A good night’s football and now the report: PGMO dictate what the media say




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By Tony Attwood

Another night and still Arsenal can’t produce good form.  At least according to the Guardian for whom Arsenal only won bewcause Sevilla were “desperately poor” and “have won only three matches all season”.    That number is right, but a little misleading by itself in the sense that Sevilla have only lost two games in the last dozen played before last night.  One of those was against Arsenal in the Champions League and the other was away to Barcelona, which was lost by the single goal.

Among the other 10 games – in which they were not defeated included getting a draw with Real Madrid.   So those of us who bother to look at such things rather than take note of utterly misleading analayses in the Guardian, did not so much fear at defeat as a draw, which in the context of a league of just four clubs can be a problem.

I’m sure the Guardian was ready with its insight that Arsenal had just lost two games in a row (because when it is defeats they are writing about they like to include league cup matches in the stats) but the actual situation is 18 games played, three defeats, three draws, 12 victories.  Not perfect but not that bad.

Arsenal have Lens at home and Eindoven away in the last two games.  Lens have drawn one and lost one of their away games scoring one goal in those two games.  Eindhoven at home have drawn with Lens and beaten Sevilla.  Neither therefore are in staggeringly wonderful form.   Here’s  the table.


Group B table
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 4 3 0 1 9 3 6 9
2 PSV Eindhoven 4 1 2 1 4 7 -3 5
3 RC Lens 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5
4 Sevilla 4 0 2 2 4 7 -3 2


In fact so dominant was Arsenal last night that both Martinelli and Saka were substituted (the latter for an injury) with Reiss Nelson being given a quarter of an hour run out.

So there we are.  Only two clubs (Ateltico Madrid and Manchester City) have a better goal difference than Arsenal in the League groups, and only Real Madrid and Manchester City have managed to win all their group games.

Still at least we had no more reporting on “petty” Arteta comments, although likewise no investigation into how referees, assistants and VAR officials can oversee Newcastle matches, and work for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the same season.   That one it seems is a little too much for the media to contemplate.

But to return to the seemingly ceaseless attacks on Arsenal that we have had to put up with this week, the Athletic is actually making a slight move as shown in its article “A cure for VAR woes – give managers three challenges per game.”   It would of course be a lot better to get VAR sorted out properly, but it is at least a suggestion.

And what of the Mirror after their week long assault on Arsenal?  Are they now satisfied?   No, not in the slightest.   What we have from them is the notion that Arsenal merely beat “dismal Sevilla”, Arsenal “suffer yet another injury blow”, the £51m transfer plan is in “serious doubt”, “Jack Greelish issues stark warning to Arsenal,”  “FA finally respond to Arteta’s embarrassing rant”, “Martin Odegaard injury concerns,” “Gabriel Jesus row escalates,”

And yet… and yet… tucked away, far away from the main headlines we do find “Ex-Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys says two pundits were ordered NOT to criticise referees.”

This article says that “Richard Keys [of beIN Sports previously with Sky] has claimed that two pundits received calls from a high-ranking Premier League official to ask them not to criticise officials.   Indeed he argues that broadcasters are being censored when it comes to their analysis of refereeing mistakes.

Keys made the claims in his weekly blog saying, “It can’t go on. I repeat what I said recently – our current crop of match officials aren’t fit for purpose. They’re hopeless. And they’re ruining the best league in the world.”

He added that he and Andy Gray were not affected by the ban on commenting on referees, but that others would received calls from what he calls “a high ranking PL broadcast official reminding you who pays your wages.”

It is no more than we have suspected for a long time, and indeed is something that we came across in relation to Radio 5 commentator Alan Green who was removed in 2020.  Of course in this case the source of the claim is one who is not always known for being closely related to accuracy, but even so it is quite a statement and it fits the facts that we know.

Plus it raises the issue: why would PGMO seek to manipulate what the media says about referees?   We might, perhaps, come back to that.


9 Replies to “A good night’s football and now the report: PGMO dictate what the media say”

  1. Tony

    “A cure for VAR woes – give managers three challenges per game.”

    It would of course be a lot better to get VAR sorted out properly, but it is at least a suggestion.

    Absolutely. And that was what I said last when a commentator in the Man Utd match said something along the lines of , “VAR would be much better and not annoy everybody so much if it didn’t take so long”.

    Okay, similarly there is something to that, but I thought exactly the same as you Tony. Fundamentally it isn’t the time taken that annoys people, it’s the fact they take all that time and STILL GET IT WRONG. As you say, it would of course be a lot better to get VAR sorted out properly.

    Again it’s a classic case of deflection.

    Two suggestions to improve VAR and neither actually mentions what lays at the heart of the problem, the pathetic OFFICIALS

    It feels as if, and this is just a wild stab in the dark, that THE PGMO DICTATES WHAT THE MEDIA SAY

  2. Jorghino’s pass to Saka for the first goal was brilliant,

    What a surprise, since he only ever passes sideways and backwards, according to that renowned pundit, fantastically successful manager / coach and confirmed admirer of Arsenal, Mr. Sherwood.

  3. Didn’t Arsene Wenger suggest some years ago that managers should be given 3 cards a game to query decisions ?
    PS Slightly off topic but a similar ban on criticising people in football. Apparently your comment is removed if you ask how Ferguson feels every home game watching that shower of manure.
    It apparently breaks the BBC house rules.Seems there is a lot of censorship in & around English football by our supposedly “national” broadcaster.

  4. Adrian

    He did indeed and was roundly ridiculed.

    Part of the problem was if I remember correctly, he said it would be akin to the manager playing a ‘Joker’, when he wanted an incident checked. Playing your ‘Joker’ was a vague reference to how a Joker was played in ‘it’s a knockout’, to double your points return in that particular game.

    Of course as soon as he used the term ‘Joker’ you can guess what followed.

  5. Untold Arsenal,
    Thanks for being virtually the lone voice of common sense and reason. Deserving an honourable mention there is also a Manchester United supporter blog that too provides a reasonable analysis of events on a football field in a very even and unbiased way. But there’s precious little else out there. So keep up the insightful analyses UA magnificent job well done.

  6. I must agree with Les Martin – this is one site where there is a sense of knowledge about the game. This site has common sense along with the Man Utd supporter blog you talk about.

    I gave up waiting for honesty from the EPL a long time ago.

    I am worried that Arsenal will now be “punished” for having the audacity to want fair and balanced officiating!

  7. The “Premier League’s Independent Key Match Incidents Panel” has ruled that the Newcastle goal last week should be allowed. One of the decisions that they have ruled on was that the two-handed push in Gabriel’s back which stopped him reaching the ball wasn’t a foul because “there isn’t enough to award a foul as Gabriel had made an action to play the ball before any contact”.

    They are saying that if a player “makes an action” to play the ball, they cannot be fouled. I know what I saw on Saturday, and it was a foul.

    I wonder how “independent” this panel is. I wonder who is paying them. I have seen suggestions that Moss or Atkinson may be on this panel, which would certainly call any independence into question.

    I have also noticed that ESPN seem to have quite a recent history of backing decisions that don’t go Arsenal’s way.

    One of today’s suggestions was that the system that provides goal-line technology (Hawk-Eye) should be replaced. From the still images I have seen, the whole of the ball was beyond the corner-flagpost. Given that the corner-flag is supposed to be at the corner of the pitch, I don’t see how the ball was in play.

    Incidentally, a lot of the suggestions I have seen for improving things seem to involve factors not related to the on-pitch or VAR officials. It’s almost like PGMOL are refusing to accept their members’ part in the officiating shambles and passing the buck to deflect attention from the real issues.

    I see that the Premier League website still doesn’t have the matchweek 12 officials for tomorrow’s games available under any menu. That website has some serious issues. I had to go digging to confirm that Oliver will be the referee, and we know that he can’t be trusted to make fair decisions when Arsenal are being kicked.

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