by Andrew Crawshaw
After 19 games Arsenal had 40 points and sat in third place in the table behind Chelsea and Liverpool and with City and the Tinies close behind,
In these 19 matches Arsenal have been the beneficiaries of 4 wrong Important Decisions.
- Alexis should have been sent off in Min64 of our home game against Bournemouth
- In the same game Monreal should have been penalised for a handball in the penalty area
- Chamberlain’s ‘goal’ in the opening day game against Liverpool shouldn’t have counted as he was offside
- Alexis was also offside when he got his third in Min 86 against West Ham.
I do not believe that any of these decisions would have affected the results in those games. We lost against Liverpool and beat West Ham by more than one goal. In the Bournemouth game Arter should have been booked in Min 14 and had a second yellow card in Min27 and Smith should have conceded a penalty in Min42 for handball so in this game the wrong Important Decisions evened out.
If we construct a table for games between the top six clubs we get
|Chelsea||1 – 2||2 – 1||4 – 0|
|Liverpool||1 – 0||0 – 0|
|Arsenal||3 – 0||3 – 4||1 – 1|
|City||1 – 3||2 – 1|
|Spurs||1 – 1||2 – 0|
|United||1 – 1||1 – 2||1 – 0|
- Chelsea have played 3 home games and two away winning three and losing two for 9 points
- Liverpool have played two home and three away winning 2, losing 1 and drawing 2 for 8 points
- Arsenal have had three home and two away games winning 1, drawing 2 and losing 2 for 5 points
- City have had two home and three away winning 3 and losing 2 for 9 points
- Spurs have also had two home games and 3 away winning 3 and drawing 2 for 11 points
- United have had three home and two away points winning 2 and drawing 2 for 8 points.
Arsenal are the losers in this mini table being between 3 and 6 points behind all of the other teams.
Looking at our referee reviews to see if this is down to the PGMO
The result against Liverpool was correct (although the final score should probably have been 3 – 2 to Liverpool instead of 4 – 3.
Our 3 – 0 win against Chelsea was also unaffected by the referee Michael Oliver who had an excellent game.
The 1 – 1 draw against Spurs was certainly referee affected as Spurs should have had Waynama sent off at the end of the first half, this would almost certainly have seen us scoring at least one additional goal.
The 1 – 1 draw at United was, again, referee affected. Darmian should have been sent off for a second yellow card in Min 25 and again with a straight red card in Min 33. A one man advantage for 75 minutes would have almost certainly have seen a second Arsenal goal for a win.
Our 2 – 1 loss at City should at worst have been a draw. The first City goal was clearly scored from an offside position and City should have been reduced to 10 men in Min 80 when De Brune should have been sent off. Addisionally deep into extra time Sterling should have been sent off for an arm to the back of Bellerin’s head and Toure for deliberately delaying Arsenal from taking a free kick (both second yellow cards). Would the man/men advantage have enabled Arsenal to effect a win – unlikely but a game we certainly shouldn’t have lost.
So in our 5 games against the other teams in the top 6 we have been denied 5 points
In other games the PGMO have cost us a further 5 points
Leicester (2) where a draw should have been a win as we should have had two penalties awarded
- Min 31 Morgan for holding Koscielny and
- Min42 Huth holding Holding.
- Min18 Jagielks should have had a straight red card for a last man foul on Coquelin (the referee chickened out and only awarded a yellow card)
- Min 24 Jagielka should have had a second yellow card for dissent against a linesman but the referee failed to back his official,
- Min42 McCarthy should have had a red card for a kick to Coquelin’s achilles ( again the ref chickened out and only gave a yellow card),
- Min 90+ 4 Mirallas should have been penalised for a trip on Alexis in the penalty area (but sub rule 8b was applied – unless an Arsenal Player is involved).
All typical pieces of Clattenberg chicanery with Dean in on the act as fourth official.
Had the PGMO done their jobs properly Arsenal would be top of the table on 51 points with a W16, D1, L2 record.
Which players have done well, which not so and who have we missed?
Alexis has been without doubt our stand out attacker, with him leading the line we have been threatening and inventive all season
Theo has been another success when fit, but again muscle injuries have had an impact on his season
Olivier has had to be patient for gametime but has always been effective when on the pitch
Lucas has had a longer settling in period than he would have liked but has at times shown how effective he can be. The injury he got against Forrest in the EFL cup when he was kicked by a player just on the pitch didn’t help.
Our other strikers Danny, Yaya and Chuba Akpom have all been injured so far although Danny and Chuba are now both back training with the first team and will be looking to be involved as the second half of the season progresses.
Mesut has been unplayable at times and has scored more goals than we are used to
Alex Iwobi continues to improve and seems to be being eased into the No 10 slot on the occasions when Özil isn’t available. For a 20 year old I am delighted with his performances, he is almost as two footed as Santi and I believe with extra experience will be a long term star for the club. As supporters we must remain patient with him, he still isn’t the finished player yet.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in and out of the team, promising much but rarely delivering as well as we would have liked. His direct running gives us an option that few of our other players have but I fear that he is becoming a squad player rather than a starter.
At the base of midfield our best pairing without doubt was Coquelin and Santi such a pity that Santi seems to becoming increasingly prone to long spells out through injury. Coquelin when he hasn’t has the shit kicked out of him is our go-to ‘defensive’ midfielder.
Xhaka for the most part is assured but he is still prone to the occasional costly rush of blood to the head.
Aaron hasn’t been fit for much of the season and this has showed in his performances so far.
Mohamed has always been energetic and full of energy and a valuable squad player.
In defence we haven’t yet seen our club captain Per Mertesacker, the main players at CB being the peerless Koscielny and Skhrodan Mustafi, they have been understudied by Gabriel and the young Rob Holding who seems to be settling in well and has shown signs of possessing the qualities needed at this level.
Hector at Right Back is another of our outstanding star performers, neither Carl Jenkinson or Matthieu Debuchy can get a look in when he is fit.
The position at Left Back is more fluid as there isn’t a lot to chose between Kieran and Nacho. Kieran probably edges it going forwards whilst Nacho is probably the better defender but has sometimes been caught out by the paciest opponents.
Overall then a reasonably solid first half performance, not helped by our friends at the PGMO. Chelsea have been unstoppable since we beat them and that means that all other teams are playing catch up. When we play at a high tempo there are few other teams that can live with us, when we allow our game to slow down we can get bogged down and bullied off the ball which is something to work on.
Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society:
The index of all the major articles on the Arsenal History Society site about Arsenal players is now complete. It comes in two parts:
Of course there are many other sources of articles on Arsenal players but I do like to think that the articles here add a lot more detail, and have often found stories and issues that have been missed in other reports. I do hope you will give us a try.