RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Manchester United (22/01/2012 – 16:00)

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By DogFace

  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Assistant 1: Stuart Burt
  • Assistant 2: Adam Watts
  • 4th Official: Phil Dowd

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch… What can I say – it’s Mike Dean and Phil Dowd and we all know what that means don’t we?

Well – maybe we do and maybe we don’t – if we look at the bigger picture there are many conflicts of interest in this match with regards to the markets and the potential bias that may exist from the officials.

I mention the markets as, it seems more often than not, we are playing in yet another game that is boiling under the spotlight of maximum black market liquidity – I would estimate something in the region of three billion quid will be swilling around this market… so, I suppose, it’s just as well we have the Cheshire cat and the Staffie in charge of it i.e. men with experience.

I’m particularly interested in this match, not least because I’ll be there, but also because it’s going to be revealing in terms of exactly how it is officiated – the simple perspective is to say that all refs love Manchester United but this is not so. There are, of course, referee’s that do swerve towards Ferguson, others are more Abramovich minded, there’s the curious case of Harry Redknapp – and then there’s the power shift of influence to Manchester City combined with a manager that certainly knows how to park the big golden bus when he’s looking at a hiding to nothing and when to substitute certain players [who, for instance, like to drive around with large sums of cash on the passenger seat of their car] that may or may not be in a goal scoring mood that day… if only Wenger had his information, ruthless cynicism and influence – combined with his football mind and the resources we have he would dominate the game – and that is my only criticism of Arsène Wenger; his faith in football and love for the game… which just goes to show what a fucked up world we live in.

It’s sometimes difficult for me to write these articles as I am aware that there is a certain perception of the game, a certain line that I cannot cross and there are certain things that I cannot say – RefWatch is a work in progress, a project of mine that, as a concept, I have thought through and is the result of years of study – but this is never really how I imagined I’d express what needs to be said… I’m still not entirely convinced that anyone really reads these things but I have noticed stirings and changes in perception creeping in [to the fanbase] which I am sure that I, the rest of the Untold crew and others who will remain nameless, have catalysed in our own small way. Even so – it’s still “ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin'” – but that will change; change is coming and a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Football in England is in a very bad shape in terms of its integrity and it has reached the point where this is undeniable – actually, it reached it over Christmas when other leagues were on their winter break all eyes [and markets] turned to the EPL and Portugal with the inevitable brand-tarnishing results (thanks go to Phil Gregory for sending me this link):

The bookies claw some back.

It seems that the recession is hitting everyone and times are hard, thrills are cheaper – as your arms get shorter your pockets get deeper.

I know… I’m supposed to be talking about Mike Dean and here I am waffling all this crazy shit about how not all referees are in love With Manchester United and how the weight of money gambled on a match will affect the outcome and all that other stuff… so I’ll get back to it and focus a bit more on the ‘relevant’ areas with a couple of graphs on Dean that I *tweeted* in the week.

It seems that there are two fat streaks of success romping though Mike Dean’s figures and I’m going to have to demonstrate this over two graphs, in each graph I will use 3 entities for clarity.

The first graph is a visual representation of how 3 selected teams fare under Mike Dean:

Now just check out that fat Chelsea streak – and, in case you’ve forgotten, fatness on this graph indicates Points Per Game and position against the handicap (Y Axis) represents relative performance with zero being ‘normal’. Arsenal haven’t got much for a few seasons now from Dean have we? Hmm… Chealsea though have been smashing it under Dean since Abramovich weaved his ‘magic’.

In this second graph, I will demonstrate another rich vein of ‘over performance’. This graph is based on Managers/Referee – but we’ll use Arsenal and Manchester United again for reference (apologies for the colours shifting – it’s alphabetical order I’m afraid):

And here we see the curious case of Harry Redknapp in Mike Dean’s data… what can we deduce from this? We could say that Dean is Abramovich/Redknapp leaning – yes, but – how might this affect this match and what, if any, influence might come from the major players on the one man who effectively controls, with a whistle, a 3 billion pound market? Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Speaking of which – here’s the Asian Handicap (betting line) market:

Home Handicap Away
2.175 0 – 0 1.725

And the Under/Over market:

Over Handicap Under
1.800 2 1/2 2.100

This is a flat market – which is interesting as it’s priced up as there being nothing in it between the two teams and a draw will refund your stake – Arsenal are the long odds at 2.175. So – gut feeling – if you HAD to bet your life savings on one team winning – then pick your team now… and then, as it’s Sunday afternoon, go the other way.

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Mike Leslie Dean
  • Date of birth: 02-Jun-1968 (Age 44)
  • Place of birth: The Wirral
  • Resides: Cheshire
  • EPL/ECH Referee Since: 1999/2000
  • EPL/ECH Games to date: 308

Mike Dean
Mike Dean – Where black is the colour, where none is the number.

It’s Mike Dean again… you remember him from that last RefWatch I did on him – and also the fabulous Ref Reviews from our resident professionals:

Season Score Match
2011/2012 70.450% Newcastle United 0 – 3 Chelsea
2011/2012 54.550% Arsenal 1 – 1 Fulham
2011/2012 80.000% Manchester City 4 – 0 Swansea City
2011/2012 83.330% Chelsea 4 – 1 Swansea City
2011/2012 68.290% Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Arsenal
2011/2012 77.370% Blackburn Rovers 0 – 1 Chelsea
Average Score: 72.332%

Let’s check out his stats!

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Mike Dean has had 29 games for Arsenal consisting of 13 wins, 10 draws and 6 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 4th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 1.69 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 19th with an average negative swing of -0.21.

Arsenal are currently in 22nd in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 2.00 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 26th with an overall average of 5.72 FPB.

From the above graph it’s fairly clear to see that Mike Dean has had a punitive streak for Arsenal against their opposition – that is until this season where the orange and red lines have crossed over. The above ‘overall’ summaries are a bit distorted from our time with him pre-2009/2010 where we did ok… since then we have had an appauling run of form – this was about the same time that Mike Riley replaced Keith Hackett as manager of the PGMOL – so feel free to speculate about the synchronicity of that.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

Of late, most of our bookings have been in the defence and, although our average number of bookings has dropped of late, they have come much earlier in the game – which makes it all much of a muchness. Our Midfield bookings have dropped steadily over the seasons but I’m sure, if Song is starting tomorrow, Mike Dean will address that by flinging a card his way at the first opportunity… I’m being a little facetious now – the early DM card is always a good marker of a tilted pitch – one of DogFace’s top tips for you there to trade against on the in-play.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

Our opposition’s bookings have been fairly sporadic over the seasons under Dean – but we can see a fat Midfield line trending towards the halfway mark – not much in the defence though… shame – could explain our lack of form though given our penchant for the ‘indirect’ goal i.e. a defence that can do what it takes to break an attack will be more suceptible to a ‘hump it at the big lad’ approach to the game.

Let’s move on now to see how Manchester United fare under the whistle of Mike Dean:

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Mike Dean has had 28 games for Manchester United consisting of 18 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses.

Manchester United are currently in 2nd in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 2.11 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Manchester United come 9th with an average positive swing of 0.10.

Manchester United are currently in 8th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 1.43 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Manchester United come 8th with an overall average of 8.03 FPB.

Manchester United are consistent performers under Mike Dean with not only an overall average of 2.11 PPG but, it seems, that they get close to this every season. It is fair to say though that Manchester United never really over-perform and this is backed up by the overall AHS nearly breaking even at 0.10 – all in all Manchester United’s figures under Mike Dean look pretty normal for a team in their position. This season though – you can see Manchester United at are a record low, in terms of relative performance, yet still taking consistent points.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Manchester United took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

It’s encouraging to see that bookings to Manchester United’s midfield are trending earlier over the seasons and average out at this season at around the 20 minute mark. There are also a few bookings to the defence this season averaging around the half way mark.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Manchester United’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean.

You can really see the bookings dropping off for Manchester United’s opposition this season and this fit’s with the graph above [Mike Dean V. Manchester United (EPL)] – in which we see Manchester United’s opposition getting away with more in the challenge in terms of Fouls Per Booking. These figures have been trending less and later for a good season and a half now.

Let’s move on now to check out how Mike Dean performs against selected teams in the EPL:

The ine thickness represents the average Points Per Game and the position of the line against the vertical axis represents the average swing againd the handicap.

And now we come full circle in this RefWatch – this is the same graph (with the addition of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur) that I showed you at the start of the article. We can see that Arsenal perform so very, very badly – while Chelsea have performed so very well. Tottenham have done well since the arrival of Harry Redknapp and Manchester City are currently enjoying rude form but are erratic. Manchester Untited have done ok but are currently on a bit of a downer performance wise.

The other thing that’s worthy of a bit of a mention is that this match, this über-majassive gambling extravaganza of a match, will also be the first EPL match ever to be televised live by a U.S. over-the-air network – how exciting!

The Predictortron gives Arsenal a -1.002404 disadvantage… but this is, after all, a Sunday afternoon – so who knows what could happen.

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109 Replies to “RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Manchester United (22/01/2012 – 16:00)”

  1. @DogFace:

    For some reason, after reading this, I’m feeling the inclination to tell you to relax and take a deep breath 🙂

    Sometimes it’s hard to accept that the degree to which you can change the world is limited in a way that is commensurate with your own status as an “individual.” As such, you can only affect change on an “individual” level, in most cases.

    However, if you allow that to cause you to feel disillusioned and depressed, are you not letting the “bad guys” win? And I’m serious about that… Do you not think that they want you to feel that way?

    Personally, I love reading all of your work, and I read every single word of it. That includes your twitter page, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m learning from what you’re contributing.

  2. @DogFace:

    Along those lines, I actually have some questions about what you’ve been saying about gambling market liquidity.

    Basically, from what I’ve read up to this point, I’ve gathered that there is higher liquidity in the gambling markets for these Sunday games, which makes them more vulnerable to various types of “misbehavior,” whereas Saturday games would be less vulnerable?

    (And yes, I’m aware that I’m probably missing many of the nuances of what you’re actually trying to say on this subject :))

    But based on what I’ve been reading so far, I took a look at the Arsenal TV schedule on the official site, to try to get a comprehensive view of exactly when Arsenal are playing most of their matches:

    Based on the official site, it looks like, throughout the season, Arsenal has played (and will play) their PL matches as follows:

    23 EPL matches have been/will be played on Sat.

    8 EPL matches have been/ will be played on Sun.

    5 EPL matches have been/will be played on other days of the week.

    I might have miscounted to some extent, but I think I’m mostly right. Which would mean that Arsenal does play the majority of their matches on Saturday.

    So, I’m actually very curious to know how these specific dates correlate with these gambling liquidity issues that you’ve been addressing. That is, if you have the time to explain it? (And whether you have the time or not, I still really appreciate what you’re doing here). Cheers.

  3. Diluted by the other global betting opportunities – but the Asian markets are not really ‘casual’ – they are more obsessive/compulsive.

  4. @DogFace:

    Hm… ok, I think I’ve got you on the whole ‘dilution’ aspect. If the other global gambling markets are in full swing at 3pm Saturdays, then there would naturally be less money riding on EPL football.

    I guess the main reason I was interested in the whole “casual betting” aspect is because it seems to me like, if you were trying to move large sums of money through a relatively low number of gambling transactions, then it would be in your best interest to do so at a time when there was as little “noise” as possible.

    I guess we’re talking about different issues, though. In any case, I must say that I do find this stuff quite fascinating. Please keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

  5. @DogFace:

    And while I am really curious about your “obsessive/compulsive” comment, I guess I can spare you for now since you’ve got a match to go to tomorrow. It’s 5 hours earlier for me 🙂

  6. @DogFAce

    I read your articles. And I’m sure there’s a lot more then just me and Anne having a look at the work you’re doing. Keep it up. Good work.

  7. @Dogface, Are you saying that since, there will be lot of money riding on ManU this evening, it somehow, increases Arsenal’s chances of a win? Come to think of it, yesterday’s results will seem to indicate that.. everyone else (4th place contenders) losing will mean that status quo can be maintained, even if Arsenal win this match (by bringing us down again next week…)

  8. @Mahdain:

    I actually don’t have a twitter account. Honestly, I never was interested in twitter at all until I started to read DogFace’s page. But now that I’ve started following his page, I find that I’m gradually becoming a “twitter” person.

    Fucking social media… 🙂

  9. @Mahesh,
    Certainly when I see the tags; Mike Dean, Arsenal, Manchester United my first impulse is to say “bet the farm on United” and I’m probably not alone. Now if the matches are fixed by gambling syndicates, once there’s a lot of money riding on United, the odds on Arsenal lengthen and it becomes interesting to ‘leverage’ the result. Odds aren’t guessed once the market opens, they are calculated to reduce the risks to those taking the bets.

  10. @Anne – Normal kickoffs are 3pm on Saturdays. Traditionally these matches are not televised in the UK (though they have been broadcast outside of the UK & Ireland for some years).

    Yesterday had 6 matches kicking off together at 3pm on Saturday, and that’s why Dogface says it’s a diluted market – because there are many matches to choose from, betting volumes are spread out amongst the matches and perhaps overall interest in those matches is less than for one marquis match on a Sunday featuring two top teams.

    So the match between Arsenal and Man United will have huge amounts of money bet on it, as well as Man City v. Tottenham which will be played before it. The large liquidity in matches like these means that a person could place large amounts of money into the betting markets without attracting too much attention to himself and without changing the odds significantly even though he may be betting millions. These types of matches are more attractive to the big match fixers.

  11. I must admit i am a bit worried about the officials today, i hope that the combined force of Fergie on the sidelines, Dowd on the sidelines, and the Man Utd machine trailing Citeh, will prove just to much, and will exert pressure on Dean.

    The fact that Dowd and Dean are in constant communication is also scary. Those conversations should be recorded by some bloody black box somewhere for when the carousel crashes!

  12. I read your work, and more than that, have won several hundred pounds on fun bets from some of your info.
    Song or DM early booking, as you say, a great indicator and a good tip!
    There are so many factors for potential bias in this game, not least of which how things go with the Spuds and Citeh.
    If Dean has some relationship with Chelsea in whatever form, well they did not do well yesterday and may need some help. If the Spuds lose, they may need some help.
    To me, it points to them making sure we lose, surely it is no coincidence Wenger made the remarks he did this weekend with these officials.
    I agree with your point that Wenger is just too fair and in love with the beautiful game, maybe the AAA have a point and we could do with Dein back on side.
    The fact is, Riley is damaged goods, he has been tarnished by bias towards a certain team who everyone now associated him with. If the current refs want to make a fast buck, he cannot really say anything, can he?
    Dean was caught out with links to some gambling firm, how come he is still a ref? Would be a bit like appointing Reggie Kray as Lord Chief Justice.

  13. As I’ve mentioned in the earlier post that a draw would not disapoint me much, but fear that either Song or RVP will be targeted (for a sending off )and also that United will be given their customary penalty .Bet on it !

  14. You are right about the pen, if say Nani goes down, we know what the result will be. And we will be denied at least two stonewalls, I fear a bit for Djourou

    Just checked Betfair, our odds have come in a bit, Utds have gone out a bit, now identical.

  15. I predict this:

    The legendary P.Scholes, who retired from football for all of, er, 3 months, will go flailing about the pitch like a Roman torture device, narrowly failing to turn us into the Paraplegic team for 2012.

    After the third wild scythe, the referee will, albeit still smiling like a Cheshire Cat, gently admonish the aforesaid legend of the English game.

    At some further point, Alexander Song will receive two consecutive yellow cards, under the new pipes directive from the FA, one for looking a bit ugly, and the other for breathing heavily in an obnoxious manner…

    In the ensuing melee, Robin Van Persie will be sent off for failing to control his players, whilst the 4th official rushes for hot linen towels to soothe the furrowed frow of Sir Alex Fergrosson.

    Whereupon the entire Arsenal team will collectively leave the pitch , in the manner of AK ALkamaar…

    (Part 2 to follow)

  16. If players start doing stupid things to get yellow cards, as I believe a player did in very recent match, should we view such events with the same scepticism reserved for bowlers in Cricket no-balling by two feet?

  17. @Dogface:

    Do you think it will make a difference that the start of the match coincides with the start of the new Chinese Year (year of the dragon)? Many people might be occupied with family obligations – like I will have to miss at least fifteen minutes of the match to spend some time with the in-laws instead. Or, on the other hand, they could take a lucky punt to welcome the new year? A good start of the year is very important to Chinese people.

  18. @Anne:

    23 on Saturday, 8 on Sunday, 5 on others totals only 36 matches. So two matches are unaccounted for. But apart from that, matches for televised broadcast (in England) are only decided as the season progresses. In other words, the TV moguls may still decide to move some of Arsenal’s matches to a Sunday.

  19. Dogface,
    In yesterday’s comments, Anne and I discussed the US-debut on free nationwide TV for the first time. You might find it “exciting” now, but it all depends on how it gets presented/sold, how it is marketed, and what lessons are to be pushed on the viewers. What if AFC is presented in a negative light; or Don Fergus as the worthiest creature under the sun; and the whole thing becomes an advert for expanding Manure’s global reach. You’re far from naive, to be sure; so let’s not get too “excited” until the broadcast event has it’s moment. More to come on that score…

  20. p.s. and the broadcast is on Ruppie’s Fox – not exactly known for being neutral toward The Brand’s well-being. Will it equate the EPL with MU? My non-game changing wager is that it will.

  21. Perhaps the Dean/Dowd broadcast will be hacked or have other interested parties in on that conference call. I would say that a good match with an exciting last-minute Manure victory would do wonders for Fox (ratings, advertiser revenues) in the free US/nationwide EPL broadcast as well as strew rose petals on the road to the Fergie XX and their hoped-for Grand Coronation at daze end. Perhaps US viewers will be hooked into that via this broadcast. All speculation just now, but soon to be seen (if not believed)…

  22. wow webb didnt think twice before pointing to the spot even though he knew what that means to his lovely united…it WAS a penalty no doubt about but webb could have decided against giving it if he wanted to but thank god he did give it cos now spurs will shut up a bit… FOYS!!!!

  23. This is a bit painful, nobody tracking back to help Djourou, who is certainly not a back

  24. Not good at all.
    I really hope Wenger has a good explanation for that substitution, because he is going to be crucified over it, that game was there for the taking.
    Along with Kos, I thought Ox was our best player – was he injured or something? Was he tiring? Unfortunately that he was replaced by Arshavin who was partly at fault for the winning goal, again more fodder for those that hate us.
    All in all, a bad day.
    This team has to get players back and improve to make the top 4. And we need to stop these self inflicted wounds, there unfortunately will be a lot of angry fans after this.

  25. I cant believe how rubbish we have been, we cant cover the cracks and this well below par. Walcott/Arshavin are not good enough and we suffer watching them two week in and out, too much dead wood. 0 points this yr speaks for it self. This season has been hard and the way its going it will be getting worse.

  26. We’re all feeling down, let’s not say anything at all if we can’t keep our cool.
    Certainly not good enough.

  27. Mandy Dodd, all,
    Alas, the Arsene Out campaign II is now to be full on, and Piers Morgan, the self-annointed Arsenal fan in the half-time show, has bellowed forth on the grand US-UK-EPL media stage, and in fullest possible voice that: (after first half) AW is totally and exclusively to blame for not buying a proper fullback; and (after the match) AW has totally lost the plot, cost us (he’s one of us) any hope of the title, of a top-4 finish, thus of CL qualification (and a 30M loss), and inevitably of RvP’s consequent departure. There is blood in the water, alas, and Piers Morgan is the eager FIRST at the crucifixion.

    So, that’s the media report after the US televised match on what Fox Sports calls “Epic Sunday;” because of the pairing of the top UK and US football televised matches. Their next epic will be on US football’s Super Bowl Sunday when (now try to guess… yep) Manure and Chelski will face off.

    Anne, the creek done rose.

  28. @dan:

    I’m not boiling at all. It was a disappointing loss, but considering how depleted we were, I’m not really feeling let down by the team’s performance. Sometimes you just lose. It’s part of the game.

    I thought Ox was fantastic, by the way.

  29. A very disappointing performance and I agree with Mandy Dodd; Kos was immense and Ox was superb!
    Yennaris on for Djourou was a good change at halftime but bringing Arshavin on for Ox, very hard to see why that was done!
    However, the most worrying thing about the substitution was the reaction of RVP! He visibly shouted “NO!” to the change from what i saw from my seat at the ems! I also understand that this was shown precisely at the time on the TV?! That for me is the most worrying thing! If the captain and talisman is at a loss to explain what his manager is doing, then the problems are now very deep rooted! I fear that RVP is now seriously considering leaving as the club is now falling way behind! Top 4 may not be enough to keep him any longer?!

  30. Just watched interview with Arsene Wenger. His view is we were nervous in the first half, probably because we just lost two matches. But we relaxed and had a really good second half with lots of chances and we should build on that.
    The interviewer asked him – once again – if he shouldn’t have signed a full back in the transfer window. His opinion was we are two weeks from getting players back, and the players in those positions played well in the second half.
    The second Man U goal, he said, was the result of a tactical error. He refused to blame any player and said we win as a team and lose as a team. When the interviewer named Arshavin as the culprit Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn and said, “Ask him.”
    Contrary to the remarks of people on Sky (who said Man U dominated the match except for fifteen minutes), I agree with him that we had a good second half and should build on it.
    As to Andrei Arshavin, I do not agree with Gary Neville who insulted him and called him disinterested, and suggested he should go back to Russia. Arshavin has given a very interesting interview to the Arsenal web site. I think the booing when he came on as a substitute was very unpleasant. In general I don’t think it’s very productive to pick on and lambast members of our team.

  31. @Pat

    While the booing will naturally make the story, with commentators painting it as a sign of the discontent of Arsenal fans with Arsene Wenger,.. What nobody mentioned was that immediately after the boos, there were louder cheers and chants for Arsenal. I think the majority of fans were making up for the minority’s poor reaction.

  32. @Shard:

    I think the boos had more to do with how well Ox was performing than with Arshavin. He was the one that was really sparking the offense, so I was disappointed myself to see him go. I didn’t want him off.

    My guess is that Wenger, for the time being, is trying to protect him from the “superstar” pressure that the media is just chomping at the bit to pile on him.

  33. Well, if people get so disappointed after being beaten (and that too by a good team, also with 10-11 injuries – most of them to key players), then they should do what I did – do not watch the match! There are so many other things to do… you can watch other matches (like the Dortmund one, or Leverkusen one or even Barcelona!). Or read a book or practice keyboard or go shopping! No need to watch the match if you can’t take it 🙂 Its better to avoid it if it affects you later, and makes the life more negative… there are already a lot of things that you can worry about, apart from football, I mean.

  34. Anne, Dogface, et al,
    Rather than focus on money laundering and financial irregularities elsewhere in football and the EPL, should we not again be looking at our own club first?!
    I was having a drink with someone today before heading to the stadium and he’s convinced on some good evidence and information that we are on the track of becoming another financial set-up similar to ManU and the Glazers! A massive debt from re-financing is set to follow with Kroenke?!

  35. Shard/Anne

    Well it has been a testing month, but I seriously doubt RVP shouted “NO” to the sub, Arshavin has been playing very poor but no captain would do that.

    Wenger said it was a tactical error so may be this is the last time we may see Arshavin kick all in our colours.

  36. @ DC:
    the camera showed RVP saying no, and was on him at the end of the game. I fear he decided right then to leave the club. Poor man keeps scoring and losing.

    I too was amused at the Ox-Arsh sub, but believe AW knew what he was doing (although his face looked like he knew he had made a mistake right after the sub).

  37. Anne, I also think Arsene Wenger said something about protecting Oxlade Chamberlain physically. I think the commentators suggested something about that in passing as well, that it would be usual only to keep someone in his situation on for seventy minutes. I believe it was his first premier league start. He certainly did well!

  38. Agree, the RVP reaction is widely reported and worrying, we cannot afford to lose him as he is irreplacable, at least on our finances. Joel Campbell / Chamakh and Park are not Van Persie, as the world keeps telling us.
    The Wenger out campaign will hit new heights as suggested, although few will come up with credible replacements.
    As for Arshavin, I think him, and Walcott are suffering most from our lack of FBs. But his lack of tracking back is damaging the team.
    I can see why Wenger does not go out and buy more defenders, but he is gambling hugely on them coming back when he thinks they will fully fit. He has made such gambles before, and in my memory, they do not tend to come off. Gibbs especially is a worry. Wenger said a few weeks ago that he would look at loan FBs as we should not be dropping points over a lack of FBs – the horse has bolted. Wenger seems to be to be in one of those situations where things are just not going for him, we all have them this has lasted for a year or so. Maybe this is affecting the players.
    Not signing this Jan is a gamble. Would say, a Verthongen costing £10m make the difference that could put us in the Top 4 – reward – 30-40m?
    I just hope this gamble is one that finally pays off for the manager, because, frankly what I am hearing and seeing after that game worries me.
    I back Wenger and the team, but we need to make sure things improve and quickly. And lets see a hell of a lot more of Ox, even if , as I suspect it puts a few noses out of joint.

  39. and i really do hope it is arshavin`s last match..had enough chances to prove himself again but looks like wenger has had enough of him

  40. Bob,
    I thought so! Not all is well!
    What about those who go to the matches, and at considerable expense? Support regardless is the basis of fandom! Opinion also is permitted but not hostility; that is wrong!

  41. Mahdain

    But with the modern coverage all players have a camera pointing at them, could they not manipulate how they want this to appear?

  42. but one thing that was a negative for today was the so called fans attitude..yes we are all frustrated but booing you manager and shouting “you dont know what you are doing” is pretty stupid and uncalled for

  43. DC ref refinancing, hope not, Kronke has no past with that sort of thing.
    He does not need to do it, he could sell to Usmanov for a massive profit tomorrow if he needs money in,

  44. A disappointing defeat but not much damage done in terms of points as all pool, totts and chelsea dropped points.RVP’s reaction confirmed that ox should have stayed and we could have waited for some time to bring arshavin on but I think it was because they thought that ox was tired but he played well .We badly need our injured players back as it may be 8 games in march and nearly the same amount in april .We must finish strongly and I’m sure we will when wilshere,diaby,santos ,sagna and arteta (+ gervinho)return.
    Still confident that FA Cup is our best chance of silverware and we will win it this year.

  45. Mahdain, Arshavin did make a mistake for the second goal, but he also played positively at other points in the match.
    I agree that he and Theo Walcott are missing the wing backs bombing down the sides.

  46. @DC:

    The Glazers took over ManU in a leveraged buyout. It was structured completely differently from what Kroenke did at Arsenal. I mean, it’s not even the same ballpark really.

    We’ll have to wait and see what Kroenke’s intentions are, I suppose, but I’m much more concerned about one of our other majority shareholders at the moment.

  47. dan,
    It wasn’t the captain yelling NO to Arshavin as a player – but yes to keeping Ox on the pitch. In any case, there is a difference between these, and RvP visibly did appear to disagree with there being a substitution at all, for the Ox, just then. I like RvP’s passion and judgment. He cares and shows it.

  48. The 8-2 in Aug was the trigger for money spent at the end of the transfer window.

    Let’s hope 3 losses in a row is another trigger before end of Jan!

  49. @bob

    That means he’ll stay. Wenger knows he cant afford to lose RVP I hope the board see it the same.

  50. DC,
    You say your friend says “on good evidence” that something unsavory is up financially with Kroenke. What’s the good evidence? (Don’t tease, please, not here.)

  51. I am sure Wenger made that substitution for good reasons, but it has seriously backfired, and at the worst possible time.
    I think we may well have seen the last of Arshavin, shame, a talented player but he can let too much by. Unfortunately, we have had a few players in recnet years, of whom, according to common perception have been prone to such things.
    On a positive over Wenger, just how good a signing was Arteta, and just how much have we missed him? Who needs Scottie Parker.

    Todays tip- avoid TalkShire, especially Adrian Durham and Stan Doggymore, they will dine out on this! Sometimes think it is only this team that keeps them on the air.

  52. @DC. First, I apologize. It was never my intention to be hostile, and forgive me if I appeared hostile or derogatory in any way. Secondly, what I was saying is that everyone has a choice. Those who, like me, are affected by losses, certainly have a choice (even those who have paid to visit). It is either to watch or not to watch (or to go or not to go – although a stadium experience would be something totally different). At the end of the day, it is a trade-off, whether you want to take something on, that will make 2-3 days difficult, or avoid it. If you can handle it, well and good. If it makes you a negative moaner, then better avoid it. I was merely pointing out the choice i.e. if taking a loss is too difficult, then it is better to avoid it. I certainly did not intend to be disrespectful to anyone – especially to those who support the team from the stands!

  53. Pat,
    I’m ambivalent about Arshavin’s value to us; but, at what other points of the match did Andrei play well? It may be, but I wasn’t looking for that and if you would supply something factual on him it would help me at least think more clearly about him.

  54. Just a quick comment here. Arseblogger’s ‘UPDATE’ on says Ox had cramps so it made sense. And really…Arshavin did come on and hit a winner against Barca last year so it isn’t unfathomable that he might do it again. The AAA of course will be out painting the internet red though. While it did seem a funny decision, AW + young players is something I will always blindly trust. So frustrating…yes…inexplicable in a way? … yes. Still trust AW..yes.

    Tip of the day: Visit 2 sites for the next week. Only 2.

    b) Untold

    The rest is bound to be full of the AAA and the ‘You dont know what you’re doing fan club’.

    Hope we pick up a few points soon.

  55. @dan:

    I just watched the coverage again and I agree with you that it could have been manipulated. I’m not sure what RVP was saying there or what the context was, so I don’t think we should rush to judgment.

  56. Mandy,
    Alas, so-called men like those two really do make a meal out of what we dish out. Our woes, in truth, are a cottage industry – a gift horse and a profit center. A reversal in our fortunes has the sorely needed benefit of muzzling these mad dogs and E…..”men”

  57. im sorry if there are any AST members in here but have to say most of them are generally pricks…tim payton has been talking shit on twitter saying that rvp will lead the wenger out brigade and lead to his sacking..what an idiot and same goes to a few of their other members especially that darrenArsenal guy

  58. I was very surprised wenger didn’t wait for more time until he subbed the ox. However…the fans – yes, it’s allowed to voice an opinion – but when your team has just scored…then boos ring out all over the stadium…it completely changed the momentum. I don’t think wenger was expecting the whole stadium to ring out in boos…it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. boo . then you loose.

  59. Anne,
    Thanks for the clarification but some definitive details would be helpful! I sincerely hope that the one thing the club is doing well at the moment will not turn out to be a financial disaster later???
    I was at the Emirates quite close to RVP precisely when the change was made and he was visibly “disappointed” at Ox’s substitution!
    Ox didn’t look too fatigued to us in the stadium and was still causing problems on the wings; particularly in a game where we had just got back into it and needed a result!

  60. I was watching with Spanish commentary, and without the Sky announcers suggesting that that was dissent towards Arsene, it didn’t even occur to me at all that that was what he was saying. Of course, he might have been. I’m not reading much into it.

    Also interesting about the Spanish commentary was that they mentioned it every time an Arsenal player was fouled and the ref didn’t call it. We’re so used to these non-calls by now that it’s easy to forget the way that they do add up…

  61. Arvind,
    About your tip of the day: assuming you’re being serious, though I can surely understand the choice to avoid media-toxicity, I still find it a better choice for fans to consider and assert the full context within which this sad loss was played out; and to reaffirm our positive values, than to duck the inevitable shit storm that this defeat will now stir. Being silent is to make it appear that everyone agrees that AFC under AW is a hopeless disaster.

  62. What I don’t understand is why Wenger would disrupt Arsenals momentum with substitutions (whatever the outcome). Then there is the physiological aspect of Arsenal holding onto leads and not being able to capitalise when momentum is on our side (or rather when we’ve earned it). Against Fulham you could sense they had the energy to come back at us and the same today but with us we had the energy. we seemed to be in the ascendancy only to be disrupted. For me a weird and unexpected decision.

  63. What shouldn’t be lost sight of is that we could have tied or won this game if 1 of our at least 4 genuinely good chances – and we had and missed them via RvP, Ramsey, Walcott and Ox – found the back of the net. Good that we made these chances on offense; but the return rate is still poor, imo. I feel with 8 days left, that adding a clinical finisher would not hurt in the least, to be polite about it.

  64. We should all listen to talksport, amusing to say the least and they’ll paint another picture of how it REALLY went down.

    But seriously Wenger after half time looked distressed constantly fidgeting, unable remain seated/standing. Hope this season isn’t taking it course on him.

  65. DC,
    You were there: please add any specifics about the situation/timing that made it clear to you in real time that RvP was visibly disappointed at the substitution?

  66. dan,
    It’s not necessarily what’s on the pitch or not that’s taking it’s course on him. Of course this season would take its course on anyone sane — And he is.

  67. @Bob, Poor Ramsey could not hit a barn door lately, all his attempts recently are over the bar, yet we have seen him finish so cool in the past. Maybe another player feeling under pressure to perform. I think although disapointed all that happened today is we lost 1-2 to the current champions.

  68. Bob,
    The fellow spectator’s more of an acquaintance rather than a friend but he works for the largest international sport’s management company and he sees this beginning to happen more and more with general British football club ownership!

    I didn’t mean to sound critical but every “true & genuine supporter” is allowed to express their opinion; even if we think it’s wrong, pessimistic or unfair.

  69. Bob,
    It was clear a substitution was about to be made by Arsene at 70mins and Arshavin was about to come on, even before the equaliser was scored, so as soon as the digi-board was put up with Ox’s number, I observed RVP’s body language and facial expression. He was not happy and those nearby also noted the reaction! In addition, he was visibly pissed-off throughout various portions of the match, especially in the first half, when we just couldn’t control the ball or create anything!

  70. Bob,
    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what he decides in the summer wrt a new contract! But I doubt matches like this afternoon will help in a positive?!

  71. DC,
    Cheers for your account. It’s clearly very worrisome to have RvP this upset. I think we need another source of clinical scoring and/or providing or he’s a goner, not a gooner. And that would be extremely bad for us all.

  72. I have been travelling a lot this week and have not yet watched the match, but I note Dean the Dastardly managed to book five of our players; has anyone any comments on how well or otherwise the match was refereed?

  73. Anne,
    Ok, i’ll hold you to that!

    I agree, RVP needs to feel that there is some definitive back-up to offset his burden and load! It’s just too much for one man to take for a club that he does care a great deal about!
    The mantra of “spend some money” on “quality signings” keeps being raised at such times but this is unnecessary because it guarantees you nothing! As you intimate, we just need someone who’s single-minded about putting the ball in the back-of-the-net; but the likes of Torres and Carroll further highlight that huge expense certainly doesn’t guarantee you success in this area but you can try at much less cost if you don’t currently believe in those that are being reared!
    My fundamental concern with the team at the moment is they do not look fluid or composed on the ball as in the past and the mobility has deteriorated quite noticeably! Consequently, they cannot retain possession and fo not dominate possession for large parts of matches. Whether that’s purely confidence-based or not i’m not entirely sure; but the quality of play, control and movement on and off the ball has been significantly deteriorating as it did in the early part of the season! This was so evident in the first half and that really shouldn’t be glossed-over as it’s the basis of the coaching philosophy and style-of-play!

  74. Bjtgooner,
    For all the pessism before the match, Dean et al cannot be held responsible for the result. He did make some mistakes, as I’m sure the ref review will highlight in due course, but none that I can recall we became irate about.

  75. I was at the match and the booing that you are referring to was related to Nani’s play acting .. I would love Mike Dean to explain how he called the medical team and stretcher onto the pitch only to then allow the player to hobble off.

    Sadly at the same time we subbed Ox for Arshavin. So it looked like the fans were booing that and not Nani.

  76. DC,with regards Kroenke,i remember ages ago reading an article suggesting the same thing re refinancing.If i can find it again i’ll post a link.For me,the most worrying thing about Kroenke is his view that the Glazers are doing a great job at MU, and that its ok 4 owners to take profits out of their clubs.I know this is common in US sports,but over here we expect any profits to be invested in the infrastructure of the club and the playing staff.I feel that arsenal is way down on his priority list compared to his US teams,and i am not sure the club will move forward under his tenure.Soz, a bit off topic!

  77. None,
    apparently some people over here say that they boo Wenger and/or Arshavin at the time.
    I wished you were right in fact.
    But the way I felt it from afar and the way some people commented in the new article suggest that they had their boo aimed at those two.

  78. Basil,
    Thanks, I would appreciate a link to that article if you can dig it out!
    If this is what is planned behind the scenes, Lord help Arsenel FC!

  79. Bob, None,
    There definitely was booing at half-time, during Ox’s substitution and at the end of the match. Was that not clear on your broadcast?
    “None’s” booing is nothing new or unique; it happens in all matches at the Emirates when an injured opponent’s player is disliked and deemed to be play-acting; which Nani wasn’t on this rare occasion as he was substituted! Incidently, I DID “boo” Nani as I too thought he was faking it and Kos was booked!

  80. Bob,
    There definitely was “booing” aimed at Arsene and/or the Players at half-time, during Ox’s substitution and at the end of the match. Was that not obvious from your broadcast?
    “None’s” referred-to booing is correct wrt Nani but he/she is wrong with stating that that was the only booing.
    The “booing” of Nani is nothing new or unique; it happens in all matches at the Emirates when an opposition player is disliked and deemed to be faking an injury; which Nani wasn’t on this rare occasion as he was substituted!
    Incidentally, Rooney was also “booed” for the same reason during the match.

  81. @DogFace:

    How do you interpret this result in the context of the betting patterns on the match?

  82. @Anne – we were crap, they were crap – it was a crap match… I’m going to wait for the referee review to see how Dean performed – he didn’t seem great and RvP looked to be constantly fouled out of any threat… also some random yellows – but other than that I don’t feel we can point the finger at him for what was a poor performance.

    In terms of the markets and whether anyone was got to – I dunno, I don’t like to think about it too much – at least we’ll have a bit of a break in the EPL from the betting syndicates now it’s Chinese New Year.

  83. @bob – when I said it was ‘exciting’ I was beign sarcastic… I pine for the days when football wasn’t televised and it was all played at 3pm on a Saturday.

  84. @Kentetsu – yup, the year of the dragon is today – I figured that the games today would be a last punt before family time.

  85. @DogFace,
    Nice match summary! I too await the ref review, because if Dean’s performance deviates significantly from his baseline then we can say something is definitely up.
    I’m trying to work out a set of ‘rules’ (for want of a better term) to govern the actions of the referee during matches. For instance, taking our old friend Busacca, his rules last season were to ignore any serious infringement by a Barcelona player (violent conduct is always a red card offence) and to punish the slightest technical infringement by an Arsenal player he could get away with.

  86. I was at the match.

    1. I thought Dean was terrible. Just one free kick to Arsenal in the whole first half!

    2. The booing around the substitution was clearly related to Chamberlain coming off rather than Arshavin coming on. The sequence was:
    i. Number goes up. Eruption of boos.
    ii. Chamberlain leaves the field. Standing ovation.
    iii. Arshavin comes on. Very muted applause.
    I think if Arshavin had come on for Walcott there would have been no reaction.

    3. Wenger deserves credit for starting Chamberlain in the first place, surely! I’m not sure I fully believe the sickness/calf strain stuff – but not surprised an 18 yo kid on his league debut is taken off against MU after 70 mins. Wenger was also brave bringing on Yennaris for Djourou. He deserves credit for that too.

    4. Other notable crowd reactions. As noted, booing at half time and full time – not especially vociferous. Clear renditions of “spend some f*cking money” at intervals through the 2nd half.

    5. Tempers were boiling in the stands. Several disputes around where I was sat between those trying to support the team and those slagging off. Unfortunately, I was taking my 7 y.o. daughter to only her 3rd match. She learnt a number of new words…

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