OK, Untold Arsenal freely acknowledges that it reports on football “from an Arsenal perspective”. Just as we all recall instances of crass refereeing decisions against us in encounters between our clubs, Gooners assume victimhood from other occasions.
But this Arsenal site is trying to persuade readers that Sunderland did rather well out of match officials’ wrong decisions last season.
That is an acceptable argument, even if analysis of the 19 games they didn’t scrutinise might well reveal a different story. What was just a bit rich was the suggestion that pro-Sunderland bias on the part of refs and/or their assistants could lie behind the scoring. We probably need to let John McCormick loose on them (PS: we did and it’s at https://safc.blog/2013/08/the-north-south-divide-long-may-it-continue/ …
Walter Broeckx introduces his article as part of a series of referee reviews for the season just gone. Visit the link given above to see what they aim to do in the series, and how. And bear in mind Untold Arsenal is a bloody good site that happens, as I write, to be top of the soccerlinks.com hit list (we’re 11th)
Sunderland were the sixth team to come under the microscope. Walter claims that studying 50 per cent of games suggests “these could be rather accurate numbers” and, as a statistical sample, I’d find it hard to quarrel with that.
But while I remember dodgy decisions for and against us last season, I’d also like to see a complete review, ie taking account of all 38 Premier games.
The author states: “We had a total of 264 wrong decisions in the 19 games we did with Sunderland. That is more than 13 wrong decisions per game. Dreadful in fact. Of those 264 wrong decisions we had 149 in their favour and 115 going against them. The difference is 34 decisions in favour of Sunderland. And that is almost 2 decisions in their favour on average.
“If we first look at the decisions that went against them we see that we find the goal decisions is one of them. But with only 1 wrong decision in total this is not really too bad. Of course if that was the only goal of the game it is bad. The other two negative decisions are goal kicks and corners. Maybe not the most important ones except when you are a team that scores a lot from corners? Or concede a lot from corners against you. But those statistics are not at my disposal for the moment.
“But in general all the other decisions went in favour of Sunderland. The foul/free kick decisions are the most wrong decisions in their favour. But also the penalty decisions were rather in their favour most of the time. We had 10 wrong penalty decisions and 7 went in favour of Sunderland and only 3 against them. Of course a penalty with a score of 5-0 or at 0-0 is a world of difference at the end of a game. But this is something we cannot see in the numbers over here. That is something for later, I hope.”
Walter goes on to say wrong decisions on yellow and red cards also went very much Sunderland’s way. There’s a table of decisions for and against us in his article and I commend readers of Salut! Sunderland to take a look (see the link in my introduction).
All respectable if debatable stuff until we reach his conclusion: “There are a lot of referees from the north east in the PGMO ranks, and at its simplest level one might ask if this is good score by a team from that region a coincidence?”
You’ll all have your own thoughts. Mine, as posted in a comment at the site, read:
I must admit I found this all quite interesting, in that statistical bollocks way we do, until I reached the absurd conclusion that Sunderland may have (slightly) benefited from certain decisions, though not others, in half the games last season because there are a few match officials with North-eastern origins.
The region splits in three main ways, SAFC, NUFC and Boro. Wouldn’t it be as ludicrous for me to argue that a ref or lines(wo)man from a Newcastle-supporting catchment area would abandon professionalism and be down on us?
Agreed, 50 per cent isn’t a bad sample but you know as well as I that the other 19 could produce quite different stats.
And it’s not as if we bring our own refs – whoever they might be thought to support – to the game, as Arsenal did (Paul Danson) in 1996.
Fancy leaving a comment? Not sure what you have to say fits this post? Go to the new feature – https://safc.blog/2013/07/salut-sunderland-the-way-it-is/ – and say it there.