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By Walter Broeckx, the hammering ref
So down to West Ham we went (unless one lives in Ealing Walter, as I did for a few years, in which case you hop on the Central Line and go across – Ed), I always thought it a bit strange as we go east to play a team with West in its name. But this is not what I came here for and what you came here for. You came for the ref and the ref was Andre Mariner.
And as my colleague Dogface had already said it was his first game for Arsenal this season in the league. So let us find out how he did in this game.
GOAL: It is within the rules to let the ball run to your team mate so he can drill it in the goal even with his weaker foot. 1/1
OTHER/CARD: Faubert jumps in with both feet towards Cesc on the sideline. Lucky Cesc saw it coming and could jump in the air. Correct decision from the ref for the foul and for the yellow card. 1/1 and 1/1
OTHER: Luis Boa Morte who came on in the first half was trying to give a few late kickings on several Arsenal players in the first half (probably in revenge for that fact that we transferred him out of the club just when it was getting exciting), when the ball had already gone. (One on RVP, twice on Cesc, twice on Nasri) The ref never spotted it nor gave it a foul. He could have spoken to him about it as it was a bit annoying. I think it caused Robin Van Persie to go in against Boa Morte a bit later with a bit of a strong challenge and a high foot. This is the risk you get when the ref doesn’t act and then the players are dealing with it themselves. So a bit of bad game management. 0/1
PENALTY/OTHER: Cole and Song tangle in the Arsenal penalty area. If there was a foul it was one from Cole. So correct not to give a penalty. I think he should have given a free kick to Arsenal. You don’t play advantage when a foul is made on a defender. A basic rule for a ref. 1/1 and 0/1
GOAL: Great build up, no offside down the move, great low cross, great and quick running from Theo. All these things are not against the rules. A good goal. 1/1
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And in we go at half time.
OTHER: Offside decision against Nasri and it was a close call but a correct decision. 1/1
PENALTY/CARD/GOAL: Walcott is being hacked down by Bridge. If you look at the replay you will see that was the assistant who gave the penalty. I think the ref couldn’t see it as he had a few players between him and the incident. So a very good call from the assistant. As you may have seen the signals I will explain them as he made them all: first waving the flag above your head is what they call the emergency signal. Then the pointing to the corner flag to indicate which team gets the foul and then the flag across his chest to indicate it was a foul which should be punished with a direct free kick. So good work from the assistant.
The ref gives no card and this also was correct. Theo wasn’t running towards goal, there was no goal scoring chance. Just a foul and so no card needed. And Van Persie shoots the ball nice in goal and nothing wrong with that. So 1/1, 1/1 and 1/1.
And then the game was finally over. And a special moment in the last minute of normal time when Green asked the ref not to play any injury time. I think he felt lucky they only lost 3-0. But the ref did give the 3 minutes extra in which nothing happened anymore.
So what is the final score for the ref?
Total score: 9/11 (82 %)
As you may know I also do a live match report for the Benelux supporters club and it is always a good sign when I don’t have to mention the ref in this report. And in the game today this was the case. I have had games in which I write more about the ref than about the football incidents and most of the times this is a sign that the ref is too visible and has a bad game.
Today the ref was most of the time invisible and then you have a good game. I could point at a few things like the fact that at times he did try to keep the game flowing a bit too much. Some tackles and fouls were not giving and this could turn against you as a ref. Players start to get frustrated, take matter in their own hands, go too far and before you know it cards have to be handed out. I refer not just to Boa Morta but also to a few fouls in the second half when I had the feeling that the ref allowed West Ham a few things just to let them have the ball a bit.
I do think this is a point of his game he needs to work on. As in the other game we had this season I came to the same conclusion. He did good on most things but his handling of some incidents then was much poorer (Carling cup game – Newcastle – Barton….). So the same shortcomings are seen again. He sometimes gives the game out of his hands at times and this is dangerous.
But in general I think it is fair to say that the ref had a very good game. So we can only congratulate him and ask him to keep it up. Just a little bit of attention to some fouls and some little kicks off the ball and he could have had a near perfect score.
And with his score he comes up high in the list of the refs this season. So good work ref!