Often Partisan

Decisions, Decisions – Are Blues Penalised By Winning Too Few Penalties?

As I was walking out of St Andrews on Saturday, I heard over the PA that Southampton had come back from 2-1 down to beat Millwall 3-2 – which didn’t surprise me much. When I heard that the two goals were from the penalty spot and both penalties were, ahem, a bit soft – well, that didn’t surprise me either. After all, everyone knows Southampton have had a ton of dodgy penalties this season haven’t they? I thought this needed a bit of research.

I utilised these stats from statbunker – and assuming that they are 100 per cent accurate, it does seem that Southampton are getting the benefit of the decisions. With ten or so games left in the season, the Saints have already been awarded a stonking nine penalties this season – all of which have been scored. As I had thought, it is more penalties than any other team in the division.

Blues on the other hand, have only had four penalties awarded to them this season in the league (all of which have been scored). Whilst this seems a lot lower, we’re still equal seventh in the division for penalties awarded; no less than 10 teams have had fewer penalties than us. What also struck me is that Blues have only had one penalty at home – against Leicester – as opposed to Southampton, who have had six. Now, it might be a bit paranoid to think it, but I do think Blues have had a fair few stonewall penalties denied them this season – Derby being a recent example – and it does make me wonder if Blues are one of the few teams who don’t get “homer” referees.

I also think it’s interesting Blues have had penalties against Leicester home and away; the Foxes have given away nine penalties this season in this division, more than anyone else. Blues have given away just one in the league, which I think coupled with our excellent disciplinary record shows that we’re actually a fair team.

Why does this matter? Football is a game of fine lines, where decisions made on the spot can massively affect games and the table. For example, after seeing the replay of Zigic’s goal against Middlesbrough, I thought the lanky Serb was marginally offside. If that goal hadn’t been given, how would it have affected the game? Even more so, having seen the disallowed goal by the Boro left back again on replay, that decision looked more marginal than I had originally thought – if that had been allowed, the game could have well been massively changed as it would have been 1-1.

I’m a believer that you create your own luck in a lot of ways; the more that a team keeps trying to push forward and attack the more likely it is that something fortunate will happen for them. However, whilst I’ll confess it is a bit of paranoia I do wonder sometimes just how much Blues suffer for refs making decisions based on things like Nikola Zigic’s height – do we really not get the rub of the green that we should? Have Southampton really benefitted that much from having more than double the amount of penalties of seventeen of the clubs in this division? After all, Reading are equal fifth on that list and they’ve missed four out of five…

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27 Responses to “Decisions, Decisions – Are Blues Penalised By Winning Too Few Penalties?”

  • I’ve thought this for some time but I felt it was more evident when we were in the Premier League; last season especially. I can think of a number of occasions when we should have been awarded spot kicks that could easily have meant we stayed up. The full blooded two handed push at Wigan against Curtis Davies wth the game at 1-1 in the 88th minute is but one. They went up the other end and scored with a speculative shot to win the game. Another statistic worth exploring is; how many times have Blues hit the woodwork this season compared to other teams? I cannot remember a season like it for timber thumping but I may be wrong.

    • AuldBertie says:

      Then there was the Kevin Friend decision against Bolton when we were leading 2-1 at the Reebok against 10 men. Barry Ferguson had the nerve to be sandwiched (and clearly impeded) by two Bolton players as he jumped for a header on the edge of our 18 yard box. Friend inexplicably awarded the free kick to Bolton and up stepped old-boy Robble Blake to hit the equaliser. Those two decsions alone, had the awards been correct, would have preserved our premiership status.

  • AuldBertie says:

    Over the years I think we have faired very badly with refereeing decisions, especially at home. There have been some quite incredulous decisions given against us over the years by the likes of Rob Styles and Jeff Winter and maybe I’m paranoid but I think we suffer more than most. On saturday again about 90% of the decisions seemed to go against us with free kicks not being awarded to us for virtual replica incidents of those awarded to ‘Boro. The linesman at the Tilton end also gave some very strange decisions against us but I’ve just come to accept it now. Maybe it’s coincidental but it seems to stem back to when ref Roger Wiseman was attacked at the Blues v Stoke match (1992?). Had a fairly routine penalty been given to us in the 2001 league cup final we would have been celebrating a hat-trick of league cup wins last year. Even in the Arsenal match we were denied a penalty that should also have seen their keeper sent of in the early stages of the game.

  • HampshireSaint says:

    Soft penalties??? take a look at both incidents before passing judgement and before feeling hard done by!!

  • David says:

    Moan,moan,moan.. typical of blues fans who yjiml they have a divine right to het promotion. As for penalties you get the luck you deserve and the fact is Saints have scored the most goals in the division and have the best goal difference by a country mile.
    If you foul forwards or handle the ball in the area you can expect referees to do the inevitable and award penalties.When you have a player like Lambert in the side the odds are that somebody is going to foul him to prevent him scoring so it is little wonder Saints have had more penalties awarded to them.

    Get real people….

  • HampshireSaint says:

    Just to add I can think of 3 “stonewall” penalties that weren’t awarded in our favour!

    • NooBloo says:

      So can every fan of every club in the Championship but yes you are correct, they were penalties. That doesnt mean you deserved to win because by no means did you even deserve to get a point from the match

  • David says:

    Moan,moan,moan.. typical of blues fans who think they have a divine right to get promotion. As for penalties you get the luck you deserve and the fact is Saints have scored the most goals in the division and have the best goal difference by a country mile.
    If you foul forwards or handle the ball in the area you can expect referees to do the inevitable and award penalties.When you have a player like Lambert in the side the odds are that somebody is going to foul him to prevent him scoring so it is little wonder Saints have had more penalties awarded to them.

    Get real people….

  • Saint Clarke says:

    The two penalties against millwall where stonewall lambert would of scored had he not been tripped and the one for the winner was a blatant hand ball, looked more like he should of been on a basketball course he jumped up with his arm at full length infront of the ref. A draw would of been a fair result but saints won because of the worst intentional handball I’ve seen it’s more millwall have us the win then we earned the win. I think other teams need to stop finding excuses to why there behind Southampton an accept we have had a fantastic season won alot of games well and also managed to pull of wins when I can honestly say we
    Didn’t deserve too. I think these green tinted glasses are unfair on how well Southampton have done when you can win when you play awfully then you can’t say we don’t deserve to be where we are

  • Ed says:

    Both Southampton penalties were stonewall, as clear as you can get. What on earth Dunne was doing punching the ball 5 yards away from the ref I’ll never know.

    Southampton have had a lot of good appeals for penalties turned down this season too. In the Brighton match, where we received two dodgy penalties (by dodgy I mean they clearly weren’t pens) We had about 3 other shouts that were clear.

    I think a big difference between Saints and other sides, is that we are one of the only sides in the division that always attack, regardless of the score. We very rarely sit back intentionally.

    We also get balls into the box early, which in turn causes problems. Fox and Richardson, both our full backs, are in the top 5 assist makers int he champ.

    The lesser sides that don’t attack much, will obviously get less penalties.

  • SaintinMalta says:

    Yeah, of course, the main reason we’re top of the league is the number of penalties we’ve received!! Nothing to do with us having good players then (like having 2 of the best 3 as voted by championship managers), or scoring the most goals (like 4 against Brum – with no penalties). Do me a favour – we’re there on merit. Anyway, good luck to your team for the remainder of the season, despite losing 4-1 at St. Marys you gave a good account of yourself – the scoreline flattered us a bit, though we deseved to win. Fingers crossed for a few more pens eh!!!

    • matt says:

      Good side southampton no doubt about it! Mind you you haven’t had winning cups to worry about for a while like ourselves and pompey! Good luck next season in the premier league for your one season on match of the day!

    • Richard Mountford says:

      Err…check your facts SaintMartin, unless I’m mistaken wasn’t Ricky Lamert’s 1st against us at S Mary’s a rather soft penalty…???

  • Macc lad says:

    Don’t you Southampton lot have a forum of your own?

  • peewee says:

    done yourself no favours with this article, bloody obvious why such an attacking side like Southampton get penalties. THEY SPEND MORE TIME IN THE OPPOSITIONS PENALTY AREA.. Defenders are desperate. Just look at Saturdays game v Millwall, both penalties were stonewall, both were acts of sheer desperation on the part of defenders.
    Get the picture?

    • almajir says:

      Blackpool are one of the most attacking sides in the division. They’ve had two. Middlesbrough are very much an attacking unit. They’ve had two.

      It’s not just about a side being “more attacking”.

      • NooBloo says:

        Almajir I wouldnt try and defend your statements.

        They were both stonewall penalties.

        I was working at that match at the weekend but Millwall were the better side on the day but I hasten to add, we got a few decisions our way when we visited Millwall as well so we cant really complain.

  • Alan Watton says:

    Blues have been short of penalties for years. In the prem it was because we didn’t spend enough time in the opposition box. We have only had one against in the League cardiff? So we have been sucessful in keeping out the opposition from our territory.
    Since we had mike Dean at leeds all the refs have been relatively new boys. Frankly very poor new boys. bad as they have been they have been bad for both sides.
    If we want more pens we have to get our two wingers into the box more Townsend and burke a floored endlessly outside the box.
    If refs had the balls we would get a penalty at every corner as Zigic is assaulted every time he goes near the goal

  • andy says:

    The League Cup final against Liverpool back in 2001 was the one that haunted me, a stone wall penalty after a foul on AJ in extra time possibly cost us the trophy. I dont think Southampton have been favoured any more than any other team in terms of penalties. They obviously have been a real threat in the box to get that many. Birmingham at times, have not had the rub of the green in the six yard box with balls off the line and hitting the woodwork on many occasions. Its just the way it goes sometimes.

  • richrd31 says:

    I can see why Southampton fans are up in arms over this article. They were both clear penalties against Millwall. A cynical trip & a player punching the ball away.

  • skareggae72 says:

    Am i on the right page here,this is `often partisan isnt it?`

    Here is a suggestion over our lack of penalties at home this season.
    We all know that officials can be influenced by the croud,the fact that the first 5 or 6 rows of seats are empty doesnt help us,if we had people `jumping up and down`& shouting at the ref from only feet away im sure we might get a few more pens?.

    Lack of penalties over previous seasons can simply be put down to `mcleish-esque defensive football`.

  • Ian says:

    Oh dear Almajir, you do seem to have hit a Saintly nerve! Mmmmm..

    The pen situation is frustrating but that is part of the beauty of the game and why we spend so much time talking about something that only lasts 90 minutes.

    What really gets me is the lack of protection Zigic receives. Yet again on Saturady he was singled out by the Boro players and the referee. He gets pushed and pulled all over the place and it seems that the refs feel this is ok, is it because of his public persona? It’s obvious that defenders struggle to deal with him lawfully and therefore resort to other means but Zig gets naff all.

    It really made me laugh that when there was a handbags incident that was not seen by the officials involving THREE Boro players and Zigic it was the big man that was taken to one side and warned!

  • NooBloo says:

    They were both definate penalties but apparently Paul Merson stated on Sky that he didnt know how Millwall lost the match becaue Millwall wer by far the better side so it wasnt really an onslaught by Southampton that forced the penalties

  • Paulo says:

    I agree that Southampton are not the most ‘attacking’ team in the championship, yet they have all the points they need to feel safe for promotion! How? …thats up to the experts to analise and players to feel good about i guess.
    As for penalties ..well, I cant think of a team from the premiership down through the leagues, that hasn’t claimed 3 points on the back of a single penalty at some time. It’s not fair when it happens and it doesnt seem ‘earned’, but thats football ..and I suppose its why players in the top half of the premiership (naming no names ..Gareth Bale) who hit the deck when they are breathed on ..just to get a player a yellow card, then hopefully a red ..then he feels his job his done!
    I think its a shame that it seems a practised ‘skill’ to get a penalty, and only reflects the players character.

  • jo king says:

    Paulo good point about the red cards, I would also be interested in how many players had been sent off against southampton this season also. It does seem they do get quite a few pens and red carded players.

  • Harry says:

    This is a pet hate of mine, people moaning at referees. Football is a game of opinions, the referee is always right, you should learn to accept that we don’t get decisions as the ref I’d only human, I think we should focus on OUR weak points such as an out of form Mutch than criticising referees, people moaning at them stops the young kids starting!

    Come on guys, I thought us blues fans didn’t criticise referees…


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