Tuesday 13 December 2011

The Continued Stoke/Tottenham Fallout or why Spurs are still in "Sir" Chris Foy's Debt.

Hopefully the irony of lambasting the wrong person for the alleged mistakes of another isn't lost on the Spurs fans who bombarded Sir Chris Hoy's twitter account with complaints about the refereeing performance of his near name sake,Chris Foy.So mistakes everyone.

None of these cyclists is a Premiership referee.
Mistakes or judgement calls that don't tally with someone else's judgement of the incident are always going to happen in football and as I've written previously,luck isn't guaranteed to even itself out over relatively short periods of time.Teams are always going to find themselves in credit or debit to every referee's interpretation of events compared to the consensus "correct" interpretation.Chris Foy has controlled two Stoke/Tottenham games in the EPL,both at the Britannia and both have contained controversial events that have had a major bearing on the game's outcome.

By using my Expected Points model it's a simple matter to calculate the average expected points values for each team prior to each contentious decision and then see by how much those values would have changed had the "correct" call been made.I've already made the calculations for Sunday's game here,so I'll simply tabulate the results.It's probably necessary to point out that Spurs can only have credit for one of the admittedly many poor shouts on Sunday,because as every Dr Who fan knows if you change one significant event,you change the whole timeline.As a consolation though each aggrieved side has been given the alternative future that is most beneficial to them in the final reckoning.

The Costs and Benefits to Spurs and Stoke respectively of Chris Foy's Decisions on Sunday.

Incident. Cost to
Spurs in Average Expected Points.
Benefit to
Stoke in Average Expected Points.
Etherington's Goal.
0.75 0.78
Kaboul's Penalty Appeal.
0.72 0.86
Shawcross Penalty Claim.
1.14 1.37
Adebayor Goal.
0.98 1.29

As we can see the potential Shawcross red card and penalty decision is the biggest game changer for both teams.If the decision had been made it would have cost Stoke an average of 1.37 points and gained Spurs 1.14 expected points.

Chris Foy's only other Stoke/Spurs game came on Stoke's first home game of the 2010/11 season and was sandwiched in the middle of Stoke's run of three straight opening defeats.The game's pivotal incident came just over six minutes from time and is described,with admirable restraint on the BBC website as "Jonathan Walters takes a shot. Blocked by Peter Crouch." In reality Walters' shot crossed the line,was then blocked by Crouch's arm before being cleared.So it was,allowing for the massive confusion surrounding the incident,either a goal or if we allow the officials to err on whether the ball crossed the line,a red card and a penalty.The decision was play on.

How the Stoke Spurs Game would have stood had Chris Foy Allowed Walters' 87' Goal,Aug 2010.

This time it's Spurs who are on the right side of a controversial call so again we can tally up the potential expected points swing.

The Costs and Benefits to Stoke and Spurs respectively of Chris Foy's Decisions on Aug 21st 2010.

Incident. Cost to
Stoke in Average Expected Points.
Benefit to
Spurs in Average Expected Points.
Walters' Goal.
0.95 1.64
Penalty and Red Card Not Awarded Against Crouch. 0.69 1.41

This time Spurs benefit to the tune of 1.64 expected points by Mr Foy decision not to allow the Stoke goal,the worst of the two potential decisions from their viewpoint.Walters' goal standing is the best decision for Stoke and so by incorrectly disallowing the goal Mr Foy cost the Potters 0.95 of an expected point.

If we now go to the final ledger,we see that Spurs are a net 0.5 expected points ahead after we account for a penalty and red card decision that wasn't given on a Sunday night in December 2011 and a disallowed goal in their favour on a Saturday afternoon in August 2010.And Stoke are 0.42 expected points better off because of a Walters goal that was wrongly chalked off and a Shawcross intervention that was leniently dealt with.So ironically both teams in all likelihood have more points than they would have had the calls been correctly made,although Spurs' are now dead and in the record books for last season.The post is not meant to be critical of  Mr Foy as a referee,as this post indicates his record is very similar to those of his fellow officials,he's simply been unlucky in his short term decision making.Everyone makes mistakes,this is the third fifth re draft of this post :-),writing the screenplay to "Back to the Future" must have been a nightmare..

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