Here is an article about referees by Rosscoe. I think I have not been paying as much attention to this aspect as I could, but here is something to think about (and use against me? Hmmmm...)
Coach's Corner - Referees
Coach111s Corner is an article composed by a 111subject matter xpert111 with the idea of helping all of us get better and to understand the facets of the game in a much clearer way. In this edition, Rosscoe will be taking us through referees, and it is a long one so I'd recommend grabbing a drink now!
So, the honour (or burden!) has fallen on me to tackle the issue of referees for this issue of Coach's Corner. It is an area of the game which I didn't spend a lot of time considering when I was a new manager, but the man in the middle can actually have a noticeable impact on the outcome of games.
Before we look at each referee individually, let's start with some basics.
The "S" Value
S stands for Skill. The higher the value, the more likely the referee is to make the correct decision. Fair enough. But what decisions will have a bearing on the game's outcome?
* Offside decisions
* Whether a foul has been committed
* Whether a player is cheating or diving
* Whether a goal should be disallowed or not (effectively in conjunction with the other 3 factors, and it should be noted that
disallowed goals do not actually affect the outcome of matches 111 they are thrown in as "extras")
Presumably there are other factors which don't have any real bearing on a match simulation, such as awarding throw-ins the right way, allowing advantage to be played at the right time and so on.
The "H" Value
H stands for Hardness. Essentially this affects how the referee administers discipline. He or she is more likely to hand out red and yellow cards the higher this value is. It is also likely that the value reflects how likely a referee is to blow his or her whistle. A hard referee has a lower threshold on what is considered a foul (though this will also be affected by the "S" value) and awards free kicks and penalties more often.
So which of our tactical choices should be affected by who is officiating a match?
111 Aggression level.
111 Whether to Cheat
111 Whether to use offside traps
111 To a lesser extent, offensive & defensive strategies (in conjunction with offside traps 111 predominantly whether or not to use through plays, since this will affect how often the referee will be called upon to make offside decisions)
Analyzing the Referees
When looking at individual referees, these first 3 points above will be considered each time. However, to save us some time we can probably group the referees into 5 different categories, as most respected managers will be in agreement in the approaches for the four main categories.
1) The Enforcers: High S and High H (Tony Nolan, Al Reddy, Dick Tator)
These guys do everything by the book and will usually make the right decision, but will come down on you like a ton of bricks for any infringement.
Aggression: Careful is the most sensible option, as you will not incur so many cards or free kicks. Normal can be worth a gamble in order to get that performance boost, but don't cry if it doesn't work out. Bruise is pretty much asking for a red card, which is likely to completely undo any performance boost you get. Also, how much can your performance really be boosted if you keep giving possession away due to cheap fouls?
Cheat: Don't do it. Your attempts to gain advantage will not only be spotted, they will be heavily penalised.
Offsides: You must use offside traps with these referees. Not only will they make the right decision most of the time, they are more likely to err on the defensive side if there is any doubt (being whistle-happy).
2) The Grandparents: High S and Low H (Wanda Rinn, Michael Steen)
So-called because they know the difference between right and wrong, so they will award penalties and free kicks if a genuine offence has been committed, and spot cheats, but will tend to let you go with just a telling off when you transgress, because they're quite nice really.
Aggression: Certainly there is no need to resort to Careful with these refs, unless your primary aim is to avoid injuries. Normal aggression will carry a fairly standard set piece risk, which will increase further if you bruise, but risk of red and yellow cards remains low, no matter how aggressive you are. Feel free to bruise if you can absorb the increased injury risk, and the increased risk of conceding a penalty. Otherwise, go normal.
Cheat: You are unlikely to gain much by cheating, as you are likely to be spotted. But at the same time you will not risk much by trying. Use your own discretion.
Offsides: The high S value suggests that offside traps are a good idea. However, the risk is increased compared to Category 1 refs, as they are less whistle-happy, and so are less likely to blow on borderline decisions, and low H value refs are less likely to disallow goals. Overall, using traps seems worth the risk.
3) The Wildcards: Low S and High H (George Buske, Constance Paine, Manuel Ficuz, Stellan Offsajed, Seymour Red)
These referees can be awkward to deal with, as they are capable of getting things very wrong. And if they think you have transgressed, you can get the harshest penalty.
Aggression: One thing is clear, you will get cards no matter what. But playing careful will reduce your risk. It will also reduce your exposure if your opponent decides to cheat. Increasing your aggression level will significantly increase your risk of having a man sent off and of conceding a penalty.
Cheat: These refs are perfect for cheating with. You will usually get away with it, and can often get an opponent booked or even sent off, or win a penalty in the process.
Offsides: The popular school of thought is to avoid offside traps at all costs with these refs. But occasionally a gamble could pay off. The combination of S and H values means that offside decisions could be wildly unpredictable, so on occasions you could see some of your opponents' genuine breakaways being pulled up wrongly for offside. But this is hard to measure, and is definitely a risky strategy.
4) The Big Softies: Low S and Low H (Luke Bribe, Hugh Cango, Charlie Fender)
Carte blanche to do what you like with these refs. They will not whistle much, and will not hand out many cards even when they do. They will award penalties from time to time though.
Aggression: Bruise if you want the maximum possible performance. These guys hardly ever dish out cards.
Cheat: Cheating will help you defensively (shirt-pulling etc), and may earn you a few more free kicks. But on the whole, the ref is likely just to let the game play out without intervening, so there may not be much to be gained.
Offsides: Not on your nelly. I have never been beaten by a team using traps with a Big Softy in charge.
5) All the rest!
While it is reasonable to come up with fixed approaches for all the referees in the above categories, the same cannot be said for the rest of the bunch. This category basically includes any referee with either of their values in the range 4-6. This mid-range means that choices are not clear-cut, and it may be worth delving into observed stats to see what can be learned. So let's take the remaining refs individually111
Al Beback (S6 H 3)
Aggression: Normal aggression will bring you a lower than average risk of yellow cards (about half the typical amount), and an average penalty risk. Careful is an ultra-safe option and need not be used under normal circumstances. Bruising is risky. I have only observed 2 occasions of bruising with Beback, and those two games resulted in 1 red card and 1 penalty conceded. Although he is not particularly hard, he is sufficiently skilled to determine that some offences deserve to be punished, and is not afraid to award penalties.
Cheat: I have only cheated with Beback on 2 occasions, so the results are not sufficient for analysis. However, my opponents have used this option on around 40% of occasions. The results are a little confusing. Although my team's results have been slightly better when my opponent cheated, the actual statistics involved were actually quite a lot worse. I created 23% fewer chances when my opponent cheated, and they created around the same proportion more. The proportion of goals from free kicks I conceded increased to well above average (17% compared to 7.6% across all my games) though they got no more penalties than normal. My opponents received fractionally more yellow cards when cheating, but still below average. I must point out that the sample is quite small but the results are still worth taking note of. Conclusion: Cheating is worth a gamble, but whether you do or don't, the game is not going to hinge on this decision.
Offsides: I have used offside traps on almost every occasion with Beback, but again my opponents have use a mixed approach, so it's their figures I will use for analysis. The results are difficult to analyse. Both teams performed better (in terms of chance creation and conversion) when my opponents used offside traps. In particular, my opponents seemed to perform very poorly when not using offside traps, scoring only 0.5 goals per game. I find it hard to come up with an explanation of how this option could have affected their offence so heavily, and to be honest I can't. They created twice as many chances and scored three times as many goals when they used offside traps, although the outcome of the games was not much different. The percentage of my goals coming from breakaways was twice as high when my opponents did not use traps. Conclusion: Use offside traps.
Hans Gruber (S5 H 9)
Aggression: In my experience, Gruber gives out a lot of yellows (you'll get one even if you play careful usually) but not that many reds in comparison (6 in 76 games with normal aggression). In two observed bruise games, Gruber did not hand out any red cards at all. However, you need to consider the penalty risk as well. With normal aggression you can expect to concede a penalty once every 6 games on average, and he did award a penalty in one of the 2 bruise games. Many managers will go careful with any H9 referee (which is sensible), but if you are looking to get an advantage with only moderate risk, normal aggression will be worth the risk on occasions. Bruising is probably not wise, but is not guaranteed to backfire.
Cheat: When cheating I incurred 35% more yellow cards than when not cheating, and my opponents only got 7% more. This suggests that Gruber is good enough to spot a good deal of cheating, though I conceded no more goals from set pieces than usual. My team's results were significantly worse when I cheated, with my chance conversion rate seeming to be the culprit. Conclusion: I do not think that the extra yellows cards received is worth it. There may be other explanations for why my results were so much worse, but cheating seems to have been a factor.
Offsides: When my opponent used offside traps I got results you would expect 111 I created slightly fewer chances but converted them at a higher rate (though I got no more goals from breakaways). Overall I scored fewer goals, but my team's results were better. Conclusion: There's not much in it, so it could work for you sometimes but not others. Taking all things into account, no offside traps seems to work better.
Ian Hartman (S4 H4)
Aggression: Hartman seems to award penalties at a similar rate regardless of aggression, meaning that bruising is not out of the question. In terms of discipline, he awards more yellows as aggression increases, as you would expect, but does not give out many reds. You are more likely to lose a man due to 2 yellows than a straight red with this guy. Conclusion: Bruise is a reasonable risk to take, as long as you are prepared for the increased injury risk.
Cheat: Cheating seems to increase the rate of penalties being awarded for both teams, with the more significant effect going to the team that cheats. However, when my opponent cheated, the proportion of my goals coming from free kicks rocketed. I received a lot more yellow cards when my opponents cheated. Once again, the results are hard to draw strong conclusions from. I have cheated virtually every time, yet my results have been markedly better when my opponents also cheated. This may suggest that cheating is not a great idea, but it's far from clear cut. I see no reason to stop cheating with Hartman in charge.
Offsides: I have never used traps with Hartman in charge, but opponents have on occasions. My team results have been much better when traps have NOT been used against me, which is curious. One thing I noticed is that I scored 18% of goals from breakaways when traps were not used against me 111 a lot more than the 13% when they were 111 but both noticeably higher than the 11% in all my matches. All this shows is that through plays is an effective strategy with Hartman, as offside traps are unlikely to be used, and the ref is unlikely to blow his whistle and rule them out. Conclusion: My figures say offside traps can work well, but I can't understand why. Maybe 12 games is not a big enough sample for effective analysis. I won't be changing my stance based on the figures.
Sten Koll (S9 H5)
Aggression: Koll is not card-happy, despite being fairly hard. Expect to receive a below-average amount of yellow cards when using careful or normal, but slightly above average when bruising. Similarly, the risk of conceding a penalty is pretty average when using careful or normal aggression (around 1 in 10 games). Conclusion: It is unwise to risk bruising, but you could get away with it. On the other hand, there is no real need to resort to careful.
Cheat: Teams have rarely cheated with Koll in my experience. When they have, it has often been because tactics were not set 111 which skews the results. I therefore have no reliable data to use here, but I don't think anyone would advocate the idea of cheating with an S9 referee.
Offsides: I have a reasonable sample of games where my opponents have failed to use offside traps. Unfortunately, a number of these took place in my early days, when I was making significant tactical errors myself, and these losses are clearly skewing the figures. I have not lost to a team failing to use offsides with Koll since Sept 08. You're better off using them.
Irre Levant (S5 H6)
Aggression: This guy gives out a yellow on most occasions even when you play careful, and you carry around a 10% chance of incurring a red card if you choose normal. Bruising is very risky from a discipline perspective. Normal aggression also carries a strong risk of conceding a penalty (around 13%). Careful is the safe option, but normal will work out well most of the time. Bruise not recommended.
Cheat: This is quite interesting to look at, as I have used cheat around 50% of the time, and my opponents have also taken a mixed view. In terms of match outcome, cheating brings poorer results. It is not clear from the other figures (possession, chances) exactly why this is, but the sample size it quite large, and the results are consistent from both sides. My best results occurred when I didn't cheat but my opponent did. Conclusion: Don't cheat.
Offsides: Both myself and my opponents have used offside traps with Levant around 1/3 of the time. Using traps improves match outcomes not massively, but noticeably, as chances allowed are reduced. Conclusion: Use them.
Robert Nixon (S8 H6)
Aggression: In terms of discipline, Nixon is pretty average. So he doesn't give out many cards with careful, is the exact middle of the bunch when you go normal, but he is actually surprisingly lenient when bruising. Yellow cards are not handed out willy-nilly, but he is not afraid to dish out a red when necessary. From a penalty perspective, you can expect to concede one at least every 10 games 111 which is below average. The recorded figures when bruising, although a small sample, suggest the risk is not worth it. In conclusion, normal is pretty low risk, and careful is being too cautious.
Cheat: Cheating has been used very rarely with Nixon. His high skill level suggests he won't fall for it, and the very small sample backs this up. Don't bother.
Offsides: As S8 H6 is not very far from the guys we looked at in category 1, offsides are perfect to use with Nixon. Failure to use them is far from a guarantee of losing though. The effect is only small.
Laura Norder (S7 H 4)
Aggression: Yellow cards awarded with normal aggression are pretty scarce, at less than 1 per game with no reds. Only one use of bruise has been recorded, which resulted in 3 yellows but no red. Penalty risks are also low, although these are bound to be higher if you bruise, but the sample is not sufficient to test this. Certainly careful is not necessary, and bruising could work out OK.
Cheat: Rarely observed with Norder in charge. Findings show that you are more likely to bring yourself more yellow cards than your opponents. Don't do it.
Offsides: Again, most teams will use offside traps with Norder. Failure to do so increases the proportion of goals coming from breakaways. It's still perfectly possible to win if you get this wrong though.
Ann Onym / Travis Tee (S6 H4)
I have combined these two together, as logically there should be no difference between the two 111 even though observed results differ.
Aggression: Very low card-showing at both careful and normal settings. Expect a yellow if you bruise, but you will get away without a red most of the time. Penalties are also rare, except when bruising. If you really need that performance boost, bruising is worth a shot. It won't always pan out, but the risk it lower than for most other refs.
Cheat: Cheating is not frequently seen with these refs, but the evidence shows that you are likely to generate extra yellow cards for your opponents and not get cautioned yourself. Presumably in the process you will pick up a few extra free kicks. Conclusion: Believe it or not, this is well worth considering. The effect will be small, but the risk to you minimal.
Offsides: Surprisingly, my opponents have failed to use offside traps around half the time. My team results were slightly better when they didn't, but there is not a lot in it. When they didn't, they were less likely to have used a win bonus 111 suggesting less active managers, and therefore contributing to my improved results. It's unlikely that this decision will ever make or break the game for you. Conclusion: Might as well use them as they tend to restrict chances. But the effect will be small.
Warren Peace (S5 H5)
You don't get a tougher call than this ref-wise. Let's see what the stats show!
Aggression: This is the easy decision. Middle-ground ref: go with the middle option! Red cards are very rare with normal aggression, though not unheard of. When bruising, however, Peace becomes a card-thirsty monster. Beware! The penalty risk is below average at each aggression setting, but the red card factor effectively rules out bruise as a sensible choice. Stick with normal.
Cheat: Most managers choose not to cheat. There is very little difference to note, except a slight preference to the non-cheating team. Both teams will get slightly more cards if one team cheats. Conclusion: Sometimes it will work for you, sometimes it won't. Unlikely to swing the outcome either way.
Offsides: Results slightly favour teams using offside traps, but as usual, there is not much in it. This will not be the deciding factor in the game.
Frank Redkard (S4 H8)
Aggression: Redkard by name, red card by nature. Watch yourself with this guy. Only Constance Paine has awarded more red cards with normal aggression than our friend Frank, so Careful is a wise choice. Only one brave soul has tried bruising and they got away with it, but common sense says they were lucky. Similarly, he also awarded more penalties per game at normal aggression than any other ref. Going normal will work for you sometimes, but it is risky, especially if your opponent has a good free kick taker.
Cheat: Cheating has been routine for me with Redkard, but I was surprised to note that my opponents hadn't ticked this option over 50% of the time. When my opponents cheated, they reduced my chances and increased their own, although this had no overall effect on the outcomes of the matches. Cheating increased yellow cards for both sides, but put my totals up by 60%. Conclusion: You gotta cheat with this dude.
Offsides: I have never tried offside traps with Redkard, but after reviewing the evidence I may be prepared to reconsider. When my opponents have tried it they have cut my chances from 5.4 to 4.9 and my goals from 2.2 to 1.8 per game. I may have scored proportionately more breakaways, but I find those figures quite persuasive. I imagine that he is skilled enough to get offside calls right much of the time, (which can work both ways if your defence mess things up) but when there is any doubt he blows his whistle and pulls play back. Conclusion: There is evidence that offside traps carry an advantage, even with his relatively low skill rating.
Donald Scott (S3 H6)
Aggression: Scott is slightly more card-happy than your average ref at normal aggression. In the limited sample of bruisings, he brandished a red in every game, suggesting we should avoid that tactic. The penalty stats back that up. Normal is a pretty safe bet, although careful should not be ruled out if you have tough or mouthy players.
Cheat: My approach has always been to cheat with Scott, but my opponents have mixed it up. The results are quite convincing. When my opponent cheated, my teams managed just 1.6 points per game, compared to 1.88 when they did not. I may have scored more goals when they cheated, but they came close to doubling their output compared to when they didn't. Conclusion: Cheat.
Offsides: On the fairly rare occasions my opponents have used offside traps, my results have been boosted. The sample is not really adequate for strong conclusions to be made, as my team was usually the stronger anyway. You can certainly get away with using them, but there doesn't appear to be much to be gained.
Will Taykabribe (S3 H5)
Very similar rating to Mr Scott above, so you would expect similar recommendations.
Aggression: Taykabribe is actually far less likely to award a red card at normal aggression, but like Scott, he's heavy handed when you bruise. Penalties are awarded at the average rate with normal aggression, but above average when bruising. Recommendation: Normal.
Cheat: While cheating has been automatic for me with this guy, again I'm surprised how often my opponents have neglected to do so. However, aside from nearly doubling my yellow cards, there was no discernible effect either way. Conclusion: If cheating earns your opponents more yellows, it is logical that you are more likely to pick up a few more free kicks. But otherwise the tactic is surprisingly ineffective.
Offsides: The results are hard to analyse, as a high proportion of the teams using traps failed to set a win bonus, which clearly gives them a notable disadvantage. My team results were better in these games, which is what you would expect. For more confidence it is worth looking again at the results for Donald Scott, suggesting traps are not worthwhile here.
Justin Thyme (S5 H7)
Aggression: The figures show red cards are quite common at normal aggression, though he is not particularly heavy-handed with yellows. No bruise games have been observed as yet. The penalty figures show an absurdly low rate of penalty awards, so the main risk of normal aggression appears to be with red cards. Careful is a sensible choice, but as ever, normal will work out just fine a lot of the time.
Cheat: This is clearly a decision I'm unsure about, as I've dallied about with both options. My team results have been a good deal better when I have cheated, though a few big wins against poor teams will have strengthened my stats. Both teams picked up about 50% more yellow cards when I cheated, and I scored more than usual from free kicks and penalties. I'm still somewhat unconvinced, but I think cheating can work out quite well on the whole.
Offsides: Another decision that I don111t seem to have a common approach to, and it seems I am not alone. But the results are pretty overwhelming. My team results are drastically better when I have used traps. In fact, when I have, my opponents have really struggled to create and convert chances (though when they did, it was with breakaways). Similarly, when my opponent used traps my own chances and goals were reduced by as much as a third.. Conclusion: Use offside traps you muppet!
Did you know that refereeing decisions are affected by the crowd? At least, that seems to be the case based on the evidence. Let's consider discipline:
In all games where both teams used normal aggression, 55% of yellow cards and 60% of red cards went to the away team.
Even more convincingly, two-thirds of penalties were awarded to the home team in those matches.
What this means is that you need to give extra consideration to taking an aggression-related risk away from home, While you may think you need a performance boost to get a result, what you may get as well (or instead!) is a red card and a penalty against you!
And that's about it. I've written a huge amount, yet I feel I haven't given you everything. That is because I have such a huge amount of data that it is simply not practical to present it all, let alone discuss it. I have tried to pull out any significant patterns, but you'll have to take my word on much of it. With some referees, your tactical decisions may not have much impact, but with others it can be very significant. So next time you're planning your tactics, remember to consider all the possible effects of your decisions!
I have published my figures for cards and penalties for each ref, split by aggression level for you to peruse at your leisure. These can be accessed in the link below, and have been used to formulate my views on aggression. Do note that observations do not necessarily reflect that actual probabilities that have been coded, but the sample sizes have been shown so you can make your own mind up as to how reliable the figures are. There are separate tabs for Discpline (cards) and penalties.http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key= ... 2d0E&hl=en
Many of you took the opportunity to submit questions in the Xpert Forum. I would have really liked to answer them all, but space prevents it. Please note that much of what I have to say is my opinion only 111 others may have different, equally valid, viewpoints.
_______Jeff asked: "How important is it to play the referee values correctly? Can we get away with breaking 'the rules' on these values, and still win matches?"
A: Good question. It is important to play the referees "correctly" if you can, but it is not always clear exactly what that entails - Warren Peace being the perfect example. There are a lot of elements to the tactical mix, and each of them can give you small advantages. We should be looking to gain as many small advantages as we can. That said, it is pretty rare that the referee alone directly affects the outcome of the game. This is really only true where crucial penalties or red cards are awarded. It is absolutely possible to win matches even when you play the referee wrongly, especially with Cheat and Offside traps. You can take calculated risks with aggression levels, as these give quite significant boosts to performance, but can also carry a significant impairment. If manager ranking is important to you, use bruise and cheat when it seems sensible, but if you need to get results it can help to break the rules a little.
Monkey3889 asked: "Would you consider playing more aggressive against a harsher referee (e.g 7/7) in any case? How far does the referee go to dictating how aggressive you play during a game and does this change again for the more important games?"
And Kknox86 asked:
"In what circumstances would you disregard the ref's H value (if it is high) and play normal anyways?
A: I will consider stepping up the aggression if I have a weaker team and I need to take a risk in order to get a result AND my opponent does not have a particularly dangerous free kick taker. If I have nothing to gain or lose from a game's outcome, I am quite happy to go careful even when the referee appointment does not require it, as this does help avoid injuries.
Jimbo_204 asked : "Who is your favourite referee?"
A: I'm not sure I have an individual favourite, but I tend to prefer hard referees as teams are more inclined to play careful, in turn leading to fewer injuries and thus better team development. It also gives you a chance to take a risk and gain an advantage.
He also asked: "Which referee do you worry most about facing?"
A: I think Irre Levant (S5 H6) as the tactical choices are far from clear cut, particularly aggression, which can make a big difference to each team's performance.
He went on to ask: "Do you think we need linesmen and 4th officials?"
A: I have considered the addition of linesmen to the game in the past, as it is really these guys who make the offside decisions in real life, and the ref is pretty much tied to follow his assistant's call. The issue with this strategy game is that it would make tha tactics too complicated. Imagine you have two linesmen, one of whom is highly skilled and one who isn't (hardness would not really be a factor for liners), how would you decide whether to use offside traps or not? Presumably it would well one half but not the other. Also, the referee's S value would become less important as it would apply to foul/advantage decisions only. The current game reflects the level of football most of us would play at, i.e. with one referee who has to make all the calls. I think that is the only sensible option. Fourth officials? Not if we don't have the second and third!
Michelep asked: "Are all referees with the same H rating consistent or do some give bookings/FK more frequently?"
A: It is my belief that identical referees (eg Rinn/Steen) carry exactly the same probabilities behind the scenes (though it's possible that there is some rounding involved), but these probabilities will not provide perfectly consistent results in reality, especially with small samples. Also, bear in mind that player SQs will affect the number of fouls and cards awarded, even if the ref and aggression are the same.
Eaglesrjh asked: "How much do you allow the ref to affect your team selection?"
A: For me it is rare for the ref to impact my team selection. If I had two almost identical players, but one of them was tough and I only needed to play one of them, my decision would be influenced by a particularly hard or soft referee. Another thing I might do is pick a tough playmaker when bruising, as he should play better than usual. But on the whole, if a player is valuable enough to me, he plays 111 even if he has negative SQs that could get him in trouble.
Somerandomer asked: "What is the lowest S value ref you'd consider 'safe' to play offside traps with?"
A: Frank Redkard is the only ref under 5 skill I would consider using offside traps with, though I have not actually risked it yet! I wouldn't consider him "safe". I guess you'd be looking at one of the S5 refs to be safe.
Neowhite asked: "Do you think about aggression and cheat together, or as 2 separate choices? How would this vary from ref to ref?"
A: They are definitely separate for me. I might always use careful with both Nolan and Buske, but I would NOT take a common approach with cheating!
He went on to ask: "What's more important when deciding to cheat or play bruise or normal, the opponents FK taker, or the ref?"
A: They are equally important. You cannot make an informed decision unless you have both pieces of information.
Z0la asked: "Why are the high harshness refs sometimes ok to play normal with and other times they card you a lot."
And Zippo112261 asked: "What makes referees give straight red cards to players with no aggro SQ and never carded in their career? Especially at the end of a game, when it is one of your 3 defenders, ergo they score in the 91st from a breakaway and the computer gets thrown across the room!"
A: I imagine that all referees carry a possibility of awarding a straight red even with careful aggression, though this probability may be only fractionally above zero for some referees. Very occasionally, you will get a red card that cannot be explained by SQs or tactics. You just have to imagine that the player did something out of character, or something that was misinterpreted by the referee 111 both of which happen in real life, and both of which are completely out of your control.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found something useful!