Arsenal Norwich: some serious questions to be asked.

By Tony Attwood

Sitting in the Emirates and watching the game from the upper level one sees most of the game once – the replays don’t show any controversial moments, fouls and the like.

So one can take a view on a game which is later shown to be quite wrong, when one has the benefit of the TV cameras and replays.  And for this reason I don’t normally wade in with a review of a match without first watching it again on TV.

Thus my opening views, straight after watching the match, might be completely wrong.

But since Walter was at the match and will still be making the long and arduous trip back to Antwerp while I write this I thought I would take a chance and commit to the blog my instant post-match thoughts, just for once.  You may scoff and laugh, but I just feel I would like to put my thoughts down, before anyone else.

It seems to me that with this game one has to start by taking a view on the refereeing: was it of a decent standard – a professional standard – or not.  For me it was not.  In fact it was just about the worse standard of refereeing I think I have seen in the Premier League for quite a long time.  I saw fouls never given, endless pushes in the back that were not penalised, awful leg breaking fouls, which merely got a free kick… indeed we were even back to things I had not seen in years like a player ready to take a throw in having the ball pushed out of his hands by an opposition player running from behind, the ball being kicked away from a player lining up to take a free kick…

Now if you did not see such things, then ok we have a totally different vision of this match – and our views are so far apart there is probably no conversation we can have.  Maybe your view is right, and I am somehow seeing things that are not there – but we just have to go our separate ways.

If you did see, as I did, a match in which the refereeing was of an extraordinarily low level, you have to decide if this was because the referee was grossly incompetent, or because he was biased.  I do not find this too hard to judge, because I cannot believe that a professional referee can make mistakes on such a huge scale, and in such a lopsided manner, by error.  Yes, a part time ref in the Conference can – I have seen it – but at this level, no.  I don’t think it is possible.  If you do think it can happen, well, again, you have your view, and I have mine.  But I would say that such a view must cast into doubt the whole basis on which PGMOL works – for to suggest that a pro ref can be this awful through errors is to say that the whole basis of professional refereeing must be questioned in England.

You will see from this that my view is that this was a particularly awful event for the ref, and that I find it hard to believe that he was simply having a bad day.  In which case the only explanation is that someone somewhere has persuaded the ref to fix the match.   Of course I have no proof, there is no “smoking gun”.  Proof is merely offered where match after match after match produces odd decision making against certain clubs and in favour of another.  Here I am looking at one game only, and I believe something has gone wrong.   I give only my opinion, not assertions.

But to follow my opinion through, where does it lead?

If the match was in some way “influenced” who would be doing that influencing?  Surely not Norwich, who are too small a club to be involved in such things.  Indeed if we suggest that a club like Norwich would be involved in match fixing then we suggest any club could be – and that every match is open to match fixing.  Norwich have no chance of a finish in the Euro places, and no chance of relegation, so it all seems too unlikely.

So who then?

Presumably clubs that wanted to ensure Arsenal were hampered in their attempt to secure third position in the league.  That would suggest Tottenham, Newcastle, and Chelsea.  It doesn’t suggest that any of them have been attempting to fix referees all season but it does suggest that one of them might have thought it worth enhancing their chances now.

If you think that is all too unlikely then fine – but I do suggest you might consider: was it a fairly refereed match, or was it a badly refereed match – and if the latter, why.

There was much that I saw that was wrong.  The tackle by Hoolahan (sorry I don’t know the exact spelling, my apologies) on Coquelin seconds after he came on, was utterly awful.  Not just a bad tackle, but one of such intent that it deserved serious action from the ref.  One full back had just been carried off, and here we have an immediate awful foul on his replacement.  The intent was, I believe, clear.  Watch out mate, we’ll get you as well – that was the intention behind that, and I believe a ref has a duty to stamp out such actions.

There were the numerous penalty appeals.  As I say I have only seen them in real time, but certainly a couple looked sure fire penalties to me.   And there was that dreadful occasion when a Norwich player went down holding his head, had two trainers on, would not go off the pitch, and then eventually, having gone off, sprinted from the goal round the pitch to the halfway line to come back on.   Now, I don’t know if you have had a serious head injury in a game that has left you lying on the floor for a couple of minutes.   Sadly I have, and I can tell you that the chance of getting up and running like that, after any real head injury is about zero.   This was clearly an example of simulation – and the ref did… nothing.

I could go on, but it would be boring, and the ref review will do a much better job.  But for me, and I stress this is my personal view having just watched the match in the stadium, it was clear to the players from the off that there was something wrong, and so the frustration and tension built up as they knew that every nudge and push would go unpunished.  I think for many of the team it was a novel experience to see such lopsided refereeing.

If I am right, what should Arsenal do?  Carry on regardless, knowing that there is a chance that any match can be fixed?   Should Arsenal get involved in what seems to be quite a widespread activity?  I think neither, and I hope that the club will be gathering evidence to give to the Premier League about what is going on, and will point out the integrity of the league is at issue here and suggest that unless action is taken they will make their views public.

If you believe the match was played fair and square under the rules, or that we just happened to have a ref who was having a singular off day, then ok that’s your view.  But as I think back to the game I have just seen, it is not mine.

Untold Arsenal Index of Articles

360 comments to Arsenal Norwich: some serious questions to be asked.

• finsbury

I’m looking forward to the ref review.

• KanKeano

Haha. Match fixing by Newcastle, Spurs or Chelsea. Paranoid?

• YOZZA

You are quite correct,there WAS a conspiracy….Norwich should have a least one penalty if not two….clutching at straws springs to mind…..maybe there was a conspiracy against Wigan,QPR,Chelsea and Stoke as well,and maybe Fulham and Blackburn,the sooner the likes of yourself realise the only conspiracy is that our side is just not good enough the better!

• Mark

Abramovich is bribing refs and has been for ages. How else can you explain the semi final goal against Tottenham? How can you explain the 2 offside goals against Wigan. The Lampard goal against Gomes which was not over the line? The game in this country is completely bent and it’s Chelsea who have been getting all the decisions. Very easy for Abramovich to walk into the changing and leave a stash of cash. Italy went that way and it is clear that we have as well.

• Tony,
Whilst i am equally gutted, i think you might regret having not watched replays before writing this article. The refereeing was terrible, there is no doubt in that. However it was bad for both sides. Ramsey should have been sent off for a second yellow offence, and benayoun can consider himself lucky after a petulant kick. Hoolohans challenge on coquelin, whilst initially it looked dangerous, replays proved it to be fairly innocuous. Clearly we should have had two penalties, but norwich should have had one as well. The situation you describe as a clear act of simulation was infact a clear penalty due to the shirt pulling of koscielny. In terms of accusing clubs of matchfixing, unless you are joking, frankly that notion is ridiculous and rather pathetic. Lets not blame the ref (although both teams have every right to). Lets put this result down to some dreadful defending and goal keeping, a largely absent midfield, and a team who didnt bother to turn it on until the 60th minute. The atrocious first half cost us dear, and we must ask why on earth we didnt learn our lesson after the wigan defeat. We simply cannot start with complacency at home against any team, and to do so in a match of such importance beggars belief. Now we must pray to the footballing gods to favour villa and city, and reflect on another hugely disappointing season. Lets not further tarnish this result with desperate and childish accusations of match fixing.

• Maverick

I am really worried about this. If we don’t get into the CL and RVP is at the twilight of his career he could very well leave. As we can see with Liverpool once out of the CL it is very hard to get decent players and also it is also hard to get back into it. I think Wenger was wrong to start Ramsey when he is so off form and is a liability at the moment he keeps on losing possesion..notice how we started to motor after he was off and AOC was on. Yes i agree the ref was terrible but then again so were we and i have a horrible feeling RVP will be next out the door, and then we will have no outstanding players and podolski will likely take time to settle……..also now Sagna is out with a broken leg again. I really fear we arent gonna make it this year!

• Dave

I for one saw nothing with the refereeing. It’s perfectly fine for Holt to grab Song by the neck in front of the ‘ref’ and no card given. It’s also fine for blatant handballs to be ignored and VP to be pushed in the box. Its fine for Sagna to be stamped on and fine to do a do perform a great tackle like Verm and get booked for it…. Conspiracy? Absolutely

• JamesT

hahaha. remember me? told you Wenger is clueless. This will carry on forever until he’s sacked. Your website is a disgrace to give him unconditional support. Anyway, hope you’re miserable – you deserve it, just like Arsenal deserve Europe league.

• JamesT

hahaha. remember me? told you Wenger is clueless. This will carry on forever until he’s sacked. Your website is a disgrace to give him unconditional support. Anyway, hope you’re miserable – you deserve it, just like Arsenal deserve Europe league.

• Kevvy

Agreed, the ref was poor, but Arsenal were slack and unprofessional. great start, then a long period of rubbish. Got it back to 3-2 then let in a replica of the goal we conceded against Swansea to f**k up a promising situation.
Too many Arsenal players should be ashamed of themselves tonight. Szchesny, Song, Ramsey, Gervinho amongst the worst. Wenger should also be ashamed to look at what he had on the bench today, our squad is pathetic and we will end up where we deserve to, out of the CL places.
Nothing will change if we continue to blame others instead of addressing our own weaknesses.

• Doublegooner

The ref was disgusting. he wouldnt have looked out of place wearing a red & white shirt either.

As bad as the officiating has been this season, stop constantly blaming the refs.

We were an effing shambles. Wenger cannot organise a team to defend. We cannot sustain the confidence to retain a lead.

Tactics are poor. The same mistakes are made annually.

His team is not improving.

Wenger is a tired past it manager at this Club.

• YOZZA

yeah so true Dave…and Kos didn’t really pull the Norwich player down in the box and Song really didn’t push Holt in the chest either…just accept we arn’t good enough,why are you always looking for an excuse,maybe you have listened to AW for too long!….

• yassin

i cant believe too
what does arsenal has to do to get a well deserved penalty!!!!
I cant believe the way not only this referee, but most of others, do when refereeing a match.
too many fouls against a non expedienced arsenal makes frustration and leads to breaking down there way of play.
BTW Hoolahan should at least have a yellow card from coaqulin tackle and then another from rosicky tackle, but non given.
there was another red card be given against jackson i guess when tackling rosicky from behind, not given too.
And then everybody go on blaming the team and wenger, well the team played well but there were mistakes in the defense which can happen for a while, but the offence did play great in the second half to come back, just that the ref wasnt there to give van persie his penalty, I1m sorry may be van persie was diving in front of an open goal to get a penalty, while young is never a diver……..
I am totally frustrated now….

• Arvind

@JamesT: Tony can correct me if I am wrong but it is definitely fair to give unconditional support to someone who has earned it. AW certainly has; irrespective of whether we get into the CL or not. And that is what most rational posters on this site do anyway. Clearly you’re not one of them. That will be my only reaction to you; I’ll be shocked if any one else even respond : )

And its not yet over anyway; I’d wait for the Spurs and Newcastle results tomorrow before uncorking the champagne.

• Arvind

Ahh doublegooner…back again I see. Care to name your mystery player who throws tantrums again?

• RichT

Hilarious!
Would also like your take on the shooting of JFK and Shergar’s disappearance – should be equally entertaining.

• AJH

I would certainly agree that the standard of refereeing today was poor but I would say both teams suffered as a result. Firstly our penalty appeal (when Robin was shoved over) looked nailed on.It wasn’t given but replays did show he was offside when the ball was played so some people would say justice was done in a way.
Norwich were denied a stone wall penalty in the first half. Im not sure which Norwich player it was that Koscielny hauled over in the box but it was a penalty all day long. By the letter of the law there is also an argument to say Yossi should have been sent off. Yes it would have been soft but he did kick out at an opponent in the first half. Poor officiating aside im afraid out shambolic defending cost us more than anything.Simply could not cope with the physicality of Holt and the pace of Simeon Jackson. Vermaelen is one of my favourite players ever at AFC but I will hold my hands up and admit he was dreadful today.Just watch the second and third Norwich goals again.He isnt even in the picture for the first and for the third he is 10-15 yards ahead of the rest of the back 4.Positionally very poor today.

• Southwold Jack

Surely if the ref was paid to fix the game he would have given Norwich the clear penalty and possibly another. Also he would have red-carded your player in the first half for his tackle on Lappin. Agree that the ref was terrible but terrible for both teams.

• DeeDee

Horrible play today and I can’t wait to see the ref review of the game. Worst ref display this season, must be. Couple of penalties missed, kicking is ok, maybe even couple of red cards missed (for second yellow). How is it possible that Holt wasn’t booked all game? And Johnson’s stamp, it looks deliberate to me. Maybe I’m just still disappointed.

• The BearMan

Arsenal please make certain Wenger bring in an assistant coach with much experience and technical awareness, Bould is not the man! Forget the old school tie practice many adopt, we will get no where. We kept Pat Rice 4 seasons to long.

This squad lacks balance and players that can read the game. Without hesitation, Wenger should go and bring in Vertonghen on Tuesday morning, he would provide the leadership desperately lacking at the back.

Some of our lads want to play 1st team football, but from their lack of focus, it shows they are best suited to the Reserves. Wenger must stop the blaming game and start pointing the finger at himself for a change. If he cannot read the game from the sidelines, he should occupy a seat higher up in the stands.

• DeeDee

Here is the video of the stamp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2MDLMWRUfY&feature=share

• Bottom line is too many players unworthy of the Arsenal shirt. Alumnus, Djouro, Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner, Gervinho, Ramsey, Chamack, Park, Arshavin, are all not good enough. If you were too ask any other PL team to list there unworthies, you would get a few but not a list like that. This Squad need torn up and started over.

• Alex

The fact you really believe that the ref has taken payment for not making calls is, frankly, embarrassing. We should have beaten them regardless of any non-existent conspiracies. Absolutely dire result. Let’s just hope we do all we can in winning the next game.

• ak47

the ref was bad but we were worse. the first half tactics from norwich was spot on and effective. get tight to ramsey and gevinho and they’ll make mistakes, then break. song and ramsey did us no favours jogging back. i hate to say it but my initial impression is that playing ramsey cost us the midfield, tactics and the game. we scored, got complacent and got punished for a sloppy attitude.
the boss asked rob to pull us over the line. he did. 30 goals which i am over the moon about but if we dont get third and he leaves i wont blame him.

i really thought this year we’d fight off that bottling tag. shambles. need favours now, yay. come on villa! shitty! eeerrrgh. thanx lads. ruined my day. and possibly footie for next season.

do miracles happen?

• kel

defensive shambles AGAIN! how many yrs will we have to suffer this pathetic defending, i am so fed up with wengers Arsenal it’s unreal i really wish i didn’t care but i do and it’s depressing the life right outta me, that is 47 goals conceded so far this season 🙁 the one thing i have learned is wenger is tactically a very poor manager and his best days are behind him and for me i honestly do believe it is time for a change, new manager and healthy investment 70-80m??

• pliget

I too thought the referee had a poor game but it looked like Norwich were the ones who suffered more. And as for the conspiracy theories? Is this April 1st?

• igburu samuel

there is no doubt about how we feel right now,the issue of officiating an arsenal match or what we see in a premiership match in terms of officiating is highly questionable,since arteta got injured,his absence can be sensed in all our game,today szczesny perform bellow average,the way and manner we win our next match should be our concerned even as we hope that destiny should help us to qualify for champions league

• I agree that the referee was awful but I am a Norwich supporter.

I thought the ref made several mistakes in Arsenal’s favour In the first half and then lost control in the second half.

During the first half, I saw Benayoun kick out at one of our players (red card offence), Russell Martin dragged to the ground inside the Arsenal box (penalty), Hoolahan taken out in the area by Coquelin (penalty) and Ramsey get away with two fouls deserving of yellow card, after already having been booked.

In the second half, Song shoved Holt off the ball and the ref did nothing. This meant he could then do nothing if (and when) a similar event happened (Holt on Song). I agree that Arsenal COULD have had a penalty for the ‘foul’ on RVP but only if Gervinho hadn’t have been stood offside beforehand.

I don’t think Hoolahan would ever deliberately attempt to hurt a player; Coquelin had a loose first touch and he attempted to rob him of the ball.

It’s rather far-fetched to start claiming the match was fixed! Arsenal played very poorly and the referee had a howler. I would be more concerned about why Arsenal continue to field players like Ramsey, Gervinho and Benayoun, who wouldn’t get in any top sides.

• bob

Tony, Dogface, Walter, All:

Wasn’t Anthony Taylor one of the officals (the 4th I think( when Sagna got stomped on 3 times in Birmingham (not sure but think so) last season?

• uche Ekeh

put it simply;their keeper won them the game,our keeper cost us the game and wenger should learn not to criticise ref publically,it annoys them

• bob

JamesT,
T for troglodyte. I wish you weren’t anonymous.

• colonel mustard

Blame the ref!!! oh the delusion here is stunning……only a matter of time before the games is up…tick tock.

• paul lambert

don’t you think if the game had been fixed against arsenal, then the blatant shirt tug on russell martin in the 6 yard box would have seen a pen awarded? or the dubious decision not to give another penalty later in the half.

It could be worse, you could have a ref that doesn’t give a goal at Old Trafford even though it crossed the line past Roy Carroll or give a goal against you for Chavski when it doesn’t cross the line – TWICE. You have nothing to moan about when it comes to bad referees. How many paragraphs have you written slating the ref, get over it. How about slating your team that looked like they weren’t really bothered? I would laugh if your keepers clanger let us slip into 3rd after all his big mouth antics. I’ve been a Spurs fan for long enough to only hope but never expect but it looks interesting now.

• Japhet Turgut

May agree to your view. Officiating was loopsided.

• Steve 1R Morison

Ermmmmm you do realise that Arsenal should have had 2 players sent off and Norwich had 2 good penalty shouts?

You were totally outplayed in the first half, nothing to do with the ref apart from the fact he saved you from being 3-1 behind.

• islingtonred

so spurs/newcastle/chelsea fixed our game?

get a grip. we were rubbish, norwich were good and the ref was equally awful for both sides

suggest you take a look closer to home? seriously

• colonel mustard

Untold Rubbish…

• DR

Usually, I agree with the bias on show from the FA’s finest but today I think he was just awful, Norwich also had a stonewall penalty denied and Rambo probably should have had a second yellow if we’re looking at the strict application of the rules (which usually doesn’t happen against us but still…). I think the only difference was that Norwich were more able to take advantage of the ref than us, simple as that.

I think everyone agrees on the football though, shocking first half followed by a display of the true Arsenal spirit when we flowed forwards, probably should have won but at this stage of the season and with the lackadaisical start we only have ourselves to blame.

• Sammy The Snake

1. Ref was simply awful, but he didn’t seem biased. He missed 2 clear penalties for each team, which he could have called if he wanted to tilt the game.

2. When in this mood, Arsenal don’t need the ref to screw them. We were simply stinking in first half.

3. We still have a chance for 3rd, but even if Gunners finish 5th (worst case scenario), it is still far higher than we all expected back in October. Right?!

4. RVP will play only 1 more game for Arsenal, so sad to say, but it may be true.

• iniez

Who are these people? Like flies attracted to carrion you are. To the norwich fans thinking they got a bad game from the refs, I’ve never seen such bad refereeing in the final quarter of a game coupled with horrible sportsmanship, there should’ve been yellow/red cards galore given to your lot. God I hope most of the arsenal “fans” commenting are spuds in disguise

• DeeDee

Dear Norwich supporter, yes, you had a penalty denied in the first half, but not two. In my view, Coq got the ball. Arsenal were denied 3 penalties, Kosh pulled, handball and RVP clearly a penalty. Ramsey deserved a second yellow, but also did couple of Norwich players. Why is no one talking about the breaking leg stamp?? I also remember an elbow in Kosh’s head, can’t remember who the player was.
Nobody is blaming the ref. I’m just saying that the ref had a shocker game.
Anthony Taylor is the ref from the Sunderland draw last season. Denied us a clear goal from Arshavin (he was not offside) and also there was a penalty on Arshavin not given. At the time, I blamed the assistant, however, now I think Taylor is just very poor.

• yassin

oh come on benayoun didn’t kick the player
the player put his foot in front of benayoun and then dived watch the damn replay dudes.

there were red cards for 2 players of norwich but of coarse no one sees them, holahaan(2 yellow) and jackson( straight red and a yellow)

come on what should wenger do?
he played with a 442 tactics to regain 2-1 loss, its not his fault that arteta and diaby and wilshere are out and the board doesnt want to fuckin give any money.
and its not his fault again for injured sagna thus full back out and a substitute less.
he could have got santos or djourou in after 3-2 score to secure the game, gerviveo was always in front, song out of position, vermaelen was out of game and thus 3rd goal i believe if szcezney was in his best he would have saved it.

DO YO WANT WENGER TO SELL VERMAELEN TOO FOR THIS GAME, AND HOW ABOUT SONG, VAN PERSIE THROW AWAY A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES SELL HIM TOO, OH COME ON CUT THE CRAP….

• Jørgen

Serious accusations. van Persie should have had a penalty. Agree. But Norwich suffererd as well. Maybe Ramsey and Benayoun should have been sent off? And Hoolahan should have had a penalty? Ref was not good, but beeing outplayed by Norwich in the frist half is weak and with 5 min left we should not let one player get in our box and undisturbed let him fire home the equalizor. This is major system failure. Hope Bayern beat Chelsea and Tottenham and Newcastle drop points. And we need a win against WBA.

• Andrei

Rule #1. It is Arsenal exclusive privilege to be on the wrong side of the bad officiating.

Rule #2. If other team does get on the wrong side of the referee call see Rule #1.

• Tom W

I didn’t see this game live so my reactions might be different from yours. I don’t believe there’s any match fixing in the Premier League, and any bad or missed calls stem from poor refereeing level in England. From four major European leagues ( English ,Spanish , German and Italian), I rate English refs the lowest. Having sad that, Arsenal didn’t drop points today because of bad refereeing, and the sooner we address the true reasons the better off we are going to be. Simply put, our defending is not good enough, our players find themselves out of position , can’t hold the line , don’t help out , and overall shape is poor. Add goalkeeping mistakes to the mix and results are predictable. Arsen Wenger compounds the problem by deflecting blame from himself and the players onto opposing team’s tactics like ” parking the bus” or time wasting. Today, our defensive frailties were exposed by an honest , hard working Norwich side whos menager deserves congratulating and real hand shake, not dismissive one.

• Thundertinygooner

Your report is laughable. The referee was awful but so are most nowadays. You demean the name of Arsenal by writing such drivel. he made mistakes all over the pitch and not just in Norwich’s favour.Did this unnamed force bribe Szczesny to have a mare or Chamakh to miss a header at an empty net? Did he persuade Vermaelen and Koscielny not to communicate for large parts of the game. Perhaps he also fired a laser at Sagna too.
Accept that this side ,like last season lacks intestinal fortitude and even playing one match a week and going out of cups early looks tired and strained.Perhaps if a Jelavic or Papiss Cisse had been hired in January RVP might not be running on fumes.
Your pro- Wenger bias goes too far.

• Shard

Rule # 3

You can keep your ‘privilege’, and give us some penalties at home instead. See how you like it then

The way I see it, it’s never one thing. It’s both the team’s performance AND how the referee performs. For today’s result I think the team’s poor performance takes the major part of the blame. No excuses. First half was very poor. If of course we were ManU, we would have shown ‘mental strength’ and ‘experience’ to ‘somehow’ win. Still, we are the Arsenal. Nobody likes us, we don’t care.

• zdzis

@JamesT: I would have offered sympathy, seeing you’re an idiot, but I guess you just deserve it.
Refereeing: It was bad, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say the bias was set in any particular manner. It was simply a dramatically poor showing. I’d have to see it again to be able to say who was hurt the most (apart from Sagna, of course). However, I had a sense watching the game that there was a red hanging over Norwich players more than over any Arsenal player. I agree Ramsey was clumsy 2 or 3 times, but the yellow he saw was a bit harsh in the first place, and as far as I recall, neither of the tackles was particularly brutal. The dirty games – kicking or throwing the ball away, pushes, blocks, etc. – should’ve been checked more furtively, but again I’d have to review the game to keep track of the players who excelled in that department.
What killed the game for Arsenal was again a lack of end product. If RVP had scored either of the chances he wasted, we wouldn’t have lost it. That’s the simplest of explanations, and I firmly believe it is more true than any conspiracy theory. You could also claim Arsenal lacked other options at the front. And Ramsey was paticularly bad today. I wish Wenger lets Chamerlain or Coquelin start in the midfield next time.

• Jacobs

The refree was awful? Yes. But the major fault lies with Wenger and so e fanatical Arsenal that are always bias in their ratings and comments. I have said it over and over again that Wenger is havi g diminishing return and he need to be shoveled out if he refuse to look desperate to win.

How long should it take a serious coach to know the player that is drawing us ba k! 62 minutes? Of course No. Morinho would have removed Ramsey in the first half. If Ramsey is retained next season I will assure you that near miss like this that will cause us trophy will continue to happen.

I noted that Gibb and Ramsey were not on top of their game but Wenger left it late before making change. And this has occurred over and over again. Who do we have to replace Arteta? Nobody. Yet Wenger is not thinking of that now. The playing tyle of most of our players are not improving rather kept repeating same mistake each game and years. Does it mean that Wenger is a father that pampers instead of a coach that take corrective measures?

When are we going to stop backward passing or learn how to do cou ter attack? They kept using it against us yet we cant learn to play it. When you think we are doing counter Gervinho and most of our payers slow the ball for opponents to come. Shame

• lewq

we are arsenal, we are now allowed to get dicked by refs and not allowed to complain and today he was awful. the thing is…..so were we! the first half was apocolypicly bad, seriously awful apart from laurent who saved us from being completely shamed, what happened to the verminator?!

• The Spartan

This filthy uncouth vermin from the AAA should be banned from this site, ASAP.

• bjtgooner

A disappointing result for most of us, unfortunately the AAA scum are delighted and have found the confidence to send a few more rats out of their sewer to pollute every and any web page. For the true fans – we have one game left and we back the team to the hilt – they need every bit of support in trying to win that game. For JamesT and similar cretins – do the world a favour and transfer support to S***e Hart Lane.

• yassin

OK I WILL AGRY WITH ALL OF YOU ABOUT TODAYS MATCH, although deep inside i dont,
what about penalty against chelsea, newcastle home game, 2 in fulham lost game…..and on and on
just cause today you thought the referee was terrible you go on blaming this site as biased and I dont know what.
Will what the writer said not only about penalties but about fouls not given to arsenal and another given to norwich when it wasnt near a foul. about yellow and red cards not given, and NO benayoun didnt had to h\be given a red he didnt trip hte player, it was the player who made the act.
DONT MOVE AND KEEP BLAMING WENGER AND WHEN HE IS OUT AND ARSENAL GOES TO THE BOTTOM DUE TO THE LOW BUDGET, YOULL JUST REMEMBER THIS DAY AND REGRET THOSE MOMENTS WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE SUPPORTED THE CLUB.

• none

Here you go Tony, an exercise in utter fucking incompetence…
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17970316
I quote “The 29-year-old was carried from the field after falling to the ground unchallenged in the 33rd minute of a pulsating 3-3 draw at the Emirates.”

So the fact that Sagna was tackled a few seconds before he tried to get up and then play the ball.

To quote Arsene at this time.. “When he was kicked, he has broken the leg. The guy closed him down and walked on him. I don’t know if it was deliberate or not.”

So BBC how do you explain a player having his leg broken by kicking a ball?

To the BBC, from me. You are without a doubt the most bunch of useless retarded cunts behind what can only be farcically called the Elite Select group of Referee’s. And I wholeheartedly apologise to any retarded cunt that feels that they have been discriminated against by comparing them to the BBC.

DeeDee already quoted this but here we go again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2MDLMWRUfY&feature=share
That dear BBC is hardly unchallanged and from a completely biased opinion is a stamp. But Im sure that
1. it wont be shown on MoTD and that
2. a match official saw the incident and therefore nothing else will be done.

• Andrew Crawshaw

Tony, I saw the game pretty much the same way as you. The referee was a disgrace, far too many wrong calls affecting us and some affecting Norwich. In practice I suspect nothing can be done about it now. Would a way forward be to allow each captain and manager two challenges to decisions each half. If the call is overturned the challenge remains ‘live’, if the decision stands the challenge is lost. That shouldn’t hold up a game too much. Look forward to the ref review to see how bad things were.

• ….take it or leave it, Wenger & Company have destroyed this club by their greed for ROI rather than investment in d club. Soon, they’ll realise a fool and his gold are soon parted….’

• zdzis

@Thundertinygooner: Accept that an overworked team doesn’t deliver? It seems you left your brain in front of the telly. End of season games are always heavy on teams that lack sufficient squad depth and have competed on several fronts as long as Arsenal did. As simple as that. Teams that don’t play as many games and are managed proficiently by people who are good at motivating players are capable of pulling a tough punch on practically anyone. Pity they have to play it dirty at times, but genuine respect for being tough and dedicated when it counts.
I believe what Tony’s “report” shows is mostly that he’s deeply hurt by what happened at the Emirates. Not only did we not win, but we also lost a valuable player. And again we were forced to accept a referee far below the league’s requirements. We shouldn’t accept that. At the end of the day, Arsenal had a slim advantage, so a draw is close to the mark. But do we really have to suffer such negligence, such lack of respect toward the players the EPL referees repeatedly show? Again, conspiracy talk is very far-fetched, but it really is true that Arsenal receive far more wrong decisions than most of the other EPL teams. I’m waiting for a specialist to tell me why is this so. Do we play a different game? Or are the refs still treating us as the best team in the league (“we should oppose them, they’ll win anyway”).

• yassin

Stop blaming ramsey, it was vermaelen fault today we lost. the dude is coming back from an injury and a coach who attempted a suicide, then fans who wouldnt give him a brake. he is no. 3 choice after arteta and wilshere, stop moaning him he isnt that bad.

• nicky

On the bright side (and there is one, believe me) I can see Citeh beating or at least drawing with Newcastle tomorrow. They have the scent of the EPL title and it feels good. Let’s give Spurs the win. We can still get 4th place by beating WBA next weekend (surely we have learnt a lesson today?) I can’t see Chelsea beating Bayern Munich on their home ground so 4th will be available. We may well finish behind Spurs but so what, provided we have entry into the CL next term.

• Pat

Thanks for article Tony. I wasn’t there and I stopped listening to the commentary on the Arsenal web site before half time because the co-commentator was so negative about Arsenal that it made me sick. I am interested that Andrew Crawshaw agrees with your analysis.
I still don’t think we should single out players for heavy criticism, as some of the contributors to the discussion have. What does it achieve? No doubt Szscesny will be angrier than any of the rest of us at letting in the first goal.
Maybe the pressure got to the team – having to defend the one point advantage.

• mickw

I thought the push on Van Persie was the plainest most obvious penalty I’ve ever seen in 50 years of watching football. Nothing excuses the ref for that. The Sagna thing looked scary, the guy tried to kick him once but Sagna pulled his leg out of the way, then he chased after him and “accidentally” stood on his leg. The Coquelin thing was a good tackle, not a penalty, took the ball cleanly, as did Vermaelen. Yes Koscielny held the guys shirt, as does every other centre-back in the premiership, they’re never given. Kicking the ball away at a free-kick is always a yellow card – except today. The handball? The full back had his hand in the air and blocked a cross, at Old Trafford that’s a penalty. Koscielny was thrown to the ground in the box, those are often not given, that kind of rugby is often tolerated it seems to me. Ramsey was lucky with his second foul but some of the Norwich players did several bad fouls.

• Northbanksy

The refereeing was indeed appauling, however it was equalled only by our defending. When we went ahead there were 9 minutes to go & Norwich had pretty much run themselves into to ground. We can blame whoever we like but an astounding lack of tactical nous cost us 2 points & possiblty a Champions league place next season. Nothing to do with being anti Arsenal…just stating the obvious.

• Is your name Wenger?

What a load of old tosh.

There was no bias in the refereeing, he was just plain awful. In the first half Benayoun should have been red carded for petulantly kicking out and Ramsey should have gone soon afterwards. So don’t try and blame it all on a conspiracy theory, the penalty shouts could have gone either way too, Martin was hauled down and kicked in the face and Jackson practically slices in two and nothing given. And Gervinho was offside before Van Persie was pushed.

Wenger would do better to stop blaming everyone else but himself, his tactics were at fault for most of the game and when in a 3-2 lead why not protect it? His comments about Sagna’s broken leg are a disgrace too, while Arsenal fans would do better to focus on the fact they they don’t have some God given right to be beating teams like Norwich and everyone else for that matter.

• Strus

Referee had a shocker.
Szczesny had a shocker too.
Vermalalen is still woeful in positioning for time to time.

I don’t think lessons wil be learned.

Todays first half was simlilar to the beginning of the game against Wigan, and it happened at QPR too.
Midfield is not tracking back.
Again, and again and again…
First against was 4 vs 4
Second against was 3 vs 2

Today somehing new worrying started: Vermaelen bombing forward and no one replacing him in the heart od defence. Terrible.

Team made great effort to win this game. 23 shots, 11 on target. Finishing was as poor and unluckyas it used to be in many games.

I hope team will produce some more quality finishing in the final game, casue Foster is much better goalkeeper than Ruddy (who was really lucky today).

• Jason

well well well as soon as proper questioning Ian done people are labelled aaa . people need to wake up

• Tony Moore

Well I’ve read some strange articles in my time but that one really takes the biscuit. I am a Norwich supporter and I was at the game. I know it is every supporter to support their team and maybe to miss a few things out there on the pitch, but really!! The one thing I do agree on is that the ref was crap, but significantly he was crap to both teams. Why wasn’t Benayoun (sp?) sent off for his kick on Russell Martin, why didn’t City get a penalty for the shirt tug on Martin, etc., etc. You see I can see things from our team’s point of view as well. Just face it you were fortunate to get a draw against an excellent Norwich side. And as for a “thrown” match, please do get real. OTBC

• Sammy The Snake

We will all support Villa ManC tomorrow!

• John L

the ref was bad for both teams. maybe slightly more for us but arent we used to that by now?

the fact of the matter is that we were very very poor. after a brilliant start, we dropped off. allowed norwich back into the match. they played their plan very well, and we played into it. they pressed us, we made mistakes and then failed to press them in turn. the jogging back of the midfield was quite frankly a disgrace in a game of this magnitude. i certainly dont blame the defence when they get stretched by mistakes, loss of focus and lazy attitudes further up the pitch. namely our midfeild five. although ramsey and gervinho in particular were poor today for me.
we clawed it back in the second half and credit to the manager for the changes, and credit to the players for getting us there. another great connection between song and robin. but then just as we did at the start we dropped off. we started to play back into norwichs hands. to come from behind and make it 3-2 with ten minutes to go at home and not see the result through is a big indicator that this team still has some learning to do. if we want to push for the title next year this will have to change.

-we probably would have won if we had had arteta.

-tony is right in the heading of this article. some serious questions need to be asked but more about us then them. there is certainly work to be done this summer.

before anyone gets their panties in a twist. i support wenger, and pray he remains our manager for another decade. i support arsenal’s philosophy. i believe ramsey is a very good player and will prove it over the course of his career at arsenal. BUT, we cant always blame the refs, or the fixture list. yeah we dont get any help, but after todays game we really need to be looking at ourselves! i believe that the mistakes made, the handling of the opposition tactics, the inability to lock up games, getting caught out far too much etc are not one off. we have seen this before. so we need to take a very serious (and calm) look at what the causes of these mistakes are. to just say its the refs tony? i think your smarter than that and far more objective than that.

• RedGooner

I guess I am as dissapointed as anyone else.
Yes the Referee was a disgrace if he wasnt bought and paid for he might as well have been.

On the other hand there is probably a few things we need to do better. defending was poor and Alex song is probably more of an offensive player than defensive. I cant remeber the last time maybe flamini was the closest we had to a true defensive mid player. I cant see either frimpong whos a lunatic or the gifted coquelin playing that roll as coquelin is a good player but its not his position.

All isnt lost we can just hope villa and city do us a favour tomorrow. games in hand are NOT points on the board.

• Mandy Dodd

Quite amusing to see all the Spuds coming out of the woodwork. You can just smell the bitterness!
If we win at West Brom, and we will, we WILL play in the CL next year, Chelsea are not going to beat Bayern. Newcastle are going to drop points, Mike Dean will do his best for the Spuds, but they are notorious chokers. A Spud draw and a Newcastle loss, if it were to happen, things start looking a lot better.
If we do not finish in the Top 4, the AAA.. I firmly believe will get their way, I think Wenger will offer his resignation.
But that aside, the first half was as bad as I have seen from us since the beginning of the season.
Whatever happens this season, some things have to be put right.
Firstly, our defending, it regularly reaches levels that are unacceptable, and I am not just talking about the back 4. How many years have we put up with Mfs jogging back? Playing attractive football and good defending need not be mutially exclusive. Wenger must sort this long term problem, defending like we sometimes do makes the rest of our game pointless.
Then, injuries – research on this site demonstrates we do get more injuries than most other teams…and to key players. Arteta has proven some loss, as has Jack and Per. The mf looks ill disciplined without Arteta. Unfortunately, I cannot really see a way back for Diaby in this league. This really needs looking at, especially the non contact injuries. I just get the feeling Wenger is quite relaxed about injuries, they allow others to develop.
Tactics – some think they are over-rated, but they regularly allow lesser teams to get results by rights maybe they should not. Teams set out in a certain way can derail us, we need to combat this. There are swathes of younger tactically aware managers coming through, things will not get any easier, especially with some of the refs we get. Wenger at the moment is having trouble beating them, so why not join them? And consider this when appointing Pats replacement. The AAA say Wenger only appoints yes men, time to put that one to bed -dennis, Henry, Bould, Keown , Adams, not Neil Banfield
The refs we get do not help, but we should have won that game easily. You cannot just open up for any team at this level
Finally, we really need to learn how to play the season. We are very prone to hitting slumps, the this season ad last, at vital times ie the end of the season.
All is not lost, but some things are wrong, and clearly need putting right. If coaching is an issue, bring in a fresh assistant brimming with ideas to help Wenger out. If players are not following instructions, again, easy to deal with

• Andrew

The team on the field today was not good enough. The GK was shaky all day and clearly blew the first goal. Ramsey is not a top quality midfielder. Period. He is costing the team dearly. I blame Wenger. He should have realized that losing Fabregas and Nasri was disastrous. Arteta was not enough. Losing Wilshere was also very damaging, yet he doesn’t add any quality in January. He loses several defenders to injury in December and doesn’t add to the defense in January. Many points are dropped as a result. Gibbs is reckless and defends poorly. The same for Jourou. These players are not good enough. Wenger hangs on to 8-10 players who couldn’t play for Man Utd reserves. Why?

• I’m even too perplexed to say much. However, how can we not single out players for blame? So who takes the blame then?

The whole team sucked today but 3 people were the chief protagonists

1. Ramsey- on his current form, he should not be starting matches. He’s on exactly the same kind of form that kept Arshavin on the bench and ultimately out of the team.
2. Vermalaen- don’t nobody tell me he’s our best defender, because that accolade belongs to Koscielny. Indeed, TV has been a liability in the recent matches and his bombings forward were largely unproductive.
3. Szczezny- he just didn’t have his gloves on today.

That said, it’s not all over yet so we’ll just have to support the team till the end. Even if we don’t get the ticket, i remain a gooner till infinity. COYG!

• marcus

@RichT

JFK was most probably assassinated by the CIA on the orders of the bankers.

Go read your history. Everything else is smoke and mirrors…

We all live in a strange rose tinted fish bowl, fed a diet of dried crumbs and are expected to gawp gourmlessly and take what we are fed….

Tony is clearly fuming, and I haven’t personally seen the match. But I am reminded of Dowd letting Newcastle assault our keeper, and nothing was done.

I use the word ‘our’ somewhat loosely, because my attachment to supporting Arsenal is somewhat cosmetic.

I support Arsenal because they play good football, but if the forces of anti-football snuff that out,
then my support wavers.

I support Arsenal because I support what they bring to football.

But in truth my support is getting lukewarm, and indifference to this wretched fixed league is setting in like rigor mortis.

• marcus

Was that cunt who stamped on Sagna’s leg responsible for breaking it?

• Mandy spot on, to add good teams don”t waste such chances.

• RedGooner

Marcus …I would say ask the referee but he wouldnt know.

• marcus

Ok, well Wenger confirms it was the stamp.

The media prefers to dig deeper for the truth, and inform us, it happened because he fell awkwardly.

It’s pretty dreadful really.( The standard of the media that is)

• In other words u could say arsenal are a bunch of pushovers With a whining manager u had ur chances! and blew em or should say van pers had ur chances get a team not 1 man u mite get somewere.

• Gord

I would like to see Arsenal sue the PGMOL for participatory negligence to recover medical fees.

• marcus

Wenger says he is not sure if it is deliberate. You have to watch it and make your own mind up.

It looks to me as if Johnson breaks his natural stride pattern….

• Legolas

i am fed up with this referee issue we should start working on that we should REVOLT against that corruption we are always denied penalties that are sooo damn obvious referees turn their back on us always this is not fair at all . we should do something about that this is unacceptable at all . we werent that good on defense ok but to deny us 2 penalties ? 1 handball and other very very very obvious foul come onnnn not fairr

• El Gringo

From Eurosport:

“Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed the news after the match.

“It is broken fibula, the same leg,” Wenger said, alluding to Sagna breaking the same leg early in the campaign. Sagna returned to first-team action at the end of January after a lengthy lay-off.

Wenger added: “He was kicked on it, it has not happened alone.

“When he was kicked, he has broken the leg.

“The guy closed him down and walked on him. I don’t know if it was deliberate or not.”

From the Manchester (United) Guardian:
“Sagna was carried off after he fell while trying to control the ball in mid-air. Arsène Wenger said that Sanga had been kicked a little earlier, but tried to play on. “He was kicked on the same leg,” the Arsenal manager said, although he did not apportion blame.”

The full quotation from Eurosport is a clear apportionment of blame. Why does the Guardian (which loves the thoughtless Wenger/whinger pun) hide this? Because they know he has a point?

• El Gringo

BTW, you can blame someone without questioning their intent. It’s fair to blame Chesney for the first goal, but he obviously intended to make the save. I know, being a keeper–it happens, you feel crap about it for a while, but of course you never mean to do it. Whether whatshisface intended to break Sagna’s leg or not (for what it’s worth, I don’t think he did), it’s pretty fair to apportion blame.

And fair play to Sagna for getting up and trying to play on with a broken leg. What a man.

• Gary

Arsene needs to take responsibility for the teams performances which have been appalling recently.

He was once a great manager, this summer will determine his legacy. He won a lot initially but the last few seasons he has looked tired, tactilly inept, lacking inspiration and bringing out the same tired excuses.

Hopefully he has accepted the problems our club faces and will address them. If he does and we improve this summer he should stay, if the team doesnt improve this summer he should go.

Arsenal were a great club, it is no shame to not win trophies every year, but it is a great shame not to try and I don’t believe for the last few seasons we have tried

• dan

OK Villa to win and Citeh.

• MistaKen

The only thing that will make the board realise Wenger is blind to the problems and needs help is if Arsenal stop making a profit. Wining trophies and satisfying the fans comes way, way down the list of priorities.

@ Mr Attwood/untold regulars.
I have not seen the game as yet, But if, as you say this was a game full of unsporting moments then I suggest the following to tackle this disease within the pro game. A booking for unsporting behaviour, dissent, persistent infringement and delaying the restart of play should carry an automatic one game ban. With two bookings still meriting a sending off but with a two game ban.

• marcus

Appalling?

Arsenal have been often profligate in front of goal, and sometimes slipshod in defence.

Those were the same two failings today and AW accepted that.

Nonetheless they scored 3 goals, and the de rigeur 2 penalties not given.
So with a proper ref we would have scored 5….not a bad return for a profligate team.

Amazingly AW accepts that Arsenal don’t get penalties, and says its just an obstacle that the team have to overcome….hardly the attitude of a whiner.

If it was Ferguson his head would have blown off with all the pent up fury…and we would never hear the end of it.

Ultimately the team belongs to the supporters, so if they want a better manager, they can demand him.

Personally, if I owned a season ticket, I would be

1) Writing to AFC demanding footage of every game this season.
2) Conducting analysis on the refeereing
3) Asking AFC what they intend to do about the apparent scam taking place
4) Failing any action by AFC, I would contact The Consumer Protection Agency, and ask them how I proceed against whoever oversees the the bollocks we call the Premiership..

Ultimately I would request my money back.

• marcus

In short, if the mandarins at AFC haven’t got the integrity to challenge what is happening, the support base has to take matters into their own hands.

(And not by falling in line with the casual racism of the BBC and demanding a manager who is less French)

I think Marcus has hit on a good point, The powers that be have advertised fair play within the game. My question is. How can they demand fair play when there is so much injustice in the officiating? Surely this is false advertising. They set the laws, but allow the games to be played under substandard officials.

• Maverick

Looking at Arsene i think he is done at Arsenal now……he seems detached and different, i think he knows we know and the board knows that changes will be made and i reckon he will not sign a new contract at all. It has been said he feels alone and mocked and chastised and that no one in the club truly supports him as a manager he loves the players and the fans but the bond is broken and all the players he brought through have left in bad circumstances which has hurt him, he feels no one is truly loyal to him nor the club. You can see in his general demeanour he still has passion for the job but he is a shadow of the man he used to be, you can see by his team selections and how almost myopic he has become he forces the issue with things that dont need to be forced case in point his stubborn holding onto playing Ramsey when AOC would have been a better option, all because Ramsey has been injured and he wants to prove a point.

If he is not careful he is going to throw away his legendary staus and be viewed as a jekyll and hyde character that was once a great but then sabotaged his own image. I dont see him being manager after next season, it might be Guardiola…..just seems too convienient that he leaves Barca when he did to take ‘a year off’ which funnily enough coincides with Wengers contract renewal and we all know that Guardiola learnt things from Wenger.

Maybe that is why Wenger stubbornly refuses to spend even though we all know the money is there and lots of it. Maybe he is leaving enough for the next manager to reshape the squad to how he sees fit.

I have a huge feeling next season will be Arsenes last managing Arsenal, i dont know whether he will move upstair or just quit managing, but he looks absolutely spent!

@Maverick. Maybe Wenger just needs a holiday. To freshen up away from negativity.

Too many people highlight assumed problems with no opinion on how to fix assumed problem.

• DannyMackay

The ref was shockingly bad today – just watched the game on sky+ with replays and he was awful throughout.

But I’ve got to be honest, while I tend to think there is something dodgy and russian-esque about refereeing decisions towards Chelsea (in the last year they’ve been awarded two goals that didn’t cross a line and one against them today that quite probably did not given) – I’m not sure today was a display of refereeing bias.

There were a couple of very good penalty shouts at each end – shouts that would have caused no real controversy had the ref given them – and he gave none of them. If he were bribed he could easilly have given the two norwich ones and not the arsenal ones.

Also – Ramsey has a lot of potential – but on days like today he loses control and a ref with an agenda could easilly have given him a second yellow.

So a bad performance from the ref – but I’m not buying the bias angle.

• bob

Maverick,
I’m just going to check out your perception from the post match inteviews; but I do have to say that the pre-match “show” with the business boys and their DAFT idea to schedule The 2012 Tour to connect THE BRAND with worldwide fanbase is nice on paper and in their till but will prove very destructive with players returning from international competitions and jumping on planes to Kuala Lampur and Nigeria and China. This is a recipe for wrecking the team and making the players vulnerable to injury before the season and possible CL qualifier even starts. What I mean is that Arsene kept up a detached cool but showed ZERO enthusiasm for their business plan (aka contacting the fan base aka showing the brand) that is so at odds with proper football preparation (as he used to do in Austria, etc., not so very long ago). I don’t know from today’s postmatch interviews (have yet to watch), but what you wrote above really clicked with what I observed from his appearance with the 2 bizzy boyz from Emirates and AFC (flanked by two dead mannequin stewardesses).

Mandy,
Based on the above, and today’s result, if we don’t clinch 3rd and RVP goes, I too have (and share your) massive fears that Arsene will step away (whether up or down).

• RedGooner

Marcus, You’re right they should take legal action if necessary.
Oh and while they are at they should get rid of stewart robson and his talking tactics or is it talking shyte ?

While AW may have to put up with been polite in interviews etc about Refs the morons who sit back and do nothing about some situations annoy the hell out of me.

• Maverick

@bob i was talking about an interview that i heard a long time ago (few months) which lasted about 60 minutes and was by a person that wrote books on Arsenal (cant remember his name) but he has inside access to Arsenal and is a friend of Wenger also. He said in the interview he feels more and more alone at Arsenal, he loves the club but at the same time misses his family……he doesnt have much of a say in reality about what happens around the club etc etc and he doesnt feel like he has friends he can trust and the players he treated well have stabbed him in the back, He misses Deins input etc etc………..basically it sounds like he is being strangled by the club or he feels suffocated and he says maybe that is mostly his own doing because of how he has decided to be hard nosed in doing things but also things arent the same as they used to be either and he feels isolated. He does look like a broken and unhappy man and i think all the years of pressure and abuse and players leaving after he trusts them etc has done him in and i dont think he will sign another contract.

I am not sure how i feel about that though if true, because Wenger is a quality manager but i cant quite tell if he is being stubborn or if he has gone stale, so i am concerned that maybe a new manager wouldnt help, but maybe it is a new manager that is needed to freshen things up because wenger is having a hard time and him being French he gets disrespected for it by the EPL and England in general. I betcha if we got guardiola he would be more respected than Wenger and Arsenal would all of a sudden be respected but because it is Wenger managing its just a whining ‘surrender monkey’ Xenophobic bunch.

• Mo

We would have surely won if arteta was playing, statistically speaking even though the ref was against us.

• Stuart

Maverick,

Do you remember who broadcast this interview you speak of / could you get a link or download??

• bob

Clearly, Arteta’s injury is such a blow. He’s the missing balance wheel, the connective tissue, the man at the rudder and it’s not the same. He proves to have been a great signing; and his loss hasn’t been covered from our resources at hand. To say the obvious, there’s one game that we can still control to re-cover that balance that he gave us. The midfield combinations are not balancing and we’re suffering.

• Maverick

aha found it:

http://le-grove.co.uk/2012/01/28/le-grove-podcast-1-alex-fynn-talks-david-dein-arsene-wenger-and-the-clubs-future/

YES i know it is le-grove and they are a bit negative but the interview is balanced and gives a bit of an insight into things, it is about 1 hour though.

• walter

I think some people are missing the main thing.
The ref was an absolute disgrace.
It was clear that he was not doing his job. Now Norwich fans may accept this because they got a point today. But then again they are missing “the” point. It is not because you get a point that you should accept that type of refereeing standard. Because now you got a point and you are happy. But the day might come that such a type of refereeing could send you back to a lower division. And then you will not be that happy any more with such ref performances.

You are looking too much in it from your own (todays) point of view.

• marcus

@Maverick

I’ve been following the saga of AFC versus the world for the last few years.

The more I see, (e.g Lineker turning on Wenger on MOTD for no apparent reason),
the more I suspect a giant Masonic network controlling football, with tentacles everywhere.

I imagine there are people on the Arsenal board who are subtly against the club.

Watching Murdoch writhe in the Leveson Enquiry, I am convinced that there is at least a reasonable chance of the game being up for this lot…..

…it would be good to think Wenger can come out the other side, and get a fair crack at implementing his project.

• walter

To the spuds fans over here : are there no spuds blogs out there?

• walter

Pretending “Arsenal” fans who start their comment with “hahah told you so” are no real supporters.

• marcus

You need to do a full 90 minute analysis Walter, and then send an open letter to the AFC board, on behalf of the supporters, (or even run a petition), asking them what they intend to do about it

• walter

I think Norwich was the lucky team today. For their first goal the ball went in 1 second between the legs of Gibbs, Koscielny and Szczesny. The chance of such an event happening is very low I think.

We had a few similar events and for Arsenal the ball went always away from their goal.

For the second goal the ball got a bad deflection. That is just two rather lucky goals.

So if we all seem to agree on the fact that the ref was very very bad, it just leaves us with the fact that the most lucky team when it came to finishing was Norwich.

• marcus

How bad was the ref today Walter?

• Stuart

Marcus

Thanks for that, I will have a listen tomorrow.

Just watching the game now and believe Simeon Jackson should have been sent off for that tackle from behind.

• walter

Marcus,

If I would have been the ref today I would be ashamed of myself if I would see some things again.
The way he let some things go was totally unacceptable for a professional referee.

I had at times the impression that the didn’t have the game in hand but that the players dictated him.

The things Tony mentioned that I also have seen that when a player preparing to take a throw (Coquelin) and a Norwich player pushing the ball out of his hands and the ref not giving a yellow card was something that left me speechless.

And such things are not acceptable in the EPL and then it doesn’t matter if you are an Arsenal supporter or a Norwich supporter.

• walter

I haven’t seen the whole game yet. It is 1 am in Belgium, I am up from 6.00 am and I am exhausted.
One of our ref reviewers will do this game and I will certainly put myself on to watching the game again just for my own curiosity.

• Doublegooner

Dear Uncle Tony & Uncle Walter,

Could you arrange for a petition & protest to see if you can get the game annulled & replayed as the ref caused us to lose 2 valuable points.

If it wasnt for the refs we’d have probably won the league by a country mile.

Thanks..

• walter

And finally two more things:
just would like to add that I wouldn’t want to win games from bad referee decisions but the last time this has happened to us is a few years ago.

And for those who would have the guts to tell me: it evens out. Why don’t you prove it…

• marcus

Cheers Walter.

Sagna’s leg was broken by a stamp, but Wenger would not say whether it was accidental or not….

• Stuart

I believe it is a deliberate stamp. his left leg goes out of sync with the way he was running in both length of step and speed at which the foot travels to the ground

• RedGooner

I think we should put a petition together or even all readers donate a certain ammount and take action of some sort against the PGMOL especially since the club we support are willing to sit back and do fcuk all about.

• Basil

Maverick,like it or not,teams are seen as a reflection of their manager;thats why everyone hates MU but loves Spurs.When Wenger first came he gave Arsenal a veneer of continental sophistication which the fans and the press loved.However now he is seen as a poor loser and a figure of ridicule,and i am afrid that is the perception of Arsenal that now exists in the outside world.For example my mother in law,a Derby fan,said to me recently “That Wenger,he never stops moaning and he is bad loser,its awful how he didn’t shake martinez’s hand” Now she has nothing at all against Arsenal,but her opinion is being influenced by Wenger’s behaviour. L am not saying its right,but it is how it is at the moment.If Wenger won a trophy it would shut people up;MU and Chelsea fans don’t give a shit what the media says,they just look at the DVDS of their recent triumphs and think F**k U,but Arsenal fans have nothing recently to celebrate.

• Stuart

watching again and again, i’m convinced. He stops running and puts his left leg down in the same place as his right foot which you don’t do if you are intending to keep running. I’m not saying he intended to break it but the stamp on my eyes was intentional

• Stuart

Basil

It also has much to do with the way the media represent him to the blinkered members of the public. You have to remember, a large number of people don’t question the nonsense they are spoon-fed by their daily toilet paper on other shite media.

• bob

From the Creepy Department:
At the end of the match, at handshake time, Lambeth extends his hand as he gives Taylor a nice thanking nod and knowing smile. Have a look for yourselves. Yes, it’s circumstantial, but it does not feel appropriate for just a draw. Why would Lambeth even go to the ref line to shake hands and show thanks to THAT so-called ref (Taylor) on this day when his side (Norwich) should have won (according to some Norwich commentators here) but for the refshite?
Yes, of course I’m angry, but do managers customarily even go to the refs after a match and shake their hands? I don’t know, but customarily, isn’t that post-match handshake with the refs a captains and top players-only thing?

• bob

Stuart, all,
Do you recall whether last season Sagna was stomped (the three times) at Birmingham or Sunderland? I think it was one of the two, and, more important, I think that this Taylor was the 4th official and the ref (I think Peter Walton) had let it go. I’ll try to search this out, but that horrific treatment made me feel that Sagna was a marked man and, indeed, a match or two later he struck back at someone and was carded. I feel that there’s been a war on Sagna and it’s high time someone gets called out for the repeated assaults! This is not the only one – there’s at least three and he deserves our massive acknowledgment and support – plus he’s a world class fullback and loves our team. Where is the love back? Petition!

I have the answers, it’s a 2 thousand year old scam, Cicero, Marc Antony and octavian have declared peace and just for kicks want to f**k up the games to s**t on the mob. Anyway 14 billion years of history cramed into 2 hours awaits me on the box(don’t know why I watch this stuff, I know how it turns out).
Ring any bells
Please excuse the sarcasm.

• Stuart

I have a feeling that was at Birmingham

• Aussie Jack

Marcus: Any well informed adult, especially at my age, would have some idea of the influence the Masons can have on any business, its a kind of silent mafia. So, whilst there is no proof of such allegations it is more than possible some person or persons is instrumental in moving the chessmen to their advantage. I can well imagine every member of the Arsenal board to be a Mason, especially ex public school. You will never stop it, its a code of life, but they can be exposed which will drive them underground for a while.

• bob

“he is seen as a poor loser and a figure of ridicule”
Basil,
Just curious, which papers does the mother in law read? which sports casts does she listen too? My point of course being that “is seen as” is a result of repeated patterns of media framing. So “like it or not” some of the mainstream media’s continual efforts to ridicule Arsene have succeeded in that space between her ears. Have you ever tried to dissuade her or point out anything to the contrary? I’m curious how she did or might yet respond to that.

• Basil

Too true Stuart.There is no way Lineker would for example imitate Arry’s tic and say something like “ooh Rosie we’re down to the bare bones,need to do a bit of wheelerdealing me ould mucker”, no way in hell.

• Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

Well it was another less than sterling display and the ref had a real stinker but to say or imply that it was clearly rigged or the match was fixed is rather disconcerting and argfuably inaccurate. The one thing that does stand out for the entire season is that AFC have NEVER had a penalty at the Emirates…how to explain that?
The AAAs, the Spudzombies and gloomer-doomer Wenger-haters are all crawling out of their closets and screaming for AW’s head againor mocking our situation, and making inane and insane arguments to replace him. We do need to remove a great deal of excess fat from the Arse,such as: Bendtner, Vela, Arshavin, Squillaci,and Denilson. Ramsey is truly out of form but RVP, Benayoun, Song, Vermaelen, Kos, Szcesny, Coquelin, Arteta,Sagna and Gibbs are usually first class….today was an off day, we still got a point and while our future in the CL is no longer in our hands, the season has been a real rollercoaster ride…full of chills and spills!

• Stuart

I’m sorry but I can’t leave this. I’m still watching it. I can’t get my head round why someone who looks to chase after the ball takes one very long stride and then one very very short one (this is where the contact is made) then carries on with longer strides. You wouldn’t do that unless you had an intention. All I see all over the net is it wasn’t deliberate. My ass!!!!

• Pete

Definite stamp and penalty to RVP at the end but we can not hide the fact that Norwich should have had a pen to make it 3-1 and finish us off the bottom line is we were are not good enough week in week out and our defending is as poor as the ref today

• Gord

@Basil

• Stuart

• shayne

I am a norwich fan and i have just had this emailed to me. i believe every comment critising norwich and the ref is totally wrong! I c u as bad losers and the fact any game not being won at home is fixed. Im guessing u though wigan was fixed too? y cant u give norwich credit? We beat tottenham away 2-1 the other week! Give all teams in the top 6 tough fixtures at their place n suddenly this one game is fixed! Tbh i a fuming as a norwich fan as we should of finished u off before u had the chance to come back. So russell martin having his shirt nearly pulled off in the box was not a pen? or the dirty high challenge from ramsey wasnt worth another yellow card to b sent off? plus the van persie pen decision wudnt of happened anyway as gerviniho was clearly offside! Norwich took the gamble of an attacking formation and it paid off! We have done it most games away from home n to say this is fixed is a disgrace!
I think arsenal fans have been awful support to get on wengers back when they have an off day, hes done a superb job to get arsenal where they are after their major hiccup beginning of the season n deserves alot of credit than disrepect! Im not saying most fans r wrong but to state the game today was a fix is an awful remark! Total disrepect to norwich and seriously what game were u watching lol. Unlucky norwich! Derserved 3 points! gd luck arsenal to the respected supporters!

• Prasanna Veeraraghavan

Am gonna make two comments here.

One its a fact that Untold and its crusade against bad refereeing has reached a point where people indirectly understand you people make a lot of sense. This is one reason there is a tirade here. I have been seeing a lot of these kind of activity for sometime now. Its just growing with each passing day. So no wonder I get to read this article and there is heavy activity in the same.

• Prasanna Veeraraghavan

Now coming to my second comment….

The referee was awful. I kind of expected this but then why the referee did not punish Arsenal. May be it was well decided a draw would do much better than a loss. But I really cannot accept the first two goals. I am baffled, flaggerbasted, stunned lost of words and clueless.

I could not sleep much yesterday night and am at a loss of words here.

• Anthony Luke Sherry

Everything that has been said is true. It wasn’t bad refereeing though, it was clever. On Tuesday I saw pat rice talking to Joe Jordan in the Aldi car park. He passed pat a box of cereal. Fruit loops or coco pops, take your choice, but you know what was really inside. Were hated and now were being bought out of the CL. Help.

• The Spartan

I log on to this site atleast 5 times a day to read the latest comments and I have to say I’m always amazed at how spurs fans and the AAA vermin always flood the site with drivel after a bad day in the office for Gunners.nothing will change the fact that real Arsenal fans will support the team regardless.Gooner4Ever.

• Doublegooner

Spartan:

Even the refs read this site & piss themselves.

• FinnGooner

My initial thought after the match was “Congratulations PGMOL for getting Spurs in CL” SO Thanks Tony to prove I was not only one…
About Ramsey I think he did do few very bad tackles that he should not have done BUT maybe he thought “if they are allowed to do that so should we”.

I hope Asenal do that video thing Arsene talked about penalties that are not penalties even I think it’s movie lenght by now.

• FinnGooner

Walter I just remembered that one of commentators in Arsenal player (I listen them for commentating while watch TV on mute) saying that referee seemed like he could be influenced and maybe crowd should use that more…

• Jason

Even at 3-2 I wasn’t confident we could hold onto the lead, again we fail to hold onto a lead. Fuming isn’t even the word. Coquelin and Frimpong are too inexperienced I reckon having Sagna on the field we’d of stood a better chance. He would of stayed closer to the Centre backs. Another thing, there you see why Song in one moment can be handy and in another go useless. I’ve said all along sometimes Song needs to just stay close to the centre backs as possible, as a result we concede a goal? Grrrrrrr

• Mickess

This takes the prize for bias against Arsenal.

“But for some poor first-half decisions by the officials – who missed a kick by Benayoun on Russell Martin, a trip by Francis Coquelin on Hoolahan and a shirt pull by Laurent Koscielny – the Canaries could well have got something more out of the match”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2140002/Arsene-Wenger-blasts-referee-penalty-denial.html

• Paul Jackson

Walter: Spuds/Spurs/TopTeamInLondon Fan here.

There are Spurs blogs out there but none of them make me pee myself laughing than this one. You should do stand up.

Seriously mate this is genius, I am crying here.

• Cape Gooner

Tony, thanks for pouring your heart out for us.

However, I think you make a serious error in trying to guess at the motivation for the blatant cheating that we see week after week. There has never been a more obvious penalty than the last minute foul on RvP. It is 100% clear proof of cheating by the ref. But “why” is an impossible question to answer. If it was bias or bribery, why did he let things go that would have benefited Norwich?

That the refs are cheating is, imo, a certainty. Why confuse the issue by trying to guess why?

• dave spurs

as a spurs fan u might think i’m biased , but lets be honest , norwich deffinately had the worst decisions against them in the first half ( a couple of pens etc ) arsenal should of had a pen in the last couple of mins ( van persie )overall norwich derserved at least a draw .

the main team that is getting all the decisions this season is cheat$ki if ever a team could be accused of paying of refs it has to be them lot , i have lost track of the disgracefull decisions they have got but some have been so obvoiusly blatant the officials have deffinately been paid off or had so called sweeteners etc , abrahmovic is a very powerfull guy as i’m sure you know and it would be hard to prove of course .. alot of spurs fans i know now hate cheat$ki more than arsenal for this reason

• Edward

This is an embarrassment this article. It really is. Looking at this match objectively. Norwich have had two excellent shouts for penalties turned down. Russell Martin who you have called a cheat was only prevented from scoring by the most blatant shirt pull by Koscielny.

Coquelin then proceeds to go straight through Hoolahan as well and doesn’t play the ball. What about Ramsay not being sent off for two yellow cards as well for a very poor challenge? He should have been. What about Benayoun kicking out off the ball?

I will accept Van Persie should have had a penalty for the shove Naughton. But the referee was not a cheat. There is no conspiracy to defraud Arsenal. He was equally dreadful all round. Wenger was an absolute embarrassment at the end with that “handshake.” Absolutely no class.

Rather than blaming the referee accept three things. That some terrible goalkeeping and central defending were your downfall. Allied to a fantastic performance by a dynamic Norwich side who have beaten Spurs and Newcastle this season. If you can’t come to terms with that you will continue to win nothing. Which would be a shame because it’s a great club with amazing facilities. I enjoyed my away trip immensely.

• munkey

doesn’t mention the Tottenham team being given food poisoning by an Arsehole supporting chef a couple of years back, does it?

• Fiingers

Interesting article. I have to say I have not seen the game yet, but as a Norwich fan it’s clear that you’re disappointed by the ref. It sounds like Norwich are a team full of cads, cheats, divers and bullies.

Of course, Arsenal players never dive or cheat. But back to that later.

I would agree that the standard of refereeing is getting worse. In League 1, you have to accept it a little. In The Championship…well you get Andy D’Erso. But the Premier League, the self named ‘best in the world’ should have the best refs. But they are shocking.

They are arrogant. Flippant. They NEVER have to justify their decisions which is wrong.

You say you had a penalty shout not given. Apparently so did Norwich. We’ve seen countless handballs in the box not given. Awful challenges not punished (again Benayoun ‘kicked out’ off the ball but wasn’t punished. It might have been handbags but Beckham was sent off for similar. But you don’t mention this).

Every team will feel the ref is against them. The refs ARE crap. That’s the long & short of it. I’ll watch the game & see, but try to be unbiased.

However the Internet is full of pissed off Arsenal fans tonight. Remember it OS the Premier League. Whilst you might expect to beat smaller clubs, it’s not you’re right. Every team in the league is capable of beating another. It’s what makes it exciting.

But I would stop with the conspiracy theories…just accept refs are incompetent! Lol.

• zdzis

I’m watching the game again, and there’s several things I can say.
1) Norwich penalties? The first one wasn’t there, Coquelin got the ball and gave only the slightest touch to the guy. The second is more tricky. Yes, Koscielny tugged the guy’s shirt, but you can clearly see the guy holding his arm somewhere near Koscielny’s tummy. My bet is both held one another. A penalty there would have been a disgrace. It wouldn’t even be “soft.”
2) Benayoun red? My problem with this is the comparison commentators made to the Beckham/Simeone situation. Did anything like this ever happen in the EPL? Did any ref hand out a red card for a slight trip out of play? You couldn’t even call it a kick. Still, the ref was right to whistle it out.
3) Vermaelen yellow? Very debatable. He definitely got the ball, the other guy tripped over his leg. It’s not Kompany on Nani, it’s Johnson on Lescott. Shouldn’t have been booked, no foul.
4) Sagna stamp? I think it might have been deliberate. Didn’t see a close-up replay, but it’s strange to get a stamp in this kind of a situation. I’m almost sure it was deliberate. Yellow card, if so.
5) Norwich players throwing the ball away? In each case, the player should have been booked or told not to that again.
6) Holt red? He kept Koscielny on ground by clearly pushing him down (penalty?). Clear-cut situation, but it would’ve been a “soft” one. He was on top of Norwich’s physical game – pushes, shoves, trips, etc. His play up until that point warranted at least a yellow. Could anyone explain to me why the ref gave Holt two free kicks after supposed Koscielny fouls, one around 35th(?) minute mark, the second at 52nd minute? Both looked like Holt fouls to me.
6) Ramsey red? No, sir. Yes, the second foul was ugly and should’ve earned him a booking. But the first was purely accidental. I was shocked by the commentary, which suggested the two situations looked more or less the same. No, they didn’t. In the first case, Ramsey caught the guy with his trailing back leg, which he couldn’t control in any way. In the second, he caught the guy advancing, studs to the foot. Completely different case. Perhaps the ref knew the first yellow was too much.
7) 54th minute, Naughton holding off Benayoun. Should’ve been a free kick to Arsenal. He used his hands to push Benayoun away.
8) Howson yellow? 62nd minute, pulled Benayoun (?) back. Right after that, Howson fell after an apparent push from Song. Can’t say much about that. Was the push so much? Hard to judge.
9) Hoolahan, 64th minute – clear yellow for a foul on Benayoun, would’ve been red.
10) Morison yellow for tugging Vermaelen when he was about to bring the ball back into play. Holt was involved there, and a couple of minutes before he also fouled Song in the Arsenal box. Again, why wasn’t he booked?
11) 73rd, penalty for Arsenal? Handball by Howson, could’ve been booked as well. The only reason why this might not have been called was that he was raising his arm level with his face, so the ball would have supposedly hit his face otherwise. Not sure about that, but I think it would’ve been a whiff too soft.
12) 76th minute, Holt definitely should’ve seen red by now. A clear foul on Song, kicked in the Achilles (nasty stuff), then kept him away from the ball with his body. Clear yellow, so it would’ve been red by that point.
13) Morison yellow for putting the ball away. Another red by that point.
14) Arsenal penalty, 88th minute? It could only happen if we assumed some ref mistakes are ok. They missed Gervinho offside before RVP was pushed. But I’m mighty curious about how Taylor explained his decision after the game. However, even if it wasn’t a penalty, and no offside was given, it should’ve been a corner. Even Naughton claimed to have gone for the ball, and it changed direction. What else do you need to rule for a corner? A prize, or what?
15) 91st minute, just before Song’s failed flick at the goal: handball in the penalty area. This time, it did affect the way the ball went.
16) 92nd minute, Morison could’ve gotten red-carded twice in one game 🙂 knocking about violently, tugging at the shirts, pushing about.
So, in sum: if a penalty for Norwich, two penalties for Arsenal. If a red card against Arsenal, two (or three) red cards against Norwich (Holt, Morison, Hoolahan). The ref’s performance obviously affected the outcome, and it did it against Arsenal. Again, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a conspiracy, that’s too far-fetched. But, despite appearances, this was a one-sided performance from the ref, who obviously went against Arsenal far too often. It was worse than usual.
As for the players, I’d say the whole team played poorly in the 1st half, and I think Ramsey was one of the poorer players then. But they rallied in the 2nd, and then he started to shine, even. Hell, did you see Chamakh? He was also better than usual. I think what did us in was lack of communication at the back and stupid errors ammassed. Song and Vermaelen also had a poor game IMHO.
I’m waiting impatiently for RefReview coverage 🙂

• novicegooner

I can say I’m a regular reader here at UA. One observation I can make is that there are a lot of ‘NEW’ names commenting in this blog whenever Arsenal fail to win a game.

It makes me wonder where they were when Arsenal WON and when there are quality posts by UA writers such as Tony, Walter and Anne.

• novicegooner

zdzis
that’s some observation. I salute you 🙂

• marcus

Good call zdzis.

The good thing about UA, is that after all the passion, there is a dispassionate analysis.

Walter, Dogface and the team have invited non-Arsenal referees to join the team…
so there are plenty of carriages on this train.

The referee sounds fairly inappropriate, for the umpteenth time.

Of course the almost inevitable conclusion as masses of evidence stacks up,
is that there is an agenda against Arsenal. You can dress it up in fancy words
like “conspiracy” if you like, but any way you call it, it remains
a hostile anti-Arsenal agenda.

No penalties this season at home.
5 leg breaks in 6 years.
Teams being given licence to kick Arsenal off the park.
(Man U 2005, Stoke circa 2008)
With absolutely zero official retribution.

What are Arsenal fans supposed to sing these days?

With the next deliberate broken leg, stamped karate kicked or scythed, do we sing:

“Another one bites the dust?”

• Alan pitt

Im a Ncfc fan and have watched sky’s coverage twice now and listened live on the radio to the game and my overriding option is this is just very bitter gooners who can give no credit to an opposition team, I’m sorry but it was a great game with both teams on the the front foot and poor defenses… Thanks for he point OTBC

• olly

So this is just a website full of bitter Arsenal fans who can’t accept that for large parts of the game they were outplayed by ‘little old Norwich’. A draw was a fair result, the ref was SHOCKING both ways. Norwich dominated the first half, Arsenal the second, but please just have the courtesy to give Norwich some credit.

• Nev Townsend

OMG I have read some rubbish in my time but this takes the award for top trash. Arsenal came up against a team who play attacking football. The home side struggled to cope. The ref had some decisions to make and could/ should have given a pen to each side. Other than it was a cracking game and we would have been gutted had we come away with anything less than a point……OTBC.

• chelter's

haha! What a load of one sided load of tosh!!!!

Arsenal played badly, norwich played well….. Should have been 3-1 to norwich with a clear pen at half time, or just after hald time when jackson went through….. Could have been enough to kill the game…

Ramsey should have had two yellows, would have xhanged the game….

Some of norwich’s movement was class…..

Accept it, every dog has its day, the ref was crap for BOTH teams…

Live with it, otherwise you’ll earn the same arrogent reputation man yoo fans have!

See you next year, lol! Love NCFC xxx

• bjtgooner

@zdzis

Good post. I agree with you about the alleged Coquelin penalty incident – it was a good save from Coquelin from a difficult angle.

The Kos penalty incident could have been given, but the Norwich player was leaning heavily into Kos and had tried to push through him – so I will wait for the ref report on this one.

There was an incident earlish in the second half (not sure of the exact time) at a corner for Arsenal, Benayoun headed the ball goalwards straight to the keeper. Simultaneously, Kos had been attempting to go for the ball but was restrained by a half – nelson applied by, I think, Holt. In my view this was an additional penalty claim – we had 3 penalties denied – this one, the hand ball and the assault from behind on RVP.

Norwich are a team who have played some exciting football this season, but yesterday they produced a lot of thuggery and were allowed to do so by an inept ref.

• olly

@bjtgooner

Thuggery? We were just winding your players and crowd up. Maybe trying to get an atmosphere going in that stadium. I must say as a Norwich fan who was there yesterday I was less than impressed with how quickly the Arsenal fans get on their players backs. Just moan moan moan, get behind your bloody team and they will play better

• GeordieLion

Jesus zdzis! Please take off those Arsene tinted glasses. You saw everything Holt & co done but missed everything goober related! Whenever you drop points against the “underdog”(stoke,Norwich,Bolton) you arsenal lot always find some conspiracy theory. Time to realise your not as good as you think!

• olly

And if you think the Sagna leg break was a ‘deliberate stamp’ watch this

• bjtgooner

I have just watched the stamp on Sagna. It does look deliberate. I have noticed throughout the last two seasons Sagna has been a target for some of the less desirably thugs in the EPL. I am not sure why this is the case, is it because he is seen as a class player and if well knobled Arsenal are weakened? Anyway, it is a further bad reflection on the referees that they have permitted these serial attacks. Get well soon Sagna.

• Parp

Hi zdzis,

Congratulations on the most blinkered view I’ve seen in a very long time.

Most entertaining.

Arsenal are my second team, and have been for about 15 years, but I’m glad I stuck with Norwich as I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself if I became as paranoid and deluded as some of the people on here.

Enjoy the Europa League.

• mark

I would agree that game was very poorly officiated. It seemed to me that ref was unwilling to give clear penalties to the gunners. Disgraceful!

• marcus

If the stamp is seen as deliberate then I think AFC need to prosecute it as GBH in court. Sadly I think the politics of the boardroom lacks the integrity to defend the players’ interests.

• James

Many of you have ignored Alex Song. He was disgraceful in that match and warranted a straight red for his attack on Holt and a yellow for a bad tackle on Holt again. You all come from the luxury from seeing this game through red coloured glasses and should acknowledge some of Arsenal’s problems. Wenger was very disrespectful to our manager and the forth official. Whilst I acknowledge that Norwich had some bad tackles and possibly should of conceded a penalty, all in all you did not sell yourselves to a team coming to the Emirates for the first time.

• J Canary

Bit rose coloured glasses comments here chaps you were out played by Norwich for large parts of the game and got what you desrved….. just accept that and move on some of you comments and excuses are laughable

• Mike C

Pathetic, whinging, whining Gooners – you deserve that excuse for a man, Wenger, as manager. Because you didn’t win, there’s a conspiracy against you! Never mind, Channel 5 Thursday night next season and we won’t watch you then either.

Oh and thanks for the point.

God know’s what the site was like after you lost at home to Wigan!

• ncfcoap

Is this board for real or is it just some weird wind up? So Bradley Johnson in a millisecond is able to pick out the spot on Sagna’s leg where the plate is, anticipate that the full back is going to slide so his leg will be on the floor & adjust his feet to stamp whilst running. You obviously credit him with greater accuracy than the City fans do. I used to really like the Arsenal of the late 90s but now you’ve just become some prcious luvvies

• bob

Paul Jackson,
In your words, I hope you get your wish: I’d love to see you pee yourself laughing. You deserve no less for your troubles.

• bob

Fiingers,
Two middle ones, is it? There’s nothing in refshite that excludes both crap refs and bent refs and both sets of calls withing the same pre-scripted cranium.

• bob

bgtgooner,
There’s a war on Sagna. Uncarded stompings (including three in one game) last season; then carded when he retaliates a game or two later. Two broken legs this season under highly questionable circumstances. And, imo, it’s his virtual world-class quality on the pitch – his being essential to our successful defense and his superior crosses – and perhaps something darker in the attacks to boot. What has befallen Bac deserves to be detailed and he deserves to be lauded and defended. We’re lucky to have him and should let him know we know as much. Heal fast, Bac!

• Rawiri

@zdzis
just finished watching the game replay and couldnt agree more with your comment, yes we didnt play particularly well in the first half but were much better on the second. the ref was … (cant even think of a word strong enough to describe him). this has to stop, diaby, rosicky, eduardo, ramsey, sagna (twice in the same season), what other team receives this kind of treatment? if there isnt a conspiracy and these things still happen that’s even worse. i m not naive to put all the blame on the ref but certainly the lack of a quality refereeing didnt help, i love Arsenal but i m starting to hate the EPL, still i believe in wenger and the team

• Gooner s

Tony,

Refs get it wrong. Some more than others. I agree with a lot of what the contributors to this site post but I just don’t get the conspiracy theory stuff. Fact is we should have played better, defended better and used our common sense when 3-2 up. On the day we weren’t good enough. You have to take it on the chin and (for you) choose the right moment to have a pop at the standard of refereeing; otherwise you just look like a sore loser.

• bob

zdzis,
Kudos for your super list! 🙂

As for not calling it a “conspiracy” but “an anti-Arsenal agenda,” well, that’s a very thin line you walk there mate to avoid using that c-word.

In general I wonder why is it easy in many a footballer’s lingo to call malignant refs “cunts”; but to get so anxious at using the c-word “conspiracy” when there’s patterned evidence that accumulates week after week? We boyz are conditioned to use one C-word and not to use the other C-word. That would be two major mistakes.

• bob

Gooner s,
When you look at one game in isolation, you “don’t get the conspiracy stuff.” There’s been so much accumulated evidence on UA here for years that point to the probability of conspiracy. There is no smoking gun (yet) to clinch the case (as in the phone hacking scandal). But there are so many events, too many events that cannot be explained by coincidence or chronic ineptitude. So what’s left, then?

• islingtonred

articles like this are why nobody takes us seriously as a set of fans

please keep your mouth shut in the future

its embarrassing

• John

Have followed Norwich through 3/4 of the English Football League over the past 3 seasons. I along with many other fans could happily testify to the fact that Arsenal, from top to bottom, undoutedly harbour the most blatant bias out of any English football club.

Say what you want of Norwich City, this victim mentality is unbelievably pathetic.

• novicegooner

Islington
please help a bit here, mate. What do we have to do to be be taken ‘seriously’ as a set of fans?

• James

most biased blog ever. We (norwich) deserved a Pk in the 1st half & we’d have made it 3-1, Ramsey has 2 very that challenges & like most officials the ref bottled it,YB kicked out at lappin.nothing giving. gervinho was 3 yards offside for the RVP penalty appeal ( yes it was a penalty). How about abit of credit for a norwich team that attacked you & caused you all sorts of problems.

• bob

islingtonred,
Hey, I’m nobody and I take us seriously. QED.

• jaca

It comes across as a big old whine, claims of match fixing are ridiculous, the claims that Hoolahan’s tackle was a leg breaker are completely stupid, and completely glossing over the stone wall penalty Norwich should have had and the fact we could well have been down to 9 men. The ref was poor.

It doesn’t just affect us

• Pat

Sad for Bacary. Great player. Another one pole-axed by thuggery and terrible refereeing.
I hope Arsene manages to do something with these figures about no penalties at home all season. Even interviewers are starting to mention it.
Maybe beautiful football is not what the powers that be want for the British working class. Maybe they prefer them to have thuggery and cynical fouling and leg breaks.

• Doublegooner

Pat:

Do you think the authorities are responsible for Wenger not coaching his team to know the basics of defending or signing dogshite players? !!

FFS, you make a nonsense of yourself just blaming refs & yes I agree they are the worse refs I’ve seen.

• Josh

Yes, you are correct, the ref was terrible. He has cheated Norwich out of a deserved 3 points. My opinion of Arsenal fans was high before yesterday, but after their lack of support for their own team, arrogance and abuse to away fans (who throws coins in this day and age?!) yesterday this has changed. Main controversial refereeing decisions yesterday were-failure to send off 4 Arsenal players; Benayoun for a blatant kick (after an equally blatant dive), off the ball with the ref starring at it, Coqelin and Koscielny for clear fouls as last man, and Aaron Ramsey for 3 clear yellow-card-worthy challenges. Also 2 clear penalties not given to Norwich-Coqelin on Hoolahan, and shirt-pull and elbow on Martin. The only serious claim of a penalty Arsenal could have wanted was the push by Naughton on V.Persie at the end, but a Paul Lambert has correctly said, Gervinho was a good 2/3 yards offside so play should have been stopped earlier.

As Norwich fans were correctly singing to the ref: “If that was us, you’d send him off”. Arsenal fans you should consider yourselves lucky, Norwich fully deserved the win and when Van Persie leaves you’ll be mid table at best.

• Prasanna Veeraraghavan

Seems like a barrage of people got into this forum since the match happened yesterday. Seems like everyone’s conscience is affected as that of all Arsenal fans but their allegiances make them whine here. I have only three words for all these closet Spurs and other fans or the AAA brigade….

GET A LIFE!

• bob

Pat,
Sorry, but it’s not the working class that’s inside the Emirates.

• iniez

Over 2 years of stats and evidence vs “just because”. That’s all I’m seeing. I bet you think strippers like you too

• bob

Doublegooner,
You speak with such certainty about anyone here’s “nonsense”. Where did your certainty go when you endlessly assured us with posting after posting that there was a traitor on the squad who would stab the team in the back and depart with a bang? That’s nonsense (to be polite). And you never have apologized, like a stand-up gooner would. We all make mistakes, but you lurk with intent and then when we lose a tough one you come back with studs up nonsense.

• Arvind

I think its kinda clear that any of our players who are integral to our success will be targeted and systematically broken until they are frustrated and leave the country.

St. Patrice Evra even hinted at that last week, albeit in a different context when he said…”We cant let Man City become champions. If they win it once they will win it again.”. The same principle. Repeated. In a different context. Its just disgraceful.

I spoke to a friend for a long time after yesterday’s loss and he wondered why we still watch. I don’t blame him. I can take getting beaten on the pitch, relegated on the pitch by teams better than us. I can take us getting beaten by Swansea City and Wigan and hell even QPR away recently…because they were better than us.

All of the rest? Its just painful. Coz it is no longer a football game. It is just another fixed entertainment show.

• The Spartan

The AAA vermins and their Twitter mouthpiece Piersmorgan, are a fickle bunch.The other day he admitted that he had been wrong about Wenger but now he is back to blasting him again on Twitter.Pathetic.

• bjtgooner

@Doublegooner

It’s strange you come out of the woodwork (or is it the AAA sewer?) when the team is having a hard time. You comments to Pat are rubbish.

• marcus

@Bob

I have no problem calling it a conspiracy.

A lot of people have trouble accepting that term, probably because it’s code for “raving fantasist”.

For those who have trouble with received paradigms, I have spelt it out: “anti-Arsenal agenda”

Either way it’s the same thing.

• bob

Marcus,
Yes, I see the point. Well done.

• Doublegooner

Bob & BJT:

You never answered what I posted. Here it is again.

————————————————————-

Do you think the authorities are responsible for Wenger not coaching his team to know the basics of defending or signing dogshite players? !!

FFS, you make a nonsense of yourself just blaming refs & yes I agree they are the worse refs I’ve seen.

————————————————

I wasnt being personal, I was making two points. It appears that it touches raw nerves.

BJT: I made it perfectly clear I couldnt name the player to protect my pal ( who is a season ticket holder). I think I did give some cryptic clue. Anyway this same player has now exchanged on his house near the training ground, but I cannot confirm whether he has changed his mind about staying ( I hope not) or whether he has bought another house in the UK. What I can tell you is he had a very poor game yesterday being responsible for one of the goals.

Dont get too angry. Save all your energy for defending Arsene. He’ll need it, especially of RVP leaves.

• Stuart

Does anyone take this Doublegooner clown seriously?

• marcus

What exactly are you saying her doublegooner?

That a player is a traitor in the camp?

Can you elaborate please?

• Doublegooner

Stuart & Marcus & BJT

Firstly you silly boys. I’ve never use the word traitor.

Secondly, not one of you have asked whether the refs have anything to do with our ability to fail to defend properly on a regular basis. You lot like facts, so perhaps you’ll also be able to tell me how many goals we’ve conceeded this year & of course you can use mitigating circumstances.

Have you noticed that I’ve not lowered myself to insult any of you.

• marcus

no

• C4

Funny how many Norwich fans come on here trying to defend the ref by saying he was crap for both sides. Come back after the ref review is out, and you’ll see just how much he helped your team. He allowed Norwich to get away with far more than he allowed for Arsenal, including knocking the ball away form a player trying to take a throw-in. How classless…
Regarding key decisions:
Norwich fans claim they had 2 penalty claims, when they only had 1, and even that was debatable. Kos was holding that guys shirt, but that guy was holding his too. Check the replays properly. It could have gone either way.
Coquelin got the ball.
Norwich players handled the ball in the box twice.
I see nobody has mentioned this one so far, but Gervinho was pulled back by the last defender while running towards goal in the first half. Norwich was pulling back players who were running forward all game long – the ref refused to call it and they broke up many, many Arsenal attacks with this rugby-esque “tactic”. The fact that one of our players ended the match with a broken leg says it all. I saw a shockingly large number of Norwich challenges in which the players didn’t bother going for the ball at all, they just took out the Arsenal player, knowing full well that they wouldn’t get booked. So it’s no surprise (as bob pointed out) that their coach went to the effort of shaking the refs hand and giving him a warm, thanking smile.
Kos had a Norwich rugby player literally hanging on him and holding him down while going for the ball (the one Benayoun headed straight at the keeper).

I count 4 missed penalties Arsenal should have had (excluding the RVP push by on loan Tottenham defender Naughton), and at most, if I’m really generous, 1 for Norwich.

So yes, the ref did help Norwich out a whole HELL of a lot more than he helped Arsenal. For you Norwich fans saying he was fair, I hope Norwich get him again in another match in which the stats are reversed.
I’d like you Norwich guys to ALL come back and comment once the review is done.

• marcus

Presumably as a Spurs fan you are chaffing at the bit then?

• Stuart

Doublrgooner.

You are talking rubbish what ever it is when you say traitor in the camp. Everyone these days seems to have a mate in the know, there is never someone in the know. It’s all hear say bollox which is why I don’t believe a word of it. No idea also how you also get to comparing defensive issues with bad ref decisions, they are separate issues altogether and can only be put down to shit stirring.

• marcus

A win at WBA still is enough

• The Spartan

Thank u spurs for choking!Come out u stinking Vermins & tell us how bad Arsenal is now that Spurs has choked!Gooner4Ever

• Stuart

That’s it Marcus, especially as we will get the 22 penalties due in our favour so that it ‘all evens out’ over the season.

• marcus

LMAO…

Since SAF and the Apologists have brought up Probability Theory, that would be quite interesting if Gord, Walter & Dogface did a study.

We know from Riley that Prem Officials get 90% of decisions correct. He has stated that.

So that means there is a 1/10 chance of an error on a penalty decision.

so if we illustrate however many home non-penalties have not been given. (and that number really is a bit crazy , given there were 3/4 just in the last game), but let’s say 20….

(walter can do the study)

What is the Probability of 20 penalties not being given?

(1/10) power 20 ?

(sorry my maths is ropey….)

Approximately 1/10000000000000000000 ?

Wow!!

More chance of winning the lottery than getting an Emirates penalty!

• bjtgooner

I think Doublegooner has been corresponding with Rosie. Maybe he is after her money.

• marcus

“so if we illustrate however many home non-penalties have not been given. ”

I meant

“so if we illustrate however many home penalties have not been given.”

• Josh

Having watched the highlights and seeing others comments I have a few more points to add. Firstly, how on earth can you say Coqelin got the ball?!? Absolutely blatant foul and straight red card. Also Norwich had another potential penalty turned down after a very late challenge by the awful Koscielny on Pilkington (just before Bradley Johnson shot over at 3-2). Also to claim Norwich were time wasting by throwing the ball away, Vermalen did this twice with the score at 3-2, as did Szczesny. Also in terms of pushing/pulling etc. Gibbs was all over Jackson every time they jumped together, as were Vermalen and Koscielny on Holt, and then Morison/Wilbraham when they came on. Wilbraham’s yellow was probably the most ridiculous I have seen all season as he was being clearly held down and was simply trying to get away from the defender. Anyway if the ref correctly awards the 2 penalties at the end of the 1st half and had sent off Benayoun and Coqelin by half-time, 4-1 Norwich with 2 extra men, game over. Arsenal got extremely lucky, and if Norwich hadn’t already long secured safety, I’m sure there would be plenty more complaints from this end.

• Doublegooner

Stuart:

Read my words slowly …I have never used the word traitor.

Secondly, I do have mates. My mate has just sold this players multi million pound house, the same player who at 21 at the time paid £1.1m for my ex stepsons house. The same house that no one else wanted at that price, but a player over rewarded player then pays £200k over what anyone else was prepared too.

So you see, I know the player but will not name him now. If you still think I’m making stories then thats your call.

Once again, you’ll notice I have not used the word traitor because he revealed months ago ‘he didnt believe in Wenger’.

That was your word.

Perhaps you’ll ask Uncle Tony to show me a Red Card because I upset you.

Have a nice evening !

• Kanone

I agree with you in as much as the ref seemed to be biased in favour of Norwich.
Well referees, we’re told are only human, and like the rest of us, can make mistakes.
So that given, we have to accept, in spite of what the FA would have us believe, that referees can also be biased, it’s just another human trait. I don’t believe for one minute that he’d taken a bung.
That said, the prejudice we saw yesterday was so blatant it beggars belief.
With so much at stake these days and the influence that bent referees can have on a Clubs fortunes it has to be time to bring in video monitoring.

• Arvind

Assuming you’re right Doublegooner…how does talking such speculative stuff which you cannot back up earn you any credibility anywhere?

You might say..who wants it? If you didn’t then why would you post on a message board in the first place? Wouldn’t you just keep quiet then?

So there’s a contradiction you see. Plus you pop up only when we’re in trouble. Tough to take you seriously. You might not care..but then why would you post at all?

• Stuart

Whether you have ‘used the word’ or not is neither here or there. My point is more that I think it’s rubbish, you don’t actually know!!

• I can understand frustration at the standard of refereeing on display, I can understand frustration at Sagna’s injury, I can understand frustration about potential missing out on the CL due to the result – what I can understand is this blog post, nor some of the comments after it.

I am a Norwich fan, one who also writes a blog, and I have to say that some of the sensationalist stuff I’ve read here today beggars belief. Apparently there’s some conspiracy theory to ruin Arsenal’s chances as well as get their players injured, and we’ve been made to look like a bunch of thugs who spent the whole match kicking lumps out of the Arsenal side, which couldn’t be further than the truth, and it’s insulting to the quality of play on show at times and the nature of both sets of players and fans.

Let’s start with Sagna’s injury, which clearly wasn’t a stamp, it wasn’t some ‘Keanesque’ hack done out of malice or revenge, it was simply a player going down, our guy having nowhere else to go and making contact. The result is an unfortunate accident which home fans are bound to see differently because it’s their player. I remember Djibril Cisse going down against Blackburn from seemingly nothing and he had a broken leg as well. Let’s not forget that this leg is already injured from Sagna’s previous break so potentially may not be as strong anyway, but to claim Johnson has tried to break his leg is crazy, and it reflects badly on Sagna, Wenger and anyone else who’s making this claim.

As for the ref? Yes he didn’t have a good game, there were penalty decisions that were turned down both ways, I personally though that we should have had a pen for Koscielny virtually pulling the guys shirt off, but equally you had 2 fair claims – 1 for handball and 1 for the push by Naughton on RVP (Which had been called offside anyway against Gervinho so couldn’t have been given). There were some ropey tackles from both sides, Hoolahan’s against Cocquelin was probably our worst, although Ramsey make a couple of poor tackles also. Benayoun kicked out off the ball, there might not have been much contact, but the intent was clearly there and on another day, another ref could have waved a red (I think the fact he didn’t directly see it prevented this). All this being said, the ref did allow play to proceed quite well, but we’re always going to argue for the decisions that go against us.

Finally in regards to claims about Arsenal not being given pens, you mention maths – great, let me give you actual figures to back up the facts. Arsenal are one of only 4 teams since 2002 to beat the league averages on pens given in favour and pens not given against consistently. Their partners in this set of 4 are Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool. So for pens given against them, Arsenal average 10% when the league average is 11.98%, and for pens given for Arsenal have 14.2% when the league average is 11.5%
The full details on this are here:
http://www.indybonestruth.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/foul-play-at-top.html
Which shows that statistically Man Utd get the most favourable decisions in regards to pens, followed by the rest of the traditonal ‘big four’.

The match itself was great to watch, with Arsenal being asleep for the first half but then coming alive in the second. Some shocking defending on display at times from the Arsenal back four, but some quality movement from RVP and a great pass from Song at the other end.

I have a huge amount of respect for Arsenal, Wenger and your fans in general, which you’ll see from some of my other articles on my blog (assuming you check them out), which is why I’m so frustrated by this blog posts and the responses. We are not a bunch of hatchet men, the league doesn’t have it in for you and I hope Sagna recovers well and soon.

Regards

Indy

• Mahdain

oh how looks its ITK doublegooner again..i wonder where have you been all this time only coming back when it seemed we screwed up..well unlucky for you and others your “far better teams” spuds and newcastle screwed up and jeez you are still spreading misinformation after a traitor in the team? Save your energy and go post that on Le Grove

• iniez

Doublegooner, are you bipolar? “Not being rude”, “posting in good faith”, you come on here to rile people up, that much is clear to me so I won’t spend too much time on you. If you are an arsenal fan, stop being a child. If you’re not, good

• Stuart

Indy,
I’m sure you would also understand that penalties given in favour and not given against is not the issue. The issue is where penalties are ‘incorrectly not given for’ and ‘incorrectly given against’. Here you will find Arsenal to be at a huge dis-advantage.

My answer to your stats would be that one possible explanation for them is that teams have to take risks to stop higher skilled players in their tracks.

The figures used on this site are readily available for you to look through on the ref reviews on this site and if you know of any refs from your blog who would also like to become reviewers, I’m sure Walter would love to hear from them.

• Mandy Dodd

Some fair points Indy Bones, if he did not mean to hurt Bac, then there is nothing more to be said, but we have experienced this time and time again, in some cases, players clearly did mean it.
You mention the stats since 2002, again fair enough, but we do not seem to have been getting a fair crack of the whip in more recent years – coincidence, since Rileys appointment? Since Dein left – who knows. All I can say is that we have had no pens at home for a year,and compared with others , and when you consider our attacking game, I find that astonishing, especially when you look at some of the pens not given. Wenger certainly does not get treated well in the media compared to some of his peers, so I would say there is an anti Arsenal agenda out there. As for the refs, the reviews on this site are telling.
But I will agree , that ref looked poor overall, and yes, our defending let us down…aagin…

• Doublegooner

Mahdain:

Its such a shame a site like this that is not read by many takes offence when someone with a different view or someone who questions the manager is called into question.

I enjoyed seeing us winning but even sitting on a cold night at Wolves a few weeks ago, but have never lost my concern that after years our ability to defend as a team & hold up when the pressure is on us, we fail time again. That manager has to be held responsible. I have never changed my stance over the last few years.

• Basil

Double,I know who you are talking about,someone known for their hmm “fashion sense”.Am i right?

• olly

Johnson didn’t mean to hurt Sagna as this video clearly shows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2PyeW-i3HM&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLhNNnHpyx8eiOK6-2qFJqZg

Now he had nowhere to go!

As for the game, a draw was a fair result. Cracking game, Norwich were better first half and Arsenal second. Both missed a hatful of chances and to be honest the game could have finished about 5-5-!

• Stuart

Olly,

If he didn’t intend to hurt Sagna and had no where to go, why did he not even look back to see if Sagna was OK after stepping on his leg. That would be a natural human instinct. The video clearly shows he changed the pattern in his strides to make deliberate contact. I am not saying he deliberately intended to break his leg but the stamp was clearly 100% intended.

• GJL- Norwich City

jesus christ, are Arsenal fans SERIOULSY suggesting that this was a stamp ?!?!?….there was absolutely nothing in this and its clearly a reaction to the broken leg he had earlier this season…..Arsenal really are clutching at straws if they really think that this is any kind of foul

• Canary Red

Guys, Norwich fan with links to Arsenal here. Gunners always been my second club.

Can I just say that some of you really need to get your heads out of your arses ( excuse the pun ) and realise that the footballing world is not out to get you ?

Can you just not admit that you were actually given a run for your money ? Your defence could not handle our wingers.
Again at Carrow road I watched with my own eyes, Walcott and Gervinho anilhate us. What did we learn ? Quite a lot very obviously as Beano and Pilks returned the favour !

Look on the bright side, Spurs drew today so it aint over until that fat lady sings. And also if it wasnt for us you would be 2 pts behind Spurs and technically we did you a favour 🙂
Again, I follow Arsenal, but some of the fans and Wengers whining make it very hard to have much sympathy !

GL guys, you all know it will be ok in the end and we look forwards to another great day out at the Emirates next year regardless of the result ! 🙂

• Rawiri

@Indy Bones and all that are saying that this article beggars belief and is sensationalist dont know if you noticed but Tony does say right at the beginning:

“Sitting in the Emirates and watching the game from the upper level one sees most of the game once – the replays don’t show any controversial moments, fouls and the like.

So one can take a view on a game which is later shown to be quite wrong, when one has the benefit of the TV cameras and replays. And for this reason I don’t normally wade in with a review of a match without first watching it again on TV.

Thus my opening views, straight after watching the match, might be completely wrong.”

Its obvious that he wrote that still under the game’s emotions.
the penalty claims for norwich at least from my point of view are debatable could have gone either way (coquelin got the ball and the player fell on him and koscieslny was pulling the shirt yes but he was having his shirt pulled too), but the handball and shove on RVP couldnt have been more clear.

certainly because we support different teams we have different views on the key incidents but in one thing we can agree, the refereeing was really bad and it didnt benefit both teams

• Gooner s

Bob,

As I have posted before I respect the intent and shear hard work that goes into compiling these match reports, ref watch etc and I don’t belittle them at all. I just don’t agree on the running theme of the consiparcy theory. Perhaps I need to see that smoking gun you allude to :-).

Even if you want to look at just the one game the referee was consistently poor for both teams. On the day we weren’t good enough and being 3-2 up we should have closed the game out. But we live to fight another day because of the results for Spurs and Villa today.

• Mandy Dodd

Agreed, whoever you follow, that ref was not of a suitable standard. Still, as has been posted, the Spuds and Newcastle have failed to really take advantage, we live to fight another day!

• bob

Olly,
Sagna is quoted as saying this to L’Equipe in France. I can’t say if they made it up or not, or misquoted him or not. But assuming it’s not a bent story and this is what Sagna thinks, then I wonder what
say to him: “I think that he [Johnson] did that on purpose. He put his foot on the level of the plate of the preceding fracture. I think that this made pressure.”

• bob

p.s. sorry, it should read: “then I wonder what you would say to him…”

• WalterBroeckx

What many people do miss who came here for the first time is that
1) In the last 5 seasons Arsenal have had more players being carried off with broken legs than the rest of the PL teams together. And I think this is something that we are fed up with. It all is a result of the lets kick them tactics used by some teams and allowed by the refs. So when it happens again we tend to go a bit angry. I am in fact. And even if he didn’t mean it, it just shows that stepping on a player is always dangerous.

2) After all what we have found in our ref reviews this and last season we know how the refs treat us. We now also know more how other teams are being treated and can compare. And we see that again we are on the receiving end. And if you really don’t believe an Arsenal blog then go to http://www.debatabledecisions.com/category/referees and have a look at what a non Arsenal website has found.

and if you combine those two set of numbers they maybe (if you have do manage to have some empathy) you can understand that by now some of us have reached the point of having enough.

if you think we deserve to get our players being carried off with broken legs, if you think we deserve to be bad treated by refs: just say so. Then we can ignore you as you don’t have anything serious to say.

If however you can add 1 and 1 feel free to talk

• bob

Basil,
When you prompt Doublegunner like this and whisper your pathetic little hunch over our heads in plain sight, why not just admit it: your aim is to cause a destabilizing scandal as we approach our forthcoming, season-defining final match. Why don’t you write your toxic gossip in to The Sun; where you’ll surely get the attention you crave; and possibly even get a wire-tap transcript with your fashion pate’s words for a keepsake.

• WalterBroeckx

And then I even didn’t mention the possible leg breaking tackles on a player like Diaby who last season in subsequent games has been attempted to break his leg by Bolton (Robinson) and then in the next game he could play again two tackles on the ankle from Essien (I think could be Mikel) allowed by Dean without punishment did the job and he was out for months. At Newcastle Barton attempted twice to break his leg (Dowd allowing this time) and he again nearly escaped.

I had and have it still somewhere picture evidence of those brutal assaults that went unpunished ans could have broken his leg (you could see his bone in an unnatural way bending on the pictures).

So sorry if we had enough of it, but why does it only happen to Arsenal players?

And the please excuse us the right to moan about it. Really would like to know how many players from other teams have suffered leg breaks on the field since 2007/2008 and compare this with Arsenal.

• marcus

The fact remains, there is a 1 in 100000000000000000000
chance of us not getting awarded 20 valid penalties in a row at home.

Nonetheless something akin to this has happened…..

I am tired of the apologetics.

Broken legs add up.

• Gord

@Marcus

A person is missing some information. Given that our reviewers have identified something as a penalty, what is the probability of a referee recognizing and calling (or not calling, mutually exclusive for some purposes) the penalty? I might get something useful out of a runs analysis. I wasn’t aware that this was such a long run.

But in general, there are so many events that happen in a football game, that nobody knows what the underlying probability density function is, a person has to guess at what the PDF is, and then set up a Monte Carlo study so that a person can get enough events, that a person can talk about probabilities without having potentially large errors due to small numbers of events.

No sense me getting involved with people about seeing aspects of the game, as all I see is the BBC commentaries. But, it doesn’t matter who the fan supports, if you feel that kicking the other team (or by another word, cheating) is the way to win a game, what does that say about you as a person?

@Walter

I am getting close with this spreadsheet writer. I will run the Arsenal game past it and send you the XLS spreadsheet it produces (3 sheets inside the spreadsheet). Are there other games you would also like me to do?

• marcus

Hi Gord,

i am going on Mike Riley’s stats.

QUOTE
Is the number of correct decisions made by referees increasing?

“It has increased in each of the last three seasons and the challenge is to keep that trend going. The match delegates, who are independent of PGMOL, suggested that last season referees got 92% of their major decisions right.”
QUOTE

If refs get 92% of major decisions right, then there is a roughly 1 in 10 chance of the ref getting
a pen call wrong, (assuming no bias).

Since our last home penalty came against Liverpool last season, we have had twenty games at home without a penalty.

Assuming on average one penalty not given a game. (Personally I think this is conservative,, but Walter could do the full analysis should he so desire),
what would be the probability of us getting none of those pens called?

• marcus

21 games actually.

• Gord

I suppose there is data somewhere which looks at how many penalties are issued in any given league. I really don’t think there is any reason for the average rate for the EPL to be the same as the Championship, League 1 or any other English league, let alone leagues in other countries.

I would expect the chance of a penalty event happening depends on the style of play of the two teams. If a team never gets into the opposing team’s box, there is no chance for a penalty.

Most runs analysis likes to start from the point of view that the probability of the event happening is 50% and constant. In fair games (perfect referees), is the probability of Arsenal getting a penalty the same whether we play Stoke or Barcelona?

I think there is LOTS of interesting things in the data, beyond proving that PGMOL is a waste of oxygen.

• Gord

In terms of Mike Riley, I think the probability of him knowing what he is talking about, is on the same order of magnitude as that of a cube of sugar dissolved in a cup of hot coffee spontaneously reforming into a cube of sugar.

• marcus

Hi Gord,

Yes, I hear you…but I am just looking at the 21 games Arsenal have played, independent of the Premiership means for penalties.

I say this because Walter could classify penalty appeals

1) A good shout
2) Normally a penalty, but an element of doubt
3) A clear and definite penalty

and then just pick out class 3

I say this because most Arsenal games I see there is a clear penalty not given, so i am not so interested in the stats for other teams.

The fact is
1) Arsenal are the most attacking team in the league…..we spend a lot more time in opponents boxes with small skilfull players
(teams like Chelsea and Man U tend to play on the counter attack, whereas we are full out attack)
2) If opponents know they can get away with more against us, then they will…..

• marcus

lol

I like the granular metaphor

• Gord

Okay Marcus. I’ll try to keep my eyes open for papers on runs analysis that is vaguely similar, to see what I can adapt. Sorry it won’t be right away.

• Basil

Get off your high horse bob,as if anyone pays any attention to what anyone on a stupid football blog says.Oh yeah you all think Wenger reads this nonsense don’t you?How important you think you are.

• olly

I can’t genuinely believe that some of you believe that Johnson deliberately stamped on his leg! He didn’t have anywhere to go, he put in the challenge and Sagna fell meaning when Johnson’s foot came down it unfortunately came down on Sagna’s leg! Now it didn’t exactly come down very hard, which suggests to me that his leg wasn’t fully healed from earlier in the season

• WalterBroeckx

Olly, the weight of a 85 kg person landing on a leg can have a serious impact.
Not suggesting anything deliberate but this is why stamping or landing on a player who is on the ground is mostly punished wit a red card. Because it is dangerous.

Sometimes you can see the intent (when he changes the angle or stops the natural movement a bit) but not always.

But intent or not I think it is the yearly broken leg we suffer on average each season in a game….

• Gord

@Olly, Walter

The rule of thumb I had from running, is that the average “heel strike” imparts 2.5 g’s to the body. For a 160 pound runner, that is 400 pounds of force. There is nothing of a stamp in that, that is just the heel hitting a surface. If a person alters their stride a little to make the heel strike in a slightly different place than the natural stride would put it, the force could be a little different. There are ways to make the heel strike significantly higher than 2.5 g’s.

• olly

Walter, I know but there was literally nothing Johnson could do to get out of the way! He isn’t that sort of player. I dunno about the broken leg a year thing, all part of the conspiracy hey 😉

• Ole Gunner

If, everyday, a pigeon shits on your head, you will at some point reach a conclusion about pigeons or about your head.

Last weekend on Twitter, I predicted we were going to see a dreadful refereeing performance at the Emirates yesterday. If there’s any chance that Arsenal would win a decisive match, there’s a 100% chance that a refereeing performance will do as much as possible to scupper it. That’s the story of Arsenal in the last 4 seasons.

Somehow, quite a lot of people still can’t see the bleeding obvious. You have to be brain dead to not realise that it’s extremely odd for Arsenal not to have won a penalty at home in 19 games, and won just 3 all season.

In the earlier part of the season, when we had that poor start, it also coincided with a string of poor refereeing decisions. I have refereed at lower level. I refereed for 8-10 years, and have watched football all my life. The worst decision I ever saw was the decision not to award a penalty when Joey Barton was booked for assaulting Gervinho. An error an amateur wouldn’t commit.

Norwich fans, I have nothing against you or your team. I have a lot of respect for the work ethic and invincible spirit you showed in competing so hard against us.

It was a fantastic game of football, and before Arsenal woke up you were clearly the better team.

But you left London with 3 points only because of the referee. There were three dead cert penalties not given to Arsenal.

A player accelerating will use force to gain momentum, the player who stepped/stamped/landed(what ever your view), on Sagna would have felt something other than a football pitch under his foot, He then made the decision to carry on and put his force into accelerating when he could have easily allowed himself to not put force into his standing foot(even if this meant going to ground). The player in question either has no nerve endings in his feet or no conscience.

• WalterBroeckx

Olly,

Only the player will know if he took all the precautions to avoid landing on the other player. So I will not say he did it or he didn’t. I hope he can look in the mirror and doesn’t have to be ashamed of himself. I really do.

But with all respect please don’t even use the words ‘he isn’t that kind of player” on an Arsenal site when yet again one of our players ends up with a broken leg.
Because that is what they said of all the other players who did it too.

it was said when it happened to Diaby, Eduardo, Ramsey….

They said it about Shawcross totally ignoring the fact that the season before he went in from behind on Adebayor with the ball already out of play and clipped his ankle and he was out for weeks. It was pure luck that his ankle wasn’t broken. And after Ramsey we were told that he in fact was a real angel who wasn’t that kind of a player.

All the leg breaks are not part of any conspiracy. They are a result of the criminal behaviour of refs who refuse to do what they are paid for: making sure that the laws are followed and protecting the players on the field.

My own football career has ended because of a studs up challenge when I was the same age as Ramsey. I still have the scars and my leg never recovered and my playing days were over. Even now 30 years later if feel uncomfortable in my leg at times where it was broken. And the scar runs from my knee down to my ankle.

so maybe I am over allergic to those things. But as a ref I can promise you one thing: no leg breaking tackles when I am the ref on my field.

• dan

I can’t believe what i’m reading, this is typical arsenal fans, just because you lose against a much smaller team there has to be some big conspiracy out for you. There where shouts for penalties and free kicks both sides of the pitch so they probably balance each other out. Why can’t you just be happy that you got a point against a decent Norwich side who has given plenty of big clubs a run for their money, in what was probably one of the best games of the season.

• Stuart

There are only two possible scenarios (and several variations of) with what happened.

a) you run along and have to try not to step/stamp/land on the leg of someone who is making a challenge but accidentally do so. Your mind in a reflex reaction would make you turn and check to see the person is OK / put your head in your hands….

or b) you run along and see the challenge coming and adjust your strides appropriately so that you can step on the players leg (just to piss them off a bit) and then knowing you got them (because hey, you know you didn’t just step on grass) you continue running and don’t look back for fear of looking guilty.

There is no doubt in my mind!!

• olly

So do you guys not agree that a draw was a fair result yesterday? I was there in the away end and I thoroughly enjoyed the game, the atmosphere was ok but the Arsenal fans were a little too quick to get on the players backs in my opinion. I thought on the balance of play over the game a draw was the fair result

• olly

Stuart if you genuinely believe that you have A) clearly not seen the footage and B) you have such red coloured specs on it is unreal

• Stuart

Olly,

I have watched the video probably about 500 times, I found it hard to believe what I had seen first of all. The psychology of it is like I said, you either know you have made a mistake and turn your attention to the aftermath or you are happy that you hit your target and don’t even flinch. The player should be banned if not banged up! After what I have seen, I don’t give a sh*t about the result although by the way the game went yes, a draw was a result I’d take.

• olly

Stuart,

Well I’m glad to see that you aren’t so biased that you can accept it was a draw!

Read the comments below, everyone knows he didn’t do it on purpose! He actually gets tripped a little so probably thought that Sagna had caught him. Anyway I hope Sagna gets better soon because he is the best right back in the league in my opinipn

• Gord

@Olly

I have too much to do and no resources, so all I get is the BBC commentary. No time for TV.

You will not find concensus, no matter how hard you look.

At this particular site, we have an ongoing interest in how the officials perform. The game should be decided by the players; it should not be decided by calls referees didn’t make but should have, by calls referees made but shouldn’t have, or by referees either selectively or in general allowing fouls to occur. If you feel that it is fair to consistently foul the opposing team in order to win, you want to win by cheating. I think that is a lousy way to win, and it probably happens a lot.

Football is a frustrating game to statisticians, because too often the best team doesn’t win. The problem is that not enough goals are scored. For a neutral, this can mean more enjoyment (ignoring things like injuries). For the fan, it can mean frustration. The manager could be doing everything the best possible all season, and still not get results. Is that what is happening with Blackburn and Keane?

Arsenal seems to have a lot of “fans” who aren’t fans. And most of those, will get on a player’s back at the drop of a hat. I’ve no idea if other teams have this same problem. One team with it is bad enough.

Does that help?

• marcus

Well Olly, for what its worth, Sagna believes it was deliberate. I think his opinion at least has some merit.
“je pense qu’il l’a fait exprès”.

Its certainly strange the way Johnson does a Campese shuffle.

• olly

Gord,

I understand what you are saying but do you not think you are trying to cover up the cracks with ref stuff? As an unbiased outsider it has been clear that Arsenal have lacked any defensive strength for many years now, and it is still to be really addressed in my eyes. I was shocked to see how often Vermaelen just abandons his defensive duties just to bomb on forward. I know the refs aren’t great, hell we have had our fair share of bad decisions this season but you gotta look at your defence still. I mean a former tyre fitter gave your centre backs a torrid time yesterday

• marcus

After Shawcrosses’ horrendous scythe on Ramsey, and all the mealy-mouthed cocksuckers like Pulis trying to blame Wenger for it, and the BBC doing their usual whitewash, we get a bit sceptical…

And a bit suspicious of the Scottish Managers mafia.

• olly

Marcus,

Pulis is welsh! Don’t say stupid things like that, Lambert is a quality young manager who lives and breathes every kick of the ball. He is destined for great things and we are lucky to have him, but one thing we are not is a dirty team like Stoke. We try to play nice football and sure sometimes we go long but that’s only when we are struggling to get it going on the deck.

• Stuart

Olly, seen the video more times than I could be bothered to count and most of the comments I saw are saying it was a stamp or at least intended one way or another. One of them even says ” I don;t think he meant to break a leg, but he was trying to make as much contact as possible without getting caught.” which is exactly what I’d agree with.

• marcus

Olly,

Finishing in the top 4 for 15 years is not a cracked team.

If you want to really understand why Arsenal feel vitimized compare the respective treatments of Viera and Keane. Or even better, watch the 2005 match where Man U ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run.

It was atrocious. Scholes did a two footed full frontal lunge on Reyes and you could see Reyes’s leg bend….but it didn’t snap….

It was a foul match and the ref (Riley) did fuck all.

Football is chronically corrupt and totally rigged.

MOTD couldn’t even bother to mention Sagna’s broken leg.

Anyone who knows anything about football, should know it is a game based on mistakes. I.E the team that makes the least mistakes wins. To uphold this philosophy we need to remove mistakes or omission from officiating.

• olly

Marcus,

MOTD didn’t even do any analysis!! Stupid considering it was the best game of the weekend! I just think that Top 4 is good but with your resources you should be challenging for the trophies, I like watching Arsenal and would much prefer you to win trophies than Utd and Chelski! I mean your stadium is by far the best I have been to this season and I have an away season ticket

• AFCThick/Thin

Grats to the person who said MOTD wouldn’t show the stamp on Sagna. I thought they’d try not to be so obvious but…

“Mystery injury” they called it.

Although I’d been sure for many years that something about this “beautiful” game gave off a rather foul smell, I never read blogs such as this which have confirmed my suspicions. So it seems really obvious and you think “surely everyone can see this”. Yet the media and programs like MOTD have been swaying opinions for the longest time, well I don’t know about when they first emerged but it seems to be their main objective now (apart from the money making of course).

One mr. Murdoch has admitted to swaying public opinion (through his papers etc.) on the war in Iraq. So if he can try to warm the publics feelings towards the deaths of hundreds, what aversion would the media have towards making muppets out of us by covering up for the refs and swaying our opinion of Wenger being a whinger even though SAF can walk out of interviews, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-8WAU1DMAc) refuse to talk to the bbc for however long that was and complain just as much about the refs.

Even though I never agreed with a lot of what they said, I’m sure I bought some of the bs about teams deserving to win. Since I never did any research and didn’t watch the whole of the games, I had no idea of how much they actually covered up.

So are we on the verge of outing these morally bankrupt people or is it business as usual for them? A lot of the comments here seem to show that their…”perfuming” (copyright bob?) is still working very well..

@Olly, Please get on board with Untold, this site needs fans from other clubs to support this project, You have stated “we have had our fare share of bad decisions”. Untill fans from multiple clubs start putting real pressure on Pgmol/FA/premier league we will be fractured in getting the message across, which is. The standard of officiating in England is not fit for purpose.

• Gord

Olly, I can only answer for myself.

I am an engineer who has played (just amateur), and has done athletic first aid for football teams (amateur, some collegiate or elite) for 20 years or so. I’ve seen too many players get injured because the referee will not do his job (and I’ve done some refereeing as well).

The game of football is between two teams. And for better or worse, the score too often doesn’t indicate who was the better team. But, if the officials call anything and everything, we are more likely to see a game where it is only the teams which determine the outcome. The game requires good referees (and assistants). All teams should not be able to point to a bad decision by an official as having an influence on their season. That is something worth aiming for.

It is really hard to be unbiased. Outsider, insider or anything else. The act of summarizing usually leads to bias.

I seen a former tyre fitter throw highway semi-trailer type tyres from the ground to the 12 or 14 foot level for an hour or more. He couldn’t run, but he might have done well in Olympic Lifting.

I can’t help you with what Vermaelen did or didn’t do. Beckenbauer played central defence (sweeper), and he scored a lot of goals. The Dutch with “total football”, have had a lot of players scoring goals that most people wouldn’t think should be in a position to attempt a shot. For me, the only person Vermaelen has to answer to is Wenger. If Wenger wanted him pressing, then he did his job from your description.

• olly

Gord I meant when Vermaelen went up the pitch to play as a striker leaving Song to fill in at centre back. This is why we scored our second goal because Vermaelen was up the pitch we passed it around Song and were through with our three players Holt, Hoolahan and Jackson against your two Koscielny and Gibbs. Now for me Vermaelen has to do his defensive duties first and if he would have done, we probably wouldn’t have scored

• Gord

Saying the game results are governed by mistakes sounds good. It might be true, it might not. You would have to take on a project of similar proportions to referee reviewing in order to get data to justify it. Maybe the studies have been done, and you have a reference to a peer-reviewed scientific paper on this?

• olly

oh and by tyre fitter I meant Super Grant Holt 🙂

• marcus

cheers Olly.

• Gord

@Olly

As I mentioned, all I have to work with is the BBC written commentary. I have seen central defenders score, I’ve played with central defenders who scored. I have no idea what instructions Wenger had given Vermaelen.

• olly

Gord,

I understand that Vermaelen scores but for me at the game he seemed more interested with scoring than defending and for a centre back his first priority should always be defending.

• Gord

From a neutral point of view, I think this has been a good season. In the past people talked about a top 4 (and in my limited experience, ManU has always felt it should be given the EPL trophy every year, before the season ever starts and Liverpool has felt that it must always be in the Top-4, regardless of how the team is doing), and how difficult it is for other teams to make an impact.

We are coming up to the last games. First and Second are not decided. Third, fourth, fifth, sixth are still up for grabs. Fourth usually means Champions League, but if Chelsea win Chempions League then it doesn’t. Wolves are relegated (for being stupid and firing their manager, in my opinion), but the 5 places above that still are fluid and will decide the other 2 to be relegated. A 20 team league, and 11 places undecided coming up to the last game? What more could a neutral hope for? Yes, for fans this means more hell than usual. And all of us who watch, there isn’t a darned thing we can do except support our team as best we can (except for these AAA dorks, who live to see Arsenal do badly).

@Gord, no such luck mate(reference to a peer-reviewed scientific paper). From a very young age it is what I was taught about the game. The least mistakes you make the better your chances of winning. You can always find mistakes in football with regards to a goals conceded. Even nil nil draws contain mistakes upon mistakes. Take one of Norwich’s goals on Saturday. Benayoun drifts inside allowing Gibbs to be faced 2 on 1, he couldn’t get back and a player gets a cross in. or song losing the ball, another mistake resulting in conceding. Most mistakes are positional, passing or ball control. this is why teams try to play a pressing game to force mistakes closer to the opponents goal. or allow teams to gain ground and open up space to exploit. there are many ways to play ball. but its the self inflicted or forced mistakes that should determine results. Not the mistakes or omissions of officials.

• Gord

@Olly

What would you have told Franz Beckenbauer if you were his manager?

Why does park the bus work so well? Teams get predictable. Walcott has mentioned this recently at Arsenal.com in relation to his own play. If you have to play against teams that park the bus, who is looking for the central defender to drive downfield into an offensive position?

To me, it is conceivable that Wenger may have wanted Vermaelen to be driving forward. I have seen it work.

• Gord

Ah well, perhaps you’ll write a paper then? 🙂 Actually, what you learned from young is that ALL mistakes lead to problems. And you’ve since learned that not all mistakes do. Perhaps you should look at a few games (probably many times), and try to estimate what fraction of mistakes (in what position) lead to goals being scored against them? It might be an interesting academic exercise, depends how much you like watching the same game I guess.

Keep in mind, what you think is a mistake might not be. Do you know Ice Hockey? Wayne Gretzky? Most people have about 180 degrees of vision. Among other things, I gather Wayne Gretzky had about 210 degrees of vision. Hence he could see slightly behind himself while his eyes were focused straight ahead. I am sure a lot of things Wayne did baffled people, but it was because he had a natural advantage, that he could get away with them.

• Gord

I think FIFA (and the rest) need to change things a bit. I think a 0-0 final score should result in neither team getting any points.

• The Thumb

Definite conspiracy against Arsenal I think that what almost certainly happened is that JFK and Elvis left the cave in which they had been hiding, travelled to Islington and paid the referee (who is in fact from Jupiter) the equivalent in 3 trillion pounds in Peruvian money to brainwash everyone in the stadium (and those watching on television) into thinking they were seeing a game of football when in fact what they were seeing was a very elaborate game of virtual naughts and crosses, the only possible outcome of which was a draw, both players having attained a mental age of six.

Alternatively, it’s possible that Norwich just played quite well and throughly deserved a draw. The real issue being that Arsenal repeatedly broke the first rule of defending by allowing the ball to bounce at every conceivable opportunity meaning that Holt had an absolute field day as a result.

• Johnny Deigh

I still can’t get over the fact that Arsenal were never awarded a penalty at home this season. Could you imagine if Barcelona, who play a similar style of football, went the season without a penalty awarded at the Nou Camp?

• Gord

It seems everyone is off for the day. Me being in western Canada, I still have another 4 hours or so.

Argue is strange word. In common usage, argue usually means raised voices and the possibility or actuality of violence. In the scientific world, it can mean that, but it usually means the presentation of of logical and well thought out reasoning. With the expectation of getting the similar in reply.

Cheers Adam and Olly. You argue nicely.

@Gord, I love football but you would have to pay me a fortune to sit through the same game time and again. I do follow your posts sometimes with interest(don’t take offence) but I think you are to scientifically based to assess football. Maybe I miss the point. But not everything revolves around gathering data that can be analysed mathematically. You will occasionally hear a manager state that a certain players game is based on risk. The risk to profit is usually positional with the added risk of leaving your team open to exposure. Whether to opponents nullify or expose that risk, is again based on mistakes.
As for 0-0 being pointless. You would punish the defences for doing their jobs? Bit unfair mate.

• Gord

@Johhny Deigh

Things are warped. But I guess until we can prove it, nothing will change. I’ve accused the PGMOL of bringing football into disrepute to The FA, and they don’t even blink. Who does one complain to if The FA is bringing the game into disrepute?

@Gord one thing I would like to change in football(among a few) is retaining possession after scoring. Why should the opposition get the ball back. Something I have never understood.

• Gord

This is common across many sports. Doesn’t mean it is correct. While teams occasionally score quickly from a start at midfield, it is an unusual event. Retaining possession, at least in terms of a restart at midfield, doesn’t seem to possess any advantage over what is now done. Would you have the scoring team take possession say 35 yards out from goal?

What I don’t understand is when a team has functioned correctly in gaining an advantage(scoring) why should they then have to go and win the ball back. The team that conceeded should have to win posession.

• Gord

In football, it doesn’t seem to matter who has possession of the ball on the restart. Goals do not happen very quickly after a restart at midfield. It may be that a restarting where the scoring team has possession 35 yards out is different.

As few goals ever come from direct play related to a restart at midfield, it doesn’t matter who has possession at the restart. As many sports give the “ball” to the team that was scored upon, football is just following many other sports. And I would never advocate a drop ball as a means to restart a game after a goal.

But giving possession of the ball to the opponents takes control away from the initiating team. not that it matters in the great scheme of things (as you point out) its just an annoyance to me, is all. I have never considered giving possession to the scoring team closer to goal. RVP may appreciate that.

@Gord. Another change I would like to see is,A booking for unsporting behaviour, dissent, persistent infringement and delaying the restart of play should carry an automatic one game ban. With two bookings still meriting a sending off but with a two game ban. This would depend on honest officiating in the hope of forcing the honest spirit back into the game.

• bob

Basil,
Looked for your contribution in the gossip columns in today’s Sun. Guess even they didn’t run your little secret. Oh, I think NOTW still might. It’s surely what it deserves.

• bob

AFC Thick/Thin,
Yes, Perfuming it is! (no copyright, fair use and it’s yours!) And speaking of perfuming, how about this blatant piece of MobShite by today’s (Manchester) Guardian’s stenographers, enabling their lord, SIR axis fungusson, to call in a favor (as he “looks to” Hughes) and deliver him The Rednose XX:

Sir Alex Ferguson looks to Mark Hughes to help Manchester United
The manager is hoping his former centre-forward’s anger with Manchester City will help him win a 13th title at United

(this from Guardian Football, stenographer to the godz)

• Just going back to the stats around pens, for the past 3 seasons Arsenal have had more penalties given against them than they have for them which is clearly negative, but this also ties in with the fact that the defence hasn’t been as good for the last 3 years IMHO.

Take the stats from 05/06 – 7 for 0 against, then 06/07 – 10 for 2 against, then 07/08 – 6 for 3 against, finally 08/09 – 5 for 5 against.

The trend is clear, the worse (arguably) the defence got – the more pens given against. Surely this makes perfect sense rather than it being some shadowy plot to ruin Arsenal’s seasons?

This season shows that against your average (based since 02), you are 3 pens down against where you should be in the for column, which is a stark contrast to Man Utd who are already 4 up in their for column – so a seven pen swing in Man Utd’s favour…

Whilst the big four average better than the rest of the league pen wise in general, Man Utd are still the kings here of favourable decisions, whereas sides like my own Norwich are well away from this.

League Average – 11.5% for, 11.98% against
Man Utd – 14.47% for, 6.84% against
Arsenal – 14.21% for, 10% against
Norwich – 7.89% for, 13.16% against

If anyone should be complaining about pens it should be us!

• Stuart

Indy,

Those stats are irrelevant.

When you say Arsenal are 3 pens down against where they should be, what do you mean??? Where should we be exactly??

I didn’t realise everyone is supposed to get a certain amount of pens each season!

• WalterBroeckx

Indy Bones,

By a coincidence I was just working on a few numbers with regards to penalties in Arsenal games this season.

The numbers you use are how shall I put it…. not really accurate.

Because those numbers go from the presumption that all penalties are given correct. And I think we all know this is a laughable presumption. Let us just say “Young” and you know what I mean.

I have just done the numbers of the 37 Arsenal games so far. And in those games there have been 41 “penalty claims”. Only 11 of them have been correctly judged by the refs.
30 of them were judged wrong. That is 73%. And this is both in favour and against Arsenal.

Arsenal could and should have had 16 penalty in the Emirates this season if the refs would have been correct all the time. We got zero.

And in those 16 we don’t include the possible penalty on RVP in the last minute of the Norwich game as you will see (if you stick around) that we judged Gervinho was offside and should have been called that way so a penalty claim was not justified. This to show that we don’t just say penalty whenever an Arsenal player goes down. We even went again the penalty claim at Stoke because we could not prove that the ref was wrong for 100%. Our team of refs who do the reviews try to do this in a very fair way.

I could entertain you for a few hours on how a ref (and as I am ref I do know what I am talking about) can tilt a game. Maybe I should write it down again on how you can do this as a ref without people noticing it.

• Ole Gunner

Indy_Bones,

Illogical to the extreme!

1) Why limit it to last 3 years? You say the defence hasn’t been as good, is that a 3 year phenomenon?

2) More crucially, you finished by saying “If anyone should be complaining about pens it should be us”. So you think that worse defences would concede more penalties, yet you think you should complain about conceding too many penalties despite being one of the worse defences. OK

Arsenal would logically be one of the teams that get the most penalties because if you look at the stats, we play most of the game in the opposition area, complete the most passes int he opposition areas, and move the ball around with pace in the opposition area. It’s only to be expected that they’d get more penalties than the average team.

That we don’t is a scandal.

• WalterBroeckx

Indy Bones,

I think I have bored people who talk with me on those rare occasions I can go to the Emirates from where I live and who come up to meet me and talk with me that I would hate it when we win a game on wrong decisions.

I hate it so much when we lose because of bad decisions that I cannot enjoy a win based on such decisions.

The reasons why I started with the ref reviews we do over here is because I first tried to explain the rules and our readers asked me to judge the main decisions from the refs and now we judge each decision from the ref with a team of refs who do the reviews.

There is something wrong in the state of football when like last season we played Sunderland.
It ended 0-0 and we didn’t get a blatant penalty and a goal was ruled for offside when it wasn’t even close to being offside. But what was so terribly wrong was the fact that within seconds one of my sons who is a ref texted me the wrong decisions as he was watching it on TV.
So I went home (and for me coming from another country it is a costly trip both in money and time) in the knowledge that what I had seen and paid for was not a fair result. (The ref was the same of the game on Saturday….)

My only objective in what I do with those ref reviews is to clean up football and make sure that when you go home (win or lose or draw) you can go home in the knowledge that the result is the fairest possible result.

• olly

As a Norwich fan we have only got one home penalty all season and that wasn’t even a penalty! You can’t complain about penalties because the game still goes on, and we have been solid at home despite our lack of pens. Also no team apart from the two Manchester clubs have done the double over us 🙂

• olly

By the way The Thumb has summed up what Arsenal did wrong very nicely, you allowed Holt to bully you and therefore that allowed Hoolahan to pick up the ball in dangerous areas and he could pull the strings

• Passenal

Norwich are a bunch of dirty cheats and I hope they go back where they belong next season

• olly

Passenal please give back up to your quite thought provoking comment! If you can give me a genuine reason I might give you the time of day

• “Just going back to the stats around pens, for the past 3 seasons Arsenal have had more penalties given against them than they have for them which is clearly negative, but this also ties in with the fact that the defence hasn’t been as good for the last 3 years IMHO.”

Mixing stats with opinions… always dangerous.

😉

• Just out of interest olly – who gave you that non-penalty?

• Stevie E

Dogface
Any ideas why our game was a 12.45ko but not televised? I don’t recall that happening before, especially when it was the only epl game on that day. Thanks

• Was is not shown in Asia? Asian gunners out there – anyone see the game live?

• olly

Dogface I have never said anything about a non-penalty? I don’tt have a clue what you’re on about tbh

• Stevie E

Olly
When you take each game of football individually, often little fouls not given, pushes, kicks and the like, often get forgotten immediately afterwards as the main events, goals, pens, cards etc tend to be the main talking points. What we do here however is revisit each game and highlight every foul/non foul. This has been done for every Arsenal game this season, so the reaction you’re seeing here isn’t based on just the game against you guys, it’s based on a whole season analysed and dissected.The results are fucking shocking mate. If there isn’t corruption in the epl, then the standard of reffing is totally rubbish. But funnily enough, the standard tends to improve when certain teams are involved and kick offs are at certain times. This information gathering exercise is backed up by an extensive per match ref preview, in which certain predictions are made as to the result of the game and how much of an influence the ref will have on this result. Sadly, this too is often to close for comfort. if you go to the ref review section of this site, you will probably find a few reviews involving Norwich, why not check them out and see which incidents you remember and how often the ref let the opposition get away with things. Or maybe you are afraid that your team will be the benefactors?

• Stevie E

Dogface
Yep, that’s what I’m thinking too. Funny how nobody seems to be questioning it though…

• olly

Stevie E,

I am certain we won’t come out the benefactors! I have been to every single game this season and I feel like you guys after most games, but I don’t let it get me down. We have had some shocking decisions go against us, like a penalty at home to Stoke which was given to Stoke despite it being 3 yards outside the box!!!!!

• Stevie E

Olly
Your comment proves my point exactly, the first thing you say is about a major decision going against you. The point I’m trying to make is, it’s not the major decisions that will always decide the outcome of the match, it’s the fact a ref can let one team get away with foul after foul, but the other gets booked for minor offences. We see this most often with Song being booked, often early and for a first offence, hindering his game for the rest of the match. Pens not given is a pretty visual way of influencing the result, subtle bookings and allowing the opposition to get away with things is much less likely to be highlighted, or even noticed by the average punter. Seriously, go look at some of the Norwich reviews. Instead of just thinking, go and confirm your suspicions. The man c game in particular may make you look at things differently. http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/20672

• Stevie E

Or http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/20255 if you want to see how Man U get the rub of the green… Bit more blatant this one 🙂
Just these two reviews should show you how a ref can be both discrete and blatant in making sure a very average (at best) Man U side are being helped to another title. Luckily they seem to be fucking it up for themselves. And this is just in 2 games involving you boys. This shit goes on every week.

• olly

Stevie E you have taken one game there son, it would be like me taking one game from your season and basing everything on that! I understand you have some sort of referee vendetta on this site but what are you doing about it? It’s all good having these things but what purpose do they serve? I just came here because I was annoyed that Norwich got little to no credit despite playing very well and deserving a point (something which your manager stated in his post match interviews)

• olly

Stevie E that United game we knew we weren’t going to get anything 😉 At least it weren’t Howard Webb hey!!!!

• WalterBroeckx

Olly,

a quick preview of the games so far of Norwich (this is something we hope to do of each team at the end of the season) and we have covered you 11 games this season. If we would have more ref reviewers we could have done more but this is all we could do so it is not really reliable information about your season. But in the games we did we got those numbers:

On average you get 5,2 decisions against you in a game. The overall average is 6,2 decisions for very team. So you find yourself in midtable in this table but slightly on the good side.

In % you have 47,83% of the decisions going against you on average. Man City and Liverpool away you didn’t get many favours of the ref. Oh and of course against Manchester United. It is not that long ago we published it. http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/20255

Based on the reviews of the games we did you are in mid table area but I admit I would have loved it if we had more data. If we would have done other games you could end up in a different place of course. But we can only work with the numbers we have

• olly

Walter what games have you covered of us? I’m happy just to be mid table in all areas!!! WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE SING WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE 🙂

• olly – I’m quoting you here: “As a Norwich fan we have only got one home penalty all season and that wasn’t even a penalty! “

• olly

Yes Dogface I know I said that but I don’t know what you mean?

• Stevie E

Olly
You can lead a horse to water…

• WalterBroeckx

What purpose did it serve for a young man to set himself on fire a few years ago. Since then we have seen a few dictators being put aside in a few countries. We have to start somewhere and that is with gathering data as much as we can.
Next step will be to analyse the data and then we will try to get them published by others and hope that we can wake up the media who is very willingly closing their eyes and don’t dare to ask any deeper.

We have taken this first step and now we hope that by getting more supporters from other teams on board that we could get more refs on board willing to take the job of ref reviewer on their shoulders and help us out.

For the moment we have done 130 games. If all goes right we should end up between 140 -150 games. That would be around 20% of the games reviewed of the season.

A dream would be to take this on for next season, get as many refs on board so we could cover every game in the PL and put this on a specific website non really Arsenal related anymore.

If we could put pressure on the refs and the PGMOL to perform better and have better refs and better decisions I would feel a happy man. If not I still will be a happy man. As I learn a lot from the ref reviews as a ref myself.
😉

• olly – Which referee gave you that fake penalty – I’m interested?

• WalterBroeckx

Olly we did:
Chelsea away
MU a
Liv a
Blackburn Home
Arsenal h
MC a
Tots h (you let us down that day 😉 )
che h
MU h
MC h
ars a

I think the Tots away game is still in the pipeline somewhere 😉 Thanks for that by the way 🙂

• olly

Dogface that penalty was given by Anthony Taylor

• olly

Ok I see! I guess you have covered us when we have been on TV then? Hey we beat Spurs away for you 🙂

• WalterBroeckx

Yes that is for the moment the only way we can work. We are also depending on what the TV stations show and that sometimes is not always the best angles.
But if we are not 100% sure we stick to the ref decision

• olly

I wouldn’t really say we were too harshly done by in those games you have covered. The ref who hates us is Michael Oliver, Stoke away being the example this season and Reading away last

• WalterBroeckx

An interesting statitisc Olly is that in Belgium as a ref you must reach a score of 70% or you are demoted from the highest division.
The average score we have in the games we reviewed (130) of the EPL is around 70%. This means that we have refs doing better but also a lot doing not good enough.

The ref reviews are based on the system that is used in Belgium for the top refs. But in Belgium they are more sever. If you miss a red card in a game it cost you 3 points on a possible score of 10. So it means you can get a maximum of 70% in that game if you get the rest correct.

A final year score of lower than 70% and you lose your semi professional status in Belgium as a ref and you have no fixed monthly income for the next season.

I wonder how it works in the EPL and with the PGMOL…

• WalterBroeckx

Stoke is for for me unknown reason the refs most Favorited team. I came to this conclusion and the non Arsenal related website debatable decisions came to the same conclusion.

Very strange….

• olly

Walter it might be the atmosphere at the Britannia that influences refs. They are only human and when you have 25,000 people screaming at you it will affect you. Stoke is by far the loudest ground I have been to this season, and maybe that is what influences them into getting more decisions. It could also explain why you don’t get as many decisions at the Emirates 😉

• My stats aren’t inaccurate per se, they simply represent a different way of looking at things.

I’ll not go into silly details and bore people, as the information is more clearly laid out in my own blog, but suffice to say that the ‘big’ sides have more decisions in their favour than ‘smaller’ teams – even taking into account quality of strikers and defenders for those teams. Have a scan if you’re interested.

As for what I mean by Arsenal being 3 pens down, I simply used the teams average % for pens to work out over a 38 game season how many pens you should be awarded in line with this. So Arsenal average 14.21% for pens awarded over the last 10 years, meaning that you should be awarded 5.39 pens per season in your favour if you are on track with your historical average. As you’ve only been awarded 2 pens, you are theoretically 3 pens off what you should be awarded based against your average.

This doesn’t take into account whether or not ANY penalty decision is correct, simply what has been awarded historically to each side based on the last 10 years.

Of course we can go into far more detail by studying EVERY decision, deciding if it was correct or not, and then re-applying the data, but as a rough yardstick, the average figures aren’t a bad guideline.

BTW Walter, I’m very interested in these ref reviews and I’ll certainly be sticking around to do so 🙂

• Stuart

Indy,
I still don’t get your point. If those decisions are correct then what is the problem?? Your stats are irrelevant!!

• Stuart

How can you say Arsenal are due 5 pens this season based on previous seasons (allocations?). It is utter nonsense! If a incident warrants a penalty, then it is a penalty, if not, then it isn’t a penalty regardless of whether or not you’ve reached your average tally.

• Ole Gunner

Olly

Nonsense, Holt bullied nobody. He threw his weight around. But he was dealt with quite well. Take away the lucky deflection and he didn’t control the game.

• Johnny Deigh

@DogFace
The match was shown live here in South America. It must have been shown live in Asia as well.

• Ole Gunner

Someone mentioned that the reactions here are based on the results of the wonderful refwatch for this season. Not so!

I first noticed it in the season 07/08 when Arsenal led the league til March. The run of 5 games in which we lost the league witnessed some amazing refereeing decisions starting from that notorious game against Birmingham.

And once Arsenal had slipped up. The bad decisions stopped coming.

Look at last season, that game against Liverpool…..and a few others.

YOU HAVE TO BE BLIND NOT TO SEE THAT ARSENAL GET CHEATED SYSTEMATICALLY.

That doesn’t excuse our glaring failings int he last few seasons, not least of which the spectacular decline that handed Man poo the league title last season

• olly

Ole Gunner,

I was sat at the game and watched Holt worry your defence greatly, he was linking up play all game when he was on.

• Stuart,

So what you’re telling me is that the stats from 380 league games over the last 10 years have no bearing on what’s potentially likely to happen in the following season?

If RVP has scored 20+ league goals for the last 3 seasons, do you think this is irrelevant when bookies are looking at odds to see if he’ll potentially get 20+ next season? Or is it actually highly relevant and something that will be worked into their calculations?

By looking at each season we can see on average how many pens are awarded across the league as a percentage, we then compile 10 years worth of this together and get a 10 year average which can then applied as potential occurences for the next season.

There’s always likely to be a swing in some cases and some teams will potentially be way above or below the average, but I’m not claiming this is an exact science, but simply extrapolating potential odds based on a lengthy period of analysis.

It’s exactly this sort of work (albeit probably a bit more in-depth) that bookies genuinely use to work out their odds of things happening (along with league form, historical corners and all that jazz), so to dismiss it as irrelevant is somewhat misguided.

Decisions can be made either way – good or bad, but over a period of time, the average is usually a fair indicator or what’s likely to happen – it doesn’t mean it will, or that the result is fair, it’s simply a potential marker.

If you see no value in the stats – fair enough, we’ve all got our own views around these things, but I do se value in them, and hope others do as well 🙂

• There must be some agreement with the FA for league football not being shown live in the UK on cup final day then – that’s all I can think of?

• Indy: “So what you’re telling me is that the stats from 380 league games over the last 10 years have no bearing on what’s potentially likely to happen in the following season?”

if that’s how you feel go make your millions as a pro-gambler.

😉

• Stuart

Indy,

Of course RVP is going to be a 20+ goal scorer. He is a class player in a team where his colleagues offer him good service. You are skirting around the issue with another irrelevant response here though.

How on earth can you claim that a team should have a certain number of penalties? The number is not a fixed number. Penalties are only a consequence of an action / occurrance during the game. What you are saying is that over the last 5 years Arsenal have had on average 5.39 penalties per season so if next year there are 12 instances where a penalty should be awarded to Arsenal, only 5 should be given otherwise it is not fair. Absolute nonsense! If a team deserves 12 pens, then they deserve 12 pens. The unfairness is when they only get 3 of them and anther team who should only have had 6 pens gets 5 of them!

All you are representing is how many pens a team has been awarded rather than those deserved which has zero overall bearing on fairness/unfairness.

@Olly&Indy, Glad to read your comments, Not many supporters from other teams stick around untold as long as you both have. But please stick around longer and comment on games not involving Norwich (which I have a huge soft spot for, I had to wear your kit for a season, still don’t like that yellow though). The bias your comments display is as obvious as my own AFC bias. As stated before we as football fans need other football fans, regardless of allegiance to support this project. Untill supporters look past there own clubs and at football in general nothing will get done.

• Desert Gunner

The match was shown live in the Middle East; I work in Qatar. Abu Dhabi sport have the rights for the region for the EPL. I stand to be corrected, a Singapore station has the rights for the Asian audience. In fact its unbelievable the amount of English football watched outside the UK, all games are shown live. This is true for Africa too where South Africa’s Super Sport holds the rights for the region.

• Johnny Deigh

You can’t expect to be awarded every penalty you deserve. The ref may not see it, may be uncertain, but still you might expect to get around half of them, and you should get 90% of the 100% dead cert penalties.

There have been some blatantly obvious penalties not given to Arsenal this season. I distinctly remember Ramsey getting mugged in the area a couple of times this season… nothing!

I wonder if the fourth official in a lot of our matches is screaming into the ref’s ear piece, “Don’t give it!” if it’s and Arsenal penalty or if it’s a shout for the opposition, “That was a penalty!” whichever way it suits his handlers.

All the more reason the refs’ and their assistants’ microphone’s should be made audible for key decisions.

• olly

We have had many pens against us this season! Hey we started our first FIVE games by giving away pens in each one. Wigan away, Stoke home, Chelski away, WBA home and Bolton away. We were just glad when we play Sunderland at home that we didn’t give another one away!!!

• GoingGoingGooner

It was difficult to watch the first half. The troubles with the refereeing only compounded a more basic problem that being a somnambulating midfield. Mistakes of ability I can understand (from personal experience), mistakes of effort, less so. The second half was better from an enthusiasts point of view. Either Gervinho was offside or there was a penalty on RvP…how neither were called is beyond me. The refereeing seemed crap in general.

• missie

yea, the game was shown live here in asia.

• missie

actually, all the Arsenal premier league games are shown live here in Malaysia.

• critic

“I think neither, and I hope that the club will be gathering evidence to give to the Premier League about what is going on, and will point out the integrity of the league is at issue here and suggest that unless action is taken they will make their views public.”

I have been saying that for quite some time.

• Mike Kerry

I have always admired the Arsenal way of playing the game.
The idiot who wrote the article shows the class of the club does cascade down to the fan base.
Norwich City are a respected club who have come through against all odds to become a Premiership club.
Most neutral fans compliment their style of committed open play.
As for match fixing paranoid comes to mind.

• olly

Mike thank you for saying the truth about my club Norwich 🙂

• Prasanna Veeraraghavan

The game was shown alive in India on ESPN. The Tottenham game was not shown here though and I had to rely on the net for live info.

Last season the final game only Man Utd game was shown. That was during the Cricket World Cup but as far as I remember there are three channels telecasting cricket world cup and there was only one match then. So never understood the logic at that time.

But by and large in India, its Man Utd that gets shown more. Most probably all their matches have been live. Never really did a check but most probably all Man Utd are shown live.

This season lot of Arsenal matches were missed including some important ones while dumb Liverpool games were shown.

I always believe Man Utd are heavily favoured by Sky. May be Sky like PGMOL has some ulterior motives.

Anyway when the season gets over I will try to find out the same.

Ironically whenever I travel to Vietnam which I do often I have seen Man Utd matches being shown in four or five channels while the other matches were shown only in two channels of which one is a part of Sky group.

• Prasanna Veeraraghavan

One more coincidence. I believe John Dykes is doing the content for the Premier League and there has been some interesting articles in our place on him some time back.

The fact is John Dykes has been handling the the Premier League content for ESPN Star Sports for more than a decade. In fact he has been handling the sports presentation in ESPN Star for nearly fifteen years.

Its just that he has went a step ahead.

• Um

Pretentious Arsenal Fans! OTBC

• WalterBroeckx

I really wonder if Norwich fans did not read this part:

“Surely not Norwich, who are too small a club to be involved in such things. Indeed if we suggest that a club like Norwich would be involved in match fixing then we suggest any club could be – and that every match is open to match fixing. Norwich have no chance of a finish in the Euro places, and no chance of relegation, so it all seems too unlikely.”

Which forces are at work we don’t know. But that there are forces at work is something that is clear.

Just like in Italy with the calciopoli scandal it was only after the police did phone tapping and other secret investigations that the truth came out. Before that came out there were people in Italy who said that there was something wrong. But well they called them paranoid…

• olly

Walter why on earth would we be involved in match fixing when we are safe? You are just implying something stupid there, we are not like that!

• Stuart

Olly,
Walter is implying Norwich are NOT involved in match fixing.

The Calciopoli scandal was a case where team A would pay the ref to ensure team B doesn’t beat team C, in this case you could say, Arsenal being team B and Norwich being team C.

• WalterBroeckx

olyy,

In his article Tony was just excluding the fact that Norwich could or would be involved in something like that. I think that Norwich was just the team that by any accident was involved in this game and just played their game.

We know that Riley hates us and he is head of the refs. So it could be that he is on a personal crusade.
We know that since Riley is head of the refs a number of refs under whom we did al right before suddenly turned in to our worst nightmare.

Other teams could be involved. Like in the Italian calciopoli scandal where several top teams were involved to arrange the refs they wanted for their games. By the number of times we got Dean this season it is absolutely clear that Arsenal is not involved in such a thing.

• olly

Stuart, Walter,

Sorry I read that the wrong way!!! I don’t think our board would have the intelligence to get involved in something like that lol!

• WalterBroeckx

No problem Olly, I think a few others Norwich fans read it the wrong way and I just wanted to put it right