Arsenal’s opponents get given twice as many penalties as Man United’s visitors

Premier League Penalties – Do the big teams get all the decisions?

September 7th, 2018

One of the most common conceptions in football is that Manchester United get more than their fair share of refereeing decisions, especially when playing at Old Trafford. Here at OddsMonkey we decided to investigate whether this was true or not. It will come to no surprise to many of you that it is indeed true!

To coincide with the release of our new Penalty Prizes game, which gives you the chance to win one of many prizes including £1000 cash (play here!), we decided to look at the history of penalties in the Premier League.

Our researched focused on the teams that had been awarded more than 50 penalties or more in total in the Premier League and whether home advantage really did play a part in refereeing decisions.

As you can see from the table above Manchester United lead the way when it comes to penalty decisions at home indicating that referees do indeed lean in their favour at Old Trafford. Out of the 100 penalties awarded a staggering 79 of them have gone to the home team, so getting a penalty at Old Trafford is pretty rare for visiting teams. Arsenal were given about the same amount at The Emirates but there opponents were given twice as many as visitors to Old Trafford.

Liverpool fans have long argued that refs give United an edge and with only 68% of penalties at Anfield going to the home team they might have a point. While Liverpool have been awarded 78 penalties at home, just one behind Manchester United, referees aren’t quite as shy about giving them to the away team.

Chelsea follow very close behind United with only half a percent separating them, they do however lead the way on the total number of penalties won at home with 84.

Despite having spent several seasons outside of the top flight Manchester City have been awarded 73 penalties at home, that’s more than Arsenal and Spurs who have never been out of the Premier League. While on the subject of Spurs, they didn’t even make the top ten! Tottenham fans have long said that they don’t get the decisions like the other top teams and this suggests that may be the case. Tottenham have been awarded a paltry 59 penalties at home and only come in with only 61% for home advantage.

The table overall suggests that the big 4 teams do get the bulk of decisions from referees. Not only have they been awarded more penalties than anyone else but the advantage they have at home is far ahead of the rest of the league.

OddsMonkey spokesman Peter Watton commented: “We have been taking a keen interest in penalties, and we thought we would take a close look at the Premier League.

“The assumption has always been that Man United get the rub of the green when it comes to penalty decisions at Old Trafford, and well the research doesn’t lie. United do indeed the get the decisions, well ahead of other big names – such as bitter rivals Liverpool, whose Anfield crowd just doesn’t have the same impact.

“One really interesting fact was that Tottenham didn’t make the top-ten, they obviously do have some right to feel aggrieved but they will hope their new stadium will bring them a few more decisions from the referees.”


  1. gotanidea says:

    Nice article

    That’s why they made VAR. But it will also take some excitement out of a match, if not managed well

    The problem is the penalties are usually awarded because of the violation on a pacy and tricky winger, which Arsenal are lacking

  2. JUSTJOY says:

    why should Home guarantee favours and even to award penalties….? sounds fixing…


  3. barryglik says:

    So it works out that the
    best teams get more penalties
    because they are better
    than most of their opponents.
    Who knew?

    1. lcebox says:

      Exactly if you spend twice as much time in the other teams box then chances are you get more penos.

  4. Sue says:

    How can the Liverpool fans argue…. they get more than their fair share of penalties!! A few seasons back weren’t they awarded 3 penalties at Old Trafford of all places???!!!

  5. Maks says:

    If I remember correctly in the last season of rvp at Arsenal, or season before, Arsenal had awarded zero (0) penalties in the whole season and frakking ManUtd at least ten (10)… despite Wenger and our jerky Board I think that this fact and Fergie time (referees extending extra time as long as they dnt score), influenced our final results in the PL.

  6. Durand says:

    Not surprised by the results, who is? Maybe if we had better defenders, we’d commit less fouls. Maybe if we had a DM like Torreria starting he could intercept or disrupt their attack.

    I think if we would address defensive frailties, it would result in less penalties and fouls.

    Not like they would ever punish refs retroactively like players are punished.

    Refs could improve certainly, no argument; but the whining from all fans is exhausting.

    1. Durand says:

      All fans from all clubs I should have said. PL is physical league, probably most physical thus more fouls and penalties.

  7. Kenny Rolfe says:

    It’s not only penalties where Manchester United get advantages. They get well treated in every aspect of the game in this country. Referee decisions, help with fixtures, help from the FA, help from PGMOL, kind treatment from the media, and most of all help from Sky Television, and the reason is simple, they have more viewers than anybody else. Keep the viewers happy and they’ll come back for more. Between 1996 and 2005 we would have won at least 3 more Premiership titles than we did, we we’re that good.

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