By Phil Gregory
After an awe-inspiring win against Porto, Hull away is next up on the agenda and with it the end of our recent week-long rest periods.
I can empathise with the players, I really can: fixture congestion is a blight on the game extending as far down the footballing pyramid as Intramural League Two for my Saturday morning league, where we are expected to play on consecutive days. Spare a thought for me, Untold, as we’ll probably lose both, too!
But anyway, Hull. The barnstorming Arsenal up against the permatanned Phil Brown. With Cesc likely to be out, I’m hoping he’s the sense to pack his bomber jacket and stroll onto the pitch at full-time.
I jest, but it is a huge game, and not just for the seemingly classless outfit that is Hull City. I feel every game from here on in is a cup game (no Arsène, not Carling Cup! Though our kids could beat this Hull side). We have a fantastic fixture list full of games where we shouldn’t drop points so lets hope the lads do their part and keep picking up the three points.
Eboue Vermaelen Silvestre Clichy
Walcott Bendtner Arshavin
Almunia keeps his spot in goal, while the back four sees Sagna drop out for Eboue given injury concerns and Silvestre filling in for soon to be England (I’ve been singing his praises to anyone who will listen since Stoke away) centreback Campbell.
Denilson plays the holding role in Song’s absence, while the second coming of Zidane (even my girlfriend, when forced to watch the goal against Porto on youtube remarked “how does he score from there?!”) will deputise for Fabregas. Diaby will continue his development into a top class central midfielder, capable of both putting himself about as well as moments of genuine class too.
With Rosicky taking a knock I’d expect Theo get a start, with Bendtner and Arshavin continuing their promising partnership.
A lot of Gooners seem to be worrying about Hull cos they’re at home. Well, the home league table tells me their form at the KC is nothing to much to be concerning ourselves with, they’re eminently beatable by sides weaker than ourselves. That said, they have had some respectable recent results here, including a draw against Chelsea.
It’ll be a hostile game: the leg at the Emirates proved as much. Not that that worries me, present as I was to witness the mighty Arsenal shrug off a hostile (but vastly overrated) Britannia atmosphere and win away. Best away record in the league? Thank you very much! 1-3 to the Arsenal
Seems Sepp Blatter has blocked the idea of technological aid to referees, which is a shame (see Walter’s article on the subject in the new Untold index). He did, however, raise a valid reason why he did so: equality throughout all federations. Naturally, all FIFA confederations have to be playing from the same rulebook and while the costs of even the most basic goal-line technology is well within the reach of the richest leagues, it’s not an option for the poorer federations.
Naturally, this poses questions that need answering in regards to leagues. If we must have equality, could we not have technology for our domestic league, with each individual league deciding whether to use it or not? This would mean that the richest leagues surely decided to use it, and if the lower echelons on the football pyramid decided against it, they wouldn’t be disadvantaged. All the teams in the same league have the same technology, therefore we have our equality, no?
The issue, naturally, is the cups. Nowhere near every team in the FA Cup will have the technology, so it would have to be dispensed with, even if Liverpool host Havant and Waterlooville at Anfield, in the name of equality. The same issue would affect European competition: no doubt the top tier in most European leagues would use technology, but most likely the minnow leagues wouldn’t be able to afford it. So unfortunately, in the name of equality, every team would have to forgo the use of technology in European competition. To me, this seems the only way of getting around the rules and regulations Blatter cited. Some technology, at least, is better than none at all, surely?
How can we improve the human factor in football? People cite improved testing and the like, and I agree. However by far the most effective way of improving refereeing standards is so blindingly obvious it beggars belief only Oliver Kay in the Times thought to broach the subject. What nationality is every referee in the Premier League? English. What about Ligue 1 in France?: French. And the Macedonian league? You guessed it, Macedonian.
Considering the multicultural meritocracy that is the Premier League (and indeed, all top level football) why the bloody hell do we have regulations saying that referees have to be a domestic national? We could have the best referee in the world stuck in a European backwater earning a wage far, far below what his skills deserve because of where he is born.
Absolute madness. It’s the refereeing equivalent of telling Didier Drogba “sorry son, you can only play football in the Ivory Coast”. The best referees should referee the best leagues, improving the quality of game on display, as well as being fair : they deserve to test themselves at the top level and be paid according to their ability). Greater competition (as can be seen in any industry) will improve the quality of domestic referees too, which can only be a good thing.
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Back to Untold Arsenal index page
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour