Wolverhampton v Arsenal. It’s a home team referee




By Bulldog Drummond

The BBC have posted a note saying “Victory for Arsenal will mean they are top of the Premier League table at Christmas for the first time since 2007. However, it’s 1947-48 since they last led the top-flight table at Christmas and went on to be champions.”

And that is a really interesting season to relate to, for here is the position after 13 games in the 1947/8 season.  (It was, you may know, two points for a win in those days).  I’m putting the top ten clubs in, because it includes Wolverhampton at fifth, but otherwise the only club still in the top flight is Chelsea.  How the once mighty (or at least clubs that thought of themselves as mighty) have slipped and crumbled away.


Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 13 9 4 0 26 7 22
2 Preston North End 14 9 3 2 22 17 21
3 Blackpool 14 7 3 4 17 10 17
4 Burnley 13 5 6 2 14 9 16
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 6 4 3 31 20 16
6 Portsmouth 13 6 3 4 19 11 15
7 Charlton Athletic 13 7 1 5 25 25 15
8 Middlesbrough 13 6 2 5 22 19 14
9 Derby County 14 4 6 4 16 14 14
10 Chelsea 13 6 2 5 20 22 14


In the current method of counting three points for a win we would have had 43 points rather than the 34 we actually had.

That immediately also made me want to see what the table was like for the unbeaten season on Christmas Day 2003 and yes, we were indeed not top.  Here is the league table for that momentous season after 17 games.   Interesting to see both the gap from third to fourth, and who indeed was in fourth.  Southampton actually finished 12th that season.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 17 13 1 3 34 11 23 40
2 Arsenal 17 11 6 0 31 12 19 39
3 Chelsea 17 12 3 2 31 12 19 39
4 Southampton 17 7 5 5 18 12 6 26


And that is a reminder that Arsenal’s next game after the Wolverhampton match will be on Boxing Day against West Ham.  So we’ll be havinig a look at where Arsenal have been at Christmas across the years.  But certainly we do know that this is the best position the club has ever been in, in the Premier League, after 13 games.

In 2003/4 we ended up with our highest ever number of points: 90, which is 2.37 points per game through the season.  So far this season we are running at 2.62 points per game.

Arsenal are also the only team to have scored in every game this season.  We are not the top attacking team this season in terms of goals (Manchester City are still above us) but we are the best defensive team so far this season.

However the referee will be a problem as we have Stuart Attwell – one of the home win specialists.   While Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver have overseen games in which 41.7% have been away wins, Attwell has only overseen one away win in eight matches this season!   He clearly is very much a home team referee.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
1.Michael Oliver 12 58.3 41.7 0.0
2.Anthony Taylor 12 25.0 41.7 33.3
3.Paul Tierney 11 72.7 18.2 9.1
4.Simon Hooper 9 77.8 0.0 22.2
5.Andy Madley 9 44.4 22.2 33.3
6.Stuart Attwell 8 62.5 12.5 25.0
7.Robert Jones 8 62.5 25.0 12.5


And this of course is the PGMO problem: some referees oversee home wins, some away wins.  And really it should not be like that.  Still at least it is not Simon Hooper who in nine league matches has not overseen a single away win!!!   He also gives out three yellow cards per game.

So what of the team?

Sports Mole give us


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;


Aside from minor positional changes Pain in the Arsenal have the same team.  And the same is true for BT Sprout

90 min also have the same team with just a few bits and pieces of positional changes.  But they do give us a bench suggestion of  Turner, Tierney, Nketiah, Holding, Soares, Vieira, Sambi, Nelson, Elneny.

So there we have it.  We’ll be back on Sunday with our thoughts on how it has gone so far now the season part 1 is over for Arsenal.


19 Replies to “Wolverhampton v Arsenal. It’s a home team referee”

  1. What’s equally worrying is that ATWELL is the ref who condoned that GBH is ok ,when Everton thug Godfrey decided to stamp on Tomyasus face with no red card last season at Goodson.Was also lightning fast to award a penalty against Xhaka for a nothing foul on Bernado Silva at the Ems last year against the oilers & sent off Gabriel in the same match.He has reffed us 17 times & we’ve had 4 Red cards.Throw in the fact that he’s a midlands Ref( you couldn’t make it up) & add to boot that VAR has none other than Mike Dean & I’m concerned to say the least.

  2. Well, Arsenal need to win this game. Citeh has just lost, we could again be more then 1 game ahead….
    No maybes, no excuses. Win, baby, just win !

  3. The PGMO have certainly stacked the deck against us. However, as Chris has pointed out City lost so we will be top at Christmas no matter what the result this evening.

    We should have enough to win the gamedespite the officials and I hope we start quickly and score a couple of goals that can’t be ruled out and thereby take the match officials out of the equation.


  4. Hard to watch a Newcastle-Chelsea match…who to cheer against? 🙂 The team that has been bankrolled by dirty Russian money for the last 20 years or the team that will be bankrolled by dirty Saudi money for the next 20 years?

  5. Not the fast start I hoped for, Wolves looking dangerous on the counter, we need to move the ball quicker. Jesus can’t buy a goal at the moment, looks stressed in front of goal. The sooner one goes in the better both for him and us

  6. Traore one isn’t a second yellow but Parteys yellow is the exact same tackle hmmm
    Get in there ode

  7. Jesus, Dear God…..

    What these Gunners are doing is just sheer incredible.
    What a WONDERFUL day !

    I mean, they are leading the PL infront of some of the richest clubs in the world. With the youngest team ot the PL.
    Beat that !

    I wonder if there was a younger team in past PL years reaching that level. Add the composure, the capacity to take the game by the throat and just do what is necessary and the sky is the limit.

    And I am not even mentionning HOW those two goals were scored. Wengerball on steroids if you ask me. Fracking incredible.

    As for the goal difference, if you take away the one big result from Citeh – can’t remember now who it was against, it is better then theirs. With the best defence in the league.

    Just need to pray our international players don’t come back broken and despirited from the WC.

  8. Another solid win, top of the league and five points clear of City. Great place to bebefore the mid season break.


  9. By the way, these deadwood journalists don’t understand much, which here on UA is a known fact.

    They all keep on comparing the PL situation this year to the Bundesliga with the ‘Herbstmeisterschaft’.
    The concept is the ‘autumn champion’.
    Thing is, this ‘title’ is given AFTER the first round of the league : when each team has played each other team once. So, in PL it would be game day 19. In Germany, the winter break happens after the first round, before Christmans.

    They keep mentioning this with Arsenal being top of the league for Boxing day. fact is they are not. On game day 19, they might be.
    Then again, it would probably be asking too much from deadwood journalists to really think before uttering the usual BS.

    Which does not change the basic facts : Arsenal ARE top of the league, 5 points clear ofthe richest and most ‘packed with talent’ team of the league, with the youngest squad.

    Beat that !

  10. Both teams committed a total of 11 fouls between them, yet still the dumbass ref sees 5 yellows. At least they were spread fairly evenly!

    Solid performance though. Just hope we don’t pick up any injuries during the FIFA Fundraising Cup…….

  11. Wolves were the first team this season not to attempt to kick Saka out of the game, and I thought the referee had a decent enough game for us (never thought I’d say that about Attwell), particularly with what I consider a valid Wolves call for a first half penalty against Saliba’s foul on Adama Traore´. He was quick to allow time for Xhaka to recover his stomach upset & Ramsdal for what appeared to be a knee in the throat.

  12. Top of the Premier League on merit , the media are clueless idiots first it was
    “We havent played anyone ” then a poison dwarf calls out Arteta , now its “the Christmas curse” and we also need to spend like looneys in January , to do otherwise
    would be folly . Perhaps readers on this excellent blog will recall little Toon leading the league in the mid 90’s , they took the sage advice of the ‘pundits’ and bought Asprilla and before you could say Jack Robinson little Toon had lost their big chance . From that point on the pundits replayed Old Red Nose’s jibes and Keegans ” I’d
    love it ” speech. They had done their bit to derail little Toon with success . Old Red Nose carried on tapping his watch and giving the referees direction and the media cheered the cheat and the refs in his pocket. As if he was a master tactician .
    Lesson: Beware The Media at All Times .

  13. Self Rightoeus

    Given Tony’s usual excellent pre match assessment of the officials, I Like Tony and probably most Arsenal fans, was fearful of how the match might pan out but our fears were unfounded.

    As you say

    “….. particularly with what I consider a valid Wolves call for a first half penalty against Saliba’s foul on Adama Traore”

    I agree, I think it looks a penalty in real time, and certainly looks a penalty on repeated viewings. How VAR missed that I do not know, especially as I believe it was dancing Dean on duty. We got away with one there it seems.

    I know some of our detractors will say ‘not for the first time’ but I disagree. Yes, we’ve had VAR decisions go our way, especially at Leeds, but not unfairly our way. Yesterday was different.

    Either way I’ll take it as we’ve still dropped points on the back of poor VAR intervention, or rather, lack of intervention, as in the case of a stonewall penalty at Southampton that wasn’t given.

    It certainly feels odd to be at least getting a more ‘balanced’ outcome from referees and VAR

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