Why refereeing decisions have no bearing on the title race


Despite the furore, referee's decisions tends to eveen out over the course of a seasonWritten by Cameron Sharpe for FootballFancast: In a week where it has seemed every single match has had a controversial refereeing decision, the inevitable watchword in the press has been “cost.” How much will Martin Atkinson’s decision not to send off Chelsea’s David Luiz on Tuesday night cost Manchester United come the end of the season? Similarly, how much will Andrei Arshavin’s legitimate strike being ruled out for offside against Sunderland at the weekend cost Arsenal in terms of their pursuit of a first trophy since 2005?

Interesting questions these may be, however the sentiment behind the thought process is fatally flawed. If Manchester United fail to win the title or if Arsenal are unable to capitalise on their rival’s profligacy the refereeing decisions over the last seven days will be unable to disguise the fact that each side deserves their fate.

Arsene Wenger might have labelled himself “disgusted” with the decision-making of referee and linesmen during Saturday’s stalemate with Sunderland, but in reality he will be far more livid with his side for missing an absolute golden opportunity to establish a real foothold in the battle for Chelsea’s Premier League crown. For all the talk of potential and excitement, home draws against mid-table teams are the sorts of results that have blighted Arsenal’s past endeavours at top-flight glory, and Wenger knows it.

Similarly, Ferguson’s outspoken outburst came in the knowledge that his attacking gamble backfired. Hoping to land a decisive blow in the race for the summit, his side threw away their first half ascendancy at the Bridge on Tuesday and as a result enabled a confidence poor Chelsea back into a game they had no right to win.

Over the course of a 38 game season, the chances of the best side not winning the league are inevitably miniscule. Keen followers of the division may argue that this has all but happened in two of the last three years – Chelsea nearly stole the title from a Manchester United side that had dominated all comers and included 42 goal Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008, and last year United nearly returned the favour by almost pipping the West London outfit to the line despite the Blues having won all six of their fixtures against the then established ‘Big Four.’

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  • Fair Officiating says:

    You have completely ignored the fact this whole debate will stop when video playback technology is brought into the game to protect clubs and officials.I do not accept the argument it will slow down the game as this happens already with fouls and subs.The FA cannot go on with its dogma against it the longer it does go on the more people will think of corruption until I hope all will explode with a newspaper sting as with cricket and snooker !!!.

  • Ben Dover says:

    This is pure bs…

    Of course it can be decisive for the championship and the cup’s

    We have seen that time and time again.

  • Mike says:

    Are you completely mad? Man U have benefited from refereeing decisions year in year out. An academic study of the first decade of the premier league showed that of all decisions given in the premier league all clubs except one had between 45% and 55% of free kicks given in their favour. Man Utd received 71% in their favour. That evens out over the season..NOT.

    Similarly, 5 or 6 seasons ago Mike Riley refereed 41 games not involving Man U and gave just one penalty. He also managed 8 Man U games and awarded 9 penalties……..all in favour of Man U. Now for anyone whose going to argue that it’s coincidence or it’s because Man U attack more etc etc etc., do the maths. Those sorts of odds are akin to winning the Jackpot on the lottery.

    Anyone who says these things even out over a season is merely doing just that……..saying it. Actually take a look at the numbers before coming out with utterly meaningless and misleading statements.

    And just for the record, in case you’d coveniently forgotten, Man U started against Chelsea with Rooney, a player who should have been serving a three match ban………..except for the fact that the FA chose not to punish him for a deliberate elbow in a previous game. No preferential treatment there then.

  • Kamarano says:

    Absolute nonesense

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