.67 PPG since 2004 and that’s all well and good – in fact it’s fantastic on the face of it, but let’s delve a little deeper and look at his statistics to make more sense of these figures:

As we can see we were redlining our Avg. PPG at 3 PPG until the 2009/2010 season where we had a couple of blips – we lost 1 – 3 at home to Manchester United on the 31/01/2010 and, before that, got totally fucking mugged in a 2 – 2 draw to West Ham United on 25/10/2009.

The interesting thing to note here are the FPB lines – they should, with a consistent performance, be roughly parallel with each other – but our form in this area with Chris Foy has been erratic.  In the 2005/2006 season we got away with a staggering 22 FPB under Foy although that dropped off sharply in the following season and the two lines have been bumbling around each other, trying to find parity, ever since.

What we can take from the FPB figures (barring the blip in 2008/2009 or the ‘season of shit-kickery’ that EVERY referee seems to have in their figures for Arsenal) is that Chris Foy seems to prefer football to rugby.  And this, understandably, is good for a team that likes to play a bit.

If we take a look now at the Avg. AH Swing for Arsenal under Chris Foy we can see that despite the sky high PPG figures – we have never ‘pulled up any trees’ under Foy or over-performed against the handicap to any great extent… in fact – in Chris Foy’s EPL Handicap League Table (all seasons) we come 7th on +0.23, a place below Fulham [6th place] on +0.35.

So – on that note, let’s move on now and study Fulham’s EPL form under Chrissy boy Foy:

Fulham have played 14 matches under Chris Foy since 2001 comprising of 7 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses giving them a respectable 1.71 PPG (considering the -2.5 mugging they got at home against Aston Villa on the 02/02/2005 where they were booked every 3 fouls to Villa’s 8).

There are a few other things to note here, firstly the consistency of the FPB lines in the most recent seasons (note that the season’s 2001/2002 to 2005/2006 only have sample data of 1 match – so we shouldn’t read too much into those figures but try to look at them more as a group).

You can see that both lines closely follow each other – and there is a similar correlation between the PPG and AH Swing lines – this is entirely as I would expect from a balanced refereeing performance.

What I do notice, however, that even the slightest deviation in FPB in favour of the Fulham will give them a slight advantage against the handicap i.e. Fulham are a team who appear to know how to exploit a game, in terms of goal difference, when they are allowed to get physical with the opposition – although this is a very small sample and I would have widen this all games with booking figures (regardless of referee) to clarify this… which I may do one day – possible TeamWatch series in here Tony?

Let’s jog on now and examine the Fourth Official, remember Foy is clocking on in years, his eyes are giving out and his pins weren’t what they once were (joke[ish]) so he’ll need the help of the Fourth Official (and the anonymous 5th official in the stands with a TV screen) to make the right decisions… or at least the decisions that count.

The Fourth Official for this match is Mark Halsey, we know who he is, so let’s not waste any more time and go straight to his statistics for Arsenal in the EPL:

It’s tough to do any serious analysis on this on a seasonal basis as, in recent seasons, we have not seen much of Mark. Over the 19 matches Arsenal have played under Mark Halsey we have won 12, drawn 5 and lost 2 giving us an overall average PPG of 2.16.

You will notice that in the 2005/2006 season we took quite a beating to, guess who, West Ham United on the 01/02/2006 (our first home defeat?).  We lost 2 -3 after having to suffer being booked every 6 fouls to the Hammers 15.

I remember that match – and I do recall being disgusted.  But, as we all know, West Ham (no matter how shit) are always the darlings of the EPL/FA (decisions wise) and they’ll get helped to achieve beyond their ability (which in reality is somewhere in nPower Championship)… something to do with the large fan-base perhaps?  Bums on seats?  Sky Subscriptions? Cup Finals?  Etc. Speculate as to the reasons among yourselves… but suffice to say, if we got the ‘luck’ of the Hammers – we would win absolutely everything.

Other than that ‘blip’ though, Halsey appears to have done fairly well in the FPB lines, keeping the tally close, even through the season of shit-kickery… where we ‘lost our bottle’ apparently.

The swing against the handicap has a wide margin from -2.5 (West Ham game) right through to +5 (last season we beat Everton under Halsey 1-6 on the 15/08/2009). But overall our form doesn’t really look that bad.

Let’s look now at Fulham’s form under Mark Halsey:

Wow… now there’s a curve that leaps out and smacks you in the face!  First of all – Mark Halsey hasn’t refereed a Fulham game since the 2008/2009 season – but in that season they played 5 matches under him and the opposition teams were not booked once – bringing their FPB ration to a mind-blowing 41 (and counting)!

In that season Fulham were also allowed to stick in 20 FPB and, it seems, they did rather well out of it and raised their average PPG in that season to 1.6 – which is another pointer that Fulham do well playing and exploiting the ‘English Game’ and love a right old ding-dong.

On the whole though it’s fair to say that Fulham haven’t over-performed in the 16 games they have played under Halsey having won 6, drawn 3 and lost 7 giving them an overall average of 1.31 PPG and a performance of +0.28 against the handicap.

So there you go… in a nutshell I believe that in a fair game in which Chris Foy can take control of the tackle we should finish with all three points as we are the better team in terms of fitness, creativity and technical skill.  If, however, Chris decides to change his spots and allow the match to get out of hand and overtly physical – we will have some trouble as Fulham are quite good at that and would no doubt love it.

As it’s a home game (and Fulham aren’t West Ham), there is no excuse for this and I would have to suspect the officials motives and the agenda of the league if this were how it played out on Saturday.

Know your history: was Arsenal really the first pro team in the south?  The ongoing review of Arsenal in the FA Cup raises some questions.

There’s told told’s, told untold’s, untold told’s and untold untold’s

14 Replies to “RefWatch – Arsenal v Fulham (04/12/2010 15:00)”

  1. Excellent analysis!

    But could you please explain AH swing lines a bit more??

    Hoping for good refereeing and a good win tomorrow.

  2. 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 (11/02/2007) 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 [2-1] 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?

  3. To add:

    A positive swing indicates an overperfomance in terms of actual goal difference from the betting line – a negative swing indicates an underperformance.

    I’m trying to gauge match difficulty by using betting odds – the easiest way of doing this is to use the Asian Handicap.

    I get my figures from BetBrain and they, in turn, are an average from a sample group of around 20-30 bookmakers, so they should give a good indication of expected performance on the day.

    These are all they added up against the results for that season and divided by the number of matches to give an average total figure – this is done on a seasonal basis as it can show trends.

  4. My heart is already sinking. Foy Boy is not strong and with Clogger Hughes at the helm of Fulham you watch how people like Nasri will be targeted in the early part of the game. Unfit, lenient and poor and we have got him tomorrow!

  5. Err why did “Casual Observer” use an example against Wigan in 2007? We beat them 2-0 the other day and I backed Arsenal at -1.75, which means I had a “half win”

    I wouldn’t bet on Arsenal at a handicap today because
    A: Its dirty Hughes team
    B: Its bloody freezing!

    But i expect a 1-0 win at least……

  6. @Pat – It was the example given in a previous RefWatch… bit of cut’n’pastery from me there!


    Any ideas what we are we giving to Fulham on the handicap today?

  7. I think you might start to confuse people by quoting the quater-ball odds Pat!


    As a bettor – maybe you could give an explanation of the Asian Handicap in laymans terms for the good people here?

  8. Foy Boy had a reasonable game today but he got his one really big decision wrong. He should have stopped the game given the severity of Konscileny’s injury.

  9. I would have been a tough call as he got back on his feet – if he had stayed down it would be different – just unlucky really to concede a goal from it – can’t blame him, even though he didn’t know if it was Saturday or a fried egg, his first instinct was to get up and attempt to defend the danger.

    I’ll wait to see what Walter’s take on the match is in the Ref Review.

  10. It also seams to me that it could be offside again, but it was never shown from right angle to make some good conclusion, but on first watching it looked as that Foolham player was few cm off, though Clichy forgot to step out,,,

  11. Dog face – the fact that he stayed on his feet should not actually have influenced the decision. The referee has a duty of care and he should have realised the distress the paleyer was in. I draw a parallel with boxing. Will the referee only stop when the boxer is on the canvas? Foy misread the situation. It will also be interesting if Walter commnets on the number of times Foy Boy got tangled up in play. This only really happens when the referee is either unfit, or does not read the game well, or both. I let you determine which option relates to Foy Boy.

    Armin might have a point too. The referee on the far sidemade some strange calls. I sit on the North Bank lower tier and it was noticeable how far behind play he was on a number of occasions. He was not at all impressive.

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