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World class midfielder joins Arsenal first team very soon…

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

Last day of January? Take a deep breath and relax. The sun is shining, the snow is going away. Why worry, why be so nervous?

When the rest of the World is looking at all the possible moves of football slaves (be them well paid slaves) I decided to take a look at the internal transfer market of Arsenal. The new signings that are already signed a long time ago. The return of the injured players. And also have a look at the squad and the fact that well if we don’t let some players go we can only buy or get English players in.

Let us start with the squad itself. We are allowed 17 non-homegrown players and for the moment we have 17 of them. So forget all the talk and rumours about well anyone that is mentioned. The bus is full, no more place for someone for the moment. Unless we sell someone from those 17 but if not that’s the way it will be. If we like it or not is another question. But the rules are the rules and we could argue that they are not fair but it doesn’t matter. The rules are the same for everyone.

But let us have a look at players that could be called new signings. Players that should return from injury in the next weeks or months. But lets hope it will be weeks.

One world class player will be like a new signing. Jack Wilshere. Did we miss him or did we miss him? I think we did. I can’t wait for the day to see Jack and Aaron play together. Even when just 16-18 years old they could destroy the opponents in Carling cup games. Because of injuries they actually never have been playing together a lot. The most memorable game they did play together was our 1-0 win against the later champion Manchester United. Having Jack back would be a great thing as it would mean that the other midfielders like Ramsey and Arteta would be able to get some rest. Even with the set back the date is still the end of  February.

The other player that is holding the record of being injured most is Diaby. The “offload him” favourite by some fans. He sure has a serious health problem. A big guy but what happened to him in his first season at Arsenal is still throwing a big shadow over the last years. 1 May 2006 was a dark day for Diaby. He then got kicked to pieces by some stupid moron and ever since that day it has been almost impossible for Diaby to remain fit. He underwent three surgeries to repair the injury and was told by doctors that the injury could possibly be career-ending.

Despite all the hard work it still could be the end of Diaby at the real top. Further kicks, like at Chelsea last season, made him suffer more operations. But now Diaby is back from this week and the hope is that he will be able to play again by the end of February. I really think it will be a make or break final months for Diaby. On his day he can be immense for the team, lets just hope that he recovers completely this time and we can see the real Diaby for the rest of his career at Arsenal. And writing a player off because of injuries is always easy to do. But let us remember Robin Van Persie. For years he was injured for half of the season. But was he worth the wait? He sure is.

Another come back later boy is left back Santos. A bit unlucky in his first game I would say, but then again joining in a new team and having to start right away was not an easy thing to do. But with every game he became better and better. For someone who cannot defend (as some use to say) I though the did rather well. The second half display against Chelsea was the turning point in his early days at Arsenal. Since then we knew we had not just a quality player and defender but also a player who is not afraid to attack (he is Brazilian after all) and who can score a few goals (having scored more goals so far than Clichy ever did in his 5 or 6 years at the club). Somewhere in March he would be back. And sure would love to see him back.

Let’s move on the right back position. Bacary Sagna has just been on for his first minutes after his broken ankle at White Hart Lane. Chosen as the best right back in the EPL for a few times. Who could argue what a good player he is? I love him a lot as a player that always goes on the field, doing his job in a quit way without big fuss but always giving it all. Let us be careful the first weeks with Sagna because he still looked very rusty against Villa when he came on. A missed kick that almost caused a problem and it was clear to see that he needs some game time to adapt to the pace. But with his mindset I’m sure he will be back at his best like he has been for the past seasons.

Those are 4 players that when fit can claim their place and for those who doubt Diaby that are 3 players that are really important and bring something to the team.

And then we also have two youngsters who also have just started training again with the rest of the team. Jenkinson and Gibbs at right and left back could be ready somewhere this month. If all goes well (and with Gibbs you never know) Gibbs will be first on the team sheet in the next weeks. This would mean that Vermaelen can go back in the centre and give Wenger some headache. I sure wouldn’t want to choose between Mertesacker (leader in the EPL stats of successful last ditch tackles), Koscielny (probably the best centre back so far this season) and Vermaelen (probably the best left footed centre back we had for as long as I can remember). But maybe we could spell the word “rotation’ in a few weeks time with our backs. That would be nice.

Arteta has been absent a few weeks and we did miss him. But he was back against Aston Villa as a sub this weekend so the hope is he will be fully recovered by now and let us hope that he can stay fit at least until Jack is completely fit. And who knows even then we could be having some rotation in midfield without losing too much quality? Having a possible choice between Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky (another risen from the ‘always injured’-list), Benayoun, and new and fresh and upcoming talents like Coquelin and next season we will have even Frimpong back in action. I even could have put up Oxlade-Chamberlain in that list because he can play in the middle of the field also. Even Yennaris could be in that list as he is not a right back but a midfielder.

And up front we will have two extra strikers back in a few weeks. One will be back very soon as Morocco is out of the African Nations Cup. The other one might be playing the finals with Ivory Coast. But if The Ox keeps on playing like he does for the moment I think Gervinho will have a bit task of getting back in the team.

So by the end of February we should be able to almost field a completely different team with all kinds of players coming back from injury. They could feel like new signing and I really think that their injuries (and certainly the combinations of them all together) has cost us a lot in terms of points.

And about a real new signing, the 19 years young German Thomas Eisfeld seems to be a done deal. An attacking midfielder in the mould of Thomas Mueller from Bayern is the description I wrote about him. He gets his chance at Arsenal to prove himself in the next months. I kind of like German players as they always show a great work ethic. And if Wenger thinks he can make it, who am I to disagree. What do I know after all.

And for the rest I will just wait and see and tomorrow I will support my Gunners. Whatever their name may be, wherever they may come from. Just do your best and I will support you.

Enjoy the rest of this mad day I would say and don’t forget: last season in this time of the year £85M was thrown away for two players that produced nothing at all. £85.000.000 and then we even don’t talk about wages. Madness….

 

Untold Ref Review: Chelsea 1 – 0 Sunderland. Another giant step forward for mankind

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

Today’s referee is Phil Dowd and on this side  of the fence we had  ref reviewer 04.

And in our continuing quest for the Holy Grail (= a higher standard in refereeing) we adapted our model a bit thanks to the combined forces of refwatcher DogFace and myself. So what you are about to read is the new version of how we will try to present our ref reviews.

You will miss the column with the points. Because in fact this was the same as was in the column C/NC.  At the bottom we tried to present the data of the two teams next to each other and on the same line in the hope it is more clear compared to the last models we used. So hope you enjoy the new model.

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Phil Dowd (2012-01-14)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
5 OTHER Bendtner Cole C Trip 1
8 OTHER Luiz Bendtner C Trip 1
8 YELLOW Luiz C Came late, promising attack 2
13 GOAL Chelsea C Correct goal 3
15 OTHER Romeu Bardsley C Push 1
18 OTHER NC Throw to Sunderland given to Chelsea 1
19 OTHER Torres Vaughan C Trip 1
22 OTHER Cattermole Lampard C Push 1
26 OTHER Sun? Romeu NC Stopped him with the arm, not given 1
26 OTHER Vaughan Luiz C Trip 1
27 OTHER Lampard Bardsley C Two fouls in a row 1
40 OTHER Bosingwa C Handball signalled by the assistant 1
41 OTHER Bardlsey Torrest C Obstruction 1
42 OTHER C Kilgallon gets injured after landing bad, refs sees something is wrong and stops play immediately 0
46 OTHER Romeu O’Shea C Little kick 1
47 OTHER Bendtner Romeu C Push 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
46 OTHER Bosingwa Bendtner C 1
50 OTHER Bosingwa Richardson C 1
52 OTHER Sun, Mata NC Late challenge not given 1
58 PENALTY O’shea Torres NC Trip 3
58 PENALTY Cole Bendtner NC Jumped in his back 3
58 OTHER Cattermole Lampard C Trip 1
58 YELLOW Cattermole C Commits a foul and starts protesting the not given penalty. Correct booking 2
60 OTHER Romeu Sessegnon C Advantage given, schot just wide 1
61 OTHER Terry Sessegnon C Trip 1
65 OTHER Cattermole Lampard C Not visible 1
66 PENALTY Bardsley Torres NC Bardsley hits Torres on the knee when he goes past him 3
67 YELLOW Torres NC Not correct, there was contact 2
69 OFFSIDE Chelsea C Just offside 1
71 OTHER Turner Ramirez C Trip 1
71 YELLOW Turner NC Came late, right on the ankle, yellow card should have been given 2
73 OTHER Meireles Larsson C Trip 1
73 YELLOW Meireles C correct but not consistent with the incident one minute earlier 2
76 OTHER Cattermole Mereiles C Trip 1
76 OTHER Sun? Mata C Push but advantage given 1
80 OFFSIDE Chelsea NC Not correct 1
90 OTHER Sun? Torres C Holding but advantage given, shot saved 1

A NC is a Not Correct decision and in the old model we had it also marked with a 0 (zero). A C is a Correct decision and previously marked with a 1.  We left that column out but did leave the weight score in it so you can see how much weight the decision had.

In the table below you can see how he did in each half. And in the first table we can see if the ref was competent or not. By this we mean if the ref managed to get the decisions correct when we look at the laws of the game.

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Phil Dowd (2012-01-14)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 1 1 100.00
OTHER 12 14 85.71
YELLOW 1 1 100.00
TOTAL 14 16 87.50
WEIGHTED 15 17 88.24
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
OFFSIDE 1 2 50.00
OTHER 11 12 91.67
PENALTY 0 3 0.00
YELLOW 2 4 50.00
TOTAL 14 21 66.67
WEIGHTED 16 31 51.61
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 1 1 100.00
OFFSIDE 1 2 50.00
OTHER 23 26 88.46
PENALTY 0 3 0.00
YELLOW 3 5 60.00
TOTAL 28 37 75.68
WEIGHTED 31 48 64.58

And blimey what a difference a half makes. The first half was of high quality. The ref got most of the decisions correct. But in the second half he suddenly lost it. Making many mistakes. He refused to give a penalty and there was 3 penalties he should have given. Then the points drop a lot of course because a penalty is a high weighted decision. His yellow cards also were not according to how it had to be done. A bit inconsistent at times. Could it be that he was getting tired in the second half?

So his total foul calling over the full 90 minutes was still acceptable but if we look at the weight of his decisions it was below the Holy 70% marker.

But was there a team benefitting from the mistakes? Well we try to show you this in the next table. The Bias summary table. And again we can show you this for each period and for the whole game.

BIAS SUMMARY – Phil Dowd (2012-01-14)
Period 1 Chelsea % Sunderland % Total
Correct For 6 46.15 7 53.85 13
Correct For Weighted 8 50.00 8 50.00 16
Incorrect Against 1 50.00 1 50.00 2
Incorrect Against Weighted 1 50.00 1 50.00 2
Fouls Commited 6 50.00 6 50.00 12
Fouls Penalised 6 100.00 5 83.33 11
Period 2 Chelsea % Sunderland % Total
Correct For 7 50.00 7 50.00 14
Correct For Weighted 8 50.00 8 50.00 16
Incorrect Against 6 85.71 1 14.29 7
Incorrect Against Weighted 12 80.00 3 20.00 15
Fouls Commited 7 43.75 9 56.25 16
Fouls Penalised 6 85.71 6 66.67 12
Totals Chelsea % Sunderland % Total
Correct For 13 48.15 14 51.85 27
Correct For Weighted 16 50.00 16 50.00 32
Incorrect Against 7 77.78 2 22.22 9
Incorrect Against Weighted 13 76.47 4 23.53 17
Fouls Commited 13 46.43 15 53.57 28
Fouls Penalised 12 92.31 11 73.33 23

And so we can see that when it came to correct calls he was very fair for both teams during the whole game. But when it came to the wrong calls their was a very big difference. When he made a mistake it was almost always in favour of Sunderland. You can see that he made a total of 9 mistakes and all but two were against Chelsea. Chelsea who was the home team and this adds even more question marks to this number.

With last seasons games Sunderland-Arsenal, Newcastle-Arsenal and this game in mind I really wonder if I am seeing an obvious North-South bias in this ref?  Anyway I will leave it up to you in the comment section to give your own opinion on the new model and on the ref.

Untold Ref Review: Norwich City 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur

 Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Ref Reviewer 04

For the game at Norwich between the local side and Tottenham Hotspur we had the youngest ref in the EPL in charge. How did Michael Oliver score in this game?

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
3 OTHER Sandro Holt C Push 1
8 OTHER Holt Ekoto C Arm in the face 1
8 YELLOW Holt NC Not really a punch but no need to stop a player with the arm like that 3
12 OTHER Holt Sandro C Trip 1
13 OTHER VDVaart Drury NC Late challenge, not given 1
13 YELLOW VDVaart NC Should have been punished with a yellow card 2
16 OTHER Modric Hoolahan C Advantage given, shot saved by the keeper 1
20 OTHER Holt Kaboul C High foot 1
21 OFFSIDE Tottenham C assumed correct 1
23 OTHER De Laet Bale C Trip 1
36 OFFSIDE Tottenham C correct 1
44 OTHER Hoolahan Parker C Trip 1
45 PENALTY Morisson Gallas C Morisson tripped Gallas but the ball was not in play so no penalty can be given. 3
44 YELLOW Morisson NC Ref should have given a yellow card and retaken the free kick 2
46 OTHER Ekotto Hoolahan C Trip 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
52 OTHER Gallas Surman C Trip 1
52 YELLOW Gallas C Stopping a promising attack 2
55 GOAL Tottenham C Correct goal 0
57 OTHER Norwich? Tot? C High foot, advantage given 1
66 OFFSIDE Tottenham C clear offside 1
66 GOAL Tottenham NC ruled out correct because offside 3
67 GOAL Tottenham C Correct goal 0
68 OTHER Sandro Hoolahan C Trip 1
69 OTHER Whitebread Walker C Trip 1
69 YELLOW Whitebread C Went for the man, not the ball. Correct card 2
70 OTHER Fox Sandro C Trip 1
75 OFFSIDE Norwich C assumed correct 1
80 OTHER Rose Bennet C Jumped in the back 1
84 OTHER Parker Hoolahan C Trip 1
89 OTHER Gallas Holt NC Jumped in the back but not given, no real advantage to be seen 1
94 OFFSIDE Norwich C Very close call but it lookes as if he was offside 1
COMPETENCY SUMMARY
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
OTHER 8 9 88.89
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 0 3 0.00
TOTAL 11 15 73.33
WEIGHTED 13 21 61.90
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 3 66.67
OFFSIDE 3 3 100.00
OTHER 7 8 87.50
YELLOW 2 2 100.00
TOTAL 14 16 87.50
WEIGHTED 20 24 83.33
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 3 66.67
OFFSIDE 5 5 100.00
OTHER 15 17 88.24
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 2 5 40.00
TOTAL 25 31 80.65
WEIGHTED 33 45 73.33
BIAS SUMMARY
Period 1 Norwich City % Tottenham Hotspur % Total
Correct For 6 54.55 5 45.45 11
Correct For Weighted 8 61.54 5 38.46 13
Incorrect Against 2 50.00 2 50.00 4
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 37.50 5 62.50 8
Fouls Commited 7 53.85 6 46.15 13
Fouls Penalised 6 85.71 5 83.33 11
Period 2 Norwich City % Tottenham Hotspur % Total
Correct For 7 53.85 6 46.15 13
Correct For Weighted 10 58.82 7 41.18 17
Incorrect Against 1 100.00 0 0.00 1
Incorrect Against Weighted 1 100.00 0 0.00 1
Fouls Commited 5 45.45 6 54.55 11
Fouls Penalised 5 100.00 5 83.33 10
Totals Norwich City % Tottenham Hotspur % Total
Correct For 13 54.17 11 45.83 24
Correct For Weighted 18 60.00 12 40.00 30
Incorrect Against 3 60.00 2 40.00 5
Incorrect Against Weighted 4 44.44 5 55.56 9
Fouls Commited 12 50.00 12 50.00 24
Fouls Penalised 11 91.67 10 83.33 21

The first half was as can be expected from refs in the EPL by now. He missed an early easy yellow when Holt from Norwich stopped Essou-Ekoto with an arm in his face. On the other hand he also let go a late tackle from Van Der Vaart. I feared for the ref at that time and a low first half score was the result.

But what a second half!! Amazing really but I must say that the players did play the game in the right spirit. But still he got almost all his calls correct bar one in this half. So a very high score for the ref.

If he just would have been a bit more focussed in the early stages of the game he could have set a new Untold ref review record. But an encouraging performance from the youngest ref in the EPL overall.

 

The Untold match report: The harder you have to work for it, the sweeter the win feels

 Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

The first real goal mouth incident was when Van Persie took a free kick short to Vermaelen and  the Verminator launched a rocket. Given was equal to it with a great save.  Both teams with high pressure all over the pitch in the first 15 minutes. Walcott with a run but his shot went well off target. Not much threatening stuff from Villa in the first 15 minutes.
Walcott on the right but his cross was diverted and Ramsey was fouled just outside the penalty area. But the Villa wall stood tall and stopped the ball. The first danger from Villa but Bent had shaved his hair too short so he couldn’t get on the end of what could be called a lucky cross.  Oxlade-Chamberlain showing his class on a few occasions with some nice footwork and some good touches.  Arsenal much possession but not much chances in the second quarter.

And when Villa took a short corner the organisation was lost in the Arsenal defence and Dunne, leaning a bit on Koscielny, could score a goal out of the blue for Villa. Arsenal went forward but the shot from Rosicky was direct at Given. Oxlade-Chamberlain with a nice run and a cross, but nobody there at the end.

The Ox (sorry his name is too long to type each time) with a few great runs but nobody at the end of it. Dunne got a deserved yellow card for a hard tackle from behind on Rosicky. Arsenal pressured and pressured and in the first minute of added time Bent escaped on the right. Fabianski could stop the first effort but the ball came back to Bent who put in cool in the goal. 0-2 at half time. One team done the attacking part and couldn’t score, the other done the defending and scored two goals. Football can be cruel sometimes.  As my match commentator said: Arsenal the best team in the match but nothing to show.

I don’t think there was many happy Gooners in the Emirates but it was just that hard to take half time  score line. Given our current run in January out season looked at the end of the line. We didn’t play  bad we just messed up the chances we had. The team could have collapsed at that moment.  The players could have given the AAA their pleasure. The players could have accepted defeat.

I must admit that when coming home from my own game (the things I talk about is when seeing the first half after seeing the second half) and seeing the half time score it was over.  I just hoped we would score an early goal somewhere. If anyone would have asked me to agree on a replay I would have taken it with both hands.

Out came the players for the second half and what was followed was something that I hadn’t seen from an Arsenal team in …well I can’t remember having seen it happen at all. Just point at some similar come backs in the comment section if you want.

I have seen 11 Gooner-Gunners coming on the field. Within 2 minutes Mertesacker had a header and with Given beaten Ireland was to save on the line for Villa. At that moment you felt: oh well it really is going to be one of those days. I heard the Emirates shouting: Arsenal, Arsenal. Rosicky making a crunching tackle,  Walcott stopped with a last second interception, our defenders going in with all their heart for every ball that had to be won, Ramsey with a shooting chance but straight at Given, Vermaelen with a distance shot. Our match commentator stated: looking at all the chances and football it should have been Arsenal 2-0 in front and not 0-2 behind.

And then suddenly the most stupid challenge. Dunne went in on Ramsey when he didn’t have a chance to play the ball but as the ball was in play it was almost a typical striker tackle and very late. The only thing missing was a second yellow or a straight red card for Dunne.  Van Persie stayed calm and scored from the spot. 1-2 and the Emirates was signing and shouting and did what they are supposed to do = support  the team. And the players? Well they doubled their efforts even more.

Walcott went down the line and in stead of a cross he tried to shoot the ball from a Van Persie angle in goal, Given got a hand to it and a defender tried to clear the ball but struck it on the chest of Walcott and the ball ended up in the goal. 2 goals in 2 minutes. I had a feeling the Emirates was rocking.  The Villa supporters feared the outcome of the game and refused to give the ball back when it had gone in their part of the stadium. Lucky the Arsenal have more than one match ball.

Koscielny of all people charging down the left flank and Bent of all people chasing him. The world upside down. The striker tackling the defender it as most happens it went wrong. Bent went through Koscielny to finally end up with the ball but the ref was spot on and gave the second penalty for Arsenal. Van Persie in the other corner of the goal this time and 3-2 for The Arsenal. 3 goals in 7 minutes for The Arsenal. I can’t remember anything like that.  What a turnaround.

Oxlade-Chamberlain running all over the field, sometimes covering at left back when Vermaelen was suddenly the attacker. All the players were attacking when they could and defending when they had to. I can’t remember a team working their socks of like that this month. Mertesacker heading away the danger, Coquelin charging up and down the flank. Rosicky twisting and turning, Ramsey being left, right, forward and at the back helping out, Fabianski with some firm and good kicks when the ball was played to him by the defenders.  The work ethic was amazing and heart  warming to see. This was a team wanting to fight till they dropped.

Oh and not all went right but when we lost the ball the players chased and pressed and forced Villa to make a hasty pass forward and the defenders dealing with those long balls most of the time. Villa got a chance when Koscielny was tripped by Petrov it seemed but the ref played on and Mertesacker stood his ground and diverted the danger in to a corner.  Rosicky acknowledge the importance of this clearance when the danger was gone. One came Arteta for Rosicky. A great game and hard work from Rosicky and welcome back Mikel. We surely missed you the last couple of games.

The Ox kept on running with the ball and the Villa players were having a difficult time chasing him. Arsenal kept on playing the ball forward as much as they could. Like Johan Cruijff once said: when the ball is in their half, they can’t score.  Koscielny getting himself a yellow card not that much for the foul but more for kicking the ball away against Bent.  Coquelin slipped but he was back in time to make up and cut out the ball from Ireland.  The assistant messed up with a wait and see rule but the Arsenal defenders were in numbers and covering anyway.

Time for another come back boy. Sagna was getting ready for his first minutes since he broke his leg at White Hart Lane. Oh didn’t we miss him also the past months?  Great to see you back, Bac. Even though he was a bit rusty I must say. But he will get better with game time.  Also Thierry Henry entered the field for the last 2 minutes.  Walcott and The ox left the field to great cheers of the crowd this time.  The former Southampton boys who had shined on the day. And certainly the younger one.

Coquelin showed he is not just a defender but not as fast as Theo but he sure can run on the flank also. Arteta with a ball to Henry but he chose to dribble the last man and he was stopped.
The Emirates was signing and making us proud. That is the way to do it lads. Making us proud this time.

 

The Preview – FA Cup version. Arsenal-Villa.

A run of three straight defeats in the league suggest the FA Cup could well be a welcome diversion for Arsenal this weekend. With Manchester United crashing out to a last minute winner from Dirk Kuyt, one highly credible winner of the Cup has been eliminated. Considering City are also watching on from the sidelines, the biggest contenders for the Cup this year are an inconsistent Liverpool side, a fairly topsy-turvy Chelsea team and some motley crew from another bit of  north London. This could well be a year to focus in on the FA Cup…

The injury situation going into this game is certainly more positive than it has been recently. Sagna is back in full training, so he’s available to play unless he’s severely lacking in match fitness. It’d be great to give him a start and see how he gets on – if he can’t last the ninety, he can always be substituted. Sagna’s return makes life considerably easier considering Johan Djourou is ruled out of this tie with a hamstring injury.  Also back in the squad is Coquelin, who will certainly be involved to give Song a breather. Arteta and Henry are both nearly back with the squad training, so will probably be involved in our next fixture. Fears of an injury to Chamberlain have also been allayed, with the youngster only suffering from fatigue, so certain to be involved against Villa.  Kieran Gibbs has been ruled out of this match.

Szcznesy

Sagna Squillaci Mertesacker Miquel

Coquelin

Rosicky Benayoun

Chamberlain Park Arshavin

 

There’s certainly an element of guesswork to this line-up. In goal we’ll probably have Szcznesy given Mannone’s loan and Fabianski’s injury. The defence will probably be shuffled to allow a rest for one of Koscielny and Mertesacker, with Squillaci coming in. While Vermaelen is fit for leftback duties, I imagine he’ll be rested with the Bolton away game in mind. Sagna’s return at right back will allow a natural replacement with Djourou out injured, though Nico Yennaris could start with Sagna coming off the bench to gain fitness.

Further forward, Coquelin’s return to fitness allows Song to get a breather, while Rosicky and Benayoun come into midfield to give Ramsey a breather. Chamberlain continues on the flank, though I’ve put him on the right to give Walcott a breather, and allow Arshavin to play on the left. Park starts to give Van Persie a breather.

Such a high number of changes represent a bit of a gamble: we’re weakening our side against Premier League opposition. That said, while silverware would be fantastic, top four is the be-all and end-all for the club, and gambling with players’ fitness and/or risking those on the injury threshold isn’t wise with Bolton away looming. That said there are plenty of first choice players in there – Sagna, Mertesacker, Szcznesy – alongside strong incoming players such as Chamberlain, Coquelin and Rosicky. The likes of Vermaelen and Koscielny can be on the bench to shore up the defence if we’re leading as the clock ticks down, whilst Theo and Van Persie can come in if we’re making a meal out of winning the game.

Overall, given the number of changes I fully expect this one to be a bit of a nail biter, and we’ll probably nick it by the odd goal. I’d love to say we’re going to win it with a solid performance and a comfortable 2-0 score line, but given low confidence and a potentially mix and match line-up, a narrow 2-1 victory seems best to bet on. Hopefully I don’t miss any goals – the game kicks off in the UK at 4pm, and I’m refereeing a game that should kick off at 2pm, so most likely I’ll have to roll into the pub in a slightly dishevelled fashion in full Lancashire FA refereeing gear having missed the first fifteen minutes. Enjoy the game though!

 

Untold ref review: Liverpool 0 – Stoke 0

 Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By ref Reviewer 04

Howard Webb was the ref for the game between Liverpool and Stoke. Was it a memorable game?

Well a game that will not last in my memory for ever. The only thing really to remember is that like on the website debatable decisions and also in our numbers you see that Stoke is the team that benefits most from the “mistakes” that refs make.  Very strange to say the least.
Webb didn’t have much to do in the first half with only 8 decisions to make where one was an offside. But still managed to make 2 mistakes in those 8 calls.
Carroll was once again poor and was looking for a penalty all the time. Once he was right but for the rest it was painful to see

Untold Ref Review : Liverpool 3 – Newcastle 1

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Ref Reviewer 02

The game between Liverpool and Newcastle was under the supervision of ref Lee Probert. How was his score?

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight

1

Offside Bellamy C

1

1

2

Offside Ba N/C

0

0

13

other Carroll Tiote N/C Jumps into player

0

0

21

other Taylor Johnson C

1

1

25

Goal Agger Own goal C

1

3

27

other Guitarrez Johnson C

1

1

27

Yellow Guitarrez C Late challenge

1

2

28

other Cabaye Sppearing C

1

1

29

Goal Bellamy C

1

3

31

other Bellamy Simpson C Ref calls it back after playing advantage and none gained

1

1

34

other Adam Tiote C

1

1

35

other Cabaye Liv? C

1

1

35

other Taylor Downing C

1

1

35

Yellow Taylor C Blocked run on line

1

2

38

other Ba Spearing C

1

1

43

Offside Downing C

1

1

Half time

14

20

CORRECT

87,50%

90,91%

YELLOW

2

2

100,00

RED
PENALTY
GOAL

2

2

100,00

OTHER

2

2

100,00

6

6

100,00

OFFSIDE

2

3

66,67

Second half

46

other Liv? Newc? C Going with Ref

1

1

50

other Tiote Henderson N/C Ref is 3 yards away and misses Tiote leading with arm

0

0

50

other Cabaye Spearing N/C Spearing is going in hard, Cabaye sees it coming and jumps over the ball, and studs down into ankle, it was nasty and dangerous and the other players saw it, the Ref did not, but he was closest

0

0

50

Red Cabaye N/C This should have been a Red card, it had intent

0

0

54

other Santon Downing N/C Running up the line Downing knocks ball past Santon, but touch is heavy so he falls over, Ref falls for it and is spoiling a good performance, the assistant is 2 yards away

0

0

54

Yellow Downing N/C Simulation is a cautionable offence

0

0

54

other Carroll Williamson C

1

1

55

Offside Bellamy C

1

1

55

Offside Ba C

1

1

66

other Tiote Agger C I looked at this many times and concluded that Tiotes trailing foot was the problem and the Ref got it right

1

1

66

Goal Bellamy C

1

3

68

Offside Bellamy C

1

1

71

other Guitarrez Downing C

1

1

72

Penalty Colocinni N/C Colocinni makes a clumsy clearance, he then has to challenge Bellamy in the air for the ball and leads with the elbow, Bellamy has a cut eye, Ref was 10 yards away with an unimpaired view, assistant was on that side and 20 yards away

0

0

72

Red Colocinni N/C This was serious foul play

0

0

77

Goal Gerrard C A moment of class at last

1

3

78

other Skyrtel Ba N/C It should have been the other way as Ba held of Skrtel

0

0

81

other Carroll Tiote C Is Andy Carroll capable of juming without pushing the opposition

1

1

83

other Cabaye Henderson N/C Ref misses a push in back

0

0

TOTAL

10

14

% CORRECT

52,63%

46,67%

YELLOW

0

1

0,00

RED

0

2

0,00

PENALTY

0

1

0,00

GOAL

2

2

100,00

OTHER

0

3

0,00

TOTAL

2

9

22,22

OFFSIDE

3

3

100,00

TOTAL SCORE
TOTAL

24

34

% CORRECT

68,57%

65,38%

YELLOW

2

3

66,67

RED

0

2

0,00

PENALTY

0

1

0,00

GOAL

4

4

100,00

OTHER

2

5

40,00

8

15

53,33

OFFSIDE

5

6

83,33

NEW TEST 1st half 2nd half Total %
WRONG NC F LIV 1

2

1

3

NCF LIV 2

0

1

1

NCF LIV 3

0

0

0

Total normal

2

1

3

FA LIV

42,86%

Total important

0

1

1

FA LIV

25,00%

General total

2

2

4

FA LIV

36,36%

WRONG NC F NEW 1

0

4

4

NC F NEW 2

0

0

0

NC F NEW 3

0

3

3

Total normal

0

4

4

FA NEW

57,14%

Total important

0

3

3

FA NEW

75,00%

General total

0

7

7

FA NEW

63,64%

TOTAL NORMAL WRONG

7

TOTAL IMPORTANT WRONG

4

GENERAL TOTAL

11

CORRECT CF LIV 1

6

3

9

CF LIV 2

2

0

2

CF LIV 3

1

2

3

Total normal

6

3

9

Total important

3

2

5

CORRECT CF NEW 1

5

5

10

CF NEW 2

0

0

0

CF NEW3

0

0

0

Total normal

5

5

10

Total Important

0

0

0

Foul LIV

3

3

6

FOUL NEW

6

7

13

OLD VERSION
Correct calls ForLiverpool

9

47,37%

For Newcastle

10

52,63%

Total correct calls

19

Wrong calls Against Liverpool

4

57,14%

Against Newcastle

3

42,86%

Total

7

Total fouls made by Liverpool

6

31,58%

Newcastle

13

68,42%

Total

19

 

This was a game lacking any real quality, the first half was dire, two poor teams, little passion, Anfield was so quiet. Anyone could have Reffed the first half, you, me, the ball boy. The second half was different, Newcastle came out to defend the 1-1, and they did, until the only player in the game to show any class entered the fray, Stevie Gerrard.

The Ref did influence the game, he made a good call for the Liverpool equaliser, but missed two dangerous challenges by Newcastle players, both were Red cards, one was a penalty, and he was well positioned to see both incidents. He missed them, perhaps because they happened very quickly, that being the case why were the players aware of what happened, when 3 players close to an incident all react spontaneously, you know something has gone on. Just occasionally, Probert looks confused!

Bring on the Gooner-Gunners

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

With Nico Yennaris making his debut against Leeds in the FA cup this month and making another appearance as a substitute against Manchester United we have seen another youngster making it in to the first team.

The 18 year old made his first starts at right back. Against Leeds he came in for Coquelin who was playing in that position despite being a midfielder. Coquelin was somewhat our 7th right back we played I think. Could have been 6th as somehow you could lose count at used and injured full backs at Arsenal this season. So midfielder Coquelin injured at right back and on came Yennaris, in fact another midfielder.

Against Manchester United Djourou who didn’t have the best day playing at right back as a central defender was replaced at half time and again Yennaris took the right back spot on the field.

And well it is fair to say that on both occasions he did a rather good job. He certainly couldn’t be blamed for anything that went wrong on the day. I can only really remember one time in the second half when he was left behind by Nani. And to come on as an 18 year old midfielder and having to play Nani who is one of the best wingers in the PL is not the easiest opponents you have to face.

Now we shouldn’t get carried away too much after those two appearances but it might be that we have another young player that has been at Arsenal from the youth. A London born young lad. And apparently not just a Gunner but also a long life Gooner.

I have seen a picture with Yennaris being the mascot at a game at Highbury when he still was very very young. Ref that day was incidentally Mike Dean. The same ref under whom he made his debut in the PL last Sunday. Yennaris also was a boy sitting in the stands at Highbury or the Emirates with his dad. Even going to Cardiff with his dad on the last 4 occasions we reached the Fa Cup final. One could say a real Gooner from a Gooner family.

This reminds me of another young lad we bought this season. Carl Jenkinson, one of the people who also played at right back this season before getting injured. Let us hope Nico Yennaris will not be facing the same in a few weeks time. But he also is a supporter of Arsenal and not just a player who comes there to make a living.

One of the things that looks not that important about the way Arsenal is conducting their business is the way players look at the club. But with the way Arsenal have been developing their youngsters we get now the first generation of what I would like to call the Gooner-Gunners.

A generation that isn’t just playing for “a team” in a certain period of their career. No a generation that has been at the club from almost the start of their career and who are also die hard supporters of that club.

Just look at another example of that generation. Frimpong. Still a very rough diamond and not just totally ready to do his job. In fact maybe his biggest problem might be the fact that he is such a big supporter of Arsenal himself. He wants to do so well for the club that at times he gets carried away a bit too much and commits silly mistakes by making fouls that get him send off. I think his loan spell at Wolverhampton might be the ideal way to make him think before the throw himself in at times.

But if you read the things Frimpong is saying about Arsenal it is clear that he would die for the club. A player that you can take to any war and he will fight for the colours of his beloved club. A player that has said that no matter how long it takes but he will stay until he is a first team player at Arsenal. Showing commitment to the club in a way that only supporters normally do.

Now I am totally aware of the fact that maybe in a few years time we will lose a few of them because if they really cant make the final and most difficult step Arsenal has to make a decision at some time in their career. But we can be sure that as long as they do their job at Arsenal it will not just be a job that is being well paid for, but most of all being able to fulfil the dream of playing for the club you really love.

With Jack Wilshere as the number one amongst the Gooner-Gunners we also have young players like Frimpong, Jenkinson, Yennaris who feel more for this club then just a working relation. Maybe even Oxlade-Chamberlain can be put in this category as he said recently that his boy hood hero was Thierry Henry. And there are more to come in the next years like those.

In fact if you look at some of the players we have been buying recently we can also see that some of those players have been Arsenal supporters from their childhood days. Mertesacker was an Arsenal supporter as a kid when it came to foreign clubs. He even had an Arsenal shirt as a young lad in Germany.  Gervinho has been hoping to come to Arsenal from his very young days when he came to Europe as a footballer.

And the same goes for a lot of young players that have not been from England but who have come at a young age. Look at Szczesny. Another one that can be called a Gooner-Gunner.

How long will it take before we will be able to field 11 Gooner-Gunners? I don’t really know as you probably always will have some players you bring in later in their career. But I do have a feeling that even when we buy a player we try to see if they also don’t have some kind of long time sympathy for the club.

In a way it looks to me that in some 5 years time we will have a full squad of Gooner-Gunners at our disposal. When the now older players will be gone I have the feeling their replacements will be of the Gooner-Gunner type.

And I do think that this is a great thing to look  forward too. Because from that day on we will know that every player on that pitch and on the bench will do his utmost best to make the supporters happy. Because as they are also supporters they only way for them to be happy is by making us happy. We will be sure that they will dig as deep as they can to make us happy and proud. And in that period we will have a team filled with players with Arsenal-DNA.

Some might say : what good does it bring us now today. I can only say: the road is long. A club with a history of 125 years is always a slow building process. Once those now still very young Gooner-Gunners will reach their peak in a few years time we will have something unique in the world that maybe only Barcelona has today: all players with the club DNA in their body.

Ten points from Tottenham – will we overtake our rivals?

By Phil Gregory

From early on this season, it became clear that 2011-12 for Arsenal would be a matter of damage limitation: bed in the numerous new recruits, regroup and push on to secure that vital top four berth, with the title realistically not attainable this year.

The great run we went on after our dire start to the season restored hopes of a respectable finish to the season, and put us within touching distance of the top four, as well as – if we’re frank about this – rivals Tottenham. It has been so long since Tottenham finished above us in the league that maintaining that happy North London balance of power is a seasonal objective in itself. After our great run of games, we closed in substantially on them, and it seemed only a matter of time until Tottenham broke down and we overtook them. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way, and after three consecutive defeats the gap has loomed to ten points from Spurs, and five from fourth place. Clearly, our run of losses is partly our own fault – we were outplayed by United and Swansea – but a crippling injury list had a big role to play too. If we can expect to kick on and close what is substantial gap to the Spurs with over half the season gone, our injury situation needs to improve, and pronto.

The injuries are hitting us hardest in defence, so it makes sense to have a quick look at those first. Kieran Gibbs is a couple of weeks away , but given his injury record and lack of serious game time over the last couple of seasons I’m not convinced he’ll have a big role to play for us during the run in unfortunately. Much more important is the injury to Andre Santos, but Wenger’s recent press conference had the Brazilian two months away from fitness. Being realistic, we’re likely to have our best centreback (Vermaelen) at left back for the majority of the remainder of the campaign. While our defence would be stronger with Vermaelen at centreback, the pairing of Koscielny and Mertesacker are doing well, so we can deal with this situation adequately, but I can’t look at our left back situation and really expect it to improve much over the rest of the season.

Djourou at right back has arguably looked much less comfortable than Vermaelen on the opposite flank, so Sagna or Jenkinson’s returns here would be very welcome. Unfortunately Jenkinson is still three weeks away, with Sagna perhaps two. If the French international can be back in the first team squad in two weeks, that would certainly be a welcome boost and of huge benefit for the run in.

Jack Wilshere should be involved from the end of February, but given the length of his absence expecting the youngster to have a big impact straight away would be foolish. Come late February, when the Champions League and Premier League games are coming thick and fast, another quality player in the middle could be a real help for us though. In the short term, Coquelin and Arteta should be back soon, the latter particularly needed to restore balance to our midfield.

On the whole then, I’m expecting things to stay much as they are on the left hand side of defence, but we’ll be stronger at right back for the run in and in midfield.  Will that be enough to crack the top four, and haul in ten points on Spurs?

Potentially. Tottenham have some very tricky fixtures coming up, so all is not lost just yet. That said we also need to raise our game. Wins away at Bolton and home to Blackburn are absolutely vital if we are to gain the confidence to travel away to revitalised Sunderland side and pick up the spoils. That game is then followed by the Tottenham match at the Emirates, which is undeniably a game we have to win. During that run of games for us, Tottenham travel away to Wigan and Liverpool as well as having to host Newcastle, so we can expect the gap to close somewhat before Spurs are at the Emirates. Ultimately though, it all comes down to getting the results. We’re too far into the season to rely on Spurs continually dropping points, we have to get at least seven points from Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland. Even then, Spurs could afford to draw at Anfield and beat Newcastle at home to maintain the gap – the points at Wigan are surely virtually guaranteed? – and then they can afford to play for the draw at the Emirates.

A ten point gap is a big number to overturn, but playing Spurs at home gives us an opportunity. Suffice to say, I expect it’ll be clear come to end of February whether we’ll be finishing above our rivals this season.

Untold Ref Review : Manchester United 2 – 3 Blackburn

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Ref Reviewer 04
Mike Dean was in charge of the game between Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers. Did he had an as shocking final score as the game?

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight
2 OTHER Rochina Park C Trip 1 1
4 OTHER Jones Formica C Frontal tackle 1 1
10 OTHER Petrovic Evra C Trip 1 1
11 OTHER Nani Yakubu C Trip 1 1
11 YELLOW Nani   C Came late caught Yakubu at full speed 1 2
14 OTHER Evra Formica C Late challenge 1 1
15 PENALTY Berbatov Samba C Berbatov committed a first foul, then when Samba could control the ball Berbatov was pulling his shirt and dragged him to the ground. Correct decisions 1 3
16 GOAL Blackburn   C Correct goal 1 3
18 OTHER Blackburn? Valencia NC Holding and pushing, not given 0 0
19 OTHER Henley Da Sival C blocked the run 1 1
22 OTHER Jones Yakubu NC Ref gave it against Blackburn but Jones jumped in the back of Yakubu who gave in to the weight and went down getting Jones with him down 0 0
23 PENALTY ? Evra C Correct nothing given ans Evra miskicked the ball and then went down with no contact 1 3
23 OTHER Carrick Formica C Trip 1 1
23 YELLOW Carrick   C Came late and stopped a promising attack 1 2
24 OTHER Rochina Nani C Trip 1 1
31 OTHER     NC The ball deflects of Carrick in to a corner, ref gives a goal kick. Just standing some 10 meters away??? 0 0
34 PENALTY Berbatov Samba NC When a corner is taken Berbatov against is dragging Samba by his shirt. Should have been another penalty. Samba still won the header but he was held back 0 0
34 OTHER Yakubu De Gea NC He had his arm on the keeper who came to claim the ball but lost it. But the ref should have given the first foul against Berbatov 0 0
35 OTHER Berbatov Nzonzi C Trip 1 1
45 OTHER Nzonzi Da Sival C Push 1 1
45 OTHER 3 min extra time NC 3 minutes for what? Nothing happened, no long injuries… 0 0
48 YELLOW Wellbeck?   NC Goes to the ref and asks a yellow card for the Blackburn keeper who kicked the ball away over the side line when he tried to keep in to prevent a corner 0 0
               
  Half time         15 23
      CORRECT   68.18% 69.70%
               
  YELLOW       2 3 66.67
  RED            
  PENALTY       2 3 66.67
  GOAL       1 1 100.00
  OTHER       2 2 100.00
               
          7 9 77.78
               
  OFFSIDE       1 1 100.00
               
  Second half          
               
47 OTHER Lowe Nani C Trip 1 1
47 YELLOW Lowe   C Late and made sure he got the man by lifting his leg 1 2
48 OTHER Park Rochina C Pulled him back 1 1
51 GOAL Blackburn   C Correct goal 1 3
52 GOAL MU   C Correct goal 1 3
56 OTHER Petrovic Anderson C kicked him on the ankle 1 1
56 YELLOW Petrovic   C Came late 1 2
57 OTHER Jones? Yakubu NC Push in the back not given 0 0
59 OTHER Anderson Yakubu NC Anderson trips Yakubu and then even gets the throw 0 0
62 GOAL MU   C Correct goal 1 3
64 OTHER Evra Yakubu C Advantage given, good one 1 1
64 OTHER Blackburn MU? C another good advantage given 1 1
80 GOAL Blackburn   C Henley outjumped the keeper and won the ball cleanly 1 3
83 OTHER Evra   C Wrong throw in 1 1
92 OTHER Pedersen Jones C Push? 1 1
94 OTHER Keane Bunn NC Keane backs in to the keeper and prevents him from moving in the 6 yard box, ref gives nothing 0 0
               
      2nd half score    
  TOTAL         13 23
  %   CORRECT   81.25% 88.46%
               
  YELLOW       2 2 100.00
  RED            
  PENALTY            
  GOAL       4 4 100.00
  OTHER       2 3 66.67
               
          8 9 88.89
               
  OFFSIDE       1 1 100.00
               
      TOTAL SCORE    
               
  TOTAL         28 46
  %   CORRECT   73.68% 77.97%
               
  YELLOW       4 5 80.00
  RED       0 0  
  PENALTY       2 3 66.67
  GOAL       5 5 100.00
  OTHER       4 5 80.00
               
          15 18 83.33
               
  OFFSIDE       2 2 100.00
               
  NEW   1st half 2nd half Total   %
  WRONG NC F HO 1 4 3 7    
    NCF HO 2 1 0 1    
    NCF HO 3 1 0 1    
    Total normal 4 3 7 FA HO 87.50%
    Total important 2 0 2 FA HO 100.00%
    General total 6 3 9 FA HO 90.00%
               
  WRONG NC F AW 1 1 0 1    
    NC F AW 2 0 0 0    
    NC F AW 3 0 0 0    
    Total normal 1 0 1 FA AW 12.50%
    Total important 0 0 0 FA AW 0.00%
    General total 1 0 1 FA AW 10.00%
               
    TOTAL NORMAL WRONG 8    
    TOTAL IMPORTANT WRONG 2    
    GENERAL TOTAL   10    
               
  CORRECT CF HO 1 5 4 9    
    CF HO 2 0 2 2    
    CF HO 3 0 2 2    
    Total normal 5 4 9    
    Total important 0 4 4    
               
  CORRECT CF AW 1 5 3 8    
    CF AW 2 2 0 2    
    CF AW3 3 2 5    
    Total normal 5 3 8    
    Total Important 5 2 7    
               
    Foul HO 9 6 15    
    FOUL AW 7 4 11    
               
  OLD VERSION          
  Correct calls For MU   9 52.94%  
      For Blackburn 8 47.06%  
      Total correct calls 17    
               
  Wrong calls Against MU 1 12.50%  
      Against Blackburn 7 87.50%  
      Total   8    
               
  Total fouls made by MU   15 57.69%  
      Blackburn 11 42.31%  
      Total   26    

A rather poor first half but a better second half. Leading to a surprise score when Blackburn won the game and Dean getting a decent score in a ref review.
The penalty given to Blackburn was a clear one. Berbatov pulling Samba by the shirt. Manchester United escaped a second penalty when Berbatov did  the same shirt pulling later. Dean found one penalty against United enough.

The wrong calls favoured United a lot but it couldn’t stop Blackburn on the day.

Untold Media: Transfers and the real question to be asked

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

 

By Anne

The Football Media and Transfers: Is it time to ask “Cui Bono?”

“Cui bono?” is an Italian phrase that literally means “as a benefit to whom?” Cui bono? Who benefits? In common usage, this question is often raised in the context of ascertaining motive behind a series of events that need to be explained. If you want the explanation, always begin by asking “who benefits?”

To begin our analysis of the whys, the wherefores, and the various “cui bono”s that might apply in the context of football journalism, I believe that it is first necessary to draw a distinction between the general role of journalists with regard to football, and the general role of journalists with regard to “markets.”

Where the sport of football itself is concerned, the role of the journalist, in principle, is largely observational. Basically, observe the match, and then report on what happened. For a journalist in this role, there could be certain motivations for biased reporting (for example, which team the journalist supports, where the journalist is from, national loyalty, anti-foreign bias, etc.).

However, on the whole, the above role would not create a serious risk for heavy corruption within football journalism as an industry.

The above is in direct contrast to the role of journalists in financial markets. In the financial markets, financial journalists, far from being mere “observers,” play a direct role as “market actors” who influence the movements of the market.

Specifically, It has long been known and accepted that where, for example, the stock market is concerned, financial journalists (and the news reports that they generate) play a key role in influencing stock prices, enabling hostile takeovers, etc. Under these circumstances, the risk for heavy corruption in financial journalism as an industry would be classified as “high.”

In fact, the role of journalists as influential players in financial markets is so accepted and ubiquitous that it’s common knowledge that, with regard to any news report that might affect the markets, one need always ask “cui bono?” before taking that news report at face value. The reason for this is because the journalist might have a relationship with one of the interested parties, the information could have been leaked by someone with a motive to do so…

And so on and so forth, but you get the general idea.

The reason I’m raising this issue in the present context is related to the fact that people often seem to forget that, while football is “just a sport,” the transfer market, true to its name, is, in fact, a “market.” And not a small market either.

Rather, the football “transfer market” is actually a multi-billion dollar global financial market that operates across national borders. However, unlike the regular global financial markets, the football transfer market is almost entirely unregulated, with virtually no uniform disclosure requirements about what money is moving through it, and how.

Also, through my own attempts to research the specific operations of this market on a global scale, it appears that such research on the market has rarely been conducted, leaving it free from scrutiny on many levels (a financial “wild, wild, west,” if you will).  

And when it comes to the operations of this market, football journalists, simply by virtue of their position, are not mere “observers,” but rather are full-fledged “market actors.” Just like they would be with regard to any other financial market.

As an example of this, one need look no further than certain comments made by Arsene Wenger from time to time regarding transfer rumours about Arsenal. For example:

“Arsene Wenger has insisted Arsenal are not interested in controversial Mexican midfielder Marco Fabian.

Chivas star Fabian’s family insist in the Mexican press that he is on the brink of joining Arsenal in a £6m move in January.

But when asked if he was interested, Wenger said today: ‘No. It is just an agent who wants to sell a player.’”

The following exchange between Arsene and a journalist during the Pre-Leeds press conference is similarly interesting:

“Q: I know you’ve said in the past you’re not the biggest fan of the January transfer window.

Arsene: No. I’m still not.

Q: Might it be different this year? I mean, you’ve been linked with a couple of players….

Arsene: Well, every agent who wants to sell his player links himself with Arsenal, most of the time. But at the moment we are not on any concrete case apart from Thierry Henry.”

At first glance, these comments by Arsene seem fairly innocuous. However, there are a couple of highly interesting implications that can be read into them, if Arsene’s words are taken as true. These are that:

1) Media reporting about football transfers is, in fact, influenced by market factors other than just disinterested observation. In fact, football journalists play a role as “market actors” whose news reports about transfers can be influenced by the specific financial interests of individuals involved; and

2) Some football journalists appear to have business relationships with football agents. While the full extent of such business relationships would certainly be worth analyzing further, for the time being, let’s just say that such relationships likely exist in some cases.

Based on the above factors, I would suggest that the question of “cui bono?” is just as relevant to news reports about the football transfer market as it would be to news reports that might affect the stock market.

So, using some of the news reports about the ManU match as an example, let’s get started. Without necessarily dismissing the merits of any of the following articles, let us also begin to consider the question of who might benefit from them:

In the Daily Star, Brian Woolnough reported that:

“Wenger’s transfer dealings since this crisis started a couple of years ago have mystified everyone. Why is he reluctant to go big? The cash is there, it’s not his, so spend it.

Why did he let Bolton’sEnglandcentre-half Gary Cahill, a player he tried to sign last summer, eventually go toChelsea?

Why didn’t he get Scott Parker from West Ham?”

Should Arsenal have signed Gary Cahill or Scott Parker? Maybe. However…

Cui bono, Brian Woolnough? Why does it matter to you whether Arsenal signs Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, or anyone at all, for that matter? Are you an Arsenal fan, who is only concerned about what’s best for the club? Or is it possible that there might be someone else who stands to benefit if Arsenal were, as you put it, “to go big?”

In the Mirror, John Cross published an article headlined:

“Why Wenger’s stubborn refusal to spend Arsenal’s £35m kitty could cripple the club.”

Cross wrote that:

“The frustration is that there is money there to be spent now. In fact, Wenger has around £35m at his disposal…

…what is baffling is that Arsenal’s squad is not as strong as it was. Wenger carries on about big players not having to be big names but he did buy big names in the past: Thierry Henry and Gilberto Silva were World Cup winners. Robert Pires, Jens Lehmann and Freddie Ljungberg arrived as internationals.

Patrick Vieira was plucked from AC Milan… But these days Arsenal don’t even buy in that market.”

Should Arsenal spend this money on big name players? Maybe. However….

Cui bono, John Cross? Why does it matter to you whether Arsenal spends this £35m, and particularly in which “market”  they may or may not decide to spend it?  Are you an Arsenal fan, who is only concerned about what’s best for the club? Or is it possible that there might be someone else who stands to benefit if Arsenal were, as you put it, to “buy in that market?”

In the Guardian, David Hytner wrote:

“The fans want, somehow, to get back to the old level, when the team were regular title contenders. Deep down, they wonder whether the squad is good enough…there is the growing feeling that fundamental change is required.

The plain fact is, though, that it will not come about easily as it is not only Wenger but the chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, and the majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, who are wedded to the club’s economic model, which is against high-risk spend-to-accumulate offensives.

Those who feel that Wenger should jump or be pushed from his post ought to be careful what they wish for. Kroenke and Gazidis would seek a replacement with similar philosophies and to work in a similar framework, and not only because of the incoming financial fair play regulations. In Wenger, they may already have the best.

A radical view involves the removal of Kroenke and Gazidis, and a fresh approach entirely, perhaps under the leadership of Alisher Usmanov, who owns a little under 30% of the club’s shares and has positioned himself against the concept of the self-sustaining business model. It would be fiendishly difficult to see this happening…

And so Wenger and Arsenal will continue to dip their shoulder against emotional supporters, unsatisfactory short-term fixes and the prospect of an excruciating slide. As another crisis bites, there are no clear solutions. The ever-decreasing circles are dizzying.”

Should Arsenal make some radical changes to its financial model? Maybe. However…

Cui bono, David Hytner? Why does it matter to you whether Arsenal’s “economic model… is against high-risk spend-to-accumulate offensives?” Are you an Arsenal fan, who is only concerned about what’s best for the club? Or is it possible that there might be someone else who stands to benefit if Arsenal were, as you put it, to abandon “the concept of the self-sustaining business model?”

With regard to the above questions of “who benefits?,” I do not intend to imply any specific answers. And the reason for that is because I don’t know the answers. Maybe it’s someone, maybe it’s no one, and I really don’t know which answer applies with regard to any of these specific examples.

However, in light of what I outlined above about about the role of football journalists as “market actors,” and particularly about their ability to influence who earns money and who doesn’t in the notoriously unregulated global trade in football players, I believe that the question of “Cui bono?” is long overdue with regard to the motives behind some of this reporting.

Doesn’t it just seem like common sense to ask?

 

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 22 – Still top of the league

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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 22

 

By Dale Higginbottom

 

 

We return to the scene of the accident with the return game against United. We all know what happened in August so I won’t dwell on that, what I will say is that the situation with injuries was not all too dissimilar to the one we currently face. The full-back issue has not eased up just yet but the return of Vermaelen and the emergence of Yennaris certainly have helped a little. Anyway, let’s get into the figures this week.

 

A = Ankle K = Knee
B = Back L = Achilles
C = Calf M = Muscle
D = Dead Leg N = Hip
E = Hamstring R = Rib
F = Fatigue/Lack of Fitness S = Shoulder
G = Groin T = Thigh
H = Head Injury/Concussion U = Unknown
I = Illness Y = Hand
J = Foot Z = Broken Leg

 

 

 

Arsenal Vs Man Utd (1-2)

 

Injuries Arsenal (9 + 0S) Man Utd (7 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Sagna (A,16), Gibbs (M,16), Jenkinson (B,12), Santos (A,8) Vidic (K,15), Ferdinand (B,5)
Midfield Wilshere (A,22), Coquelin (E.2), Diaby (M,20), Arteta (C,2) Cleverley (A,16), Fletcher (I,10), Young (A,7), Anderson (U,10)
Attack Henry (C,1) Owen (T,16)
Additional issues Vermaelen returned to the squad and played the whole game. Fabianski was fit to play but was not in the squad. Smalling and Jones both returned to the squad and both started. Smalling played the whole game but Jones had to be replaced after 17 minutes. Nani also had to be replaced, after 75 minutes.
Suspended N/A N/A

 

 

 

Norwich Vs Chelsea (0-0)

 

Injuries Norwich (4 + 0S) Chelsea (1 + 0S)
Goalkeeper Rudd (A) N/A
Defence Tierney (G), Ward (K) N/A
Midfield N/A Mikel (E,5)
Attack Vaughan (K) N/A
Additional issues N/A Ivanovic was back in the squad after a spell on the sidelines but did not feature. Lampard had to be replaced in the first half after picking up a calf injury.
Suspended N/A N/A

 

 

Bolton Vs Liverpool (3-1)

 

Injuries Bolton (7 + 0S) Liverpool (3 + 1S)
Goalkeeper Jääskeläinen (T) N/A
Defence Alonso (F), Mears (Z) Robinson (A,14)
Midfield Davis (K), Gardner (K), Holden (K), Lee (Z) Lucas (K,9), Spearing (E,2)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues N/A Agger returned to the squad and played the whole game.
Suspended N/A Suarez

 

 

Man City Vs Tottenham (3-2)

 

Injuries Man City (0 + 1S) Tottenham (3 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence N/A Gallas (C,11)
Midfield N/A Huddlestone (A,19), Sandro (C,8)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues Richards and Balotelli were both back in the squad. The former started and played the whole game, the latter came on after 65 minutes. King returned to the squad and played the whole game.
Suspended Kompany N/A

 

 

So, the two at the top of the injury league table face each other and the game really could’ve gone either way. Arsenal had two more injuries to contend with, but didn’t suffer an injury during the game (thankfully). It’s pretty much no change in four other teams, all recording three injuries or fewer, hardly crisis levels.

 

Last year we won this fixture with a great performance and single goal by Ramsey however. last year we were in a much better injury position than we were on Sunday. Nine injuries for Sunday’s game Vs four last season. United by comparison, had slightly fewer injuries with seven players out (three last season).

 

Thankfully, around the grounds the results went our way so let’s have a look what happened.

 

The other big game of the week saw Manchester also with the upper-hand, with City winning with a late goal over Spurs. City again failed to even get on the scale, recording no injuries for their game but this was fairly evenly matched by Spurs who only recorded three injuries. The game went in the way of the league leaders and all but ended the Totts title hopes. Maybe this is the start of the decline which will include a thrashing on 26 February, they don’t have the easiest run of games coming up.

 

At Bolton, Liverpool had a very embarrassing defeat. For a team that was looking to challenge for a top-four place, yes they are holding on, this was a day to forget. Against a Bolton team that has been pretty badly hit by injuries all season, and considering Liverpool’s current lack of worries in that area, you wouldn’t expect a scoreline like that. I guess that’s what happens when you rely too heavily on one or two big-name signings.

 

Almost equally bad was Chelsea’s draw at Norwich. They had most of the possession and chances but, like a lot of games this season, they couldn’t find that winning performance. Chelsea are currently the team to watch for us and it could come down to one big day at the Ems in April.

 

After a difficult couple of weeks things could quite easily get back on track and very quickly. Firstly, the cup game against Villa will be a welcome respite from recent league results and for that we’re expecting Arteta and Henry to be available. Secondly the next run of league games are all more than winnable before we get into the big games against Milan, the Totts and Liverpool. Finally, in the next two to three weeks we’ll also be expecting the return of Gervinho, Chamakh, Sagna, Gibbs, Coquelin and Wilshere can’t be that far away either.

 

This season to me has a strong feeling of 2005/2006 season. We struggled in the league then and the Totts were ahead of us for parts of the season. In that season we pulled it out of the bag in the final games and finished in the top-four, just. We also, had an issue at full-back (the year of seven left-backs) but in that season we did also reach the Champiosn League Final. With big players on their way back to fitness and the squad getting back to being more balanced, why not do all that again eh?

Looking ahead: the next two games

By Phil Gregory

After three defeats on the trot, it makes sense to have a look at the next few fixtures coming up to see where our season is going to get back on track. After three league defeats on the bounce, the FA Cup offers a little welcome respite provided Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa side don’t kick us to pieces and add to the injury list. With this tie being at home, we’ll probably see a little bit of rotation in order to rest a few of the more jaded legs amongst our first choice squad. The likes of Squillaci, Rosicky and Chamberlain will be likely to see starts.  I’d definitely start Yennaris too – Djourou really struggled with Nani and the youngster came in and did well. This game would be a good opportunity to see how he does over the course of a high pressure, ninety minute game and he could well make the right back slot his own. With Fabianski back fit, he may too be given the nod – while Szcznesy won’t be getting tired, in the event he gets injured it would be better if Fabianski was match ready.

It’s always a bit of a gamble swapping players out, especially with us being in dire need of a win to bring some positivity back to the team. I expect Wenger to take a long term view though, and those players who will benefit from a breather over the course of the season will get one. I really wouldn’t expect more than three outfield changes though: with results as they are recently we can’t afford to gamble excessively. The FA Cup could yet prove to be a piece of silverware for the Arsenal this season.

What will be crucial for this game, given a potentially makeshift starting eleven and a general lack of confidence, will be the home crowd. Villa aren’t the well-oiled, stubborn machine they were under O’Neill, but they will still pose a threat to what is a very injury-hit Arsenal squad. The home supporters will have to get behind the lads out on the pitch and should do so through thick and thin anyway: we all want Arsenal to win games, and booing is only detrimental to that.

A few days after this weekend’s FA Cup game, we’re travelling away to Bolton. The Reebok stadium is never the kind of place you want to go to with a run of three league defeats behind you, but Bolton have really struggled this season and shouldn’t be too much of a struggle, provided we play to the best of our ability. Perhaps our current plight of having zero fullbacks will be of benefit for this tie, with the set piece threat of Bolton negated somewhat by the presence of the possibly two centrebacks in the fullback positions. Three points at Bolton would come in very handy, and with Blackburn at home after that we could start putting this atrocious run behind us.

Ironically, my ticket for the Bolton game has just come through the door. When I ordered it I didn’t expect we’d be struggling as much as we have been on the run-up to this game, so hopefully my trek over to Bolton isn’t in vain. Fortunately my journey isn’t quite as long as some of the other fans who’ll be in the away stand with me: studying at Leeds Uni means I don’t have quite so far to go to for some of these Northern away days.

 

Untold Ref Review: Arsenal 1 – MU 2

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Ref Reviewer 03

Game Arsenal –ManchesterUnited. Ref in charge was Mike Dean. What was his score on the day?

 

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight

2

OTHER Vermaelen Valencia C Little shove by Vermaelen thoughValenciamight have got away with shirt grabbing just before

1

1

5

OTHER RVP Smalling NC RVP has as much right to the ball – wrong call

0

0

7

OFFSIDE Valencia   C Assumed correct

1

1

9

OTHER AOC Evra C Slight foul – advantage played

1

1

19

OTHER Song Giggs C Trip – advantage played

1

1

26

OFFSIDE Welbeck   C Assumed correct

1

1

30

OTHER Vermaelen Giggs C Held his shirt

1

1

34

OFFSIDE Giggs   C Advantage played

1

1

37

PENALTY     C Rooney purposely went to ground after Song briefly grabbed arm

1

3

39

OTHER Valencia Vermaelen C Foul

1

1

41

OTHER Song Rooney C Song goes into aerial challenge, arm catches Rooney in face

1

1

41

YELLOW Song   NC Gets a word, but should have been booked

0

0

43

OTHER Ramsey Giggs C Pulled him back

1

1

43

YELLOW Ramsey   C Unsporting behavour

1

2

44

OTHER Rafael AOC C Foul – advantage played

1

1

44

YELLOW Rafael   C Similar foul to Ramsey’s, ref is consistent

1

2

44

OFFSIDE Welbeck   C Assumed correct

1

1

45

OTHER Smalling RVP NC Pushed – not given

0

0

45

OTHER Song Giggs C Slight trip

1

1

46

OTHER     NC Man U take quick free kick 5 yards from spot of foul, should have been retaken

0

0

46

GOAL     C Valencia – goal okay

1

3

               
  Half time        

17

23

      CORRECT  

80,95%

82,14%

               
  YELLOW      

2

3

66,67

  RED      

0

0

 
  PENALTY      

1

1

100,00

  GOAL      

1

1

100,00

  OTHER      

3

4

75,00

               
         

7

9

77,78

               
  OFFSIDE      

4

4

100,00

               
  Second half          
               

47

OTHER RVP Valencia C Trip

1

1

54

OTHER Song Welbeck NC Trip awarded but Song won ball fairly

0

0

58

PENALTY     C Evra had arms tight into body, hard shot from close distance – right not to give pen

1

3

60

OTHER Valencia Vermaelen C Challenged with raised arm

1

1

63

OFFSIDE Evra   NC Was level, however shot was saved before whistle

0

0

65

OTHER     NC Goal kick given to Man U but ball played out byValencia

0

0

65

OTHER Evra Walcott NC Trip – not given

0

0

66

OTHER Giggs Ramsey NC Pushed off ball – not given

0

0

67

OTHER     NC Szczesney was injured from the challenge by Welbeck. Ref should stop play when the keeper is injured

0

0

71

GOAL     C RVP – goal okay

1

3

72

OTHER Koscielny Nani C Trip from behind

1

1

72

YELLOW Koscielny   C He was out of position and determined to foul Nani – deserved

1

2

77

OTHER Welbeck Koscielny C Body check

1

1

80

OTHER Carrick Ramsey C Trip

1

1

81

OTHER Song Rooney C Trip

1

1

81

GOAL     C Welbeck – goal okay

1

3

83

OTHER Ramsey Rooney C Jumped a bit late into Rooney

1

1

85

YELLOW RVP   NC Normally it’s okay to caution for dissent, but Rooney did the same thing earlier without getting booked

0

0

86

OTHER Rosicky Rooney C Trip from behind

1

1

86

YELLOW Rosicky   C Deserved

1

2

87

OTHER Scholes   C Handball – perhaps lucky not to have been booked for kicking ball away after whistle

1

1

88

OTHER Koscielny Welbeck C Shove

1

1

90

OTHER Evra Walcott C Lunged head first into Walcott

1

1

90

YELLOW Evra   C Yellow but could easily have been red

1

2

90

OTHER     NC 5 added minutes are shown – should be 8

0

0

92

OTHER Vermaelen Park C Block

1

1

92

OTHER Vermaelen Park C Hold

1

1

95

OTHER Song Rooney C Blocked his run/Took out of play – advantage played

1

1

95

YELLOW Song   C Unsporting behavour

1

2

               
      2nd half score    
  TOTAL        

21

31

  %   CORRECT  

72,41%

77,50%

               
  YELLOW      

4

5

80,00

  RED      

0

0

 
  PENALTY      

1

1

100,00

  GOAL      

2

2

100,00

  OTHER      

3

6

50,00

               
         

10

14

71,43

               
  OFFSIDE      

0

1

0,00

               
      TOTAL SCORE    
               
  TOTAL        

38

54

  %   CORRECT  

76,00%

79,41%

               
  YELLOW      

6

8

75,00

  RED      

0

0

 
  PENALTY      

2

2

100,00

  GOAL      

3

3

100,00

  OTHER      

6

10

60,00

               
         

17

23

73,91

               
  OFFSIDE      

4

5

80,00

               
  NEW   1st half 2nd half Total   %
  WRONG NC F ARS 1

0

1

1

   
    NCF ARS 2

1

0

1

   
    NCF ARS 3

0

0

0

   
    Total normal

0

1

1

FA ARS

10,00%

    Total important

1

0

1

FA ARS

50,00%

    General total

1

1

2

FA ARS

16,67%

               
  WRONG NC F MU 1

3

6

9

   
    NC F MU 2

0

1

1

   
    NC F MU 3

0

0

0

   
    Total normal

3

6

9

FA MU

90,00%

    Total important

0

1

1

FA MU

50,00%

    General total

3

7

10

FA MU

83,33%

               
    TOTAL NORMAL WRONG

10

   
    TOTAL IMPORTANT WRONG

2

   
    GENERAL TOTAL  

12

   
               
  CORRECT CF ARS 1

6

5

11

   
    CF ARS 2

1

1

2

   
    CF ARS 3

1

1

2

   
    Total normal

6

5

11

   
    Total important

2

2

4

   
               
  CORRECT CF MU 1

7

9

16

   
    CF MU 2

1

3

4

   
    CF MU3

1

2

3

   
    Total normal

7

9

16

   
    Total Important

2

5

7

   
               
    Foul ARS

7

9

16

   
    FOUL MU

3

7

10

   
               
  OLD VERSION          
  Correct calls For Arsenal

15

39,47%

 
      For Man Utd

23

60,53%

 
      Total correct calls

38

   
               
  Wrong calls Against Arsenal

10

83,33%

 
      Against Man Utd

2

16,67%

 
      Total  

12

   
               
  Total fouls made by Arsenal  

16

61,54%

 
      Man Utd

10

38,46%

 
      Total  

26

   

 

 

 

The first half went pretty much without incident until the 37th minute when Wayne Rooney fell to ground after a little tug by Song. Replays show that Rooney was using his arm to hold off Song when the Arsenal midfielder grabbed it briefly. Rooney then dropped to ground and appealed for a penalty. For me this was a 50-50 penalty. There was contact but nothing that would make Rooney fall like that, and thus I feel the ref was right in both not giving the penalty and in not booking Rooney.

A few minutes later Rooney was in the spotlight again as Song went up to dispute a header but arrived late and with his arm raised. It wasn’t particularly violent but I felt it warranted a booking, however Song was fortunate just to get a verbal warning.

Dean was in no mood for antics after that and when Ramsey draped his arms around Giggs and pulled him back, Dean was quick to book Ramsey. Dean did show consistency by booking Rafael Silva for a similar foul a minute later.

In the 44th minute it was interesting to see that Mike Dean made Arsenal retake a kick for an offside offense against Welbeck. I suspect it was because it wasn’t taken from the spot of the infraction.

Now, contrast this with what Man United did two minutes later. Following a slight trip by Song on Giggs, Manchester United took a quick free kick 5 yards from the spot of the foul. They caught Arsenal a bit off guard made a quick attack down the left flank. Arsenal managed to clear the ball but they seemed to be rattled.

Man United took the ball down the pitch again, and again Arsenal cleared, but the third time was a charm for Manchester as Giggs had space to cross the ball perfectly for Valencia on the far post. The goal was scored legitimately and I concur with that.

Overall Mike Dean had a fairly good first half scoring 82%. His performance in the second half wouldn’t be as good.

In the 58th minute, Arsenal had a penalty shout when Ramsey’s shot was blocked by Patrice Evra. The ball hit Evra on the arm but it was a hard shot from close range and Evra’s arms were tight into his body – an example of ball to arm and Dean was right to play on.

Dean raised a few eyebrows in the 67th minute when did not stop play when Arsenal’s goalkeeper was visibly injured after making a save against Welbeck. If a goalkeeper is injured the ref should always stop play to see if he is alright or needs treatment. Arsenal were lucky that United did not muster an attack on goal at that time. Dean did finally allow Szczesny to get treatment, but it was only after Evra’s cross was played out for a corner by Koscielny. Later in the match Dean was also slow to stop play when Theo Walcott knocked himself unconscious when his head hit the ground, though at least this time he did stop play when United paused on the ball at midfield.

Nani also took a knock when Koscielny was out of position upfield and tackled Nani from behind for which he was duly booked. Play was stopped for 3½ minutes while Nani received treatment on the pitch and each team made a substitution. Arsenal fans, and even team captain Robin himself, were shocked when Oxlade-Chamberlain was the one to be replaced after he had put in a stellar performance on his first start in the Premier League.

His replacement was Andre Arshavin and he was easily beaten by Valencia who ended up laying the ball off for Welbeck to score what would be the winning goal in the 81st minute.

From that point on, Manchester took their time on each throw-in, free kick, etc., and when Evra let the ball go past without collecting it for the throw-in, Van Persie ran up to Dean probably to question why he was letting Evra get away with that. Dean immediately pulled a yellow card out of his pocket and booked Van Persie.

Now, refs don’t like it when players start running up to them and telling them how to do their job, but in this case it is a bit different. For one thing, Evra was wasting time and Dean wasn’t doing much about it, and more importantly there was the incident earlier in the half when Mertesacker cleared the ball off the line and Rooney ran up to the ref and was asking for a penalty. So why is Robin booked when Rooney wasn’t earlier for the same offense? As a side note, and I know many of you may find this hard to believe, but Wayne Rooney has not received a single card in the Premiership this season.

So as we approached 90 minutes, how much injury time would we see? Well, if you account for the injuries to Szczesny, Nani, and Walcott, play was stopped for nearly 6 minutes in total for those three injuries. There were also stoppages for bookings to Evra for example who lunged head first into Walcott and came off worse for it. Adding substitutions, time wasting, and time for the ref to have a word for players, there should have been at least 8 minutes added on. The board showed only 5.

Arsenal couldn’t manage to find an equalizing goal in the final minutes, although Song did manage to pick up his 7th card of the season for a block which took Rooney out the play of a Manchester counter-attack.

Dean scored 76% on the day, and wrong calls were in favour of Manchester United 10 to 2.

The loss was a bitter pill for Arsenal fans to take but at least they can take some consolation in the impressive performances by Nico Yennaris and especially Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who seems certain to be an English International standout sooner rather than later.

Who is to blame but also who should be given credit?

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

When Arsenal lose a game it is sometimes hard to keep the perspective. We are angry and focus on something that went wrong and we just cannot see the bigger picture. I think it is fair to say that our defeat against United can be branded as such a defeat. If one would have believed some of the fans it was as if we had been battered and lost 8-2. It was as if we had no chance at all in the game and we were poor.

I didn’t have that impression during the game. Then we had the upper hand, then United, then us again, then United again. For me this was the pattern of a top game between two good teams. But the final score is what it is and we lost the game. It could have gone our way if we would have taken our chances a bit better. In top games it is vital to take your chances and we let ourselves down in that compartment.

How come some blame the manager for all and everything when we lose but when we win it is the players that have done the job. It is always a mix of both. Not just one to blame. Except when it is the referee.

Of course it is the manager that picks the team and does the substitutions. But once out there it is the players on the field that have to do the job. When Robin scores a brilliant winning goal it is Robin that gets the praise, not the manager. Robin gets the deserved praise from all of us and we don’t give credit to the manager for having bought him, worked with him on the training ground, developed him and turned him from an injury prone player in a strong centre forward. When Robin misses an open chance to put us level it suddenly is the fault of the manager when we lose the game at the end of the day. And for those who see this as putting blame on Van Persie they should try to understand what I say. This is not an attack on Van Persie as I think that making mistakes is just part of football. Sh*t happens sometimes. And if you saw Robin his face after his miss that was 100 times more a “NOOOO” expression than the one with the substitution later on.

I know people have to vent their frustration a bit  but it never is just the one or the other that should be given credit or the blame. Or you praise all of them or you blame all of them. But blaming only one person when things go wrong and never praising him when things go right is a bit simple.

If we now go back to winter of 2009. A cold winter with lots of snow and bad weather. For the whole month of January people were criticising Wenger because he didn’t bought Arshavin. At the last minute of the transfer deadline we did sign him. A big money signing. Well for Arsenal it was a big money signing. For other teams that we compete with it was a small change signing. Now with the amount of people being on the back of Arshavin saying he is useless and no good I really wonder how on earth can they ask us to sign a player like let us say Hazard for maybe the double amount of money than we paid for Arshavin.

For a lot of the angry people out there Arshavin is no good at all. And yet most of the people who want him out now, where the same people that are shouting the ‘spend some f*cking money’. We did spend some f*cking money on Arshavin and apparently it wasn’t a big success. He was what we were missing: older, experienced, ….. But now those people who want us to spend money want to get rid of him. Now let us just suppose for a moment that Arshavin was a failure at the end. Shouldn’t this be a warning sign to be careful when you are spending money? It’s not just sign someone as long as he costs a lot of money. Money that is gone forever after that by the way.

So spending a lot of money and not knowing how it will work out is always a risk and we are not in a situation like Chelsea or other City’s who can spend 50M on a player that doesn’t score. Even Arshavin scored more goals than Torres did last year. If we would have given 50M on Torres last January that would have been a terrible mistake.

But does our manager dares to take a risk at times? I think he does. I remember some part of the Arsenal fan base going wild and asking Wenger to be sacked this summer. When Wenger bought Oxlade-Chamberlain for a big amount of money for a 18 year old boy it was a risk.  And some fans saying: “yeah, just what we needed. Another youngster, another unproven player”. And some fans even started the disgusting insinuations about Wenger. Okay, scrap the word fans in that last sentence will you.

Wenger did spend the f*cking money on Oxlade Chamberlain. And he had his plan. The plan to bring him slowly. Not just throw him in the water and see if he can stay afloat or not. No  he brought him slowly.

And every time Wenger played him you could see a lot of promise. But for those who had their eyes open you could also see that he lacked a lot of things. His tracking back was… well not that great in fact. Losing possession at times and places you don’t want to lose it. You could see the potential but also the need to work hard on the flaws in his game.

Last night he got his first PL start. And this against Manchester United. The absence of Gervinho and Henry gave him a chance. And it was Wenger who preferred Oxlade-Chamberlain above Arshavin to start this game. He could have gone for Arshavin. But our manager made a brave decision to start with the youngster.

The youngster didn’t let him down. In fact for a rookie of 18 years old he did a superb job. Of course this is down to the talent Oxlade-Chamberlain has. It is down to the work of the youth academy of Southampton where he got his training and got his chance in the first team. But if you compare the Oxlade-Chamberlain from July with the one from now the difference is immense. And that my dear Gooners is down to Arsenal. I’m not even saying it is down to Wenger himself. No it is down to the entire coaching staff that has worked with him.

Nobody seems to give credit to Wenger for having the guts to start with Oxlade-Chamberlain in such a game. That was in fact the first substitution Wenger made compared to last weeks game when he started with Arshavin remember. People blame Wenger for the substitution during the game. But then we should also praise him for starting the game with Oxlade-Chamberlain. If it hadn’t been for Wenger Oxlade-Chamberlain would not be an Arsenal player. Perhaps he would have been a United player now….

But the strange thing is that Oxlade-Chamberlain going from ‘What??? That kind of money for another unproven kid????” has turned in to “he must put him on the field player”.  And when he is taken off in his first game in the PL that he started the manager knows nothing at all. He has lost it and he is useless. Don’t forget it is that same manager who put him on the field and took a huge risk by doing this. Imagine if Oxlade-Chamberlain would have had a poor game? Just imagine what those same people would say? You know what they would say. It would be something like this: “Has Wenger lost his mind? Starting a young kid against United? and then they would shout…”spend some f*cking money “

Maybe you can blame Wenger for taking Oxlade-Chamberlain off the field. In fact this was the most costly in money substitution ever made by Arsenal. A 15M player leaving for another 15M coming on the field.   But don’t forget who put him there in the first place.  Would you have started him in this game? Would you have taken the risk with “oh no another youngster”? Wenger took the risk. So before the game he was a great manager for putting Oxlade-Chamberlain on the field. And suddenly after 75 minutes he knows nothing and is a retarded fool? Somehow the logic of this escapes me.  It’s always easy to speak with hindsight like many do.

Oh and lets be careful with Oxlade-Chamberlain. He looks strong and has a firm body but please let us not play him until he can’t play any more. Let us not burn his wings before he can completely fly.  Remember Jack will you.  And let us hope and pray that whenever Oxlade-Chamberlain plays a bad game in the near or further future,  he will not be booed by the same people who booed on Sunday.

Because for some fans you can go from hero to zero very fast.

Untold Ref Review: Tottenham 1 – 0 Sunderland

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

 

By Ref Reviewer 03

Tottenham hosted Sunderland and the ref was Mike Dean.  As DogFace has pointed out, Harry Redknapp’s sides have done very well under Mike Dean.  Let’s see how they fared.

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight
3 OTHER Parker   C Handball 1 1
5 OFFSIDE Adebayor   C Assumed correct 1 1
8 OFFSIDE Adebayor   C Assumed correct 1 1
8 OTHER Wickham Gallas C Backed in under him 1 1
11 OTHER Richardson Modric NC Shove – not given 0 0
20 OFFSIDE Wickham   C Assumed correct 1 1
22 OFFSIDE Adebayor   C Correct 1 1
22 OTHER Gallas Wickham NC Climbed over him – not given but Sun. kept possession 0 0
27 OTHER     NC Dean stopped play 2 minutes to let Tottenham substitute Lennon 0 0
29 OTHER Walker   NC Raised boot – not given 0 0
35 OFFSIDE Adebayor   C Assumed correct 1 1
38 OTHER Van der Vaart C Assumed correct 1 1
38 OTHER Gallas Wickham C Push 1 1
40 OFFSIDE Sessegnon C Assumed correct 1 1
41 OTHER King   C Handball 1 1
44 OTHER Walker Sessegnon C Foul 1 1
48 OTHER Walker Bardsley C Lunged in, leg extended, studs showing 1 1
48 YELLOW Walker   NC This was a dangerous lunge – could have been sent off, Dean just talked to him 0 0
               
  Half time         13 13
      CORRECT   72,22% 68,42%
               
  YELLOW       0 1 0,00
  RED       0 0  
  PENALTY       0 0  
  GOAL       0 0  
  OTHER       1 1 100,00
               
          1 2 50,00
               
  OFFSIDE       6 6 100,00
               
  Second half          
               
47 OTHER Pavlyuchenko C Handball 1 1
48 OTHER Walker Bendtner C Shove 1 1
49 OTHER Assou-Ekotto Vaughan C Lost possession then blatantly tripped opponent 1 1
49 YELLOW Assou-Ekotto C Unsporting behaviour 1 2
50 OTHER Richardson Modric C Push 1 1
50 YELLOW Richardson C Kicked ball away after whistle 1 2
59 OFFSIDE Adebayor   C Assumed correct 1 1
61 GOAL     C Pavlyuchenko – goal okay 1 3
62 YELLOW Parker   NC Dived trying to win a free kick – should have been booked 0 0
63 OTHER Larson Modric NC Modric used arm to hold off defender which threw himself off balance – wrong call 0 0
64 OTHER Sandro Sessegnon NC Pulled his arm back then dispossessed him – not given 0 0
65 OTHER Walker Richardson NC Push – not given 0 0
66 OTHER Vaughan Pavlyuchenko C Trip 1 1
66 YELLOW Vaughan   C Missed with his left foot then caught him with his right 1 2
69 OTHER Gallas Bendtner NC Jumped knee into Bendtner to win header – not given 0 0
72 OTHER Colback Sandro C Pulled him back 1 1
74 OTHER Assou-Ekotto NC Handball not given – blocked Sunderland clearance and allowed Tottenham a shot 0 0
78 PENALTY     C Unintentional handbal by Sund. from close range – good no call 1 3
78 OTHER Gardener Van der Vaart C Pushing/pulling 1 1
80 OTHER Walker Sessegnon NC Blatantly shoved off the ball – not given 0 0
80 OTHER Walker Brown NC Shove on defender – not given 0 0
80 OTHER Bramble Pavlyuchenko C Trip on edge of box 1 1
80 PENALTY     C Not given – very close call as to if foul was on the line or just outside – right not to give it if in doubt 1 3
80 OTHER Gardener   NC Didn’t respect 10 yards – free kick should have been retaken 0 0
83 OTHER Gallas Bendtner NC Ran into him as he headed ball – not given 0 0
87 OFFSIDE Adebayor   C Assumed correct 1 1
91 OTHER Gardener Rose C Trip 1 1
92 OTHER Walker McClean C Pushed off ball – not given 0 0
92 OTHER Livermore Vaughan NC Challenged for ball unfairly, studs showing 0 0
92 OTHER Larson Parker NC Trip – not given 0 0
               
      2nd half score    
  TOTAL         17 26
  %   CORRECT   56,67% 65,00%
               
  YELLOW       3 4 75,00
  RED       0 0  
  PENALTY       2 2 100,00
  GOAL       1 1 100,00
  OTHER       0 2 0,00
               
          6 9 66,67
               
  OFFSIDE       2 2 100,00
               
      TOTAL SCORE    
               
  TOTAL         30 39
  %   CORRECT   62,50% 66,10%
               
  YELLOW       3 5 60,00
  RED       0 0  
  PENALTY       2 2 100,00
  GOAL       1 1 100,00
  OTHER       1 3 33,33
               
          7 11 63,64
               
  OFFSIDE       8 8 100,00
               
  NEW TEST 1st half 2nd half Total   %
  WRONG NC F TOT 1 3 10 13    
    NCF TOT 2 1 1 2    
    NCF TOT 3 0 0 0    
    Total normal 3 10 13 FA TOT 81,25%
    Total important 1 1 2 FA TOT 100,00%
    General total 4 11 15 FA TOT 83,33%
               
  WRONG NC F SUN 1 1 2 3    
    NC F SUN 2 0 0 0    
    NC F SUN 3 0 0 0    
    Total normal 1 2 3 FA SUN 18,75%
    Total important 0 0 0 FA SUN 0,00%
    General total 1 2 3 FA SUN 16,67%
               
    TOTAL NORMAL WRONG 16    
    TOTAL IMPORTANT WRONG 2    
    GENERAL TOTAL   18    
               
  CORRECT CF TOT 1 3 6 9    
    CF TOT 2 0 2 2    
    CF TOT 3 0 1 1    
    Total normal 3 6 9    
    Total important 0 3 3    
               
  CORRECT CF SUN 1 10 5 15    
    CF SUN 2 0 1 1    
    CF SUN3 0 2 2    
    Total normal 10 5 15    
    Total Important 0 3 3    
               
    Foul TOT 8 12 20    
    FOUL SUN 2 7 9    
               
  OLD VERSION          
  Correct calls For Tottenham 9 37,50%  
      For Sunderland 15 62,50%  
      Total correct calls 24    
               
  Wrong calls Against Tottenham 3 16,67%  
      Against Sunderland 15 83,33%  
      Total   18    
               
  Total fouls made by Tottenham 20 68,97%  
      Sunderland 9 31,03%  
      Total   29    

The first half had a couple of things stand out.  First in the 25th minute, Aaron Lennon suddenly became hurt and needed to be substituted.  Mike Dean stopped play for 2 minutes allowing Tottenham all the time they needed to get Pavlyuchenko ready to substitute Lennon.  The ref should have had Lennon receive treatment off the pitch and continued play.

At the end of the first half, Tottenham’s young right back, Kyle Walker, made an awful lunge on Phillip Bardsley, who had just pushed the ball to the side.  Walker lunged in leg-extended, studs-up, and caught Bardsley slightly in the foot.  Personally, I would have sent off Walker for this kind of challenge, though I suppose most EPL refs would probably only give it as a yellow, and I marked it as such.  Nonetheless there is no question that this was a yellow card offense at the very least yet the only punishment Walker got was a talking to by Mike Dean.

In the early stages of the 2nd half, Dean correctly made a couple of bookings for minor incidents (1 to each side), and then in the 61st minute Tottenham opened the scoring with a correctly scored goal by Pavlyuchenko.

From that point on calls for the most part went against Sunderland although there were a couple of minor penalty shouts for Tottenham correctly turned down, one being an unintentional handball from close range, the other being a trip on Pavlyuchenko just outside the penalty area.

Overall wrong decisions favoured Tottenham by a margin of 15 to 3, and Mike Dean’s score on the day rated only at 62.50%.

The worst part of this defeat and a happy birthday wish to Opa Wim

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

Damned Robin look what you have done now. Opa Wim celebrated his 91th birthday and you ruined his day.  We will be back on the substitution later on but for me we lost this match because Robin missed a golden chance when we were 1-0 down early in the second half.
Rosicky capitalized from a slip from Smalling and ran to the United goal, then he gave the ball to Robin who did everything right at first. Avoiding two defenders to have a clear sight of goal and then ….misfiring from close range in an almost empty net.  That was for me the turning point of the game. This wasn’t Wenger, this wasn’t Arshavin: this was Robin. But as I am a supporter I will not get on his back. Shit happens and this was a shit shot. The look on his face told it all and what a luck he has been around for a while now because such a miss would kill a young player. Or are we going to boo him next time around?

The first half we had the better of the game in the opening stages. But we couldn’t capitalise from the few occasions we could creat. Nerves and pressure I think?  United wasn’t that good in the opening exchanges in the game. But the further the game went on, the better United became in the first half. And when they scored you could have felt it coming. Giggs got too much time and Vermaelen got beaten in the air for once. But with Vermaelen only being ready at the last minute who are we to blame him for this. Or are we going to boo him next time around?

In the second half we saw the PL debut of Nico Yennaris at right back. He had to look Nani in the eyes. I can imagine easier starts for a young lad. But my boy…. what a performance from the young lad. I think he did very well and after the opening nerves he became better and better. Whatever comes from this day on, I sure wouldn’t mind seeing him playing as long as Sagna or Jenkinson are not fit.  For those who like to boo our own players: he is one of the youth project you know. So if you want to boo him: just leave the stadium and never come back will you.

With a whole team missing, with our 11th choice right back on the field we gave United a game in the second half. We had by far the better chances and we just spilled them. Maybe we should boo our own players for that?  Van Persie, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain all could and some should have scored the equaliser earlier then it finally arrived. That is where I felt the game was lost.  In a top game you have to take your chances or you will pay for it.
United could play the counter attack, as they like to do when 1-0 up against a team. And even though Mertesacker might be a bit slow in the first meters when it comes to sprinting he showed what a German player is all about when Wellbeck got away from him and played the ball past Szczesny only to see our big Germand pole using his long legs to kick the ball away before it could cross the line. This was brilliant defending from my part as many would have stopped running after being beaten but he carried on because he knew what could happen. Experience they call this and sometimes this is more important for a defender than being fast in the first meters.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had a great game in his first PL start or have I missed a start before? What a player we have in our hands. Wenger has brought him slowly to make sure that when he would play him he wouldn’t disappoint. Because with our own fans ready to boo our own players imagine what would have happened if he would have a bad game? Yeah, I could imagine a few fans booing the youngster. However Wenger felt he was ready to perform and this in a top game! Not an easy thing and a brave thing to do. Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered and had a great game. Taken in account that this was his first start in the PL, and against United you couldn’t ask for more. Well an assist was more we could ask. Oxlade-Chamberlain provided one.  Looks like we have another great young player ready to shine for the Arsenal. Well done to The Ox!

I think I have arrived at the substitution point by now. Was he suffering from cramps? If so Wenger was right to substitute him. Yes he had a great game but having a player on the field who could not run and fight completely is a risk. And imagine him getting an injury if he had kept him on the field. But what followed was something that made me sick.
At 1-1 with the game ready to be taken some of our supporters found it necessary to boo a player that we bring on the field. Now I can understand that you didn’t like the fact that The Ox was taken off the field. I have no problem with that as I also wasn’t happy with him going off.

BUT WHY ON EARTH DO YOU STUPID TWATS THEN BOO A PLAYER THAT IS ENTERING THE FIELD FOR US????????
Yeah, that sure must have been a great motivation for Arshavin. That surely will have made him feel welcome. That surely will have inspired him to give his all. I think that of all those who booed him in fact that most of them have been yelling at Wenger a few years ago in the January transfer window that Wenger should be sacked if we didn’t sign him. Arshavin was one of our most expensive players and yes he is declining a bit. BUT WHY ON EARTH DO YOU BOO HIME EVEN BEFORE HE HAS KICKED A BALL????????

Nobody could foresee that he would be involved in the second United goal at that time. But maybe your booing didn’t inspire him to do like he did last year when he came on against United when we were leading 1-0. He then made a few tackles and won them to our surprise. Maybe because on that day we cheered for him when he came on. Now we could here boos around the ground by some miserable twats.  Last season he came on against Barcelona to score our second goal and to seal our win against Barcelona. Don’t you think this man still deserves a little respect???? As long as he is an Arsenal player he deserves our respect in fact. And no reason is good enough for me to boo an Arsenal player when he enters the field to play for Arsenal. NO REASON!

For those who booed him when he came on I can only say that I feel that you added to our defeat.  How would you feel when you would be Arshavin?  Haven’t you learned anything from Eboue? Once the booing began in that game he lost it completely. I really cannot believe that you boo a player that comes on the field and that you think this would be helping the team.

Why didn’t you support the 11 players on the field for Gods sake? Because it was what they needed. They didn’t needed to hear boo from their own fans.

Maybe this will be the end for Arshavin at Arsenal. Maybe Wenger will sell him now and try to bring in another player in his place. And maybe that player would hold Oxlade-Chamberlain back in the next weeks/months/years. Now we had a great young player seemingly ready to start games for us and be very great for us in the future and we even have an older player who didn’t moan that much for sitting on the bench. Maybe now he will want to move on (and I cannot blame him for this). My only suggestion would be for those who booed a new Arsenal player entering the field: If Arshavin leaves us this season why don’t you just jog along with him. And then the empty spaces you leave behind in the Emirates could be filled with supporters that are willing to support every single player we put on the field. If  you like him or not.

Because it is only with supporting our players that we will get the best out of them, not by booing them.

PS: and still Opa Wim (Opa in Dutch= grandfather) I want to wish you a happy birthday. And no boos from me, not even for Robin…

RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Manchester United (22/01/2012 – 16:00)



Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By DogFace

  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Assistant 1: Stuart Burt
  • Assistant 2: Adam Watts
  • 4th Official: Phil Dowd

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch… What can I say – it’s Mike Dean and Phil Dowd and we all know what that means don’t we?

Well – maybe we do and maybe we don’t – if we look at the bigger picture there are many conflicts of interest in this match with regards to the markets and the potential bias that may exist from the officials.

I mention the markets as, it seems more often than not, we are playing in yet another game that is boiling under the spotlight of maximum black market liquidity – I would estimate something in the region of three billion quid will be swilling around this market… so, I suppose, it’s just as well we have the Cheshire cat and the Staffie in charge of it i.e. men with experience.

I’m particularly interested in this match, not least because I’ll be there, but also because it’s going to be revealing in terms of exactly how it is officiated – the simple perspective is to say that all refs love Manchester United but this is not so. There are, of course, referee’s that do swerve towards Ferguson, others are more Abramovich minded, there’s the curious case of Harry Redknapp – and then there’s the power shift of influence to Manchester City combined with a manager that certainly knows how to park the big golden bus when he’s looking at a hiding to nothing and when to substitute certain players [who, for instance, like to drive around with large sums of cash on the passenger seat of their car] that may or may not be in a goal scoring mood that day… if only Wenger had his information, ruthless cynicism and influence – combined with his football mind and the resources we have he would dominate the game – and that is my only criticism of Arsène Wenger; his faith in football and love for the game… which just goes to show what a fucked up world we live in.

It’s sometimes difficult for me to write these articles as I am aware that there is a certain perception of the game, a certain line that I cannot cross and there are certain things that I cannot say – RefWatch is a work in progress, a project of mine that, as a concept, I have thought through and is the result of years of study – but this is never really how I imagined I’d express what needs to be said… I’m still not entirely convinced that anyone really reads these things but I have noticed stirings and changes in perception creeping in [to the fanbase] which I am sure that I, the rest of the Untold crew and others who will remain nameless, have catalysed in our own small way. Even so – it’s still “ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin'” – but that will change; change is coming and a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Football in England is in a very bad shape in terms of its integrity and it has reached the point where this is undeniable – actually, it reached it over Christmas when other leagues were on their winter break all eyes [and markets] turned to the EPL and Portugal with the inevitable brand-tarnishing results (thanks go to Phil Gregory for sending me this link):

The bookies claw some back.

It seems that the recession is hitting everyone and times are hard, thrills are cheaper – as your arms get shorter your pockets get deeper.

I know… I’m supposed to be talking about Mike Dean and here I am waffling all this crazy shit about how not all referees are in love With Manchester United and how the weight of money gambled on a match will affect the outcome and all that other stuff… so I’ll get back to it and focus a bit more on the ‘relevant’ areas with a couple of graphs on Dean that I *tweeted* in the week.

It seems that there are two fat streaks of success romping though Mike Dean’s figures and I’m going to have to demonstrate this over two graphs, in each graph I will use 3 entities for clarity.

The first graph is a visual representation of how 3 selected teams fare under Mike Dean:

Now just check out that fat Chelsea streak – and, in case you’ve forgotten, fatness on this graph indicates Points Per Game and position against the handicap (Y Axis) represents relative performance with zero being ‘normal’. Arsenal haven’t got much for a few seasons now from Dean have we? Hmm… Chealsea though have been smashing it under Dean since Abramovich weaved his ‘magic’.

In this second graph, I will demonstrate another rich vein of ‘over performance’. This graph is based on Managers/Referee – but we’ll use Arsenal and Manchester United again for reference (apologies for the colours shifting – it’s alphabetical order I’m afraid):

And here we see the curious case of Harry Redknapp in Mike Dean’s data… what can we deduce from this? We could say that Dean is Abramovich/Redknapp leaning – yes, but – how might this affect this match and what, if any, influence might come from the major players on the one man who effectively controls, with a whistle, a 3 billion pound market? Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Speaking of which – here’s the Asian Handicap (betting line) market:

Home Handicap Away
2.175 0 – 0 1.725

And the Under/Over market:

Over Handicap Under
1.800 2 1/2 2.100

This is a flat market – which is interesting as it’s priced up as there being nothing in it between the two teams and a draw will refund your stake – Arsenal are the long odds at 2.175. So – gut feeling – if you HAD to bet your life savings on one team winning – then pick your team now… and then, as it’s Sunday afternoon, go the other way.

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Mike Leslie Dean
  • Date of birth: 02-Jun-1968 (Age 44)
  • Place of birth: The Wirral
  • Resides: Cheshire
  • EPL/ECH Referee Since: 1999/2000
  • EPL/ECH Games to date: 308

Mike Dean
Mike Dean – Where black is the colour, where none is the number.

It’s Mike Dean again… you remember him from that last RefWatch I did on him – and also the fabulous Ref Reviews from our resident professionals:

Season Score Match
2011/2012 70.450% Newcastle United 0 – 3 Chelsea
2011/2012 54.550% Arsenal 1 – 1 Fulham
2011/2012 80.000% Manchester City 4 – 0 Swansea City
2011/2012 83.330% Chelsea 4 – 1 Swansea City
2011/2012 68.290% Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Arsenal
2011/2012 77.370% Blackburn Rovers 0 – 1 Chelsea
Average Score: 72.332%

Let’s check out his stats!

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Mike Dean has had 29 games for Arsenal consisting of 13 wins, 10 draws and 6 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 4th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 1.69 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 19th with an average negative swing of -0.21.

Arsenal are currently in 22nd in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 2.00 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 26th with an overall average of 5.72 FPB.

From the above graph it’s fairly clear to see that Mike Dean has had a punitive streak for Arsenal against their opposition – that is until this season where the orange and red lines have crossed over. The above ‘overall’ summaries are a bit distorted from our time with him pre-2009/2010 where we did ok… since then we have had an appauling run of form – this was about the same time that Mike Riley replaced Keith Hackett as manager of the PGMOL – so feel free to speculate about the synchronicity of that.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

Of late, most of our bookings have been in the defence and, although our average number of bookings has dropped of late, they have come much earlier in the game – which makes it all much of a muchness. Our Midfield bookings have dropped steadily over the seasons but I’m sure, if Song is starting tomorrow, Mike Dean will address that by flinging a card his way at the first opportunity… I’m being a little facetious now – the early DM card is always a good marker of a tilted pitch – one of DogFace’s top tips for you there to trade against on the in-play.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

Our opposition’s bookings have been fairly sporadic over the seasons under Dean – but we can see a fat Midfield line trending towards the halfway mark – not much in the defence though… shame – could explain our lack of form though given our penchant for the ‘indirect’ goal i.e. a defence that can do what it takes to break an attack will be more suceptible to a ‘hump it at the big lad’ approach to the game.

Let’s move on now to see how Manchester United fare under the whistle of Mike Dean:

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Mike Dean has had 28 games for Manchester United consisting of 18 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses.

Manchester United are currently in 2nd in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 2.11 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Manchester United come 9th with an average positive swing of 0.10.

Manchester United are currently in 8th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 1.43 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Manchester United come 8th with an overall average of 8.03 FPB.

Manchester United are consistent performers under Mike Dean with not only an overall average of 2.11 PPG but, it seems, that they get close to this every season. It is fair to say though that Manchester United never really over-perform and this is backed up by the overall AHS nearly breaking even at 0.10 – all in all Manchester United’s figures under Mike Dean look pretty normal for a team in their position. This season though – you can see Manchester United at are a record low, in terms of relative performance, yet still taking consistent points.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Manchester United took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

It’s encouraging to see that bookings to Manchester United’s midfield are trending earlier over the seasons and average out at this season at around the 20 minute mark. There are also a few bookings to the defence this season averaging around the half way mark.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Manchester United’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

You can really see the bookings dropping off for Manchester United’s opposition this season and this fit’s with the graph above [Mike Dean V. Manchester United (EPL)] – in which we see Manchester United’s opposition getting away with more in the challenge in terms of Fouls Per Booking. These figures have been trending less and later for a good season and a half now.

Let’s move on now to check out how Mike Dean performs against selected teams in the EPL:

The ine thickness represents the average Points Per Game and the position of the line against the vertical axis represents the average swing againd the handicap.

And now we come full circle in this RefWatch – this is the same graph (with the addition of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur) that I showed you at the start of the article. We can see that Arsenal perform so very, very badly – while Chelsea have performed so very well. Tottenham have done well since the arrival of Harry Redknapp and Manchester City are currently enjoying rude form but are erratic. Manchester Untited have done ok but are currently on a bit of a downer performance wise.

The other thing that’s worthy of a bit of a mention is that this match, this über-majassive gambling extravaganza of a match, will also be the first EPL match ever to be televised live by a U.S. over-the-air network – how exciting!

The Predictortron gives Arsenal a -1.002404 disadvantage… but this is, after all, a Sunday afternoon – so who knows what could happen.


Untold Index
History Index
Making the Arsenal

The preview is back – and I’ve certainly picked a good game for it. Arsenal versus United.

And with the arrival of Manchester United to the Emirates, so to there is the slightly less heralded return of myself to the exalted company of the Untold bloggers. Fortunately Tony hadn’t put me on probation for crimes against sportswriting, in actual fact I had to put my blogging commitments on pause with university workload increasing drastically around the exam period. I had actually hoped to be back in place for the Swansea game as my exams were over in the days before that – had I been, I can’t imagine I would have anticipated that result correctly – but I got a call from a prospective employer and exam preparation which had just begun to tail off was replaced with interview preparation, and so I could only return this weekend, for the United game. Off to Scotland I trekked again, and as for the first interview, some of the very pleasant people who interviewed me were quite keen for a chat about football, which was nice. You can’t go wrong  when the first question is your opinion on Thierry Henry’s return to the Arsenal! We did even get around to talking about some serious stuff too, so not all was lost.

Anyway, the small matter of the United game. Both sides are pretty hard hit by injuries for this game, we ourselves have the well-documented defensive injuries. Arteta was a big loss against Swansea, we certainly suffered a loss in the fluency of our passing and our recycling of the ball compared to when he was present for previous games. Both Henry and Vermaelen may be available, though neither are necessarily expected to be fully fit in time for Sunday. Those closer to returns, such as Gibbs and Coquelin, will find Sunday is coming just too soon for their involvement.  United are similarly limited, with quite a few of their own absentees. Whilst information Ferguson gives out in press conferences is notoriously unreliable, key men Vidic and Fletcher are out for the long term, while various offensive players are laid up.

Taking all that into account, I’m expecting something along the lines of:

Szcznesy

Djourou Koscielny Mertesacker Miquel

Song Ramsey

Rosicky

Walcott Van Persie Arshavin

Such a line up isn’t perfect, but an injury-stricken squad is always going to be a matter of patching up and getting eleven men out. Vermaelen is a big, big miss: he’s defensively solid and great going forward, even from left back. Miquel didn’t have the best of games versus Swansea but being pragmatic, he’s a twenty year old centreback playing out of position, and overall I don’t think he’s a bad player, his inexperience –especially in an unfamiliar position – ultimately shone through in his positioning and cost us once or twice. Cutting and running however is not the Arsenal way, and I expect we’ll stick with him in this game.

The centrebacks will be the available senior pair of Koscielny and Mertesacker. The Frenchman was the subject of significant five pint lauding in the pub on Friday night from me, chatting to my Sunday league goalkeeper. He’s turning into an absolutely cracking player, despite arriving as an unheralded textbook Wenger signing, and has gone the way of Vermaelen, whereby he’s quietly gone about his business and slowly the pundits have taken notice.

Further forward, the midfield isn’t the best balanced I’ve ever seen: against Swansea we struggled without someone truly comfortable in that “Wilshere” (recently, Arteta) role of keeping the midfield ticking over. When Wenger had more options in midfield, he preferred to play Ramsey as the most advanced midfielder, giving the Welshman the responsibility for getting forward. Ramsey works hard too, so he’s OK defensively, but his game isn’t as suited to a more passive role, “keeping the game ticking over” style, reliant more on anticipating the danger. However needs must, and the Welshman is the best option for that position. No doubt he’ll have learned from his mistakes in the Swansea game and his performance in an unfamiliar role will be improved.

The other change I would make is to bring Tomas Rosicky into the advanced midfield role, in place of Benayoun who played there during the Swansea game.  Rosicky has looked good when he has played this season, so in general I have no problem with giving him the responsibility to be the team’s creative fulcrum in a game of this magnitude.

Out wide there won’t be any real surprises. Gervinho’s absence means Arshavin comes in – what a chance to resurrect his Arsenal career over the next couple of weeks the Russian has – while on the other flank Theo Walcott will take up position. Wayne Rooney said recently that this game “wasn’t  matter of Rooney versus Van Persie” which of course is true. It’s a shame it isn’t though, as Rooney versus Van Persie is only going to end in our favour! The Dutchman will be key if we are going to get a good result out of this game, given an injury-hit defence.

This is a tough game to call, and as with many games this season, I’m going out on a limb making predictions without our trusty RefWatch, but I’d love a tidy 2-1 to the Arsenal. Whether a weakened defence and a slightly unbalanced midfield can grab such a great result remains to be seen, but fortune favours the brave, so let’s hope! Enjoy the game Gunners!

 

 

 

Untold Ref Review : Newcastle 3 – MU 0

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Ref Reviewer 02

For the game Newcastle – Manchester United we had ref Webb. A normal day at the office?

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight
1 Foul Berbatov Colocini N/C Ref misses Berb jump into player from free kick 0 0
2 Foul Guitarez Berbatov N/C A blatant shove in the back2 yardsfrom assistant 0 0
4 Foul Tiote Rooney C Good advantage played by Ref who calls it back when none is gained 1 1
5 Foul Santon Nani N/C Pushes him off ball, Ref gives nothing 0 0
5 Foul Santon Valencia N/C Again a push in the back, again nothing given 0 0
8 Foul Jones Ameobi N/C Again a heavy shove in the back, again Webb forgets the laws 0 0
10 Foul Simpson Park C 1 1
12 Foul Guitarez Valencia N/C They run into each other, Guitarz looses ball then rolls over, Ref stops game for a foul 0 0
14 Other N/C Newcastleshot is deflected over bar for a corner, Ref gives a goal kick 0 0
19 Other Cabaye C handball 1 1
20 Offside Man Utd? C 1 1
23 Foul Guitarez Valencia C 1 1
24 Penalty Ferdinand Ba N/C He tangles foot around Demba Ba, on assistants side, no pen? 0 0
27 Foul Valencia Guitarez C 1 1
28 Foul Colocini Park C 1 1
31 Offside Berbatov C 1 1
32 Goal C Demba Ba 1 3
33 Foul Tiote Rooney C 1 1
37 Foul Valencia Colocini C 1 1
39 Other Nani Santon N/C A foul by Nani on Santon, the Ref plays advantage, and Man Utd go forward with the ball, he should have called it back as in 04th min 0 0
41 Foul Giggs Ba C 1 1
47 Foul Rooney Colocini C 1 1
Half time 13 15

CORRECT
59,09% 62,50%
YELLOW
RED
PENALTY 0 1 0,00
GOAL 1 1 100,00
OTHER 1 1 100,00
2 3 66,67
OFFSIDE 2 2 100,00
Second half
45 Foul Jones Ba C He deliberately blocks his run 1 1
45 Yellow Jones C Easy one 1 2
46 Goal Cabaye C Good strike from the free kick 1 3
54 Foul Ameobi Jones N/C A big shove as he runs in to attack a corner 0 0
56 Foul Ameobi Evra C 1 1
67 Foul Cabaye Evra C 1 1
58 Foul Valencia Newc? C 1 1
60 Foul Valencia Guitarez N/C two men jump up for the ball fairly, one falls down rolling on the floor 0 0
60 Yellow Valencia N/C He has committed too many fouls, and was walking a tightrope, but Ref was conned here 0 0
62 Other Rooney challenges the keeper for a ball, and the crowd roars as Rooney jumps in, but it is all harmless stuff. The Ref runs 35 yards, with his hand going to his pocket, he sees it is Rooney and smiles, sinister stuff.
64 Foul Man Utd Newc? C 1 1
66 Foul Newc? Giggs C 1 1
67 Other Nani N/C A foul throw is allowed by Ref 0 0
70 Other N/C A throw given toNewc ashould be other way 0 0
72 Foul Tiote Carrick C 1 1
73 Offside Chicarito C 1 1
76 Offside Chicarito C 1 1
79 Foul Jones Best N/C Bltant push in back on assistants side 0 0
79 Offside Chicarito C 1 1
80 Foul Tiote Carrick C 1 1
81 Foul Best Jones N/C Was bundled sideways in the air, assistant was3 yardsaway 0 0
82 Foul Newc? Valencia C 1 1
83 Other N/C Ba controls with hand 0 0
83 Foul Best Ferdinand C A push in the back, it has taken 83 minutes to spot what has been going on all game 1 1
86 Foul Carrick Best C 1 1
88 Foul Colocini Chicarito C 1 1
88 Foul Welbeck Tiote C 1 1
89 Goal Jones O/G C 1 3
92 Foul Man Utd Tiote C 1 1
TOTAL 19 24
%
CORRECT
67,86% 75,00%
YELLOW 1 2 50,00
RED
PENALTY
GOAL 2 2 100,00
OTHER 1 3 33,33
4 7 57,14
OFFSIDE 3 3 100,00

TOTAL SCORE
TOTAL 32 39
%
CORRECT
64,00% 69,64%
YELLOW 1 2 50,00
RED 0 0
PENALTY 0 1 0,00
GOAL 3 3 100,00
OTHER 2 4 50,00
6 10 60,00
OFFSIDE 5 5 100,00
NEW 1st half 2nd half Total %
WRONG NC F NEW 1 4 6 10
NCF NEW 2 0 0 0
NCF NEW 3 0 0 0
Total normal 4 6 10 FA NEW 62,50%
Total important 0 0 0 FA NEW 0,00%
General total 4 6 10 FA NEW 58,82%
WRONG NC F MU 1 4 2 6
NC F MU 2 0 0 0
NC F MU 3 1 0 1
Total normal 4 2 6 FA MU 37,50%
Total important 1 0 1 FA MU 100,00%
General total 5 2 7 FA MU 41,18%
TOTAL NORMAL WRONG 16
TOTAL IMPORTANT WRONG 1
GENERAL TOTAL 17
CORRECT CF NEW 1 6 10 16
CF NEW 2 0 1 1
CF NEW 3 1 2 3
Total normal 6 10 16
Total important 1 3 4
CORRECT CF MU 1 6 8 14
CF MU 2 0 0 0
CF MU3 0 0 0
Total normal 6 8 14
Total Important 0 0 0
Foul NEW 9 10 19
FOUL MU 7 7 14
OLD VERSION
Correct calls For Newc 16 53,33%
For MU 14 46,67%
Total correct calls 30
Wrong calls Against Newc 7 41,18%
Against MU 10 58,82%
Total 17
Total fouls made by Newc 19 57,58%
MU 14 42,42%
Total 33

A strange one this, Webb missed many incidents in the game, some were blatant, but he did not influence the outcome. Two incidents of note, Ferdinand gave away a penalty just before Newcastle scored, it was on the assistants side which made it doubly disappointing, I am starting to become numb to missed penalties not given, and non-penalties given, to be frank it is the norm, and not acceptable, these are game defining incidents wrongly called, no other sport accepts this level of mistake in the application of the laws.

 

The other was a Rooney incident on 62, I was under the distinct impression Webb was going to issue a caution, he sprinted to the incident, with his hand going to his yellow card pocket. But on arrival he changed his mind, was it because it was Rooney, or was it because he realised it was nothing, only Webb knows the answer, I know what I thought.

All in all not a great day at the office for Webb or Man Utd, two performances that summed up the Christmas period.

Football, the ups and downs just like our every day live

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

Supporting a football team is not always fun. I think most of us will agree with that. Certainly  after two defeats in the league.  But in a way supporting a football team is like the everyday life of you, me and a few million others.

There are days in our live that from the moment we wake up till the moment we go to bed everything just works out for us.  We don’t burn our lips or tongue when we drink our morning cup of tea (or coffee but I’m a tea drinker). You step outside to go to work and your car has no frozen windows so you can start it right away and don’t have to defrost it in the ice cold morning. You have no traffic jams when you are on the road, you even don’t have to stop for a red light. You have a great day at work with your boss coming over to tell you what a great job you are doing a few times that day. You go home and your wife/friend/whoever cooks made your favourite meal and it tastes heavenly. There is a great movie on TV, you have a great conversation with your wife/friend/whoever is in your house in the evening and the you go to bed and then I leave it up to you to fill in the dots…..

So it may happen on occasions that you have such a day. Enjoy it to the maximum is my advice. Alas, not all days are like this. In fact I think you seldom will have such a day. I usually burn my tongue in the morning once in my hurry for that first hot drink. I don’t have the traffic jams that much but my boss is not singing my praise each day (although I cannot complain about him at all). I don’t eat my favourite meal each day (I would get overweight I think) and sometimes there is nothing really on TV that is worth watching. I don’t have a great conversation each day with my wife and about the rest well I will fill in my own dots if you don’t mind…..

Supporting a football club (or any other sport club in fact) is more the second version of life than the first I gave.
The first version would be winning each game. Well no club manages to do this. Not even Barcelona can do this. They come close but they also have their bad days.

At Arsenal we have the second version of life for the moment. That is for sure. We, and this goes for all those who have been supporting Arsenal from before the 2003-2004 season have been blessed with the invincible season. This was as close as any team in the modern era of football has been able to come to the first utopia version of live. Those who have had the honour and privilege to have seen it have been blessed.

And sometimes I wonder now why on earth didn’t we enjoyed it enough. After a while it became …dare I say it… maybe a bit boring. Because the hope/fear for the win/loss is just what makes it so exciting to be a supporter. If you know you will not lose the game because you seem to be invincible then it takes a bit of the joy away of the win itself. You kind of expected us to win our games in that period. After a while you took it for granted that you would not lose the game. So winning became a bit of a ‘oh yeah, sure just another good day at the office..”-feeling.

But those days are gone, even though we would love to see them back. Will the ever come back?  I doubt it to be honest. If you just look at the crazy amount of money that some teams have thrown around and still they are not able to come even close to what Arsenal have achieved in the unbeaten season.  So money cannot buy you an unbeaten season. Only building a team can achieve such a thing. But because of the money teams it is much harder to build a team to reach such a high level.  Certainly when important members of that team in the build up want to go home or want to earn more money. Last season I felt that if we could keep the team and add one more “unknown” person in each line we could have another invincible team. Things turned out differently because of money and DNA.

So we are fully in the second version of life like I described it in this article. Some good moments, followed by not that good moments.

And then comes the most important thing for people if you want to enjoy life completely.  You could moan and groan and say you will never be happy till we have another unbeaten season.  But why make yourself unhappy with something that has only happened twice in the last 150 years of football? Maybe it would be better to enjoy things more when we win.

Maybe we should take it one game at the time. Our team is down to the bare bones because of the injury situation. The full back crisis has literally cut our attacking and defending wings. We could have had more defenders one could say but how many full backs do you want us to have? 3 is clearly not enough. 4? Even at right back this isn’t enough. At left back just for the moment but playing a young central defender over there is not the ideal situation.

Buy? We only could buy English players because of the 25 squad rules. But are other clubs willing to let a player go to Arsenal? And do these players want to come over in the knowledge that as soon as our regular first, second choice players are recovered they would be on the bench at the best or in the stands as a more possible option.

So it will not be easy in the next weeks. That is something we can be sure. It will be hard for the players who are still standing to perform. But in a way isn’t this when a true supporter shows his real colours? Isn’t it now that a real supporter does what he should do?

The last defeat is what it was: a defeat. But the next game is the one that matters. And when you seem dead and buried you sometimes find some resources that make you  stronger and better. And to get the players to that level it is also up to us supporters to make them believe they can do it.

If we don’t make our players feel that we want them to do well and fight for the team, how do expect them to want to give that little extra that could make the difference between win or lose a game.
We know that we are up for a major battle, we know that our team is weakened in an incredible way because of injuries. But we must make sure that those players on the field feel the force coming from the stands. Let us fight for what we are worth. Let us try to overcome the weekly ref errors we have to overcome each week.

Let us just do our  best as supporters to lift the team and if we win this game then for God’s sake : just enjoy it! Don’t moan about something that could have been done better. Just enjoy it when we win.

And if we would lose? Remember that there is always another game coming our way. Another game to  play and to support the team. And if you can’t stand it anymore: nobody forces you to go along with it. Let the true supporters who will be there win or lose do their job: supporting the team. Supporting in good, but certainly supporting in bad times.

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 21 & Half-Season Review

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Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here


————————————————————–

 

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 21 & Half-Season Review

By Dale Higginbottom

Gameweek 21 and we’re back into our weekly round-ups of injuries of the big six teams. This week saw the first league game to be impacted by the African Cup of Nations. City, Chelsea and Arsenal are the only affected teams of the top-six and looking at injuries it will more likely impact Arsenal above the other two.  By how much, we may not know but it’s something to  look at when we see how many players are unavailable. Let’s look at the injuries for gameweek 21.

A = Ankle K = Knee
B = Back L = Achilles
C = Calf M = Muscle
D = Dead Leg N = Hip
E = Hamstring R = Rib
F = Fatigue/Lack of Fitness S = Shoulder
G = Groin T = Thigh
H = Head Injury/Concussion U = Unknown
I = Illness Y = Hand
J = Foot Z = Broken Leg

Swansea Vs Arsenal (3-2)

Injuries Swansea (2 + 0S) Arsenal (10 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A Fabianski (K,7)
Defence Tate (Z) Sagna (A,15), Gibbs (M,15), Jenkinson (B,11), Santos (A,7), Vermaelen (C,9)
Midfield Bodde (K) Wilshere (A,21), Coquelin (E.1), Diaby (M,19), Arteta (C,1)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues N/A Miyaichi returned to the reserves and looks now to be fit to play. Mertesacker and Rosicky were doubts due to illness.  Mertesacker started and played the first 77 minutes of the game, Rosicky came on as a 63rd minute sub.
Suspended N/A N/A

 

Chelsea Vs Sunderland (1-0)

Injuries Chelsea (2 + 0S) Sunderland (6 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A Gordon (K)
Defence Ivanovich (E,4) Bramble (C), Angeleri (K), Brown (G)
Midfield Mikel (E,4) Colback (A)
Attack N/A Campbell (K)
Additional issues Essien returned to the squad after a long spell out and came on after 73 minutes. Malouda and Sturridge also returned to the squad on the bench. Malouda came on wth five minutes to play. Bardsley and Wickham returnd to the squad. Bardsley played the whole game, Wickham came on as a 80th minute sub. Kilgallon was replaced after 45 minutes with an ankle injury.
Suspended N/A N/A

Man Utd Vs Bolton (3-0)

 

Injuries Man Utd (8 + 0S) Bolton (7 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A Jääskeläinen (T)
Defence Vidic (K,14), Smalling (I,9), Jones (U,2) Alonso (F), Mears (Z)
Midfield Cleverley (A,15), Fletcher (I,9), Young (A,6), Anderson (U,9) Davis (K), Gardner (K), Holden (K), Lee (Z)
Attack Owen (T,15) N/A
Additional issues Fabio returned and was on the bench as an unused sub. Evans returned to the squad after illness and played the whole game. Ferdinand played the whole game despite being a doubt through illness. Welbeck picked up a knock and was replaced late on. N/A
Suspended N/A N/A

Liverpool Vs Stoke (0-0)

Injuries Liverpool (4 + 1S) Stoke (2 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Robinson (A,13), Agger (U,3) Shotton (A)
Midfield Lucas (K,8), Spearing (E,1) N/A
Attack N/A Sidibe (K)
Additional issues N/A Woodgate was a doubt for the game but started and played the first 78 minutes. Wilkinson returned to the squad and came on to replace Woodgate. Wilson was also doubtful but played 90 mins.
Suspended Suarez N/A

Tottenham Vs Everton (2-0)

Injuries Tottenham (5 + 0S) Everton (6 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence King (E,8), Gallas (C,9) Hibbert (G), Coleman (T), Jagielka (K)
Midfield Huddlestone (A,17), Parker (K,2), Sandro (C,6) Barkley (K), Rodwell (E), Osman (K)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues N/A Cahill was a doubt but started and played the whole game. Distin was forced off after 59 minutes with a hamstring injury.
Suspended N/A

Tottenham Vs Wolves (1-1)

Injuries Tottenham (4 + 0S) Wolves (3 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence King (E,9), Gallas (C,10) Craddock (E),  Zubar (K)
Midfield Huddlestone (A,18), Sandro (C,7) O’Hara (M)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues Parker returned to the squad and played the whole game. Fletcher, Edwards and Johnson were all slight doubts but all started and played most of the game.
Suspended N/A N/A

Wigan Vs Man City (0-1)

Injuries Wigan (2 + 0S) Man City (2 + 1S)
Goalkeeper Kirkland (B) N/A
Defence N/A Richards (E,3)
Midfield Maloney (C) N/A
Attack N/A Balotelli (A,3)
Additional issues Crusat returned to the squad and played the first 68 mins. Silva was a slight doubt with an ankle strain but started and played 81 minutes.
Suspended N/A Kompany

Arsenal head back into double figures for the number of players unavailable due to injury. As has been the case in recent weeks, United are close behind us and Spurs lead the rest of the chasing pack. It’s difficult to see these sorts of figures, particularly after a defeat but it clearly shows the additional hoops Arsenal have to jump through just to  compete with our rivals.

On the whole injuries have been dealt with quite well and replacement players have swiftly slotted into the team and taken most things in their stride. However, now it appears that the lack of full-backs has finally caught up with us.

Against Swansea my initial disappointment was the performance and not the result. The lack of possession was simply bizarre for an Arsenal team that is usually so comfortable with the ball.  It was easy to see that we missed a little in midfield but the pressure that we were continuously put under on the flanks was the most difficult thing for the team to deal with. The reduced attacking threat from Miquel and Djourou would certainly not have been an issue with Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs or Santos in those positions.

It’s not just the full-back positions where Arsenal have struggled to keep some sense of consistency in selection. Wilshere, Diaby and Arteta are three players with a perfectly viable shout for a first-team place who were all unavailable against Swansea. In fact let’s look that the list of ten injured players and add to that the two players in the African Cup of Nations, can we create a team?

Fabianski

Jenkinson Sagna Vermaelen Gibbs

Diaby

Arteta Wilshere

Gervinho Chamakh Santos

Sub: Coquelin

Now that’s a team that, at the very least is a bit more balanced than the one sent out on Sunday. This is really frustrating that so many players are out but there’s plenty still be positive about. We’re still in the FA Cup, Champions League and still with a good shout of achieving Champions League football next season.

In these injury reviews I usually chat a little bit about performances and injury situations of the other five teams but, there’s not a lot to say other than make note of  Frimpong’s great performance for Wolves against the Totts to keep them to one point. Instead of that I thought I’d do a little bit of a half-season review of injuries. So first up the sum total of all games missed through injury by all players.

 

Team 2011 Injuries 2010 Injuries
Arsenal 127 113
Man Utd 124 90
Tottenham 103 111
Chelsea 48 71
Liverpool 45 52
Man City 25 80

 

As last year, the half-way point of the season sees Arsenal top of the injury table. The odd thing is that whilst the injury situation is worse this season, compared to last, there is a feeling that we’re doing a better job of dealing with it. Whether we are or not, we can’t truly say but I think even if we’d had an injury situation similar to last season, we would have one or two more points on the board. To have more than 100 more than City is clearly a huge difference to make up. We can be pretty certain that had the situations been reversed, City would not have the points they have now.

Now let’s have a look at the number of players that have been impacted by an injury this season. The below table shows the  total number of player that have missed at least one game through injury this season.

Team 2011 Injuries 2010 Injuries
Arsenal 21 16
Man Utd 21 17
Tottenham 21 19
Chelsea 11 16
Man City 10 15
Liverpool 9 12

So, a three-way race on this one. As we’ve said most of the season, there is certainly a divide between the haves and have-nots. One thing to notice is the increase compared to last season of the top 3, yet the bottom three have been a bit more fortunate with injuries. So, have City, Liverpool and Chelsea improved their medical teams? Have their squads improved so they can rotate more? It could be any number of reasons but either way, there is a figure there to see who is doing a good job of things.

Actually, talking about relative performance, one thing to note from all of this is that at the halfway point of the season we were only three points behind our tally for the same point last season. Considering our poor start to this season, it’s not a bad place to be and, even with the defeats in the last two games, if the performances can get back on track and we cope well with injuries, there’s no reason why we can’t surpass last season’s tally.

So, next up it’s time to get revenge for the 8-2 defeat at old Trafford. It’s funny that we’re at a similar injury crisis situation now as we were when we faced United last and also, like that game, it’s the last league fixture before the end of the transfer window. Thankfully United will be without players which at the very least makes things a bit more even.

——————————————

Editorial note: I am taking a break for a little while, and for the next 3 weeks Walter will be in charge of Untold.  If you want to submit an article please do so to walterbroeckx@hotmail.com   Tony

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Fourth man arrested in Tottenham bid affair and Swiss club thrown out of league in strange circumstances

Who really controls the refs in the EPL?  The authorities or a couple of clubs?

Money Laundering and Football – an investigation

When a club is bought, spends big and collapses.  How money laundering in football works

Money laundering is not complicated, you just need a cash generating business.  Football is a cash generating business

Fourth man arrested in Tottenham bid affair, & a Swiss club thrown out of league in strange circumstances

————————————————————–

Click here to become part of the definitive history of Woolwich Arsenal FC

Follow us on Twitter @Untold Arsenal

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By Tony Attwood

I was planning to put up a story today (a couple of days late) saying that a third person has  been arrested by the police detectives who are investigating allegations that Tottenham Hotspur spied on Olympic officials during its stadium bid.  This follows my earlier account of odd doings down the Lane.

Only then I find last night that the news has broken that a fourth man has now been arrested.  If they keep going at this rate half of London is going to be in the dock soon.

As reported before, among the items alleged to have found their way to Tottenham H are Karen Brady’s mobile phone bills showing details of each and every call that has been made during a set period.   The court has ruled that the records have been “unlawfully obtained”.

The allegation throughout is that Tottenham and its men spied on officials during Tottenham’s failed bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the “Games” later this year and Tottenham H are now accused of ordering surveillance on the 14 members of the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s board while they were bidding for the rights to move out of north London into the east end.  The bid was thrown out and West Ham United’s bid was accepted, before the whole process broke down in October 2011.

Allegations against Tottenham then started to emerge including one by the Olympic Legacy Committee chair Margaret Ford during a London Assembly committee hearing last year.

Two people were arrested soon after and accused of illegal procurement of information.  Then on Wednesday last week the police said they had arrested a 57-year-old man in Cheshire “on suspicion of fraud offences”.   Now the fourth man has been found.

West Ham United and the Olympic Park Legacy Company allege information was unlawfully obtained, and Tottenham deny everything.

Challenges by Tottenham H and Leyton O, plus a complaint to the European Commission made the government realise that court action would go on for years leaving the stadium empty.  So as the recriminations and arrests started the UK government changed their policy and announced that the stadium would instead remain in public ownership.

The new plan is that the venue will remain in public ownership and rented out to West Ham (or maybe someone else, it is hard to say).  So once again, as with Manchester City, the poor British tax payer ends up paying for a ground of a club that he/she doesn’t support.

The men arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s Economic and Specialist Crime Command have been ordered to return to a south London police station in February.

Meanwhile on the Tottenham front the trial of Tottenham media darling “HR” is eagerly awaited.  Also in the dock will be Milan Manderic.  During Mr R’s time at Portsmouth the  club racked up debts well in excess of £150 million (although of course there may be no connection between this and the accused).

Anyway, just to finish our round up of the funny ol game, and with no connection with Tottenham H, Neuchatel Xamax have been  removed from the Swiss Super League less than 12 months after being taken over by Chechen businessman Bulat Chagaev.   The accusation is that the club was suspected of using a falsified Bank of America document as a financial guarantee last year.  The falseness came to light because the document contains spelling mistakes.

Mr Chagaev bought the club in May 2011, apparently saying he wanted to take Xamax into the Champions League.   He then sacked four of the coaching and several players plus (and this is the fun bit)  the entire admin staff, meaning the club could not print tickets for the opening game of the season.  I imagine that meant everyone had to pay cash (but I have no proof of this at all, and it is totally speculation on my part).  Chagev got rid of or was left by all of the club’s sponsors and then accused the media of persecuting him because of his nationality.

The club is now able to appeal.

——————————————-

Who really controls the refs in the EPL?  The authorities or a couple of clubs?

When a club is bought, spends big and collapses.  How money laundering in football works

Money laundering is not complicated, you just need a cash generating business.  Football is a cash generating business

Calciopoli in the EPL? Who really controls the refs?

By L. M.

On this site there has been often referred to the Calciopoli scandal in Italy. In short this was the system where a few top clubs like Juventus had a system where they conspired with the people who decided which ref would get which game.

The reasoning was that they knew/hoped which ref would favour the team involved and thus it would be helpful for the team to win that game.

In the EPL it is the PGMO who decides which games the refs will do. But how this is done remains in the dark a bit. Just like it was in Italy.  The PGMO decides and that’s it. Well that is what they try to tell the people. But if one could point at some strange occurances and link this to a club, and then point to some strange types of appointment this could point at some kind of calciopoli in the EPL.

Imagine if a club could call Mike Riley (the current head of the PGMO) and say: “we like to have a certain ref for a certain game.” This would be the same as happened in Italy.

To see if there is anything in this we might take a look at the statistics of the ref that is known worldwide as a Manchester United ref,  Howard Webb. And I think I can find a strange pattern in his appointments. And this is all about United games and almost always in top games between the top teams in the league.

Season ref

games

Won Lost Draw
2007-2008 Webb, H

5

3W 1L 1D

A good result all in all

2008-2009 Webb, H

6

4W 2L

Still a fair result for United

2009-2010 Webb, H

5

3w 2L

Well the winning ratio goes down a bit at this moment and someone could have been upset a bit and what do we see in the next season…

2010-2011 Webb, H

3

3W

Only 3 games involving Manchester United. But somehow Howard Webb has understood the message it seems because the winning ratio is going through the roof with all games won by United.

And so it looked as if someone was very satisfied with this and in this season we have so far after half the season done

2011-2012 Webb, H

3

2W 1L

Again not really perfect but after having only 3 games in the previous season but proving his worth in those he has already has 3 games and we are only half way the season. So it looks as if SAF will have his favourite ref as the top ref once again. Because apart from the 2010-2011 season it was always Webb who had most of United’s games in each season. A coincidence?

Now a clever guy could say: well Webb is a top ref in the EPL, a Fifa ref so it is obvious that he gets the top teams a lot. Let us see if it really goes like that.

Because what goes up must come down and calciopoli can work in both ways. The most obvious thought in this system relates to having your favourite ref do your matches as often as possible.

But if you can say, “we don’t want that ref because we don’t trust him,” it can also be some kind of calciopoli.   And avoiding refs that you think do not really liking your team is at least as easy as putting the ref you want, in place.

Refs that have cost you some points in a game and you want to punish that ref  – you tell the PGMO: ban him from my games. If the PGMO were really independent they would say: f*ck you, we send who we want. But does the PGMO have the guts to do this? Well let us try to see if they do…

Let us take Fifa ref Martin Atkinson and Manchester United.  How many games did he have?

2007-2008 Atkinson

2

Then came 08/03/2008 when Portsmouth won at Old Trafford in the FA cup after some dubious incidents.

And in the next season he had the following games of Manchester United

2008-2009 Atkinson

1

Was he punished? Only one game involving Manchester United and this for a Fifa ref? Strange. But obviously after that season someone thought he was punished enough and look at the next season:

2009-2010 Atkinson

5

Wow, as many games as Howard Webb. He seemed to be back in some ones Facebook friends I think. And in the next season we have…

2010-2011 Atkinson

3

And now you might think: what is the matter? Yes something happened in that season. In March he did his third game involving United. At Stamford Bridge and after that game a certain Sir was very upset and angry. And after that day and for the rest of the season Martin Atkinson did no more games involving Manchester United. And up to then he had done 3 games with still one quarter of the season to go. So if we follow the same pattern in appointments he should have had United at least for one more game. After all, as we note, Martin Atkinson is a Fifa ref.

But now the killer statistic.  This season after 21 games in the season ref Martin Atkinson has done the astonishing amount of zero games involving United.

So it looks as if a certain Knight of the Realm called a certain Mike and said to him: we don’t want him around anymore. And this Mike bowed and said: of course Sir, your wish is my command. And thus it happened that we can see the reverse calciopoli. Not just getting your favourite refs most of the time but also not getting the one you don’t trust near your football field.

Now one could say, it is understandable that when you get screwed by a ref the PGMO gives a breather for team and ref and keeps him away for a while. Okay very understandable and I could even agree with this principle.

But could someone explain me that although Dean, Dowd and other Proberts have screwed us over and over and over again and yet we get the same Dean, Dowd and other Proberts time and time again with an interval of around 6 games?

Why does one team get the chance to avoid a “screwing them over” ref for almost one year and yet Arsenal get Dean, Dowd et al every 5 or 6 weeks?

It is clear to see that the PGMO is not impartial in their appointments of the refs. One has to dig a bit but their bias is there to see if you want to see it. Mike maybe head of the PGMO on paper but there is always a bigger head somewhere behind the curtains. Someone that maybe once told a certain Mike: I cannot stand the humiliation of a certain team making it 50 games unbeaten in my theatre of dreams, you must stop them. And so he did. And since then it still looks that  he still listens to what that the director of that theatre tells him to do.

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Click here to become part of the definitive history of Woolwich Arsenal FC

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Swansea v Arsenal:

The ref review

After Swansea: The Missing Link

Swansea v Arsenal: the statistical and referee preview

Money Laundering and Football – an investigation

When a club is bought, spends big and collapses.  How money laundering in football works

Money laundering is not complicated, you just need a cash generating business.  Football is a cash generating business

 

Untold Ref Review: Swansea 3 – Arsenal 2

By Ref Reviewer 02

 

For the game Swansea – Arsenal we had ref Michael Oliver leading the teams out. What was the verdict of the ref reviewer?

 

Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment points weight

4

Goal Arsenal C Good goal

1

3

5

Other Augustein Ramsey C

1

1

6

Offside Graham C

1

1

8

Offside Graham C

1

1

11

Other Ramsey Britton C

1

1

12

Other Walcott Swans? C

1

1

13

Other Benayoun C Handball

1

1

14

Other N/C Assisstant signals that the ball goes out for a GK, but it was just kept in and Sczezeny catches the crossed header

0

0

15

Penalty Ramsey Dyer N/C On first view, the same one as the Ref had, I did not think it was a penalty because both Ramseys feet were on the floor, Dyer stuck his foot into Ramsey and fell down.

0

0

15

Goal Sinclair N/C

0

0

17

Other C Good advantage by Oliver after a foul by Song on Dyer

1

1

17

Other Ramsey C Handball

1

1

19

Other Augustein Song C Song waits under the ball in the box as it drops, only to be pushed out of the way, it was an easy spot and the Ref missed it

0

0

19

Other RVP Swans? C

1

1

22

Other Song Swans? C

1

1

25

Other Augustein Ramsey C

1

1

27

Offside RVP C

1

1

30

Other Benayoun Rangel C

1

1

31

Offside Rangel C

1

1

35

Offside Miquel C

1

1

37

Offside Dyer N/C He was half a yard off and close to the Assistant, this resulted in a good goalscoring opportunity, the Assistant not for the first time, was not in line with play

0

0

41

Offside RVP C

1

1

44

Foul Swans? Miquel C The Ref allowed play to continue then called it back, well done.

1

1

Half time

18

20

CORRECT

78,26%

68,97%

YELLOW
RED
PENALTY

0

1

0,00

GOAL

1

2

50,00

OTHER

2

3

66,67

3

6

50,00

OFFSIDE

6

7

85,71

Second half

51

Foul Dyer Koscielny C Good shout from Ref as Dyer backed in, Dyer lies on ground holding his face, why?

1

1

57

Goal Dyer C Nothing wrong with this

1

3

67

Foul Caulker Ramsey N/C Ref missed it because he was badly positioned, well off his diagonal, everyone around the ball knew it was a foul on edge of box

0

0

68

Goal Walcott C

1

3

69

Goal Graham C

1

3

70

Foul Swans? Koscielny C

1

1

72

Offside Dyer C

1

1

72

Foul Swans? Walcott C

1

1

73

Offside Henry C

1

1

74

Foul Rangell RVP C

1

1

75

Foul Mertesacker Graham C

1

1

78

Foul Koscielny Graham C

1

1

81

Offside Siguerson C

1

1

89

Foul Swans? Walcott C

1

1

90

Foul Swans? Walcott N/C The second time Ref denies Arsenal a free kick in a goal scoring situation, high feet inside the D means Walcott has to pull out of a challenge to retain his pretty face

0

0

92

Foul Koscielny Siguerson C

1

1

TOTAL

14

20

% CORRECT

87,50%

90,91%

YELLOW
RED
PENALTY
GOAL

3

3

100,00

OTHER

0

1

0,00

3

4

75,00

OFFSIDE

3

3

100,00

TOTAL SCORE
TOTAL

32

40

% CORRECT

82,05%

78,43%

YELLOW

0

0

RED

0

0

PENALTY

0

1

0,00

GOAL

4

5

80,00

OTHER

2

4

50,00

6

10

60,00

OFFSIDE

9

10

90,00

NEW 1st half 2nd half Total %
WRONG NC F HO 1

2

2

4

NCF HO 2

0

0

0

NCF HO 3

2

0

2

Total normal

2

2

4

FA HO

80,00%

Total important

2

0

2

FA HO

100,00%

General total

4

2

6

FA HO

85,71%

WRONG NC F AW 1

1

0

1

NC F AW 2

0

0

0

NC F AW 3

0

0

0

Total normal

1

0

1

FA AW

20,00%

Total important

0

0

0

FA AW

0,00%

General total

1

0

1

FA AW

14,29%

TOTAL NORMAL WRONG

5

TOTAL IMPORTANT WRONG

2

GENERAL TOTAL

7

CORRECT CF HO 1

11

4

15

CF HO 2

0

0

0

CF HO 3

0

2

2

Total normal

11

4

15

Total important

0

2

2

CORRECT CF AW 1

6

6

12

CF AW 2

0

0

0

CF AW3

1

1

2

Total normal

6

6

12

Total Important

1

1

2

Foul HO

4

7

11

FOUL AW

6

3

9

OLD VERSION
Correct calls ForSwansea

15

55,56%

For Arsenal

12

44,44%

Total correct calls

27

Wrong calls AgainstSwansea

1

20,00%

Against Arsenal

4

80,00%

Total

5

Total fouls made by Swansea

11

55,00%

Arsenal

9

45,00%

Total

20

 

This is the 3rd Arsenal defeat I have reviewed this year, on each previous occasion I have praised the Ref despite the result, and this game is no different. What is frustrating, and becoming too much to be coincidence, is that on each occasion the defining moment in each game was from the Ref. At home V Liverpool the first goal was offside and a penalty by Carragher was missed. At spurs the VDV goal was handball, and at Swansea the penalty was a foul on Ramsey by Dyer. I felt Dyer simulated and should have been cautioned, the other reviewers voted me down. The stuff about in real time it looked like a penalty, well not to me it didn’t, The fall was wrong, and Ramseys feet were both on the floor, my instincts said “dive” and I was right.

However despite this let me say, Oliver had a good game, he made some good calls and I feel he will develop into a very good Ref, but he is not quite there yet. Once again Arsenal and Swansea played the game in the right spirit, with players staying on their feet and not flying into tackles. No cautions was a fair reflection. Just a shame about that one big call.

Click here to become part of the definitive history of Woolwich Arsenal FC

Follow us on Twitter @Untold Arsenal

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