Arsenal v Manchester City: the bias of the referee




By Bulldog Drummond

The referee for the game on Wednesday night is Anthony Taylor.

Taylor was the referee for Arsenal’s matches against Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hots, Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United.  If you are a long-term reader of Untold Arsenal you will know that our suggestion has always been that no referee should oversee a match involving each team more than twice in a season.

So we will after tomorrow have had Taylor as the referee in five out of 22 games – which suggests that by the end of the season far from having Taylor twice we will have had him nine times.

The question then arises – does it matter?   And the answer is it most certainly does – as one can see from the comparative records of three referees working in the League this year….


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Simon Hooper 16 75.0% 0.0% 25.0%
.Jarred Gillett 11 18.2% 45.5% 36.4%
Anthony Taylor 15 33.3% 40.0% 26.7%


If you want to know more about this, there are two articles in our series “The real facts about football that the media will never touch” that will be of interest

Taylor is not the worst referee for away bias, but he is up there with the worst of them.  Arsenal haven’t exactly lost before kick off because of Taylor, but the club is suffering from a major disadvantage by having him as the referee.

But there is another point here.   As far as I can see none of the mainstream media in England is mentioning this history of Taylaor in terms of overseeing away wins.  The figures are out there – they are not created by Untold and absolutely no one challenges them. 

Yet just as the media won’t ever consider the point that each referee should only oversee matches involving each Premier League club twice in a season, so they won’t wonder why certain referees oversee so many away wins. 

And to be clear, we don’t expect each referee to have the same level of home wins – because there will always be some variation, but we have shown repeatedly that while some referees are influenced by the home crowd, others seek to prove themselves by deliberately working against this and favouring the away team.

Simon Hooper, for example, as the figures above show, is a totally lopsided home-team supporting referee.

But moving on from the referee’s position, Arsenal’s run against Manchester City in recent years has been poor.  Arsenal have in fact lost all of the last ten league matches against Manchester City, and have failed to win any of the last 13 – it is a truly shocking record.  

Indeed Arsenal have only scored one goal in the last six league matches between the two.

Date Match Result Score
8 May 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal D 2-2
18 Dec 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal L 2-1
2 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City D 2-2
5 Nov 2017 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1
1 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3
12 Aug 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-2
3 Feb 2019 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1
15 Dec 2019 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3
17 Jun 2020 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-0
17 Oct 2020 Manchester City v Arsenal L 1-0
21 Feb 2021 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-1
28 Aug 2021 Manchester City v Arsenal L 5-0
1 Jan 2022 Arsenal v Manchester City L 1-2


Our one victory of note came in the FA Cup semi-final on 18 July 2020, when Arsenal won 2-0 (both goals from Aubameyang).  Gabriel Jesus played for Manchester City in that game, and the Arsenal team was


Bellerin, Mustafi, David Luiz, Tierney

Xhaka Ceballos Maitland-Niles

Pepe Aubameyang Lacazette

It will be a somewhat different team tomorrow.

More on this game shortly…

7 Replies to “Arsenal v Manchester City: the bias of the referee”

  1. Looks like we have the home win specialist Simon Hooper for our away fixture with Aston Villa next weekend according to the Metro.
    Get your money on Villa for a home win

  2. Taylor yet another based in Manchester.

    I hope he is not too exhausted by having to travel to London. He could share transport with Man City. It would reduce costs and carbon footprint.

  3. The next few fixtures, with their referee assignments, should give an idea on PGMOL’s view of AFC winning the title this season. They have the ability. Loss to MU was at worst a draw. Newcastle, come on! Brentford? To name a few few matches with points taken by refereeing. Probably not a complete list.

  4. goonersince72, you forgot Southampton were the ref refused to give us the most blatant of penalties when Jesus was completely dragged down by a defender who acted as his backpack….

  5. Thought Artetas comments were really interesting, he absolutely laid into Mason, and said it wasn’t human error. He didn’t follow that up by suggestions of bias, cheating or anything thing else that would have got him into trouble, but I think he was saying Mason was something more than completely inept.
    Arteta has been at Everton and City as well as Arsenal , he would have taken his current role knowing all about how Arsenal are treated by referees, he prob knows all sorts. I am sure at Everton and City , the ref was part of their prep and game plan when facing Arsenal.
    But Arteta is a clever man, these refs are now going to have to clear up their act with this club, if they don’t, our manager is on a very firm footing against them.
    Have just read the EPL are demanding explanations, and improvement from the PGMOL, read that as a sort of “or else type statement”
    Don’t know whether Webb planned to be a leader driving improvement, or just another Mike Riley, but looks like he doesn’t have the choice of being just another Riley now, no matter how much certain clubs may want that.
    Maybe the EPL have finally realised these officials could harm their brand , and their money.

  6. Maybe the EPL have finally realised these officials could harm their brand , and their money.

    Already friends of mine ,in Spain , France and Norway are talking about the weekends events and not just about The Arsenal .
    They are commenting on the Premier League being a laughing stock and making comments that seeing an English referee taking a European match is cause for concern.
    One Norwegian has mooted that money was laid in the far East on the number of 1 -1 draws in that matchweek .
    Food for thought.

  7. @Porter,

    it is good that the PL becomes a lauging stock for its refereeing incompetence. It will bring change about.

    I felt Oliver did a pretty ok job. Definitely not his Arsenal-are-on-the-field type of refereeing. Which shows the incompetence, as a competent person is always producing a satisfying and of equal quality job, which he definitely is not.

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