Feed on

Normally, I try to write my reports as soon after the game as possible. But given the way we lost yesterday’s game, I have chosen to wait until the morning so I can avoid making knee jerk reactions. 

But now I have slept on it, and it seems even more ridiculous, I won’t talk much about the game itself because the VAR decision is what we are all concerned with. Arsenal played ok. They didn’t perform badly. Arteta instructed his players to contain this frenzied Newcastle side and regardless of the result, they did a good job in that regard. Other than the goal that should not have stood, Saudi Sportswashers created next to nothing.

The same could be said of Arsenal but they were the away team. The onus was on Newcastle as the home side, a big club as the media keep telling us. Yet it was Arsenal who had more possession and more passes in the final third. However, in terms of genuine chances there is little to report. The game changing moment came just after the hour mark. Jacob Murphy’s wayward shot looked to have gone out of play, but the ref waved play on, a cross came in, Joelinton pushed Gabriel, and controlled the ball with his arm and Antony Gordon tapped home from a couple of yards out. VAR checked for three incidents. 

  1. Did the ball go out of play? Yes, but there were apparently no conclusive angles, whatever that means.
  2. Was it a foul by Joelinton on Gabriel? Well, I don’t know if placing both hands on someone’s back is a natural jumping position but the wise lads at Stockley Park certainly seemed to think so. Who are we to question their infinite wisdom?
  3. Was Gordon offside? Given they change the offside rule every week, depending on whichever side they have decided is going to win today, they couldn’t possibly have known the answer to that. Just go with your gut feeling, lads.

Apparently, they were all fine. In fact, there was indeed a fourth incident they should’ve checked which was Joelinton’s handling of the ball in the build-up. I’m sure they would’ve made up some abstract nonsense as to why that was also within the rules. 

After that, we huffed and puffed but we couldn’t break down the Saudi Public Investment Fund Stoke as we suffered our first league defeat since May. Arteta was quite rightly furious with the decisions and did not hold back in his post-match interviews.

“We have to talk about the result because we have to talk about how the Hell this goal stands. I feel embarrassed. It is a disgrace.”

I mean is he wrong? No, because this is merely the latest in a long list of disgraceful decisions. It has got to the point where correct decisions get overly praised because they are so rare. If you have this level of support from your peers and the available technology and you are still getting decisions consistently wrong you must ask yourself if there is in fact something bigger going on here. Because let’s be honest, it is not a difficult job. 

Arteta will no doubt get a ban for this when he is merely speaking the truth. A few short weeks ago, Man United had a goal ruled out against Brighton as Marcus Rashford’s cutback was correctly adjudged to have gone out of play. That ball was as every bit over the line as it was yesterday. So, what’s changed? What is the difference? This decision will cost us points just as we were cheated out of two points when they “forgot to draw the lines” against Brentford. Or when Martinelli’s goal at Old Trafford was ruled out for a non-existent foul. 

But let us be clear on this; it is not just Arsenal. The entire league is affected by this. Consider the above United goal that was ruled out. And how can anyone forget Luis Dias’ perfectly fine goal being ruled out for no apparent reason. Yesterday it was our turn to be the victims of yet another VAR cock up and next week it will be someone else’s turn. How long will this be allowed to continue? This is a league of fine margins as Arteta said and we cannot afford for games to be decided by others. 

We are at a point where the 22 men on the field are no longer the centre of attention. It is now all about the man in the middle, the linesmen, and their cronies at Stockley Park. People want to watch sport, not a never-ending soap opera. Many other sports have similar technology, and it functions smoothly – rugby, cricket, tennis to name a few. So, what makes football so different? Is it the money involved? 

These decisions have an impact on who wins the league, who gets a European spot, who stays up, who goes down. These are not insignificant things. This is about the integrity of the sport of which there seems to be little these days. Quite how it is allowed for two clubs in the same league to be bankrolled by nation states, let alone one, is beyond me. We very nearly had a third. And now, the nation that owns the club we played yesterday has been “awarded” the chance to host the 2034 World cup, less than a year after the nation that bankrolls PSG, and if they had their way, Man United as well, hosted the last one. Well, there we have it. The ultimate act of sportswashing. 

So where do we go from here? Normally after a loss we assess what went wrong, how we can improve and we look ahead to the next fixture. On Wednesday night, we will host Sevilla in the Champions League and all the focus will shift to that. Because that’s where football is at now. Incorrect decisions are made and then we all just accept it and move on. Hopefully what Arteta has said will start to change that. Because if we lose our integrity and sense of justice what do we really have left?

62 Drinks to “Is This Sport or a Soap Opera?”

  1. 1
    ClockEndRider says:

    21CG, thank you for writing the piece. I hope it was as cathartic an experience to write as it was for me to read. You hit hit very many nails squarely on the head.
    And now the club have done out four-square beh8nd Arteta. It is so good to see and a pity the club were not so forthright many years ago.

  2. 2
    TTG says:

    That’s an excellent , and in the circumstances a measured report . Arsenal’s statement in support of Arteta’s comments is welcome and a sign of how the club has changed .Patrician old Arsenal would have apologised and bowed the knee. But how can you bow the knee to these wankers ? They are, as 21CG points out very effectively, making a farce of the game I genuinely think there were genuine reasons for disallowing the goal for all the reasons 21CG points out. I told the Athletic so this morning when I read their Geordie correspondent claim that ‘ it looks as though they were finding a reason to disallow it’.
    I felt there were some encouraging aspects of the actual game. Rice and Saliba were the two best players on the field . I also saw for the first time some really positive signs from Havertz playing more centrally although his tackle on Longstaff was ill -judged and he could have gone . Guimares is a ghastly twat and he should have definitely gone too.
    But we only lost a point, we never looked like wining and with Raya in his present form we need at least two goals to win any match . Trossard is a puzzling player. He was superb last week but yesterday he couldn’t take a corner .
    We have a big gap between our obvious first- teamers and the rest . We are particularly weak in midfield back-up. We radically overpaid for Vieira , Jorginho is adequate but no more and Lord help us if we lose Rice for any length of time .
    Two winnable games await and PGMOL can’t affect the Seville game . Thank goodness

  3. 3
    ClockEndRider says:

    Come, not done….

  4. 4
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers 21CG. You’ve made lots of good points and I agree with them all.

    Frankly, I’m getting bored with football. It’s all about referees now. The media have made it part of the narrative. Peter Walton and Mike Dean are part of the coverage in a way that adds nothing and I can’t see what benefit it is supposed to offer the viewer. Good refs are ones you don’t notice.

    Then, the standard is so woeful that they steal the show every week. I’ve been arguing for years that the reffing standard is abysmal – plenty of times in here against those that try to shut down any mention of this as being some sort of whinging. Except it is isn’t. And we’ve hit a point that it’s become so hard to ignore the worsening standards that all there is to do is talk about referees every week. And I’m not interested by that prospect.

    VAR decisions are like chance cards in Monopoly now. I’ve got no idea what they will be, or whether they will be good or bad, the only thing I’m sure of is that they will be arbitrary. It’s taking so much out of the game. Such a shame.

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21CG, a fine report of a bad day. Your last question is a fair one and I think despite their obvious own club blinkers most supporters do retain a sense of justice which shows on issues like nation state owners, FFP cheating, ticket prices and other things. I can’t really seem the same about any other groups as a whole though there are always decent individuals.

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    On a cheerier note The Arsenal Women got an important 2-1 win against Shitteh today.
    I have only seen highlights but it looked an entertaining game settled late on when Blackstenius capitalized on a goalkeeping error to roll the ball gently into an unguarded net.

  7. 7
    Olivier Angot says:

    Great work, 21CG!
    People want to watch sport, not a never-ending soap opera.

    EastEnders has far too many fans….

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more and this very much plays to Arteta’s arguments last night. It is a multi- billion business run like the local bowls club ( in fact I run the local bowls club and would be ashamed if we ran it like PGMOL ) . The matey Northern cabal which some refused to acknowledge was part of the problem .
    The overseas refs are much better but if they had to work with the Mickey Mouse set up operating VAR they would soon be crushed . CER made a good point last night during the game that Sky relish the controversy . It arises out of something that can’t be traced to them but draws interest from the tabloids and fans of other clubs . They almos5 have a vested interest in preserving the incompetence
    Anyway nice to see you here mate

  9. 9
    Steve T says:

    VAR was always meant to improve games. It was meant to ensure that errors were drastically reduced and justice prevailed. Whilst on the whole it has benefited the game, there are incidents like yesterday when it just makes a total mockery of it all. This season seems to be the worst yet. Some of the buffoonery has been way beyond most of us would have expected. Now, it seems to have actually made situations harder for the on field official. It seems at times that the ref is actually frightened to make a decision and will just leave to those with a monitor, hundreds of miles away.

    In my opinion, VAR becomes a lot simpler if it is viewed by the on field ref. I have never understood why we wait several minutes for the ref to get a message telling him to go and watch it again on a TV screen? Why can’t the on field ref just say that they want to look at something again, and do just that. I am 100% positive that if the ref had just gone and watched that goal all over again, then he would have disallowed it. For me, the most obvious reason to disallow the goal was for the push on Gabriel. Those in charge of VAR have somehow made it into a total farce.

    I understand the after match comments from Arteta, but I’m not wholly convinced that they were entirely to vent his frustration at a nonsensical VAR decision. I also think it’s a bit of a smokescreen to mask another howler from Golden Child Raya. Another horrendous flap at a cross has cost us points. Whilst we rightly lament the failings of VAR, let’s not forget that the keeper voted best in the Premier League last season, is sat on the bench, watching his replacement make costly errors on a weekly basis. Let’s also not forget that despite what MA8 says, we only managed one shot on target. Both areas I would suggest, need to be rapidly looked at. I do do hope that Arteta is not too stubborn. If he is then all of the great work done over the last few years could be undone very quickly. If Raya makes errors at home like he has done in recent away games, then I do not think it will take much for the crowd to voice their opinion.

    Onwards and upwards, as they say.

  10. 10
    Steve T says:

    Possibly the worst VAR cock up of the night was how they did not review the Guimarães assault on Jorginho. I can’t wait to hear the reason why it was decided that was not worth looking at? That is genuinely bizarre.

  11. 11
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Steve @10. I think Blogs said they didn’t think the Guimaraes assault on Jorginho was worthy of a red because it was his forearm rather than his elbow…

    Which is as bizarre as it gets. Well, so far anyway. Who knows what next week will bring?

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

    Thank you for a really balanced and mature description of yesterday’s game yesterday 20CG. The whole conversation after the game finished was about the referee and VAR. I am completely supportive of both Arteta and the club in their comments. I also think Steve makes some very good comments about the team above.

    But, I know my place, and so, as a little light relief from the dark tone in the last 24 hours, here is my away day report. Spoiler, it was an almost prefect trip, apart from the result.

    Up early and away up the A1 to Gateshead, where our AirBnB was. We arrived about noon, and the little two bedroomed house was excellent. We had skipped breakfast and so indulged from the chippy round the corner, eating it whilst watching Fulham v Red Mancs. We called on Bathgooner to givens a wave, but didn’t spot him in the Johnny Haynes stand. Following the disappointment of the Mancs late winner, we rested through the afternoon after the haddock and chips lunch and the 200 mile drive. Come 4pm it was time to get an Uber up to St James’s Park. As usual, it was absolutely buzzing around the stadium. Groups of Gooners, singing loudly, were marching through the Geordies. Off to the away turnstiles and, as usual, asking politely if I could go in the lift, rather than attempt the 14 flights of stairs up to the Leazes stand upper. As usual, I was treated with courtesy and humour by the Geordie stewards, unlike those at West Ham last Wednesday night, and up we went.

    ClockEndRider was complaining of how far he was from the pitch at West Ham. Well my friend, as Bachman Turner Overdrive said, you ain’t seen nothing yet. As I think I’ve remarked before, the away seats at SJP are the furthest away from the pitch of any in the Prem and we were close to the flight lane from Newcastle airport. We had got seats in row D, just four rows from the front. Still a long way up. It was bloody cold up there in the stratosphere.

    Off we went. Really loud in the first ten minutes from the Geordies, but as we took control they quietened down. In fact we got in a couple of choruses of “no noise from the Saudi boys” and where’s your famous atmosphere”. A tight, physical first half, defences on top. We agreed that the first goal would be huge and that Rice, Saliba and Havertz were all playing well.

    You all know what happened in the second half. Frankly we were too far from the Gallowgate end to see what went on. After the disappointment of the goal going in, and the volume going up 100%, we stood in amazement as three successive VAR screens came up, for ball out of play, foul and finally offside. Well you all know the outcome.

    End of the game. Off and into a very turbulent Newcastle, with triumphant and very low Barcodes thronging the streets as we walked through Chinatown and down towards the Bigg Market. One nil to the Saudi boys! rang out over and over. They do love a win over the Arsenal up in Newcastle.

    Fortunately, we had refuge from those busy streets in sight. An excellent, much awarded Indian restaurant called My Delhi featuring authentic North Indian cuisine (or so the owner proudly told me). The place had a pleasing buzz to it. A pint of cobra approached like a vision. The first sip was nectar. We ordered. Excellent food, superb service. What a lovely place.

    Another Uber back to Gateshead. Reading the outrage on Twitter and seeing clips of Arteta. My manager. Off to bed. Slept late and back off down the A1 about 11. Home at three.

    Like I said, a perfect trip. Apart from the result.

    We go again Wednesday. COYG.

  13. 13
    Countryman100 says:

    St James’s Park. View from the away end.

  14. 14
    Uplympian says:

    An excellent synopsis of yesterday’s events 21CG and likewise a good read from c100s front line report. You have all encapsulated the current scenario of PGMOL’s level of ineptitude so well.
    Like TTG I’ve run my local bowls club for the past few years and if we performed at the same level of ineptitude and corruption we would be ejected from the county leagues & competitions without fail.
    Unfortunately this has vastly overshadowed the match itself where we held our own in an overtly physical encounter notable for a lack of creativity and attacking prowess from both sides. We were missing 3 of our most creative players through injury which may have changed the outcome. It seems that the opposition are learning how to negate the threat of our 2 talented wide men by doubling or tripling up on them – Arteta will need to find a a way of overcoming this tactic otherwise we will be struggling for goal scoring opportunities.
    The furore of referees & var will continue for the forseeable future whilst the current set up remains in situ. Let’s hope the EPL can find a solution sooner rather than later.

  15. 15
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks C100, an enjoyable read as always and much appreciated. I am glad the trip, result excepted, was so enjoyable and let’s hope for both on Wednesday 😃

  16. 16
    bt8 says:

    Re: Ned’s and TTG’s write up of last week’s contest results:
    “Yet again, the neighbours were the mephitis most polluting Predictathon players’ predictions.”
    Definitions from Oxford Languages
    Mephitis (nounARCHAIC)
    a noxious or foul-smelling gas or vapour.


  17. 17
    Up4GrabsNow! says:

    One word for that game: frustrating. How Bruno didn’t see red is ridiculous. Even if the ball wasn’t out for their goal, or offside, that was surely a foul on Big Gabby. Granted our defending was crap, Willock had way too much time with no one getting out to close him down. We never really looked like scoring. Only positive for me was Havertz, for the first time in our colors he actually played with fire in his belly. Someone, anyone (even Chelsea) needs to hand a loss to the rooster on the basketball team.

  18. 18
    ClockEndRider says:

    Eddie Howe in response to Guimaraes being booked against us for push at the en£ of the game on Vieira, having been given a pass in the Jorginho assault and receiving a 1 game ban: “ I was frustrated, not so much with Bruno but with the decision,” said Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe. “In my opinion, Bruno is ahead of the player and he gets booked. I’ll have to see it again but my natural reaction was it wasn’t a booking.”
    Howe really is a cynical, odious homunculus.

  19. 19
    BtM says:

    In response to your headline question 21CG, the game is rapidly descending into the realms of pantomimic soap opera. PGMOL appear to have happily adopted the guise of the ugly sisters and tribalism of the very worst kind is rampaging through the audience with opposing fans, coaches and TV pundits perversely preaching “oh no he didn’t” despite much evidence to the contrary.

    The current vector for the health of the game is a very worrying one. My simplistic solution for a rapid, first step solution is “Do what rugby does”. However, I doubt whether football’s men in black have the required competence and composure skill set to credibly explain their reasoning on the decisions taken on the evidence available in Newcastle two nights ago.

    We didn’t deserve to lose that game. Nor, however, did we do enough to deserve to win it. We created two good chances. On the first, Martinelli shot straight at Pope after working his way well into position. On the second, Rice will be disappointed by his header that sailed by the left post. Eddie doesn’t cut it at this level of football. Saka’s level has dropped and teams are prepared for his desired left turn inside. While Martinelli and Odegaard remain likely scorers, in Jesus absence as a disruptor, our potency versus last season is noticeably reduced.

    Our defence was excellent (absent the ‘goal’ after the ball was out). Rice and Saliba were quite superb.

    Guimares’ forearm smash and his shoulder charge into Jorgi’s back, both offences committed when the ball was nowhere near, we’re the acts of someone completely out of control, exhibiting symptoms of road rage on a football field. Straight reds both in my book.

  20. 20
    Bathgooner says:

    Thank you 21CG. for your masterful, calm and measured report. I think Dave would be proud to see such a fine report under his byline (no pun intended). You define the key event of the day superbly and its place in the wider descent of the officials (and the game) into ridicule. I wonder to what further depths they can plunge? One question, though. Is this soap a comedy, a tragedy or both? It’s certainly a farce. I used to go to theatres to see farces and to football to see honest sporting endeavour. Arteta also defines it well. I too feel sick.

    It’s heartening to read such a great collection of Drinks. It’s quite like the old days, really, with many great points from regulars and occasionals. I agree with all those points. We did not deserve to win. Nor did we deserve to lose, especially not to a bent (for whatever reason) set of officials. Our wide boys were stifled by mass defence in the absence of the central chaos that Jesùs brings to the table. Eddie, bless him, cannot cut it at this level. Rice and Saliba towered above everyone else on the park and not only in stature. I like how Rice exudes leadership without the armband and stands up for his mates in red and white. Our self-induced goalkeeping situation is, to my mind, bizarre. I too was impressed with Havertz and I liked his wicked grins after giving verbals to some lumpen oaf in stripes – he’ll do well for us, wait and see. Howe’s dishonest post-match comments show him to be a perfect fit for the state he represents (’nuff said).

    Great day-out report, C100. Glad you had a safe, if not a perfect, trip. But, while 21CG is sure to appreciate your observation that he has produced a mature report, did you need to suggest that therewith, he had aged a century?

    One final question for our resident classicist (CER), is Bruno Latin for odious Cnut? There just seems to be a pattern.

  21. 21
    ClockEndRider says:

    Spot on, Bath. Re Bruno, it’s from the word for brown, which seems pretty apposite for a turd like Guimaraes.

  22. 22
    bt8 says:

    Excellent write up 21cg. Re: Your first question (Did the ball go out of play? Yes, but there were apparently no conclusive angles):

    It should be, quite obviously in my humble opinion, the bare minimum responsibility of PGMOL to put a camera directly on the end line so a conclusive angle is a matter of course in such situations.

    But the foul on Gabriel was the most obvious reason (and a very obvious reason indeed) why the goal should have been disallowed.

  23. 23
    Ollie says:

    Quite right on all scores, baff. I’m still not fully sold on Havertz, but yes indeed at least this time, there seemed to be some fire in the boy.
    Great stuff, C100, glad you had an excellent trip including a tasty curry!

  24. 24
    C says:

    For anyone interested, and who visits Newcastle (or indeed lives there!) this is where I ate


    It has my highest recommendation.

    A couple of corrections to my drink 12 above. As Bath points out 20CG is of course 21CG. And I meant to describe the Newcastle fans in the street as loud not low.

  25. 25
    Countryman100 says:

    And C in drink 24 is of course me!

  26. 26
    Ollie says:

    Oh so not 21CG’s Dad. 😀

    Thanks for the link, C100, though it has just made me wish I could teleport for lunch now.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Great report c100 @12 & 24 but asthat menu says, My Delhi’s Newcastle restaurant is only one of their three locations, the other two being in Sunderland And Leicester (sic). Looking forward to to your future away day reports to test them out, whether they be for cup ties or post-promotion PL fixtures for those two clubs.

  28. 28
    Countryman100 says:

    Bt8 @ 27. Good point. Although you’re never short of a decent curry in Leicester. My son went to University there and he knows all the good places, many of which we’ve sampled after a visit to the King Power.

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Wise beyond your years to await the cold light of morning before putting fingers to keyboard, 21CG. That is reflected in how your report calmly hits the right notes and asks the right questions. Bravo.

    Lots of thoughtful comments in the drinks. C100 in fine away form to brighten the day after, too.

    I won’t be alone in assuming that the PL will be down like a ton of bricks on Arteta and the club for backing him (and the vengeance of PGMOL officials is likely to be even more swift and unforgiving). It does cross my mind, however, that the club’s willingness to support Arteta may imply that behind the scenes, there is an undercurrent of concern swirling among the clubs that the standard of refereeing is putting at risk, not so much the integrity of the game, but the value of their honeypot. PGMOL is a third-party contractor, but the PL carries the reputational risk of its shoddy workmanship. Unfortunately, the PL has limited to no options when it comes to replacing the PGMOL or taking refereeing in-house, so it will have to find a way to put the squeeze on it to get its house in order.

    From the very outset of its coverage, Sky realised, like a firebrand populist politician or a religious revivalist preacher, that anger, outrage and division create engagement. It will see all three whether they are there or not. A matey cabal of pundits makes for witless accomplices.

  30. 30
    Trev says:

    Well said, 21CG, although on the question of integrity there is maybe a discussion to be had about PGMOL officials earning attractive sums of money from matches they are awarded in foreign leagues. Leagues owned by the same people who own teams in those officials’ home leagues.

    There should be NO officials on the payrolls of owners of clubs.

    How has this not been noted and banned by the Premier League, FA, or PGMOL themselves if they had one atom of integrity ?

    It is, as Mikel said, a disgrace. What are the chances of this particular topic being discussed on “Howard’s Webb of Intrigue” or whatever that shitshow is titled.

  31. 31
    Trev says:

    So Jamaal Lascelles is “fuming” because Jorginho refused to shake hands with him after the game.
    He doesn’t think “players like that” are “acceptable”.
    “Whatever happens on the pitch, handbags or whatever, you show sportsmanship and shake hands.”

    This clearly should include taking a cowardly shove in the back and then being told to get up – presumably to get you booked for play acting; taking a forearm to the head and accepting defeat to a goal scored by a cheat who crossed in a dead ball, and another cheat who shoved the defender in the back and headed the ball to an offside teammate to strike home.

    But it is Jorginho who lacks sportsmanship.

    There are some proper cunts in football who literally leave you lost for words.

  32. 32
    Ollie says:

    Great points, Trev.

  33. 33
    Trev says:

    Great drinks above from, well, everyone 👍🏻👍🏻

  34. 34
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A pitch-perfect articulation of match day experience that evidently spoke to us all Arsenal supporters around the world! Bravo 21CG and thanks!

    Sports can inspire and enable the nobler, joyous side of human nature while releasing its tribal violence in an individually and socially safe manner; as much as it can encourage the expression, vindication and validation of everything that’s mean, violent, destructive and harmful.

    Carl Sagan once wrote: “In our tenure on this planet we’ve accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage – propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we’ve also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence – the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.
    Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us.”

    Which aspect of our nature will prevail and continue to impose itself in PL, and maybe in the world of football now is becoming completely clear to everyone. Less a way to redeem ourselves, but just another exercise in narcissistic celebration of power and wealth.

  35. 35
    OsakaMatt says:

    That Carl Sagan was way over my head😉

    And also what Trev said @31.

  36. 36
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Can we at least laugh at Spuds now for a while?

  37. 37
    Countryman100 says:

    Great stuff from Frank Stubbs


  38. 38
    OsakaMatt says:

    Funnily enough I thought Romero and Udogie were actually lucky to stay on the pitch as long as they did, anyway ahahahahahhahaha

    I suppose Pep is the happiest man in the PL this weekend

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    The new GHF Predictathon leaderboard has been posted. Head over to the GHF Contests tab to see the latest. Lots of movement this week, and for the first time since Match Week 2, someone has escaped from the relegation zone.

  40. 40
    OsakaMatt says:


    Belated Happy 60th to Ian Wright with his hat trick in the cup…..

  41. 41
    OsakaMatt says:

    I must admit that I also sent this because I was so surprised Wirghty is 60 already!
    And I remember the game too as I had really wanted to go and couldn’t

  42. 42
    Ollie says:

    Cheers for the update, Ned!
    Think I’ll be in freefall from now on :-O
    Congrats to baff for a stellar weekend.

  43. 43
    Bathgooner says:

    I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  44. 44
    Bathgooner says:

    Meanwhile Saint Gary the Red, that crusader for the underdog (provided the underdog is not one of his employees) is leading the charge against Arteta and Arsenal:


  45. 45
    Ollie says:

    Indeed, Bath @ 44. I notice they also manage to kind of praise Ange Cuntecoglou for not complaning too much (well he got a yellow so I guess he did during the match…) and accepting decisions (so he said) that were….actually not even controversial.
    In fact the only massively controversial decisions last night (from what I read, as I was out so didn’t watch that match) were the non earlier sending off of two of his players…. (amusingly they both still ended up being dismissed).

  46. 46
    Bathgooner says:

    Another good piece by Keenos this morning on https://shewore.com.

  47. 47
    Bathgooner says:

    Yep, Ollie. Both should have gone earlier. Even Saint Gary thought those ‘challenges’ merited reds.

  48. 48
    Trev says:

    Ollie @45 – exactly.

  49. 49
    Trev says:

    Oh dear – just checked the GHF Predictathon …

    It’s nowhere near the best league in the world – it’s a disgrace – it’s embarrassing – it’s so hard to win this league – I’m wasting my time (in 16th) – I cannot be in the hands of these people – it’s embarrassing.

    And I’m not even bottom ! 🤣

  50. 50
    ClockEndRider says:

    I’m blaming VAR for my performance.

  51. 51
    Bathgooner says:

    I’m sure you are correct, CER. Console yourself with a brilliant half century.

  52. 52
    Bathgooner says:

    Meanwhile, Mikel has a very creditworthy problem with stinky drawer:

    Arteta: It’s my responsibility to speak up

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    *VAR Review*
    Half-ton awarded to CER. Check over.

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, CER.

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    The piling-in on Arteta’s post-SJP comment is only to be expected. Why do the hard stuff of fixing VAR when you can just take a pop at someone who has the temerity to say what most are thinking?

  56. 56
    OsakaMatt says:

    It was a clear and obvious error but I will congratulate CER anyway
    as I would be heartbroken if Jamal Lascelles thought less of me.

  57. 57
    OsakaMatt says:

    Ned, so far I have seen the same head in the sand nonsense from Saint Gary the Red, Chris Sutton and Barry Glendenning. I feel strangely proud of Mikel and the club that we are unerringly on the opposite side to such fuckwitted hypocrites.

  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    What OM said @57.

    When Neville accuses Arsenal of being classless and betraying its institutional history, the words ‘scraping’ and ‘barrel’ come to mind. Earthier phrases are available.

    Is there some secret clause in the employment contracts of ex-pros turned pundits that says they have to get outraged but only by the unimportant or transient and not by the consequential, so they keep the tribal passions of the punters enflamed but not create any controversy that would rock the good boat Honeypot?

    Bread and circuses.

  59. 59
    OsakaMatt says:

    New Riyadh got beat by Dortmund.
    Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

  60. 60
    TTG says:

    We would like the Barcodes to finish third in their group. They need to finish above AC Milan to do this. They then qualify for the Europa and get into the Thursday/ Sunday cycle which is depressing / time-consuming/reasonably demanding and likely to see them progress a bit further, thus jeopardising their hopes in the PL

  61. 61
    Las says:

    Many thanks to 21CG and C100 for the excellent report of the game from two perspectives.
    You gentlemen told everything above about this scandalous event. I am down and under and I don’t know how to come back and I am not sure that I will be able to enjoy the PL anymore.
    What Mike McDonald wrote is depressing enough. https://gunnerstown.com/arsenal/2023/11/06/id-rather-be-wrong-but-are-pgmol-running-ruining-the-worlds-premier-club-league/
    All too bad

  62. 62
    scruzgooner says: