Which Premier League Referees Give Most Penalties & Bookings?
This weekend, eight teams will battle it out for a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and the hope is that after the four quarter-finals, the topic of post-match discussions is not about referees.
When Michael Oliver awarded Arsenal a penalty in Sunday's north London derby, it gave the Gunners the chance to complete a come-from-behind win at home to their neighbours Tottenham.
Alexandre Lacazette, who Oliver felt was fouled by Davinson Sanchez in attempting to get a shot off, stroked the ball past Hugo Lloris for the winner 25 minutes from time.
For Oliver, it was the 14th time this season that he has pointed to the penalty spot which leads the Premier League. Next on the list is Anthony Taylor with nine.
Oliver is regarded as one of the best referees in the league and will no doubt be assigned several key games in this summer's European Championships.
But the 36-year-old was criticised by Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho who felt the official got the decisive penalty decision wrong and thought the official should have reviewed the incident with VAR.
Since the start of the 2016/17 season, no referee – who has officiated in each season of the last five campaigns, has given more penalties in the Premier League than Oliver who has awarded 41 spot kicks – one more than Taylor.
Premier League Penalties Awarded Since The Start of The 2016/17 Season:
- 41 - Michael Oliver
- 40 - Anthony Taylor
- 37 - Mike Dean
- 28 - Jon Moss
- 24 - Craig Pawson
- 23 - Kevin Friend
- 20 - Martin Atkinson
- 20 - Stuart Attwell
- 18 - Andre Marriner
- 16 - Paul Tierney
- 15 - Graham Scott
- 15 - Lee Mason
- 15 - Chris Kavanagh
Mike Dean, often been described as a trigger-happy referee who is quick to point to the spot, is third on the list with 37.
However, the Wirral whistleblower awards a penalty more often than any other official and he leads the league by pointing to the spot once every 3.48 games.
Premier League Refs - Penalty Frequency:
- Dean - (one every 3.48 games)
- Taylor - (3.50)
- Oliver - (3.58)
- Attwell - (4.15)
- Moss - (4.60)
- Pawson - (4.66)
- Friend - (4.82)
- Scott - (4.93)
- Mason - (5.33)
- Kavanagh - (5.46)
- Tierney - (5.87)
- Marriner - (6.94)
- Atkinson - (6.95)
The last penalty Dean awarded was at Old Trafford on February 2 as Manchester United beat Southampton 9-0 when Dean also dismissed Saints pair Alexandre Jankewitz and Jan Bednarek.
Many feel Dean is due to give a penalty this weekend when he takes charge of Tottenham's trip to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.
Dean is just as quick at getting his red card out of his pocket as he is to award penalties and this season he leads the league with seven red cards in the 18 games he has been in charge of.
Since the start of 2016/17 season, Dean, who is the Premier League's longest serving referee, issues a red card every 4.4 games which is more frequent than any of his fellow officials.
Yellow Cards Per Game:
- 4.04 - Dean
- 3.71 - Pawson
- 3.67 - Attwell
- 3.60 - Moss
- 3.51 - Taylor
- 3.24 - Kavanagh
- 3.20 - Tierney
- 3.19 - Oliver
- 3.13 - Atkinson
- 3.12 - Friend
- 3.10 - Mason
- 2.84 - Marriner
- 2.58 - Scott
It may come as a surprise that Dean's first red card actually came in his 16th top flight match when he sent Newcastle's Nolberto Solano off in an incident that led to a penalty for Ipswich which was converted by Marcus Stewart in a 1-0 win for the Tractor Boys.
Dean also leads the league in the number of yellow cards issued with 4.04 per game since the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
Earlier this season, he issued his 3,000th yellow card in league and cup competitions since joining the top ranks in September 2000 and he is 52 yellow cards short of 2,000 in the top flight, but that milestone may have to wait until next season.
Betting on bookings is becoming one of the more popular markets within football and is certainly one worth considering if two sides with a history of ill-discipline go head-to-head.
The north London derby springs to mind. Erik Lamela's red card was the 14th in the 58 Premier League meetings between Spurs and Arsenal and the five yellow cards including the two issued to Lamela was above the average for the fixture.
Red Cards Ratio:
- Dean - one every 4.4 games
- Scott - (5.28)
- Pawson - (5.60)
- Oliver - (8.16)
- Atkinson - (8.68)
- Moss - (9.92)
- Taylor - (10.00)
- Friend - (10.09)
- Tierney - (10.44)
- Marriner - (11.36)
- Attwell - (11.85)
- Mason - (11.85)
- Kavanagh - (16.40)
Some referees are reluctant to book players in the hope that the game flows more freely.
Graham Scott, who has dropped down to the Championship to referee his last four matches, is one of the more lenient referees and through the 10 Premier League games he has been in charge of this season, he has issued just 26 yellow cards, although he has sent four players off.
Chris Kavanagh is one of six referees this season yet to produce a red card in the top flight which is in keeping with the way he takes control of games.
Since the start of the 2016/17 campaign, Kavanagh has refereed 82 Premier League games and he has produced just five red cards.
That works out at an average of one every 16.4 games. His next league game will be his 17th this season, but will it produce a red card?
In terms of awarding penalties, Martin Atkinson awards one every 6.95 games which is the best in the league and he has yet to point to the spot in a league game since doing so at the end of Aston Villa's trip to West Brom when Anwar El Ghazi scored from 12 yards to wrap up a 3-0 win for Dean Smith's side on December 20.
The performances of referees have come under even greater scrutiny ever since the introduction of VAR.
Designed to help referees, VAR is a voice in their ears telling them they may have missed something that could lead to a free-kick, penalty, yellow card or red card.
The sign of a good referee is one that isn't noticed, but unfortunately with so much attention on them these days, referees are dominating post-match conversations and that will likely continue this weekend with four Premier League fixtures taking place and FA Cup semi-finals spots up for grabs.
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