Michael Oliver is the ref for Chelsea v Arsenal – so who does he favour?




by Bulldog Drummond

Of course we should be clear, there is no reason why any referee should favour either team.  And we have no direct evidence that any referee is biased.

But we do see some very curious figures when we look at refereeing statistics, and so the notion that a ref favours some teams or indeed some styles of play, becomes one worthy of investigation.

We have already established that some referees are more home biased than others, and academic researchers with far more resources than us have established that home bias is a very real fact of football in England.

The referee this weekend is Michael Oliver.   He has overseen 11 PL games this season and has a record of

18.45 fouls per game.  This is low – he is seeing around nine fouls per game FEWER than Michael Salisbury for example – which shows the ludicrous variation between referees that we have at present in the Premier League.

0.58 fouls per tackle.  This is low.  Only two of the regular referees see fewer fouls per tackle.

2.91 yellow cards per game.  This is so low that it can only be described as laissez-faire.  Michael Salisbury gives out 4.5 yellow cards per game on average.

63.6% of his matches end as home wins – the fourth-highest figure among the regular referees.  We might compare this with Anthony Taylor who has also overseen 11 PL games this season – with only 18.2% ending as home wins.  Again a comparison which shows the utter craziness of PGMO refereeing variations.  The chances of such diversity between referees in terms of home wins happening by chance is about 5000 to 1.

Even spookier Michael Oliver has not, this season, overseen one single draw.  Which reveals that 36.4% of his games have ended as away wins.  This compares with Stuart Atwell who in seven PL games has not witnessed a single away win!!!!

So we can see we have a home-biased referee, but not the most home-biased referee, which means he will be influenced by the home crowd.  But he is not as home biased as some referees such as Paul Tierney for whom eight in every ten games is a home win.

This season there have been 126 games.  64 have been home wins, 29 away wins, and 33 have been draws.  That is 51% home wins, 23% away wins, 26% draws.   Although we would not expect any referee to meet these exact figures in his own games it is interesting to compare those figures with this referee’s results.  

With the figures rounded up or down to make whole numbers we find that

Home Wins – In the league as a whole 51% of matches end as home wins.  But 64% of Michael Oliver’s matches have ended as home wins. 

Away Wins – Across the league 37% are away wins compared with 23% on average. 

Draws – None of his games have been draws compared with 26% on average.

For Arsenal to get even a draw out of this game with this referee is going to be a struggle.  And with Chelsea being unbeaten at home, even more of a struggle.   With most other referees we might think a draw is likely and accept that, but now it seems a real test of Arsenal.   To beat Chelsea means also overcoming the referee’s past figures.

And to be absolutely clear, I am not suggesting I have any evidence that there is any bias going on; I am just reflecting on the oddness of the figures.  And I guess also I am reflecting on the oddness that the media absolutely will not in any way go anywhere near issues like the oddity of referee figures that can have some referees seeing over half of their matches as away wins this season, while others have not refereed a single away win thus far.  It is odd.  And unlikely.  And not covered in the media.

We’ll have a look next at the tackles, fouls and yellow cards figures, comparing Arsenal, Chelsea and the referee.  And to be clear, at this stage I don’t know what they will look like.  I’ll be sorting them this afternoon hopefully for publication later in the day.


4 Replies to “Michael Oliver is the ref for Chelsea v Arsenal – so who does he favour?”

  1. Michael Oliver officiated the Shaktar v R B Leipzig game this week.
    He allowed people to go through the back of other players. Gave warnings to players who commited late tackles yet last year gave Martinelli two yellow cards in 15 seconds for ridiculous nothing incidents.
    So our skilful players watch out………

  2. Get your life savings on a penalty for Chelsea and a red card for Arsenal. Oliver cannot help penalizing us, it’s in his blood.

  3. Sad…Fulham gives away a penalty in added time. The defender should be sent back to the U16s to learn that any forward ( in this case de Bruyne) will do a triple back flip if your foot comes within 6 inches of them.

  4. So from the evidence presented above it would seem that yet another team will have open season on us . We’re gonna have to score 3 to make one count. The media probably know the result already and have their ‘ woeful Arsenal ‘ and Arsenal’s indiscipline will be investigated ‘ headlines at the ready . Of course Im hoping justice prevails and we trounce Potters Pensioners but as the saying goes I’m not holding me breath.
    Couldnt someone hide his car keys ?

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