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- Arsenal and fouls. What comes after the “doubling down on a position?”
- Just how well are Arsenal doing when it comes to tackles, fouls and yellow cards?
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.
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.
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption
- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
- The media, the League and PGMO. An insidious agreement rears its ugly head