By Tony Attwood
For this weekend’s game we have as referee Darren England, and this season we are going to try and look at each referee in turn to see what we might expect him to do.
You may have seen the full list of officials in the previous post Premier League 2022/23 – Matchweek 2 Refereeing matters. Now we look at the implication for Arsenal.
Here are the figures from last season showing the fouls, tackles and cards per game. This is in descending order in terms of fouls given per game.
|Referee||games||Fouls per game||Fouls per Tackle||Yellows per game|
So as we can see Darren England is low in terms of the number of fouls awarded per game last season.
Now Mr England didn’t have a game in the Premier League last weekend. But when we look at the number of fouls per game this season from other referees we can see that the number has shot up dramatically. Whereas before the number of fouls per game was running at between nine and 13 per game, now it is running at between 11 and 34 per game. And if that seems crazy here is the source, which has always been perfectly accurate in the past.
This is a table showing the ten referees who oversaw a Premier League match last weekend.
|Referee||Fouls in 1st game this season||average fouls per game last season||Increase or decrease|
This is a strange table. For four referees the fouls per game has gone up and for the remaining six the number of fouls has gone down. So maybe there is no fixing and games are always radically different.
But on the range of fouls: the difference between Gillett and Bankes is 23 fouls within one game, with Bankes awarding 13 more fouls than his average for last season. That is odd.
But what about Fouls per Tackles? The number of tackles, fouls and yellow cards went up in the first game this season against the average for last season. But, and this is the important bit, the number of fouls handed out per tackle has gone right down – almost by half. Which means if that first match was anything to go by, Arsenal can get away with almost twice as many tackles before being called for a foul.
Which explains exactly why Arsenal put in such a huge number of tackles in the match against Palace.
Likewise in that match Arsenal were penalised far less harshly by the referee when it came to handing out yellow cards. Previously 8.99 tackles led to a card. Last weekend it was 14.50. The only statistic that went against Arsenal was the number of fouls undertaken before a yellow card came out. But since the number of cards per game is very small, we may have to wait a few games to see if this is a trend or just a bit of overenthusiasm.
|Source||Tackles||Fouls||fouls per tackle||Yellow||Tackles per yellow||Fouls per yellow|
One interesting factor ahead of this weekend’s game is that Darrern England is low on the yellow per game scale running at 3.87 last season, so we ought to be able to avoid getting a yellow this game, or at worse keep it down to one.
But now the crunch: is Darren England a home supporting referee or an away supporting referee? As you may recall if you are a regular reader we have found that since lockdown referees have split on this issue. Jonathan Moss gives the home team victory in 64% of his games. For David Coote it is just 25%. Andrew Marriner oversees games in which 58% are away wins. For Stuart Attwell only 20% are away wins.
Despite a desperate and futile attempt by Sky Sports to whitewash the issue (Sky always wanting to make out that football referees are jolly good chaps doing an honest job) the fact is that some referees give the home team an enormous advantage.
Here are the figures for last season, with our referee this weekend measured against the PGMO en masse. Also included by way of comparison are the figures for Simon Hooper who also oversaw 15 games last season in the league and is clearly an away team man. Numbers are rounded.
|Darren England||PGMO 2021/22||simon hooper|
This persistent variation between referees is of course insane. But then, that is PGMO for you.
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