Why referees matter
Do you pay attention when a referee is assigned to your club's upcoming game? If not, you should from now on - thanks to data from Team vs Ref, we can reveal that Premier League teams stand a 75% better chance of winning a match when their 'lucky' referee is in charge.
Analysing more than five seasons of data stretching back to 2012/13, this slideshow identifies which whistle-blower brings most success to each top-flight outfit (barring Huddersfield and Brighton due to lack of Premier League appearances) by calculating the club's win rate with their favoured referee.
18. Newcastle: Martin Atkinson
Win rate: 0.43 (out of 1)
Increased chances of winning: 44%
Newcastle's 'luckiest' official is Atkinson, but their referee win rate of 0.43 is lower than the other Premier League teams covered here.
Still, seven successes in 16 Atkinson-led matches isn't to be sniffed at, particularly as the Magpies' usual win rate is just 0.3.
17. Burnley: Martin Atkinson
Win rate: 0.44
Increased chances of winning: 68%
Atkinson has been kind to Burnley down the years, with the Clarets' chances of winning increasing by 68% when the Bradford-born official is assigned to their matches. A referee win rate of 0.44 might not sound particularly high, but it's significant when you consider that Burnley's normal rate since 2012/13 is just 0.29.
16. Crystal Palace: Lee Mason
Win rate: 0.5
Increased chances of winning: 64%
Mason has been the man in the middle for eight of Palace's Premier League matches since 2012/13, with the Eagles getting the better of their opponents on four occasions. That represents a 64% increased chance of winning for the south Londoners, whose normal win rate across all referees is 0.3.
15. West Brom: Martin Atkinson
Win rate: 0.56
Increased chances of winning: 113%
West Brom replaced Tony Pulis with Alan Pardew in November, but perhaps they wouldn't have had to sack the Welshman if Atkinson had been in charge of their matches more often.
The Yorkshireman certainly seems like a lucky charm, with the Baggies' chances of winning rising by a mammoth 113% under him.
14. Bournemouth: Bobby Madley
Win rate: 0.57
Increased chances of winning: 91%
Bournemouth have a Premier League win rate of 0.3 since 2012/13 (although they were only promoted to the top tier in 2014/15), but that figure jumps to 0.57 when Madley is involved. Of seven matches managed by the Wakefield-born official, the Cherries have triumphed in four.
13. Watford: Andre Marriner
Win rate: 0.6
Increased chances of winning: 90%
Followers of Watford should keep an eye out for Marriner's assignments from now on; if he's appointed to referee a Hornets game, there's a good chance of victory.
Since the start of 2012/13, the Hertfordshire club have a general win rate of 0.32, but that almost doubles to 0.6 when Marriner's the man in the middle.
12. West Ham: Bobby Madley
Win rate: 0.63
Increased chances of winning: 86%
There's no referee on the circuit under whom West Ham have more chances of winning, with the club's win rate rising from 0.33 to 0.63 when Madley is placed in charge.
The Hammers' 'lucky' record under the 32-year-old would have been even better had they held on to a two-goal lead against Crystal Palace back in October.
11. Stoke: Mike Jones
Win rate: 0.7
Increased chances of winning: 122%
Stoke supporters might not be aware of how influential Jones is to their side, but the fact their chances of winning rise by a staggering 122% when the 49-year-old is selected to run their games means Potters fans should always rejoice when they spot Jones leading the teams out.
10. Southampton: Martin Atkinson
Win rate: 0.7
Increased chances of winning: 80%
Atkinson has popped up a few times in this list, but it's Southampton who have benefitted most from the 46-year-old. Indeed, Saints' chances of winning climb by a massive 80% when Atkinson is in charge, rising from a win rate of 0.39 to 0.7.
9. Liverpool: Mike Jones
Win rate: 0.71
Increased chances of winning: 44%
Jones will be celebrating 10 years as a Premier League referee in 2018, and Liverpool will be hoping he's involved in the top flight for a lot longer yet.
That's because the Reds tend to fare well under the Yorkshireman: in the last five and a bit seasons, they've won five of seven games managed by Jones, lifting their win rate from 0.49 to 0.71.
8. Everton: Lee Mason
Win rate: 0.71
Increased chances of winning: 83%
Portsmouth-born Mason has refereed 14 Everton encounters since the beginning of the 2012/13 campaign, with the Toffees registering 10 wins in those fixtures.
It's a sizeable leap when Mason is the man with the whistle: Everton's win rate without him is 0.39, which rises to 0.71 on the 46-year-old's watch.
7. Leicester: Anthony Taylor
Win rate: 0.73
Increased chances of winning: 102%
One of Taylor's most recent assignments was Leicester vs Tottenham, which ended in a 2-1 home victory for the Foxes. That shouldn't really have come as a surprise: after all, the East Midlanders have a 102% increased chance of winning under Taylor, who's overseen 11 Leicester games in the period covered.
6. Swansea: Craig Pawson
Win rate: 0.75
Increased chances of winning: 127%
As Paul Clement ponders solutions to Swansea's poor form, he'll be hoping Pawson is selected to boss one of his team's games soon. The Swans' chances of winning rise by a mammoth 127% under the 38-year-old, who's presided over six victories for the Welsh club in his eight matches in charge.
5. Tottenham: Neil Swarbrick
Win rate: 0.8
Increased chances of winning: 56%
Tottenham are stuck in a rut at present, but things could change if Swarbrick is handed a few of their matches over the festive period. Spurs have fared well in their 10 games refereed by the 51-year-old in the last five and a bit seasons, winning eight to increase their chances of victory by 56%.
4. Manchester United: Jon Moss
Win rate: 0.83
Increased chances of winning: 38%
Manchester United fans may have felt hard done by when Paul Pogba was sent off in their 3-1 victory over Arsenal, but perhaps the decision would have been different had Moss been in charge instead of Andre Marriner.
The Sunderland-born official has 18 United games under his belt since the start of 2012/13, with the Red Devils emerging victorious in 15 of them.
3. Arsenal: Jon Moss
Win rate: 0.87
Increased chances of winning: 46%
Arsenal may rank third in this list in terms of win rate, but there's an argument that the correlation between Gunners victories and Moss being their 'luckiest' referee is the strongest of all Premier League outfits.
Indeed, the 47-year-old has been involved in 15 Arsenal games since 2012/13 - a bigger sample size than most - with their usual win rate of 0.59 jumping to 0.87 in those Moss-managed matches.
2. Manchester City: Neil Swarbrick
Win rate: 0.89
Increased chances of winning: 41%
Pep Guardiola's side don't exactly need any help this season, but they'll still be pleased whenever Swarbrick is appointed as the match official for their games. City have triumphed in eight of the nine encounters the Lancastrian has worked on in the last five years, boosting their win rate to 0.89 when Swarbrick is the man calling the shots.
1. Chelsea: Roger East
Win rate: 1
Increased chances of winning: 60%
Chelsea fans can stick their feet up whenever they know East is the man in the middle for their Premier League matches. In over five seasons the Blues have a 100% record when the 52-year-old is in charge, lifting their usual win rate of 0.62 to 1.
The record perhaps isn't quite as impressive as it seems at first sight, though. East has only refereed five Chelsea games in the period covered, which is substantially fewer than most of the other examples cited here. But still, Conte can be content when he sees the gleaming-pated East in charge.