Rulers Show They Know FA About The Game & Wolves Preview

Football is in danger of imploding. The Football Association’s tenure as the organising body of the game in this country has never before been under such serious threat, a position of their own making. Arguably they are only in situ now because of the universal loathing for the Premier League amongst the corridors of power in the European and world governing bodies. Had David Richards not made such an arse of himself recently in the Middle East, he might have positioned the Premier League to take over the English game entirely. As it is, a blundering fool has let the blundering fools off the hook.

If it was not bad enough that QPR still suffer for Ashley Young’s outrageous theatrics, Mario Balotelli remains unchastened by the authorities for his disregard for the well-being of Alex Song. Were the Cameroonean so inclined, I have no doubt he could prove reckless intent behind the Italian’s challenge. Yet that is not sufficient for the FA to take retrospective action on the grounds that an official saw the incident and it was deemed not to contravene the Laws of the Game. Ivanovic’s half-hearted assault (by comparison) is to be punished.

<inhales sharply> It is of course, a joke. If an official saw it, demoting him to the lower leagues is insufficient; he has to be banned from all involvement with football. You might think this extreme but match officials have a duty of care to the players to ensure their safety. This was utterly disregarded as this picture shows.

Should the FA fail to act against the official, they are woefully derelict in the conduct of their duties. That will happen; this is after all a professional body who told the government so eloquently that they don’t have much say over running the game, it’s all down to the clubs (page 5 is staggering).

I understand that overruling officials creates a dangerous precedent but this was a woefully inept decision by those managing the match. If the FA look at this, their skewed logic goes, they will be pressured into others; for example, there would be pressure to overrule the referee at Old Trafford and add a caution to Ashley Young’s record. That would undermine the referee and a momentum then grows to retrospectively administer games, ordering replayed matches for justice to be seen to be done. That cannot happen and the FA should be prepared to stand up, be unpopular and put the media in their place.

But this was dangerous beyond words. Would they have taken the same flippant attitude if Song’s leg had been broken? There should be no difference in this but there would be; it is the same skewed logic that means a referee won’t give a penalty for shirt-pulling but anywhere else on the pitch, it’s a freekick. With this sort of direction from the top, there is no hope of getting a degree of consistency from referees.

Onto Arsenal. They arrive at Molineux in the midst of what the ever-faithful media are trying to build into a defensive crisis. Laurent Koscielny’s absence for this and next Monday’s clash with Wigan is due to suspension; his replacement will presumably be Johan Djourou although if Arsène is doubting the Swiss youngster’s mindset, Alex Song could drop back into the centre of defence. Kieran Gibbs‘ absence might yet rank in the bizarre injuries, fatigue of the groin. Apparently the rest of him is raring to go but his groin said, “No boss, can’t make it; too tired“. Richard E Grant is reportedly interested in making a follow up to the film How To Get A Head In Advertising although the working title of the film based on Gibbs needs some work.

Fear not, Andre Santos is back and it will be interesting to see how he and Yossi Benayoun combine on the left, presuming the Israeli retains his place. Aaron Ramsey seems likeliest to come in for Tomas Rosicky bearing in mind the Czech’s injury history and an understandable caution might well be the basis for rotation. I guess that Oxlade-Chamberlain might be preferred with Benayoun moving into Rosicky’s position but I think that unlikely.

The players are aware that this is a golden opportunity, a chance to put themselves firmly in control of their own destiny. Whilst the media focus on Spurs players and the mental impact of the departure of the Greatest English Manager Ever, they miss the real culprit and this Redknapp himself. If Arsenal are able to take themselves eight points clear of fourth, the psychological impact on the chasing pack would be huge which is before you consider the boost for the Arsenal squad ahead of the matches against Chelsea and Stoke.

Ever sensible, the manager put things into perspective,

Let’s not anticipate, that is something else that is important. When it gets to the last sprint, the focus on the next game becomes the most important part because you are always tempted to anticipate. We have the experience to know just to deal with the next one and that is the only important thing.

The players are capable of delivering and you sense that the win over City, not just in the three points but also the performance, has given them huge confidence. Wolves last beat Arsenal at Molineux in a league match in 1978. Since then six wins and a draw have been achieved. You can counter that with fact that Arsenal have only won twice in April on the same ground, achieving two draws and losing the remaining four encounters. Stats prove what you want them to prove.

I’ll settle tonight for a win. Wolves should they lose, will be seven points adrift of safety with fifteen left to play for. They are in woeful form but as Arsène noted, we have seen all manner of strange results this season so nothing can be taken for granted, a point I made in this morning’s Talking Heads.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. Before then, be sure to look at a historic trip to the East Midlands for Arsenal On This Day.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 11, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 375 Comments.

  1. Just Another Luke

    2nd

  2. well said Yogi…. well said

  3. Just Another Luke

    In tennis language, a break of serve is only good if we then hold our serve. That’s the challenge for us tonight.

  4. glad it was not a leg breaker :)…. amazing how an official saw it not being so bad…. i think the Ox starts tonight… upward and onward GOONERS!!!!… i cant believe i quastioned this team a few weeks ago.. so happy to be wrong

  5. Consolidate third place, Put one more nail in the wolves coffin.
    That good. Motivation. Come on you GUNNERS!!!!!

  6. mattgoonerknight

    Great as always YW

    —————-Wojo—————-

    Bac—–Johan—TV5—BigGeorge

    ————-Art—-Song————–

    —————Lil’Mozart——————

    Theo———-RVP————Oxo

    I’d like to see as few changes as possible, which means the same three in midfield. Benny was great but I wouldn’t be surprised if the more attacking option would be employed against Wolves and Wigan, with Benny resuming his big game starter status against the chavs.

    If we look comfy, Rambo to come on early 2nd half but TR7 starts every game at the moment for me.

    But meh, I always get this stuff wrong 🙂

  7. Comme D’habitude magnifique post YW.. Skewed Logic…..Onwards Forwards…

  8. thank god his leg wasn’t planted and he was able to move it some out of they way. It would have been a horrendous and career ending injury…

  9. mattgoonerknight

    Shit, just realised Benny can’t play against Chelski….

    Right, Oxo still plays but maybe Benny in again against Wigan? Comes on to shore things up if (I hope when) we’re leading in the 2nd half?

  10. Wojo
    BAC big johaan. TV. Santos
    . Aaron. Micky
    . lil Mozart
    Theo. RVP. BENNY

    have a strong suspicion. Song might start on the bench.

  11. mattgoonerknight

    YW

    Good to see you where you belong, on arsenal.com!!

    Nice one

  12. This quote from the Gruniad is a fitting place to leave off some of yesterday’s threads, and to look forward to tonight’s game:

    “a farcical day for the Football Association’s disciplinary procedures, which caused disbelief within the game and left many elite match officials disillusioned at the disquiet directed at their fraternity.”

    So, it’s all good then. Sorted. Glad to know then that the usual and reliable uncredibles were as they like to say ‘spot on’, again.

  13. Alex Ice Cream

    I wonder if the situation would have been different if it was one of the “England Boys” who had been on the receiving end or if the player has been badly injured. Could you imagine the explosion if it was Rooney instead of Song and he was out of the Euros as a result? The FA would have found a way to punish Balotelli, I am sure of that.
    Also, if the official did see the incident why was Balotelli not sent off? Interestingly the FA have previously said that if the “incident” was seen then they cannot use retrospective punishment. Now they are saying that because the “coming together” was seen they cannot do anything. The two are not the same. The incident was the potential leg-breaker, the “coming together” is more general and may not include the leg-breaker. You can see the “coming together” but not the “incident”.
    It’s nonsense whichever way you look at it and the only positive is that Song was not badly hurt.
    We have a great chance to consolidate 3rd tonight but we have to be 100% focused. There are still 18 points available so we still have to be careful and not get carried away like Sperz do. QPR showed that things can still go awry but if we are focused we should win tonight.

  14. So the FA back the referees incompetence in a show of solidarity that attempts to say they fully support their decisions whether correct or not, and so should we? This is not how the respect campaign is going to progress.

    Yogi on Talking Heads again. So the club do recognise sensible analysis when they see it. On a related note, the Stewart Robson petition is close to 200 signatures. The pillock was on Talksport this morning calling Theo inconsistent again. Maybe angling for a new job where he belongs.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/arsenal-football-club-relieve-stewart-robson-from-his-arsenal-player-duties

  15. Even worse Robson said Clint Dempsey, a man who has had one great season for Fulham, was more consistent that Theo.

  16. ROBSON IS finished. We will see to it. Just a dog that bites its masters hand at feeding time. despicable. hope more and more blogs sign on to see this to its logical end. can’t stand the guy and his voice anymore. Boils my blood the basterd. Good riddance, I say.
    And the FA . their stupidity and stubbornness never ceases to amaze me.
    This whole establishment needs a good shakeup from the top down. How do they look themselves in the mirror. Effing dinosaurs. With a straight face, even.

  17. mattgoonerknight

    Irrespective of the Robson’s comments (we all know what the vast majority think of those) on Dempsey, what’s the consensus on the transfer rumours?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/9196516/Arsenal-manager-Arsene-Wenger-is-monitoring-Fulham-forward-Clint-Dempsey.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2127927/Arsenal-close-Fulhams-Clint-Dempsey.html

    1 year left on his contract.

    Bendtner, Vela, Park and Chamakh all potentially out.

    Poldolski (is it 100%?) Campbell and Aneke in squad.

    Worth a shout?

  18. Just Another Luke

    Let’s do the Poznan for the return of AIC, the whiner. 😀

  19. I really don’t know what you do with the FA at this point. Maybe a three-man permanent committee sits down after the weekend and reviews the games and dishes out any punishments that were not properly dealt with by the on-field referee. One would be an ex-ref, one an ex-player and one an ex-manager. All clubs sign up to their decisions being final at the start of the season and no appeals are allowed.

  20. Just Another Luke

    …and fair weather supporter

  21. Great post YW, similar thoughts expressed on Arseblog regarding the incompedent buffons in the old school tie world of the FA.
    Have the FA ever made a correct, decisive decision in it’s history?
    I expect 3 points tonight, no disrepect to Wolves.
    1-0 to the Arsenal will do me

  22. Top piece Yogi, however, I have to pull you up on one thing man; Why would Arsene be concerned with Johan’s head? He has done well, as far as I know!

    Oh and I know I am thick, so what is staggering about page 5 of the FA report thingy?
    Seriously, could you point out what I’ve missed please? Ta in advance 🙂

    I agree, I would rest Tomas and replace him with either Yossi or Aaron, other than that, the team picks itself really.

    I am in no way taking Wolves lightly, BUT if we show the same level of intensity and commitment, then a 4-0 win is not too far fetched, IMO.

    Up the Guns!

  23. mattgoonerknight, if his recent comments are anything to go by I don;t think Chamakh is going anywhere.

    I wouldn’t be completely against signing Dempsey, but the same people who cry for signing give off in the next breath that the Ox doesn’t get chances. He’d zero chances if we signed both Dempsey and Podolski. I’d imagine we’re after Podolski with Dempsey as a back-up, or vice-versa.

  24. What is Dempsey’s main position? I dont watch Fulham, mainly due to their fat headed balloon faced twat of a manager.

  25. Markus

    The only thing I would say that gives creedence to us being after Dempsey, is that Wenger said he was after strikers, plural man. Could have been bullshit to mess with the press, or he could be serious. Time will tell. I think £10m is too much tho, can’t see us wanting to pay that. I could envisage cash plus player deals though.

  26. From yesterday’s thread…

    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?

  27. Long live the away. Support.
    RASERS…….
    DEX, DEMPSEY is an all and out striker with license to roam. He is good. Poldi much better.

  28. dempseys a good player
    hes not a great player
    but hes an experience PL campaigner who has been scoring double figures from fulhams midfield for 2-3 seasons..

    we could play him behind robin or in the wide role for his goal threat..

    depends on the price and what happens with benny but we could benefit from his signing..
    especially if wengers other targets are going to cost 20-25mil..

    could be a good backup plan if we miss out on other targets??

  29. A very good post YW.

    Dexter – As AW said. “Don’t predict, let’s just perform”

    To right.

  30. The Dempsey stories are rubbish imo. No one was talking about him until a few weeks ago when his scoring record suddenly noticed by the media.

  31. Dexter, you want to rest Tomas or Song?

  32. mattgoonerknight

    Is Martin Jol a Twat, Dex?

    Not disagreeing as no doubt he’s said things I’m not aware of but I’ve not particularly thought of him like that. I was glad when sp*rs got rid of him as I thought he was pretty likeable (don’t want to like the chief spud) and a good manager.

    Dempsey is pretty much a number 10, but as their striking options are so limited he’s been employed as the main striker à la against Chelski.

    Markus

    What comments? The ones I’ve heard from the boss suggest he could be out.

  33. henristic
    i think it more coincides when it was ‘discovered’ his contract was running down..

    hes always scored goals for fulham..
    hes been excellent this season but i think its his contract situation that has alerted the media..

  34. A good post, particularly the adverse forecast about the FA. About time too. If FIFA and the EUFA follow suit there is yet hope for football worldwide.
    As for Wolves/Arsenal, I will bite my tongue until the possible blip has passed. Roll on Monday when we entertain Wigan at the Emirates…..and (ugh!) another possible blip! 😆

  35. RVP needs a goal or two. Wouldn’t want Shrek to take his credits away this year. MVP-RVP

  36. JA Luke. I thought we just held serve. So aint we supposed to be breaking?

  37. YW, brilliant stuff as usual.

    I have one small issue –

    “I understand that overruling officials creates a dangerous precedent”.

    I don’t get that at all.

    First there are precedents to this already (Essien in Europe for one and I am sure there are a couple more, but my brain is struggling this morning).

    Second I don’t see the ‘danger’ of moving in a direction that undercuts on-field decisions – fans don’t care about the sanctity of the referee’s adjudication – especially when it means that dangerous tackles, outright violence go and cowardly cheating can go completely unpunished.

    Surely the danger is in NOT moving towards this eventuality? The more precedents we have that support the move to a new paradigm – one which puts player safety and the integrity of the game first – the better.

  38. Dempsey would be a decent signing for me – he’s not the top, top quality we are supposed to be after but he’d be an excellent addition nonetheless.
    With his consistency, composure and familiarity with the Premiership I think he would represent what would be best described as an extremely ‘safe’ signing.
    Currently he gets a goal every other game (16 from 33) and he’s 29 so arguably at the peak of his powers.
    Plus I am told he is a model pro – which fits my image of him as he does seem a good character on the pitch.

  39. That said I do agree with Henristic, that this transfer tale (like almost all of them) smells neatly and conveniently of being media-cooked.

  40. mattgoonerknight, these quotes have been attributed to Chamakh:

    “I’ve spoken to Arsene Wenger and I’m not leaving for now. He trusts my work and I’ll still have chances in the first team so I’ll stay. I left Bordeaux to improve as a player and I can contribute here. My agents have been ordered to reject bids that come from other clubs because I want to prove I can be useful for Arsenal.”

    Not sure when or where he made the comments but I’ve seen them reported a few places.

  41. The allegation that Arsene could not coach defence has always been laughed at. Arsene has parked many a bus. Like when 1-2 up away against everton last season, against the mancs in the clubs last fa cup final. That some have been incapable of observing how the team plays football is a shame. Of not giving credit where it is due.
    So, who exactly has been a hypocrite over that barca game? Those who ignore those examples above in their myopic debates about defence? It is uncredible, is it not?
    Why do they ignore these things? You’re guess is as good as mine. I don’t think some of them like the manager very much. Just a hunch.

  42. Oh lest we forget that twenty game unbeaten run during the last rebuild. When the team changed tactics. When the laterals were told to play like full backs, game after game. If you relied upon the wisdom of our defensive experts, you’d relieve that these events never happened. Close your eyes. Clip those white and ruby slippers together three times and your wishes may come true.
    Nope. Arsene is still here. Merde.

  43. mattgoonerknight

    Markus, could be from January?

    Either way, if a half decent / cash rich club (PSG) makes an offer and we accept in principle, I don’t see the player and his considerate agents to bat away a signing on fee in favour of another season which would carry the risk of seeing his stock dwindle further then it already has.

    He gets very few chances as it is as 2nd choice forward. He’ll be 3rd choice at best if/when we bring in Podolski. I’m not bashing him, it’s just no good to either us or him if the boss doesn’t warrant him good enough to play on an even occasional basis.

  44. jonny

    >“I understand that overruling officials creates a dangerous precedent”.

    I don’t get that at all.

    Where do you stop? You will never eradicate the cheating. There is no will to do so within the game otherwise Young would have been banned. And diving is not the only form of cheating as Ivanovic showed. What about timewasting? That’s cheating; defining this is crucial to a system that works. You either do all or nothing and with that, tacitly or overtly support the path trodden toward either a wholesome game or a cheats paradise.

    Further, what little trust there is in referees is eroded even more. That must exist for players and managers alike. They know the refs get it wrong but players are certainly more accepting of it than anyone else, no matter how angry they are with the decision. But what happens if they know they can challenge a decision post-match. What do you do for example, if Balotelli had been cautioned (the most lenient punishment aside from being let off) – surely the FA should not have the power to review the decision? However he received no punishment and that should be reviewable for an obvious contravening of the rules.

    Another aspect of this is why can the FA only overrule a decision? That is against ‘natural justice’ and it is probably only a matter of time before a legal challenge to this comes about given the nature of club owners.

    Murky waters but somewhat irrelevant since they won’t do anything about it. We should be told what punishment is being levied against the official who reportedly saw the incident.

  45. The FA are cowards who lack the courage to back up their boasts about fair play and respect being their priority.

    Dempsey is a decent player who is fine where he is in my opinion. Just like Charlie Adam was fine at Blackpool, Henderson at Sunderland, Chamakh at Bourdeux, Park at Monaco…

  46. Spot on Fins. Funny how some would have it that we have never adopted a defensive strategy. I also make you right. There are some who want Wenger out, but are too scared (on here at least) to say it. I have questioned him numerous times as one would expect of any person who has been the head honcho for such a long time, yet I do think you are right man, they don’t like him.

    MGK

    I just dont like the medicine ball sized cranium c*nt!

    Dempsey rumours have been around for several months now. personally, for the right price, he’d be a tidy signing. He wouldnt have to adjust, or move! Sooooooo much better than the constant Kalou rumours, if you ask me.

  47. Deise

    How about Dzeko instead then? 🙂

  48. The FA HAVE retrospectively handed out additional punishment.

    Ben Thatcher got a yellow card for an assault on a player several seasons back.

    The FA extended the punishment after reviewing the incident, so their whole claim is a complete lie.

    Added to that, several other European leagues review and change decisions post match, we haven’t seen anarchy as a result there have we?

    The FA are not fit for purpose. There is a serious conflict of interest with them having a competing product (the national team) with the clubs they are supposed to rule over.

    It’s an unhealthy situation, and they have proved time nd time gain that they are either incompetent beyond belief, or corrupt, be that money driven or not.

    It’s time to boot them, Uefa, and FIFA out the game for the good of the game.

  49. mattgoonerknight

    Dex

    Cool, just so long as there’s a rational reason ; )

    Wish we could play Wolves now, like right now! The prospect of potentially being 5 points clear of the pack by tonight is too much: it’s twisting my melon, man!

  50. mattgoonerknight

    Diese April 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

    It’s easy to say this after the event though, isn’t it? Hindsight and all that.

    What, in your opinion, are the signs / indicators, that a player performing well at a “lesser” club is ready to step up a level? By the players you’ve mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious pattern.

  51. Really terrific post YW – all of it – but especially the first half.

    The FA, with their inconsistencies, their failure to apply common-sense and their negligence in addressing matters of basic justice have single-handedly brought the English game into disrepute.

    I would argue they are unfit for purpose and should be disbanded and reconstituted with a body for whom competence should be but their first main attribute.

    What I find most offensive in all this – as has already been mentioned – if the QPR guy had been John Terry or Rio Ferdinand and The Balleotidiot had Joey Barton, the FA would have fallen over themselves to claim ‘special circumstances’ and ensured the correct outcomes were achieved.

    ***

    Can’t wait for tonight, should be a great evening, touchwood. Dangerous, too although I fear Wigan more as the groundswell of sympathy for a badly wronged club could well cause us one or two problems with a referee who will no doubt be unbiased but extra specially careful not to hurt Wigan …

  52. * Balleotellidiot BEEN Joey Barton

  53. clint? you all have to come back to earth. a twenty nine year old journey man? in attack? what’s the last 29 year old he bought in attack? in defense…..possibly. in midfield…..rarely, in attack…..no way.

    regarding the fa – considering eu fa and fi fa are the bodies above it, I find the fa to be consistent with governing principles. listen, video review is used in every to sports league in the world. only in football is it not. and why not? why does the 4th official not review every goal? the man is next t o a tv! why can he not bring violent conduct to the refs attention? for that matter, why is he not allowed to confer with the ref at all?

  54. YW as I alluded and Mike has clarified says there is ALREADY precedent here! 😉

    I would draw the line by saying that any serious incidences can be reviewed if the referee agrees that it is worthy of re-evaluation – I’m of the belief it is in their interest and that they are hampered by an archaic and stupid rulebook. Challenges like Mario’s and Roonpig’s assault last season should not be allowed to continue to go unpunished.

    It should not be beyond the game’s powers to change the rulebook in a way that protects players. First of all get rid of the rule saying that if a ref saw it nothing can be done – it’s not a rule that I think anyone agrees with.

    I could be wrong but in essence you make it sound as though it is way too complicated to even try to make changes. Where the line is drawn is very important but to not even try to draw a line (or worse to draw one and then ignore it when it suits you) means that we can never move forwards.

    Implementing DRS was a huge move for cricket and is still under trial but it is a progressive move with the idea of increasing fairness at it’s heart.

    Why can football not at least attempt to be progressive – we will gain nothing by trying nothing and I’d rather see failed effort than ‘head in the sand’ inaction.

  55. MGK

    Melon head Jol was the spud manager man, the same one who instructed his player (shovel faced Keane) to play on even tho we had 2 stricken players and then he denied it after.

    Phew, I knew I had a real reason in me somewhere! 🙂

    Nando

    I dont think there is much in the Dempsey rumours, but calling him a journey man is not correct or respecrful man. He has been a class act for Fulham (admittedly not a huge club, but then again that makes his scoring record all the more impressive) for several seasons, is consistent and versatile and in the last year of his deal. There are numerous reasons why we would be interested.

  56. Dexter @ 11.49

    It’s so obvious.
    When I have a question to ask Wenger I just ask it:
    “Wenger”, I scream into the crowd, “What have you done with Ryo? You maniac. Oxlade bollocks mate. We don’t need another effing midfielder. Have you lost it?”. Arsene never replies. : (

    Dempsey was outstanding in Fulham’s run to the Europa cup final (ok. I’ll admit it. I only saw a couple of his goals. They were nice).

  57. pedantic george

    I love Finsbury.Funny as…….and right ,always.

  58. pedantic george

    I prefer Finsbury to journeymen posters like Dexter.

  59. Least I get out a bit George!

  60. MGK – i thought your ‘Robson Out’ campaign was excellently argued BTW.

    It seems to have stalled at c200. I haver forwarded it to a few people on Twitter but with little avail – would be great to see it get more traction. If other people have the time I suggest they do the same.

    BTW – I noted you list yourself, at the end, as being from Cambridge – that used to be my manor. Wherabouts are you?

  61. mattgoonerknight

    Jonny, long time no write, or something to that effect!

    All praise goes to LG, he wrote the original letter, I just found some petition site, made the odd tweak etc.

    Just off of Brooklands Avenue, Hills Road area. Not sure when the last time you were here was but there’s new developments popping up everywhere now. The area where I live is almost unrecognisable from 5 or so years ago.

    Yeah, the signatures have slowed. I’ve tried “trending” #StewartRobsonOut but I’ve only got about 10 followers on Twitter and safe to say it hasn’t taken off 🙂

  62. dexter,

    no offense meant. I’m argentine but live in the us – clint is to the americans as rooney is to the english….except nobody knows him here since football i s ” foreign” of course, but you get my point.

    anyway I still don’t see it. what makes a good striker on a team like fulham is not what makes a good player for us. we don’t have player sit behind or striker….he would need to play wide, or as a lone striker when vp can’t play, and neither is really his role.

    my point is that for 10 million pounds we are signing a 26 year old german international who can play either position. we won’t sign a 29 year old american without speed in attack for a similar amount…..

  63. MikeSA

    >t’s time to boot them, Uefa, and FIFA out the game for the good of the game.

    The only problem is that the clubs would then step into the void to run the game. And lets be honest, do you really trust them?

  64. nando

    >why does the 4th official not review every goal? the man is next t o a tv

    After the Zidane headbutt, Fifa decreed that the 4th officials are supposed to be nowhere near a tv screen (for the uninitiated, the 4th official told the referee about the headbutt)

  65. pedantic george

    Hey Dexter ,I have just been to Barcelona.How out do you want me to get?
    And we got pick pocketed,twice.Bastards.

  66. Ah Cambridge proper. Most of my mates have gravitated out towards Stapleford and places like that as they have got old and started having rugrats and being boring.

    I lived on Worts Causeway for 15 odd years until I went to Uni. I went to Long Road Sixth Form so Hill’s Road were the enemy! Come to think of it I crashed my parents car on Hills Road when I was 19 – old man on a bike through the windscreen. That was a bad day. 😉

    I haven’t been into town for a while but used to come back for gigs at The Junction until last year when my mate stopped working there.

    I just posted the petition link on Le Grove – I’m now off for a shower and an industrial scrub down.

  67. Zimpaul, when you do log in, rumours like hell about Comrade Bob!

  68. Great post Yogi:

    Agree with everything you say. The head of the NFL (american football) Roger Goddell has really taken a hard line on violence and its a welcome thing to me. Some may consider a few of the punishments he has given a little over the top I would much rather see that then being to lenient. I wish the FA would have someone with the cajones to get tough on the offenders. Retrospective 5 match ban for the first bad challenge and the punishments increase if the offender repeats the dangerous play.

    We will beat Wolves today no matter if Kos is out or not as long as we don’t suffer any mental letdowns. I would like this team prove to us but mostly to themselves that they can play well and play consistently for a long period of time. On paper Arsenal teams have been competitive with the best teams in the league for a few years, especially last season. Finishing this season strong will mean 3rd place and CL football and will give us great momentum heading into next season.

  69. Clint Dempsey would be an excellent addition, he has consistently been a double digit scorer and would provide another experienced PL player. He would be the ideal squad player especially if Yossi does not come back. Certainly Arteta, Rosicky Santos Mert Yossi haven proven the value of having experienced players in the squad. That said, I doubt the rumours are true.

  70. Anyone intrested in sharing a club level seat for next season I am only able to attend about half the matches next season due work commitments.

  71. Dexter

    Sorry just noticed your 10.32am comment. This is the staggering piece,

    Matters outside scope of FA:

      Matters dealt with by County FAs, Clubs, and Leagues as appropriate County FA, Club, and League commercial and financial matters;
      club business and operating issues, stadium, customer/fan issues;
      club/league relationship with other competition organisers eg UEFA, either individually or through ECA, EPFL;
      club ticket prices;
      club distributions and parachute payments .


    Which essentially means that the clubs run the game without any oversight. Fucking marvellous.

  72. God! I hate transfer rumours, a player’s name comes up and everyone goes “he is a good player, he’d be an excellent addition , yada..yada..yada!Days like this I miss Gains.

    Matt when I tried signing the petition from google chrome it took me hrs and got me nowhere, kept hanging every time I typed a detail, decided to use a different browser(mozillah) and was able to do it in no time.

  73. Well said Yogi, well said!

  74. @Henristic
    As pointed out by other posters it is not the first time that Wenger has made us play defensively when it was justified. Barca at home are a very dangerous team and while I would’ve loved for us to play our natural game and just shoot ’em off the park, it wouldn’t have been likely, would it? I have no problem whatsoever if the defensive approach is used sparingly when appropriate. Like when Henry was out for the FA Cup final.
    Furthermore in the Barca game I genuinely believe that past the 60th minute mark we would’ve actually started to take more of a part in the game. We would’ve been able to use their tiredness to our advantage and hit them on the counter.

  75. As far as Dempsey, he is a player that I rate and would not mind at the club. To me, better player than Ashley Young. If Young can make the little noise he is, I can see Dempsey stepping up big time if he played for Arsenal. Remember what he did in the Jr. CL competition?

    The best US player I have ever seen.

  76. Any win will do but hopefully it comes early and has plenty of goals in it and RVP on the scoresheet.

  77. What about the 2005 FA Cup win? now I hated it like a dose of poison but Arsene did it.

  78. Yogi, if there was a debate that the FA had something worthwhile to offer, or there was a debate that in actual fact them being a crock of shit was merely an opinion, then fine, you can stick with them on the basis that they might not be all bad.

    However, to stick with a bunch of inept, corrupt, shower of shit like they actually are is not acceptable.

    There has to be a better way, and I think we will see the start of that all shortly when the whole uefa and FIFA agreement renewal comes up in the next few years.

    In all honesty, you suggest that the clubs are less trustworthy than the FA, exactly what gives you that idea?

  79. mattgoonerknight

    Glad the change of browser helped firstlady, will offer that advice should anyone else have problems.

    Personally I love transfer gossip (hence my earlier post re. Dempsey), and let’s face it, it’s going to be rife from now until August 31st.

    Of course, when people start expelling their expertise on who we “must” sign and sell etc, then it’s a different story. But a little bit of harmless hearsay speculation and “what’if’ing” is up my street.

    Despite by most accounts it being a done deal, I’m really excited about the impending Podolski signing, which to be fair, was much discussed by many of us on here back in December when it was first muted, as mere gossip.

  80. I can’t see any viable, obvious reason why the FA didn’t do the ‘right’ thing after reviewing the Song and QPR incidents.
    Dont they have to at least explain themselves, like judges do when ruling on a matter?

    I just can’t see any explanation for them not punishing Balotelli for instance, I really can’t.

  81. Nice one Yogi. I’m still disturbed over the Balotelli retrospective let-off.

    What Alan Davies really said, on Dalgleish and Liverpool, anyone?

    I reckon if Tomas does need a rest (does he?) Benayoun could do the job against Wolves. Apart from JD for Kos, the fewer the changes the better obviously.

  82. Evil @ 2:50:

    I have absolutely no problem with us playing defensively when the situation calls for it and I stand up and applaud that approach. The ability to do it successfully is very important. However, the next time we play a team that parks the bus against us, everyone on the blog will start complaining and saying what a wimpy thing it is and how its bad for the game and how poor the manager is for using those sort of tactics. A bit of chuckle at our own lack of consistency is perhaps Henristics point. After all it is a deplorable tactic when successfully used against us. 🙂

  83. Evil,
    I guess it means you’re not one of those you bash other teams for doing the same thing i.e. parking the bus against a better technical side. If thats the case, fair enough. But if not, surely you see the hypocrisy Andy was talking about?

    Not to say that hypocrisy amongst fans is a particularly bad thing…..

  84. according to the ESPN3.com site…

    they will be streaming the Wolves game, live only, at 1945 tonight, GMT…

    let’s hope so!

  85. *not one of those who bash…

  86. I’m looking for a bookmakers who will take my bet but no one seems to be willing.

    I predict that if Aaron Ramsey scores today, Mugabe will be the next public figure to go. There is undisputed form here and the odds are unbelievable considering that after 4 of Ramsey’s previous goals, Osama Bin Laden, Steve Jobs, Muammar Gaddafi and Whitney Houston died on the following day.

    And, no Andy, Jonny, Henristic and Bill – this is no conspiracy theory. It’s fact.

    Now can anyone tell me where I can find a bookmaker who will take a bet that if Aaron Ramsey scores today, uncle Bob is taking a dirt nap tomorrow.

  87. @Henristic
    I can understand why teams will come to play for a point and while I will make fun of the bus parked, I think it is within everyone’s right to play to their strengths. In the end, if a team comes to our place and parks the bus, it is equivalent to saying “We can’t beat you properly, so we will have to try this way”. An admission of inferiority. It can obviously get infuriating when a team like that scores from a half-chance and their only shot on goal while we have a dozen proper chances but just can’t put the ball away.
    But in the end if we lose or draw a game like that it’s usually fair play to the visiting team because they did what they wanted to do and we should’ve done better, bar those cases where bad referee decisions were involved.

    The only time I was incensed when a team parked the bus against us was last year when ManCity came. The most expensively assembled team in the world and they sh*t their pants coming to the Emirates?

  88. mattgoonerknight

    blazon

    Can only see option for LeMans, College Sports, Poker or X Games…

    I’d pay £1.99 for a day pass if I could see it on there!!

  89. Darius – Yup. It is a fact and is perculiar, but it would be well worth a bet on Mugagbe croaking as soon as Ramsey belts one in. Can yuo imagine the corrective sigh of relief around celebrity homes when he skied that effort at the weekend?

  90. pedantic george

    mattgoonerknight Thank for doing that Robson thing.You have turned out a good edition .Despite the ropy start.

    Mingus,what is happening to Alan Davies is a disgrace.Liverpool fans have once again shown their utter lack of class.And some of it must be illegal .Surely you cant threaten someones life on twitter.Can you?

  91. Andy – I bet all celebraty managers and career watchers are the first to check Arsenal’s team sheet to see if Rambo is playing or on the subs bench.

  92. I was disappointed that there was no photograph of Yogi on Talking Heads….why ever not?

  93. Bill,
    To be honest, I didnt like the fact that we parked the bus against Barca. I agree it was a neccesary evil, but don’t think its something to be particularly proud of. In fact it came as a shock to see our team dominated so much by Barca. Of course not much of their posession was ultimatly effective (same when we play PL minnows) but the fact that they were able to pass so comfortably around us shocked me every time. I’m less bothered about it this season (e.g. v Swansea) for obvious reasons, but our 2008-2011 teams were almost never outpassed by anyone.

    Many acccept the conventional wisdom that its harder to be creative and attack than to just park the bus (btw, defending our lead against Everton is NOT parking the bus). We see ourselves as a creative posession team, so to just change so utterly from our principles, to the point that we barely left our half in that 2nd leg tie when RvP was sent off, felt kinda weird. Not to say i wouldnt have celebrated like a mad man if Bendtner’s chance had gone in but you get my drift…

    Arsenal playing Barca is supposed to be 2 of the best creative, attacking teams in Europe showcasing the best of their talents, instead what we got was almost no different from what Mourihno’s team generally do, or what many PL teams try to do to us.
    Yet I have seen teams beat Barca by not parking the bus, and for the most part teams that park the bus against them end up losing.

  94. Georgaki,

    International Man of Mystery, that’s me.

  95. Evil at 3.23

    Agree with your last paragraph. I thought that was ridiculous that Mancini would do that, but it goes to show what a spineless fool he is, and how much fear we still command amongst clubs not called Barca.

    Sometimes though (especially when Fergie does it), I think its not so flattering for us, like some teams are saying ‘let them have the ball, they’re not gonna do anything with it anyway’. We don’t need the ball to beat Arsenal.

  96. Oh come onYogi, I’m diverting my attention from writing about ‘Optimised Strategies for Risk Assessment’ to have a quick look here. Does he have a beard? Is he really a man? Is he a dwarf? Anyway, does anyone know anything about the Arsenal Truth blogger (http://arsenaltruth.squarespace.com/).This guy makes Myles Palmer a fan of Arsene Wenger!

  97. I dont think we wholly tried to park the bus at Barca but we were not keeping the ball well and had to do it. It happens and we have had to do it against Lesser teams. It should also be noted that Cesc was messing us up by playing injured. We would have most probably fared better without him and If I am not mistaken, were infact better when he went off?

  98. I am not even convinced we tried to “park the bus” against Barca. They pressed us so hard that we could not string a few passes together and get out of our half for much of the game. They forced us back, much like we do to most teams.

    I don’t think it was a strategic decision, I think it just panned out that way.

  99. Georgaki

    Arsenal Truth is written by a spud I believe.

  100. Who remembers our last game at Molineux. It was a 2-0 victory with a brace from Marouane Chamakh in the first minute and the last minute of the game.

    At the time, there was a lot of debate about how “milky” (to borrow from a very dry sense of humour Mick McCarthy) the Arsenal goal keepers were. Folk had been screaming for I don’t know how long that Arsenal needed to sign a new world class keeper because the lot we had were simply just jokers.

    Wookash Fabianski was in goal that night, and he had one of his best games for Arsenal, with what was undoubtedly a contender for the save of the season in the last move of the game that led to Chamakh’s 2nd goal.

    Wolves had relentlessly pounded our penalty area looking for the equializer and they had a magnificent shot from the edge of the area which Fabianski saved with a spectacular one handed dive, and in the same motion, rolled up and threw the ball straight into the path of Marouane Chamakh who had the freedom of the park to sink Wolves with a sucker punch 2nd goal.

    After the game – Mick McCarthy was asked about Wolves failure to equalize and the sucker punch goal, to which he replied: “They gave me duff information, they told me Arsenal had a dodgy keeper. If that’s not a world class keeper then I don’t know who is”.

    I miss Mick McCarthy’s very blunt and dry sense of humour.

  101. That makes sense. I left a message suggesting that he is a wind-up merchant…..

  102. Answers to your questions: you’ll regret it if you don’t finish it, sometimes, yep, only if they’ve increased the height requirements, no and shit he must be a miserable sod if that’s the case.

  103. Nice to see Eisfield scoring last night – interestingly he was playing, on his return, as a lone striker!

    Barclays Premier Reserve League: Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1 (Eisfeld)

    The Arsenal:

    Shea

    Bellerin-Boateng-Miquel-Angha

    Rees-Ozyakup

    Ebecilio-Henderson-Meade

    Eisfeld

  104. @ pg. I know, it’s idiotic, innt. And they pride themselves on their sense of humour and all that. As we know, people like to get angry. It makes them/us feel momentarily powerful. And let’s face it, after what’s going on at the excuse for a football club and an excuse for a manager, fans of LFC are looking for ways to feel “influential”. Sure, feelings are still clearly raw over the Hillsborough tragedy, but as Davies says, is that any reason to not play on its anniversary? Does he (Davies) stop work on the anniversary of the death of his mum? Or United re: Munich? Or Rangers? Nope.
    Siege mentality? Yep.
    Carroll 35m!
    Suarez racist
    King Kenny, joke.
    League position, about right really.

  105. Henristic:

    I have no doubt that you know how I feel about a team having tactical flexibility and occasionally being able to “park the bus” is part of tactical flexibility. At risk of being called a Manc lover, I think one of the things that has made a team that on paper has not always been that talented so successful is the ability to play different styles depending on the tactical situation. We are an attacking team and I don’t want to see us “parking the bus” very often but it is a reasonable tactic in some situations and we should be able to use it in those cases. In the past I wish we had been able or willing to lie deeper, defend well and hit on the counter attack when appropriate. I wish we had been more willing to attack at pace and send early crosses into the box or send long diagonal passes down the wing to start our attacks more quickly even if it meant having less ball possession.

    I think this squad has improved its tactical flexibility and although the numbers don’t show it I think our ability to defend is improved. We are not there yet and the consistency is still an issue, and hopefully we won’t backslide. I think we have added a dose of pragmatism and hopefully it portends to better bottom line results in the next few years.

  106. Yogi are you a sophisticated Roman Catholic? And do any ACLFooters try and meet up at all?

  107. Yeah Eisfeld. Upfront…mainly because Afobe and others were out on loan though, eh?
    When he first arrived, to say he looked “slight” would have been an understatement. I reckon my 6 year old daughter could have brushed him off the ball. I wonder if he’s been working on his (upper body) strength while he’s been out injured. Interesting signing.

  108. Finally signed the petition at third attempt!

    The FA are a joke… despite the fact that the ref made a decision where he could not see the play clearly.. ..failing to punish this retrospectively will only empower more teams to make reckless tackles and try and get away with them

  109. Andy @ 4:03:

    You may be right.

    I do think “parking the bus” and hitting on the counter is a common stategy and part of a “game plan” used against us by teams in our league.

  110. pedantic george

    “sophisticated Roman Catholic?”
    What is one of those when at home?

  111. Pedantic, you are supposed to be pedantic! Have you not heard that Roman Catholics have been referred to as ‘left footers’. It must have had a derogatory connotation when it was first coined. My wife is one but she supposedly supports Spurs!

  112. @GA
    I think the way we defended … it would be weird if that wasn’t a tactical decision because of how well we did. We looked really organised in that match, pressing hard and denying them space. i find it hard to believe that it was mere coincidence that we didn’t allow them a clear cut out chance in the first half. Surely if we had gone out trying to play our game and were forced behind, you would expect us to be caught on the back foot because players would be out of position etc.?

    @Henristic
    Well, we tried to play an open game at Barca’s place the year before — rather we had to — and we ended up getting raped beyond belief in that 4 – 1. That “1” is rather flattering us. And you can’t forget that we were protecting a lead against Barca as well. If we had played that way with the tie drawn, I would agree with you, but we had a lead to protect for the second half of the two-legged tie, so how is it different from parking the bus in the last 20 or so minutes when we are leading?

  113. Yes Bill,
    I agree a good team needsto be tactically flexible enough to be able to defend at all costs when it matters. In fact, I think a distinction need to be made between parking the bus (i.e. conceding posession as part of a strategy) and defending resolutely (like we did against Everton).

    Paul/Andy,
    Like you guys, my initial thoughts during the match was that we didnt intend to PTB, but Wenger made some statement afterwards hinting that there was some sort of strategy to what seemed like an inability to get out of our half.

  114. longblackcloud

    Think I`m going to go for Ramsey scoring / Bruce Forsyth dying double.

    Thought the spurs v Norwich game showed a perfect example of why video technology wouldn`t work while the game is in progress, when Norwich had a penalty claim turned down and Spurs went stright up the far end and scored without play stopping – when do you review? You can`t stop play for every appeal,
    do you disallow the goal and take a penalty at the other end (chaos would ensue surely) and what if they miss the penalty, would the goal then stand?
    My choice would be for video to be used for off-sides only, if it is close play on, if they score review off-side if they miss play continues.

  115. pedantic george

    I find the term “getting/got/will be…….”raped” a little bit disturbing.
    And I find very little disturbing.

  116. It’s common in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the north-west of England, especially, for Catholics to be called ‘left-footers’. It is based on the supposed tradition whereby Protestant farm-labourers dug with the right foot on the spade, whilst Catholic ones did so with the left! Also, the Latin ‘sinister’ actually means ‘left handed’, as well as something to be feared. So a ‘left footer’ has to be ‘sinister’.

  117. Interesting points evil. I think we deserved the one goal at Barca and that it should have been more. I remember NB being called offside wrongly and Diaby refusing to pass to Walcott when he was through on goal. I think having our best players out is what really did us in in that match. Not that we would have won, but that messed us up from the start.

  118. Who said we only discuss matters Arsenal here?

  119. @PG
    Apologies for that. Didn’t intend to sound so crass.

  120. @Paul
    I have to admit that my memories of that game are hazy at best. All I can remember is that we started brightly in the first 20 minutes but after the Bendtner goal it was all them until the end of the match.

  121. Henristic, I thought he said something to the contrary?
    Even If it was a strategy, I would not be upset, because when we have had our best players available, we always came back in the 2nd half against them and it was happening again.

  122. Agreed PG – I feel the same let’s try not to bring up that word again – especially after yesterday’s less than edifying and unseemly end to the day.

  123. Let’s try to take the opposite view: if Wenger had sent us out to play our game against Barca that night and we had lost comprehensively, say 3-1, wouldn’t people have chastised him afterwards for being so tactically inflexible and stubborn?

  124. pedantic george

    If video evidence shows you dived ,and appealed for a penalty,then it should be a points deduction and 10 match ban .(the referee should also ask the “non/fouled player “were you fouled?”and if he is shown subsequently to have lied,he can have no complaints )
    It would stop it in a heartbeat.

  125. Evil, I agree that Messi killed us but we had a few chances at goal. Trust me, I can understand why that match would be hard to remember!

  126. I felt so proud when i saw YW on Arsenal.com today.

  127. George, you could do it on spot with instant replay.

  128. Oh and the petitionn has starting to pick up again.

  129. pedantic george

    Evil,it was a general observation ,rather than a complaint about your use of it.It seems to be creeping in everywhere of late.
    No need to apologise to me mate.

  130. Regardless of if it were strategy or not, we defended really well that night. I remember we were right on the edge though. I remember us stopping though balls with the very end of a defenders toenail on a number of occasions. That said, I don’t think we were particularly adept at closing space down at that point in our development as a team. If we were in the same situation now I think we would fare much better and maybe gain more control over the game.

  131. pedantic george

    Where is our Yogi on Arsenal.com?

  132. GA, what is ironic about that match is that Djourou, who is gets dissed constantly, was arguably our best player.

  133. George – You hit the nail on the head there mate. It is hard to sometimes book a player for diving as they can simply say that they fell over. You can’t book somebody for that. But it is when they appear for a penalty that their cheating ways are confirmed. I would love to see retrospective action; it would never stamp out diving, players would such become much more sneaky about it. But it may make some of them think twice about it.

    On the other hand, how often have we seen a player stay on his feet after been clipped only to fuck up the shot because they are way off balance. It never gets brought back for a foul, so in a way there is a case for not staying on your feet if touched in the box. Hard for refs, that is for sure. Sometimes even after a number of replays people cannot agree if a foul were committed or not, what chance does a human have in real time with bodies in the way?

  134. Paul – He was. A rock that night. Djourou is a good player, but prone to stupid errors and lapses of concentration.

  135. pedantic george

    I have seen it.
    All is clear now

    “ROBSON OUT,YOGI IN”

    Simples

  136. pedantic george

    Andy,That is why Referees need help.
    If a cheat is caught”beyond reasonable doubt” the he should be severely punished.The club too

  137. for Matt and other doubters…

    http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/source/espn3/

    wolves game, live stream only 2.40ET

    and it’s free!

  138. Evil | April 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm
    Yes, I believe protecting our lead was Wenger’s thinking. While I realize it almost worked, I’m not sure it was a good strategy (even with benefit of hindsight) because of the slender nature of the lead, and considering the opposition. This is all academic of course, better finishing from NIk and the club would probably be in a very different place right now.

  139. George – Yeah, I am with you on that.

  140. On the topic of referees: has anyone ever seen one of the two extra refs in CL matches take part in any way? I still believe that it’s just a UEFA scheme to improve Platini’s pocket money by selling two top seats to wealthy individuals. I have yet to witness one of the two extra refs make any impact whatsoever on the game.

  141. @Henristic
    Well, the plan was blown up by Bussaca. We can never know what would’ve happened if he hadn’t made that crucial mistake, but I remain convinced that we would’ve nicked another goal with RVP and on the other hand not conceded two at the back.

  142. Yogi:

    How do we see you on Arsenal.com. I am preparing myself for a disappointment if you do not look like Ward Cleaver. My vision of you is a handsome, well spoken, witty and extremely confident man. Sort of like Arsene, only even better looking.

  143. pedantic george

    “goonerandy | April 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm
    George – Yeah, I am with you on that.”
    Is that a first?

  144. Evil | April 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm
    Let’s try to take the opposite view: if Wenger had sent us out to play our game against Barca that night and we had lost comprehensively, say 3-1, wouldn’t people have chastised him afterwards for being so tactically inflexible and stubborn?

    Sure they would have, but so what? People chastize him for depending on youth, for buying cheap, and for God knows what else. Meh.

  145. Evil,
    Actually Bussaca didn’t make a mistake, well he did (not sending off the stranglers) but sending RvP off was not a mistake according to FIFA/UEFA’s weird rules.

  146. George – Heh, no not at all.

  147. Paul,
    What that as ironic as Almunia’s own MOTM performances at home? I’m sure he gets way more dising than JD gets.

  148. @Henristic
    I know. And that’s the frustrating thing. He did everything right, Robin did “kick” the ball away. But,I’ve never ever seen a referee use that rule before to penalise a player when it’s a case of a striker taking a shot shortly after the offside whistle. That’s why I am struggling to understand why Busacca felt the need to do it at such a crucial time. In fact, in the same game Messi took a shot in the first half after being flagged for offside.

    Of course, Busacca did many things wrong in that game, both sides were affected. They had a penalty turned down, Robin should’ve gone after his eye poke on Alves and obviously if the referee had gone by the book, after 15 minutes they should’ve had 3 players sent off or cautioned and we one because of the strangling incident.
    But it’s not about the decisions he didn’t make, it’s about the one he did make that is still baffling me. I really wish if I could just ask him why he did it. Why he felt the need to do it, what was going through his mind and if in hindsight he believes that he should’ve handled the situation differently.

  149. pedantic george

    Does the rule say this
    “if a player shoots at goal 0.6 of a second after the Referee has blown for offside ,in a stadium filled with 100,00 fans ,who are simultaneously whistling,he should be sent from the field of play”?
    Because if it does not,he most certainly did make a fucking mistake.

  150. Almunia is such a strange case. On his day, especially when we are playing top teams, he is easily capable of putting in a world class shift. He has proven it numerous times with us. But when it comes to the “easy” things, he is prone to making costly mistakes. If only he had been able to find the consistency necessary for a number one.

  151. Almunia is a decent enough keeper, but one that really needed to be kept busy. No coincidence that most of his errors came in games where he was not involved for long periods. He was a good shot stopper, but really let in some howlers (as do all keepers). For me it boiled down to this; was anybody genuinely confident with him in goal? I know I wasn’t.

    There was a good reason he was playing in the Spanish second division in his late 20’s. Handy back up, never a No1 at a club the stature of Arsenal.

  152. Hm, checking the laws of the game it says that a player can be cautioned for delaying restart of play BUT and I quote from the FA here “the referee will need to use common sense and make a value judgement as to whether the player deliberately kicked the ball away or just carried on and tried to score a goal.” So Busacca did in fact commit a mistake, unless he genuinely believed that Robin wasn’t trying to score a goal clean through in a decisive CL tie. If Robin had genuinely wanted to waste time, he could have easily just left the ball where it was or nudged it gently towards their keeper because that would’ve taken a couple of seconds longer.

  153. It was an idiotoic decision by the ref. Of that there is no doubt. Within the laws? Probably, but a horrendous error of judgement which ever way you look at it.

  154. well said yogi the fa are all blundering fools a complete laughing stock a disgrace.

  155. loved the alan davies piece yogi.

  156. pedantic george

    “The bridge gooner | April 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm
    loved the alan davies piece yogi.”

    Where has Yogi done that?

  157. OK, here’s something (a day or two late) that I’ve just seen via Twitter..

  158. What about it? Hardly news. I remember the game well.

  159. Could have been any Old Trafford match.

  160. Kieran Gibbs has been shagging too much.

  161. The Real Stew Black

    Lest we forget Mingus. A very timely reminder. Still at least that ref lost his job and never worked again after the outcry following that performance.
    Oh wait…

  162. Jonny – Yup, good article.

  163. @mingus
    That was the match that ended our unbeaten run, right? Incredibly biased refereeing and to think that that absolute piece of incompetent sh*t is now head of referees in our country makes for a lot of head-scratching.

  164. I remember the game all too well, too goonerandy. So therefore, that was not for you. But shared for whoever. In the context of yesterday’s bias/conspiracy debate.

    Jonny,Yeah that was spot on. I love that “Scouse-fearing” line…..

    “What he should have said, if he was a good, Scouse-fearin’ individual, is: “Yes, of course, it is absolutely right that Liverpool should not play football on this sad and painful day.”

  165. It was an awful refereeing performance I will grant you. Lost control of the game and allowed himself to be bullied by the Manure players.

  166. So while other teams retire numbers, Liverpool have technically retired a day in the calendar?

  167. Evil – Yup. What Davies said was fine, he wasn’t disrespectful to any of the dead and brought up good points. It is crazy really.

  168. MarylandGooner

    Mingus:

    This clip is like visual surveillance evidence of a crime unfolding. Painful memories seeing this again. I remember the sense of unfairness was so stinging at the moment.

    They say at the root of every large family fortune is a scandal or a crime. At OT, they’ve been getting away with this nonsense for as long as I’ve followed football. glory glory…. to hell with them

  169. pedantic george

    “Lost control of the game and allowed himself to be bullied by the Manure players.”

    No Andy ,it was bias and cheating on his part.
    Lost control my saggy old arse.

  170. I started watching but could not gather courage to after the last man foul on Freddie. I get teary eyed every single time I see this clip

  171. Starting 11: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Benayoun, Walcott, Van Persie.

    Subs: Fabianski, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Park.

  172. Does that ESPN player link work for anyone?

    I don’t see any mention of The Arsenal game..?

    Not the most intuitive of sites…

  173. George – Ah yes course course 😉 Back to disagreeing we go.

  174. @jonny
    I think it only works if you are in the US…

    @GA
    Nice to see you standing up for Riley. Poor old Riley, got bullied into letting everything go ManU’s way. Really, I am so close to shedding a tear for Mike right now. For the past 7 years I was thinking that we were the victims in that match, but you have opened my eyes. Mike Riley has been the true victim. Thank you, Andy, thank you so very much.

  175. Honestly the mind boggles with the depths to which the english media will sink…spurs slide being due to redknapps impending departure, city were going to beat Barca! They even suggested Arsenals recent revival was due to the fact that there was no pressure on them. Really? Tonite is an opportunity to cement third. What price spurs total collapse and Newcastle slip into fourth. Then we put the nail into Chelseas coffin at the Grove. First things first spank the Wolves.COYG. And not forgetting f@ck off Nasri.

  176. pedantic george

    G4L nice one

  177. Evil – I wonder what you read sometimes, I really do. Where on earth have I stuck up for him? Saying he is was bullied is not “poor him”. It is “weak him”. He was a weak and inept referee. How is that sticking up for him?

    Wierd.

  178. Ah thanks – thought that might be the case…

  179. Huge game.

    Worried.

    Come on!

  180. pedantic george | April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Dexter ,I have just been to Barcelona.How out do you want me to get?
    And we got pick pocketed,twice.Bastards.
    ______________
    George I meant I get about as I am apparantly, according to YOU, a JOURNEYman poster! Didnt mean you dont really get out much! 🙂

    Nando

    No offcnce taken buddy.

    Dupssf/Georgiakis

    Arsenal Troof is the work of a sour faced twat with no life, possibly Myles Palmer’s illigitimate offspring?

    No game for me tonight…. 😦

    Up the Arse!!!

  181. Come on, Arsenal!

  182. Who’s got a decent link for UK types?

  183. @Jonny
    There are always a wide variety of Sopcast streams: http://www.wiziwig.tv/broadcast.php?matchid=150779&part=sports

  184. MarylandGooner

    Promising so far up front

  185. MarylandGooner

    penno and RED!

  186. Right decision. Thank god there are still brave referees out there.

  187. The Real Stew Black

    Typical. It’s embarrassing how biaised refs are in our favour.

  188. MarylandGooner

    OMG, impudent is right…RVP!

  189. The Real Stew Black

    Sheer class.

  190. AWESOME PENALTY..by RVP

  191. Fuck me, that was cool.

  192. MarylandGooner

    Theoooooooooo. nice !

  193. The Real Stew Black

    Is that an assist for Theo? In a way?

  194. Btw., I haven’t heard of this referee before. That explains why he made the right decision. Must be a new one!

  195. Theo, awesome!!!

  196. The Real Stew Black

    Beauty.

  197. The Real Stew Black

    You see theo to RVP? He said ‘You owed me that’

  198. Just imagine if we had to listen to Robson as opposed to Gary Neville …

  199. Evil @ 7:58:

    He missed the group e-mail and text about the anti-Arsenal conspiracy.

  200. Finally.
    RVP scores!
    Can’t watch at the moment but it sounds all good.

  201. Get in theo walcott…up your doomers. This game could ger messy!

  202. lol @ Steww, its about time, innit?

  203. MarylandGooner

    ESPN3 on my work ‘puter is sharper than the TV at home . Super stream

  204. so far this feels like one of those games that I used to see when my son played youth “soccer”. One team is so much better then the other that you hope they take it easy so the players on the other team don’t feel so bad.

  205. So it’ll be open season on Theo now? But this is a perfect example of a crowd getting inside the mind of a referee. He has clearly doubts if his decision was correct and with the crowd now being Theo every step he will think twice and thrice about giving another foul on Theo.

  206. The Real Stew Black

    Played Benny.

  207. theonlyredsteve

    ^^ agreed

  208. I feel Theo might need to score a hattrick tonight to silence those boos once and for all.

  209. theonlyredsteve

    about ESPN. Superb quality

  210. Wolves don’t have ball boys?

  211. Fantastic away support, chanting Theo’s name after he gets booed again.

  212. Complacency creeping in, pick it up again lads COME ON!

  213. The Real Stew Black

    Making them look like cones on a practice pitch.

  214. The Real Stew Black

    Nope. Don’t change a thing. 2 – 0 up it’s up the opposition to come and get iot if they want it.

  215. MarylandGooner

    Bright orange cones LOL

  216. The Real Stew Black

    Just stay calm, controlled, keep the ball, make them work.

  217. The Real Stew Black

    That Doyle looks like a thick ugly twat.
    He needs to calm down.

  218. As bad as wolves have been, can’t fault their fans vocal cords

  219. This is an interesting game – to the point where Dan Roebuck and Richard Clarke are losing interest in the commentary and chatting about all things Arsenal. The sort of conversation they’d have in the pub

  220. The Real Stew Black

    Saw that coming, told you Doyle.

  221. pedantic george

    theonlyredsteve | April 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm
    about ESPN. Superb quality

    Give us the link then please

  222. Please don’t let Wigan get robbed again. I don’t want us facing a team with that kind of a sense of injustice next. Phil Dowd just ruled out a goal for god knows what reason.

  223. MarylandGooner

    espn.go.com…… sorry it only works if your ISP is conracted to show ESPN3.

  224. We just need to remain professional and wear them down. They’ve got 10 mean and they’ll tire and we can then apply serious pressure to finish them off

  225. The Real Stew Black

    Remember when we used to be so gung ho we could never protect a lead and stay calm? Not any more.

  226. The Real Stew Black

    How many players will they end with? I think 8.

  227. Markus.

    O’Dowd is a cunt. Enough said.

  228. I think its become way too easy as a contest for the players and i dont blame them for taking it easy, not saying they should but its understandable.

  229. So where has this Neil Swabrick been refereeing. He seems a decent chap who hasn’t been caught up by the establishment

  230. I missed the pen. So I guess the crowd thinks that Theo went down easily and it was a bad pen decision? Their perception of a play is different from ours. What a shocker!!

    Don’t want to get to over confident but would like to see RVP get a hat trick and run away with the golden boot. He should be unanimous player of the year in the PL,

  231. @Bill
    So you are comparing the crowd at a match that hasn’t got the benefit of a replay to people who can analyse a situation over and over again via video?

  232. @Darius
    He has only been promoted to the level of an EPL ref last year.

  233. Not so Bill. Only Wolves supporters will think it was not a pen but there was nothing controversial about it.

  234. The Real Stew Black

    No one is taking it easy. We are being professional, patient, keeping the ball and making them work. What would you rather Moe? We went at them hell for leather and left gaps at the back?
    Those days are over.

  235. I think Wolves still have some fight in them. We need more goals.

  236. The Real Stew Black

    There was no question it was a pen. The only shock is we were awarded it.

  237. Why play devils advocate at every turn?

  238. The Real Stew Black

    Haha its more for my sake than the players, we are irresisteble when we get going and i love watching that.

  239. weve been poor since second goal hopefully come out second half and be totally profesional play in their half and drag them all over the place ,they wont get tired if we play in our half all the time .This is a good chance to increase the goal diff as well .

  240. I am really sorry for Wigan. To get robbed like that twice in the row just sucks and I can speak from experience as an Arsenal fan. Out of all the teams in the Prem they are probably closest to what I’d call a second team and I absolutely hate that we have to play them again and win because I really want them to stay up.

  241. Sorry George, I think Maryland Gunner answered your question

  242. The Real Stew Black

    “weve been poor since second goal ”
    What???

  243. Pat Rice looks a bit pissed off that we’re not showing urgency.

  244. The Real Stew Black

    Totally professional, never in any danger, passing the legs off the opposition, dominating possession.
    ‘poor’?

  245. Wigan have finally got a goal – Maloney

  246. The Real Stew Black

    Unlucky Rambo.

  247. The Real Stew Black

    Ref obviously been told not to penalise any foul on Theo from now on.

  248. Score a couple more, keep a clean sheet and get Ox and Jenkinson in the game.

  249. Is that Tony Gale as co-commentator? Twat!

  250. WIgan took the lead. YES!

  251. Easy does it boys. Let’s ramp up the pressure slowly but surely.

  252. The Real Stew Black

    Great stuff between Rambo and Arteta. All that work to the body starting to pay off as the jabs and hooks start to find their targets.

  253. Like talking about Song better off “staying back”. Not the man to deliver that killer pass. wtf?!!

  254. Another Wolves player is going to be sent off.

  255. The Real Stew Black

    Alex Song looking like Stanley Matthews on the wing there.

  256. The Real Stew Black

    Darius – I predicted they’d finish with 8 – what do you say?

  257. is there a bet on that wolves will get another sending off before the game is done

  258. Schezney. Brentford style!

  259. So Tech 9 finally remembers he has to earn his pay cheque for the week. Good lad. I forgot he was even playing.

    Come on boys…its time to wake up and see this game through.

  260. That was world class from Szcz.

  261. The Real Stew Black

    Great save from Szezzer. Mark of a good keeper. absolutely nothing to do for an hour but wide awake when needed.

  262. OMG. what a save by chezzer!

  263. The Real Stew Black

    You get a sense that this desperate little passage of play is their last throw of the dice. Men against boys.

  264. Well its not controlling the game anymore now, we need to step it up as they have.

  265. Stew – lets not be greedy, 9 players left on the pitch is good enough. Incidentally, if more than 3 players get sent off (or is it 4) the match has to be abandoned.

  266. The Real Stew Black

    Seriously Moe? This bothers you? It’s like watching a boxer with his hand on the head of a little boy and the boy is swinging and swinging and never putting a glove on the boxer.

  267. Wolves half time talk, “foul Arsenal”.

  268. The Real Stew Black

    Darius that’s an incentive for teams like Stoke surely?

  269. Wolves are really working hard. With 10 men, how long can they go on? And as I say that Our Jewish Iniesta obliges.

  270. Benayoun!

  271. The Real Stew Black

    And bored of all that the boxer twats him one.

  272. And another fantastic assist by Songbregas.

  273. Benayoun, Knew you had it in you Lad!

    3-0

  274. The Real Stew Black

    I’m in an analogous mood tonight.

  275. Get in Yossi…surely he has earned a contract now.Game, set, match.

  276. Van persie down?

  277. On January 31st, Spurs were 10 points ahead of Arsenal and we’ve unleashed a 15 point swing in 8 weeks. This of course the worst Arsenal team of a generation with Tottenham having their best team of a generation. One with stars like Bale of Nazareth and Captain Scottie Parker.

  278. phew hes fine

  279. The Real Stew Black

    Santos brings a certain cavalier unpredictability to our side at times. Makes you realise how steady and dependable Jethro is. Still can’t decide between them.

  280. Brazil seems to be very tired. Maybe also time to bring on the Jenks for Brazil.

  281. anyone order the ox? walcott off

  282. That’s better from Tony Gale. He hasn’t said anything for ten minutes.

  283. Stew. We play a bit differently when Brazil is playing. Take a look at what Song or Arteta (perhaps they take it in turns) do when Brazil goes walkabout. They automatically cover him.

  284. The Real Stew Black

    What. A. Ball. Take a bow M Arteta.

  285. The Real Stew Black

    Absolutlely, Darius and i rate him extrememly highly. Just never know what he’ll do next is all I meant.

  286. Thats a wrap. Always liked Yossi, sure hope we can keep him. His experience has been great in a couple of really big games.

    I think he scored the goal for West ham that kept the Spurs in 5th place and saved 4th for us. The food poisoning scandal is a real conspiracy theory and I suspect there are Spurs fans who still talk about that one.

    Time for the Ox. Glad TR7 could get a rest today.

  287. Mingus. Not much a cunt can do when overwhelmed with the sheer force of a cannon. Gale should know that.

  288. Good, the Jenks is coming on for a tired Brazil.

  289. The Real Stew Black

    That’s right Bill. that’s a silly conspiracy theory with nothing to back it up that happened only once. Unlike all the examples you ignore when people argue with you about bias and corruptiuon.

  290. The Real Stew Black

    How isn’t that a penalty?

  291. And another penalty snub! Thankfully we are up 3:0.

  292. The Real Stew Black

    I mean it’s as if the ref started out playing fair and then just collapsed and couildn’t keep it up.

  293. The Real Stew Black

    You will ever see a clearer penalty.

  294. The Real Stew Black

    You can add ‘I doubt’ or just the letter ‘n’ to that.

  295. The Real Stew Black

    A long time since I’ve watched a game where I’ve been totally relaxed from the kick off to the final whistle.

  296. The Real Stew Black

    Foul on Arteta anyone?

  297. That was a performance of sheer class. Onward and upwards.

  298. One more for RVP would be awesome.

  299. This game was sad, the total domination was so embaressing

    They had a period where they attacked but after it was just sad

  300. Could not have asked for a more perfect and professional performance.

  301. Yess! Easy win. Well played. COYR.
    Just seen Theo’s well taken goal again. Who was the Wolves defender who basically takes him out, just as he scores. Lucky to not get carded for that. Probably a case for retrospective action from the F.A…..oh

  302. Started the game brilliantly, but in all honesty we were sloppy after the 1st 20mins or so. You could not tell it was 10vs11 in the 2nd half.

    Still, I would take sloppy performances for the rest of the season if we keep on picking up 3 points each game. Big step towards 3rd place tonight. Excellent stuff. 🙂

  303. Yes!!!

    Wigan are on fire though and will not be pushovers.

    Benayoun impressive.

  304. Bar the opening assault we never really got going but it was still as dominant as you’ve ever seen a performance. Too bad that we didn’t get the second penalty because I would’ve loved to see what kind of shot Robin would’ve pulled out for that one. Maybe Rabona-ing it in?

    Also very happy that Wigan have won, despite getting a perfectly valid goal knocked off. I hope that Wenger makes the boys watch those matches again because both against Chelsea and against ManU Wigan have put in a proper performance and would’ve deserved a victory in both games. I feel that the match against Wigan might turn out to be a far sterner test than Man City was.

  305. Theo’s goal was superb.

  306. Yessssssssssssss….easy peasy!!!

    COYG…St Totts is not far away now…

  307. The league is not done and dusted for United, is it?

  308. Not sure who to give MOTM to. Beny was very busy and helped us a lot, plus he scored a fantastic goal while Theo’s contribution was match changing and set the tone even if I felt that he let the boos maybe get a little bit too much to him, as he failed to impose himself on a weak Wolves back 4 after his fantastic start.

  309. 9 minutes and 41 seconds of Fergie time and they still could not score 😀

  310. Evil

    Theo for me..He handed it on a platter for us today..

  311. A couple of important stops from Szchezny as well. If one of them had of gone in it would have given Wolves something to hold on to.

  312. Very encouraging to see that more and more people from within the game are speaking out about refereeing. The Fulham chairman is the latest one to question parts of the refereeing process and openly talks about influence exerted by rich owners and bigger clubs.

  313. Ramsey had a good game tonight. Seems like his confidence is returning.

    As for the ref I think he was feeling sorry for Wolves. Doyle should have had 4 yellows and we were again denied at least one pelanty.

  314. As I said earlier this afternoon – the Wigan game on Monday will be a far tougher proposition than tonight’s match. Didn’t see any streams but sounds like we didn’t trouble ourselves to get out of 2nd gear which is fair enough if it’s not needed. Our goal difference v Spuds is worth a point so we have a very decent cushion even if it goes tits up on Monday (which I don’t expect, btw).

    Interesting how imperious Citeh were tonight; helps put our first rate performance the other day into perspective (when we moved up to 3rd gear!).

    How glum must spuds fans be tonight.

    I wonder if the Scousers are still celebrating their win from last night …

  315. Just heard Chelsea are appealing Ivanovic’s charge. Mental. It is as clear as day, they have no chance.

  316. I thought Theo played well, yeh.
    And yes I agree of course, Darius, Tony Gale. A man out of time.

  317. Fayed has become convinced that the bigger clubs, predominantly Manchester United and Chelsea, are getting unfair help and has demanded the Premier League – an organisation which, he says, is “in a coma” – to let the public know “the transparency of the processes by which referees are allocated to games”.

    He has now written a strongly worded letter to the League, as well as the Football Association, in which he demands an immediate review of the refereeing system.

    “Referees are all too easily influenced by the more powerful clubs and individual owners and [it] calls into question the integrity of both them, and the governing body that they report to,” Fayed claimed.

    “The FA’s problem in addressing this pivotal situation is that it has too much power. Where else can decision-makers escape all responsibility to admit serious and blatant errors and have the protesters [the clubs] fined on charges of misconduct?”

    “The losses that we incur from such careless decisions have a huge impact and can have calamitous consequences,” Fayed said.

    He continued: “In the past I wrote to highlight the need for the Premier League to lead the way with the introduction of video technology. After many years, it appears that the Premier League has admitted I was correct all along.

    “It is time for the Premier League to wake up. They have been in a coma for a long time. Lots of clubs are suffering from such stupid decisions.

    Advanced technology is available and it is evidently being used in other sports.

    “Once again I call for action to review the standard of officials, and the transparency of the processes by which referees are allocated to games.”

  318. Of course, we are assuming Rambo scores and a world statesperson pops their clogs.

    But what if it is actually the other way around; Aaron CAN’T score until someone goes; his miss v Citeh was really quite a way from it’s target despite Mugabe being on his last legs …

  319. Dups – Ha, I thought the opposite. He showed some really nice touches but also gave the ball away too cheaply at times. It will come though.

    Interestingly enough he illustrated a point I made earlier though. He got fouled and it was a pen but because he didn’t make anything of it and got straight up he didn’t get it.

  320. pedantic george

    I expect Rosicky to start on Monday.He is key at this moment

  321. I feel like I have not said this in a while, Arsenal is the best team in the PL.

  322. Andy – as clear as Marios leg breaker that the FA chose not to see? Maybe they will see it differently after a second viewing and see it for what it was, a muscle spasm of Ivanovic’s arm!!

    Great 3 points tonight, keep em coming lads

  323. Paul N

    Arsenal are the best team the world has ever seen. 🙂

  324. Dave Wheelan the Wigan owner has also just spoken bluntly about the quality of refereeing and rubbished the “it always evens out” nonsense. He said Wigan have felt a sense of injustice and this has been the hardest season they’ve faced because they’ve played well for several months and have been robbed by criminal refereeing decisions.

    He also confirmed that the linesman who gave Chelsea both offside goals last weekend against Chelsea has now retired from football. If I wasn’t a cynic, I’d open a book to wager that his retirement fund has been paid for by a wealthy benefactor with some new Oligarchy type money.

    I wonder, if he only made a mistake and there’s no bias or corruption, why retire. This game stinks to high heaven and the FA and Premier league suits should be taken out back and given a good hiding.

    And today’s performance was very professional. I scratch my head at those who say it was slow and sloppy and that we didn’t get out of 2nd gear. The point here is that we didn’t need to. We know that this team can crank up the gears like a motherfucker if they need to – but we didn’t need to today.

  325. We lost focus on the attacking end a little after the first 2 goals I think, that would happen to any team in that situation. The great thing about this Arsenal team is that I never had any concern that Wolves would get a goal or make any sort of game of it. I also was confident we would get a 3rd goal. Superb way to dust off a fantastic 5 days of football for us.

  326. Deise – Even clearer. At a push the idiot Ballotelli could say he went for the ball and got it wrong. Ivanovic punched the guy and the ball was nowhere near them. Although the spasm is an interesting defence; I would love to see them try that.

  327. Read this on twitter and found it funny.

    “So Rooney, I HAIR you were subbed against WIGan tonight & ManU lost though it was a close SHAVE? COMB OVER here and tell us all about TIT”

  328. So we have various clubs all speaking out on the quality of refereeing and that some clubs have too much influence, be it because of the clout they hold or whatever reasons. I guess they must all be put into the loony bin for their crazy conspiracy theories.

  329. So all clubs think they are hard done by. Shock horror.

  330. @GA
    Then what do you make of Ferugsson’s admission that his side tend to get the rub of the green when it comes to referee’s decisions against smaller teams? I do hope that a confession like that straight from the horse’s mouth is not going to induce some “shock horror” in you.

  331. The way RVP took that pen you you tell he was under a hell of a lot of pressure due to his recent goal drought!!!

  332. Goonerandy.

    That’s not the point and you know it. The issue is that refereeing standards are fucked up and it can no longer be explained by “Oh, they’re humans and just having a bad day”. Al-fayad and Dave Wheelan are brave enough to call it corrupt and demand transparency in how officials are allocated to games.

    It stinks to high heaven – and more people in prominent positions are demanding that something be done. I suppose you’ll say that Al-fayad has lost the plot and is a conspiracy theorist who once claimed that MI6 took out his son and his girlfirend for the sake of self preservation. If a man is crazy enough to peddle such a conspiracy, you can never trust that he’ll know how dodgy the FA and Premier league are.

  333. Fran Merida getting ready to come on for Athletico Madrid. Still remember him?

  334. “And today’s performance was very professional. I scratch my head at those who say it was slow and sloppy and that we didn’t get out of 2nd gear. The point here is that we didn’t need to. We know that this team can crank up the gears like a motherfucker if they need to – but we didn’t need to today.”

    I didn’t actually see the game, but I agree Darius. I know we want to be entertained, but the players put in a tremendous effort on Sunday, so it makes sense to conserve a bit of energy today if they could win comfortably without overly exerting themselves. Also Wolves are struggling badly, so why humiliate them? It’s good to show a bit of class when you can.

  335. I used the phrase ‘didn’t get out of 2nd gear’ but it wasn’t by way of criticism; quite the opposite!

    Agree – a great 5 days of football …

    Night all!

  336. Evil – We did this to death yesterday, and I really can’t be arsed to do it again. You believe refs and officials are bias. I think they are sometimes weak and often inept. There you have it. We will agree to disagree I think.

  337. Darius – See above. Anyway, laters, I am off.

  338. So you think when Fergie says that his side get decisions against smaller teams other sides don’t get, he is talking out of his arse?

  339. Great game today. I was incredibly thankful for the stream on espn3.com. It was a very professional perfomance and I agree that we were in total control and had no need to force the issue once we were up by two with a man advantage.

    And, I am really happy that Fayed and Wheelan actually have the guts to call a spade a spade. The corruption and lack of accountability is there for everyone to see. There are easy fixes for many of the issues we are having with referee decisions but the FA holds on to the status quo with a stubborn iron grip.

  340. I also disagree with the “slippery slope” hypothesis held by some in regards to implementing technology in the game. Sports here in the US have no problem setting very strict guidelines for plays that are “reviewable”, and everyone understands them very clearly. If an issue arises that needs fixing they hold an owners’ meeting at the end of every season to address it and make the necessary changes as they see fit. It is a process that is constantly evolving.

    Refusing to try to correct these errors for fear of it getting carried away is simply a way to deflect from the real issue. And that issue is the fact that the FA have vested interests in perpetuating a status quo that gives them subtle influence over the league, and have no interest in justice and fair play.

  341. Evil:

    1) please show me where Fergie said that.

    2) Would he really say something like that if his club was somehow illegally fixing results. Surely he would know about anything his club was doing.

    3) The big team get all the breaks conspiracy theories have been present for as long as I have followed English football and probably have been around for as long as there has been English football.

    4) I have said several times that Man U might get some subconscious advantage from the refs for the same reason that Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Muhamed Ali and Barca probably get subconscious breaks from the refs. That is unavoidable human nature and has been around for as long as there have been professional sports. Look at the history of the dominant PL teams over the last 80 years and you will probably see the same complaints.

    In the end, I agree with you and Darius that the referees are under enormous pressure and need help. I don’t really even believe they are incompetant as much as overwhelmed. The fact that we now have video replay makes their mistakes public knowledge which was not true in the past. Like you I truly hope all of this pressure brings some changes and moves the FA to do what needs to be done to fix the problem.

  342. For those who think that there is no corruption at all, I am selling the brooklyn bridge – Call me at 1-bridges-r-us, that is 1-274-343-7787. I don’t have a toll free number, sorry.

  343. @Bill
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/mar/29/sir-alex-ferguson-manchester-united-referees

    As I often said, I don’t think that they are fixing results or that there is a big conspiracy in the background with the pure aim ot foil Arsene’s plans. But I strongly feel that other major clubs get decisions that most of the time would go against us if we were in the same situation. It’s an inherit problem and one that could be easily fixed, but the FA refuses. As you said, it is very well possible that it is subconscious but it is bias nevertheless, no?

  344. excellent result..
    wolves didnt roll over and credit to them for not giving up after we slapped em about for a bit at the start..but the game was easy in the end..we did the majority of the damage early..

    im thinking maybe we should try keep benny..
    hes proving useful..

    thought we defended well too…and chezzers save was something else..
    Big JD got a few important block tackles in as well..

    gotta be happy..overall it was a solid away performance against a team who were fighting for survival..it was never going to be easy and it wasnt easy but we made it comfortable..

  345. Evil

    1). What fergie said is not anything like saying he gets all the decisions. I can’t disagree that over the years the big clubs probably have gotten more decisions. I don’t know if it’s true but it would not be a big surprise. However the real significance of that is far less then the perception of it by small clubs. I fully believe that if you take away all the bad decisions that there would be little if any change in the table positions.

    2) manU or whomever the dominant will always get the majority of suspicion but arsenal has and is put in the category of big clubs by the rest of the league outside of the top 4. When we were on top the world thought David dein was buying drinks for the FA and influencing results. We are still considered a big club by the rest of the league

    3). I don’t believe we are singled out for worse treatment.

  346. Evil

    Easily fixed? If it was, it would have been by now. Quite frankly the refereeing tonight was distinctly average. I seem to be in the minority who believe that the ref got it right by sending Bassong off; he was the last defender, TW was goalside with a scoring opportunity. By any definition, that is a red card.

    That said, Dowd at Wigan was appalling. There was obstruction of De Gea for the disallowed goal; Wigan like Stoke bend the rules and on this occasion they were
    found out. It was a penalty I think, for the handball whilst it was never a corner for the goal.

    The truth of the matter is that right now, officials are being hamstrung by the media and the weak leadership of the PGMO before we go into their mistakes compounding the problem.

  347. mattgoonerknight

    MIND THE GAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  348. Limestonegunner

    Dalglish also thnks there is a conspiracy of bias against his club and had publicly criticized the refs this week. Does this help or hurt the case against the refs?! 🙂

  349. Well well well..
    CONGRADULATIONS TO THE ARSENAL.
    same goes for AW and our goal scorers. RVP, THEO. AND BENNY.
    well done. Few games more and I think we can cut the gap to league leaders by half or even more at the end. Not bad.
    I bet most doomers, gloomers and fence sitters are pretty constipated right about now. All that crap in them and no outlet. May it last a few more years this condition of theirs.
    UP. THE. GUNS!!!!!

  350. @Bill
    1) Not to be pendantic but I’ve never said “all the decisions”. In all honesty, it is something I’ve seen you do often, exaggerating points made by others to make them seem more extreme in comparison to you. Maybe you are doing it subconsciously, but it can certainly have a negative impact on a discussion. What I said was that they are getting “decisions” that smaller clubs aren’t, standing on it’s own, without quantifying furthermore. And I have to agree with you that I think if all the bad decisions were turned over that the table wouldn’t change much at all. Though you have to say that in some parts of the table, especially at the lower end, clubs might get relegated because in the end a couple of points were needed that were lost due to a bad decision influencing the game. My honest assessment of our own situation is that in a world with cyber referees we might probably be slightly better off than comparable clubs with 5, 6 more points to our name but clearly not enough to mount a title change. And as I’ve mentioned often enough, I do not think that any of our title challenges in recent years have collapsed due to bad refereeing. It was our own collapse, but that can’t be an excuse to absolve the referees from mistakes they’ve made.

    2) not exactly sure in what context your second point stands to anything I’ve written. Can you clarify?

    3) Once again, that’s something I’ve never said or even merely suggested.

    @Yogi
    Maybe I am just being naive, but can it really be so difficult to change? Surely either making the refereeing process more transparent or bringing technology into the game, while having the potential to be a major change, shouldn’t take longer than a couple of years to implement or at least give it a fair try. But instead on a national as well as on an international level we’ve only seen the executives drag their feet and do nothing. The introduction of two extra referees who I haven’t so far seen make any impact whatsoever when everyone with common sense has been asking for technology to assist the referees surely can only be a bad joke that I am still not getting.
    Maybe I am just annoyed by the slowness of the process. It looks like we might finally get goal line technology in a couple of years, but the demand for it has gone on for surely over a decade now. So how long until we get anything resembling video replays, another ten years?

    But I don’t really think that you are in the minority regarding the TW decision. The match reports I’ve read afterwards and the match commentators were surely sympathetic to Wolves but all accepted that it was a decision that had to be made because it was the denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity.
    But for De Gea, I think what you are mistaking for a foul is just a rare show of consistency from the referees. I think it was two or three seasons ago when we conceded several goals due to Fabianski being fouled like that! 😉

  351. great result. some separation between us and the chasing pack. Massive save by Sczc at the start of the second half, and good game all over.

  352. Some good posts there, Evil.

    The hardest part of ‘change’ is often not the change itself but in getting people to firstly recognise the need for change and then, secondly, to go through it. Very often fear of the second part is instrumental in causing people to avoid the first.

    By ignoring the fact that better quality outcomes through the use of technology are available and choosing to still fail to make ANY effort to make changes undermines not just the referees but those in charge of the governance of the game.

    We are in effect being defrauded; we buy our tickets to see a game run by an agreed set of rules which, time and again, are simply not applied.

    If nothing could be done to change things that would be one thing. But so much can be done and they continue to choose not too.

    And that is quite another.

  353. Did the disgusting Robson actually said that on Arsenal TV after the Ref awarded a penalty?

    “Well, I’m sorry….this is an unbelievable decision” why is it “unbelievable” you idiot? Were you watching with your asswhole?

  354. The Real Stew Black

    When GA and Bill make their minds up that the rest of the world is wrong it’s like arguing with a man with his fingers in his ears. I remember when Bill first came here and did the same thing to Ole Gunner about the number of centre backs at the club. Just endless repetition of the same thing and ignoring all the facts placed before him.
    Evil – very well spotted that technique of lampooni ng his opponants points to make himself appear more reasonable too.

  355. Evil – Heh, that article you posted just emphasised how much you are cluting at straws to prove your point. He also highlights how things have gone against him and the title of the article is “Sir denies Manure benefit from referees”

  356. Evil

    De Gea was obstructed since Caldwell moved with him to block him from getting to the ball. Had De Gea pushed him – like Lehmann at WHL – a penalty would probably have ensued.

    The season needs to end. The media is too rabid, supporters too hysterical; referees do not have the benefit of various angles and slow motion yet are expected to make their decisions as if they did. Angles are deceptive on the pitch and depending where the official is standing, a foul can seem innocuous on occasion. As big a part of the problem is that the linesmen are not helping – as at Chelsea – which reflects on the referee.

    I am not defending them in that their mistakes irk but I don’t see it as a big conspiracy, to be honest I am not even sure it is declining standards either. It is simply that they are scrutinised more microscopicly than ever before. Rarely do you see a pundit look at a decision from the referee’s angle, pointing out that he could not have seen an infringement or would not be more than 75% sure as to what happened. Too many people are looking for excuses to pin the blame on anyone but the players for defeats when a lot of the time, poor results are often just down to them.

    Right off to this morning’s post.

  357. Steww – But nobody has given any “facts” about bias. Just opinion.

    And just look at the evidence (i.e fact) I posted yesterday about penalties. Common thought had been that Manure had the rub of the green when it came to penalties. The stats proved otherwise.

  358. YW – “Too many people are looking for excuses to pin the blame on anyone but the players for defeats when a lot of the time, poor results are often just down to them.

    Yup.

  359. You say the season needs to end Yogi but the controversies we’re in the thick of are as nothing if, say, Citeh and Manure were currently level on points with another (say, Arsenal) and there were seven or eight clubs in with a real chance of being relegated at the other end of the division.

    I agree with you in that I suspect there isnt a big ‘conspiracy’ in the EPL but the suspicion of bias combined with the now permanent highlighting of every single refereeing and linesman error isn’t going to go anywhere. It’ll get worst – far worse when more teams are closer on points near the end of the season.

    The FA and their UEFA/FIFA counterparts must see this.

    ***
    Evil/Stew – I worked with someone who thinks he’s good at arguing but he’s not. He constantly undermines himself by firstly putting words into people’s mouths (or changing/exagerating them) and secondly changing the argument if it’s going badly (for him!).

    He assumes no one can see him do this.

    Sad really.

  360. You can argue this in as many ways as you want but it seems to me that the FA have one set of rules for the big names of the game and one set of rules for the small names. Imagine if the roles were reversed and Song kicked Balotelli like that. There’s no question in my mind that the FA would have acted and acted swiftly. Now imagine if Song were to do that on Rooney; the FA would be looking for some obscure FIFA ruling that allowed them to ban Song for as long as they thought they could get away with.

    The above is from the famous tin foil fetishist 7am kickoff.
    Today the headline in one paper is pouring more scorn on UEFA.
    Everyone and their dog knows abou Home bias (except for AFC), how can such experts deny it?
    In the end I agree with AFC the club that has been offering to trial tech for years. For some crazy reason. Madness, eh?

  361. Weak opposition yes, but I thought Djourou had a very good game and strong positioning too. He is so much more comfortable in the middle.

    Is Arsenal still in crisis? I miss the good old days. RvP, Theo heading off. Almunia, hair shocking white, rotating with Fabianski in goal. Skillacci the new captain and only fit fullback. Gibbs knackered for years. Mozart able to play 12 minutes at a time. Arshavin disinterested, passes to the opposition and watches the game. Nasri tweeting how fine is Manchester training. Cesc on fire in Barca. Adebayor scores a hatrick every other game at Spuds. Bale becomes the new Rooney, who scores now only with scissor kicks, for fun. Diaby on for 7 minutes and then injured. Wenger burrowed frow, buys a couple of 14-year old Albanian twins that Grim picked out in a Marseilles banlieure ghetto street game, and a 5-foot Eskimo striker from Lapland who is said to be able to control the ball with his mind. Rice stern-faced. Le Grave marching, petitioning. Alex Ice Cream posting, posting.

  362. Zim – Heh, the good old days indeed eh? Djourou was nice and stead last night.

  363. AA,

    People need to be careful what they wish for. Once technology is introduced, it will never be gone. Now I don’t have an issue with that and anything that improves decision-making is welcomed but the game will fundamentally change. One of football’s joys is the intensity, the continued action. We clamour for “justice” but no-one has come up with a feasible plan to make it work whilst keeping the essence of the game intact.

    Fourth official reviewing decisions? Which ones? All, some, none? Crucially, in that instance, you are adding more bias into the equation. There is no guarantee of a natural counterbalance with more pressure on the 4th official than the original decision-maker. And what happens if the fourth official still gets the decision wrong (in our eyes)?

  364. I do think a 4th offical with access to replays could improve things. For example a ref gives a pen, but he has gotten it wrong. A 4th officla could e let the ref know within seconds. The game has already been stopped by the ref (this is critical for me in introducing external involvment) and the ref could just award a free kick to the defending team. I am sure there are flaws in that systemt too, but it is just an example.

  365. If the broadcasters gave the ref a head-cam, so that we the viewer could see an incident from his POV, it would be better… but even then it would not be perfect, and would be open to interpretation, as who know in what direction the refs actual eyes were looking!!! Maybe the broadcasters could then have a camera trained on the ref’s eyes so that a computer could calculate whether or not the ref was looking in the same direction as his head-cam. That’s what these refs need. As much help as possible. Much better than lowering the forensic temperature of analysis in the studio with constant “talking points” and fucking “controversy”.

    I say “no” to technology.

  366. OK GA but what happens if the ref misses a penalty and waves play on? Or an offside is given and it isn’t? Little wonder that technology has yet to be introduced because both of those are as contentious as giving a wrong decision.

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