The Untold ref review: Ipswich – Arsenal

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By Walter Broeckx, the not amused ref

Most of the times it is great fun to do these ref reviews. And every now and then it is hard work and I have to force me to start doing it. There are some games you really would like to forget as quick as possible. This was one of them. But this is down to the final score as you could imagine.

But this is not about the score line I must see how the ref did his job and so I will do it. Dedication it is called I think. Martin Atkinson was the ref and well let us see how he did.

OTHER: Some early calls from the ref against Ipswich. The crowd don’t like it. The sky anti Arsenal pundits don’t like it. But the ref was right. 1/1

GOAL: An Ipswich goal is disallowed for offside. A correct decision from the assistant. 1/1

OTHER/CARD: Walcott makes a nice move and is well past his man who brings him down. The ref gives the foul and a yellow card. No chance of playing the ball there. 1/1 and 1/1

Not much to do for the ref in this first half really but what he had to do he did if good.

Not even close to offside

OTHER: Ball over the top to Arshavin who could be going on his own for goal. The linesman put up his flag and the ref blows for offside. It wasn’t. First mistake of the evening in fact. 0/1

OTHER: This may look a bit harsh on the ref but I saw on a few occasions that he was holding up play a bit. Having free kicks retaken because not on the right spot is correct. But when it is in a position close to the own penalty area you don’t have to be too difficult and precise. I will not deduct points for this as he has every right to do this. This is just a little remark from my part as I feel it takes the speed out of the game.

OTHER/OTHER: A foul from Wilshere in midfield. The ref calls him over for a lecture. Replay shows it was a little contact and not much in it. I think it was a bit of game and crowd management from the ref to call him over. A good thing to do at times. 1/1 and 1/1

OTHER: Djourou is shielding the ball for Szczesny. The Ipswich striker pushes Djourou with both hands  in the back and Djourou loses his balance and the ball could have gone anywhere. Now it ended safe in the hands of Szczesny but if the striker would have got to the ball he would have given a goal I feel. Always give a foul when a defender is fouled ref. 0/1

OTHER/CARD: Szczesny looks to be handling the ball outside his area when he collects a harmless ball at the right hand side of his penalty area. As there was no camera on the line one can not give a 100% evidence but it look outside the area. This should have been a free kick and a yellow card. I think we can put this down to his youth. I mean the keepers, not the ref. But anyway it wasn’t seen by the ref so I have to take some points away from this. 0/1 and 0/1

GOAL: A ball is lost in midfield and played over the top. The assistant doesn’t raise the flag and he can go on goal and score. Was he onside? The camera angle from around the halfway line doesn’t give any idea as the striker was not in the picture. Another angle gives the impression he was offside but I must warn you that from this angle you cannot really make a 100% call. To decide this you need other more advanced equipment, which I don’t have. The lines on the grass are not clear enough with the angle and like I said on the other picture you cannot see the striker.

From this angle it looks offside but this is the worst angle to judge it.

As the player is out of the picture I cannot judge it in a decent way. And also the distance between the half way line which could be used as a marker is not the same distance to the frame of the picture below and on top.  We must not forget that the angle of the camera gives us a false image. This is only something that can be done with special software.

In American football where there are challenges the ruling on the field stands unless there is conclusive evidence of something else. So we can only give the benefit of the doubt to the ref and his assistant in this case and call this a valid goal. 1/1

OTHER/CARD: The Ipswich goal scorer comes in late and from behind on Koscielny. A foul and a deserved yellow card. 1/1 and 1/1

And this was the last real call the ref had to make in this game. So let us see how if he had a good game in total.

CARDS:  2/3

PENALTY: nothing to report

GOAL:  2/2

OTHER:  6/9

Total score: 10/14  (71 %)

Glad this one is over. So what can we say about the ref? He had a decent game. If all our players would have had a decent game like that,  we wouldn’t have lost the game.

About the goal and a possible offside or not I can only ask that if there is someone out there who has seen replays in which there was conclusive evidence to let me know. I’m not saying it was offside as I cannot prove it with the camera angles I have at my disposal. So we will accept the decision, what else can we do.

And I know I let the time wasting at the end out a bit. The ref gave 4 minutes which was fair to me and even let play continue after that for a little while. And one can understand that Ipswich was in no hurry after their goal or before. But this is not the reason why we lost this game. But that is another matter which doesn’t need to be addressed in this article on the ref.

The final conclusion this time might be: we can blame who we want for our defeat, but not the ref. And if you don’t mind I will leave it for it now like that.

What’s done is done, lets look forward to Saturday. Another game, another set of emotions. Another ref to review.

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25 Replies to “The Untold ref review: Ipswich – Arsenal”

  1. Walter the REf has not influenced this game at all. I mean you just have to look at the abject performacne. To me it just feels like another Groundhog Season for me. Lots of pre-Christmas promise, a few early spectacular goal sprees against the minor European teams in the CL, some totally inept defending, wrongly diagnosed injuries to key players, inadequate squad cover in certain positions owing to negligence in the transfer window…..

    ….and it will end with

    1. “A lap of appreciation”

    2. Lots more early Summer promises about being on the verge of something special, developing / maturing etc.

    3. The Arsene Knows brigade drowning out anyone who begs to differ

    I’m starting to wonder if it’s even worth getting wound up about these days. He has the job for life that works for him, the board and 80% of the fans….so apart from a few of us it works for everyone

    Good luck with the project Arsene – any idea when it’s due to end ?

  2. i callit one unlucky night. however bad we may be, honestly is ipswich better than us? i hope not. look at walcot’s efforts, the keeper must hve been lucky or a genius.

    i can only blame wenger for the pairing of Andrei and Bentner.

    look at their physique(ipswich)and copare with ours. may be we also ned some physical players.

    but above all remember its 11 against 11

  3. Thanks Gandiv for your nice remarks about my review. Just that I don’t see where I said that the ref influenced the game is something I cannot remember writing down.
    But you had at least one remark on my review even when reading something I think I didn’t wrote but you got to start somewhere. 😉

  4. It was not “one of those nights?”Arshavin was pathetic and so was Theo. Not one of them could put in a decent cross or score when they had clear cut chances. Wenger, if you want to win trophies, then get rid of Ashavin, Theo, Vela, Denilson and Jack plays too many games…he is no good against teams like Ipswitch, Wolves etc,they just pushed him off the ball with their thuggery. Wenger yes you need to rotate the team because of the clustered fixtures, but you have made mistakes since the win against Chelsea.Get the Japanese kid sorted out and draff him in the side in place of Wilcot…don’t sell Wilcot, give him away and so too Asharvin…

  5. Walter – very fair observations, thanks.

    I’m not sure why everyone is giving our captain a free pass. His play was at best equal to Theo’s play.

  6. Yeah, Fabregas hasn’t been himself all season…let’s hope it isn’t because he’s got one foot out the door. I thought the ref was fair too, and to be honest, if you live by the offside trap, you die by the offside trap, which is fine because we should be able to score 3 goals against any team, let alone Ipswich. The problem is up front, we never claimed to be a great defensive team.

  7. We are only one goal down at half-time AT HOME and there is 90mins left to play. The solution is simple. If our manager and his fellow coaches want the team to get kitted out in new suits for the trip to Wembley, their orders will be “Stop the pass too many in the penalty area and SHOOT. Pass back, if needed, to someone in a position to SHOOT…..but stop getting rid of the ball as though it’s red hot by an immediate close pass…It doesn’t work anymore”

  8. Walter great article. But i beg to differ on the offside call
    The reason i say this is in the 2nd image even though the striker is not visible his shadow is. You can clearly see that his shadow is a bit back than either koscienly or Djourou
    This was definitely offside.
    I also believe that our defenders were a bit hesitant because they were waiting for the offside call which never came

  9. I’ve been a fan of our great club for some 20 years now and have been reading the articles on untold with some interest for some time. Never felt compelled to get involved in any for of debate due to the high amount of non-football related personal bickering, but last night’s result combined with the fiasco at the Emirates on Saturday have created a need to let off some steam. An upset against a team like Leeds could be forgiven to some extent, it’s after all the kind of stuff that makes the FA cup such a fabulous competition. It’s what happened last night that’s the problem. I appreciate we’re not out of the competition (still the most likely to reach the final in my book), but when gifted professionals step onto the pitch and show that amount of disrespect for our jersey, my blood really starts to boil. On balance, I suppose I’ve been more of a Wenger supporter than detractor but last night’s display is prompting some very uncomfortable questions. I do think he’s brought/developed some very gifted footballers to the club during his time, I seriously worry that the current batch has been so pampered and had criticism constantly deflected away from them that they just don’t have the stomach for a scrap when the chips are truly down. I think this year represents a terrific chance for us to win the league, but I’d be massively (and positively) surprised if we do. And it’s not because I think our players aren’t good enough, cause I think they are, they just don’t have the instincts as a result of their sheltered existence over the years. And the obvious lack of leadership on the pitch. Rant over.

  10. Walter

    Good work again. I felt the Ref went about his job and did OK, certainly no blame can be attached to him on the night.

    Arsenals performance was poor though, almost every player below par and if you play a high offside line you run the risk and we paid the price.

    However its not all doom and gloom, we could and maybe should have been two goals behind in the tie and I doubt we will perform as poorly in the return leg at home. We have a second chance.

    Given the choice it would be the one game we could afford a defeat in at present, not saying its acceptable just keeping things in perspective.

    And finally, well played Ipswich.

  11. Hey walter i think you have got the ref review spot on he barely put a foot wrong and in some ways seemed generous to us.

    after nearly 24 hours I can a one goal deficit at home is nothing.

    is it just me or was project youth much more impressive in 2007/08 season. Arsenal are about goals and when we dont score we look bad there was a clear lack of invention and if that performance was translated against a decent team away such as barca we would have been thrashed, when there is a load of changes and it is a Frankenstein team it doesnt seem to work. Everyone including me wassaying for Arsene to play a strong side but he would have been better off playing kids with something to prove ipswich would have to come at us in case they lost to kids

  12. Hey Walter, really good article again! Any ways, I thought I should put some time away as a break from my revision to confirm the goal wasn’t offside by plotting out an offside line.

    I know its a megaupload link but I don’t an account on any other site to post the photo up. Its a .png file with the offside line on it. I took the liberty of plotting out the line based on the half line and the various other lines from the different tones of green on the grass. This is in theory exactly the same as what they do in tennis matches to confirm whether it is in or out.

    Personally i think it was just onside as they were both in line, but in all fairness, its hard to say with the low video quality provided on arsenal tv.

  13. Thanks Jerom J., whenever we have the same situation I know at whom I will be looking. 😉

    In the Emirates with the extra camera positions and the clearer lines on the pitch I never have had this problem until now.

    Thanks for clearing this out.

  14. I’m not a Wenger hater & try to see the positives in our players over the negatives. Yes I know that we’re still in with a shout for everything & have seen some glimses of confident entertaining football of late. However, we have also had far too many games I’d like to forget as quick as possible this season…
    Shaktar D., Braga, West Brom, Newcastle, Wigan, Leeds, & now
    Ipswich. I don’t expect the players to be great all the time, but a great team performance is worryingly becomming the exception.

  15. Yeah, it is a lot easier with all the extra camera positions in the Emirates, and with much clearer lines on the grass. Normally you’d be able to determine an offside more easily without needing to plot these lines.

    I was hoping it was an offside just so that I could blame the referee for the goal because I was convinced he was offside at first but as you can see, unfortunately I was wrong.

  16. i disagree on the szczesney yellow card, (am not sure really) i saw replays and he was standing on the line not out, or is that seen as out?

  17. Do Ipswich (or indeed any physical football team) have the right to bemoan other teams for ‘always keeping the ball on the ground, passing it around so quickly and skillfully, god i wish these teams would just hoof it upfield so we can defend the way we do best ….’. God comments like that from Fabregas really grinds my gears. If you don’t like the diversity of the english game, jog on …

  18. Walter. As far as I can tell Szczesny was always in contact with the line although on one step most of his foot was over the line. Is this within the rules? When does it become handball?

  19. @Zubeir and Dan Tree-I think a significant difference in football and basketball rules is that in Basketball, you can be within the line and still catch a ball with your arms outside and it still is in play, as long as the ball doesn’t touch the lines and outside.

    I don’t know whether that is what you got confused with Zubeir, but in football its the ball that matters, the keeper can be outside the line and yet still hold the in play or a player can still kick the ball that is on the line. One rule that is always important to keep in mind that an ex official ref used to tell me is that, ‘the whole of the ball must completely be over the whole of the line’ So a ball can have 5% of itself on the line and a goal could be disallowed.

    In this case, because Szczesny was on the line, and his hands were out, would clearly mean that the ball hasn’t came into the box just yet. So personally I do judge it as a handball.

    Could you confirm this with me Walter? or am I just spouting out nonsense…. hahaha

  20. Jerom J., you are certainly not spouting nonsense.

    The lines of the penalty area are part of the penalty area. So a foul on the line results in a penalty. But this means that even if the keeper is on the line he can handle the ball on that line and it is no handball. But as could be seen he had his arm outstretched and his hands looked outside the line.
    But no camera angle on this to give 100% certainty.

    But Szczesny sure is a cool one. A few minutes later there was another ball coming to him almost on the same position but much lower. And then he made a dummy with his arms reaching out the penalty area, but this time he clearly let the ball run past his arms and he only picked it up in the penalty area.

    He was playing with the crowd a bit. This shows to me he is a character…. Some Jens Lehmann in him?

  21. I can’t post it here, but I have taken the offside picture, and used the vanishing point tool in Photoshop. It looks like it is possibly offside, but the call is so marginal, I would be inclined to give the attacker the benefit of the doubt, and call it onside

    The image can be seen at this link:

  22. Thank you W79.

    Looking at your work, Koscielny and Djourou are standing just off the C.Circle line. Taking into account the perspective of the image, he looks approximately a foot ‘off’, at least. More then just an ‘advantage’.

    Arshavin was clearly ‘on’ earlier in the game.
    There was no ‘advantage’.

    Just have to win that second leg I suppose.

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