What if referees were perfect? Or, more realistically, what if FIFA instituted the replay technology that so many fans want, especially when their teams gets robbed of crucial goals (and therefore, points)? The table would probably look a little different. This is what I like to call “throwing gas on a house fire.”
Freelance journalist Tim Long put in the work, taking over 250 hours to review 713 “significant” incidents from the 2010-11 Premier League season to determine how incorrect decisions affected the final league standings. In the end, Long identified over 200 calls were incorrect, and produced this table to reflect how things might have been:
Notable on this table is Arsenal’s runners-up place, and Blackpool’s survival – by a margin of four points.
Included in the 713 incidents reviewed were penalties, goal line incidents, offside goals, etc. In other words, Long reviewed calls that might have been aided by the use of technology.
Which is the point, of course. Long did the research as part of his radio documentary Beyond The Goal Line: Football’s Technology Debate. Since 713 divided by 380 (the total number of games in the league season) is less than two “significant” incidents per match, Long reasons the stoppage for review would be pretty minimal.
We can only imagine how Arsenal fans might have reacted to this table had the Gunners not pulled through to beat Udinese in their Champions League qualifier. As it is, maybe those extra Champions League games contributed (somehow) to Arsenal not being quite ready to take on Manchester United this weekend (8! 8!#$). If nothing else, now Arense Wenger has something to point to when he wants to claim Arsenal is doing better than anyone thinks…
“If it wasn’t for the horrible referees, we would have finished second! Nothing is wrong! Ignore our lack of spending and disastrous start to this season!”
Source: Sporting Intelligence