Man U v Arsenal: Referee and VAR ref, both from Manchester




By Tony Attwood

Paul Tierney is the referee for the Manchester United v Arsenal game.  He is from Salford which is just a few miles from Manchester , while Lee Mason who is the VAR referee is from Manchester itself.  But I am sure that doesn’t imply that anything will be wrong.   After all both men are employed by PGMO and we know what a fair and reasoned organisation this is.

Here are Paul Tierney’s details for this season and for last season.  First the figures for the home teams in each match he oversaw…   (PG = per game).  Figures are from Who Scored.

Paul Tierney’s figures


Period Games Fouls/pg Fouls/Tackle Yel pg
This season 4 8.25 0.52 1.75
Last season 27 10.22 0.58 2.00


So we can see that Mr Tierney is calling fewer events as fouls this season, which is what we were told the referees would be doing.  But his ratio of the number of fouls he calls per tackle has stayed fairly static.

We can also see he is giving out fewer yellow cards this season, but to be fair this is only after four games.

Now we can see how he treats away teams this season compared with last season…

Away teams


Period Games Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles Yel pg Yel
This season 4 8.50 0.50 2.00 8
Last season 27 11.44 0.79 1.81 49


Both this season and last season he is calling more fouls for away teams.  But this season he is also letting away teams get away with more tackles before a foul is called.  Otherwise his numbers are fairly static.

Last season’s club activities in defence.

These figures suggest that Manchester United are tackling more per game committing more fouls per game, and are therefore getting more yellow cards per game – although perhaps even more than these tackle and foul figures would suggest.


Team Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellow PG
Arsenal 14.2 9.6 1.6
Manchester United 15.4 10.4 3.4


Looking at the ratios we find both clubs commit the same number of tackles per foul, but Arsenal can get away with twice as many tackles before a card is given both in terms of tackles per card and fouls per card.


Tackles / foul Tackles / card Fouls / card
Arsenal 1.48 8.87 6.00
Manchester United 1.48 4.52 3.06


So last season both clubs were having a foul called against them every 1.48 tackles, but Arsenal could commit almost twice the number of tackles before getting a card, and almost twice the number of fouls before getting a card as Manchester United.

And in attack…


Shots pg Shots On Target pg Fouled pg
Arsenal 15.5 5.2 9.4
Manchester United 13.4 4.9 8.4


Arsenal shoot more, have more shots on target, and are fouled by the opposition’s defence more than Manchester United – in all three categories.

Now let’s have a look at the results in terms of the referee…


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Tierney this season 4 50.0 25.0 25.0
Tierney last season 27 37.0 37.0 26.0


Last season Tierney showed himself to be one of the referees who was not influenced by the crowd, giving the same percentage of home wins as away wins.   This season the figures suggest he has moved from that but it must be remembered that he has only overseen four games.  We have to hope that his longer term perspective of not being influenced by the home crowd clicks back in and he sees the game as it is, not as he wants it to be.

One question that remains with us however is, how much influence does this being his home city have on this referee?   For that I regret I don’t have figures, but it is interesting that in olden times we were told that referees could not oversee matches involving either their home city team or the team for which they declared support.  Now it seems that is not the case.


If Tierney oversees the match according to his normal form and style Arsenal should be ok.

This season’s opposition: Manchester United – our preseason preview

3 Replies to “Man U v Arsenal: Referee and VAR ref, both from Manchester”

  1. I fear the worst with the refereeing in this game, Riley’s last season and one of his fave fixtures!
    Wasn’t Tierney the ref who tilted the game at Tottenham at the end of last season?

  2. To compound the problem Mason is on VAR. If he’s considered not good enough to referee how is he deemed good enough for VAR. Had Xhaka gone over the ball like Van Dijk did ealrlier he would have been dismissed. We then hear the pathetic Peter Walton trying to justify a caution. If they cannot employ a better referee analyst than him why bother. It was red all day long

  3. Tony you’ve got to be winning with regard to the EPL referees not being up to standard just look at some of the VAR decision yesterday , don’t hold your breath there might be an apology from PGMO , doubt it though .

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