How the refs treated Villa last season

By DogFace and Walter Broeckx

Last season a group of qualified referees reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

Below is the review we published in the summer on Aston Villa and the refs.  We are publishing it again because we hope to attract more referees who are willing to monitor what the refs in the Premier League get up to.  If you would like to help us please have a look at our post which gives the full details.

Untold Vs PGMOL - AstonVilla 2011/2012

But on to the refs. We only did 6 games from Aston Villa last season. If you want to be critical about that….fine. We understand this. We would have loved to have more games reviewed but unfortunately we were not able to review more games. Lack of matches shown on TV is one factor. The other factor is …lack of qualified referees to review more games. So if you want to join us and make sure that next season we will have an ever bigger number of games: please apply by putting a comment in the comment section and we will get back to you – you could even help us to review all the games we missed this season if you have access to the videos.

If we want to look it from the positive side we did more than 15% of their games. We just will have to to do with this and try to make up some conclusions.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - AstonVilla 2011/2012

The basic decisions look great! Just under 80% of all the decisions in the games we reviewed from Aston Villa were correct. As this is the first team we don’t know yet where we stand but I think this is a high score. Because if you read the first article in the series you will know that the overall league average was 72,49% or 71,35 % when we looked at the weighted decisions.  So this is a great score for the games that had Aston Villa in it.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency Breakdown - AstonVilla 2011/2012

If we take on each of the different decisions type we can see that the goals decisions are as can be expected. 20 decisions had to be made and 18 were correct. Or, more importantly, two  were not correct is more important. So not much out of line with the average.

The offside decisions are rather well dealt with in the games involving Aston Villa. Only one wrong call (that we could check) and this leads to a score of 93%.

The other decisions are also rather good compared to the league average.  Only 21,5% wrong calls compared to the 28% in the whole league.

The penalty decisions are also very good. “Only” 16,67% wrong compared to a league average of more than 37%.

And a perfect score for the red cards decisions in the Aston Villa games. A 100% score and this while the league average is only 21%.

And also the yellow cards could be called good compared to the league average. An average of just under 69% correct compared to the league average of 56%.

Now let us try and find out in in whose favour the wrong decisions went.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Incorrect calls Breakdown - AstonVilla 2011/2012

And if we look at the away games, of which we had 4 you can see that Aston Villa had a big away bias going against them.  But in the two home games they had a big home bias in their favour. But even that big home bias was not enough to win their home games.  But both bias numbers (in favour at home and against away from home) are bigger than the league average.  The away bias against is twice the normal bias. The home bias in favour is even more than three times what can be expected.

If we include the weight in to the decisions the global picture remains the same. Almost twice the normal away bias against and around three times the normal home bias in their favour.

It is interesting to note that at home Aston Villa didn’t manage to win points in those games.  But that could have been because the bias was mostly situated in the small decisions. The refs never went into overdrive in order to tilt the game but away from home they got some big decisions going against them.

The overall average bias score is on both occasions a negative one. So you could say that Aston Villa didn’t get many favours in total from the refs if we take into account all 6 games.

Let us try to see how the different refs did in the Aston Villa games.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - AstonVilla (Un-Weighted) 2011/2012

Mark Halsey did two of their games. And he had a big negative swing in total.  He gave them hardly anything in his decisions. But he certainly gave a lot of wrong calls against them.  So one might be tempted to say that Halsey is not a friend of Villa.

And the same can be said about Anthony Taylor. His total score is lower but that is mainly because he seemed to make a lot of mistakes also in Villa’s favour. But the big mistakes went mostly against Aston Villa.

If we look at the score from Phil Dowd we see that he had a zero score in total. It is clear to see that he had a great game when handling Villa

On the good side for Villa we have Jonathon Moss who gave them a positive swing of 4 decisions. And no wrong decisions against them. And this is also the case with Michael Oliver who gave nothing against them but gave a lot against the opponents in his game.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - AstonVilla (Weighted) 2011/2012

And if we put weight to the decisions we see that Mark Halsey remains very much on top in a negative way for Aston Villa.  As was Anthony Taylor. Good old Phil Dowd remained right in the middle of a probably excellent game. And Jonathon Moss and Michael Oliver had performances that didn’t harm Villa in the wrong calls department.

And now let us move on to something new for our referee reviews. We never will stop to surprise you.

PGMOL Vs AstonVilla - Incorrect calls Seasonal Handicap - AstonVilla (Weighted) 2011/2012

With this new table we are trying something new. We are trying to visualise if something was not really okay somewhere during the season. Let us say if a team gets 5 games in a row only positive bias and suddenly it swings to a negative bias for a while and then after a while it changes back then this could mean that some person was “ordering” a certain swing in results from the refs. Imagine a team suddenly going close to the top of the league and someone else doesn’t like that.   Following the old Italian way of life that person might quickly ensure that this team on a good run only good the refs that would “manageable” and the word would go out.  “Don’t let them win”.  If there is such a thing to see we maybe could expose it in this table?

And it also could be used to see if a bad or biased performance from a ref cost a team points or not.

The green line indicates the number of points and the number is the place in the league table. And in the table below you see the bias swing of the games we reviewed. So when a game was reviewed you can see if there was a positive or negative bias from the ref and in the table above you can see if this has cost that team points or not.

So in this case we can say that the negative bias swing in week 8 cost Aston Villa points as they lost that game. In game in week 33 we again had a bad performance for the ref that cost points to Aston Villa.

And so we can see deeper in to the performances of the refs for the teams and see if it cost points to said teams.


All in all in the games that involved Aston Villa the refs had a rather good overall performance and made more than average correct calls.

Unfortunately for Aston Villa it didn’t help them a lot. Because if we look at the bias results it is clear that most of the wrong decisions (few as they were) went against Aston Villa.

Two refs had a positive bias and two had a negative bias against Aston Villa.

It is likely that the biased negative wrong decisions in the games we reviewed have cost Aston Villa some points.


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