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Ref disaster, ESPN laughable, Arsenal magnificent

By Tony Attwood

I normally hold back for Walter to make his comments on matches – and he may well by typing away as I type this, but I am going to stick my neck out and say that I thought the ref made one atrocious decision today.

Vaz Tê signed for West Ham in the Championship in January this year, and maybe he is not used to the laws of the game in England, but leaving your foot in so that it contacts with a goalkeepers’ head is not normally part of our game.  In my view that should have been an immediate sending off.

Maybe the ref saw this differently, maybe Walter will tell me that I am wrong on this, but it looked like the player left his foot in so that it would take Mannone’s head, and that is a sending off offence.  Perhaps the ref thought that the player’s attempt to get the ball was a mistake, maybe he was influenced by the large number of medics on the pitch, but all things considered I still think that Vaz Te should have gone off, and WHU played with ten men thereafter.

As for ESPN, the Mickey Mouse channel of football, they came up with this wonderful statement about Theo.  “Among Arsenal’s English contingent only Ian Wright has scored more.”  I rather think Cliff Bastin scored more than Theo in one season, and actually scored 150 goals for Arsenal.  And as for his Englishness, he was born in Devon.

There are of course a lot of Englishmen who have scored more goals for Arsenal, but hey, this is ESPN.

ESPN had one commentary woman talking about Arsenal being fourth in the league, and the team of experts talking about being 5th.  But well, who cares after a performance like that.

A wonderful goal by Theo, a wonderful goal by Cazorla, and the first for Giroud in the league – which makes two in a week I think.

A great return to life after the sadness of last weekend.  Thank you Arsenal, I enjoyed that.  And at least this is the last season of ESPN.

40 comments to Ref disaster, ESPN laughable, Arsenal magnificent

  • davi

    To be fair, I think they said only Ian Wright has more goals in the *Premier League*, which I would imagine would be true.

  • Alan

    You’re forgetting the ref’s failure to give a 2nd booking to Diame for his challenge on Arteta, and then booking Gervinho for a tackle made on Noble although there was no contact at all. Phil Dowd has to be one of the worst ref’s in the league.

  • davi

    Alan – I don’t know whether he’s really that bad or just has it in for us?! When I realised it was him, it felt ominous. I also thought we should have had a penalty for the challenge on Ramsey – a free kick at the very least! The way he said “No way!” really tells all you need to know. We weren’t getting any favours from him, to put it mildly.

  • John

    Karma got him in the end he went to hurt Mannone and came off worse. Bottom line is they will always he bad tackles in the game I’m glad you are standing up to these.

    Arteta and Cazorla were class whole team played well nice to see Giroud get of the mark in the PL, smart finish from Theo just hope Gibbs injury is nothing signficant.

    PS Wasnt a peno for me in the end we didnt need it. We stood up and got the result and thats what its about.

  • Thundertinygooner

    In fairness to ESPN John Champion did say Theo was our second highest goalscorer in the Premier League. I think Cliff Bastin never played there. They aren’t very good on ESPN but we do need to listen carefully.
    It would have been very difficult for he referee to see the foot Vaz Te did definitely leave in. Don Vito reacted very maturely and Vaz Te got his just desserts by dislocating his shoulder. It was a good,fighting performance. We are able to win games like this especially with a cool German centre half like Per. Sadly last week we were a notch below this and they neutralised Cazorla well. Today he was sublime. A worthy heir to Brady and Fabregas.
    The biggest grouse I had with the coverage was the surprise that we are challenging for the top four. When was the last time we didn’t?

  • I am sure the commentator meant that Wright was the highest scorer born in England in the Prem League years, but that’s not what he said. It is that totally relaxed relationship with reality that makes ESPN so laughable.

    Incidentally we had 69% of possession and 21 goal attempts.

  • bjtgooner

    I agree Tony, Dowd made some strange decisions, I suspect he was trying to “Newcastle” us. This is further evidence that the PGMOL is incompetent.

  • Will

    And how the hell did he originally give a goal kick when the world say it canon off of the West Ham defender?

  • Bang on about Vaz Te – I will never wish injury on anyone, not even john terry, but it is absolute karma what happened to him. Had he jumped over the goalkeeper, he would have landed fine – by leaving his leg in, he intended to hurt Mannone and instead seriously injured himself.

    Mannone took a few bangs and was fearless today, what a hero.

    Bloody important three points – we’ve not got the points we deserved on a couple of occasions this year, so this is great!

  • Adam

    I think, Maybe chalk this up to a select group ref trying to do a favour for a LMA commitee member (Alardyce).
    We will probably face the same thing many times during this season.
    Also stone wall penalty for me. Vaz Te should have been red carded as he hobled of off the pitch, Bolton were fairly quick in getting a sub on. Diame would have been booked (for his challenge on Arteta)if he hadn’t of been booked for hs goal celebration within the crowd. But a sending off for the challenge and his celebration would have been harsh.
    Seems Dowd is back to his usual self.

  • Luchi

    I am SOoooo Loving Jenkinson&Mannone in these past games.its gone be hell for Syzczny& Sagna trying to find a pew on their previous Rolls,even brave.well done Ramsey,you are better off without the National Captain band.Spiritual Cazorla,just Stay Possessed with d spirit of Fabregas and Traitor Nasri.Thumbs up to the German boys,Podolski&Per.and Finally,Welcome on board the Emirate flight Giroud.

  • Adam you mean West Ham yeh? Not Bolton. Or was that done on purpose? 😉

  • Stuart

    The reffing was attrocious and the Vaz Te incident there can be no excuse for. It was blatantly deliberate, no denying it, players should be banned for a season (38 games) for things like that.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Vaz Te should have been sent off, but it was probably hard to see that from a distance. Dowd maybe was going to book him but might have decided not to once he realised that he was seriously injured.

    The penalty shout by Ramsey was the big call for me. Looked like it was a trip on the line of the penalty area. Couldn’t believe he didn’t even give a free kick for it.

  • Johnny Deigh

    @Stuart – I was thinking that the FA should charge Vaz Te for it, but he’ll probably miss a few matches anyhow with his shoulder being dislocated.

  • Long Island Gunner

    Phil Dowd. Someone should have presented him with a West Ham Jersey at the end of the game – he certainly tried to earn one.

    Tackle on Arteta not given as a caution – only because Diame was already on a caution so that would be playing 10 – 11 for, what?, 60 minutes?

    Ramsey tackled on the edge of the area – only because it might be close enough for a penalty and, as AW has noted year after year, the EPL referees do not award Arsenal penalties unless there is multiple homicide.

    2 really BIG decisions and they both were obviously wrong and in one direction.

  • Adam

    @HALAL, No mate that was an easy mistake to make. Bolton, West Ham I can’t tell the difference anymore. I just see Alardyce and think long ball, Elbows and win the second ball.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I’m not reviewing this game but I really cannot understand any striker going in on a keeper and trying to him on his head. Do they really want to see another Cech??? Kicking someone against the head is always extremely dangerous and unacceptable.
    To be fair I don’t think Dowd could see the situation completely clear and was by his position on the wrong side of things.
    But what Vaz Te did is totally unacceptable. I was disgusted when I saw that…

    Credit maybe to Manone who got a few elbows and knocks during the game but he never made more of it. Even though he maybe should and could have done. Certainly the Vaz Te situation. But I just think Manone is so focused on staying on the pitch he would have played even without his head on his shoulders

  • DocBrody

    Some random stats if anyone is interested.

    Arsenal had 21 attempts on goal. West Ham 4.
    From open play, Arsenal had 13 attempts to West Ham’s 4.

    Arsenal passed the ball 650 times to West Ham’s 297. 551 of Arsenal’s passes were short balls and 34 were crosses. Both teams played 58 long balls, but note that is a much larger percentage of West Ham’s total passes. Arsenal only played 7 through balls, but West Ham played none!

    In terms of heat maps, only the BFG and the Verminator spent the majority of their time in Arsenal’s half. The rest of the field players, including Gibbs and Jenkinsen, spent the majority of their time in West Ham’s half.

    Arsenal attacked evenly… about 33% through the right, middle, and left. West Ham attacked through the middle 40% of the time, through the left 35%, and the remaining 24% of attacks on the right.

    And here’s an interesting stat… Guess which player has scored the most goals per minutes played this season? Hint, he wants to play as a striker. 😉

  • 1NiltotheArsenal

    1. Sam Allardyce has a lost a lot of wieght, but his players still kick as heavily as they ever did (Mannone will be nursing just a bruise tomorrow and hopefully not a concussion).

    2. Mannone is make a strong case as the potential Arsenal GK with his form and performance in this match. Will Szczensy respond to the competitive pressure?

    3. I thought our goals were excellent, These were not lucky deflections or simple tap-ins, but exemplary of the technical skills this squad. Giroud showed superb positioning and timing. Walcott’s bender was pure class and Cazorla! He is the epitome of this current generation of world-beating Spanish midfielders (Fabregas, Mata, et al).

    4. That all being said, West Ham were in it for 3/4th of the match. Thanks to Mannone and Cazorla who finally put it out of reach, we bagged all three points.

  • WalterBroeckx

    ESPN laughable? What about MOTD? Not showing the attack on Manone is ridiculous. It was one of the high(in fact a low)-points in the game.

  • bjtgooner

    Knowing that we are short of goalkeeper cover at present, the assault on Manone becomes potentially all the more serious – lets not forget last season the serious fouls our defenders suffered.

    The BBC/MOTD reaction is what we have come to expect – but like Riley the BBC seem to be able to to do what they want, accurate/balanced reporting is obviously not a requirement for MOTD.

    I put the blame for the assault on Manone on fat Sam – he sets his team up to be “in their faces”, and with Dowd he knew they would get away with it. Vaz Te may have (but may not have) exceeded instructions.

  • Blacksheep63

    I think we should demanding an explanation from the BBC, after all it is a public service broadcaster and there were several incidents in that game which highlighted the incompetence ( or bias) of Phil Dowd.

  • Heci

    Dowd really got all the decisions wrong, didn’t he?
    He just don’t trust them cheating Arsenal players.
    But what he missed from Vaz Te.. it could have been another Cech and if referees keep missing such blatant stuff then idiots like Vaz Te will continue to try it. It’s just the top of a very Pulis/Fat Sam dirty tactics set.

    Even the Bulgarian commentator here agreed when he saw the replay that it was a deliberate attempt. And they usually try to defend the referees and stand by their decisions, as if us people watching the game are all blind sheep.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Like someone said: Arsenal is short of keepers with now a 5th choice keeper on the bench. So getting the last “experienced” keeper out of the game could be helpful to win the game.
    Manone was attacked on a few occasions and was very very very brave. he got an (I don’t know deliberate) but a least once got the arm/elbow of Carrol in to his face in the first half. At one moment even Dowd gave a foul for the West Ham players attacking him at a corner(only once could have been more)

    The more I think of it the more I get disgusted by the action of Vaz Te. He did saw the keeper coming so he could have easily jumped over him but he deliberately let his leg hanging low so he would scare the keeper. I do like to think he didn’t really meant to touch him, just wanted him to get scared so he wouldn’t be so brave next time around.

    I don’t like players getting injured but cannot feel any sympathy for Vaz te

  • WalterBroeckx

    And I know Manone wasn’t at his best against Chelsea with the goals but for the way he played yesterday he deserves a lot of credit. He was brave and didn’t got scared and went for it when needed.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Dowd needs to be looked into. He is always the same with us when we are away to a physical, “English” style team. Our players got no protection at all, then he gives Gerv the very cheapest of bookings. Will be interested to see the ref reviewers take on the penalty incident. Dowd clearly has something against this club, or someone in its employment, therefore I expect to see him officiating at least 8 of our games, especially if we end up challenging.

  • none

    The Diame/Gervinho bookings again just go to show that there is one rule for Arsenal players and another for their opposition.

    I did like the official match report from the BBC

    “..Referee Phil Dowd booked the midfielder for his celebration and perhaps Diame was fortunate to stay on the field soon after when he clattered Mikel Arteta. ..”


    “The only worry for Arsenal was with left-back Kieran Gibbs, who left the field in the second half with what Wenger described afterwards as a “thigh problem”.”
    Again missing out the kick on Mannone’s head. If that has been Giroud/Podolski or Gervinho they would have been lynched.

    The reviews ( have already showed that Dowd is a great ref with 83%, just not when it comes to Arsenal. The question becomes, why?

  • bjtgooner

    I managed to see the Arsenal coverage on Sky’s “Sunday Supplement” – short discussion all about Walcott, should he or should he not play in the center? Nothing else about the Arsenal performance was mentioned.

    The follow up “Goals on Sunday” program had only a very short report on Arsenal, Wally Downes, West Ham Asst Coach, being a studio guest.

    Neither program showed or mentioned the assault on Manone. The “Goals on Sunday” did mention that poor Vaz Te was injured and may be off for a while. Neither program mentioned ref errors or bias.

  • Al

    vaz te got his just desserts; i’ve no sympathy for him at all. dowd is a repulsive human being, end of story

  • Matt Clarke

    Manone deliberately left his face in and caught the strikers trailing foot – thereby caused poor ole Tavez anagram to hurt himself…disgraceful.


    A lesser man (than Manone) would have play-acted on being deliberately smacked in the chops; and a better ref would have sent Vaz Te off the field.

    A lot wrong with the refereeing in that game (imo) – I am keen to see the review.

  • Adam

    Maybe last season Dowd’s contract was up for renewal? This season he has his new 2 year contract so is out to screw us again. Or maybe it’s the other way around “Get back to screwing Arsenal and you’ll get your new contract”.

  • marcus

    This decision is why the EPL has essentially become unwatchable.

  • terry

    From my view the most blatant West Ham thing Dowd did was not restart the game after Vaz Te hurt himself.
    He was clearly off the pitch but Dowd refused to restart the match until WHU had there sub on, so we had both teams standing around for 2 minutes while fat Sam got his team back up to strength.
    So unless I missed the rule change about play cannot continue unless there is 22 players on the pitch, this will be another bais cock up Dowd will not have to explain.

  • Adam

    Vaz Te was even looking at Mannone when they collided, So for me he made the decision to not get out of the way. Anywhere else on the pitch, You get punished.
    You leave your foot in when a defender clears you get punished. We can accept accidents or collisions, However I believe Vaz Te could and should have got out of the way. Real bad form and a harsh justice to recieve by dislocating his shoulder.

  • ESPN are to honest football journalism what the minister for information of Iraq was during the Gulf War.
    Two points
    1. Cant we have a piece about how many mistakes commentators make.
    2. What about referees and how much actual playing time they record in each game, trying to identify how much time wasting they allow and stoppages they bring to the game. Just a thought.

  • Stuart

    Kellys eye,

    I like the idea about seeing how much time wasting the refs allow.

    Maybe that’s something for the ref reviews in the future??

  • Nekuhan

    Hi Walter,
    Good win, nice comments. What are your thoughts on: Manchester United got Webb Master in Newcastle, Arsenal got Dowd. Strange, isn’t it?

  • Jambug

    Report in the Sun: Phil Dowd, a “faultless display”. Add that to all the omitions of his mistakes on SKY and MOTD and you start to understand why refs know they will get away with such rank bias performances against us. (A side point: Approaching h/t in the Liverpool Stoke match the tv commentator was harping on about how Stoke had commited 11 fouls to ‘pools 6 as if it was some kind of mortal sin. Well news for him at the time Shawcross assaulted Ramsey (mid 2nd half as I recall) Stoke where up to 25 fouls with not a single booking with not a single mention then or since). You wait till we get a dodgey pen (Chance would be a fine thing) or one of the lads puts in a dodgey tackle and we’ll get days of in depth discussion on how the ‘big’ clubs get ALL the decisions.

  • iniez

    Just read that robin won’t be charged for his elbow. Who else thinks he was testing the water to see what he could get away with now that he’s at manure