I said last time that the Uefalona-Barca “always” play a man up thing was a little complicated. In PKs, however, it’s not complicated in the slightest. “Uefalona” is a complete myth. Barcelona don’t even really stand out in the raw number of PKs they’ve been granted, and once you start looking at how many PKs relative to minutes played…
There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years that Barcelona are favored by the refs. Sometimes it’s accompanied by talk of a vast conspiracy. Is it true?
Well… let’s look at the two decisions a ref can make that can change the course of the game the most: red cards and penalties. I’m not going to get into the validity of either, because that’s typically something that 1) people can’t agree on and 2) has already been analyzed to death. Numbers are a different story.
*Note: unless I specifically say otherwise, I have subtracted the total minutes a team played with a man down to the minutes they played with a man up.
It is true that in the last five years, Barcelona have played a man up more often by the numbers than anyone else, and by a pretty significant amount: Barcelona are at 158 minutes, well over second-placed Liverpool’s 100.
So, they do play a man up a lot more, right?
Well, not quite.