It’s harder to win a penalty at Craven Cottage than Old Trafford

Simon Rice
man united 300x225 Its harder to win a penalty at Craven Cottage than Old Trafford

Manchester United in Premier League action against Fulham

There is no doubt that Fulham should have been awarded a penalty against Manchester United last night, but when Michael Carrick tipped Danny Murphy inside the box, the referee was having none of it.

After the match, Alex Ferguson conceded his side, who won the match 1-0, had been lucky.

“Yes, I think Michael has caught his [Murphy's] heel,” Ferguson said. “It wasn’t a stone-waller, but it could have been a penalty. Certainly it was a claim, there’s no question about that.

The decision by referee Michael Oliver to wave away the penalty claims was made in the 88th minute. Had it been given, the match would likely have ended 1-1, and had a huge impact on the title race.

His opposite number, Martin Jol was in no doubt the Cottagers deserved a spot-kick.

“No-one in the stadium could say Danny Murphy dived and everyone in the stadium expected a penalty,” he said.

“It needed a brave decision because it was either a dive and he should book someone or he has to give Carrick a red card.”

The Fulham manager, who was once offered the chance to become Ferguson’s assistant at Old Trafford, hinted at a wider pattern at play.

“The discussion of whether it would have been given at the other end has been going on for years and it will go on for years to come,” he said.

There is an assumption that when visiting Old Trafford, penalties are hard to come by. Referees are not simply making a decision; in front of a crowd of 75,000 people, among them Sir Alex Ferguson and against the best team in the land, they must make a ‘brave decision’.

But the statistics tell a different story.

Since August 2006 to now, Manchester United have conceded 9 penalties at home. That spans 110 games, meaning they have conceded 0.08 penalties per home game.

Ironically, Fulham have conceded 8 over the same time period and number of games, a record of 0.07 penalties per game. So despite claims that it is tougher to win a penalty at Old Trafford than other grounds, analysis shows it is actually harder to win a penalty at Craven Cottage.

Blackburn’s Ewood Park is the most likely current Premier League ground on which visiting teams will see the referee point to the spot. They’ve conceded 18 over 110 games – 0.16 per game.

The most ‘difficult’ place to be awarded a penalty is at Stamford Bridge. Of the existing Premier League teams, Chelsea have conceded the fewest since August 2006, just 6 at a rate of 0.05 per game. Aston Villa have also conceded six, but over the time period have played one less home game.

Manchester United got lucky last night, but the suggestion there is more to it than that is just wrong.

Penalties conceded at home by existing Premier League teams since August 2006 (teams must have played over 50 games during that time)

Team / Penalties conceded / Games / Penalties per game

Blackburn Rovers     18     110     0.16
Wolverhampton Wanderers     8     53     0.15
Wigan Athletic     16     110     0.15
West Bromwich Albion     7     53     0.13
Sunderland     11     91     0.12
Arsenal     11     110     0.1
Newcastle United     9     91     0.1
Manchester City     10     110     0.09
Stoke City     6     72     0.08
Manchester United     9     110     0.08
Everton     8     110     0.07
Bolton Wanderers     8     110     0.07
Tottenham Hotspur     8     110     0.07
Fulham     8     110     0.07
Liverpool     7     110     0.06
Aston Villa     6     109     0.06
Chelsea     6     110     0.05

Follow Simon Rice on Twitter @simonrice

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  • manctofu

    So you don’t watch every minute of every United match? You do what most people do – ignore controversial incidents in matches up and down the country every weekend and concentrate on the media-created frenzy thats 99% of the time focused on Man. United. Blackburn were denied a clear pen at Bolton at the weekend, as were Stoke, when Gareth Barry nearly took that bloke’s ankle off. Where are the articles about them? The outraged comments about favouritsm? City got a point at Stoke that may well win them the title. Are you outraged about that, too?

    Try and think abut it a bit – do you honestly think United are never on the end of wrong decisions? Ask any United fan and they can list countless penalties we’ve not had in recent years – just because you don’t see them because you’re not at the match does not mean they don’t take place. But your attitude is typical of the complete absence of rational thinking people display where United are concerned. There’s no logic behind it, you’re just being led down the merry path by a media frenzy. Try and think for yourself for a change.

  • Big_Phill

    Did I say nothing ever goes against Manchester United? No

    Did I say nothing ever goes for other teams? No

    Try reading what I actually wrote and responding to it rather than ranting off about what you think I wrote.

    And I don’t base my opinions on what the media says as they have their heads further up United’s a*** than the FA. I base it on what I have seen with my own two eyes. 
    I fully admit I don’t have the whole picture, that’s why I would like to see the stats I outlined above that would either PROVE OR DISPROVE MY HYPOTHESIS!!!

  • Big_Phill

    They aren’t evidence based facts, they are statistics. Statistics don’t conclusively prove anything, they just help paint a picture.

    Incidentally, are you not curious as to why the statistics only date back to 2006 when the Premier League started in 1992?

  • manctofu

    If the media are up United’s backsides, why are there no outraged articles about Gareth Barry on Saturday? Why is it ALWAYS the case that any penalty not given to a team against United is immediately latched onto by dunderheaded morons as evidence of some sort of far-reaching conspiracy? It’s absolutely pathetic. So you’re ‘willing to bet’ United get more decisions than everyone else and more injury time to score in. What’s that based on, exactly? I mean, since you freely admit to having no evidence at all, you must have some basis for that bet? What is that basis? I’ll tell you – it’s nothing more than the usual, tedious national outrage that surrounds anything to do with United every time a decision goes in our favour. No-one cares when Aston Villa get a let-off, or Bolton or Man city. There’s been virtually no mention at all of them since Saturday. It’s just not news. But United get a let-off and all hell breaks loose.

    Since you’re looking for evidence, here’s a couple of facts for you – before the 3-3 with Chelsea last month, the last time United were given a penalty away at any of Chelsea,
    Arsenal or Liverpool was April 1999. That’s 13 YEARS.  And despite Martin Jol trotting out the usual manager’s rubbish about penalties not being given at OT, only West Brom have conceded more at home this season. Funny way of favouring us, isn’t it?

    Let me know if you still fancy that bet.

  • storey_moore

    why Phil, what happened before 2006, do you think united got all the decisions then, but the reporter, being scared of fergie, didnt mention it? i suppose you believe in fergie time too, despite evidence to the contrary that refs favour united by giving them more injury time to score. Only when united score in injury time, is ‘fergie time’ ever mentioned

  • Big_Phill

    Having done a bit of digging I have found this relating to 1998 to 2008 (So only 2 years of the period the above stats cover):

    Penalties awarded against teams in the Premiership, since the start of the 98/99 season. Premiership games only:1. Manchester United: 18 (8 home, 10 away) % at home: 44,42. Arsenal: 23 (8 home, 15 away) home %: 34,8 3. Chelsea: 29 (8 home, 21 away) home %: 27,64. Liverpool: 32 (11 home, 21 away) home %: 34,45. Middlesbrough: 37 (16 home, 21 away) home %: 43,26. Everton: 39 (16 home, 23 away) home %: 417. Newcastle: 44 (15 home, 29 away) home %: 34,18. Tottenham: 48 (18 home, 30 away) home %: 37,59. Aston Villa: 49 (16 home, 33 away) home %: 32,7The rest, those who have not been in the league throughout the period:West Ham: 26 (13 home, 13 away) home %: 50Fulham: 41 (20 home, 21 away) home %: 48,8Blackburn: 34 (15 home, 19 away) home %: 44,1Wigan: 14 (6 home, 8 away) home %: 42,9Manchester City: 26 (11 home, 15 away) home %: 42,3Derby: 17 (7 home, 10 away) home %: 41,2Reading: 11 (4 home, 7 away) home %: 36,4Bolton: 28 (10 home, 18 away) home %: 35,7Portsmouth: 25 (8 home, 17 away) home %: 32Birmingham: 37 (11 home, 26 away) home %: 29Sunderland: 24 (6 home, 18 away) home %: 25 

    So as you can see, Manchester United conceded less than everyone in that period and Villa (who have only conceded 6 at home since 2006) conceded the most during this time. However the stats don’t support the theory of “Not getting a penalty at OT” as the significant difference between United and everyone else is the number conceded away from home.

    In regards to data manipulation, it’s not uncommon for someone to pick an arbitrary starting point to paint an inaccurate picture. Sky Sports News are always saying crap like:

    “Have only won one of their last five games” when the picture is something like WWDDWDDL if they want to paint a negative picture or “Have only lost one of their last 8 games” if they want to make the same thing sound a bit more positive.

    As for “Fergie time” I notice it a lot irrespective of whether United score or not. I would like to see the stats in the way I outline in my own thread to see whether I’m right or if it’s just that I notice it more with United.

  • storey_moore

    ince 2001 united had 56 penalties, Liverpool have had 56 penalties, arsenal 55 and Chelsea 57. pretty even for the top clubs…from what i remember, when the fergie time’ reference came into being was when united scored in injury time against man city in the 4th minute of added time)after 3 were awarded. one of the papers did research and for that season united were about 4th on the list of ‘most injury time added on’ for that season (or before), as i pointed out earlier, this was because the other teams above them were top 4 clubs, and more often that not, the smaller teams try to waste time ‘hanging on’ in the later stages of the match..
    same reason why more dominant teams give away fewer penalties..the opposition gets less time in their penalty area, and the top teams have better defenders who are generally less likely to give away penalties..the only reason united decisions get highlighted more is that they sell more papers and make more press stories. who else but united get a whole morning of talksport dedicated to them ‘has a referee give united the league’ was the phone in after the fulham game . City have 2 big decisions go there way in the last 2 games and it doesnt get a mention.peoples perceptions of bias are media lead and allegiance dictated. United are no different than any other team, get some soft ones, denied some stone wallers

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