Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin


By Bulldog Drummond

The referee for the game is Samuel Barrott.   Now you can find that bit of information on loads of websites, but it is virtually impossible to find out on any of them what sort of referee he is, how many cards he gives out, does he favour the home or the away team, and so on.

And yet everyone knows that in many matches there can be huge swathes of the crowd dissatisfied with the decisions of the referee.

That seems a ludicrous contradiction to me.  I know that the mainstream media won’t tackle refereeing and PGMO issues simply because they are warned off doing so by the Premier League, who grant the reporters access to the games.    But of course Untold, and numerous other blogs, don’t have this access.   So what is there to worry about?

And it is not a case of just saying “he’s biased”.  It is a case of looking at each referee individually and drawing conclusions.

Anyway, the referee, as I say, is Samuel Barrott – a man who has only overseen five games in the PL this season – unlike Anthony Taylor (12 games), Robert Jones (11 games), Michael Oliver (10 games).

Why he has only had five games when there is the ongoing shortage of PL referees meaning that we are often caught out with having the same ref four or five times in a season, and when a higher number of refs could mean that each club only sees each referee twice – once at home and once away, is unclear.  The PGMO say nothing.

And just look at some of the variations.   With John Brooks, the figures suggest the away team has a strong chance of a victory.  With Craig Pawson the home team will be rubbing their hands.   With Jarred Gillett you can forget about a draw.  And as for Sammuel Barrott, well, he is at least balanced between the home and away team in his results so far.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
John Brooks 9 33.3 55.6 11.1
Craig Pawson 8 62.5 25.0 12.5
Jarred Gillett 5 40.0 60.0 0.0
Samuel Barrott 5 40.0 40.0 20.0


So with Mr Barrott running the show Arsenal are in with a fighting chance.  John Brooks and Jarred Gillett would have given us more of a chance but the 40% away win record, there is something Arsenal can work with.

Luton Town have won just one of their last eight games (beating Crystal Palace at home 3-1) leaving the league table looking like this…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 14 10 3 1 29 11 18 33
17 Luton Town 14 2 3 9 13 26 -13 9


So what about the team?

You always know when a journalist is knocking out stories in a hurry and with no thought whatsoever, when he or she uses commonplace phrases as early as the first sentence, as with Football.London’s opener, “The games are coming thick and fast for Arsenal.”

It is mindless gibberish of course.  All the clubs have played 14 games and are playing them at the same rate – with just slight variations for the clubs in Europe.   Making it worse, their chief football writer opens with “There have been plenty of rumours linking Aaron Ramsdale with an exit.”

Well, yes there always are, but with Arsenal’s only other PL keeper being simply on loan to Arsenal it would seem unlikely that Arsenal would get rid of Ramsdale this January, in case Brentford exercised their right to recall Ramsdale.

Their chief man then goes with


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior;

Rice, Odegaard, Havertz;

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

with the writer “giving Gabriel Jesus a rest”.

One Football goes for


White – Saliba – Gabriel – Tomiyasu

Odegaard – Rice – Havertz

Saka – Jesus – Trossard

As the BBC confirms Tomiyasu has a muscle issue.   But that’s hardly the main point because they frighten us all to death with the news that “The Gunners are winless in 10 league and cup matches away to Luton since beating them 2-1 in January 1984.”

That is quite shocking although it is worth noting that since 1983/4 Luton have had 10 seasons in the First division, nine seasons in division 2, one season in division 3, two seasons in League One, two five seasons in League Two, six seasons in the Championship, and five seasons in the Conference.  So actually Arsenal hasn’t played them much.  A full list of results is here.

Meanwhile staying with the Corporation for a moment they do offer us a few interesting thoughts on Arsenal.  Such as

No other team has kept four clean or more sheets this season away from home, as Arsenal have, and Arsenal have conceded just three away goals this season – fewer than anyone else.

And they also make the point that picks up on our constant theme from last season: Arsenal’s most recent nine league goals have been scored by nine different players.

Finally we have to mention that Bukayo Saka will make his 200th appearance for Arsenal in all competitions. He has done this by the age of 22 years and 91 days something only bettered by the wonder boy Cliff Bastin in 1934.

If you don’t know the history of Cliff Bastin, and you are an Arsenal fan, I would urge you to read up on him.  He is one of the absolute genius players of Arsenal’s history.   In fact it could be argued he was the genius player above all the rest – beyond Henry, beyond Bergkamp….

His story is told here where it is also noted that at Exeter City there is the Cliff Bastin stand – Exeter was the club where he started.   A Saka stand at Arsenal one day?



8 Replies to “Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin”

  1. Luton are a team of cloggers. We will do well to finish this game with eleven fit men.

  2. Never give up, never stop going … we got our reward. Deffensive not the best performance today …

  3. Well, Arsenal now have learned how to grind out victories.
    Not the first time.
    The grit they showed, how they did not run from the physical challenge are really excellent and very good news for the rest of the season.
    And Havertz is 3 goals in last 3 games.

  4. I’m glad I don’t have to write anything about the game until the morning. I need time to get some thoughts together. Although the league table looks rather good. Five points clear and a goal difference similar to the teams around us. Not bad

  5. Well done , guys . A handy 3 points . Did not get to see the game , but once again all the goals being shared is a good sign.
    Up the Gunners !

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