The Chance Exists: Are Minds Focussed On Taking It?

Thanks to Big Al for standing in with yesterday’s match report. The world certainly seems a brighter place than on Friday when the Chicken Little’s were running around screeching about how Arsenal could be out of the top five by the time of kick-off tomorrow at Molineux. Fortunately the players are made of sterner stuff and produced an excellent performance against Manchester City. Combined with the putrid offerings by Tottenham and Chelsea, there is a real chance to put daylight and substantial pressure on those two by taking six points from the trip to Wolves and the visit of Wigan.

To put matters into perspective, that sequence of events followed by victory over Chelsea will leave Arsenal eleven points clear of fourth with Newcastle entertaining Stoke before Spurs visit QPR. The fixtures have been re-arranged for the final week of the season so that gap remains and probably grows more daunting in the minds of the pursuers.

But it brings its own pressure on the Arsenal players. This is a golden opportunity to all but seal third place and with that comes the weight of expectation. As much as those who were panicked by the media-led farce about being out of the top five, there is an inherent complacency that exists about a trip to Wolves and Wigan coming to The Emirates. That mindset cannot extend to the squad and nor should it. Theo Walcott admitted that complacency set in before the trip to QPR and Arsenal were duly punished.

Speaking in the aftermath of the win over City, Thomas Vermaelen placed his emphasis on organisation and concentration as the traits that will underpin a successful end to the season,

…in the Premier League, everybody can beat everybody, we can all drop points. You have to be focused, because every game will be hard. In some games we have shown a lot of quality and we can compete with everybody. But you have to be consistent in the league and sometimes that’s not been the case for us. But we will try to do that better next year. I’m confident we can do that.

Ending the season on a positive note, finishing third when ludicrous talk of relegation mirrored the season’s changes as summer drifted into autumn, lays important foundations for next season. It also offers the manager scope to negotiate with new and existing players, pointing out that his optimism for a new campaign is not unfounded.

Many factors beyond Arsenal’s control may influence outcomes adversely. The standard of officiating this weekend has highlighted how poor standards are at the moment. Or perhaps the benefit of mass broadcasting is that we know all of the officials are poor rather than it just being those who officiate at Arsenal. I took some reassurance – I hasten to add that I use that word in its loosest possible sense – that Stuart Atwell was as poor at handling Swindon Town versus Northampton Town yesterday as he has been in Premier League fixtures. Diabolical offside decisions and cast-iron penalties being missed are not the sole preserve of the upper echelons of the professional game.

You sense that the balance of experience and youth is right throughout the squad. In some cases they are contained in one player, Theo Walcott for example has made 216 Arsenal appearances (including 78 as substitute) and whilst it has not been his most consistent season – I think that was 2007-08), his productivity is better with defensive awareness continually improving. This is no doubt a result of having an experienced head such as Bacary Sagna behind him and the Frenchman’s influence cannot be underestimated.

The key is noting the importance of individuals such as Mikel Arteta but also not forgetting that bit part players such as Benayoun have key roles to play. Once again, he played well in a big match. As Vermaelen observed, the shape of the side looks good at the moment and they are defending more consistently than at any point during the season. The pre-Christmas good form stumbled at Eastlands before collapsing against Wolves at home. That point was the last until Bolton; it serves as a reminder that even the routine fixtures can be stumbling blocks.

If that does not focus minds, nothing will. On that note, I will vacate the pulpit and leave the sermon to Mr Herbert Chapman of The Arsenal.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 10, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 350 Comments.

  1. Morning YW… Great read as per norm.. 1st

  2. Nice post YW

    From the end of yesterdays post:

    Stew – Fair enough, and fair point, it was a flipant comment. It is sometimes hard to seperate those that made a valid argument and those that rant stupidly on the subject. But you are right; some of the points made earlier were worthy of a better post than the one I made.

    For what it is worth, I think it would be very hard to realistically say that we are worse off than other teams without watching every game for every team. And even then, what constitutes a “bad call” which could demonstrate a bias against us. For example; every game there will be a number of offisdes given (wrongly) which recieve very little attention. If the play had been allowed to go on an extra few seconds it may have resulted in the ball being put in the net, thus recieveing more scrutiny as it would now be a goal ruled out rather than a simple offside call.

    Are we the victim of this more than any other teams? People concentrate on the obvious major incidents, but I would argue that if there was a genuine bias against us, this would be a more effective and subtle way to derail us.

  3. YW – With regards to the bias debate; what is your take on it? I notice you have sort of alluded to it in todays post.

  4. Great post, Yogi! I’m a big fan of your blog all the way from India. Keep it coming 🙂

  5. Seems an obvious thing to say, but tomorrows game against Wolves is huge. The 3 theams below us are still within touching distance. A win tomorrow will see us 5 points ahead of the rest having played the same amount of games. It would cement our place and give us a little breathing space should we drop any more points. We still have a couple of tricky games left so a little margin for error would be more than welcome.

    The only danger is comlacency. Wolves are bottom and rightly so; they can play decent football but cannot defend for shit. If we are on our game we should take them apart.

  6. mattgoonerknight

    Morning all,

    I’m not really a big Twitter user but I’m familiar with the #blahblahblah = trending

    I’v gone with #StewartRobsonOut

    Too crass?

    YW – Spot on re. the squad – Yossi is our equivalent Park Ji-Sung of seasons past – not seen for weeks then trusted in the really big games. If he’s happy to perform the same role then I would be pleased to see he him here again next season – think he’s only got 1 season left on his Chelsea deal so shouldn’t be a problem – unless they realise he’s better than most of the players they currently role out.

    Really great results over the weekend; wish we could’ve played tonight while the buzz from our own and our rivals’ results remains strong. Shit, I reckon If we could have played Wolves literally straight after the Citeh win we would have put double figures past them such was the positive feeling!!

  7. GA

    I don’t think there is a co-ordinated intentional bias, i.e. there is no conspiracy against Arsenal. Quite simply there is a whole raft of inept decision-making going on with rules that instead of simplifying matters, make the judgements too subjective and inconsistent across the board. With the intense scrutiny now placed on referees, every official is scared of making ‘big calls’ for fear of being relegated to the Football League. Add into that the speed of the modern game, the officials are in invidious positions.

    For example, the offsides at Stamford Bridge were relatively straightforward with ball travelling short distances but in other circumstances, how can an official be sure of an offside when defenders and attackers are level(ish). They have to rely on the sound of the ball being struck to make their judgement; unless they are Marty Feldman, there is no way they can look at the ball and the attacker at the same time.

    Ultimately the referees need technology to help them and goalline aids, whilst useful, are the starting point. What football has to address is what it wants; does it want a utopian game where every decision is correct – in which case it has to be with technological assistance – or do we accept that officials are going to get decisions wrong in which case some aspects the game must change. For example, a manager cannot be removed from his position outside of ‘transfer windows’ so that some of that pressure is relieved.

    Crucially, we (supporters) need to accept that decisions go against teams more through incompetence than insidious reasons. We have the benefit of hindsight and replays to make our decisions. Referees don’t. And even with replays, we don’t always agree or get the decisions right ourselves.

  8. “The Chance Exists: Are Minds Focussed On Taking It?”
    My thoughts entirely Yogi – seventeen points behind – but there are eighteen to play for 🙂
    The chance does indeed exist. The best way to take second is aim for the top.

  9. The Real Stew Black

    GA – Yogi is pretty much in line with you. He has commented as such fairly consistently.
    Anyhoo as far as the post goes I’m glad to see Benny get a name check as I think he has done well and I for one would be delighted if he is signed up. Also the mention of Theo’s defensive work is well made. It’s a side of his game all too easily overlooked but he uses not only his speed but some real tenacious closing and tackling to allow Bac to get back from his marauding.
    I think he is becoming a proper Arsenal player – total footballer – with so many facets to his game. And let’s not forget his sublime finish which so unluckily came back off the post before TV and Benny came up against the magic field protecting City’s goal.

  10. YW – Yeah, that is my line of thought as well. Ref’s can be infuriating when they get easy decisions wrong, but I do believe it is just a mixture of incompetence/simply being human that is the cause.

    Every decision is so closely scrutinised, they would be unbelievably stupid to be giving decisions based on agenda.

    Somebody yesterday highlighted that Barca’s opposition being reduced to 10 men on a regular basis on bias in their lge and the CL. But does it not stand to reason? They have the ball the majority of the game, and the style of play drawns more fouls than many other teams style of play. Plus they have a couple of players who dive all over the place.

  11. this season has been truly amazing so far.
    we might not have won any silverware but were winning the battle for pride and winning the hearts and minds of the fans..

    the last team had something really wrong about it, too many wankers in it..
    then the summer happened and the woeful start to the season with heartbreaking results and more and more fans were becoming disillusioned with the club..

    it wasnt this teams fault, they’d be thrown together at the last minute with 5 games already gone and theyve galvanised the club..
    what a team we have now..

    the test aint over..strong leadership and strong support is still needed..but ive been feeling the vibes for a few weeks now..ive followed this team long enough to recognise a good one when i see it and above all else, the most important aspect of all this……

    …is the manager..ive seen that twinkle in his eye before..a twinkle i havent seen a while, but its there..

    we will not let this slip…

    its the eye of the tiger

  12. Steww – Agree about Walcott. I have long been a critic of him, as often in games when he was not scoring or assisting he could offer very little aprt from frustration to watch. The past 7 or 8 games though he seems to have “gone up a level” and is much more of a tangible threat.

    His workrate off the ball is better and he seems to have realised that he is not very good at dribbling and is using his pace much more effectivly. On this form he is well worth his place in the side.

  13. vP can’t buy a goal at the moment which you can understand as the odds even out after the tremendous run of form he has had. Unlike Tores though, his shots are missing due to bad luck, whiskers and freaky deflections and not an inability to deliver or hit the target. Lol.

    In the same way, I reckon we put a few in the bank against the Northern Chavs, as we hit everything except the score sheet, until one of our slated ‘inferior’, panic buy players stepped up to pencil one in – what a screamer .

    Furthermore I am hoping we will be saving those banked beauties for when we play their poorer Southern cousins at the emirates in a couple of weekends time – the Chav-nots.

    Wolves and Wigan? ……..One nil to The Arsenal will do.

  14. With Chelsea and Spurs dropping points yesterday, our game tomorow against relegation-threatened Wolves gives us the chance to further cement 3rd place. BUT BEWARE.
    Historically, this is just the sort of game which attracts calamity to our great Club.
    We are on a near unbeaten run, we have just overwhelmed a title contender and our confidence is high……all the ingredients for clutching disaster out of triumph.
    Although not a pessimist, I am something of a realist and have sadly seen this sort of scenario so often over the past 80 years as a fan of Arsenal.
    I will be glad when Wednesday is over and hope that we have beaten not only Wolves but also the occasional curse which has so often blighted our progress over the years. Fingers (and everything else) well and
    truly crossed. 😆

  15. the refs are just shit..
    plain and simple..

    the speed of the game, the athletisism of the players, the rules have changed over the years to make it faster and give advantages to the attacking team..
    the referree and his mates are not as fit, not as quick, and the rules are now left to interpretation rather than a definate yes or no..the offside rules a fucking joke these days..

    footballs evolved, the referees havent..

    and we see it all the time..

    in every game..

  16. The Real Stew Black

    GA he’s shown some really good quick skill on receiving the ball as well. Sudden turns which leave defenders standing. I think the hoo ha about him earlier in the season is proven to be baloney by his stats for the season. And just ask RVP if he’d have scored so many without Theo on the pitch.

  17. Yogi – your first paragraph of the reply to GA – right on.
    Every fan and their dog thinks referees are biased against just their team. Ludicrous. Martin Andersen was clearly unsighted for the Balotelli attack on Song – he didn’t even give a free kick – but what about the assistant? And is the fourth official’s only role to watch the clock and take abuse from both managers? Incompetence is frustrating and I guess we have to live with it, otherwise the game we love will become more like American “Football” with stops and starts to watch the video every few minutes. I suppose they could bring in a rule (like the one for tennis players) where managers can ask for a limited number of replays per half and/or per match. But in cases like Sunday’s, it would surely be an improvement for match officials to be able to watch a quick replay when they are unsighted. It seems likely with all the focus on this incident that MB will be punished retrospectively, but having him on the pitch for another 80 minutes was a travesty. The same for Wigan – first goal against them a clear offside, then a punch in the stomach going unpunished just before Chelsea scored their winner.
    And whether Ashley Young dived or not isn’t the main issue – he was clearly a yard or so offside running behind the defensive line and the assistant was in a perfect position – astonishing.
    But there is no easy solution. Everyone has their pet hate referee (mine’s Phil Dowd), but we all make mistakes. Hopefully someone, somewhere, in the FA, is keeping an eye on this and sending persistent incompetents for retraining, not just taking them out of the media glare for a short time.

  18. has anyone got any info on the twitter row up that happended over the holiday?
    apparently piers the cockend morgan and that bloke who left us for the money had a ding dong and lescott, de jong, rosicky, eboue and frimmers got involved..

    with eboue calling out nasri saying he was a star in london and now hes just a streetlight in
    i take it all back..i like eboue 🙂

  19. Yeah, he has been much more effective this year. I used to tear my hair out watching him. He would often just run the ball out of play or even leave it behind when he set off. There has been end product this year, and you can’t ask much more than that.

    I know many clamour for him to play in the middle, but I actually think his current position is perfect for him. He will still get in plenty of goalscoring opportunities and he is much harder to mark when he makes his runs in behind the defence. If he were playing centrally it would be much harder for us to get him behind their defence and he would be easier marked.

  20. The Ivanovic punch must surely be acted upon by the FA? There is now way they can ignore that.

  21. pedantic george

    So its just a series of unfortunate quirks of fate that has seen Arsenal awarded not one single penalty at the Emirates this year.
    It is just strange luck that opposing players can commit foul after horrendous foul with impunity and our players are shown yellow at the drop of a hat.
    The other day it was suggested(by YW I think,but I could be wrong)that we should protest more and
    pressure Referees in order to gain the same advantage that other,less sportsmanlike ,teams do.Well does that not suggest that other teams are now getting more favorable decisions than us?
    We seem to accept tat a small drop in effort of 1 or 2 % can effect the result.yet people refuse to accept that a bias of 1 or 2 % would also effect results.
    Still, we should just score more and shrug our collective shoulders .Eh lads?

  22. The Real Stew Black

    So we are to conclude that bias and corruption only happen elsewhere. One of the richest leagues in the world is free of it. Despite it happening in other countries.
    Not too far fetched then.
    Bury your head in the sand by all means folks but just consider this; isn’t it deeply suspicious that given the clamour of people supecting corruption, the nationwide outcry amongst those who follow the game there is silence from the media, silence from the authorities and no investigation?
    That in itself raises a stink to the heavens.

  23. The penalties at home (or lack of) is a strange one all right. Much of our play is in the final 3rd, but often around the penalty area with quick incisive bursts into it. If you compare that to a team like Manure who get the ball into the area as quickly as possible (they cross the ball readily). Could be an explanation?

    George – “Well does that not suggest that other teams are now getting more favorable decisions than us?

    Not really. It suggests we are not pressuring the ref’s as much as other sides. If it is proven that there is ground to be gained by doing this we should do it more.

  24. Speaking of pelanties not being awarded it reminds me of the ’embargo’ after the supposed Dudu dive. No conspiracy among the refs there was there.

  25. GA: I love you as a fellow gooner. But what annoys me a lot about many, not all, of your posts is your natural reflex to go with conventional wisdom, hackneyed and cliched as it often is. As Stew observed, in response to reasoned debate about refereeing bias and incompetence, you dismiss it as paranoia. I might well be reading the Guardian/Telegaph or Daily Heil. Afterall, in their world, all is well in the EPL, totally incorruptible. Later on you admit to once having doubts about Theo. If I recall, during Theo’s most unproductive spell, you kept echoing the no footballing brain nonsense peddled by the plundits and media, when most reasoned ACLFers pointed out Theo was suffering because he did not have the support of a genuine fullback.
    To be honest, you are always decent enough to admit that you were wrong. Best to end on a positive.


    Penalty stats. If you go back over the years there is nothing to suggest and dodgy goings on. Sometimes we get plenty of penalties, some season we don’t. The same as other teams.

  27. pedantic george

    Andy.So we need to pressure Referees so we get equal treatment?
    That is what you are saying,yes?
    Therefore we are “NOT” getting equal treatment.Therefore there “IS” bias.

  28. In the absence of cast iron proof, the discussion about the reasons for crap refereeing is doomed to loop, endlessly. However, I think most of us on here agree that the level of refereeing is truly crap. And that something should be done about it. The question remains, what? Video replays, bigger pool of referees, use of foreign referees in the PL, making the allocation and disciplining of referees more transparent, consistent use of retroactive punishment for e.g. diving (for the pre-emptive effect), changing some especially opaque rules like the offside rule (did he affect play or didn’t he)… other?

  29. pedantic george

    We should expect to get more penalties as we have the ball in the opponents box more than any other team.
    That we don’t is evidence of odd goings on.

  30. Spot on dkgooner,
    That criminal assault on SONG happened in front. Of three pairs of eyes. As blind by bias as bats.
    And spot on. PG,
    just shrug it of mate. The solution is to score so many goals to cancel out what the refs. Do to us.
    He played 80 more minutes after that assault. Travesty is right fucking word.
    Oh, fuck man united…

  31. Shotta – The love is returned matey 🙂

    I always try and air my own views regardless of if they agree with any others. Rightly or wrongly. And I do think that people are paranoid about conspirecies, and I stand by that. I just don’t see it and would be genuinely shocked if it were true. I see refs making bad cals for loads of teams in loads of games. Natuarally as Arsenal fans we pick up on the ones that affect us. That does not constitute a bias though.

    On Theo, he is gradually proving me wrong, and I will be more than happy to eat humble pie at the end of the season. I don’t think I ever spouted the “no football intelligence” (I could be wrong), but whilst a soundbytle I can honestly see why people would have levied that against him. Some of his decision making was awful at times. The thing for Theo now is to carry on producing this type of form next year; if not he has AOC chomping at the bit fotr his slot in the side.

  32. The Robson petition is being promoted on goonerholic as well – looks like it’s taking off!

  33. maybe we aint getting all that many pens cos we play with one striker and he spends the most of his time smashing the ball in the net..
    if he was a diving cunt maybe we’d win a few more but who gives a shit he finds the back of the net anyway..

    and we got a shit load of pens last year

    still got us fucking nowhere didnt it…

    i hope there is a conspiracy in the league
    then at the same time as making everyone happy it makes all wengers achievements void becuase weve been one of the most successful teams in the league therefore making us a part of the conspiracy..

    so when the conspiracy sees us win its ok but when it sees someone else win its not fair boo hoo..

    its a can of worms that needs to stay closed becuase if the ‘truth’ ever comes out it will involve us more than people think..

  34. George – “Andy.So we need to pressure Referees so we get equal treatment?
    That is what you are saying,yes?
    Therefore we are “NOT” getting equal treatment.Therefore there “IS” bias.

    No George. If we are getting differnt treatment because we are not influencing refs that is not bias. It is ref caving into pressure; and presuure that we do not utilise. Weak refereeing…yes. Bias….no.

    We should expect to get more penalties as we have the ball in the opponents box more than any other team.

    But do we? I am not convinced we do. We have the ball in the final 3rd more that anybody else (I would imagine), but the box? Maybe not.

  35. JonJon – “its a can of worms that needs to stay closed becuase if the ‘truth’ ever comes out it will involve us more than people think..

    Like nobody at all 😉

  36. Jon Jon

    Eboue is not on twitter it is a false account. As is the Rosicky account.

  37. Sensational Arsenal

    Two d*cks are publicly betting on our club winning trophies. I would prefer for us to stay under the radar and that includes fans to stop with the over the top bragging. I wonder how Morgan came to be an Arsenal supporter. All his bragging and his general d*ckishness make him a prime candidate to be a Manchester Utd supporter. It is so embarrasing that he and I share something in common, especially our beloved club. Maybe there is a law somewhere that can prevent him from talking anything about Arsenal?

  38. By and by, I think it would be prudent to send a representative up to the Molinex to make sure the pitch hasn’t. Been tampered with as in the MILAN away game, QPR away game and twice at the black cats away games. Lets make sure the Basterds know they can’t cheat their way to a win.

  39. andy
    it amazes me that the people who call for conspiracy forget the fact that when dein was here we were clearing up..dein was also on the board of directors of the FA at the time and all the other clubs were screaming murder and we were just laughing at them..

    now we not winning anymore every decision is being made out as a strategic attempt just to stop us..??

    funny as fuck….if theres a conspiracy now, there was one then..the pl hasnt just been around since 2005..

  40. cheers dups

    i take back what i took back about eboue 🙂

  41. Good morning all… Just signed the petition

    Now to read the post

  42. I’m interested; to all that think there is a conspiracy against us:

    Is it just against us, or does it include other teams? Is it contained to the PL. Or does this conspirary stretch into Europe?

  43. everyones against us..
    the whole world..

    forget about poor qpr and poor wigan..

    those decisions where made just to piss arsenal off..

  44. I’m serious. I want to know if people think that the refs are meeting up and spliting cash? Or if maybe just a few are against us?

    What I can’t understand though, is if there is a bias against us, how how we been allowed to recover from such a disasterous start to get into the quite amazing position we are in now? Surely if there was a bias/conspiracy against us, it would have been fairly easy to halt our march?

    I can see how people may jump on the idea of a conspiracy, but I don’t think they are really thinking through what they are saying.

  45. yes andy
    if there was a big thing just to stop us
    then why stop at the trophies??

    wenger prides himself on the cl record he has..

    if they hated him/us that much we wouldnt finish in the top 4
    they’d knock him off that perch as well the french fucker..

    and they definately wouldnt have allowed liverpool to be where they are..
    or is there a consipiracy against them as well??

  46. The only conspiracy i see is a conspiracy of fools running the FA. This can be borne out in their many policies and decisions that seem utterly nonsensical or out dated. Decisions like not adopting technology to aid refs, or attitudes that allow the refs to be beyond criticism but instead punishing managers who speak out against refs making the wrong decision or being at fault. Or not properly punishing dangerous tackles due to the out dated notion that the english game thrives on a good old up and at em attitude. Amongst others ……..

  47. pedantic george

    I have not seen one person suggest bribery or an organised conspiracy.The only idiots who use these terms are…………………well I will leave it at that.

  48. Agree with that.

  49. So what are you saying George? And how have we been allowed to rescue our season?

  50. pedantic george

    Its JJ and Andy who need the tinfoil hats if you ask me.They think there is a conspiracy by conspiracy theorists to make them believe in conspiracies.

  51. FUNGUNNER that is absolutely brilliant. I know of at least five other sites that will jump on this petitions band wagon. By the end of this week the wave of discontent will be big enough that it can’t be ignored. Shit, if we are gone clean up this league better to clean up some of the inhouse shit. And ROBSON IS CRAP. just like many of the Basterds passed off as referees. If you have a crappy employee, fire that crap employee. And hire a better one. That goes for officials too by the way.

  52. A word of advice for all sane readers. Don’t read ANR today. The bloke comes across as a tool even more than usual today.

  53. George – Heh, I have plenty of people on here saying that “the powers that be” conspire against us.

  54. pedantic george

    Andy why ask me what I am saying when i said this already?
    “We seem to accept tat a small drop in effort of 1 or 2 % can effect the result.yet people refuse to accept that a bias of 1 or 2 % would also effect results.”

  55. Funnily enough andy im just about to click on ANR now and give it a read 😉

    Also i would just like to say, is Song made of steel? I mean he clashed with the man mountain that is Yaya Toure and shrugged it off while Yaya went off. 🙂

  56. Against all odds we have rescued this campaign. And under the leadership of an amazing man working for a wonderful club. The only club.
    That’s how. Haven’t we been raving about the extra pair of nuts this team seems to have as opposed to last year team?

  57. George – I got that. Execept you have not given any evidence for Bias aside from citing bad decisions against us. Any fan of any team could do exactly the same.

    Don’t get me wrong George, my points are not really made with you in mind. More the people who really do believe that there is something more sinister going on. There could well be merit in what you are saying; but it is virtually impossible to disinguish your 2% bias against a simple but incorrect decision. And as I have pointed out, any team could point to the same 2%. Even Manure and M City.

  58. George – I liken your theory to the debate on religion. I am a complete non-believer, but even I cannot say 100% that there is no God. It can’t be proved. You can’t disproof something is not there, but that does not mean that it is.

  59. Deise – Heh, I await your thoughts 🙂

  60. oh jasus andy i should have listened to you and not read ANR ….. i dont even know where to start on his post today………..Song a hatchet man! ……Sagna crossing (hes really got better at that hasnt he) means we have run out of ideas! ….if city had 11 men then they would have kicked the ball up front and therefore we wouldnt have scored …erm we scored before they went down to 10…..theo and rvp limited in how they combine …what? .. Van Persie is too static, Walcott too stupid, Benayoun too old … does he watch any games never mind even the man city game? Creativity has declined …. we score average of 3 goals a game

    What a complete TOOL

  61. pedantic george

    Andy my contention is not a Bias against us ,although I don.t discount it altogether,more a favourable bias for our main rivals.And they are the ones splashing the cash,and who put the wonga in everyone’s pocket,all be it indirectly in most cases.

  62. mattgoonerknight

    Bias is not the same as corruption.

    Analogously, I feel there is a media bias against us and a bias in favour of the spuds – of that I’m convinced. However, do I think the hacks, editors, presenters and producers etc of the various media outlets are actively in cahoots with one and other, thinking of new ways in which they can chip away at the public perception of us while simultaneously laying on a veritable aphrodisiac feast for the sp*rs love-in? No.

    Obviously, it’s fair to assume that all News Corp / BskyB output will toe the the same party line, as will other media outlets which are subject to a shared ownership but this does not explain the wider felt anti-Arsenal / pro-Sp*rs sentiment that is continually perpetuated.

    Perhaps anti-Arsenal / pro-spuds sells. Championing and in turn consuming ‘Arry’s slap up English breakfast is perhaps a more digestible proposition for the masses than the continental flavour of the Le Professor’s Gallic gourmet menu. Arsene’s intelligence is perversely presented as the cold, calculated negative binary of ‘Arry’s warm, charismatic illiteracy. A mirror or society?

    Maybe the refs are frightened of becoming public enemy and / or damaging their career opportunities of refereeing the top games. Damaging Man United’s, media darlings and beacon of the national game, title aspirations is going to be provocative. Perhaps individuals have been persuaded by sinister means but is there really an international network at work here? And what is the criteria of entry into this club? How many teams are in it? Despite our media persona are we not big enough of a footballing entity to be invited to the bribe club?

  63. PG

    >I have not seen one person suggest bribery or an organised conspiracy

    I have seen several on here mention corruption which, by inference, includes bribery and gain through unethical means. Several also point to organised conspiracy. My contention is that in isolated cases, there may well be corruption involved but I have never understood why anyone would believe that there is an organised conspiracy to ensure that Arsenal fail. Or more pertinently, Manchester United win.

    Fundamentally there are two reasons for it. Corruption disguised as ineptitude will always become exposed over time and let’s be honest, the refereeing across all divisions is becoming more markedly exposed by media scrutiny hence more mistakes identified. Secondly, English football has bar for 1950 – 1975, always had a dominant team: Arsenal in the 1930s; Liverpool 1970s – 90; United 1996-onwards. This pattern will continue with the top four remaining unchanged for sustained spells. Someone else will over time become as dominant as those teams, particularly with the money spent on players alone.

  64. good god, I just found out that the head of the referring association is a life time man fucking united fan. How STUPID do they think we are???

  65. Sorry 2 goals a game.

    oh and this one – ‘Arsenal have turned themselves into Everton in red shirts and it’s worked. If your attack is unreliable and not prolific, doing that makes sense.’

    I thought it was our defense that was unreliable? Im confused……..

  66. Deise – Ha, I did warn you.

    George – Fair point.

    Matt – Nice post.

    Are the media biased against us? Quite possibly, but who cares? I used to enjoy the days where everybody hated us. And there are a fair amount of pundits who seem quite pro-Arsenal. Low and Behold, they also seem to be th pundits who actually know their stuff as well. Neville/Souness/Gullitt are more often than not very complementary about us.

    I can’t say I give 2 shits what the likes of Jaime Redknapp and Stan Collymore say about us. Their opinion means 100% nothing to anybody with half a brain cell.

  67. MGK

    >I feel there is a media bias against us and a bias in favour of the spuds – of that I’m convinced

    There is for several reasons not least of which is a predominance of spuds in the media. Add in their chuminess with ‘Arry and you have a mixture of Hell-inspired proportions.

    Similarly, many are frightened of the Old Trafford media department so don’t want to upset the applecart. Until recently the AFC dept was seen as a pushover but there is a complaint in the media that AW has cutback on his press time. Hardly surprising is it?!!

  68. i echo what andys saying
    my posts are not directed at you in particular george me ol china..
    but i have seen many posts on here that prove your statement false

    almost every day

    and when your mate hunter was here it was almost every post..

    yogi called it the other day..
    theres too much of a scattergun approach on this and we put the whole footballing world to rights based entirely on our own self importance.

    there was uproar from sections of gooners when qpr and wigan got fucked over but who really gives a shit about wigan and qpr??

    nobody does..unless it fits in with the theory that its all done on purpose to stop arsenal??

  69. if the powers that be do introduce video reply into the mix how the hell are they gonna get away with the shit their pulling now?? I know, they will just replace it with other methods of tilting the scales towards their favored picks. Rely more heavily on their media connections to shower negativity on certain teams. Be more lax about issues such as pitch standards. As far as size and quality. Any a few other ways.

  70. Goonerkam – Who are the mysterious “powers that be”?

  71. mattgoonerknight

    Cheers Andy,

    And you’re right – I liked us being disliked. Anti-heroes / antagonists are always the coolest!

    It’s just annoying that how despite as a club and a team we do almost everything in the “right way” (with class, humility and style) it still always remains open season on us, every season!!


    Sounds like we need some ex- Wenger era gooners to get on the Sky payroll: Smudge and Merse are not THIS Arsenal.

    Keown seems good when I’ve seen him on ESPN and the Beeb.

  72. goonerandy – i think he might mean The Mysterons!

  73. Martin is a damn good choice. Although I would rather have him involved in coaching role with us. Why not a rotating role with a few different ones to add their point of view and spice.

  74. pedantic george

    Andy,why is our “French ” manager who is intelligent,witty,honourable and loyal and who has achieved things no one in history has,ridiculed and attacked by the media and Harry ,who is none of the above ,given such an easy time?Not to mention King Kenny.
    Is there a media bias?Or what?
    Or are they just making genuine mistakes and being incompetent.

  75. George – I don’t care if there is a media bias. The media don’t affect our results. Arry and King Cunny are welcome to the press reach around party.

  76. Id have Keown on the coaching staff, even as le Boss’ second in command. He must have his coaching badges as he spent time with us a while back didnt he. Also Jens looks to be on the coaching trail too so getting him in as goalkeeping coach wouldnt be a bad idea either….

  77. Desie, I actually meant the Irish Ulster. Haha. And Andy should know better than calling someone a stupid ranter and then try to engage said poster in a dialogue.

  78. Now, now george. That’s just mischievous.

    Media bias is not controversial or in doubt. Corruption is not the same and is in doubt.

    Hacks are incompetent, also lazy, poorly trained and with more angles than a hexagon.

    Rerfs are incompetent, badly trained and probably have a few angles of their own.

    You just can’t compare bias and corruption though. Apples and oranges.

    Mind you, bias could facilitate corruption on an occasional basis and could certainly instil a deep antipathy towards a club which could be damaging.

  79. Good afternoon ACLF.

    I gather Samir Nasri has come out to remind people that Man City will still win a trophy before Arsenal. Now where are those “wait until the end of the season and you’ll see why I came here” quotes that he made?

    As bitter as folks were at the start of the season, £25 million for such a cunt really seems like good business.

  80. pedantic george

    Bob,If we accept a bias from the media ,why could the same feelings and prejudice not exist in another set of professionals?

  81. pedantic george

    Also Bob I have not claimed corruption ,only bias.

  82. George – Because the media and professional referee’s work to a completely different set of rules. An further to that, many concentrate of the likes of Atkinson who is a Manure fan. 2 points on that. Are any ref’s Arsenal fans? Could well be. And more significantly, most people who are not Manure fans dislike them intensely. So if we assumre refs are no different, would it not be more likely that most refs don’t actually like Manure one bit?

    Darius – Good business indeed.

  83. The football media have their darlings (Twitchy and King Kenny (pfftt)), those they see as fair game for all kinds of criticism, fair or otherwise (Hodgson, Wenger), and those that they are afraid of upsetting(Sir Alex) and rarely or begrudgingly change their stance. They keep their darlings because they are always sure of a soundbite due to said darlings loving the attention. They keep up the unfair and unwarranted slagging of others because they know they will get under the skin of the reasonable people which will then create clicks or shift papers. And then they kiss the arse of others because they are afraid they will upset precious and not be allowed to bask in their greatness. Most of the press are hacks and weasels and who pander to those that crave attention and controversy where none exists. Some have genuine insight and articulate comments but get overshadowed by their less classy colleagues. Such is the modern state of journalism where football is concerned.

  84. Deise – That is bang on. But please, lets address people correctly. King “Cunny”.

  85. I’d be more swayed by the calls of corruption if anyone had any details that corroborated the supposition. It seems to centre around several games in which the officiation was so poor and so clearly against The Arsenal that the only conclusion some can find is that it was deliberate. I understand that reaction but the human condition is such that we designed to notice the wrongs committed against us and to disregard those that fall in our favour. There are several chapters devoted to this ‘blindness’ – how it colours our perceptions and affects our lives in some of Dawkins better books.
    As football fans, and I think we should remember it comes from the word ‘fanatic’, we are even more susceptible than usual. Part of being a football fan is tribal bias.
    This in no way excuses some of the horrendous officiating we have seen and I do feel we are entitled to feel more aggrieved than most. But to go from there to a conclusion of some kind of collusion is a leap made without evidence. We should demand more of our officials but mostly I feel they need better support and better rules to work by. The rulebook seems designed to impair them and the efforts to make their decisions sacrosanct.
    The best way to analyse this is with statistics – the Freakonomics men would be ideal for this, given the sterling work they did in uncovering systemic cheating within the most hallowed of sports ‘Sumo Wrestling’. It was held as an ironclad belief that there was a purity within that sport – allied is is is to religious beliefs that cradle themselves on notions of honour and purity. It was the numbers which made the difference in revealing the the truth, though it has not been a truth many have been prepared to accept. But Sumo’s structure and method of payment is actually designed in a way which encourages dishonesty.
    Would the same happen if we crunched the stats for football? Maybe, but we would have to be clear what we were looking for and that’s where I find the bias theories fall down. The suggestion always seems a rather nebulous anti Arsenal, ‘everyone is against us’ kind of vibe.
    When presented with stats that show a different picture (see Andy’s earlier post) this is often discounted and specific examples are cited (the Newcastle game etc). That game did reek but that in itself is not proof of deliberation and there is no suggestion as to the reason behind such skulduggery. Why would a ref risk his career and reputation? If it was a pay off it would have to have been significant to make it worthwhile. If that is the case who was paying – I think we can rule out Newcastle but did Chelsea or Man Utd feel significantly threatened by our form to make such a risky approach to a professional referee? Extremely doubtful.
    In the past, when corruption has been uncovered it is almost exclusively in collusion with gambling. We have many strictures in place to uncover such activity – no one is more keen to look for irregular patterns than the bookies themselves and they have algorithms that trawl the data to uncover these very things (this happened recently in professional snooker).

    What we can all agree on is that refereeing in the modern game is woeful and that the idea that bad decisions ‘even out’ is palpable nonsense. Personally I wish more was done to help the poor bastards and that bad decisions weren’t enshrined in a misguided effort to protect the referee and his decisions as sacrosanct.

    People treat referees like scum enacting their tribal bile at them as soon as they make a wrong decision – (who hasn’t sung ‘the referee’s a wanker?’) but for me it is not usually them who are to blame but the system itself.

  86. Wigan I’d be nervous about. They’ve been playing pretty well and been unlucky not to pick up more points. Wolves? Well, if we lose to them we can only look at ourselves. Need to keep the focus. There would be a tendency to look ahead to Chelsea but truth be told that is the match that least worries me. You know our lads will be up for it and Chelsea will be in the middle of a hectic fixture list.

    Loved seeing Norwich take all three points. Despite the best efforts of the ref.

  87. Jonny – Superb post.

  88. None of the people who believe there is bias use the word corruption, so why do those of you who don’t insist on using it?

  89. Hang on. There’s no bias?
    So, therefore, there is no reason to have neutral officials in every single international sport? Like they do in Football?


  90. And we’ve been over preserving the sanctity of a saturday afternoon kickabout upon hackney marshes before. Many times. Given the shennanigans reported from afar as Turkey and Korea, from as close as bonnie Scotland (the land of the birth of Fitba and also the first conviction for spot fixing involving football in the UK) Video replays are a no-brainer for the EPL – unless you insist upoin lobotomizing your football brain.

  91. Surely everyone agrees there is bias? The question is whether or not it conscious or unconscious – if it is conscious then that is a problem.

    Just because people don’t use the word corruption to paint their argument does not mean that is not exactly what they are implying – I can be quite certain a lot of posters have implied exactly that. Only last week someone (cannot remember who) suggested that it would be of no surprise if City or Chelsea were paying refs…before that when I posted about the Bragia scandal there were numerous suggestions that this is going on in England too…

    I could go on but I think my point is clear enough…

    As an additional note I have never heard anyone at the club, from the manager down even hint at bent refereeing. Bad refereeing yes, but not bent.

  92. Bent Ref!

  93. YW, Andy, Diese, JJ, Jonny, etc
    Brilliants comments, but I fear it falls on deaf ears, in the same way that all the facts and logic in the world will not (by definition) make a truly religious person give up their faith.

    These arguments may make sense now, but the very next stupid/dogy ref call will lead to the same old accusations.
    The only thing I’m thankful for is that this time we’re winning inspite of the officiating, unlike previous seasons. We’re winning not because refs are suddenly giving us manure-type love, but because we’re suffering less from injuries, are playing well, and are finally showing the famed mental strength.

  94. The bias/corruption debate again??!? We’ve just won 8 out of 9, surely those biased against us and towards the media darlings (Redknapp and Dalglish apparently) wouldn’t be letting that happen and those same darlings’ teams slide down the league come the business end of the season while we cement third? Listen to yourselves.

  95. The standard of umpiring in cricket has improved greatly since the advent of DRS (decision review system). With the availability of instant replsys, something similar could be introduced with relative ease into the higher echelons of football.

    The essence of DRS is that it is only invoked if it clearly contradicts an umpire’s decision. Borderline decisions remain as the umpire called them. It’s not perfect – and there are still controversies – but it has eliminated obvious howlers. In football there seem to be a lot of these. The game would be fairer without them.

    I wouldn’t want to see referees routinely turning to the video cameras to make decisions for them, since this could cause substantial delays. But if it were used at the level of overturning evident mistakes, it would not need to be too obtrusive.

    It could, for instance, be confined to incidents which lead to (or prevent) a goal and serioius infractions which might result in a red card.

    I am sure one source of the suspicion of corruption (or, at best, bias) in football is the authorities’ reluctance to embrace video technology.

  96. The bias/corruption debate again ffs??!? Surely those biased towards the media darlings (Redknapp and Dalglish apparently) wouldn’t be letting their teams slide down the league while we cement third? The outcome doesn’t support the suspicion of bias, in much the same way it hasn’t for the last 15 years.

  97. The DRS system is deeply flawed and is under review itself. It has eliminated howlers but it has also dramatically changed the game in ways no one foresaw. It has turned left arm spinners into gold dust. It has certainly improved umpires but then umpiring in cricket was already at a very high standard – far greater than football.
    I’m not sure about replays ‘in game’ but I do believe decisions should be reviewed after the game, obvious mistakes rectified and cheating stamped down on hard. The ludicrous ‘the referee saw it so it can’t be changed’ law should be axed ASAP. It was this very law that allowed Roonpig to get away with blatant assault last season – a travesty and fucking joke all in one.


    Jonny, are you saying that unconcious bias is not a problem?

    So, therefore, there is no reason to have neutral officials in every single international sport? Like they do in Football?


  99. Outsmarted by wordpress again, sorry for the double post:

    are you saying that unconcious bias is not a problem?

    In which case then, there is no reason to have neutral officials in every single international sport? Like they do in Football?


  100. I agree with Marcus. DRS has been brilliant.

  101. Though I also agree that DRS is not perfect. It doesn’t matter.One reason cricket umpires are so good is that the bad ones, the biased ones, have been driven out of the game. Following one ruckus after another. Not the smoothest or most elegant journey, but they got there in the end.

  102. So – the conspiracy about the conspiracy on Arsenal continues. It is worth just mentioning how great it is yet again, that the level of debate, the ability for folks up in here to make coherent arguments in support of their position is really great.

    It’s very refreshing to go to a site with intelligent people and get such a quality level of debate – not just today. And the interesting thing is that even if folks don’t agree and throw stuff at each other, these same folks will probably sit in a pub and argue about who’s turn is it to buy the next round.

  103. Finsbury,

    you’ll have to explain to me what can be done about “unconscious bias”? By definition doesn’t that mean they don’t know they’re doing it?

  104. Not me Fins. I don’t even watch cricket 🙂

  105. Block4
    In every sport everywhere they make a provision for this unfathomnable ‘unconcious bias’ by having neutral officials. Just an observation.

  106. When football media is saturated with something long enough it seeps into the subconscience of all those with an interest in it. Whether they believe it or not it would seem to play a part in the thinking of people on some level. Refs wouldnt be immune to this and it may lend a hand in some of the dodgy decisions we see them make.

  107. Er, Merlot! I meant Merlot. Sorry Marcus.

  108. Finsbury – But to play devils advocate, how does anybody know they are neutral? They don’t even know themselves if we are talking about unconcious thoughts.

  109. Finsbury,

    Are our officials not neutral? I would have though that any referee would have supported some team or other as a boy and I know they’re not allowed to referee “their” team. It must be the same in rugby, cricket, baseball, county tiddlywinks ar whatever sport you care to mention. How do you have neutrasl officials? Are you talking about shipping them in from other countries. That might not work because it’s easily conceivable that an Azerbaijani referee might have a soft spot for Blackburn (OK,OK, Man Utd. then 😉 ). Robot terminator refs sent back from 2029 appear to be the only way to go. If you dive you are terminated, I reckon that would stop most of the cheating at least. I say most because some thick footballer would still think he could get away with it even though the ref now has 20/20 infra-red, x-ray vision and “detailed files”.

  110. I’ve personally called the FA and asked to know what is being done about the unwarranted assault on a Wigan player by Ivanovic on Saturday. If I saw someone punch a member on the public on the street, I have the right to call the local constabulary and report the crime.

    I told the FA official that if Ivanovic is not punished, I would have no option but to report it to the Metropolitan Police as a witness to an assault. Well, I didn’t see fuck all, but all the footage on Sky, from BBC and Chelsea TV should be enough even for Jack McCoy to make a circircumstantial case.

    By the way, the FA official did say that they were waiting on the referee reports before taking any action and that I should look out for news on their website about the Ivanovic and Super Mario assaults this past weekend.

    Of course I told him I’ll also report the assault on Alex Song to the police.

  111. Sorry, I’m just a sportsfan not a philospher. I note how administrators in all sports try to cope with the vagueries of the human condition and if, say, an ICC bureaucrat can get their head around such vagueries, I’m sure you chaps can too.

  112. You simply cannot do anything about unconscious bias Fins – we all suffer from it.

    As for DRS it’s a hot topic – certainly it has done way more to the game than it for what it was designated. The massive increase in LBWs has skewed the books and not everyone feels that is right.

    Personally I feel it has been a success but I do think it needs tweaking and it’s use definitely needs consistent application for all test matches. The piecemeal approach has been annoying to say the least.

    As I said, they are due to review it again shortly. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes next.

  113. While we wait for cyborg refs to complete their ref coaching and get their badges a few measures should be implemented for next season.

    Goal line technology.Speaks for itself.

    Post game reviews of contentions decisions with the ability to overturn a wrong decision. Just because a ref saw something and ‘dealt’ with it does not mean he interpreted it correctly in that split second he has to decide or saw the whole incident in its entirety. Therefore his decision should be reversable if seen to have been a mistake or if not punished severely enough or punished unjustly.

    Refs should not be so protected if a wrong decision is made nor should they be castigated for making mistakes, dito managers who question decisions should not be punished for speaking their mind. Rather both parties should be more open to discussion than the blame game.

  114. Well international football matches already have a neutral referee in that he/she is from a third country as does international cricket (noting that football did this long before cricket). As for the domestic versions of these sports they have domestic officials. So both sports are exactly the same regarding the neutrality of their officals. Who’d have thunk it?

  115. I wholeheartedly agree with that Deise. Treating refs like the Pope is a large part of the problem.

  116. Speaking of experiments, wouldn’t it be worth it if referees were exported around the world. I mean, we have foreign football owners, foreign managers, foreign coaches, foreign players – why not foreign referees.

    Surely, that will improve the pool and remove some of the cunts from contention.

  117. Darius – The FA won’t be able to get away with not giving Ivanovich a 3 match ban. It was simply far too blatent. I remember e-mail the FA years ago when Terry was sent off against Spurs. It was not apparent why he was sent off (no foul or anything), but there was definately words exchange between him and a number of their black players. Amazingly nothing was really made of it.

  118. I have long thought that refs should be interviewed after a game, much the same as players and mangers. Why not? And if they were shown a replay and they held their hands up and said “I got it wrong” I reckon they would get much more respect.

  119. Darius, wouldn’t that mean some of the cunts have to go to other countries to officiate their games? If this country wasn’t hated enough in Europe (especially) already I think that would be a great way to put the tin hat on it.

  120. GA, I remember they did start interviewing refs after matches a while back, maybe ten years or so ago. It stopped pretty quickly although I can’t remember a specific explposive incident that brought it to an end. It might have been a “trial” I suppose.

  121. Great post Yogi:

    Andy thanks for posting those penalty stats. Those who claim “bias” have been pointing out how ManU gets all the breaks when it comes to penalties. The stats clearly disprove that suspicion. I agree completely with Jonny’s post @ 12:50 and Yogi’s post at 9:37. JJ’s comments about David Dein also ring true. We laughed at them when the shoe was on the other foot.

    Every other team in every professional sports league in history has claimed bias officiating towards the “dominant team”. I don’t disbelieve the possibility that some form of subconscious bias like this might exist in every sport. Roger Federer probably got a couple more line calls going his way during his dominant period but he won because he was the best player, same with Michael Jordan. The reason ManU have finished ahead of us for the last 7 years is because they have scored more goals and conceded far fewer goals then we have every year. Its simple math. Those who claim bias have held the penalty issue as iron clad proof of a conspiracy yet the stats prove beyond a doubt that no favoritism has been given to ManU and no bias against Arsenal over the last decade with regards to the penalties awarded and conceded. That fact will be quickly dismissed.

    The bottom line is that its much easier to make the evidence fit the predetermined conclusion and the inconsistency of the officiating makes it very easy to do that. Jonny’s post at 12:50 is spot on with that regard.

  122. Block 4, but to quote the football plundit extraordinaire Alan Partdridge:

    “Ah ha!”

    Not one PL ref is from The South. The most populated part of the country. You may not care about that. I may not care about that. But it mixes up the odds of the unconscionable topic of unconscious bias. A bit. No need for any hyperbole, flatulence or effervescence but it is entirely reasonable to question the neutrality of your average PL ref, what with the history of the game in England. If they had a better selection of refs, I couldn’t have written the above, but they don’t. So either they need to improve their selection procedure, the structure behind it all, or everything is fine and dandy. No need to improve things as they are clearly doing a top, top, job.

  123. Heh.

    Howard Webb really impressed everyone in the last WC final. He did. Really. He did.
    Just kidding.

  124. Vermaelen and Kos….awesomeness.

    Signed the petition. Would be really happy without having to hear Stewart Robson’s whine.

    Nasri…City’s player of the month!

    I’d stick with Benny…both for next season and against the Wolves on Wednesday.

  125. Block4 – or alternatively, the doctrine of natural selection will dictate that those cunts be put out to pasture.

  126. Finsbury,

    Referees being biased against us (sorry, unconsciously biased towards our rivals) because they’re Northern is tenuous man, real tenuous. Really, that is a line of reasoning worthy of the great Mr. Partridge himself. I mean, if all those referees are Northern then surely there would be enough Liverpool, Man. City and Leeds supporting refs to make sure Man. Utd. don’t win another match this side of the rapture never mind a 20th league title!

  127. pedantic george

    Jonny”As an additional note I have never heard anyone at the club, from the manager down even hint at bent refereeing. Bad refereeing yes, but not bent.”

    Did Arsene not one famously say “we are not stupid ,we know what is going on here” Just after the Referee at Old Trafford had been a little incompetent (is that what you call it?)in favour of United ,Yet again.?

  128. Darius,

    Who’s to say that the refs elsewhere are any better? As far as I can see there isn’t a country around that is satisfied with their referees.

  129. If you look at the PL there art three teams that get beneficial treatment. Chelsea, city and united. City and chelsea are both loaded and united is the flagship of the PL.
    City last season was awarded 9points more than they should Down to refereeing. They stole toytenhams pl spot! Chelsea was gifted 4 points In the last two matches. United always gets benefits. They are such ambassadors for pl. they are the main team.

  130. And the notion that we are the victims ni all of this should surely have been put to bed by the way we have resuced our own season. It was our fault we started badly, and it is our own doing that we have turned it around.

    We have been on the wrong end of plenty of bad decisions, but the reason why have not won anything for a while is down to our own inadequacies as a team coupled with Manure (and Chelsea for a while) being a very very coherent unit. They don’t have the best players, but they are the best (most effective) team. Individual mistakes and seemingly a lack of mettle has been our bigest enemy over the years.

    As things stand at the moment we are seeing signs that we have put this sort of thing behind us and I fully epect us to challenge for the lge next year.

  131. From
    “At the time of the stamp on Song, it is understood that neither Atkinson; Peter Kirkup, his assistant on that side of the pitch, or Andre Marriner, the fourth official who was close by, saw the incident.”
    Eh? Why the f*** were NONE of them watching the game? I can understand if the ref is unsighted, but the other two as well? That’s really stretching credibility too far.

  132. Atkinson’s view was obstructed by 2 players, but the 4th official had a clear view and was only a few metres away.


    Block 4 I’m not sure if you understood me.

    If none the refs are from a certain part of the country that has the most people and the most clubs you’d have to be as, erm, confident as Alan Partdridge to believe that the way the officials has been selected follows what would be standard protocols in such matters (having refs from all over!). The way the referees are being selected is not adequate. I don’t really have to say anything more then that. So I won’t. Simples! But if you want to you can defend the PGMOB.

  134. Limestonegunner

    The petition is gaining traction. But there are thousands who have complained about (and millions who have been annoyed by!) Robson’s commentary, so we need to promote it further on twitter and on other blogs. I think by sometime next week, before the Chelsea match anticipation is at its height, we should send it to the club. That gives a week or so more.

    In the meantime, I’ve posted it to 7amkickoff and will remind folks there. I’ve also posted it on two articles comments on Untold Arsenal. Goonerkam, why not post it to those 5 websites/blogs you mean? I only read 7am and this site regularly, but those who frequent Vital Arsenal, ArsenalArsenal and so on should post it elsewhere and keep reminding folks. Each new post creates a new comments section and few go back to previous days, so it has to be renewed. The best idea is also to ask the blog owner if they would allow it or support the petition or even mention the issue. I think 7am might do a post on it.

    Good work Gooners! I can say quite sincerely that my experience of following Arsenal will be enhanced immeasurably through a Robson free Arsenal Player. That’s something tangible to me.

  135. the players must not make the same mistake tomorrow night as they did at qpr.

  136. pedantic george

    Bill.Those penalty stats prove nothing other than we dont get enough.
    Its about when and where the help is given.
    If we are going to get some help I want it when we are level or one down .Not when we are 3 up at home with 5 minutes left.
    And penalty stats do not reflect the number of penalties not given to each team that should have been.
    You are just trying to shoehorn your opinions into those stats.
    Well I am not having it my old horse loving pal

  137. Block 4 I’m not sure if you understood me.

    If none the refs are from a certain part of the country that has the most people and the most clubs you’d have to be as confident as Alan Partdridge to believe that the way the officials has been selected follows what would and should be standard protocols in such matters: having refs from all over! We can beg the PGMOB: to keep our confidence up can they select at least one referee from Greater London. Please? Pretty please with sugar in it? The way the referees are being selected is not adequate. I don’t really have to say anything more then that. So I won’t. Simples! But if you want to you can defend the PGMOB.

  138. Just to add a little bit to the debate.
    Let’s go back to the Eduardo penalty embargo we suffered a couple of years ago. Eduardo was fouled in the area and we were awarded a decisive penalty in our tie against Celtic ( was it CL qualification?). Afterwards, Celtic complained like there is no tomorrow and the media had a field day on Dudu, branding him a diver left and right. In the aftermath I think we had to wait almost 6 months until we were awarded a penalty again.

    Now my question, to the neutrals, i.e. Bill and Andy, is, do you really think it’s so inconceivable that at a referee meeting past the Celtic tie someone of the higher ups might have said something along the lines of “Be vary of Arsenal, they go down very easily in the box, try to only give a penalty if you are a 100% sure”. What would that be? Not a conspiracy, not corruption, but it still affected us.

  139. George – “And penalty stats do not reflect the number of penalties not given to each team that should have been

    They don’t you are right. But they don’t for every team, not just us.

  140. Limestonegunner

    As far as this ref controversy, the crucial issue is not whether there is or isn’t some conspiracy. The crucial point is that the records seem to show that Arsenal has had the worst of it among top teams for the last few seasons that there are websites (non-Arsenal support websites, btw) that try to track bad decisions and their possible consequences. I don’t really care about the reasons for this and nor do I want to defend their analysis or methods. It squares with my feelings that the last 3 or 4 seasons watching Arsenal I feel like we’ve had really bad referee decisions affect us. This has to be countered by making some noise about it and by intimidating referees at the Emirates to enhance our team’s chances. Especially now that there have been terribly dodgy decisions that have helped other teams, Arsenal support needs to make a big issue of why we aren’t getting the penalties we deserve and why players who go high against our players with their studs aren’t being properly sanctioned.

    As supporters, and their are millions of us as a huge club in England and across the world, we should be leveraging our voices to put pressure on referees and on the media to favour Arsenal. Isn’t that the job of supporters? To give whatever advantage we can to our team?

    Without such a great atmosphere at the Ems, do you not think that the ref could have been worse? All the evidence shows that home advantage comes principally in the way the game is refereed. We may think Atkinson had a shocker, but couldn’t it have been worse? Of course it could have and maybe the Ems crowd had a wholesome effect in some small part.

  141. Block 4 @ 2:50.

    Historically fans dislike and distrust the referees/umpires in every professional sport.

    Football officials have by far the most difficult job of any officiating group because of the nebulous rules, the ease of being unsighted and the speed of the game. No other sport would even consider having one person responsible for a playing field as large as a football pitch. The linesmen have a completely impossible job of calling close offsides calls which are at best a 50/50 guess in many cases. The difficulty of their job leads inevitably to inconsistency and bad calls. The old adage says that “you will find what you look for”, and the inconsistency of officating makes it very easy to find whatever you like. Academic studies prove time and time again that our perceptions (as biased sports fans) is not reality.

  142. Evil – Hard to say I suppose. But Eduardo has not been the only player that has been accused of diving. Ref’s would say that about any player in that position no?

  143. Limestonegunner

    Now, what Darius did is properly putting pressure–good work! Hold the FA’s feet to the fire as much as possible. Ivanovich getting a 3 match ban would mean he is out for Arsenal and weakens Chelsea in two other fixtures.

  144. Finsbury, I’m not defending or criticising the PGMOB because I have no idea how they select their referees. What exactly do you know about it?

    From what I can see, Liverpool were moaning about their ref at the weekend most venhemently while Chelsea benefitted from two atrocious decisions to win against a northern team. So where’s the northern bias there? Are the linesmen all southern and giving us lot all the offside decisions or something? Could be you know 😉

  145. Limestonegunner

    GA, I am not into the conspiracy stuff either and feel that within the club and amongst ourselves we need to encourage the team to fight and keep up their spirit and look to what they can control. However, haven’t you heard of the Eduardo embargo? It obviously affected us as that season and might have ruined the player in England. That is costly and has not happened for other players who have clearly dived. That isn’t good for Arsenal and we ought to combat that sort of thing as much as we can.

  146. pedantic george

    So we can expect United to be awarded zero penalties for the next 6 months ,following the Young dive,Is that right Andy?

  147. And to summrise on the penalty issue. Over the past 10 years only Manure have been awarded more penalties than us. And even then it is only 2 penalties. Over 10 years!

    Bias? Sorry if I can’t see it.

  148. Clerkenwell Gooner

    On the perceived media bias – access is all, and as we’ve seen with Sir Ferg himself, if you upset someone in a senior role by being critical in a way they don’t like, they’ll cut the mike. Hence the chummy, non-critical relations that develop, when it becomes not journalism, but more like PR support for the football industry – it’s clearly best not to rock the boat.

    Having said that, Sir Ferg’s upcoming 20th league title is obviously something of an achievement, no matter how hostile we may feel ourselves to the Red Mancs, and it would be churlish for journalists not to acknowledge the magnitude of it, just as if the Invincibles season were being rubbished.

    It’s difficult, I guess, to get the balance right between being properly and appropriately critical about an industry with obvious problems – unsustainable debt levels; move towards deeply untransparent offshore ownership structures; ludicrously high wage bills; failure to develop indigenous players adequately at the grassroots; failure to address poor coaching and refereeing standards; failure to address homophobia; plus the farce that was the overspend on Wembley – while not being star-struck when interviewing someone like, say, Thierry Henry, or else being stymied by access being withdrawn, as above.

    As for actual corruption, it seems tricky to prosecute. The Bruce Grobelaar case collapsed twice, without clear resolution.

    Any corruption would likely be linked to betting, and referees are an obvious target for this. We have seen it elsewhere in Europe, particularly Turkey. I don’t see why, as a country, we should be immune. (What’s happened to the betting case involving members of Rooney’s family? Something about betting north of the border? Did that one ever get to court?)

  149. Bill, spot on there. People will see what they want to see.

  150. The major difference in these cases is that there are no massive media campaigns. After Suarez’ dive against us, after Chimps’ dive, even after Young’s dive this weekend, I haven’t seen any column inches wasted in the papers on branding those players cheats or divers. On the other hand after Eduardo you could read about if even weeks afterwards. So maybe media has a bigger influence than we think? Referees will obviously read the papers and if they are told that team X or player X is a diver, they might unconsciously take that to heart and it will affect their game?

  151. George – Only if they don’t get fouled in the box 😉

  152. @GA
    Conveniently ignoring that out of the top teams we are the one that has been awarded the most penalties against.

  153. Limestonegunner

    Bill, I agree with you mostly. However, I think Arsenal have come out worse recently as assessed by those who aren’t Arsenal fans. We could speculate on why or write it off as a statistical anomaly, but this isn’t really a philosophical issue. For us it needs to be countered and the only means we have there is putting our own pressure on referees, whether in the ground or in highlighting disparities whenever experienced in the public media and to the FA. Our goal is to gain that advantage for our team and to counter it when it goes against our team.

    Sure, if we are having a disinterested discussion, it is obvious that we are biased interpreters. It doesn’t mean that there is no cause for complaint. And our job for our club could partly be construed as making our bias as much the reality as possible. In the media age with twitter, online newspapers and blogs, 24/7 football news and comment–home ground advantage is only one component of the classic role of intimidating the referees. Much better we do it than leave this entirely to our players, manager and club–who frankly don’t try to get on the refs case enough or get overly harshly punished for it (viz Wenger’s ban–totally disproportionate; and how many times earlier this season have we seen RvP up on his own appealing to the ref over controversial decisions).

  154. Limestone – “However, haven’t you heard of the Eduardo embargo? It obviously affected us as that season and might have ruined the player in England. That is costly and has not happened for other players who have clearly dived.

    I have only heard Arsenal fans use that phrase. Why was there no “Pires embargo” after his tumble against Portsmouth? Maybe we didn’t get a penalty for a bit during the start of the 2009/2010 season as none of our players get fouled in the area. Or when they did the refs made a bad mistake. That could be due to the Eduardo incident, but it could just as easily be due to hte fact that they simply got it wrong.

    So we can’t say it “obviously” affected us. As for Eduardo, his obvious injury aside, what finished him in with us was our change in formation whilst he was injured. Unfortunate, but that is the reality of it.

  155. Evil – Could that not be because we make rash challenges in our area? And even then it is only 12 more than Manure. In ten years. So slightly more than one a season. Wow.

  156. I feel that quite a lot of refs have become media whores themselves and enjoy the limelight. They seem to have got pulled into the football glamour. It seems reasonable therefore so at least entertain the idea that along with football pundits they have a tendancy to be ‘duped’ by popular media perception of a player/manager/team/club.

  157. Home crowd’s have a massive influence too – they have to.

    If you have 60,000 people screaming for a decision, surely human nature is to say ‘shit, they must be right’ ,give in to it and give the decision in favour of the home team, or be that convinced that the home crowd are trying to influence your thinking that it actually has a negative effect and makes the you think ‘I am only going to give anything if I am 100% sure, in case I am suped by the crowd reaction’.

    It is very difficult to believe there is any conspiracy by ref’s against us – every team in the division can point to decisions that have gone against them, as well as some that have.

    Most of the top team’s are going to be involved in more decisions in attacking area’s at home, as that is where most of the play will be.

  158. @GA
    The amount of penalties that we have gained more than Chelsea over the 9 year span the article covers is 0,1 per season. Wow. You still found it necessary to point out that we are awarded more than they are.

    Besides, someone already mentioned it. It’s not about the penalties that have been awarded, rather the one that haven’t. And until technology comes into the game, we will always suffer because of the reluctance of referees to make brave decisions.

  159. If in fact it is bias and only bias that is still a problem. It is easy for us to sit on a blog and say we like being looked upon this way but HOWEVER, it is the media that shapes the minds of the sheeple, refs included. Do you think the players like getting the crap kicked out of them, or not getting any penalties at home, not one! (that is some bias).

    In essence, what we are saying is that we want the team to overcome every outside obstacle, but if the refs are indeed biased, that is close to an impossible task. You see, we would have to be soooo much better than our rivals and in this day and age where money is spent without regard, that is highly unlikey?

    “People seeing what they want to see”, is doubled egded.

  160. Limestonegunner

    You are an Arsenal fan, so you have heard of it. That’s the point. Use it because it happened and maybe it will get out in the world that we were unfairly treated in the media and on the pitch after that by not getting a penalty for months in the league, despite some obvious penalty cases. There were many penalty shouts during that period–didn’t you watch the games that season? It did affect us–maybe not obviously. That is like your use of “blatantly” yesterday. So I’ll say that I think it did affect us because it meant that we didn’t get penalties called for us that under other circumstances might have been called without a massive public firestorm over Eduardo’s “dive” and public discussions on every single podcast and call-in show for several weeks about terrible cheating divers in the PL all referencing Eduardo. I agree the position change wasn’t helpful to him but he did come back from injury and was contributing in the months before the CL incident v. Celtic. After that, his form became even worse and I suspect he himself was intimidated and later asked to be transferred. That’s too bad; I wish he was stronger mentally but it was tough already coming back from injury and playing in such a physical league. To be public enemy number one for a month as the cheating foreigner was too much perhaps for him to handle. So I wish even more that the reaction to his penalty wasn’t so distorted and frankly xenophobic and that we had found a more effective way to push back. That is what I am talking about.

    I am not arguing this philosophically in a disinterested fashion–I am not worrying about consistency because clearly there is none in this league with such poor standards of refereeing in a very difficult sport with no replays and so on. Maybe they just made mistakes. So what? We want the mistakes to be in our favour. So this means making a big deal about incidents that go against us.

    I think you should be able to understand the perspective I am taking and engage the argument properly if you want to respond to what I am talking about.

  161. Evil – “The amount of penalties that we have gained more than Chelsea over the 9 year span the article covers is 0,1 per season. Wow. You still found it necessary to point out that we are awarded more than they are.,

    So you agree that there is no real significant difference in penalities awarded for and against for the tope teams. Glad we eventually got there.

    Besides, someone already mentioned it. It’s not about the penalties that have been awarded, rather the one that haven’t. And until technology comes into the game, we will always suffer because of the reluctance of referees to make brave decisions.

    Change the word “we” for “everybody” and you will be 100% right.

  162. Limestonegunner

    “minds of the sheeple”–Freudian slip or brilliant coining? Haha, Paul-N–good one!

  163. what is the penalty stats like in the last few years? Barca in the last few years have gotten some calls that are beyond belief.

    It is a fact that we stopped getting pens after the Eduardo sitution, That was noted by Wenger. He even said it recenlty, “we don’t get penalties”. Maybe some of us have missed that.

  164. Limestone – I do get your point, and of course there may well be some merit in it. We will never know either way though I suppose. Where I definately agree with you is the media reaction the the Eduardo incident. It was so over the top it was unreal. Even if he had dived (still debatable) it did not warrant anywhere near that much attention.

    I do think it was our change to 433/451 that spelt the end for him with us though. He was never going to be th main striker and was wasted in the wide area’s. He found himself in the same position that Chamakh is in now. Shame really as I think if we had stayed with 2 strikers he would have scored a lot of goals for us. Ironic maybe that perhaps it was his injury which pushed us in the direction of one striker.

  165. Limestonegunner

    I think Jonny’s posts above are right, as are YW’s. But, as I said, that is not really the real question we need to be asking. We can argue for the umpteenth time on here about whether there is corruption or not, whether there is a clear bias against Arsenal or not, and go round and round.

    I say again: the real issue is what approach to take to enhance Arsenal’s chances of influencing and intimidating referees through all legal and allowable means?

    Even if the refs favoured us (as we think they do the red Mancs), there is room for improvement, in our club and supporters performance in the politics of football. Politics is war by other means. The battles are fought out on the pitch. Supporter politics is aiding that war by other means. How do we do it? How do we do it better?

  166. @GA
    I was rather exposing the weakness of your argument that 12 penalties awarded more over the course of several seasons is negligible. In more abstract terms we are talking about a difference of close to 30%. You mistook mockery for agreement.

  167. Block4. Dude, You’re running around in circles there.

    Perhaps you misunderstood what was written above (it happens). I wrote “No need for any hyperbole, flatulence or effervescence.” I don’t need to know what their selection procedure is. I don’t care. There is an imbalance in their selection: I have no obligation to prove that there are no good referees in the South of England. The results of their selection process defy logic. It is not working. Everyone knows it isn’t working. Or we wouldn’t be having this ‘discussion’. Simples.

  168. Didn’t even SAF recently admit that his team are getting calls on the expense of the smaller teams?

  169. Or we could just ask for Video assistance and then it wouldn’;t matter as much where they are from. beacuse, you know, someone’s doing their job properly and making sure the officials are getting some assistance and help in maintianing their credibility.

    But, oh. Alas. What about the poor little tiddlers playing on the marshes? How are they going to play? All those kids must have stopped playing cricket on the streets of the sub-continent after the introduction of DRS. Yup. Best leave things as they are.

  170. Limestone – I agree with that.

    Evil – Penalties against is little over 1 per season when comparing us with Manure over the past 10 years. Your 30% figure is misleading for the discussion we are having and has little significance. The difference between the clubs over the past 10 years is negligable (and all the top clubs). Spin it anywhich way you want, but the facts are there for anybody to go and look at.

  171. Limestonegunner

    Now, I see the petition against Robson as a small foray and skirmish in the grand politics of supporting Arsenal. In addition to enhancing my enjoyment of my club’s matches on Arsenal Player, I think a warning to Robson might moderate his criticisms on the tv commentary he does. And sacking Robson for being such a biased jerk might moderate his views further or send a message to other media commentators that we aren’t taking this lightly. It is particularly important as he has been spreading the idea that Arsenal players are going down softly and faking injury. As a club that has had its share of broken legs and failure to get penalties even at home this season, this is very dangerous to us. We’ve got to try to put a stop to that line of characterization about Arsenal as firmly as we can.

    Simple as that. Argue all you want–it can be enjoyable. But at least put in a few minutes of each Arsenal supporting day into something productive like countering comments on general blogs and newspapers, calling in to 606 and other such shows to support the team or counter silly anti-Arsenal views, calling the FA like Darius did to pressure them to ban players who foul us or play on rival teams, make noise at the games and prepare banners, concentrate on vocal pressure on referees and so on.

    I have to say, I think the ManCity game was excellent from this perspective. Very nice pointed and witty banners, good chants and the reverse Poznan, loud and fierce noise. The only thing better would have been being constantly on the referees back even more vociferously with chants and whistles directed more at them.

  172. Finsbury,

    I understand perfectly what you’re saying. The whole northern refs being biased against southern sides (uncosciously or consciously) just doesn’t stack up as there are some real howlers that benefit southern sides week in week out, you only have to look at events at Stamford Bridge this weekend to see that. Like I said, I have no idea about how referees are selected to the Premier League panel, but if you’re going to talk about the “logic” of that process you should at least know something about it. What I will say is that statistically it is weird, but “defying logic”? It could be a perfectly logical process for all I know, they might just be the best referees in the country, in which case we’re more trouble than we thought!

  173. @GA
    The way you are representing the facts (by arbitrarily deciding what has statistical significance and what not. Makes me think you must have a degree in mathematics.) is obviously what is misleading here. Maybe we should meet in the middle and not spin the numbers any way. And when we do that we get to Arsenal penalties against 38, while ManU have gotten 26 penalties against them and Chelsea 28 over the past 10 seasons.

  174. Limestone @ 3:41:

    1) You are an academic and I suspect have been involved in many research projects and you know exactly how easy it is for a researcher to introduce his/her own bias into a study, even without meaning to, and you also know just how faulty perceptions can be especially when one has an obvious bias the way sports fans do.

    2) I disagree with your idea that by Arsenal fans standing up and screaming that it will somehow improve our chances of getting more of the bad decisions to go in our favor. I think its exactly the opposite. The more we are percieved as complainers and whingers the more likely subconscious bias will be leveled against us. The contention of many on this blog is that things are getting worse which corresponds the rising crescendo of complaints in recent years would support that argument. Myself, I don’t believe that we are actually getting worse calls now but as this becomes a bigger issue we percieve that the calls are getting worse. This season and the last 7 have proved that if we play well we will win and when we don’t play well we struggle. Yogi quoted TV5 in his post today again pointing out that our lack of consistency has been the problem over the last several years. We scoffed at the idea of bias in our favor when we were winning trophies right and left. If we play well enough consistently then the perception of bias will again disappear.

  175. Evil – Thats right. And that hardly points to any bias does it? Which was my original point. I am not spinning the numbers any way, as they don’t need spinning, they are what they are. If you honestly think that over ten years that is a significant difference we are reading from different books.

    Anyway, time to go home. Nice chatting all, seom decent discussion today.

    Laters 🙂

  176. This season and the last 7 have proved that if we play well we will win and when we don’t play well we struggle


  177. @GA
    I haven’t given up on you yet, Andy! I’ve seen you back pedal from your irrational Theo hate in recent times so I think there’s still hope for you.

  178. mattgoonerknight

    Right guys,

    Line ups for tomorrow please….

    Same again with Djourou coming in for Kozza or some more additional changes?

    Benny back out again until Chelsea?

    And yes, this is a less than subtle way of trying to change the subject of today’s discourse : )

  179. “Bingo”?

    Yes, so all we have to play well in every single match, simple enough! if we do that, then the bias is ok. Of the league come’s down to goal difference, not getting any pens or getting pens against you will not matter, innit?

  180. I sort of agree with Bill’s second point there. Particularly with regard to the calling in to radio shows angle, Limestone. They make their money from provoking reactions. The more we call in the more they’ll try to wind us up.

  181. “This season and the last 7 have proved that if we play well we will win and when we don’t play well we struggle.”

    Like Newcastle last season and Barca? Oh…

  182. Fantastic programme on BBC radio in the last hour on the last radio messages from the Titanic. Make sure to tune in for the replay.

  183. mattgoonerknight, If we rest anyone my shout would be Song. What can I say, I got a bit nervous when Balotelli tried to break his leg.

    I’d give the Ox a run out on the left.

  184. Evil:

    “Like Newcastle last season and Barca?”

    Exactly, you make my point better then I could have. 🙂

  185. Bill, I have been looking for an Article that states that Arsenal have been the favoured by the refs on an ongoing basis. Not one. Do you have one?

    I assure you, that you will not struggle to find one about United or Barcelona and they are not all written by Arsenal supporters.

  186. @Bill
    So you are saying we didn’t play well against Barca or Newcastle last season? Especially when we still had 11 men on the pitch?

  187. mattgoonerknight

    Big shout Markus re. Song.

    With no F.A cup or Champions League to contend with I think the time for resting might be over.

    Also, I think we’d need a fit Le Coq and / or Diaby to see that happen (think they’re both back in training but not match fit).

    I think Benny will drop out again, and with you I think Oxo might be favourite for the left.

    Any news on Gibbs?

  188. See the biased refereeing isn’t against us – it’s against Liverpool..! Just King Cunny!

    From today’s Fiver:

    “The last three games there are blatant decisions that have gone against us that are, frankly, inexcusable, and I’d say unexplainable as well,” began a purple-faced Mr Ken in reference to penalties not awarded against Newcastle and Aston Villa, and the time Luis Suarez punched the ball into the net against Wigan.

    “I won’t raise it with the Referee’s Association,” he continued, having drawn breath. “I’ve raised it now, and it’s up to them. I think it really should be their concern. I’ve raised it, and it’s up to them now to look at it.” Particularly concerned that referee Michael Oliver, 6, had admitted that Dirk Kuyt had been “unlucky” not to get a penalty award against Villa, Mr Ken was effectively prodding the FA on the lapel of its blazer, repeatedly, while asking if it liked how that felt, and what was it planning to do about it. With even the FA’s Alex Ferguson having failed to get away with this manoeuvre in the past, expect a charge sheet to be slapped on Mr Ken’s desk toot sweet. The Fiver isn’t sure he’ll care too much, though, with other concerns looming. Another display of contemporary dance at Ewood Park tonight, and suddenly Mr Roy’s West Brom will be a mere four points behind Liverpool in the table, with a game in hand. Oh Mr Ken! Have you left the taps on in the washroom?

  189. still havent confirmed if Koz is due to serve a ban or not! The game commentary from the site the other day said it was Koz 9th yellow of the season. Can anyone find any confirmation as to his eligability? If hes ok to play then id start with 9 of the 11 from City game, with Gervinho in for Benny if hes fit, if not then the Ox and Santos in for Gibbs, if he is injured

  190. @jonny
    In all fairness to them I’ve seen Liverpool suffer from refs quite a lot of times this season. Their match against us was the exception that proves the rule. They are probably a close second when it comes to being on the end of referee’s bad decisions.

  191. I don’t understand resting players now. Six games to go, this is the last midweek game we have, we’re on a good run, keep going until the end of the season. Consistency in selection is the best way to have consistency of performance.

  192. Evil:

    We have been over the Newcastle game ad nauseum in the past and the perception of our own culpability is completely different.

    We beat Barca when we outplayed them at home. The sending off of RVP in the 2nd leg is probably the worst single decision against us that I have seen and I would be dishonest if I said that I had not thought a few times that the ref must have wanted Barca to win. Nonetheless, they completely outplayed us and the goal we scored was the best example of luck you will ever find. No way to prove it either way but I suspect that they would have figured out a way to break us down even with 11 players on the pitch. You also ignore the fact that Barca had a stone wall penalty against us turned down in the first half.

  193. Limestonegunner

    Maybe, Markus, but it depends on how it is done. The only voices I hear usually on those shows are Arsenal fans complaining about the club, the manager or criticizing players. So many of the calls on these shows are about terrible refereeing decisions, but I never hear an Arsenal fan calling in to talk about a terrible decision.

    There is something to boycotting and ignoring truly vile wind ups in the tabloid media and perhaps the TalkSport venues, but in other less clearly vicious contexts, reasonable but firm and articulate (or witty–always good) expressions of views countering the typical line or standing up for the Arsenal way can be quite helpful. We shouldn’t take the bait of wind ups but engage media that aren’t as obviously distorted.

  194. The whiff of prejudice against Arsenal (under Wenger) is palpable in much of the mainstream media most of the time, and across 90% of “mainstream” pundits. Or is it just their ignorance? Amounts to the same thing really. People keep wanting to call this a conspiracy when it is no such thing. But trying to argue that the media, taken as a whole, and the pundits who “inform” media discourse are strictly neutral, objective and above reproach in reporting and analysing Arsenal is nonsense. However, there is evidence that the tide is turning a little as Arsenal’s dramatic season comes to its completely unexpected conclusion (for said media and pundits, that is).

    The real debate is not about conspiracy at all, or corruption (in its direct sense, like bribery). It is about influence. Who here could possibly forget, and so quickly, the sheer number and insidiousness of insults and innuendo directed at Arsenal in its recent seasons, right up to weeks back, and the manner in which Arsenal’s achievements (let’s just in comparison to Liverpool & Tottenham) and its players were and are ignored? But, as I say, the tide is turning as results come in.

  195. Bill, what a way to justify the Barca game. “They would have found a way, luck, stone wall penalty”. You have conveniently left out that Cesc handed them the first goal and that they should have had players red carded for grabbing our players around the neck. Not to mention how they dive to win calls all the team

    I actually watced the match again and Barca were not as threatening as first percieved, we kept them quiet for the most part. Also, at the point of the red card is when we started to get more of the ball and were getting forward easier. But lets overlook all of the other facets of the game in favour of Barca.


  196. Block 4
    I do not think you have understood what I have written above. You could have spend a day drafting a response why Northern vs. Southern refs do not matter. Then I can ask you why there are too few referees in our league when compared to the world famous Belgium league? Then you could spend another day drafting another response.
    We could go round and round and round again.

    There are clear and obvious flaws in the selection process etc. Which have led to there being problems with the standard of our officials. A failed structure is a failed structure. Shall we go on? No. Phew

  197. Limestonegunner

    Bill, I agree with number 1 and with the approach of trying to play better and better to overcome any obstacles before us because winning breeds winning. I suggested above that internally, that is the attitude I hope the club takes and the players and manager take. I think this season we have shown that sort of determination and fortitude–I’m very pleased with the attitude.

    As far as how the fans can contribute–I think it depends on how it is done and in what context. In the ground, we should be complaining vociferously about every decision against us or failure to call for us as loudly as possible. That’s what gives home advantage its teeth–not enhanced player performance as much apparently. Influencing and intimidating referees is where the advantage is to be had. We need to use this insight intelligently to create a truly terrifying atmosphere for referees who make bad decisions, as far as we are concerned.
    In other media, far from being whiners–and no one would think we were whiners if we called in to complain about Balotelli’s vicious spearing of Song’s knee and noted that the linesman was right there and should have sent the player off then and for several other infringements earlier. Moreover, would it have been whining to raise questions about Mancini leaving him in when not only was he ineffective but he was dangerous to others on the pitch and, further, to insinuate that perhaps Mancini was looking for a scapegoat because he is under terrible pressure. Plant that into the discourse and it might even be taken up which would do much more damage than just getting Balotelli banned for a few games. Maybe they go into a further tailspin–it is worth a try. The time to do this is when we win. You aren’t a whinger when you are a winner. You are taking control of the discourse to put forward a useful view that might gain traction and possibly influence a referee in the next match v. Wolves which has a very thuggish hard tackler named Henry. Maybe it gets into the media meme that Arsenal were strong enough to deal with extremely physical play because they are not only skillful passing players but tough characters with the like of Song and Sagna. Maybe, Henry thinks the refs will now be watching for unfair and dangerous “borderline” tackles and it inhibits his game or gets him sent off early. He’s roughed up Theo and Rosicky before. We don’t know how much it affects things, but I am less concerned of being called a whinger than our players having legs broken because of the impunity that seems to come from bad tackles by unskilled “hard men”. Getting the message out that it won’t work and that those players need to be punished is beneficial to Arsenal.

  198. The FA have rejected QPR’s appeal against Derry’s red card.
    You see this right here is whats wrong with the system. 2 mistakes were made, 1 by the linesman not flagging for offside and 1 when the ref bought the dive by Young. Everyone has the same reading of that penalty decision and everyone can see the injustice. Everyone that is except the FA, because they are to focused on ‘protecting’ their referees rather than seeing the laws of the game prevail and some for of justice be done. Sure they cant take away the penalty or the goal or the lossed points but they can overturn a punishment to a player who doesnt deserve it.

    They do the same when a ref sends of a player for breaking an opponants leg, oh he saw it so therefore its dealt with. Rather than actually properly punishing the player they turn a blind eye to it.

  199. Limestonegunner

    I see, ZimPaul, echoing my emphasis on influence, gets it. Right on.

  200. @Bill
    That’s the thing. We were not outplayed. Until Cesc signed his Barca contract in style with his stupid, stupid back heel, we had defended admirably. And it was no last man desperate tackles all over defending. It was disciplined “You shall not pass” kind of defending.They just could not break us down. I think they had two chances in the first half until the goal, and none of them was a real threat. The Alves free kick that took out Szczesny and a tame roller from Pedro from waaaay out that wouldn’t have threatened Almunia if he had both legs broken. After the red card the complexion of the game obviously changed. With just 10 men we lacked one player to put early pressure on them and that in turn meant they had more spaces which they used well. But at 11 vs 11, I just don’t see the argument that they would’ve beaten us.

  201. i.e. the selection process in the less demanding Belgium league has more credibility then our own. There are more of them! Simples. Is that really something worth defending? Seriously? Pffffffffft.

  202. Paul:

    Sending off RVP was a terrible decision and for all we know could have been a based on bias, who knows. Does it prove anything other then the fact that a single ref in an international game made a ridiculously stupid call in favor of Barcelona. Is that evidence that there is a worldwide bias or conspiracy against Arsenal? Of course not.

    If bias is the explanation for that event then the much more likely explanation is a pro-Barca bias which has nothing to do with Arsenal.

  203. Deise 4.59 – couldn’t agree more. Its so damn infuriating.

  204. Limestonegunner

    Never seen such a travesty as the second yellow to RvP in the Barca match. That wasn’t some sort of split second difficult decision to make. The only reason Busacca could blow the whistle that quickly is if he was eager to book RvP. I have no idea why–maybe RvP said something to him, endless speculation possible and I don’t care. The point is that is was a ludicrous decision and it hurt Arsenal very badly and unfairly.

    However, very little was made of it in the media. When Mourinho mentioned that Barca never play against 11 in the knockout stages of the CL, it resonated much more widely around. Barca have again been bailed out by a penalty at the Nou Camp v. AC Milan.

    Looking back at it from our vantage a season later, it is very reasonable to say that Arsenal were unfairly treated in a big game and that other opponents of Barca were similarly though less obviously disadvantaged by strange calls.

    We may meet them again next year in the CL and before that match, it would be helpful if there was attention to these happenings that might catch attention in the right way.

    It doesn’t help us to get frustrated after the fact and have our manager get banned for saying the obvious.

  205. mattgoonerknight


    According to ESPN, he’s only got 9 also! Not sure where to find the definitive answer?

    If this is true it’s obviously great news as the amnesty has also now begun. However, if he is suspended, I suppose we couldn’t really have asked for better fixtures for him to miss. I’m not suggesting Wolves and Wigan will be easy but if you had to pick two fixtures pre the Chelsea game, these surely wouldn’t be far off.

  206. pedantic george

    Yes Bill and that Referee being promoted and given a house overlooking Lake Lucerne is just a coincidence.

  207. Bill, my issue with you is how you try to justify your position. You slanted what you said to fit your argument. Are you trying to be impartial? if so, you got it terribly wrong and crapped on your own team in the process.

    If there is bias or corruption, it is a problem, regardless of who it is helping. Someone gets the crap end of the stick.

  208. Evil, Limestone, Finsbury, George very good points made.

    Evil on the point you made on Edwardo, even those who thought it was a legitimate penalty, after the media piled on it started changing their tunes.

    It did take me longer to sign the petition (browser problems) but I got to it and I have shared it on FB. hope it helps in getting that horrible man fired from arsenal.

  209. While I do not think that there is a “conspiracy” on a national level against us, rather unconscious bias paired with infinite incompetence, in Europe I think it is very, very obvious that there is a massive pro-Barca agenda. They have been on the end of so many favourable calls over the past few years that it’s just impossible to put it all down to coincidence. They have been getting decisions their way that you never, ever see given anywhere else in football. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a player booked for taking a shot after the offside whistle. Even one of the Man City players did it in the match, and it was probably 5 seconds after the whistle.

  210. Evil @ 5:01:

    See my post to Paul @ 5:05.

    Every team including Man United can point to specific games that bad referees decisions cost them points. United lost points at OT against Newcastle this season due to a very bad penalty decision and they lost the CC game to an offside goal. They got a draw last season when Birmingham acored a late goal that had 3 seperate reasons it should not have been allowed. I am sure any United fan can come up with several others. It happens to everyone, but we as Arsenal fans percieve that it happens more often to us just like Liverpool fans now and just like the fans of every non-Big 4 team over the last 20 years who have endlessly complained of big team bias.

  211. Let’s not taint the debate on officiating too personal. Sure we can relate to our experience with Arsenal but a concrete analysis would require us to take into account the very recent dubious decisions against smaller teams. It’s not incompetence, it’s not unconscious biases (If they were finsbury is right to question if that is justified?), it’s not corruption as we understand it (Just individual isolated cases, sure that too), it’s not media fired biased alone eithe and it’s neither (just) prejudices against Arsenal. Runs deeper than that. The very fact that the FIFA or any other body has refused to introduce technology says a lot about what is to be lost if the technology get’s introduced. ArsenalAndrew posted some really good post ins yesterday, so did Paul and others. How can one turn a blind eye to the recent decisions when so much is at stake?

    Untold Arsenal had some good points a year back or so regarding this. If I recall he was looking into lower leagues. Which is a good way to contrast with the EPL. Seriously, look at all the ‘scandals’ over the history of football. What about the Italian league? I doubt any other league is immune.

  212. I wonder why Eduardo “diving” was such a special case? I mean, people have actually dived before and since that incident but they have not gotten that amount attention, not even close to it. Why?

  213. @Bill
    I don’t deny that other teams do suffer from bad calls and that we, on occasion will profit from them. For example against Everton this season and in the CC final when Szcz should’ve been sent off (though those are the only two instances of calls going our way I can think of since the start of 2011).
    But even neutrals like that debatable decisions blog see us as suffering more from bad calls. Why are you, as an Arsenal fan, so reluctant to accept that?

  214. Limestonegunner

    I think Martinez is being very clever; he exemplifies what I have been talking about. He doesn’t sound at all like a whiner and may even get off the punishment for making his original comments about the referees. AW would get a ban probably–there, I said it!–accuse me of red-tinted bias–I am biased! But the point here, again, for those of you on both sides who just love to debate the bias/conspiracy red herring, is that Martinez is doing his best to insure that in subsequent games (we are up next week) that the whole FA and refereeing establishment feels sympathy for poor Wigan. How best to make up for the terrible injustice than to make a couple borderline calls on their behalf v. Arsenal away to a big team if they play as well as they did v. Chelsea? Will there be a conscious intention to do so? I doubt that. But the refs are all well aware of how poor those decisions were and the FA’s apology sends a message. Martinez hammers it home by saying that he doesn’t want anyone punished for it, he just wants to look towards the next games and a similar performance, in which case he is sure the points and results will come.

    That’s the way to play it. What’s the best way to neutralize it when they come to the Emirates? Obviously, to play well and with concentration. Get an early goal and have the crowd get on the referees case especially hard for any early mistake that harms Arsenal and favours Wigan. Perhaps there are other things to do in advance to make sure that Arsenal appear to have had a bad time of it with the referees–viz. Balotelli, failure of a penalty and so on. When the FA publish their decision on Balotelli on Song, our club should try to make the story not just about what a crazy guy Balotelli is but about how uneven the refereeing decisions over the weekend have been and sound sympathetic about the need to help them and slip in the example of the penalty not given to RvP, perhaps. But the main narrative needs to be that Arsenal want to help the poor referees who are taking a lot of blame for a very difficult situation and that Arsenal are keenly aware of this because we’ve had lots of questionable decisions recently too. Happily it hasn’t affected us because we have such a team of determined and tough players who have overcome bad luck.

  215. The funny thing however is how convenient it is to think of all these dubious decisions as referee bias and sweep them under the carpet under the pretence of human error.

    Not good enough. So according to some people’s logic the recent surge in dubious decisions is to be explained by referee suddenly going incompetent under the pretext of pressure?

    Even if we want to take Arsenal as the point of our departure for analysis, what reasons does anyone has that the very REAL media bias against arsenal is not translated on the pitch as well?

    There have been many statements by managers (Arsene, Jose, and the managers of smaller teams recently) that point to something bigger than what we want to accept in the footballing world.

    For fuck sakes. Qatar is holding the world cup! QATAR!

  216. Bill, once more, yes all team’s get bad calls but, “some are more even than others”. Please do a search and see how many articales you can find about how United are treated. Do it. When Arsenal were winning, contrary to what you have noted, there was not this big time scrutiny
    from supporters.

    United were laughed to scorn by almost everyone when they claimed that the refs were going against them, why?

  217. Paul @ 5:14:

    “You slanted what you said to fit your arguement.”

    So you and everyone else who has your point of view does not???

  218. Also Bill, you are going around the houses without referencing the points that I am making. That makes for a bad debate and all you are doing is making the same point over and over. I know where you stand but I am now dealing with your comment about the second leg against Barca and how you tried to justify your position by putting down the team. Why?

  219. Balotelli escapes retrospective action for his foul against Song? that there is a conspiracy!! 😀

  220. Mario Ballotelli wont be punished for his ‘tackle’ on Song! Again another cowardly decision from the FA

  221. The club manoeuvres Balotelli’s tactical escape from retrospective action for his foul against Song! How convenient? Utter non sense. Who can justify that? No one. Let’s bury our heads then.

  222. BIll, if humans are involved, you can put it down that there is/has been bias and corruption, you can take that to the bank.

    My issue is that you, being an Arsenal supporter crapped on your own team. Why on earth would an Arsenal supporter leave out the facts that benefit their own team. So, you are just trying to win an argument?

  223. “humans and big time money”

  224. Respect is the collective responsibility of everyone involved in football to create a fair, safe and enjoyable environment in which the game can take place.

    What a pack of jokers

  225. Limestonegunner, that is another reason why I am nervous about the Wigan match. They have been on the end of some shocking decisions, but at the same time have been playing really well mostly. We need to be very focused for that one.

  226. @Paul
    I think i’ve mentioned it already once, but Bill is at times so desperate to come across as objective and not biased towards the club that he is a fan of that he will rather take an anti Arsenal point of view at times, even if it’s the wrong one, in fear of damaging his credentials as a neutral if he takes the pro Arsenal side.

  227. FA statement: Mario Balotelli

    Tuesday, 10 April, 2012

    Statement following incident in the Arsenal-Manchester City match.

    Retrospective action in relation to the incident involving Mario Balotelli of Manchester City and Alex Song of Arsenal, which occurred in the 20th minute of Sunday’s game, will not be taken.

    The nonsence bit here…….
    Where at least one of the officials has seen the coming together of players retrospective action is not taken, regardless of whether they have seen the full extent of the challenge.

    Retrospective action can only be taken in scenarios where none of the Match Officials saw the players coming together. The normal scenarios in which retrospective action is taken are for ‘off the ball’ incidents.

    Retrospective action was introduced for off the ball incidents where there was no contest for possession and could not be deemed to be re-refereeing an incident.

    In agreement with FIFA, this is how ‘not seen’ incidents are dealt with retrospectively in England. It is a policy that is agreed with all football stakeholders.

  228. mattgoonerknight

    Big game tomorrow guys!!!

    For those who haven’t yet joined Limestone’s initiated petition, please do.

    140 signatures and counting…but we can do better than that!

  229. This is so full of bullsh*t, I just can’t get my head around. So because the referee “saw” that there was a challenge between Balotelli and Song – even though he could probably only guess what happened in those seconds when Balotelli tried to break Songs leg because his view was obstructed, no action can be taken? The FA is a joke, pure and simple.

  230. Thats right Evil, the FA are backing a decision made by their precious ref, which was made without actually seeing the incident in question to its full extent. So a decision made without the full facts so to speak, when clearly not punished enough, is fine by them. And they wage this respect campaign but are complete cowards when it comes to actually enforcing something where one player seems to have no respect for a fellow player.!

  231. It surely seems so Evil. A strange stance to take an Arsenal supporter.

    I have signed and posted the petition on some other sites. Yes, we can do better.

  232. It gets better – Queens Park Rangers midfielder Shaun Derry will serve a one match suspension with immediate effect after his claim of wrongful dismissal was rejected by a Regulatory Commission today [Tuesday 10 April].

    Derry was dismissed for denying a goalscoring opportunity in the Premier League match against Manchester United on Sunday 8 April 2012.


    An opportunity only come about due to the mistake of the linesman, then compounded by the ref being conned by a cheat!

  233. Notoverthehill

    Yogi, once again contratulations!

    I am very sorry that your site has been overcome by a misnomer syndrome! So much kerfuffle about penalties awarded, no comments about scored, missed, saved or deliberately missed perchance. Cards, red or yellow can be just important and completely ignored? How some players can commit a dozen deliberate fouls in every game they play in Other players seem to be the focus of some official’s displeasure, at every tackle they may make.

    The details are available on the English Premier League site for all the clubs and players. The most fouls seem to have been committed by a certain Bolton player, year in and year out. One must look at all the offences committed and not one (penalties) in isolation.

    That is true research and does show a certain BIAS!!!!

  234. Deise

    That is pure bullshit! FIFA have said many times individual FAs can do what they want with cases like that!

  235. BTW, I meant the statement from the FA was kaka, not yours man! 🙂

  236. Evil @ 5:40:

    Interesting analysis. See my post yesterday @ 9:38 for my thoughts on why you find it so important to believe that the bias and corruption angle is true. To each their own.

    Anyway, enough of this for me. IMO, the best thing for us is to stop concerning ourselves with things we can not control and focus on those things we can. I believe that if we play more consistently at the level we are capable we will start winning things again and if we start to win again then the whole issue of bias against us will go away. To me thats a much more positive approach then to believe that everything is scripted against us.

  237. Borges Spinelli

    Guys, check out this article.

    It’s been a while, i know, i know…. hopefully, i will be more active next season. :o)

  238. The normal scenarios in which retrospective action is taken are for “off-the-ball” incidents. Retrospective action was introduced for off-the-ball incidents where there was no contest for possession and could not be deemed to be re-refereeing an incident.
    Erm, like when henderson elbowed Arteta then?

  239. Did Song have the ball on his knee when Mario stuck his studs into it? No he didnt, the ball was at least 2 yards away after Song nicked it away…..the contest for possession was over as it was won by Song ……therefore it was an off the ball incident. 🙂

  240. Sometimes I think it’s just easier to believe in conspiracy than human error. The FA appears regularly to act in direct contradiction of its stated aim to “make football…safe for everyone” and do so with with a totally straight face. This looks more like human error (i.e. the institution drifts slowly but surely out of touch with reality) than conspiracy (i.e. a some faceless crew in darkened smoky rooms with their unseen hands on the tiller). Lots of institutions are similarly out of touch (MPs expenses comes to mind), but are not regularly put under the harsh spotlight and afforded to footballing matters. The temptation to believe in a conspiracy against the underdog is even greater given fans have no way of influencing the FA / referees / etc and so end feeling much like underdogs too. Just my tuppence worth.

  241. hi!

    am unable sign the petition despite several attempts but fully agree with the sentiments!

  242. “My issue is that you, being an Arsenal supporter crapped on your own team. Why on earth would an Arsenal supporter leave out the facts that benefit their own team. So, you are just trying to win an argument?”

    Another fence-sitter. It’s amazing how quickly he came out with the ‘facts’ to back up manure the establishment club not getting favours from their own establishment. I bet he could not put his hands on a few facts about the club he claims to support with the same speed and gusto!

  243. Now I was more than happy to sign Limestone’s anti Stewart Robson petition, which I did. But I did think it was one of the milder causes I’d ever signed. Now that the f.a.have let Ballotelli off for his potential leg-breaking tackle on Song (stating, in the process, that “referee” Martin Atkinson had seen the incident and deemed it not worthy of a card of any colour) and the same day, upheld the red card appeal for QPR’s Derry after he had gently touched Ashley Young on the back. It only leads me to suggest we cannot have one (Stewart Robson) petition and not the other (F.A’s shocking. Incompetence)
    It’s not bias. Nor corruption. Just amazingly shocking incompetence.

    Sorry if this has been mentioned already. I’m writing it on the tube, without reading earlier posts. If it has…I agree.

    But this has made my blood boil. There needs to be a f*#king storm kicked up over this.

  244. Ivanovic has been done by the FA now.

  245. mingus

    They are corrupt, its so obvious!! 🙂

  246. So they get one out of three right and Ivanovic will be out for our tie against them. I smell a pro Arsenal conspiracy!!

    But in all fairness I think that the obviousness with which they f*cked over Wigan made it a no-brainer that they have to charge Ivanovic. Getting two crucial, game-changing decisions wrong AND not even charging Ivanovic for his assault would be asking a bit too much.

  247. Evil

    He might get off yet man!

  248. Gibbs out tomorrow so Santos starts. Gervinho still injuried. Kos suspended. Park and Squillachi in the squad. That means 2 changes to the back 4.

    Bac Yohann Verm Santos
    Rosicky Song Arteta
    Theo RVP Ox

    Fabz, Jenks, Squill, Ramsey, Benny, Park, Chamakh

  249. Amazing read….just one correction…..point to Wolves at home wasnt the last before Bolton in Feb…..we beat QPR at home on new year’s eve

  250. Deise

    Where did you get that info about Gibbs?

  251. Passenal:

    Hurray, we take it back to the good fan/bad fan debate. Real fans vs. the fence sitters. Ho hum.


    If we can avoid a mental letdown that line up certainly can handle Wolves.

    I hope RVP gets a couple of goals. Rooney is inching up on him for the golden boot and RVP clearly deserves any honors that he can get for his preformance this season.

  252. I hope the team do us proud at Wolves tomorrow. It wont be a walk in the park but if the team fight hard & stay focused, surely the three points will be in the bag. Great win against Money bags on sunday!

  253. @Bill
    But you are making it difficult to think of you otherwise. I am still baffled by what you said today about the Barca match. That, what you yourself described as the worst decision you have ever seen go against us,the sending off as RVP, as irrelevant in the end because Barca would’ve probably still found a way to break us down. It would be expected from a proper fan to show faith in a situation like that, especially after our defensive display in the first half, no?

  254. Whose round is it Darius?

    Well, yours!

  255. Evil:

    Here in America I am a huge fan and very “proper fan” of the Texas Rangers baseball club. We were in the World Series last season and totally choked away the 6th game not once but twice, sort of like conceding 3 goals in injury time. Despite my being a proper fan, I didn’t believe for a second that we had any chance to win the 7th game. Your definition of being a proper fan may include always believing your team will win but mine does not. After seeing Cesc pull that completely bonehead play “choking away” our lead in the tie I had very little faith that we would win it. If that means to you that I am not a proper fan then so be it. To each their own.

  256. I agree with Evil, Bill. I am also shocked by your earlier comment. Not to be expected from a die hard Arsenal supporter, not at all.

    Fact is, we have evidence of us getting stronger in 2nd halves against Barca, 2 out of the 3 times.

  257. @Bill
    Then we have different definitions, yes. For me a “real fan” or “proper fan” or whatever other term we want to use is someone who has undying faith in his team, who stands by them against all odds.
    I bet you didn’t think that a comeback against Milan was possible, either, but we still so very nearly did it.

  258. Did you watch the game 7?

  259. Bill – Not especially looking to pillory you or join in on any kind of witchhunt but it’s a bit like you are in danger of becoming our very own site version of Stewart Robson!

    In bending over backwards to appear objective, unbiased and impartial you are coming across as anti-Arsenal which I don’t really think is truly the case, is it?

    Until the RvP dismissal, we had EVERY chance; it’s pure speculation to assume we were out of that game regardless of one of the strangest refereeing decisions in the history of the game.

    Almost as odd as the referee’s behaviour is your verdict on our chances; I and at least some others simply don’t understand it.

  260. Evil:

    I didn’t think we would come as close as we did to catching Milan. I expected us to win 2 – 1 or something like that. I didn’t believe we would catch Spurs for 3rd so this has been a wonderful surprise.

    I believe fully that we will hold on 3rd. I thought we would go unbeaten the rest of the year which is why I was surprised by the QPR game,. I think we will win 5 and draw one the rest of this season. I think our defense will be much better next season and we will concede high 20’s or may be 30 goals and we will put up a really good challenge with the Manc clubs for the top spot. I think this years group of players actually has some cajones and I expect them to enlarge if we have a good summer and get any business done early and if we bring in an outside player or 2. I believe that the Texas Rangers will win the World Series this year. I am not really a complete curmudgeon.


    Yes I did watch game 7 but not with much real hope of a good outcome.

  261. Team news was on
    Reservers leading Newcastle reserves 1 nil. Eisfeld the scorer.

  262. @Bill
    Hm, maybe it’s that you just in general prefer to have a slightly negative or in some cases realistic outlook on things to safeguard yourself from the inevitable disappointment that comes when expectations are raised too high?

  263. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As long as there is no cast iron proof re corruption vs bias, this conversation will keep going round in circles.

    But many people on here must be as sick and tired as I am of seeing game after game being decided by dodgy refereeing. Many also seem to feel – as I do – that there is a bias against Arsenal.

    So the question remains, can we – a group of Arsenal supporters – do something about it or not. There are those – like Bill – who feel that complaining will only make matters worse.

    I think that that might happen if things are done in the wrong way.

    But there are enough clever people on here to create a PR effect. In fact, it’s happening already. By helping to create publicity around the low level of EPL refereeing and how it can be raised, we are adding to the pressure to change. And if and when the level of refereeing can be raised even a little, the Beautiful Game keeps on being beautiful and it helps the team. I’d rather discuss how we can help than the unprovable causes for things being the way they are. Or is someone here really of the opinion that EPL refereeing is good enough?

  264. Limestonegunner

    Borges, have missed you–how’s things in the GTA?

    Bill, I have just been pointing out all yesterday and today that there are some things “we” can be doing and not just the “we” of the team. They can control their own commitment and spirit and focus. We, the supporters can do more to make the Emirates a hostile place that influences referees in our favour and there are many other things that can have a bearing in the broader politics of football.

    It would be interesting if we put some of the time and ingenuity displayed (wasted?!) here daily into enhancing our culture of support.

  265. Limestonegunner

    And I don’t mean suppressing discussion, you know, and a diversity of views and so forth. I am talking about gaining advantage for our club. It is fun to dispute and argue–I love talking Arsenal and enjoy the back and forth as much as anyone and frankly have learned so much about football and this club that my appreciation and love for it has grown–but sometimes it is a bit fruitless, particularly when it runs into tired and cliched avenues.

  266. Limestonegunner

    Exactly FinnGun– I am going to dedicate some time to the petition and I might add a little of time on the Guardian football website. Those in the twitterati should be onto some of the journos that use twitter a great deal.

  267. Evil:


    I also believe that those fledgling cajones that we are growing will start to shrivel if we have another summer anything like last year. I hope that Arsene gets his business done early and the RVP thing is settled quickly and we spend some f***ing money this summer even if it means we don’t make a big profit.

    Lets wait until this summer to start that debate. 🙂 🙂

  268. pedantic george

    I think we should hold off on Bill’s execution.
    He does no more than interpret things in a way that suits his belief.
    And we all do that.
    He and I have had a load of disagreements about an array of matters .But I don’t doubt his passion for Arsenal.And I also like and respect him.

  269. Limestonegunner

    AA, now that’s just unfair! Comparing Bill to Robson–no way! Joking is one thing but character assassination, now that’s another entirely….:)

  270. Limestone:

    Alright, you don’t have to tell me twice. 🙂 🙂

    See you tomorrow.

  271. @Bill
    On that we can agree! I sure hope Arsene spends those billions that are gathering dust in our secret money bin. After all, Messrs Walcott, Koscielny, Van Persie, Song and Sagna all need a new contract and I’d rather have that part of the business done sooner than later.

  272. Limestonegunner

    Take it easy, Bill and enjoy Rangers in the Texas sunshine before it gets too hot!

  273. mattgoonerknight


    A few people have stated that they have had trouble signing the petition etc.

    I’ve had a look and nothing looks obviously wrong.

    Let me know if you want the log-in details and I’ll send them to you.

  274. Evil, Paul N,
    I grant you that an optimistic fan should be considered ‘better’ than their less optimistic counterparts, in a stadium, during a game.

    But what difference does being more optimistic than another make on a blog like this, months after the game in question?

    I’m very optimistic of our chances during a game, but I put on my critical hat afterwards. In that context, I was also not confident that we would progress against Barca, even though during the game I was willing us to go through even after RvP was sent off, and we may well have done so if Bendtner had finished off that chance.

  275. Limestonegunner, there seems to be an inordinately large number of Arsenal blogs – whatever we think of some of them. That can be used to our advantage.

    But I would not limit this just to Arsenal supporters. The fans of most clubs, especially the smaller ones, feel hard done by the referees…

  276. Some very interestig posts here today – all (I think) started by Ateeb’s original post late last night and continued admirably by others all day long. I particularly appreciate being able to read generally reasonable debate without the whole thing degenerating into a slanging match.

    As ever, a very classy site.

    I don’t especially want to rehash what has already been expressed but to recap, I don’t think there are many (on here, at least) who are saying that either a) there is a massive world-wide footballing ‘conspiracy’ or b) that there is a campaign directed at Arsenal, specifically.

    The point I made last night was that regardless of the nature or cause of corruption, conspiracy, cheating, bias (by media, officals or otherwise), ‘influence’ or other form of irregularity – unless something is done, SUSPICION of play which is anything other than fair will always linger over the game like a toxic cloud poisening the reputations and integrity of all around as it slowly disperses before being replaced by the next scandal.

    Personally, for what it’s worth, I think 80% (at least) of the irregularities are down to chaos theory rather than anything planned – chaos, in this case caused by incompetence, foolishness and poor judgement. Today’s astonishing verdicts from the FA as described above by Passenal et al are spectacular examples of this. Exactly how does a ‘lowly’ QPR player get hammerd by the same body that bends over backwards to duck out of their responsibilities regarding the Balleotellidiot.

    And I get really, really REALLY bored when I read how impossible it is for the game, uniquely, pretty much in the world of sport, to utilise the gift of technology to solve, once and for all, the problems that are besieging the game. To paraphrase a US politician earlier today – the game is morally bankrupt; it just doesn’t know it yet.

    That there has been no real effort by FIFA and the rest to trial technology is extremely telling; the fear of a loss of control is behind their dodgy-looking reticence to take the game forward.

    And all the rest of us can do is sit around and ask ‘why?’

    All that has to happen is that a) we accept we can not get EVERY decision correct and b), the fourth official, instead of nurse-maiding the managers and holding up that stupid time-board, sits in front of a screen and makes the call on the BIG decisions via an audio link-up with the ref. The penalty decisions, offsides, diving, cheating.

    This is not rocket science. If a game as complex as cricket can get to grips with it (regardless of Jonny’s expressed qualms) then football should at least be experimenting by now.

    How different this weekend’s football outcomes might have been had this been in operation?

    The Balleotellidiot sent off. The Diving Young booked for diving or a corrrect offside decision given. Possibly a very different result for the Chavs. The list could go on. Additionally give each side’s captain three Review calls per match as in top level Tennis as a further insurance against the perception of refereeing bias. The stupid captains will use them up quickly, the clever ones will save them for the game-changers.

    Their choice, their call. But complete transparency would at last be achieved.

    Very little disruption, the worst of the howlers eliminated. The whiff of ‘corruption’ banished once and for all.


    Something needs to happen – the first thing is for people to stop finding reasons to do nothing …

  277. pedantic george

    That Bendtner chance gets easier with each passing day.

  278. Sorry, I am not going to sympathize on this one. Bill, square your shoulders and pull up your blow wow sock’s mi bredrin. I say that with all sincerity.

    How the heck can you have no belief in Arsenal, regardless of who we are playing?!

  279. Andrew. Excellent.

    Typical of a Canterbury drinker.

    Where do you drink there incidentally?

  280. Petition signed.

    My letter to AFC:

    For quite some time I have been shocked and disappointed that someone who is employed by Arsenal can publicly exhibit such outright hatred for the club who employs him.

    The total lack of respect, not to mention the unwarranted bias against our players and manager is totally unacceptable.

    The constant derision against our players, claiming on every foul given against the opposition for fouls on our players, that our players are “trying to get the opposition booked”, or, “it’s the little scream and rolling around that gets me”, in contrast to the example of a City player going down ” I tell you, that hurts”, or when a City player dived “these Arsenal fans are so one-eyed” (pot, kettle anyone?).

    I recall after one of our disappointing results earlier this year where he petulantly claimed “Wenger will blame everyone else, never himself”, before the manager had uttered a word!

    I can recall continuous bile issuing forth from him about Denilson during a match in a previous season, and many others, including Per Mertesecker this season.

    Never mind the sheer disloyalty of this traitor, his constant claims of our players “exaggerating” fouls doubtless contributes to referees allowing over zealous and dangerous play against our team, thus putting our players at risk.

    The man is an absolute disgrace, and I am heartened to discover that many other Arsenal fans loathe and despise this dishonest and treacherous leech as much as I do.

    Cut off this idiot’s access to the players and the club premises and cease contributing to his livelihood.


  281. I like and respect Bill too, George but couldn’t resist the parrallel; I was being a bit tongue in cheek, to be honest although I am honestly puzzled by his take on the Barca game.

    I think the petition started by LG and Matt is truly admirable; it won’t need 1,000’s of signatures; there will be people inside the club just as pissed of with SR as we are and they will use a lightly supported petition as an indication of wider disquiet. It could be that people in the club just don’t pay attention to his rambling madness so you will draw attention to it, at the very least.

    The Liverpool game is just soooo entertaining at the moment …

  282. I don’t really see what Bill said as being particularly outlandish. On the night we were defending well, but there was no doubt Barca was in control. We had barely got out of our own half and Barca had indeed had a cast iron penalty turned down.

    I am not doubting the sending off was both wrong and also the turning point in the game; there was no way back after that. People do have a selective memory.

  283. GA

    no way back? So if Bendtner had scored we would not have gone through? Selective memory is correct.

  284. mattgoonerknight

    Some people may not have post codes etc. Just need to put NA in any blank parts of the petition form

    Liverfool have had another keeper sent off (could have been 2) and given away 2 pelanties.

  285. This is totally off topic but Piers Morgan is an absolute cunt. He apparently made a bet with Nasri for 10,000 pounds that Arsenal would win a trophy before Manchester City, thats not to say we won’t, but this is coming from a man who a few months ago wanted Wenger out.

    Just thought i’d mention that 😀

  286. Sadly no longer in Canterbury, Bob (I’m lucky enough to live four stops from Arsenal Tube station now though). Too many proper pubs have become gentrified there these days but I used to live in Palace Street and about two doors along from The Bell & Crown, from where I would often make my way to The Parrot (first opened when we were still young back in the 14th Century!) before staggering onto The Dolphin ahead of returning via the Corridor of Uncertainty otherwise known as King Street and an almost certain hangover …

    Happy, if somewhat alcoholic days (and nights) …

  287. This is totally off topic but Piers Morgan is an absolute cunt. He apparently made a bet with Nasri for 10,000 pounds that Arsenal would win a trophy before Manchester City, thats not to say we won’t, but this is coming from a man who a few months ago wanted Wenger out.

    Just thought i’d mention that 😀

  288. GA,
    Ok, this is not a vital point, but I don’t agree at all that there was no way back after the sending off. We could have nicked it if NB put away that chance that PG thinks was easy.

  289. Moe – always happy to read accurate descriptions of Piers Moron!

    Dups – well said mate.

  290. Dups – I have often been a critic of Bendtner, but that was a difficult chance.

  291. mattgoonerknight

    Cheers dups,

  292. MikeSA

    I emailed em too man, lets wait n see…


    Yep, Bendy scores and we are through, even with no chance we erm, had a top chance.

  293. It was bread and butter chance. Missable, but ultimately if you are paid to be a striker, you should at least be hitting the old cliche.

  294. GA, have you rewatched that game? I did recently. Barca had a lot of position but were not much of a threat. The game started to change in the 2nd half and Arsenal were getting into the game more and more.
    No one is denying that Barca had a pen shout or had the ball for first half (if so, please show me) however you have left out the facts I just stated and also have not mentioned that more than one Barca player should have seen red.

  295. If I remember rightly it was near the edge of the area and he was stretching for it?

  296. GA

    It was still a good chance to go through and more so if RVP was still on. Still just a bad decision from the ref I suppose. Nothing sinister in being the only ref ever to send a player off like that and then being promoted.

  297. Jeez Andy, is there anyone you haven’t always been a critic off? 😉

  298. Paul, I don’t really want to get into a tit for tat about it mate. I just thought people jumped on Bill, when what he said was not that bad really. It was just his take on the game, and one I could understand.

  299. Henristic – I have hight Standards for The Arsenal mate 🙂

  300. If LFC don’t start winning soon they could end the season in the bottom half of the table where the totts usually live.

  301. mattgoonerknight

    Horrible first touch. Golden opportunity with just 3 minutes of the 90 remaining.

  302. Watching Liverpool is highly entertaining. They really are shit.

  303. Matt, yeah he should have done better. I can get back to slagging him off now 😉

  304. For what it’s worth, my own selective memories of the Barca match:

    Our strategy of weathering the early storm and then striking back worked at the Emirates. There were signs (but, thanks to the promotion-seeking ref, we will never know) that it was starting to work at Camp Nou.

    When Pep, in his tactical talk, said “you need to strangle the opposItion”, he can’t have imagined that the players would take him literally.

  305. I also thought the whole Bill bashing thing wasn’t cool, but he handled himself rather well as he always does.
    Bill is a model poster on this site imo, never takes himself too seriously, but clearly as passionate about the Arsenal as anyone else on here that I’ve seen, except maybe for Yogi (keeping a blog like this running for all these years is even beyond passionate)

  306. So GA, you fling a lick and then say you don’t want to fight.


  307. It’s ironic but Liverpool just scabbed a win by accidentally playing to Andy Carroll’s strengths; something they’ve not done all season.

    It’s cost them a lot of money to be able to play like that all season. Ditto the dreadful Mancs. At least the Chavs won stuff for all the squillions squandered on them …

    And still the ‘pool fans celebrate as if they’ve won a cup final.

    So sad.

    They were once a great club.

    I was having a big clear out at home earlier today and found my copy of The Daily Mirror from the morning after we won at Anfield in ’89; the whole front page given over to Tony Adams and Arsenal. I’d forgotten I had it; I handled it as if it was the Shroud of Turin (only more precious).

    That was the day LIverpool stopped being a great club.

  308. Jammy scousers!

  309. The FA proves yet again that they’re a punch of wankers, why didn’t Balotelli get banned for his blatent, leg breaking challenge on Song? What’s their explanation for no action?

    Every one saw it, every one said it was a red card offense, every one talked about it, so why not punish him? Is it because it didn’t really break Song’s leg? Or is it because “Poor Balotelli, every one is getting on his back”?

    Consistency breads fairness FA, but I guess you don’t know anything about that.


    Such a shame Carlos does not want to come back to Arsenal. He is on fire in Spain. I wish him the best though. I always liked him.

    Nice to see the reserves doing well for themselves with a good old fashioned 1 nil to the Arsenal up at Newcastle. And good for Thomas Eisfeld scoring his first goal for the club in only his second game to go with the assist in his first! Could be a promising prospect.

  311. On the topic of bias, Untold and the non Arsenal site Debatable Decisions, and a further non Arsenal site listed Arsenal as being the side with the most bad decisions against.

    That’s not one of the worst, or near the bottom, all three sites have us as stone bottom of the league on decisions against us.

    Wenger also pointed out a season or two back that Arsenal had the worst fouls to cards ration in the league by a serious margin.

    Furthermore, there was a site by an ex-ref, can’t recall his name off hand, but he is a Middlesbrough fan, who based a table on where clubs would have been on the table baed on key incorrect decisions. Lo and behold, Arsenal were the single team in the op 4 who would have improved their position if the correct calls had been made.

    To add to the dishonesty of the FA (no, it’s not incompetence, it’s dishonesty), look at wrighty’s site, he asked FIFA about this so-called review rule, and the FA are flat out lying about that, notwithstanding that they contravened their own “rule” on that when hey retrospectively reviewed Ben Thatcher’s punishment a few seasons back.

    So if the FA can flat out lie about something, do some of you seriously believe these pieces of shit are pristinely honest about other things like refs?

    Honestly, the belief that “it can’t happen in OUR league” borders on being a trifle xenophobic in my opinion (a bit like the “diving is a foreign thing”).

  312. Apologies, my iPad is refusing to let me read most of my post before I submit it, hence the errors

  313. I completely agree with Fingunn and Arsenal Andrew

    ‘But there are enough clever people on here to create a PR effect. In fact, it’s happening already. By helping to create publicity around the low level of EPL refereeing and how it can be raised, we are adding to the pressure to change. And if and when the level of refereeing can be raised even a little, the Beautiful Game keeps on being beautiful and it helps the team. I’d rather discuss how we can help than the unprovable causes for things being the way they are. Or is someone here really of the opinion that EPL refereeing is good enough?’

    What is also important to note is that we being part of the public can make our voice heard politically through petitions or whatever mechanisms we resort to, without having to face any consequences. Such actions cannot be made by our club, unless and until, they have our backing to do so. Given how clever Arsene is, he will completely safeguard the club’s interest or not let it get out of favour at all. But we will manage to make a point, a very necessary one indeed. What more, I think more co-ordiantion between supporters of different clubs who have been victimized will serve our cause as well. But of course it would take a lot of time and effort.

    But it’s worth a shot. Why not? There is clearly a structural problem that needs to be addressed. If anything it will bring it into public knowledge out of the dark closed coffers.

    I think just based on the last 10 days we can build up a strong enough course. But we would also have to think beyond the actually existing law that is already in palce. The sort that led to the QPR guy’s appeal being rejected? What the fuck? Anyone with a fucking sense knows the mistake wasn’t on the players part, so why should he be punished? What kind of fucking law is that? And should we sit back and do nothing, because it’s stuffed down our throats that it’s law and the omnipotent football governing body can do whatever they want?

    Always remember, only a few key decisions can change the whole dynamics of the league as far as team positions are concerned.

    Moreover for those who are saying that football is allowed to run in a certain way, i.e, tactful fouling are completely abstracting from the issue at hand. That too is a significant issue that needs to be discussed and debated to change the pysche of British football, which clearly needs a total remake. Football can be played as an art, as some teams in the world try to do so. Their players aren’t plucked out of the sky but are trained as well as given autonomy to develop their talents and play in a certain way on the pitch. Haven’t we started producing our very own players who can play in a certain artistic way? Anyways.

    Yes. For those interested, we can look into this matter. The guy at Untold Arsenal used to do some interesting analysis of these referee decisions not so long ago. Maybe we’d need to go into archives or ask him directly.

  314. It’s funny that GA talks about selective memory and then proves to be a perfect example of exactly that phenomenon. The pass from Jack was very good and if Bendtner had put the ball onto his right boot instead of whatever he tried to do with his first touch it would’ve been probably a goal.

  315. On the topic of the Barca game, at some stage is was 1-1 was it not?

    At that point we were through because we won at home.

    What was the score when RvP got sent off?

    The ref, who few of us had ever heard of before, suddenly got promoted to head of uefa refs after that!

    And nobody finds that at all strange?

    All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.

  316. Goonerandy,

    ‘I don’t really see what Bill said as being particularly outlandish. On the night we were defending well, but there was no doubt Barca was in control. We had barely got out of our own half and Barca had indeed had a cast iron penalty turned down’

    How long have you been watching football for? So just that you’re such an ‘optimistic’ fan that you believe we wouldn’t have won anyways, you’re saying we shouldn’t question dubious decisions? How about not competing at all, sit home, the next time we play against a ‘stronger on paper’ team.

  317. Excellent posts there MikeSA, although Andy’s bound to suggest you like head wear made of kitchen foil or some other crazy ass german humour shizzle. 🙂

  318. ‘The ref, who few of us had ever heard of before, suddenly got promoted to head of uefa refs after that!’

    Actually you’re a bit mistaken but your point is right. That referee was actually one of the most competent referees of Europe who always got big games. So a decision like that coming from someone so experience stank of smelly influences. It’s the truth. What is the truth of that situation if not this? Investigation was necessary. It should be. Class action suit? Club action suit? Why should football have it’s own autonomous law that has no public accountability? We’re all sick of this. So where is the response from them to sort this mess out? No technology? Or add another stooge with the linesman?

  319. I never did understand that kitchen foil reference first time it was raised!

  320. The desire to play devils advocate by some is a joke. A man says he had NO FAITH and we justify it. That makes no sense at all.

  321. I think it was that no Spanish team had ever lost a match in which he was the ref.

  322. Well Ateeb, if he was one of the top refs, I certainly hadnt heard of him, nevertheless, his reaction to Wenger’s approach was exceptionally aggressive from what I could see on tv, and uefa’s reaction was also questionably vicious (best form of defense when you’re wrong is attack?).

    There is way too much “co-incidence” out there for this to be as a result of honest mistakes or merely incompetence, and yes, Arsenal ARE receiving the arse end of the deal, as itemized by even non Arsenal observers.

    Quite frankly, I find the insistence that “all is well, the authorities have our best interests at heart and are pure as the driven snow” bordering on loony tunes.

  323. BtW, I am very blunt in my meetings about people claiming to play devil’s advocate.

    As soon as someone even begins with that line, I tell them outright that as far as I’m concerned, anyone uttering that phrase effectively has “I am a cunt” tattooed on their forehead from that point on.

  324. In the end we had Barca’s number. Wenger’s gameplan for the match was a stroke of genius. We knew from before that they tired after the 60th minute, so he decided to let them come at us and then we’d hit them on the counter towards the end of the match. And it would’ve worked, if it hadn’t been for Busacca.

    On a more cheerful note, us and Inter are the only teams in recent times (last 4 years or so) to beat Barca in the knockout rounds of the CL. Clearly shows just how good as a team we are and where our potential lies. If only we can manage to hit those heights on a constant basis …

  325. Bradys right foot

    mattgoonerknight | April 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    They’d only replace Robson with Tony Gale lol.

  326. Massimo Busacca was the ref. The score was 1-1 when he sent of RVP.

    Paul N you are correct. In every CL match he was in charge the Spanish club never lost.

  327. Bradys right foot

    Alot of earnest keyboard bashing tonight my fellow left and some great points. I would say that my take on us is quite simple, we would have to do more than Man U to win the league, it would be harder for us across every aspect of our campign.

    in my opinion we get fouled more but get less free kicks, we don’t get penalties, we get more men sent off and concede more penalties, have more suspensions than Utd. I’m quite certain for example that the GPS statistical data exists that would show how other teams play harder against us than Man U. The sight of Scholes and Giggs against Bilboa as they were made to look what they are old men way past their best, is in stark contrast to the weekly free rides they enjoy against the majority of premiership clubs. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I want to win when everything is stacked against us, providing RVP stays in the summer this team will mount a huge challenge next year, weve been in championship form bar a blip in January since October. This gooners looks like a proper team.

  328. Maybe we just need some German referees. They seem to know very well how to handle divers, even from big clubs, as evident in this video:
    Lot’s of yellow cards, the way it should be.

  329. What really angers me is our fence sitters. This blog and elsewhere.
    ‘ ARSENAL ITSELF is mainly to blame for their position in the table and for the bad luck that has been their lot’

    Kind of like condemning. A rape victim for being the person at fault for the criminal assault. I’m disgusted. Shame on you.

  330. Limestonegunner

    Excellent discussion going on. I want to pick out arsenalandrew for some top posts among several great contributions all around.

    AA, it would still be nice if the petition took off and got thousands, which would happen I think if it was picked up on twitter and the most popular blogs.

    Mingus, I agree it is a small initiative. One small step. The failure to punish Balotelli is very shocking and quite serious. Lead us to bigger and better action!

  331. Limestonegunner

    Mattgoonerknight, would be happy to get the details to help manage the petition. Thanks again for getting it up and running.

  332. Signs of a groundswell:

    I think it is really important that we involve fans of other clubs as well. Two reasons: there would be more of us and it won’t be so easily seen as just ‘Arsenal fans whining again’.

  333. Goonerkam – There is so much wrong with your post at 1:49 I really don’t know where to start.

  334. Evil – I have played with German refs quite often. They certainly don’t take any shit.

  335. Reading through some of the posts regarding the Barca game is quite eye opening, and the one thing that jumps out is the blatant hypocrisy of some posters.

    As far as the Barca game went I am comfortable they they were the better side, but we were defending very well and still had a chance to snatch the game. The ref and a lack of composure put paid to that.

    Others believe that us being pinned into our own half was Arsene’s master plan. And that might also be true. But many of the posters that believe that and the same posters that decry teams that come to the Emirates and “Park the Bus”. Yet when we do the same thing (everybody behind the ball and wait for a break or maybe a set piece) it is a grand master plan. You can’t have your cake and eat it people.

  336. Paul-N | April 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm
    So GA, you fling a lick and then say you don’t want to fight.

    Hahaha, I like the way you talk bro.

  337. @ Andy,
    So don’t. Much obliged.
    @PASSANEL, 1039
    my sentiments exactly regarding Carlos. What an artist. What a talent. Too bad he doesn’t. Have a black belt to go with his football talent. He might have made it in the EPL. maybe he is afraid of being assulted over and over again during matches with out the protection. Of the officials.
    Like REYAS, and maybe he doesn’t want to bring his game down to the level of red devil butchers , to make a living. Maybe be he doesn’t want his limbs broken.

    I think we can fairly assume, by the decisions of the gutless FA , that the annual green lighting. Of our players has commenced. Therefore I see a very tough and bloody. Game coming up against the WOLves. We must not lose our nerve. Protect yourself at all time and try to close the deal against this team and their hitmen.
    Here is to an early two goal lead and cruise control to the finish.
    I hope to god they don’t severly Injury any of our players long term.
    I HAVE MUCH HOPE FOR THIS GROUP OF WARRIORS FOR THE NEXT YEARS CAMPAIGN, and i don’t want some lowlife butcher or scum ref. To ruin it.

    UP THE FUCKING GUNS!!!!!!!!!!

  338. to many to mention but some great posts last night. MIKE SA ,I hear and feel you sentiment. Try to open some other eyes to the facts. The ones who have an open mind and great passion for the club.
    ATEEB85, excellent ideas. Lets just take the first petition as far as we can as fast as we can. Then we can start others. I’m with you. Anything for ARSENAL.
    and remember, your silence and apathy is partly responsible for the treatment dished out to the team you support weekly. they didn’t even give us a foul on that assault.
    Of course ,any group action taken here must meet approval of the blog master. YW.

    SIGNED IT. And sent it to three other blogs. Not many readers they have but I suppose every little bit helps.
    FUNGUN makes sense. I want this action on ROBSON to be an inhouse affair and by gooners only. But if you think involving other teams supporters is the way to go, I’ll go along. Long live the AFC AAND WHAT IT STANDS FOR.

  340. mattgoonerknight


    In agreement with andy,

    “What really angers me is our fence sitters. This blog and elsewhere.
    ‘ ARSENAL ITSELF is mainly to blame for their position in the table…”

    But this is true, bad calls or not ARSENAL ITSELF is responsible for our current league position, which conversely is fucking brilliant!!!

    “Kind of like condemning. A rape victim for being the person at fault for the criminal assault. I’m disgusted. Shame on you”

    No, it is not. Not remotely. And I and many others will be disgusted by your comment and shame on YOU for attempting to make such a parallel.

    Look, I’m no saint, and I don’t profess you to be the devil, but rather than smugly dismissing andy’s objection to your comment, you could just put your hands up and say that you got this one wrong.

  341. Too bad you feel that way.
    I’ll respect others opinions and their right to voice as long as they don’t start disrespecting others for their opinions and action. We don’t all live in the army. Our opinions can differ and we all have a right to voice them. Don’t like it ,move to Stalingrad.
    I don’t like it when THE ARSENAL is blamed for the things. They put us thru. Its blaming the victim for the assault and I won’t stand for it. Anyone with an once of conscience won’t either.
    Hope Percy is doing well, by the way.

  342. goonerkam

    To be honest, comparing football to those types of assaults is pretty much as offensive as it gets. Footballing iniquities are nothing like rape, so please don’t use those analogies.

  343. Apologies YW. didn’t mean to compare the two at all. Rape is dead serious but also the only crime I hear of when the victim is gallingly put in the spotlight. And blamed. Apologies again.

  344. Evil | April 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm
    In the end we had Barca’s number. Wenger’s gameplan for the match was a stroke of genius. We knew from before that they tired after the 60th minute, so he decided to let them come at us and then we’d hit them on the counter towards the end of the match. And it would’ve worked, if it hadn’t been for Busacca.

    On a more cheerful note, us and Inter are the only teams in recent times (last 4 years or so) to beat Barca in the knockout rounds of the CL. Clearly shows just how good as a team we are and where our potential lies. If only we can manage to hit those heights on a constant basis

    Following on from GA’s point at 7.57am; I find it bemusing that you believe Mourihno/Inter’s park the bus approach to beating Barca was at all worthy of emulation. Did you feel that way before we adopted a similar tactic?

    I don’t believe for a second that parking the bus is the only way to beat Barca.

  345. Henristic

    It may not be the only way to beat Barca but it is the most effective.

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