By Bulldog Drummond
In the previous articles:
- Arsenal v Manchester United: the tackles, the fouls and the yellow cards
- Arsenal v Manchester United; a game that is not just like old times
- Arsenal v Man U: the home/away form and an equal recent record
- Arsenal’s new signing and preparing for the Manchester United game.
The Manchester Evening News has given us a team of
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Partey, Odegaard, Xhaka;
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
And they predict through their pre-match article a 1-1 draw, with Manchester United scoring first and Eddie equalising.
The Evening Standard goes with exactly the same line up and it is so obvious that we haven’t bothered to go much beyond that. But instead, we have turned to what the referee might do.
The referee is Anthony Taylor. His statistics show that across his 14 games this season he is 18th out of 20 referees in terms of giving fouls – in short most others give many more fouls than he does
He is 19th out of 20 in terms of fouls per tackle, so the clubs can tackle away and not get fouls given against them – that will help Manchester United who tackle more than Arsenal.
Thus for once Arsenal’s policy, settled upon a couple of seasons back, in which players do everything they can to avoid tackling, in order to avoid the random or biased reaction of referees, is not going to help.
Taylor is 19th in the order of referees for giving fouls for tackles, and Manchester United commit more tackles than Arsenal in every game. So through the appointment of this referee is very much a nod to Manchester United, which says, carry on with your natural game of tackling as much as you like. It won’t harm you, no one will be penalised. (Taylor is mid-table for yellow cards at 3.71 per game).
But there is more, for the real danger comes from the fact that Taylor rarely gives home wins despite the fact that across the Premier League the home win is the most common type of result.
In fact only 28.6% of Taylor’s matches finish as a home win. The average across the league is almost double this at 47%.
This shows the absolute nonsense of the current system of having a tiny number of referees who each oversee game after game involving the same clubs. If every referee just saw each team at home once and each team away once, then this overt and clear statistial bias by a referee would not be stopped, but its effect would be nullified.
As it is, a team like Tottenham will have been thrilled to hear that Taylor is on the game today. Arsenal know they will have to score an extra goal just to get equal; they are starting 0-1 down.
And to be quite clear I am not saying Taylor is biased or bent. I am just saying that against the normal trend, he doesn’t oversee many home wins. Indeed, a staggering 42.9% of Taylor’s games finish as away wins (the average is 31%) and 28.6% end as draws. The average for draws across the league is 22%.
So Arsenal are going to have to win very convincingly for Taylor to give this as a home win, and we can expect disallowed Arsenal goals and penalty claims for Arsenal while Manchester United get the easy ride. This choice of referee really could spell trouble.
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption