Following a start to a season that has brought in the usual complaints of, “…the Manchester United’s, Chelsea’s and other so called big clubs getting the decisions..” I decided to examine if this is true or not.
With the help of the website Debatable Decisions who have grouped decisions that went for or against a big team and produced Debatable decisions have designed a table based on these decisions and many more throughout the season.
The table is only up to the 13th game of this season however every week is analysed by a panel of 4 referees who give their verdict and the majority decision wins.
So starting with week 1 we see games such as Everton v Manchester United in which Danny Welbeck has a penalty shout which was duly rejected by the referee and as some of the 4 panel members state “i don’t think a penalty would have been justified.”
We also saw Chelsea v Reading in this week in which there was 2 big contentious decisions. 1st we saw a Chelsea penalty awarded for a clumsy challenge which all 4 panel members and myself agree was a penalty but then we see Fernando Torres, described by one of the four panel members as being “miles off” being allowed to score despite being offside.
Some of the major complaints I have heard have come from Liverpool fans and we saw Brendan Rodgers berating decisions referees had made against his team, especially against Luis Suarez. The subject has been something of a nerve touching debate with some people like Ashley Williams saying he is a “serial cheat” according to the The Daily Mail online.
On the other hand the likes of Brendan Rodgers and some Liverpool fans have defended him “falling easily” as there has been contact involved however minimal it may be.
Examples of Liverpool and in particular Luis Suarez’s so called bad luck include a penalty decision going against him whilst playing against Arsenal. Suarez appears to be impeded by Mertesacker but as described by one of the panel members, it appears his reputation is working against him as they all felt he had gone down easily.
Now we come to week 5 which appeared to be an interesting week. it was a week where a highly contested Liverpool v Manchester United hit all the headlines. The 1st decision was the decision of the referee to send off Jonjo Shelvey for a dangerous challenge on Jonny Evans which angered many Liverpool fans and split the panel as they and I felt there were 2 decisions to make here.
The 1st was to send off Jonjo Shelvey which appeared to everyone to be the correct decision even some Liverpool fans accepted this was correct but they then felt that Jonny Evans should have been sent off as his challenge was similar if not the same as Shelvey’s challenge.
I understand the Liverpool fans frustration as I feel that the challenge by Evans was just as bad because he still goes in t0 the tackle in a dangerous way and whether or not he wins the ball I feel he should of been cautioned for playing in a dangerous manner. That is purely because he makes no contact with the player until he has played the ball unlike Shelvey who gets all of the man and none of the ball.
I would have therefore still dismissed Shelvey as he makes contact but I would have cautioned Evans as he plays in dangerous manner.
This is easier to write about and analyse here as we have the luxury of camera angles, as much time as we need and other opinions but Mark Halsey on the day had around 10 seconds at most to decide. Even the Debatable Decisions panel were split on this, as well as with me however the majority felt Mr Halsey had made the correct decision.
Yet in the same game we saw 2 penalty shouts for Liverpool which weren’t given although the panel decided they were both correct. We then saw a Manchester United penalty shout given although 4 of the 5 on this panel felt this was an incorrect decision however most did say there was contact but not enough to give a penalty which was a strange one for me as I felt as if there was contact, of any kind it’s enough unless exaggerated to a point at which a caution can be given.
We then jump to the table which is added up of key decisions such as off sides, penalties and red cards. As stated earlier this is up to game 13 so is slightly behind.
At the top we have 4 teams on joint + decisions so we start with Aston Villa who have 4 decisions in their favour and 1 against giving them a total of +3 of decisions for them. They are followed by Fulham, Arsenal and QPR. Fulham again have 4 decisions for them and 1 against, Arsenal have 5 for them and 2 against and QPR have 6 for them and 3 against making them, Manchester United, Stoke and Manchester City top of the league in terms of who has had the most decisions go for them.
At the bottom we see Everton who are on -6, Chelsea who are on -5 and Liverpool and Southampton who are both on -4. Everton are the team who have most key decisions go against them having 10 go against them so far, followed by Chelsea and Liverpool on 8 and Wigan and Manchester City on 7.
On top of this there are 2 teams who have had no decisions go for them. West Ham and Southampton are on 0 for decisions going for them which would have seen West Ham be up 2 points by the end of week 13 and Southampton wold have been up 5 points.
As can be seen there is no link between size of club and how many decisions go for or against them. The idea that larger clubs gain an advantage for their size is ridiculous and quite possibly it could be because if they are at home they have a larger crowd who back their team unlike when they are away as some commentators suggest a home team with a larger following behind them can intimidate the away team therefore helping them to win. It’s not the case.