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I’ve altered my approach to tonight’s report from the usual blow by blow account because of the freak nature of this match and attempted to look at a few of the issues this match raised. For those who weren’t able to watch the match the bare bones were that an Arsenal side identical to the one that started at Southampton in the League went down to their first League defeat in eight matches. That is a fact but does nothing to convey the detail of an extraordinary series of events.

Arsenal began the game well, Saka rattling the junction of post and bar right at the start and then forcing a fine save from Rui Patricio before he sent a dipping drive past the keeper to open the scoring only to see it disallowed because of a very tight offside decision against Lacazette. Wolves who had not won in eight matches were visibly lacking in confidence and although Kilman thumped a header just over and Leno made a fine save from Neves which Holding then pounced to clear, we were comfortably the better side. Wolves have high quality out wide where Neto troubled Bellerin all night and the pace and strength of Traore would trouble anyone although Cedric acquitted himself well on the left-hand side. He was aided by Pepe who continued his good recent form, adding to his skill and trickery on the ball with a heartening desire to win the ball back. After 32 minutes a slightly fortuitous drag back cum nutmeg was followed by a sublime one to take out two Wolves defenders and he curled a fierce shot with his right foot past Rui Patricio. My phone lit up with Gooners everywhere suggesting that our £72 million man was looking well worth every penny.

Wolves 0 Arsenal 1 – Pepe 

The lead was no more than Arsenal deserved. Partey despite occasional passing lapses was convincing in dominating midfield and playing quick passes through to Saka on the right. The vibrancy of ESR enabled us to stretch the Wolves defence and Xhaka was continuing to buttress the defence and play much more vertically than was his wont.

Craig Pawson, the referee decided to signal two minutes of injury time at the end of the half. I always get twitchy when we are holding a good match position but as the clock ticked towards two minutes a central pass through our defence saw Willian Jose get ahead of Luiz. Luiz seemed to try very hard to avoid any contact but Jose’s trailing leg caught Luiz, he miskicked and then went down and was given a penalty which was savagely compounded by a red card. Again, my phone lit up with all sorts of theories on why this was or wasn’t a penalty or a red and trying to look at the totality of the situation the double jeopardy brought  huge punishment for Arsenal. Luiz should have arguably let him go or gone for the ball and clattered him to get a yellow but we suffered a massive double blow. The contact was accidental but could it have been avoided completely? Neves hit a fine penalty and the whistle blew for the interval. 

Wolves 1 Arsenal 1 – Neves (pen) 

Our response was to withdraw Lacazette to bring on Gabriel and I anticipated an increasingly nervy rearguard action as we tried to hold onto a point. However four minutes into the half the wily Joao Moutinho hit a fierce drive past Leno and in off the post.

Wolves 2 Arsenal 1 – Moutinho 

The game had been turned on its head in a five minute period and unsurprisingly Wolves monopolised possession, looking dangerous out wide where Neto particularly impressed but with little end product . The game moved on with Aubameyang replacing the admirable Pepe but having dominated possession in the first half we struggled to get the ball and move upfield.

Then in the 72nd minute we saw a cool, calm German goalkeeper go full Mad Jens as Leno chasing a long ball in the inside right channel unaccountably decided to handle it outside the area. It was a clear, completely needless red and it not only took us down to nine men with eighteen minutes left but brought on Runarsson (for Partey ) a young keeper in whom it might be said Gooners have little confidence . To his great credit he made a fine save from Neto within seconds and then a decent block with his legs and his game in bizarre defensive circumstances was blemish free.

Towards the end Aubameyang and Saka worked themselves into shooting positions but were blocked. The reality was we had thrown away a game that until thirty seconds from half-time I expected us to win about 3-0.

Final Score: Wolves 2 Arsenal 1 

What conclusions do you draw from a game like that? It was Luiz’s sixth concession of a penalty in a season and a half and his third red card. He was unfortunate to concede perhaps and the law is an ass but he keeps doing things that clearly exasperate his colleagues, manager and supporters. Gabriel did extremely well in difficult circumstances and he and Mari are more deserving of one of the centre back berths than Luiz. Another contract extension? Not if it were my decision!

As for Leno he had a massive brain fart which was highly uncharacteristic but hugely costly and which, I believe, may deprive us of his services for two matches. We must hope Mat Ryan’s hip has healed by the weekend.

On a more positive note the first half display was admirable in many respects. Saka was superb and grows with every match, Partey is not yet fully attuned but will be a mighty player and ESR has a superb work ethic and skill set. But if you commit hara kiri in this fashion you cannot beat sides even those to which we are clearly superior.  It’s definitely a case of talking out the stupid decisions and moving on. But Europe and especially the top four look a long way away tonight.

71 Drinks to “Nine Man Arsenal Commit Hara Kiri”

  1. 1
    ClockEndRider says:

    Sorry but I cannot understand how that can possibly be a penalty. The attacker pulls his leg back to shoot and makes contact with the defenders leg, which is in a natural running position, not even trying to tackle. How can that possibly be a penalty, let alone a red card?
    We’ve been done again.

  2. 2
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Well judged and fair report TTG. If only we had got to read the one you were lining up for that 3-0 win!
    Nevertheless, this is one of those wonderful reviews that brings a semblance of reason and understanding to what was a shitshow on the pitch tonight.

    Luiz was desperately unlucky in my view.

    Still, we can’t change it now and (barring the time the ref played in the first half that went beyond both the first half itself and first half injury time) we were extremely good whilst we had 11 players on the pitch.

    We still looked dangerous with 10 and we unlucky to concede to a fine strike.

    Even with 9 men they all worked their socks off. Top effort.

    Forget this one lads. On to the next one.

  3. 3
    Bathgooner says:

    Very speedy. and extremely calm report, TTG.

    We were excellent in that first half for the 47 minutes but in Pawson’s extra 48th a huge calumny was committed that changed the entire course of the game. I can see why the pen and card were awarded in real time but VAR should have cleared the confusion up for the referee and at a minimum the red card should have been rescinded.

    Ignoring the aforementioned crime and the later Mustafi Memorial Kraut Brainfart (in German that’s a single word!), we really did play the best football I have seen from an Arsenal team these past 3-4 years. Xhaka and Partey looked the business in midfield. ESR was everywhere. Cedric and Pépé linked well on the left, as did Hector and Saka on the right. Laca and ESR kept the ball moving and our attack was at times mesmerising. The defence looked solid until that 48th minute.

    There is much to be positive about despite this result. Partey can only get better. Pépé looks more like the player we thought we were getting and the kids are just brilliant.


  4. 4
    TTG says:

    I saw the game on BT Sport with the replays they showed.I then wrote the report. Having now watched it several times I am extremely disappointed with the decision and amazed that VAR nodded it through . It literally cost us the match.
    I will therefore moderate my criticism of Luiz although his penalty record might have counted against him and us. But you are right we have been done on a night when there was much to be happy about

  5. 5
    Goonersince54 says:

    A long long time since i have been so disappointed in a result like tonight.
    So superior in thought and deed, we made Wolves look like a Sunday morning Pub team.
    Should have been out of sight before the laughable red card before half time which completely changed the complexion of the game.
    But even with 10 men i still thought we would get something from the game given how well we had played up till then.
    But compounded by Leno getting a red as well, it wasn’t to be.
    I really feel gutted for the players who deserved so much more for their efforts.
    They will play much worse than they did tonight and win, such is the beauty of football.
    We will find out on Saturday what this squad is made of, but if they play for 90 minutes like they did for 45 tonight, then i expect them to put a vibrant Villa side to the sword.

  6. 6
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Superbly balanced, cool headed and objective report TTG!
    If only PL referees had any of those qualities …

  7. 7
    Goonersince54 says:

    And here’s one for Ned’s Monks.
    Have 2 sides had 2 players each sent off in the same round of fixtures before. ??
    Saints have had 2 sent off against Utd tonight, but unlike us, they have conceded 8 at the Old Toilet. !!

  8. 8
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Hector in his Instagram account has posted the photo of the referee fist-bumping with Wolves’ Coady at the end of the match but without any caption. He also is in the frame himself. 😅

  9. 9
    Goonersince54 says:

    Now it’s 9. !!

  10. 10
    Bathgooner says:

    Hector is going to get sanctioned for that. He shouldn’t be but he is.

  11. 11
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Bath @10: Hector is a smart cookie and I won’t be surprised if actually had discussed this with someone in legal before posting it. It’s just a photo with him in the middle so very hard to make any legal case about it. Probably a fine which he will be happy to pay. I think players should be able to express themselves like that.

  12. 12
    ClockEndRider says:

    Just seen the same thing happen in the Man U vs Saints game. A coming together, with no intent on the part of the defender to bring the attacker down is judged as not only a penalty but a red. And then Ferdinand, not the sharpest tool in the box by any means, absolutely nails it by saying : so now as a defender I am going to absolutely take out the man because that way I’m only going to get a yellow card.
    Absolutely ridiculous. Contact is not in and of itself a foul. If it were players would be getting yellows and reds all over the pitch. To my mind, this is all about the Premier League looking to create noise to sell its “product”. If you’re going to treat the game as sport rather than entertainment, with rules which are consistent and sensible then I’ll continue to engage. If not, then frankly I’m out. You can keep your Sky and BT subscriptions. And your season ticket. I can go to the pictures and get entertainment. You don’t walk into a film feeling partial about the outcome and expecting there to be fair play in decision making. Take that away from sport and that is what you have.
    I’m very nearly done with football.

  13. 13
    Bathgooner says:

    The Bednarek red card was as ridiculous as Luiz’s. Both penalties and cards should have been reversed by VAR. With you 100% CER. Rio also agrees. These decisions ruin the game.

  14. 14
    TTG says:

    I’ve seen the Bednarek decision . I’m utterly appalled. The game is being slaughtered by pathetic decisions like that

  15. 15
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks TTG, that is a fine report
    of an immensely frustrating game.
    Hopefully Luiz’s card will be rescinded
    on appeal but that is small consolation
    and won’t get back our points.
    Pawson and Moss should both of been
    fired many years ago of course but
    weren’t and won’t be now.
    Onward to Villa and I hope the team
    will react in the right way, I think they
    will and I’m looking forward to the
    game – COYGS!!

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@7: Not in the same Premier League match weeks, no. But there have been 14 PL games where two players from one side and one from the other have been sent off. There have also been three games in which one side has had three players sent off.

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    I still hold that the David Luiz penalty should not have been ruled a penalty. Can an attacker now inadvertently brush their hand on a defender, go down and get a penalty just because there is contact?

    The Leno handball should have been a yellow card. If Leno had let the ball run, it would probably have gone out for a goal kick. Even Traore would not have caught up with it. Not a goal-scoring opportunity in anyone’s book, except the refs and VARs alternative universe.

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    Thanks TTG for your usual excellent and thoughtful report.

    If the law is an ass and the ref is a cut they pretty much have it covered don’t they.

  19. 19
    ksn says:

    Thanks for a fine and balanced report, TTG. We played really well in the first half and were unlucky not to be leading by two or three goals by half time. Unfortunately, the ref and VAR screwed us but we did not fall apart but continued to fight till the end. Wolves got very, very lucky last night but they will realise that what goes around comes around.

    Saka was on fire and Laca, ESR, Pepe and Partey played well. The red card changed everything but if we play as we did in the first half we will win against Villa on Saturday.
    Luiz keeps getting sent off and though he was unlucky today he has a big mistake in him. I feel uncomfortable when he is in the playing eleven and I hope his tenure is not extended.

    There is no unaccountability on refs and they keep screwing some teams and helping their favourite teams. I am not surprised that CER (@12) feels the way he does.

  20. 20
    Goonersince54 says:

    Thnks Ned
    Be interesting if we do appeal Luiz red card.
    Mikel said in his prezzer that he had viewed the incident several times and couldn’t see any infringement.
    Even Laca’s offside call was nitpicking.

  21. 21
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Sometimes a good night’s sleep takes the edge off a bad result. Not this morning. I am even more appalled at the refereeing than I was last night. Disgraceful.

    However, I am very proud of how the team played and the way they kept at it. I really hope they feel as cheated as many of the fanbase appear to and use that sense of injustice until the end of the season.


  22. 22
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I remember during the Champions League years being frustrated by the soft free kicks the refs gave in Europe. That went against British teams and I always felt a degree of scorn towards the professional athletes who fell over at the slightest touch and the foolish referees who gave them free kicks for what has always been considered cheating in the football culture I grew up in.

    But now exactly the same thing happens in the PL. It is still, relatively speaking, better than on the continent, but only because everything is shifting too far along a bad path.

    However, nowadays we have managed to couple this worrying trend with new heights of refereeing ineptitude. We have enshrined referees as some sort of protected species, allowed them to regulate themselves (that always works out well) and sat back as the fragile egos of men who are poor at their jobs are allowed to take more importance than making correct decisions on what is legal under the laws of football.

    We have got to the point where I look forwards to the Europa League because we have a much higher chance of getting a decent ref.

  23. 23
    Bathgooner says:

    The fact that the VAR review is undertaken by the same group who officiate on the pitch is a major flaw. This is a little coterie of colleagues chaired by one of the most inept (corrupt?) officials in the last two decades who refuse to acknowledge errors, claim papal infallibility and cover each other’s backs. Each VAR review should be undertaken by an independent panel of 3 selected, trained ex-pros who have demonstrated their competence and impartiality in the selection process and are entirely independent of PGMOL. The VAR decision should be the majority view of that 3 man panel. There will always be grey areas and controversy but this cosy PGMOL club must be ended.

  24. 24
    BtM says:

    Enjoyed your report, TTG. I will retain 45 minutes of excellence on my mental hard drive and, with a disdainful flourish (perfected by observing Bath in action), consign the residual nonsense to the u-bend of a life lived well (for the most part).

  25. 25
    Countryman100 says:

    Great, calm report TTG. It all got a bit lively nice night. IMHO our main problem is that we aren’t incentivising the players enough. We should follow the example of Carlisle United.

  26. 26
    Steve T says:

    Nice stuff TTG. I was going to disagree with your Luiz comments until I saw your post at 4.

    That was a bizarre game of football. One that for 46 minutes we totally dominated. Not just dominated, played some great attacking football whilst looking very solid at the back. As others have said, if Laca cuts his toe nails and we are just that little bit more clinical then we are three up by this stage. Then comes the Luiz incident. I’m not sure what to make of the laws of the game, or how they should be interpreted. As has already been highlighted, if Luiz jumps in and makes a genuine attempt to win the ball, as long as it is not considered dangerous play then it is just a yellow card? If that it is bizarre. That seems to be the interpretation applied by the officials and it appears from the actual wording that they are correct. Then there is the view of Mark Clattenburg. He said that “Luiz was genuinely trying to get back on terms with Jose and it was an accidental foul. This type of incident is accepted as a penalty and a yellow card.” I do not know if he is right or wrong, but that would certainly make more sense to me. But this is the FA and so I guess the fact it makes sense would automatically rule it as incorrect? I am still struggling to see how that is even a foul. Luiz is trying to track back. It’s not as if he is all over the player is it? He some distance behind him. It is only when the player goes to shoot that he catches Luiz, studs up, on his knee? Even if the powers that be deem that to be a foul because he was too close to the opponent, (not something I agree with by the way), then surely it is a yellow at most for the reasons stated above? Who knows anymore???? All I do know is that the FA create a minefield that totally ruined a game of football. If the officials were correct then they need to change the laws immediately. I just hope we appeal.

    Leno had a brain fart. I’m sure that he has no idea why he did what he did, just got it wrong and it was a natural reaction. Slap on the wrist, rest for the Villa game and comeback after that. End of. The real shame is that he has been outstanding this season.

    I’m not going to dwell on negatives as there were lots of positives out there. Cedric has been fantastic as a stand in left back. Partey looks better in every game. He was described as a Rolls Royce of a player in the commentary. Holding continues to get better and impress. Saka is such a talent and it frightens me just how good he could become. ESR is the same. With every game he just looks more and more a natural. Xhaka has also played well recently. How much that has to do playing next to Partey, I don’t know. But that must help. The final word for Pepe. I’m not sure I have ever really heaped praise on him in any quantity, but last night he was excellent. He looked a real threat and worked hard off the ball. He made the opening for, and took his goal superbly. If Arteta has managed to make a genuine player out of him then give him the manager of the year award now. Long may it continue, well played sir.

    Onwards and upwards to Villa. As long as we play with a proper keeper then we will be more than a force up at Villa Park.

  27. 27
    Steve T says:

    Red card???????

  28. 28
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent comments Steve! Not for the first time the referees in PL collectively ruined a football match.
    Saka is a wonderful talent indeed. And great attitude, a combination of confidence and humility that’s the genuine hallmark of a potential great.

  29. 29
    bt8 says:

    Re: Steve T, “All I do know is that the FA create a minefield that totally ruined a game of football.”

    That is all I know as well, but Pawson did not allow a fair competition.

  30. 30
    Steve T says:

    Doc F. Thanks, but it’s so confusing that I’m not sure who to blame. The fact is, it should never be a red card in a million years. The officials have either got it horribly wrong, or the laws are garbage and need changing immediately. Either way, as I’ve said, it should never ever be a red.

  31. 31
    Steve T says:

    In what way bt8? With Luiz? Or in general?

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    It’s confirmed that we have appealed the Luiz red card.

  33. 33
    TTG says:

    Very constructive post Steve .
    I think we have consensus in the bar that we are making genuine progress, we have a team framework that is promising nay exciting and although we lost a game we were significantly superior to the opposition before the law kiboshed us .
    Young Runarsson has been left out of our Europa League squad. I rather wish we’d been able to find him a loan to get more experience

  34. 34
    Sancho Panza says:

    Not that it matters but there won’t be one Wolves player who came off the pitch thinking they were the better team. The officials changed the course of the game – something they should never do.

  35. 35
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I have to disagree with Steve re Leno- “The real shame is that he has been outstanding this season.”
    I don’t think that has been a shame at all. 😉

  36. 36
    bt8 says:

    Steve, I thought both sendings off were wrong. The law or the interpretation or both were wrong, I don’t know which but the outcome is not right in terms of officiating fairness. The Luiz contact was incidental and not visible on numerous camera angles.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Steve T says:

    bt8. I think we would struggle to argue the Leno one. His red, as I understand it, was for denying a goal scoring opportunity. I think if we had been on the receiving end of that we would be screaming for a red card.

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    SteveT@38: Your understanding is correct. Leno’s red was for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity. I had my say earlier in the drinks on why I think there was no clear goal-scoring opportunity denied. Suffice it to say that I would not have felt too hard done by if an opposing keeper had received only a yellow in a reverse situation.

    The surprising thing, given Leno’s usual composure in playing the ball with parts of his body other than his hands, is that he got it so wrong. Looking at replays, it seems the ball bounced much higher than he was expecting and he tangled himself up in switching from trying to control the ball to knocking it out for a throw.

    Excellent post @26, too.

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    We have the unappetising prospect of a head-to-head comparison at the weekend between Leno’s back-up of last season and back-up of this unless Matt Ryan recovers fitness or Arteta is ready to throw in one of the young keepers, Okonkwo, Hillson or Hein. Jorge Bird rates Okonkwo as the pick of those three.

  41. 41
    Goonersince54 says:

    Well if the Hammers can put 3 past Emi at Villa Park tonight, i cannot see any reason we can’t do the same on Saturday.

  42. 42
    TTG says:

    I have a feeling Ryan will be fit .
    This is such a strange season. No home fans but also most teams being much more comfortable counter- attacking away from home .
    I think City will stroll the League unless injuries and fixture congestion hit them very hard. We need to try very hard to win the Europa League because it will be very hard to make Europe otherwise. Were it not for the financial hit and difficulty in signing players without European football I would be happy to have a season out to focus on a good league season next year and to play on Saturdays again! But I am convinced that we can finish the season very strongly this campaign . That is why the loss of three points yesterday was so gutting . We could have gone sixth!

  43. 43
  44. 44
    ecg says:

    After watching the so called Luiz red card and still not understanding how that is even a foul, I have a new rule that should make the interpretation easier. A defender has to remain 3 feet from any attacking player in the box so VAR can draw a circle around the player to see if the defender’s nipples are too close. This should take the subjectivity out of the decision.

  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    ecg, that might be mankind’s first sentence that includes both VAR and nipples. I expect some might call your proposal controversial but it couldn’t confuse the referees any more than they already are, could it?

  46. 46
    Steve T says:


    You just know that this conversation has already taken place at the FA, don’t you? And probably several months ago. It will be an option they have considered.

  47. 47
    Trev says:

    Thanks TTG for a good report and an interesting read.

    I like this style of match report personally, having already watched the game on TV, although the blow by blow account is great for those who cannot.

    Like you, on second sight, Luiz appears blameless and the award of a penalty and a red card is quite ridiculous, given that we now have a VAR facility which was supposed to correct such mistakes. Compare with Fernandez rake of Xhaka’s Achilles against ManUtd three days before, or Mane’s elbow into Tierney’s face against Liverpool……

    Craig Pawson and his pals will no doubt be pleased with their night’s work in stuffing the Arsenal once again. This, if anyone remembers, is the same referee who watched an unpunished Stoke kick us off the park just after the 3-3 draw at Anfield a few seasons back.

    I could write an entire article here on similar decisions by Riley, Mason, Dean etc etc but it is not the place. Bath Gooner @23 sums the situation up perfectly and puts forward a perfectly reasonable solution to the problem, which is exactly why it will not be implemented.

    How has the generally accepted “best and most competitive league in the world” arrived at this point, where the worst group of officials I can ever remember, backed up by their mates with a computer 200 miles away, ruin game after game where incompetence is endorsed by more subjective opinion, or exasperated by judging offsides with cross hairs in a rocking and rolling video replay ?

    By the way, do we ever see the offside decision being made by VAR with reference to the precise moment the forward pass is made ? No we don’t, because it can’t be done, so it is pretty much ignored.

    Referees and VAR are rapidly destroying the game. It cannot be allowed to continue. But it will.

  48. 48
    Trev says:

    I think the only blame to be attached to Luiz in that particular incident is for letting the forward get so ahead of him in the first place.

  49. 49
    Esso says:

    Cheers TTG!

    Just say this on Luiz; he got mugged, well out of position, for no need at all, and although the consequences of that were unprecedented, the sheer weight of ineptitude, from time to time – 6 penalties conceded + 3 red cards in less than 2 seasons, is appalling.

    If we extend his contract we have officially become a ‘bantz’ club.

    I never wish to see him in an Arsenal shirt again.

  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    Might as well ease a single to bring up the half-ton.

  51. 51
    Trev says:

    Applauds as Ned waves his bat 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    Hopefully it’s not a Coronavirus one…. 🤞🏻

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    It would be in the soup if it was, Trev.

  53. 53
    ClockEndRider says:

    Are’s log is reporting that Luizs red has been upheld, whereas Bednareks has been rescinded.
    Can anyone explain the difference in treatment of the two?

  54. 54
    bt8 says:

    Pawson is more popular among his colleagues?

  55. 55
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    If the laws of football say that is a red card then we have a problem.
    If even one referee thinks that is a red card we have another problem.
    If another referee with the benefit of replays thinks that is a red card we have yet another problem.
    If an FA disciplinary panel thinks that is a red card then… well, what more is there to say?

  56. 56
    ecg says:

    I would like to retract my recommendation. The thought of head ref Mike Dean consulting with VAR ref Jon Moss on the position of a defender’s nipples relative to the 3-foot line in slo-mo video is disturbing, to say the least.

  57. 57
    ClockEndRider says:

    Surely the biggest problem here is that the same regulatory body can make diametrically opposite decisions on identical “offences” occurring on the same day.
    In the law courts, at least in UK, we have the concept of precedent. In football we have the concept of the FAs whim. The law courts are ultimately accountable to the people. To whom are the FA accountable?
    If you completely deny the concept of consistency, which this ruling does, then you remove the actuality of a level playing field. So it ceases to be sport, and becomes mere entertainment. I pay damn good money to watch sport, over and above what I pay for mere entertainment. Why should I pay a surcharge if the outcomes are being manipulated?

  58. 58
    Bathgooner says:

    CER @53, it’s quite simple really.

    Luiz plays for Arsenal and Bednarek doesn’t play for Arsenal.

    The unaccountability of the cosy club that is PGMOL is worse than the inconsistency which, (surprise, surprise!) has not been abolished by having the same muppets who make errors on the pitch watch for errors by their chums on a monitor in rotation with each other.

    One for all and all for one!

  59. 59
    TTG says:

    GSD @ 55 captures the hopelessness of it perfectly .
    Frank McLintock told me of exchanges he had while playing with refs like Gordon Hill and Jim Finney . Now we have nonentities like Pawson , Dean and that retired nonentity Peter Walton who explains ‘ the laws’ to us on BT as if there is any rhyme or reason to them . Frank said he could never be sent off for swearing at the ref because the refs swore much more heavily at the players.. but there was mutual respect .
    Now we see refs so scared of the assessors they can’t use any discretion . The first sending off at OT on Tuesday was a wild tackle that clearly did inflict a nasty cut on McTominay’s leg. But it was the boy’s first engagement in his first ever game in the Premier League. Jack Taylor or Jim Finney would have given him a severe bollocking a booking and a warning that if he stepped slightly out of line again he would be off like a shot. There is no leeway to do that now but there’s no consistency either hence the discrepancy between Bednarek’s treatment and Luiz’s .
    PGSMOL is run by an ex-ref who found it in his gift to give United a penalty in a succession of games at Old Trafford . I expect he got a winners medal with Mike Riley engraved on it. The tradition continues as they have had about ten more penalties than any other team and the loathsome Dean gave them two on Tuesday , neither of which was a penalty. People will be so disillusioned the game will suffer .
    Finally I’ve spoken to two Spuds today quite separately. Both hate the football played under Mourinho and the attitude of the team. Cue ructions if they lose tonight

  60. 60
    TTG says:

    Interesting stat !
    Arsenal are –
    1st in the league for red cards
    8th for yellow cards
    20th for fouls per game.
    We commit least fouls and have the strongest punishment
    Would be interesting to hear Mike Riley justify that

  61. 61
    Trev says:

    TTG, Riley would probably quote history at you and claim it was simply ever thus.

    We are a dirty, nasty side, you see, I remember when Fat Sam was manager at Bolton – yep, that long ago. Arsenal, most red cards, most yellow cards, most fouled against club, least fouls committed. Things are simply in their natural order. All is fine !

  62. 62
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@55: Perfectly put.
    Trev@61: That would be funny if it weren’t true.

  63. 63
    bt8 says:

    1st in the league for red cards but 20th for fouls per game.

    Has anything remotely close to that ever happened before?

  64. 64
    North Bank Ned says:

    The burden of proof in an FA disciplinary hearing is on the player and/or his club to prove the referee made an obvious mistake. It is not to re-referee the incident. That boilerplate, or a version of it, gets included in the written reasons published after every hearing.

    So every appeal turns on, not did the referee make a mistake, but was it such an egregious mistake that not even the FA can turn a blind eye.

    Getting turkeys to vote for Thanksgiving would be a lower bar.

    I now await the FA taking advantage of the provision in the disciplinary procedures to lengthen the suspension because a dismissed appeal had no prospect of success. The proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus could reasonably believe that to be the case as the appellant was an Arsenal player.

  65. 65
    Osakamatt says:

    the FA decision is appalling but
    not surprising considering they
    rival the refs own closed shop
    organization for blundering
    stupidity. At least the spuds lost
    so the news isn’t all bad

  66. 66
    'desi'gner gooner says:

    Apart from all the excellent points mentioned above and the suspicion that the game might be heading for irreparable damage, here is the thought that makes me uneasy. If the roles were reversed and it was an Arsenal striker and Wolves defender in question, I think we would have seen the VAR hold up the game for five minutes, the tele feed would have shown multiple angles and freeze frames at point of contact and then Pawson would have been told to go look into the monitor upon which he would have overturned not just the red but also the penalty. I know Steve T has been most vocal in this forum in the past about looking at refereeing decisions objectively but having seen the VAR inconsistencies when it comes to the Arsenal – it just seems difficult to not be subjective about the whole thing. The saving grace perhaps is that the video evidence keeps mounting now and is publicly available so everytime they act in this brazen manner, they are getting exposed with evidence and that cannot go on for too long.

    Another staggering thing is the quiet in the mainstream media about this entire farce. Pundits who are over eager to punch down on teams and players who are in bad form almost never utter a word or write (or hire someone to write in their name) columns in websites which point to the mockery which is being made of the game. The PGMOL and FA are emperors without clothes and none of the so called pundits have the b*lls to call that out.

  67. 67
    TTG says:

    Very good point Desi, that is exactly what would have happened in reverse .
    I have to say I usually agree with Steve T in criticism of referees . I very rarely read Untold Arsenal, the QAnonof Arsenal blogs because of its conspiracy theories but the huge advantage that Manchester United achieve and last season Liverpool achieve distorts competition.
    Like C100 I watch a lot of cricket and I also love tennis and the way that technology has been woven into those games enhances the spectacle. Both Rugby League and Rigby Union are transparent in the way they Review contentions decisions.
    VAR is the exact opposite. There is no transparency and no accountability and we are not granted any insights into the referee’s thinking . I saw Peter Walton explain the Bednarek/ Luiz reviews and their different outcomes yesterday and I nearly punched the TV ( and I am a generally placid man) . His explanations were pathetic, inconsistent and obtuse.
    Football officiating needs to be radically revised so that we know what the key principles are, whether they have been upheld and if not why not and above all what the referee’s reasoning is. That is absent from VAR. We hear Stickley Park are reviewing a decision but it’s over now or we wait interminably with no sense of what is being reviewed . The sort of dialogue Nigel Owens has with the TMO is completely absent .
    The Premier League needs to realise English refereeing is damaging a product seen around the world and making outcomes a lottery

  68. 68
    Esso says:

    Southampton lost 9-0. FA were never going to admit a crap decision affected the result of the game, Which it did for us, most definitely.

  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@67: Spot on about the lack of transparency around VAR decisions, and how other sports have made a much better fist of integrating review technology into the flow of the game. A secondary issue is the complexity of football’s rules and the ever-changing interpretation of them.

    In cricket, the review procedure for something as difficult as lbw decisions, for example, has been simplified to four easily understandable tests: did the batsman hit the ball before it hit his pad, did the ball pitch in line, did the ball hit the batsman in line, would the ball have hit the stumps? And everyone gets to see the evidence on which the third umpire is making the call.

    Yet we can only speculate about the reasoning behind the VAR decisions to uphold David Luiz’s and Leno’s red cards against Wolves.

    Football would also do well to adopt cricket’s concept of ‘umpire’s call’ for those highly marginal off-side decisions where the referee or assistant referee has not made. ‘an obvious error’ but one that can only be revealed by forensic examination of a reply.

  70. 70
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Excellent posts Desi, TTG and Ned.

    I agree completely that ‘umpire’s call’ should be adopted. No more lines on a screen. If you can’t see with your eyes that an obvious error has been made then stick with the on-field decision.

    And I agree completely that we should be able to hear what the VAR deliberations are and their dialogue with the ref. They are of course fearful of doing so as it takes away there only chance of hiding their own incompetence

  71. 71
    Pangloss says: