The untold ref review: Arsenal – Man Catenaccio

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by Walter Broeckx, the untold ref

For the coming of Manchester Cattanacio we had ref Mike Jones at the Emirates. So let us try to see how he did the game from a ref point of view.

OTHER: A few early decisions, to keep the players aware of the rules. I liked his start. 1/1

OTHER/CARD: A body check on Sagna from Barry. A deserved yellow card is Barry’s part. 1/1 and 1/1

OTHER: Not seen by many (or Tony in block 99 did you noticed it? It was right in front of you) but Tevez comes in late against Sagna and sticks out a leg. Sagna is seeing it coming and keeps his leg out of the way to avoid a kick. The ref has seen this and give a foul against Tevez. This was a perfect example that a player does not have to go down to give a foul. Good vision from the ref and good call. 1/1  (Did I see it?  I was down the gangway and abseiling down to the lower tier to complain about it before my guest for the evening called the firebrigade and they lifted me back up.  It was terrible by Tevez and I had not realised until that moment quite what his game is. – Tony)

PENALTY: Walcott tries to give a cross and the ball touches the arm of Kompany. THE moment of the game as we will learn afterwards. The facts: Kompany is out there to try and block a cross. He does this with his arm open wide to make it more difficult for the ball to go past him. When you go in with arms wide open to block a cross and you get the ball with your arms it is a foul and should have been a penalty. For those who think this is a biased pro-Arsenal point of view: please read my Birmingham-Arsenal ref review and what I have written on Van Persie and his handball. It should have been a penalty. 0/1

Kompany is moving and spreading his arms to try to block the cross. You can see there is a few meters between the two players. If you want to spread your arms like that you can have no complains when the penalty is given.

Did Kompany think it was a penalty? He will not admit it in words I think, but just take a look at this picture. Before the corner kick he gives Walcott a low five to acknowledge the fact that he was very lucky. But after all it was not Kompany who didn’t give the penalty, that was up to the ref.

OTHER/CARD: De Jong comes in late and catches Wilshere. The ref gets in his pocket and produces a yellow card. Good decision. 1/1 and 1/1

OTHER: For some 55.000 people at that time in the stadium it was clear to see that Hart was taking all the time he could get to run the clock down. As we mostly see only replays during the time that a keeper needs to get the ball back in play I don’t know if the ref made any gestures about it, but I didn’t see anything. The faster you take action, the more successful you are in trying to stop time wasting. So he could have done something about it. 0/1   (Since I have already butted in once, the answer is, this timewasting went on from about the third minute by Hart, and the crowd got very agitated.  This alerted the ref, and several times I saw him turn around, look at Hart and wave him to speed it up – but by the 20th time it happened it was all rather laughable – and sad to see a supposedly title challenging team behave like this.- Tony)

So in we go at half time.

OTHER: First seconds of the second half and Jo kicks Sagna on the ankle. The ref didn’t see it and let play continue. This was a foul, another on Sagna. Maybe the ref was not fully focused on the game in those first seconds? 0/1

OTHER/CARD: Koscielny with a foul from behind on Tevez. The ref gives a foul, but this should have been a yellow card in my eyes. Koscielny is lucky. 1/1 and 0/1

OTHER: Time and time again Hart is taking all the time he can get off the clock to keep it at 0-0. Again no indication that the ref does anything about it. I took the time and he was impressing with taking more than half a minute at times. 0/1

CARD/CARD: in almost the last minute of normal time Sagna and Zabaleta tangle outside the playing field, stand up and try to impress each other by going head to head. What an utterly foolish act from both players. The ref gets out a card and shows them the red one. I agree with the ref on this occasion. Leave such stupid behaviour out of our game please. No aggression on the playing field and if you do the ref has to send you off. I will come back later on this and on Sagna. But this was with all the time it took before the game restarted the last real fact in the game. 1/1 and 1/1

So where does this leave the ref:

CARDS: 4/5


GOAL:  0/0

OTHER: 5/8

Total score: 9/14 (64%)

In his overall game and foul handling he was doing all right today. I can’t recall that he missed a lot and he also had a few good decisions that many other refs would have let go. Some possible dangerous tackles which he stopped immediately.  So we must give him credit for this.

Time wasting…. Well it surely is no subject with the EPL refs. Hart always took all the time in the world as if he was the Blackburn keeper and not the keeper of the most expensive team in the world. But the refs in the EPL just don’t do anything about it. They just let it go and stand there watching. I think this is rather disappointing as a ref. I think no person is coming to a football field to see a keeper wandering around with the ball examining the pitch very carefully to see where he can put the ball, then go to the other side of the goal to see if the pitch is better suited for a goal kick and then finally puts the ball down, goes to the goal to kick the dirt from his shoes, very carefully to be sure he wouldn’t slip of course and then finally kicks the ball back in play. I wonder if you can leave your seat in the Emirates, go our and order a drink and then come back in the stadium if the ball would have been back in play? Also I do want to remind the refs that there also is a time limit on how long you can keep the ball in your hands as a keeper. I noticed Hart holding on the ball for about 15 seconds in the first half.

The penalty. After 90 minutes one can say it cost us the possible 3 points. We still had to score the penalty of course but this really was a bad call from an Arsenal point of view. But I would like to point out that I think that from the position the ref was running he couldn’t see the incident properly. I think that Kompany his body was between the arm and the ref his eyes. I deduce this from the way he was running just before the handball as he was out of the picture when the handball was made. But then it was up to the assistant to give the call. But we are not United where the linesman do try to help the ref out even when it is no handball.

And then finally the red cards. First of all I think the reaction from both players was totally out of order. There was no need to do this. No need to go head to head at all. Yes they tangled a bit but why make any fuss of it? Just go on with the game. I felt that was the moment we finally conceded the draw. We lost the momentum for the last 6 minutes as that was the time we still had to play when it happened.

But if I do may say anything in favour of Sagna: I think it just was too much. In the last games he has been kicked and kicked and kicked again and then again and then another kick. And much has gone on unseen by the refs. The Birmingham game, today a body check and at the start of the second half another kick. So I do think that at a certain moment it can get too much for a player. But still he shouldn’t have reacted like he did.

I know many will say that in the spirit of the game the ref could have had another solution. And he could have given yellow cards and he could have said: it was a rather fair game until then, it was in the final minutes and other things to justify it. But this is opening the door to inconsistency. And we all hate that when it comes to football. Then it would mean that sometimes you get a red card for going head to head and sometimes a yellow. I think you should always give a red card for such aggressive behaviour. Football is a contact sport but not in an aggressive way and certainly not when the ball is out of play. You leave aggression out of the football field. And when you want to be aggressive you just accept the consequences and in this case: a red card. A stupid red card if I may say so. But it will give him a week rest now.

And now the big moment that you would not have seen on TV, Walter.   At half time a young man arranged it so that the cameras went to him, and with those in the stadium who were not queuing for a drink would have seen on the big screen, he proposed to his girlfriend.   She said yes.   And the response of the crowd was… a prolonged chant of, “You don’t know what you’re doing, You don’t know what you’re doing.”   An utterly wonderful and perfect example of north London humour.   Tony

An index that is so untold you won’t be able to tell anything from it

An index of the players who played 100 or more times for Woolwich Arsenal

Not an index at all, but a book

27 Replies to “The untold ref review: Arsenal – Man Catenaccio”

  1. RE timewasting – the ref told Hart to hurry up many times… but then did nothing when he was ignored. The red cards were given on 90 minutes so no injury time was showed on the board. After City’s timewasting and playacting there should’ve been about 7 extra minutes, but only 3 were played. Not that we’d’ve scored!

    And the penalty? I sit directly opposite in the upper tier and could clearly see the handball. What can you do when your team plays 14 defenders?

  2. I dont think the Kompany handball was a penalty. The pic doesn’t prove anything, you should show video evidence. If you see, theo was dashing towards the end of d line and jus b4 it comes, he stops and pulls back for a cross. Kompany, who was desperately tryin to catch up with theo, suddenly stopped when Theo tried to pull back to cross, and when someone stops suddenly, their arms do come in the air to balance their body. It was a handball but it was unintentional.

    On a different note, i’m proud of how Arsenal played ystrday. We were just very unlucky. Maybe we could have been more creative in last 10 minutes but we seemed out of ideas. But still awesome performance. And City too had a superb discipline in defence. All in all, i wish Arsenal can play like this week in week out, but that raises another question, what can we do if the opposition literally parks the bus in front of the goal?? Ystrday night’s game reminded me about West ham game, their gk like hart made good saves, like that day we hit the woodwork. The only difference is that we got a goal in the dying minutes against West Ham. But still awesome performance by Arsenal.

  3. well said with bacary – he got kicked all over for a couple of weeks – deserved break for him 😉

  4. Another good review Walter, long may they continue.

    Couldn’t agree more about Sagna, he handled the last couple of games (assaults) so well it was a shame to see him lose his cool like that right at the end. Oh well, maybe he just wanted a decent rest and contrived to ensure Arsene won’t be able to bring him on as a sub in either of the upcoming cup ties?

  5. I was also somehow disappointed with only 4 minutes added time. I was to nervous to check, but seams to me only sending Sagna and Zabaleta took almost 2 minutes. I don’t think it is decisive, but could be..

  6. Dark Prince,

    I know the picture itself doesn’t is conclusive evidence. It is from my experience that I saw the small gesture. After all I don’t think Theo was upset by what Kompany did. He was just upset that the ref didn’t see it that way. So I don’t think there will be any bad feelings between those players at that moment. Just a little act between two professionals with one knowing to be lucky and the other unlucky.

    If only I could add video evidence but I cannot do this from where I am right now.

    But for those with arsenal tv online who want to see it again I can only advise you to do this.
    The stopping to which you refer took place just before that. In fact one second on the game clock before. 38.13 and the handball was at 38.14. The stopping you refer to is at a distance of around 7 to 8 meters out of the goal line. And the cross is played in at around 1 to 2 meters. Between those 6-7 meters both players have the same speed and Kompany is NOT out of balance.

    When Theo was kicking the cross Kompany was not out of balance. He placed his body to prevent the cross coming in and spread his arms.

    I will see if I can add some video image later tonight but for the moment I cannot do this unfortunately.
    Another problem is that the software we use only accepts a very small piece of video.

  7. Perry Grove, one of the bad things of sitting at home from afar is that you cannot see such things.
    But if the ref had signalled this from early on in the game he should have taken action and showed Hart a yellow card later in the game as he kept on doing it over and over again.

    So deducting him a point for doing nothing was even more justified. Just waving with your arm a bit is fine at the start but when it keeps on going on and you keep on doing it you make yourself look like a fool a bit. And that is the last thing you should do as a ref.

  8. Hi Walter! A good review, although I disagree with the penalty. I don’t feel it was one. In my opinion Theo played the ball to Kompanys hand, and I hope that kind of penalties wont be given in the EPL. Very sorry to see Sagna behave like that. All in all a good game, but I think that our dominant performances should be seen on the scoreboard too.

  9. Walter, I agree that Sagnas behaviour when he got sent off was the result, one could even say fault, of the ridiculously incompetent performance by the ref in the Birmingham game where he received no protection at all from the assaults he was subjected to. I know Sagna should have shown more self control but we all have breaking point and his was reached with that foul. A red card was correct. For those who argue for referees to use their discretion and give a yellow bearing in mind the late stage of the game etc etc, these are the same people who next week will be pleading for consistency. You can’t have it both ways. I agree with you on the penalty, it was clearly one which should have been given. Overall Arsenal should be proud of their performance and can consider themselves unlucky not to have won, but well done to Man City for their first class defending.

  10. I have to say I thought the ref was pretty good last night. The time wasting I totally agree a yellow card should have been shown because all the signalling in the world did nothing.

    In terms of Sagna, I do feel sry for him. I was block 116. So abit high up and was. Too my right, the touching of heads didn’t look that bad from what I could see. Now I know you talk about inconsistent reffing but it was hardly the n’zogbia head gesture. It was two players squaring up. Personally I thought yellow cards. I feel sry for Sagna, he got taken out by zab, then the guy had the audacity to talk crap to Sagna and stand defensive. The man with the plates lost it, and thought that’s it I’m not gonna back down any more. Well rest up mate you fully deserve it.

  11. I was at the game and 4 minutes stoppage time was a joke (not saying we would have scored but Man City wasted far more time then that) The amount of time man City players spent on the ground injured or faking injurty and 5 subsitutions should of been about 7 minutes stoppage time. If this game was at old trafford and man city did that the man utd I bet the board would have said 10 minutes stoppage time.

    Was typical Italian football employed by Mancini last night and showed they are title pretenders not contenders

  12. Agree 100% on the timewasting issue by Hart.

    The penalty call was a bit more open to interpretation in my book. It happened pretty close to where we sit and I must say there’s no way Kompany could have got his arm out of the way. Walcott hit that cross pretty hard and it was certainly ball to arm, not arm to ball. They’re sometimes given, sometimes not, but I certainly wouldn’t call it stonewall.

    That’s the second game in a row that Sagna has been targeted. Presumably as it’s a position Arsenal are slightly vulnerable in in terms of squad?

    I’m sure Mancini and Sir Alex’s friends aren’t so unprofessional as to set out to injure a player to make their opponent’s squad less strong? They surely go out there to win by playing football……..

    I’m sure Mancini will confirm that to journalists in a live Press Conference……..

  13. I think you should change your scoring system Walter.

    When A Ref penalizes serious fould play, then it can be 3/3.
    Or if you feel he shows a yellow where a red was merited, you might give 1/3, for instance.

    The penalty instance is hard to call against the ref, because it’s a linesman’s decision.

    I think a more nuanced scoring system is in order though.

    For carding Tevez’ failed foul, is a clear 3/3 … that is proper pro-active refereeing.

    After that comes normal, ‘reactive’ refereeing, and then comfortably numb refereeing (Melton Banger)….and so on…

  14. Great ref review.

    I have been particularly struck by the toughness displayed by this team this season. You saw that in the way Sagna responded at Zabaleta yesterday. Fabregas also showed the same against Chelsea(when his teammates came to bat for him). Now the EPL knows Arsenal are not a group they can bully anymore!-you don’t take a knife to a gunfight. The team now needs to learn how to stand up for each other w/out getting a red card. Ultimately, it falls on the match officials to clean up the game if such incidents are to be avoided.

  15. Totally agree about Sagna…glad he he got stuck in….cool.

    I noticed Le Grovel de Drivel is ruunning its usual Private Frazer spin on events.

    Don’t click! They only want your clicks….lol

  16. Marcus,
    I will think about your input on how to give points. I normally have a score of possible 2 points when a foul and card is or should be given. So the score goes from 0/2 when the ref did nothing to 1/2 when the foul is given but not a card and 2/2 when both are handed out like it should be. I think I will stick to that way for the rest of the season as I would be not fair to change the rules during the season.
    But when it is a red card to give marks on 3 would not be a bad idea. As a red card has a bigger influence on the game than a yellow so I could change this in the next season. (If you and I are not bored by all this by then) 😉
    So foul+red given correct could be 3/3
    foul and red card nothing given 0/3
    foul given but not red card 1/3

    I should keep this in mind as it gives more weight to red cards, as it should be.

  17. Walter – maybe I wasn’t clear. I was agreeing with you. I think Hart should have been booked once the referee had to tell Hart a second time to hurry up.

    My main gripe this season (at home in particular) has been timewasting. Teams have done this by taking ages over goal kicks, throw-ins etc, and also by pretending to be injured after every tackle. Or, to put it another way, cheating.

  18. Walter, kudos on the analyses.
    Sorry, I’m going to be slightly off topic:
    I just read Mancini’s interview. He said he came to Emirates with his $400Million team to play for a draw! So, time wasting was part of the tactics for the game.
    It is a compliment to the new Arsenal team coming together nicely but, as Wenger said, my only regret is that we didn’t manage to nick one in very early in the game.

  19. well whichever way u look at it we r 4 + 3 pts behind u(rina)t(e)d, so winning title from here will be a very difficult task, unless manure go on a barren run like charity(hilarious and sumthing which good blogs foresaw).
    But now having beaten charity and unbeaten against city we have a gud chance in cups. Let’s hope we win atleast one….otherwise we have to support arsenal even louder.. 😉

  20. The Kompany penalty is a tricky one, the ball did come quickly at him but he could have certainly done better in keeping his arms close to his body.

    Personally I think it was a penalty – as you can see from the image Walter has provided Kompany put his arm quite a bit away from his body as Theo is shaping to cross, and he knew perfectly well that the cross would most probably be coming through that area. He would also have known that if it did touch his arm (which it did) that the referee would not be able to have a clear view. So it was a very clever ‘disguised’ handball from Kompany.

  21. As far as I am concerned – a penalty as it was directly in front of me and he moved his arm to stop the ball going past.

    The time wasting by Hart is just another joke decision by FIFA. They brought in the law to speed up play – goal kick either side – yet even from day 1 it did the exact opposite. How long has the rule been around 20 years now (??) and the penny has still not dropped yet.

  22. Sagna shouldn’t have done it – but when you see the likes of Fletcher running 30 yards to put his head in the face of the REF!!! in the Utd / Arsenal game and get nothing – well what can I say? Still I suppose one has to live by ones own standards and I have to say he appeared to deserve the red, unless there was some unseen provocation going on there, and I have no real reason to believe there was.
    Arsenal should be proud – they blitzed them, did not get the breaks and I guess ran out of steam a little bit – lots of games recently and it is so much more energy sapping and difficult to create than it is to destroy – especially against a whole game where they played 10 behind the ball with some top defensive players.
    On another day, we could have been 3 up at HT, easily. Mancini was terrified of this team, and it showed.
    4 points out of 6 from City, I would have taken that at the start.
    Hopefully, a run of very winnable league games awaits us.

  23. Hey Walter,

    I look forward to the new scoring system.

    Personally I find the ref watch really interesting.

    I think at the moment you are judging refs like a college assesor….but I think you can create a moe personalized style of judgement, with your own unique parameters…..

    lol….it would be great to have a ‘bent’ index for instance.

  24. Another wonderful article Walter! The half time incident sounded hilarious and reminded me of the time when the King of some European country came to a Arsenal vs Man United game @ Highbury. The stadium announcer said before the game “Ladies & Gentlemen we have King So & So with us this afternoon and he’s a Gunner!” Whereupon the nasty Man U supporters started with “The King of So & So is a wanker” …most embarrassing but a funny story nonetheless..

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