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Our last point here is one that applies to every team across every sport—including Manchester United—and it's that they get good calls playing at home.
Every team experiences it and every teams knows it's there; Manchester United just seem to experience it more often than some teams in the league.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce made the following comments during the week in explaining why a penalty went against them and not against United.
Per ITV (h/t Eurosport):
There's no doubt about the difference between Rafael's handball and Jordan Spence's, [only that] Spence plays for West Ham and the away team, while Rafael plays for the home side at Old Trafford.
With Rafael, the ball hits his hand but no penalty is given. With Jordan Spence, the ball hits his hand and it's a penalty.
You see it time and time again at Old Trafford.
And at one level, there can be no denying that Manchester United receive good calls at Old Trafford, for home ground advantage is inherent in every team around the world.
In a ground-breaking study conducted by Tobias Moskowitz and Jon Wertheim in their book Scorecasting, they came to the following conclusions about home field advantage. Having covered 19 sports across 40 countries and over 100,000 world football games, they said:
- The home field advantage in soccer worldwide is around 62 percent.
- 90 percent of soccer teams fare better at home than on the road.
- Home teams receive fewer red and yellow cards, even after controlling for the number of penalties or fouls on both teams.
- Referees subconsciously favor the home team in close calls more than they will subconsciously favor the away team.
- The larger the crowd at the game, the more likely a subconscious decision is to be made in favor of the home team.
- Soccer has the greatest home field advantage out of any major sport in the world; perhaps because a single penalty is more likely to influence the outcome of a game than a single free throw or interference call.
- Home team success rate hasn't changed in over a century.
Suffice to say, when Manchester United are thought to have a significant home ground advantage, don't be at all surprised, because they do.
However, it must also be noted that their home ground advantage is seemingly no more apparent than any other team in the Premier League.
Even still, it has to be considered a factor in understanding why United receive referee favoritism. And when you combine all of the reasons mentioned before as well, it paints a very clear picture to suggest that Manchester United are in fact looked upon favorably by the officials.
Do Manchester Untied get favored by referees?
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