The Real Footie Analyst

Howard Webb’s track record for United v Chelsea games

The main at the helm for this Sunday’s title-deciding game is the same referee that blew the World Cup final game in South Africa last year. Yes, it’s Howard Webb. Love him or loathe him, the FA trust him. They have made a brave call to name him and must surely believe that he won’t ‘bottle’ it in this key game that may just decide the likely destination of the English Premier League trophy. I wish him all the best and hope he has a ‘good’ game and makes the right calls at the right times so us fans don’t have an apple to peel with him afterwards.

The info provided below is sourced entirely from the Telegraph website.

Howard Webb has officiated 20 games in total since 2008 involving Chelsea and Manchester United. Eight of those games have involved Chelsea, with United featuring in 13 (one of Webb’s games was between the two sides).

Here is the statistical breakdown of his performances in those games:
(‘Conceded (CON)’ refers to decisions going against the team to the left, ‘awarded’ (AWA) to decisions going against their opponents in each game)

TEAM WIN RATIO FOULS CON PENS
CON
YELLOWS CON REDS CON FOULS AWA PENALTIES AWA YELLOWS
AWA
REDS AWA
Chelsea 38% 116 0 21 0 109 1 13 0
Man Utd 77% 155 1 27 2 185 3 31 0

Superstition will be on United’s side, who boast a better win ratio when Webb is in charge of their games. As United have had Webb in charge of five more matches than their title rivals, to get a true picture it is more useful to look at the averages from each category. The following tables shows the instances of each event per game:

TEAM FOULS CON PENALTIES CON YELLOWS CON REDS CON FOULS AWA PENALTIES AWA YELLOWS AWA REDS AWA
Chelsea 14.5 0 2.6 0 13.6 0.1 1.6 0
Man Utd 11.9 0.1 2.1 0.2 14.2 0.2 1.4 0

Pleasingly for the Premier League, Webb has been pretty even-handed in his encounters with both teams. Conspiracy theories will point to Manchester United only being penalised for around 12 fouls in each game compared to Chelsea’s rate of closer to 15, but the statistics elsewhere are similar enough to demonstrate Webb’s lack of bias.

The one game Webb has officiated between the two teams, a 3-0 win for United at Old Trafford on 11 January 2009 went as follows:

TEAM FOULS PENALTIES YELLOWS REDS
Chelsea 17 0 5 0
Man Utd 14 0 3 0

There is little surprise, then, that the FA have turned to Webb’s apparent and statistical even handedness, with no obvious history of card-heavy refereeing when Webb is in charge of these teams, or evidence for unnatural bias either way.

Which is all pretty disappointing for lovers of photoshopped images of the former policeman – but good news for a fair fight between the two best teams in the land this weekend.

I thought I’d include the image of Howard Webb in a Manchester United jersey which is a picture posted by Ex-Liverpool winger Ryan Babel via Twitter , when he made a mockery of the ref’s decision to award a soft penalty in a 1-0 win for United at Old Trafford. You can read that post here if you missed it.

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