Arsenal fans were left wondering just what they have to do to get a fair rub of the green after officials against Aston Villa once again seemed to shaft them so who are Arsenal’s best and worst referee and officials this season?
Let’s be clear, Arsenal are playing like rubbish at the minute. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t also be getting the rough end of the stick from referees.
Against Aston Villa, there was a clear penalty when Emi Martinez hauled Alexandre Lacazette to the ground and the referee, Chris Kavanagh, gave Villa a free kick. Martinez even admitted – publicly – that he had fouled Lacazette by trying to say the Frenchman fouled him first.
Then, there was the small matter of Bukayo Saka being taken out as he raced through, clear on goal.
We’ve been tracking referee stats this season and building up a database so we can see at a glance what sort of record these officials have in Arsenal games this season and the picture is quite clear.
Like last season, distribution is once again poor with officials given a chance to build up biases by being frequently put in charge of the same teams.
PGMOL will tell you their refs don’t form biases but, unlike what PGMOL would like to believe about themselves and their members, they’re human. They form biases, whether they realise it or not.
The best ones will, which is why there aren’t very many of those. It requires some ability for self-reflection.
Two officials have been involved with seven Arsenal Premier League games this season, but they return a very different record.
Arsenal’s best and worst referee and officials
Arsenal’s worst official – David Coote
David Coote has been referee once, fourth official twice and VAR four times. Arsenal have lost five of those games, winning only the one in which he had to make his decisions publicly as referee and one when he was VAR (Fulham on the opening day).
When we lost to Villa, Coote was in charge of VAR. Both times.
It was Coote who told Kavanagh there was nothing in the penalty nor the red card challenge on Saka this weekend.
Arsenal’s best official – Stephen Child
Stephen Child has also been involved in seven, all as assistant VAR, and Arsenal have won four of those games, making him our luckiest official.
The unluckiest seems to be Constantine Hatzidakas, another who was involved against Villa at the weekend. He’s run the line in four games this season and Arsenal have lost all four.
No other official has a zero win percentage while also being involved in more than three games.
Richard West and Andy Halliday have both been involved in three Arsenal games and we’ve failed to win any of those as well.
In terms of match involvements, Craig Pawson is next on the list with six. We’ve lost four of those, including midweek against Wolves when he sent off David Luiz for running and Bernd Leno for having a brainfart.
David Coote was fourth official.