The Untold ref review : Stoke – Arsenal

By Walter Broeckx, the Untold ref

So today we had Mike Halsey. Let us check his numbers.

Min Type Decision correct points weight on
1 OTHER Push on Ramsey no foul given NC 0 0 1
1 OTHER Foul on Van Persie not given NC 0 0 1
2 OFFSIDE Offside against Stoke not given NC 0 0 1
3 OTHER Foul on Ramsey not given NC 0 0 1
3 OTHER Gibbs then commits a copy foul and is given;  Should give the first foul NC 0 0 1
8 OTHER Foul on Jones ref signals advantage C 1 1 1
13 OFFSIDE When the cross from Stoke comes in the player going for the ball is offside. The assistant gives no signal. Pennant shoots wide NC 0 0 1
15 OTHER Jones commits a foul on Ramsey. Nothing given NC 0 0 1
15 OTHER Wilshere then dives in and brings a Stoke player down in the same split second. Now the ref gives a foul. Why don’t he give the first foul? TV focusses on the foul from Wilshere but you can see the first tackle from Jones from behind on Ramsey if you are fast. Always give the first foul ref NC 0 0 1
16 OTHER The ref who has been running around the centre circle runs and not for the first time too close to the action. He intercepts Van Persie and Arsenal almost lose the ball NC 0 0 1
23 OTHER Foul on Pennant given C 1 1 1
24 OTHER Late challenge on Sagna not given NC 0 0 1
25 OTHER Foul from Arshavin not given NC 0 0 1
26 OTHER Corner for Arsenal not given NC 0 0 1
27 OTHER Foul from Arshavin given C 1 1 1
27 GOAL From the resulting free kick Stoke score C 1 3 3
34 OTHER Foul from Wilshere given C 1 1 1
37 OTHER Foul from Van Persie given C 1 1 1
37 OTHER Foul from Djourou not given NC 0 0 1
38 OTHER The ball goes out for a throw to Stoke just at the end of the technical area. Unlike minutes before when Sagna was told to go back this time Delap can walk some 10 meters further upfield to throw the ball direct to goal. If you are strict to one team you should be strict to both teams ref NC 0 0 1
39 OTHER Push on  Van Persie not given NC 0 0 1
40 GOAL It is not against the rule to score by hitting a defenders leg C 1 3 3
42 OTHER 41:25 on the clock. The first foul blown against Stoke! Well he couldn’t let that one go C 1 1 1
45 OFFSIDE Offside against Arsenal C 1 1 1
47 OTHER Corner given for Stoke, not correct NC 0 0 1
47 OTHER Song his shirt is torn apart by Huth. The ref gives no foul NC 0 0 1
48 CARD Huth then sticks out an arm to the face of Song who reacts with a push with his elbow. Huth pretends for a second to have been hit. Again a result of the ref not punishing the first foul. Both players could have been given at least a yellow card for their fight. The replay focuses again on the foul from the Arsenal player but ignores the first hand going out from Huth. Both players should be sent off for throwing hands to the faces of other players NC 0 0 6
53 OTHER Foul on Chamakh not given NC 0 0 1
56 OTHER Foul on Sagna not given. The defender sticks out his arm to prevent Sagna going past him. Nothing given NC 0 0 1
57 OTHER Foul from Van Persie given C 1 1 1
58 OTHER The Stoke keeper is holding the ball 16 seconds before kicking it upfield. The maximum time is 6 seconds to hold it in his hands NC 0 0 1
59 OFFSIDE Offside against Stoke given C 1 1 1
60 OTHER Foul from Bendtner on Pennant given C 1 1 1
60 CARD Card against Bendtner and this is correct C 1 2 2
62 PENALTY Stoke appeal or better said the crowd but Jones just backs in on Sagna and then goes down without Sagna doing anything C 1 2 2
63 OTHER Foul on Wilshere given C 1 1 1
64 OTHER Foul against Koscielny given by assistant C 1 1 1
66 OFFSIDE Offside given against Stoke NC 0 0 1
68 OTHER Foul from Pennant given C 1 1 1
69 OTHER Foul from Chamakh given C 1 1 1
69 OTHER Foul from Wilshere given C 1 1 1
69 CARD Wilshere gets a yellow card. He was lucky to have his foot on the floor when he tackles or he should have goten a red one. C 1 2 2
69 CARD Pennant reacts very wild to the tackle and alsot gets a yellow card C 1 2 2
69 CARD Wilkinson who after the first tackle came in with a flying tackle on Wilshere gets nothing. He also should have been booked. NC 0 0 2
76 OTHER Foul on Szczesny given C 1 1 1
78 OTHER Foul on Wilshere not given NC 0 0 1
80 OTHER Foul on Bendnter not given ref signals advantage C 1 1 1
81 GOAL Nothing against the rules with the Arsenal goal C 1 3 3
82 GOAL Apart from poor defending nothing against the rules with this goal C 1 3 3
86 OTHER Rosicky is being held and misses his pass. The ref gives nothing? NC 0 0 1
86 OTHER Foul on Walcott given C 1 1 1
90 OTHER Foul on Van Persie given C 1 1 1
91 OTHER Foul on Van Persie not given NC 0 0 1
93 OTHER Foul given against Bendtner C 1 1 1
TOTAL 28 40 72
% 51,85% 55,56%
CARDS 3 6 50,00
PENALTY 1 1 100,00
GOAL 4 4 100,00
OTHER 3 9 33,33
11 20 55,00
Wrong calls Arsenal 21 80,77%
Stoke 5 19,23%
Total 26

Well it is fair to say that Arsenal was not the only ones having a bit of an off day.

Let me put it gently it seemed as if the ref had a bit of a problem with following the game. He therefore always took the mid circle road as we call it over here. He didn’t run his diagonal line like he should have done. He came a few times too close to the action even stopped Van Persie on one occasion because of bad placement.  I know it should be tough at 49 years old to do games in the EPL. In most other countries they haven’t such old refs anymore. Sorry but it was a bit visible. Maybe too many games in too short a space of time?

Another thing that struck me during this game was when a clever guy showed a statistic after almost 40 minutes played. It said at that time that Stoke had committed no fouls. Nothing, zero, nada, nul. I thought by myself: this cannot be. So when I did my review I looked and I found out that it was a correct statistic at the time. The ref had not given any foul against Stoke.  And I must say on that moment in my ref review I had already 6 fouls from Stoke in my report.

Now experienced refs know that not giving fouls to both teams is the best way to try to disturb the balance a bit. I think nobody will have noticed it (unless the other refs over here) but when I see such a thing it raises some suspicion.  Now it could be that because of his bad physical condition he could not see all those fouls. But surely not all of them could have been missed. If it was meant to be to tip the balance a bit I must say he did a great job. If it was by accident he should do something about his standards in calling fouls or his physical shape.

But to be fair to the ref: the important decisions is where he didn’t make mistakes. Just the average middle of the field fouls was where he showed some strange decisions or non decisions.  Let us say not the best of referee performances I have seen this season but most of us will not have noticed because of the frustration about our own game.

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63 Replies to “The Untold ref review : Stoke – Arsenal”

  1. oh come on. we are a coddled team. we are naive. articles like this do nothing to disabuse us of this trait. this is whining. I don’t want arsenal to be whiners.

  2. Walter, I am a big fan of your ref-reviews. But this one looks a little too stretched. We must admit that it was a characterless display. It was our players that cost us the match not the referee. I think it was a fair performance for referee looking at what we have got recently.

    As for Huth-Song incident, Huth pulled Song down, that was yellow- red would have been harsh. But Song’s reaction was outrageous. Easily could have earned red, had Huth made most of it. As it was in the heat of the moment than intentional, may be caution for both was enough, not the sending off for any of the two. 11 vs 11 is always a better match.

    Lastly, the season is all but over for us. Another year without trophy. But there are many positives. Jack Wilshere is the obvious one. Performances by Nasri-Walcott were really encouraging. Defensively, we were without our first choice CB for full season, and kos-djorou coped up nicely. We have got a very good keeper now. Hopefully everything falls in place next season. In Arsene, We trust!!

  3. Walter , I just admire you for the ability to go and watch again and again the match and report as objectively as you can. As for me once is enough, except when there has been some brilliant play or goals – and as in last night’s game there was none to be found .
    It was so poor that I had nothing to rant about and watch the match in disbelief .
    I was cheered up a bit later when I saw the expression on my son’s face ( the one that supports Chelski) after the 2 quick ManUre goals and fell asleep smilling.

  4. We should have known what to expect, the players will have been warned.

    We can’t blame Halsey here; he did get the big decisions all correct. And he choose to let the game flow in a very British manner, it was up to us to take advantage of that. I am not condoning his approach, but certainly Stoke were physical but not dirty!

    My concern is that we created all of Stokes goals, 2 by bad decisions at crucial times.

    1st goal a silly foul in a very dangerous position by Arshavin
    2nd goal poor decision by Ramsey to kick the ball blindly over his head towards our goal
    3rd goal poor defending by Big JD

    I suspect Ramsey and Arshavin were substituted at H/T out of fury by Wenger. The players will have been well prepared on professional discipline. Those were not professional decisions.

    On the Plus, Chesney, you may well be the “one and only”

    Big Kos was outstanding; he has grown this season and looks more and more like Rio Ferdinand to me.

    Jack Wilshire really loves a battle, our best prospect since Brady.

    Sagna is best R/B in country

    We have other positives to take into next season, Theo is better, we have 3 very good centre backs plus Kyle Bartley, Aarron is back, Van Persie looks hungry and fit. Hopefully we will see the Flying Jap in the Carling cup.

    Biggest downer for me yesterday was that Gibbs looks frightened of a physical challenge. Has he gone the same way as Eduardo and developed a mental block? And for your information Walter, the challenge that broke Gibbs ankle was a cowardly and outrageous one by a player from a Belgian team.

  5. Walter when most fans are just gutted especially after the pathetic performance like yesterday, I would expect you to accept that objectively but blaming on the refs everytime is worse than being naïve.

  6. I don’t understand all your critisism about Walters report. I, for one, think it’s interesting to read about how a referee might be able to “disturb the balance” of a game. Whether it was on purpose or not I think Walter might have a point. And if you read the last paragraph he actually states that the referee got the big decisions right and that the most frustrating thing about this game was our own performance.

  7. I’m annoyed with that performance YESTERDAY but if I was one of those Gooners who went to the Britannia Stadium I would be very, very, very, very pissed off.

    I know players can have an off-day, they are only human after all.

    But when there appears to be no effort whatsoever then that is taking liberties.

    I can accept defeat if the players have given their all but some of those lot today wouldn’t have even needed a shower after that game.

    You would never have believed that there was an outside chance of still winning the title would you?

    I concede that chance was very small. Smaller than an ants dinner but there was still a chance.

    Yet what sort of performance do we get? It was the most diabolical shambles of shit I’ve seen in a long time.

    I can count on one hand the amount of players who grafted and tried today. Szczęsny, Sagna, Wilshere and van Persie.

    The others were strolling around the pitch like my Nan on an OAP’s day out in Brighton.

    Do the players not think about the fans who travelled for miles and miles to see a disinterested pile of crap like that?

    Only the other day I saw a video where the likes of Song and Walcott were geeing up the supporters. That’s nice I thought, they really do care.

    What a mug I was.

    Of course it isn’t all down to the players. Wenger is to blame too.

    Has he lost his motivational skills? I don’t know. What I do know is that this squad have let him, and us, down time and time again.

    They have been mollycoddled and babied so much they only turn up when they want.

    Complacency is breed throughout and its all began since we treated the domestic cups with utter contempt.

    How can Wenger say that the Carling Cup has no meaning but was desperate to win it this season? It’s double standards.

    I don’t want Wenger to go. I want him to have a shake up, and I think he will, to refresh this squad.

    Believe me this squad is highly talented. In my opinion it is the most talented in the Premiership but the attitude is terrible.

    Wenger HAS to rectify that this summer. He has too.

    People are losing faith rapidly and with performances like yesterday’s who could blame them?

    The club has made a lot of bad PR errors recently.

    They would go a long way by offering the Gooners who travelled there today some kind of refund or gesture.

    Our away fans are the best in the league. They deserve so much more than what they saw today. We all do.

    Apart from those players mentioned (in my opinion) the others should hang their heads in shame

  8. I know that not giving fouls to one team is a way of upsetting a team and bringing unbalance in a game. So when I see such a thing happen I cannot but point at it. I wouldn’t be doing my job when I would say nothing about it.

    I even praised him for getting the important decisions correct. But that his score overall is low is because he let too many things go that should have been punished with a foul.

    And it may look like sour grapes but I have been more critical this season on refs on any occasions even when we won games. In fact in 8 games this season when we won the ref got a lower score compared to Halsey today. On 3 occasions when we lost the ref got an higher score than the average score overall.

    Wir or lose, I am critical on the ref.

  9. Anatra, for a moment I feared my English let me down and I wrote something that could not be understood.
    Thanks for being able to read and understand what I wanted to say.

  10. Including things such as the position of throw-ins and the length of time the keeper holds the ball, just to get up to the standard headline 80% anti-Arsenal average seems a bit desperate…

  11. Again another an Arsenal biased ref review. If you really want to be biased then why are you even conductin a ref review, just simply criticise the ref rather than giving a review which is not correct. Its poor excuse.

    The ref had a reasonably good game. It was arsenal who were at fault. Someone needs to give our players the stick.

  12. BobbyP, that is the difference between looking at the ref and taking notice. At first sight this looks not important. But believe me you can drive players mad when you behave like that.

    But when you want to be strict you have to be strict for both teams. And if you fail to do this, this is something that brings you bad points in any ref report and not just in my report. In fact this is something that people who give points to the ref look at to judge the ref.

    And when you make yourself visible as a ref by putting Sagna 10 meters back you pull the attention to yourself and to the fact you want the throw to be taken at the right spot. But then I look at this for the next throws and when I see he doesn’t apply the same standard for both teams I must mention it.

    If he had let Sagna take the throw where he wanted to take it I wouldn’t have given him a negative point for this. But now the crowd protested, he gave in to the pressure of the crowd. Of course no one protested in the crowd when Delap took his extra meters. But tell me a ref that listens to the crowd is he doing a good job? Not in my book.

  13. Walter – when have you ever called the ref on such trivial issues in Arsenal’s favour? It seems clear that you produce these reviews with the intention of ‘proving’ that Arsenal are hard done by in every game (whether consciously or sub-consciously), and confirmation bias ensures that you find exactly that. No neutral assessor of that game could seriously contend that 80% of the calls went against Arsenal.

  14. Bobby P

    Those are basic refereeing disciplines, where a throw is taken from can have a huge impact on the game, more so when Stoke are playing, so the ref has an obligation to be strict on them.

    When I ref, I know that every player will try to steal yards at a throw in, simple to lay down the law early, and be consistent!!

    As for the 6-second law, it is very easy to get right. I have said it before but the only keeper I have ever seen booked for time wasting is Jens Lehmann. Coincidence!!!

    Walter is right to highlight referees not applying the laws of the game, they are obliged to do that. I believe that a ref should lay down the marker early to the players on such matters, they learn quickly and soon realise “this ref is no mug”. The areas of interpretation are harder to apply, because they are down to an instant snap decision, often an instinct, and refs don’t have the advantage of TV replays etc. What this website is highlighting is that the lack of a decision on TV replays may be for reasons other than correctness. Or to put it simply, outcomes will be harder to control!!

  15. Excuses, excuses,excuses, just like our Emperor, it’s allways someone else’s fault.

  16. BobbyP, when I do my games I am not the one who will demand that each throw will be taken at the exact spot where the ball left the field.
    But when I have to correct a team because they want to take too much meters I will see that after that I will be more strict for both teams.
    And this is how it should be done. As a ref you can say: I don’t care at all. Fair enough. But then you shouldn’t care at all an not let one team take meters and the other not.

    So as a ref you can chose: let both team have the freedom or allow nothing but ALWAYS TO BOTH TEAMS in the same way.

    At the end of the day this might look not important and even not for the outcome of the game. But when you review a ref on his game you must judge him on this. And certainly when he did it like he did it yesterday.

  17. Bobby P, this could be summarized in one word: consistency.

    Act the same for both teams in the same way.

  18. Walter – as mentioned previously (which you seemed to miss), we all know you never point out trivial decisions such as that in Arsenal’s favour. I don’t think you do it deliberately, but all of your reviews exhibit a very clear case of confirmation bias.

    From Wikipedia: Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way.

  19. Walter. Great review as usual.
    I think that excuses about low fitness of refs are pathetic.
    If PGMOL can’t provide refs with high fitness then PGMOL is absolutely unprofessional.

  20. @Laundryender

    As for the 6-second law, it is very easy to get right. I have said it before but the only keeper I have ever seen booked for time wasting is Jens Lehmann. Coincidence!!!

    And what about Schesney in Newcastle – Arsenal?
    What is the reason he had been booked?

  21. BobbyP,
    Maybe the reversed situation hasn’t happened yet? And if it did can you tell me when and I will see if I mentioned it or not.

    Now let us suppose that I suffer from confirmation bias. All the refs have to do is to give me no chance to show my confirmation bias. I can only see what I see what is happening on the field. I don’t make it up that Jones does a tackle from behind on Ramsey and the ref doesn’t give a foul. I just see it.
    I don’t make it up that the ref sends Sagna a few meters back and then a minute or so later let Delap take mor meters to take a throw.

    But when I see it do have to speak about it or not? That is the question I think. If a speak about it you say I have confirmation bias.
    But if I don’t mention it I don’t do a great job in trying to see if the ref is consistent and unbiased. Two major things that a (good) ref should have.

    But when the throw in remark bothers you if I would leave it out this would make his overall score better with some 2,5 % all the way up to around 57,5%

  22. BobbyP, amazing that you have ample knowledge to check what confirmation bias is and bring it to our notice 🙂

    I think your must be a supporter of either st**e or any other s**t club that plays in EPL. The fact is Walter doesn’t do these reviews for his personal glory. He does it so that a common footballing fan who knows or atleast tries to know the proper football game get an idea about the current state of EPL. Since most of the morons who comment here doesn’t have that basic IQ to understand what is said before making a comment. May be you being an enlightened soul could let us know how this review is biased so that we fools could understand your expert view on this 🙂

  23. Water. Another good factual piece but it has done little to lift the gloom I am afraid. I am more concerned with what happens next. If anything.

  24. Bobby P

    Please, you are very confused

    Chesney was booked for having the audacity to pick the ball up after a penalty.

    Come on it has been well discussed here, do your research, 100 lines next time!!!

  25. Walter, one thing i can be sure about is the worst and corrupt english FA and PGMOL would never let a team like Arsenal to progress in EPL. May be there must be some source like wikileaks through which the underworld corruption in english FA and PGMOL should be brought before the people. I am completely against these impotent refrees deciding the fate of the club for a season rather than the team which fields the ground. I am looking forward for the complete compilation of the ref-reviews to know how we have been robbed of points this season.

  26. Glad to be of service, imagooner…

    The problem with these reviews is that they perpetuate the myth that some Arsenal fans seem to want to believe, i.e. that there is a great refereeing conspiracy against Arsenal. People such as yourself use these reviews as ‘evidence’.

    Personally, as jaymin put it in the first comment to this article, I think this makes Arsenal fans look like whiners, sore losers, conspriacy theorists, and totally lacking in objectivity or credibility.

    I honestly can’t believe that people think Arsenal get 80% of calls against them in EVERY game, as per Walter’s reviews. As such, I’m just trying to provide some balance and realism, and to explain why the reviews are always biased. And the clear reason for that is confirmation bias.

    I realise this goes against this site’s ‘match-fixing’ narrative, so I will make no further comment; hopefully it will have made at least one or two people think before swallowing the conspiracy claims though.

  27. I must say I didn’t realise all those fouls. I did see some fouls not called, but as you say Walter, it is easy to miss. On the whole I liked your ref review because you also made it clear that our performance was disappointing. The people coming on here and saying Arsenal are to blame are missing the point. Of course we are to blame. That was a very poor performance indeed. Who’s blaming the referee? The referee according to Walter’s analysis had a poor game, but got the big decisions right. That’s it. It had no distinguishable influence on the result or even on our performance. We lost because we deserved to. The referee should also do better.That’s all.

  28. @Bobby P

    You may be right about Walter and ‘confirmation bias’. But that as a theory is not enough. Show instances of where that bias is exhibited. Do a complete analysis as Walter does to try and prove his theory that the referees in the EPL are the ones who are biased, or corrupt. You can do a counter analysis on Walter if you like. But as far as I can tell people accuse Walter of bias because he makes his bias clear and known. The refs who run the game don’t do that so they pass off as fair. That makes no sense to me.

  29. @bBobbyP, do you honestly believe a team can go through almost the entire 1st half (41mins) without making a single foul? No offside, no pushing, no late tackles… nothing? You’ve either never played the game or are blind to rules. I personally don’t really care if you think arsenal fans are whiners or sore losers or whatever… We have had an entire season of shocking ref displays against us and be it because of conspiracy or just plain shit refs, something is clearly wrong. You say you’re trying to provide balance & realism? All you’re doing is arguing for the sake of it because that’s what you’ve heard or read in the paper by “experts”. I bet you didn’t even watch the game yesterday, you just watch motd and decided whatever those idiots said must be the truth. Do you remember the newcastle game where Diaby got sent off? If you saw the game you would have seen Barton try to break Diabys leg four times before Diaby decked him. No fouls were given against Barton, the first warranted a straight red but he was allowed to keep fouling… Wheres your balance & realism there? How about when Scholes came on at the end of the Arsenal v Man iou game & started flying into our players like a loony without any fouls being given against him? Even in the CL, RVP gets sent off for taking a shot at goal but the barca players are allowed to grab our boys by the throat without even a foul being given against them. Of course, arsenal are all whingers for pointing out that another team is blatently breaking the rules but going unpunished, however as soon as Mourhinio pipes up the press are all over themselves calling barca divers and unfair. You make up your own mind, believe the gutter press and say arsenal are making it up or actually watch a game of football and try to decide for yourself when a player commits a foul. Turn the volume down when you’re watching the highlights and see what you notice… I’m sure if it was happening to your team you’d soon enough have something to say.

  30. @Bobby P, all: All praise to Bobby P for a fact-free “analysis”. Theory – sorry, a concept – with no evidence is hot air. Underlying it is “coincidence theory,” that all things happen by coincidence and just even out by the “nature of things.” Not even horseshit, your bleatings. Evidence that leads to a working hypothesis about likely to probable corruption is open and testable. Bobby P. tosses his stink bomb and retreats back into the august sewer in which he, perhaps (I didn’t do the counting) habitually dwells. Beyond Bobby Putz, it’s high time to focus on the two-sided issue: (1) the internal crisis at hand (our chronic set-piece lapses and inability to break down the bus or have effective set pieces of our own); while, at the same time, pressing on against (2) the external crisis of Bent-Refdumbism (inflicted from the hives of Riley, et. al.) which will have us all awaiting the gift of Walter’s end-of-season review. Both will bring relief and clarity to dispel the darkness and pain. Keep hope alive! Go Gunners!

  31. @ Laundryender

    Chesney was booked for having the audacity to pick the ball up after a penalty.

    Come on it has been well discussed here, do your research, 100 lines next time!!!

    I don’t know what you mean. But I can quote what Walter said:

    One thing about the incident Nolan-Szczesny. When a team wants to take the ball out of the goal to get the game restarted as quick as possible the defending team cannot hold on to the ball or kick it away.
    When the ref sees this happening he should run as fast as he can in to the incidents and claim the ball himself. By this the defending team will give the ball to the ref and the other team should not start wrestling for the ball. Dowd just stood there and didn’t move. He did nothing.
    He then gave a yellow card to Szczesny and this can be done if he considered the holding of the ball as some kind of time wasting. Dowd considered it like that. What a surprise……
    February 6th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

  32. Good ref review Walter! Don’t let some of these people talking bad about you get you down!

    It’s funny people cling to confirmation bias, yet you write everything down in your notebook when you rewatch the game and account for almost every minute of the game in your ref reviews!

    How’s it whining, if walter didn’t even blame the loss on the ref? We played poorly and he admitted that.

    As for the trivial throw in, how do u criticize walter for showing an example of a ref bias? It’s people like you that must be working at the FA and PGMOL

  33. I think someone missed the attempt of being bit funny somewhere 😉 okay maybe sarcastic…

  34. About not giving fouls to one team I will use not my words as they can be called biased. But I will use the words of one of the best refs in Belgium. (no not De Bleeckere)

    He said and I try to quote this as good as I can: “Always check yourself during a game if you don’t give just fouls to one team. Because if you only give fouls against one team there is something wrong. It can be that the team comitting the fouls is playing dirty. But if this is not the case it is yourself you have to question. It cannot happen in a game of football that you only give fouls against one team and not against the other. Then there is something wrong with your game.”

  35. I personally believe that this summer will be a tremendous let down for those expecting big money signings or even signings that would benefit our team. I cannot for the life of me see Wenger abandoning his approach to developing players “if I buy players it will block the development of…” is the usual response. I don’t think we will see the likes of Cahill, Jagielka, Hazard, Benzema, Sakho et al coming to the club at all. I also cannot see him abandoning his passing game just because we have failed to win anything in the last six years. Wenger has the 100% support of Silent Stan and the other board members and the less he spends on players the happier (and richer) they become. Nothing will change – he is just telling people what they want to hear – Inquest my ass !

  36. Wenger had said judge me in may and the verdict is in: The first anniversary of the first four goal lead surrendered in the history of the Premier League; perhaps we could share a glass or two of Newcastle Brown Ale?

    • The anniversary of twice surrendering two goal leads against the Spuds: perhaps some chips for that celebration?

    • The one I am really looking forward to – the first anniversary after the last games in Arsenal shirts of Messrs Almunia, Eboue, Denilson and Diaby. Try to keep them out of the team for the last two games, as we don’t want to delay this celebration next year!

    • Assuming I do accept your invitation to renew my season ticket, that I am no longer contributing to the wage packets of those serial underperformers, Messrs Squillaci, Rosicky and Bendtner.

    • The arrival of the replacements for Fabregas and Nasri, as well as some serious competition for Alex Song and some support for RvP (unless of course he flies the nest too).

    • The arrival of some proper defenders – you know the type Arsene; they can hold a line, they can head the ball away, they throw themselves in front of shots, they protect hard won leads in the 10th minute of injury time and don’t concede soft goals from free kicks. Of course you know the kind of player I mean, Arsene, so why don’t you buy them? And why don’t you employ a full time defensive coach?

    After all that celebration, let me turn to judgement time, as it’s May. Oh but I forgot, we can celebrate something now, and we don’t have to wait until next season. I know it’s not quite the end of the season, but we can of course celebrate the sort of prize I know you value highly. Qualification for the Champions League. I am so looking forward to three riveting home games against some obscure teams from the fringes of Europe. I know I am digressing but even if you sell all the deadwood and let Fabregas go (you know he wants to, we all know he wants to, so let him go and get some money for him before his hamstrings go, as they will), we should be able to beat the might of next season’s visitors from Sweden, Serbia and Greece if we are (un)lucky; and then as always happens, we will draw a big team and go out again, but not before we hear you say how much better we are this year and now is the time to show our mental strength and all that jazz.

    So yes, you are right, Arsene: there will be so much to celebrate next year; indeed I am almost tempted to open the bubbly right now. Excuse me while I reach for the wine rack. Don’t worry Arsene, it’s good French stuff, and I’ll make sure it’s nicely chilled before opening it.

    But back to judgement time… to be honest Arsene, I think this season has been pretty dire. Project Youth hasn’t really worked has it? True Chesney and Jack have done well and it’s nice to see Rambo back; JD has put in a shift on occasion, but what else have we got to show for Project Youth? A captain whose heart isn’t in the club any more; Theo, who flatters to deceive most of the time, Gibbs who has contracted Clichy-itis alarmingly early in his career, and the self-publicising Great Dane, who showed us in a flash in Barcelona what he has to offer. Not much.

    Defensively we were a shambles. One point each against Newcastle, WBA and Spurs, all of whom won at our place. Attacking-wise we were toothless on too many occasions when it mattered: Birmingham at Wembley, Sunderland and Blackburn at home. Creatively, on occasions we were so bereft of ideas it was embarrassing – Orient away, ManU away in the Cup, Leeds and Huddersfield at home in the Cup.

    You know that ManU were not an especially good side this year, but they had organisation, a manager who kicked ass and a simple will and desire to win. With some judicious additions to the squad and defensive concentration, we could and should have won the Carling Cup and the League. But we didn’t and the reason we didn’t is because you didn’t manage well enough.

    You screwed up royally on the goalkeeping front at the start of the season; then you failed to buy cover when Vermaelen remained injured in January; you played your tallest striker intermittently, and only on the wing; and you continue to play Eboue and Diaby when they are nothing more than liabilities. Tell me this – when did Eboue or Diaby, or for that matter Denilson or Rosicky, make game changing contributions this season? Or for that matter last year? Do tell me.

    I have seen your comments after the Stoke game; maybe you will do something about the defence for next year. I will be delighted if what you do makes a difference. Something tells me however that not much will change.

    I don’t think you will get rid of the deadwood. I don’t think you will buy proven defenders and I don’t think you will employ a defensive coach. No, I think you will sign a few more Francophones, possibly a couple of South Americans we haven’t heard of (if you can get work permits for them) and maybe a few more wonderkids.

    And if Cesc and Nasri go, I reckon you won’t spend even half the money we get for them on new players. You’ll tell Ivan that Coquelin or Sunu are the future and they deserve six year deals.

    But before all that Arsene, I suggest you concentrate on getting the points to secure third place; or is the now traditional end of season collapse a cunning plan to finish fourth and get one of the cup games included in the season tickets used up early? Don’t worry, the champagne’s on ice; and that’s where it will stay.

    What’s that I hear you say? You meant May 2012? Or sorry, Arsene I misunderstood. Ah well, I’ll leave my judgement pending till next year.

  37. Vretou

    if you are going to use other peoples work,
    have the courtesy to credit it accordingly!!!

    plagerism is a copyright crime. I suggest that Tony removes the article and that you provide a link, rather than claim it as your own.

  38. @BobbyP

    Thanks for the enlightenment again. Still you have not answered me which part of this review is biased or wrong. Since you don’t have a proper or valid answer i can assume that you have only 5 senses. May be you can explicitly prove that you have the 6th sense too by answering the bias in the review you retard 🙂

  39. Please could i ask all users of the site to refrain from personal insult. I am sure that Tony would agree, it is not what UA is about.

    I am sure that all insult achieves is to lower the tone, the reason i visit this site is because it is different, lets keep it that way.

  40. funny how you do not address a single point stated in the article. Truth hurts dont it Laundry boy

  41. About my bias I would like to add that when I would be biased in my ref review it should be visible from the start till the finish.
    However as I try to check as much things as possible I also do have a new tool the refs in halfs. Meaning I get the result of each half on itself. So let say I am biased it should mean that both results should be around the same. As people say that I want to mak the numbers count.
    Well if I take the general decisions in the first half got the score of 38% and in the second half I get a score of 63%. Now if I would deliberate want the ref to have a low score it should be the other way around. So in fact in the second half his points have gone up.
    When I do the same for the weight score I get in the first half a score of 46% and in the second half I get a score of 62%. Again the score of the ref has gone up in the second half.

    The reason I started doing this split totals is that I wanted to start examining if the refs have a better first half and a not that high score in the second half. Because this could point at refs being more tired in the second half and then their decision making would drop.

    But to come back at being biased or not this clearly shows that I don’t start my ref review saying: i want a low score so how can I get a low score. Because then I wouldn’t give the ref more points in the second half because it would disrupt my confirmation bias. Or whatever it was called.

  42. Vretou,
    after reading a few lines I could already address a few things. But if I would want to put my time in to it I will go the site where you got it from.

  43. Excellent review Walter.

    I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this or not but Mark Halsey is that kind of a ref, in a uniquely English way he likes to ‘let the game flow’. He is also lenient when it comes to dishing out cards and very reluctant to give penalties. In other words he is a dream ref for a team like Stoke and a horror one for a team like Arsenal.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of age or abilities but seems more of a personality issue.

    Of course, he wasn’t the cause of the defeat, as you’ve rightly acknowledged. But that doesn’t mean we should not look at and discuss other relevant details from a game. I, for one, wish that Arsenal go into a game knowing how a ref is going to deal with things. Maybe they do, but it doesn’t seem that way.

  44. can’t believe how many people on Twitter were calling for his head yesterday.”

    Surely you can’t be surprised by the lack of judgment and rational thought demonstrated on twitter. It’s what it was designed for.

  45. Have to agree with Bobby P. I dont remember Walter criticising Szczesny when he was wasting time in his goal kicks in the ManU match. I guess Confirmation Bias is clearly evident.

  46. These 21 wrong calls on Arsenal made by the referee haven’t really had such a great influence on the final outcome of the match. The truth is the Gunners should admit they had a poor performance and try to learn from their own mistakes. Lacking consistency was the main problem for the Gunners this season.

  47. @Vretou is yet to acknowledge the source of his posting above please. He should do so without much delay.
    I was already thinking he came up with this which was quite surprising having read a good chunk of his previous postings over the past few months which at best have not often been more than a line or two. So, for him to have written such a comprehensive and analytical treatise like above was obviously not in line with his antecedents. Plagiarism is the theft of other people’s ideas and using it in such a way as to mislead people to think it as your own. He could simply have referenced the source rather than just doing a copying and pasting job.
    Thanks to Laundryender for not allowing it to pass. This site is setting a benchmark for how to be civil in cyberspace as you are also not allowed to use abusive words. If you discover that the rules are too hard, there are so many other sites that allow for that please.
    Thanks for taking to the correction.

  48. Samba coming out and saying arsenal tried to buy him in Jan also schwarzer would have come if given had signed a deal with fulham and people come out with the same cliches.fact is wenger tried to sign players if they dont come what can he do just buy anyone to shut people up and both reasons wasnt to do with money.

    I think many Arsenal fans are guilty of confirmation bias because they quickly forget the good things that have happened and twisted things like Arsene not buying a commanding Centre back and GK, the facts are out there and I personally would prefer arsenal to keep the money then spend it on just buying anyone, there isnt an abundance of talent that is out there that would go into the arsenal squad with no problems, can any arsenal fan honestly say they would want arsenal to spend £35 million on a player like carroll.

    The man has become damned if he does and damned if he dont, there hasnt been a top team in the prem who hasnt had problems this year and not been criticized, thinking back on things I think our attack has suffered to some extent because of trying to defend, I also think some players are not working hard enough the premier league is much more competitive 6-7 years yeah you could take your foot off the gas in some games, but now you cant

    I feel we need a system that doesnt rely on having to play at our best, because sometimes we dont even win when we play well, and when we dont play well we look a little look wigan. Winning ugly is def over used but we should have a way of getting a result on a off day our game is based on passing, and we can not be predictable, we can play pretty once we break a team down but until that happens we need to be effective, everyone knows we can play, Arsene is a big fan of efficiency and we need to be efficient, much of our troubles have come from not breaking a team down, there is blistering speed in our squad but it is not utilised i feel we should play a little deeper invite teams on to us and counter but that cant be done if you cant trust the defence, so the back needs sorting

  49. The season is over lets just look forward and forget about yesterday, any fool calling for Wengers head should try for a FA coaching badge.
    Wenger is steadying this ship!

  50. I have been an Arsenal supporter for 44 years. When we the League 91 we lost ONE GAME in 42 away to CFC. We let in just 18 ALL SEASON (only LFC with 16 bettered this) Ive read the posts from my fellow devotees about what to do. My answer? You cannot give players what is needed without outside help. There’s NO leaders on the pitch not leaders in the AFC mould. Mental strength comes from within but IF it isn’t there in the 1st place no amount of bravado or rhetoric will compensate for a lack of inner strength. Remember when we won PL at OT in 02? In the 1st 10-15 mins Utd tried to knock us out of our stride by kicking us all over the park. NOT ONE AFC player responded in an adverse negative way. They knew “This is our time, do what you will but we wont be beat”. Moral fibre can be implemented if you know how. I wrote on the main page a few weeks ago the reason we capitulate around March is due to the players subconscious minds ‘kickin in’ at that time. All they know is how throw it away at the same time each season evidenced again this season. What AW and players need is a Life Coach a Mind Motivator if you like who can align their subconscious with their conscious. Whether it be NLP, EFT or whatever technique it will transform these ‘lightweights’ into supermen. I kid you not. I would willingly help them gratis. There are many others who have the ability to transform this squad. The only problem is the players themselves must want to change their mindset – it cannot be forced it must happen with their own freewill. but how many of this lot would admit they need help? How many are big enough to accept this? I fear they’ll simply believe that next season it’ll come right. No matter who we buy. No matter what tactics AW will use, next season around March will bring EXACTLY the same results as this season and seasons before If the players subconscious isn’t changed.

  51. That is why i suggest a mass protest for the next home game. I think the board, wenger, think that the fans are still patience for the destruction of arsenal fc. For the past 6years we have not tested an atom of success and we are still paying for ticket prices. The worst thing about it is the increment of ticket prices without no return. We can no more attract players except for teenagers that will like to develop and leave for a better carrier choice. The moment I saw wenger comparing us with the like of spurs and man city saying that they spend more than us but we are in a better league position I knew that failure has started as we looking backward not forward. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  52. Good ref review as always Walter.
    Take no heed of the people accusing you of bias, they lack the the reading / comprehension skills to realize that you DID NOT BLAME THE REF!
    They just want to vent their frustration at the way we lost.
    That said, it was a poor performance, and that’s what cost us the game. That’s what pretty much EVERYONE is saying, including Arsene Wenger. So you can all take out your frustrations, but not on Walter please. I for one appreciate his hard work, and would like him to continue doing it.

  53. merakis – good point – funny how wenger has managed to convince the masses

  54. Last year we were easily bullied in the big games against Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd and Barca because our big names players the vast majority were missing for different reasons. Then when they fully fit against the lesser teams we destroyed them of the park in the words of big Mick we gave them a slapping.

    This season we have beaten the bigger teams at the Emirates and Eastlands but when our big name player such as Walcott, RVP, Fabregas, Song, Nasri and Wilshere have not been on song the sqaud players have not stepped up to the plate and produced.

    Look at Man Utd bench yesterday they had the league top scorer Berbatov, Anderson, Nani and Fletcher etc…Our bench does not have the same impact as Man Utd. This has been shown against Leeds Utd, Huddersfield and Leyton Orient not the footballing powerhouses of the world.

    I don’t get some people’s opinion that Bendtner is our answer as an out and out centre forward and do agree with Wenger that he does play better on the wing for us. Chamakh is more of a sqaud player rather than a starter for me. Personally Bendtner needs to be sold and is more suited to the Stoke style of play rather than the Arsenal style.

    We need more qaulity on the bench and players ready to fight for their place in the starting eleven. If anything for Wenger to rest players in and able to play different versions of 433 especially at home. For instance if we sign Benzema and face Blackburn at home they are not going to attack us so play RVP, Benzema and Nasri at the start and if things don’t do well then we can bring a player like Walcott off the bench when their players get tired.

    Defensively we do need another first choice left back and another centre back that is experienced. Goalkeeper is not really a problem and not really fused if we get one because I put this to every Arsenal fan that says he is too young, the great Iker Casilles was Real Madrid number 1 at 19 and was 16 in the 2000 European Cup Final which he started.


  55. Manny for sure is copy/pasting someone else’s post from some other site. Time to ban these unoriginal trolls. It’s getting boring.

  56. Ok enough negatives – What has been your moment of the season as a fan at a game or watching a game?

    For me it was the winner against Barca at home, having just seen a wonder goal from Van Persie the crowd are in fine voice, a feeling of belief waved over the stadium, then we gave the ball away, Barca had a man over, the ball was played out wide, got to the feet of Messi on the edge of the box, everyone feared the worst little did we know that within 20 seconds the ball would be in Barca’s net.

    Kos intercepted, dallied on the ball for a second which felt an eternity when your up the other end of the pitch and cant see how far away from his own goal he is, Slides it out wide to Bendtner who strides inside, slips a tight ball through to Wilshire who without hesitation cuts 3 players out the game with a brilliant first time pass. Fabregas quite beautifully takes the ball in his strides, turns and sprays a 40 yard pass with the outside of his foot to Nasri all in one motion. Nasri steaming onto the pass, right in front of me, it looks almost as if the chance has gone, as i looked across the pitch the little Russian had 2 arms aloft, Nasri picks him out with an inch perfect pass. Having seen Arshavin hit the ball 30 yards wide and over from exactly the same position i was fully expecting the same, but no, what a finish. The perfect end to a beautiful goal.

    The players run over right in front of me, Arshavin shirt over head with a picture of himself shushing on his shirt and Bendtner just comes and grabs him closely followed by all the players, men, women, children all going ballistic, random people hugging, pure celebration, no negativity. Szcesney on his knees, the bench going mad and during it all, Guardiola standing motionless almost looking as if too say what the fuck just happend.

    The noise the Emirates generated in the aftermath of that goal was deafening, as one 57,000 singing were by far the greatest team, scarves aloft. What a great feeling.

    The Goal

    That noise i was talking about

  57. Excellent analysis Walter.

    I think too many readers are using your analysis as a forum to voice their disappointment of yesterday’s performance and think that if they attack your analysis they are getting at the team or manager. Such readers are not proper fans.

    As Wenger said – something is missing – it looks as if the biased refereeing in some matches, the many fouls suffered by our players, the constant biased anti Arsenal reporting in the media and cynical comments by some supposedly Arsenal supporting blog sites have all taken their toll – in addition to the bad result v Birmingham.

    Mr Halsey was a poor referee and while his inability to stamp his authority onto Stoke did not help the game, we lost because of a very poor performance. It is important that we support the manager and team who now have to lift themselves for the last two games. Two wins are vital!

  58. if wenger didn’t sort out our deficiencies then i don’t think anyone could back him.but there has been good signs if you like recently that he will change his philosophy of just developing young players.i think,has a fan all anyone can go on is what your manager says in his press conferences etc…on arsenal’s own website he admitted that he had to go with a youth project when we moved to the emirates,that’s fair enough.but i can’t remember a time,especially a short time where wenger has publicly hammered arsenal like he has done in the last few weeks.after the blackburn game he hammered them publicly and done the same after the bolton game.after the defeat at stoke yeaterday he admitted that something has gone,you can see that,we aint strong enough. i agree that there’s going to be a divide of opinion whether wenger buys or not amongst fans,but the truth is,there is only one man who can make it right and that’s wenger’s his job to convince all arsenal fans that he will get the players that he admits we need.he has said we are naive defensively,i just find it hard to believe that those words don’t mean you said the other big boys will buy and while i don’t think we need more than 4 top players(as long has nasri signs etc). vermalen & ramsey will feel like new signings in a way because they have missed most of the season.if we can sign a top class defender to play alongside vermaelen,then i believe we will have a strong defensive foundation to build our team around.i just can’t comprehend that wenger’s words mean nothing cause i believe every arsenal fan in the world is analyzing everything that wenger has’s a massive,massive summer for arsenal football club that’s for sure,but for what’s it worth,i think 5 will leave and 4 will arrive..time will tell of course.

  59. Ok, two things before I register this comment: 1st, I want to apologize for how long it’s going to be; and 2nd, I want to clarify that the opinion I’m about to express here is preliminary. I watched the match in real time, and I’ve only had time to thoroughly review the first half on Arsenal TV, so I could easily be proven wrong by someone who has taken a better look…

    But based on what I’ve seen, the main question I have to ask about the game is why it is that the Arsenal players were showing such frustration on the pitch? Why were they losing their cool? For example, why did Arshavin lose his temper and commit the foul that led to that first goal? This ties in w/ the points Walter made in his ref review…

    Walter’s ref review leads me back to something that I haven’t thought about for awhile, and that I was only truly reminded of after watching the tactics that some refer to as “Mourinho-ism” on full display in the UEFA CL semis.

    Based on my observations, a lot of people like to comment on Jose Mourinho’s tactics, but very few truly understand them. Watching a Mourinho match, they’ll recognize it as “boring,” but to the casual observer, it still appears as if Mourinho just “parked the bus,” and the other team wasn’t able to get through.

    You have to watch the match very closely to recognize what I call “the subtle art of playing dirty,” which Mourinho has turned into his namesake. And what I mean by that is that, although it’s easy to notice someone barreling in and taking a player out with a dangerous challenge, it’s much more difficult to spot the little kicks that begin and end in less than a second, or the subtle raising of the studs…AKA “move out of the way, or I’m going to land on your foot.”

    The other side of those types of tactics is the diving…aka, “if you come within half an inch of making contact w/ me, I’m going to go down and get you booked.” The true “artistry” of these tactics employed by Mourinho and so many others comes from the fact that, if you execute them to perfection, neither the ref nor the viewing public will be able to recognize exactly what you’re doing.

    And that brings me to Arsenal. The only way to spot these types of tactics is to watch the match again, without paying any attention to the flow of the game as a whole, but rather just observing what happens when the players come in close contact with each other. I’ve only done the first half of Arsenal-Stoke, and what I’ve noticed (in addition to what Walter pointed out) is a lot of little kicks and almost-stamps from the Stoke players that forced Arsenal off the ball, combined w/ a lot of diving by the Stoke players on nothing challenges.

    The point of mentioning this is not to say that Arsenal were blameless for losing the game. Frankly, when the opposing team employees such tactics, you can’t expect the ref or anyone else to call them on it. That’s where the true “artistry” of the tactics comes in. You have to find a way to win anyway, or else accept that you have no one but yourself to blame. Unfortunate, but it’s the truth. Also, although I do believe that Stoke employed these somewhat dirty tactics against Arsenal, their use of them was far from the most egregious that I’ve seen against Arsenal (or other clubs, for that matter) all season.

    However, I do think that Arsenal fans should take a closer look at the tactics that are employed against Arsenal before they rain down criticism on their club. When the other team is forcing you off the ball with potentially painful challenges, of course it’s going to throw you off your game, and also make you lose your cool. And if an Arsenal fan thinks that they’re smart enough to criticize Arsenal’s tactical approach, then surely you they should also be smart enough to have a full understanding of the tactical approach that the other side is using.

    That’s all. And again, I would like to clarify that I haven’t done the full tactical analysis of the match that I would need to do if I were to truly back up these comments (I do have a life, after all :)), but I figured I’d just put it out there. I think that Walter’s ref review (the 41 min. w/ no Stoke foul, for example) exemplified the side effects of that you would expect to see as a result of this sort of tactical approach.

  60. I think we need to accept two things:
    We’re not going to win an FA run competition with a team of “dirty cheating foreigners” because either the referees are bent or they have it in for us.
    We’re not going to win a UEFA run competition unless we can avoid Barcelona all the way to the final because the referees are bent or they have it in for us.
    The academy will sort the first part (and some awareness of the blatant double standards), only luck can sort the second. People who doubt this should check out how much more lenient refs are with Jack “England’s Saviour” Wilshere.

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