Arsenal: Only a 40% Correlation between Penalties-For and Avg League Position

State of denial

It is amazing how far we as human beings, including us football fans; will go to deny reality, specifically to deny facts that do not conform with our deeply held beliefs. Denialism is a very common element of human behavior and is defined by the psychologists as:

“…a person’s choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. Denialism is an essentially irrational action that withholds the validation of a historical experience or event, when a person refuses to accept an empirically verifiable reality.”

The problem however with calling anyone or group of people a denialist is we are all guilty to some degree or other. After all denial is a psychological defense we all use at times to reduce our anxiety when reality feels particularly disturbing. Short of being clinically diagnosed as suffering from paranoia or delusional disorder, we all have the impulse to be denialists.

Unfortunately most human beings refuse to accept we are all psychologically inclined to act irrationally. That is why the majority will always be victims of those forces in our society who happy to take advantage of our irrational fears and anxieties and our impulse to retreat into denialism.

In some of my previous posts (most notably Fear And Despair vs The Arsenal) I used the example of the stock market to highlight how Arsenal fans, in particular, are emotionally manipulated by the media to believe the club is on the verge of disaster, despite an unmatched history of consistency in the Premier League and the consequent massive growth in the fanbase during the Wenger era. As a result many fans, perhaps a majority, have the irrational belief that a self-sustaining club like Arsenal will somehow achieve better results by getting rid of arguably their greatest manager ever.

Yet it is almost an absolute certainty that Stan Kroenke will never pursue the “sugar-daddy” model to compete with City, Chelsea and United. Furthermore, as long as the club grows organically and the value of his investment increases, there is almost zero probability Stan will sell his majority stake to Usmanov or, for that matter, to the Chinese vultures who no doubt are circling in the hope of acquiring a flagship PL club to add to their portfolio. If Arsenal PLC was a liquid stock on Wall St, the professionals, who profit by betting against human psychology, would never tire of taking money from the lemmings who sell whenever the media is unanimous that disaster is near.

That was a somewhat long-winded introduction to my main subject which is the denialism when it comes to the facts I have unearthed and published re PGMOL referees. Despite the data and accompanying statistics which show a historical pattern of bias against Arsenal in Penalties-Against, there are a multitude of naysayers who pooh-poohed my findings as if they were the exception and not the rule. One wonders if they would be satisfied if, someone had the wherewithal run a parallel PL league on a neutral planet with neutral referees using VAR and testing whether the distribution of penalties for was correlated with a club’s league ranking.

Not having those resources, I decided to test my hypothesis of bias by observing whether the average number of penalties awarded was in any way correlated to league standing in the PL. Surely it is reasonable to assume that the best ranked teams get the most penalties and vice-versa. If there is such a correlation, does Arsenal’s average penalty count correlate with its average league position?


When the data is mapped graphically, we get a downward sloping graph from left to right which indicates the average 1st placed teams get 6 penalties per season and the 20th placed teams are down to just 2.6 pens. Obviously it is not a perfect slope. There is a lot of noise in the mid-table from 5th position downwards. This is partially explicable by the fact that these clubs are very inconsistent from year-to-year in contrast with the consistency of the historical top-4. But the pattern is unmistakable; over time, there is a negative relationship between league position and the average penalties a team earn.

To prove my point I did a statistical test to verify whether there was any correlation between the two variables. According to the Spearman test,  (the data covers the past 11 PL seasons) there is a 84% correlation between average league position and Penalties-For. On the contrary, while Arsenal averaged 3.5 in the league between 07/08 and 16/17, there is only a 40% correlation between Arsenal’s league position and the penalties it has been awarded, a more than 50% difference from that of all PL clubs. This is a disparity which in my opinion cannot be justified by glibly saying Gooners are “making excuses”, “picking on the refs”, etc. This is a significant chunk of  data spanning 11 years and covering 418 games. Something stinks and it is getting smellier.

Needless to say, the mainstream media and the major Arsenal bloggers, refuse to analyze and publicize the freely available data which reveals the PGMOL to be thoroughly biased and unfit for the purpose. By keeping quiet they are not merely in denial, they are very much aiding and abetting a corrupt, faulty system of officiating.

One wonders if the same PGMOL refs will be allowed to make the final penalty and offsides decisions when VAR is soon introduced into the PL.

Do football fans really believe that after making such a big show of using VAR in the recent Carabao Cup matches, the PGMOL and its allies in the football Establishment will meekly give up their power to influence games? If you do, then surely you have taken permanent residence in the State of Denial.

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171 comments on “Arsenal: Only a 40% Correlation between Penalties-For and Avg League Position

  1. Giroud the only member of our 25 man squad not in training today.


  2. Somehow I won’t be surprised when the bleeb and the rest including assorted hangers on and hungry vampires start laying into AFC for “being difficult for agents”, again, sometime soon.

    What a shower.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Ornstein
    ‏Verified account @bbcsport_david
    1h1 hour ago

    Mkhitaryan deal up to Raiola. If he agrees it happens, if doesn’t it won’t. No issue with #MUFC or player.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. a sad day for football when it can be said that its up to the agent if a deal goes ahead or not, and there not being a word of concern expressed about this being the case.

    I would have thought it was up to the player, once fee agreed between the clubs, but no, its up to his agent and his 10%, not what is good for the player, not what the player wants, no its all about the agents. I blame Arsenal and Wenger for all this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. According to Wenger yesterday Giroud was “A week away” eddy

    I presumed that meant he was injured rather than house hunting in Dortmund ?

    (very very shocked face)


  6. A significant number of players go where there agents tell them and when they tell them and it’s been that way for a while.

    Sporting Agencies have as much influence on the media memes in the UK as the broadcasters, and from their perspective it is integral to their work that they try to cultivate friendly ears in the gutter (press) – whereas managers like Clough, Guardiola, Wenger etc. take a different approach!


  7. Sterling and Ox are such examples…


  8. yeah anicol, when I said he was only member of the 25 man squad not training today, I meant due to injury, he and Cazorla only two seniors injured. Ozil trained but wore a knee strap. Monreal and Koscielny both back in training. AMN was there too after recovering from flu.
    Mavropanos, Nketiah, Nelson and Reine-Adelaide the youths that were included in senior training.
    Debuchy and Alexis both there too, despite much talk about them being set to leave.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. some reports that Ramsey and Welbeck did not take a full part in training today, just done light training, but both thought to be in contention for tomorrow’s game.


  10. Just watched the first interview with Kostas Mavropanos. His spoken Greek is articulate and eloquent. Not what you would expect from a footballer….but then I’m comparing him to the likes of Harry Kane and Robbie Savage..

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Don’t get this idea it’s up to Raiola.

    If Mkhitaryan has ceded total control to his agent, surely that is a decision that can be reversed at any moment, ergo he has the ultimate power if he chooses to exercise it.

    I’m sure they have contracts which are legally binding as to how much Raiola gets of his clients earnings or whatever, but i can’t understand anything beyond that, other than the player effectively being willing to let his agent handle everything, which seems weird for Mkhitaryan at this stage of his career.

    Do they literally step out of the room while the agents do their thing and then trust the story they get told by them? Again, if so, that’s weak bordering on pathetic.

    If he wants it, and the good money on offer to Raiola for doing basically fuck all isn’t enough then tell the man enough is enough (then try get his contract with him annulled for failing to do his job). Surely he can’t stop a transfer in those circumstances.


  12. Rich we hear plenty of comments from coaches and clubs complaining about clans haveing undue influence on players from “Africa”.

    However I believe, it is my opinion, that the agents who are closer to home who don’t get the same press, unless Big Sam accidentally mentions them over a glass of vino at the airport, they have slightly more influence then a village shaman (ok patriarch or matriach) thousands of miles away (Neymar Snr. qualifies as both shaman and agent!), over their charges…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Georgaki-pyrovolitis
    He just has that classic look to him ,like Antonio Valencia you could just see him in on of those sepia pictures anywhere from the 60’s back to the 30’s.

    Now you say he speaks perfect Greek, he must be an Adonis, a hero come to save our defence.
    Sorted thats his name till I get it told me and I practise it a bit to get it right.
    I am so bored of dumb footballers, unfortunately it seems the players with any intelect are none British in the main, Aaron Ramsey being a rare gem.

    So does he go by Kos,Kosta ,Kosta or Konstantinos ?

    I might add for clarification, having a degree does not mean you are smart, it just means you are good at exams and following course work.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. < Sterling's agent defintely had undue influence on the coaches at his youth team, much to disdain of the other parents. The youth team/club was turned into a cash cow for Team Sterling – who gives a **** about the other kids? Or the Football?

    We don't have to travel to Africa to see poor influences upon children and young people from within Football. I see Chelsea are back in the news!


  15. Mesut Ozil will speak at the Oxford Union next month. https://www.oxford-union.org/node/1638

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I swear if we sell Giroud now…I’m not sure my heart can take that one too.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. there are 12 days left of the transfer window, in that time we have 3 games, CP tomorrow, CFC in LC on Wednesday and Swansea the day before the window closes


  18. Arsenal U18’s are away to Liverpool u18’s tomorrow at Anfield in the FA Youth Cup.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’d rather we upgrade Welbeck than Giroud. But I don’t think anyone wants him.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Strange old month so far. Where will we be at the end of it?

    Everything crossed lads can get the win today. Think we need it or top 4 almost done for us.

    I’m still reluctant to believe Aubameyang will happen. We’ve seen it take a while to get there with Mkhitaryan when he’s a player Utd were happy to move on, so when its a club’s main attacker who presumably they are loathe to lose, it’s easy to imagine a deal being a tough ask. Fingers crossed again though.

    Sanchez out, those two in; that’d be exciting.

    Giroud out? Jeez, now that’s an exit that’d hit me pretty hard. I love the options he brings to table. Realistically, however, have to expect him to not fancy idea of being behind Lacazette and Aubameyang with his last shot at World Cup fast approaching.

    Also hoping u18’s can win in a big FA youth cup game at Anfield. They were undone in last year’s quest by a spot of atrocious…yep, refereeing, so it’d be nice if that can be avoided today and the best team wins.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. New post up


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