Arsenal News

Live Arsenal News

Arsenal latest news

Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News


August 2021

Tonight in the Group of Death. Referee Kassai we are watching you and know what to expect

By Walter Broeckx (Additional material on the referee by Tony)

Tonight our referee will be Viktor Kassai.  And this is bad. Bad? NO, VERY BAD!  It was he who refused to give us a penalty for a foul on Vela when we played at Braga a few seasons ago when it was still 0-0. We then pressed on to score a goal and got caught on 2 counters. Needless to say the not given penalty changed the outcome as otherwise we wouldn’t have gone forward like we did after that.

He also was the ref in the Milan – Arsenal match that we lost 4-0. The one where the pitch was ploughed over before the match of you still remember. Milan scored an offside goal, got a penalty for a pull(correct) but he refused to give a penalty when Van Persie was pulled over in the penalty area minutes later. It was 4-0 at the time but that not given penalty cost us in the return. We won 3-0 at home (should have been 4-0 as the traitor missed in front of an open goal) and the away penalty would have given us the advantage. But Kassai decided otherwise.

I remember him as a ref who gave all the little fouls also in favour of Braga and Milan in those games. We are in for a big, big fight and not just against 11 Napoli players.

But it is not just Arsenal that gets rubbish refereeing from Kassai.  On 19 June 2012, in a group stage match of Euro 2012 between England and Ukraine’s  Marko Devic scored.   John Terry then kicked the ball away after it had crossed the line but Viktor Kassai did not allow the goal.   Worse, the attack began from an offside position – which Kassai and his men missed. 

It was this total cock-up that started the debate about why anyone bothered with the extra officials. 

So that’s the ref.  What about the outcome?

This was known as the Group of Death but as Bob Dylan said, “Things have changed” and the talk of group of death has been  silenced in the media. Has it something to do with the position Arsenal is in?

Let us start with that position:

Arsenal 5 4 0 1 8 3 5 12
Dortmund 5 3 0 2 9 5 4 9
Napoli 5 3 0 2 8 9 -1 9
Marseille 5 0 0 5 4 12 -8 0

 Now from this table we can deduct a few certainties:

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With

  1. Marseille is out of Europe.
  2. Arsenal not losing will see them come out top of the group. Not bad for a team that even wouldn’t make the group stage as the pundits predicted before we played the last qualifying round.
  3. When it all goes terribly wrong we would join our neighbours and start playing on Thursdays.

But it also shows that if Napoli beats Arsenal and Dortmund wins at Marseille the 3 teams will end up with 12 points. In all groups this would mean qualification but this is the group of death remember. I wonder if it ever has happened before in the CL? But it isn’t that far yet as both Arsenal and I hope Marseille will do their best to prevent such situation. But just in case….

Now if we all end up with 12 points then the results of every team against Marseille will be ignored and we get a new mini group of death table. Currently that looks like this (with one game to play)

Arsenal 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Dortmund 4 2 0 2 6 5 1 6
Napoli 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3

Now then things get complicated a bit more.

Remember this is only in case of Arsenal losing that we will have to start counting like this.

Imagine Dortmund winning and  Arsenal losing with 1 goal but scoring 3 or more goals (losing 4-3, or 5-4) then we still would be top of the group on goals for over Dortmund and goal differential over Napoli.

If Arsenal lose by 1 and Dortmund cannot win then Arsenal is top of the group also because of goal differential amongst teams in question (Napoli and Arsenal)

If Arsenal lose by 2 and Dortmund cannot win at Marseille then we still would be top of the group as we would beat Napoli on goals scored or away goals amongst the teams in question (Arsenal and Napoli)

In the event we were to lose by 3 or more and Dortmund cannot win then Napoli would be top of the table and we come second.

If we were to lose with 1-0, 2-1 and Dortmund win we would end second in the group on goals for amongst team in question.

If we were to  lose with 2 goals and Dortmund win we would end second based on goal differential amongst the teams in question.

If we were to lose 3-2 and Dortmund win we would end up second on the goal away rule (Dortmund scored 2 at the Emirates and we only one).

So if we lose we could still end up first and avoid some big teams in the next round.

But in some scenarios we could end up second and could face the big ones already. But I don’t know if those big ones will like to see us come and meet us of course.

The only way we could end up third is by losing with 3 goals or more and Dortmund winning their game. That would be the terribly wrong scenario.

But we have got it in our hands and all we have to do is to get a result at Napoli. Any result. A draw is enough. But we surely cannot  just sit back and defend for 90 minutes. I don’t think this would be the plan. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit more cautious tactics in Napoli from Arsenal. And probably now Arsenal would prove me wrong start the game with a blitzkrieg, score two goals and leave Napoli stunned.

Now either way if we end up with 3 teams with 12 points it will be very harsh for any of those teams to have to leave the CL. Just look at the other groups… and in fact all the teams so far have done a great job. Even those nine points is more than enough to qualify in all the other groups.

In a way I wouldn’t mind seeing Dortmund going out of the CL. As that would mean that we certainly will go further. Because let us not forget Marseille has a new manager since a few days and certainly they will feel some pride and don’t want to end up with zero points in their group? Allez Marseille! Droit au but!


Arsenal books for Christmas at discount prices

And it’s Arsenal’s birthday, and we’ve got a new review of how the club was formed:  11 December 1886: Arsenal’s first game


53 comments to Tonight in the Group of Death. Referee Kassai we are watching you and know what to expect

  • Mandy Dodd

    Unbelievable. Seems with arsenal, the same refs of a certain type seem to crop up time and team again

  • Sammy The Snake

    Marseille are manager-less, I think the sporting director will take care of the team till January. That can’t be good news. I think AW will put both Arteta, Ramsey & Flamini in the midfield, maybe even Monreal on the left, perhaps B52 at the front. He’ll want to be more defence minded, we only need a draw and it’ll be nice to conserve some energy for our next game in less than 60 hours (EPL planners really cocked on their scheduling).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Wenger has a dilemma, he could put out for what would be for him a relatively defensive formation, however Napoli have not been great lately and they do concede goals. But would certainly like to see Monreal for this. Maybe a Theo start? I always like seeing Flam, but worry such a player could play into the hands of a refs who has treated us like this guy has done. Still, an early goal and let Napoli, their fans and maybe this ref do their worst. As brilliant as he is, would identify Kos as a player who may need to be careful

  • ARSENAL 13


    I hope our away fans come back safe, happy and proud.

  • John

    Please excuse going slightly off-topic, but it is noticeable that media coverage of this week’s CL has been dominated by Man City’s amazing away win against Bayern, as first team to win there for 18 matches. I have not seen or heard a single reference to the identity of the last visiting team to win there.

    (possibly because that result doesn’t really count because Bayern weren’t trying too hard).

  • Damilare

    Thanks Walter and Tony for this ‘head-up’.

    Why can’t refs simply be what they are supposed to be instead of being clogs in the wheels of the beautiful game?

    Yeah Sammy, We need to conserve energy in readiness for Manshitty, but at that, I still fancy an Arsenal win.

    Happy Birthday to THE ARSENAL. What other way to celebrate than to get all the 3 point in Naples? 1 for the team, one for the club and we fans could do with 1.COYG!

  • colario

    “Arsene will field an attacking team like he always does.” George Graham BBC Radio 4 interview this am 11.12.13

    Asked about Arsene in general, George began his reply with “From what I hear…..”

    I guess he doesn’t have much contact with Arsene which I think is sad.

  • para

    The lads will play and qualify tonight, although Napoli will try their hardest to prevent that, but we have to play concentrated and keep our eyes on the ball. Silly Marsaille for not getting a point putting us in this position, but lets hope they have some pride and manage at least a draw or win tonight.
    Thought ManC was going to get thrashed last night after 22 mins it surely looked so, but Bayern lost it and Manc managed a win. So their confidence is high.
    Hope we also finish tonight with out confidence high.
    Shall be a little apprehensive tonight, with nerves until i see us mastering it.
    Come on gunners.

  • finsbury

    Hello Kassai, our old friend,
    He’s come to talk with us again,
    Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was watching the Braga game,
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains
    Within the sound of silence.

    Tbf I did not mind too much to see Braga going on a run to the Europa cup final after that shambles *coughs* even the writer of Fever Pitch and the (previous) presenter on the Arsenal podcast were happy to say on a broadcast that they thought that ref was a little bit willowy. Like many Arsenal fans I have a soft spot for the Arsenalistas and they probably needed the Wonga for some reason or the other, I think they were redeveloping their ground. Anything Arsenal could do to help!

    But tonight? I hope the Gunners show no mercy.

  • Tom

    Thanks for all the permutations . There are enough of them to make one’s head spin .
    Topping the group of death and getting a favorable draw in the next stage of CL supersedes getting a result at Etihad on Saturday, so look for Wenger to field the strongest squad possible and go for the win.

  • We can only fail to qualify if we lose by at least 3 goals, if this happens then I highly doubt we’ll be able to blame the ref. Personally I don’t think Napoli will be able to have the right mindset to take the game to us enough to get a large victory. I’m expecting us to go througha group winners

  • Gord

    It is half time in the youth champions league game. Napoli is leading 1-0.

    The above link only works if javascript is turned on.

  • Gord

    I was out clearing snow. It is now 2-1 to Napoli, Akpom had scored at 60 minutes. I forgot something for the above link.


    And later today, COYG!

  • Gord

    It is all over for the Young Gunners in Naples. They lost 2-1, but won their group. Final standings:

    Arsenal 6 2 3 1 12 7 +5 9
    Napoli 6 3 0 3 8 9 -1 9
    Dortmund 6 2 2 2 10 10 +0 8
    Marseille 6 2 1 3 10 14 -4 7


  • Ben

    what the???
    Did anyone see the ref give that nod to Napoli after he blew whistle for foul and free kick?

  • Matt Clarke

    I am watching this game, 30 minutes in…and you are, as usual, quite right about the ref.

    He is no good.
    So many fouls on the men in Red let go; throw-ins awarded the wrong way; throw-ins allowed to be taken 10, 15 yards upfield of the spot.


    Flamini is showing great spirit.
    Arteta is getting mauled.

    I’d love to be there, playing. I’d get the ball and fire it straight at the ref’s head – that’d sort it a bit.

  • AL

    Ben & Matt Clarke,
    I was saying same on the other thread, this ref has been awful so far. Flamini was stopped illegally by two players when he was charging into the box and got nothing.

  • Mandy Dodd

    This ref is trying to do us. Phantom free kicks giroud booked for nothing a nervy end of game

  • Louis

    I usually don’t comment.

    But this is one of the most biased refereeing I have ever seen. Arteta gets booked a second time for a one-of-a-dozen foul, the Napoli who scissors and kicks (albeit only air) gets nothing. I hope Arsenal hangs on…


    Walter you called right regarding the ref he could not wait to get the red card out got through though dispite

  • Mandy Dodd

    In a non corrupt game that ref would be investigated . Just like the weekend opponents foul with impunity we do any such thing and the cards come out. We fought a biased ref an intimidating crowd and a crap pitch the cheats of Napoli end up with nothing. Things did not go as planned but we live to fight again from the worst group I have seen and for that the team deserve huge credit. Sadly I would wager we live to fight again against the eventual winners. We need to stop finishing second but a bit of luck in a draw this season, any draw would be nice

  • Mandy Dodd

    What price Milner sent out for a bit of rotational fouling on sat?

  • John


    How prophetic your article!

    No foul given for Flamini at the edge of their box.

    2 outrageous yellows for Arteta and nothing at all given for a series of fouls on Giroud.

    Re the match itself, it was a solid defensive display until they scored. Perhaps we were saving energy for Man City, but it was disappointing to concede possession so easily in second half. Wojciech played well but his kicking was disappointing. Sagna is greatly missed.

  • Mandy Dodd

    we gave ball away too much in second half but very hard to play when a ref is waiting to do you. Maybe we should have got Monreal and perhaps theo in to occupy them more on Theo’s side and take pressure off jenks but all hindsight.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Don’t tell us we didn’t warn you about the ref. Mertens should have been sent off in the first half by the Arteta standard but as we know this ref he did what he always did… screw Arsenal when he gets the chance

  • Mandy Dodd

    No haters yet? A bit slow aren’t they or maybe just a bit upset we survived the group of death. As for this ref think it is ref 10 arsenal nil in the games I know about at least? I am sure we will see him again. Dortmund get very lucky

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sorry this ref 8 arsenal nil…….Milan braga and Napoli ?

  • Mahdain

    He did it again.. what an absolute shit twat of a ref.. our European Mike Dean

  • Mahdain

    Mertens and Behrami comitted millions of fouls and still stayed on while Arteta comitted only 2 and he was off.. Man i hate these shit referees

  • Mandy Dodd

    Earlier in the year after villa game tony lamented wenger maybe not presenting players with ref data from untold. Doing so may have helped them against Taylor. Is it really about time wenger used this valuable and increasingly accurate database?

  • AL

    Two very predictable red cards today, is there much point in taking part in these cups when they clearly have their own favoured sides.

  • Mahdain

    @Mandy agreed. These refs need stopping and players should know what they are up to before the game.. btw who did PGMOL send for saturday?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Don’t know sat ref yet mahdain but expect another rotational fouling sympathisrr

  • AL

    Football needs to be cleaned, and soon. You just have to look at how the FA have come out denying match fixing was a problem in England, but they know two weeks ago that players were deliberately picking up yellow cards or get sent off for money? No. Why not wait till the investigation is over before saying there isn’t a problem. What if another 10 or 20 players are implicated tomorrow, would they not look stupid.

    There’s very little doubt that the two red cards in naples and Marseille were related, and they were both designed to ensure Dortmund went through, and as group winners.

  • WalterBroeckx

    It is Atkinson for the third time this season for Saturday. Mind you we won both previous games but as he likes Chelsea very much would he want to see us win this match?

  • AL

    I don’t think there’s a lot players can do to stop a determined ref, unless if they just step aside and watch the play go by. Giroud’s card today was one of the most outrageous yellows I’ve seen. What wrong did he do.Absolutely nothing.

  • AL

    Meant did the FA know two weeks ago that players were deliberately picking up cards…

    Having Atkinson is as good as a loss for us, there’s no way he will want that 5 point gap to widen.

  • Mahdain

    @Walter there comes the need for more referees in the PL. Its criminal that we get a ref for the third time when the league hasnt even the half mark yet. I guess i would have been happy seeing him vs city as that means he wont ref the Chelsea match but as you put it will he allow us to win seeing as we might open a gap on his beloved team? Riley might as well just given him the Chelsea match because im sure he is sending Dean for that one

  • Mandy Dodd

    Al but surely you are wrong the authorities are seriously taking on match fixing by going great gusto for some foreign types in lower leagues spot fixing. That will stop the establishment authorities financiers refs players managers agents media and gangsters involved….surely….won’t it?

  • AL

    Mandy, they’re really working overtime to root corruption out, aren’t they 🙂 Soon our game will be as clean as dean or kassai’s whistle.

  • Al

    is there any chance to investigate this fuck of a ref?
    walter you’re a prof ref. can you call or write to someone in fifa uefa! !?!?!?!
    for how long this shit is going to happened to arsenal with almost 100% OF PREDICTION…

    this shit in black with fifa uefa badge screw arsenal again and go home as there nothing to talk about!!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Certainly will be clean after all it is only foreigners responsible for all bad things in our game and they are weeding out these dastardly types ! Sorry just read football is fixed again

  • Mandy Dodd

    Unfolds ref predictions are becoming amazing uncanny and potentially profitable

  • AL

    Agree Mandy, think the last five or six predictions have been eerily accurate. Perhaps it’s time I opened an account with one of the bookies and made myself a ton.

  • alex

    I wish Arteta could read this blog.

    I don’t have issue forr his first yellow but for the second one it was a joke.

    One could say Arteta should be a bit cautious but I don’t see what more he can do . Out of nothing the ref dashed the yellow card.

    If that Arteta tackle merit a yellow card immagine the coutless fouls on Giroud.

    On another note Giroud look knackered at the end of the hour . Hopefully will be ok for Saturday.

    Job done qualified and that is the main thing.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Arteta was sucker punched at a vital stage of the game not his fault. Had a feeling this ref would do someone after reading preview but kos and flam were my main concerns. Make no mistake this ref set out to do us and could have easily succeeded with tired legs in the second half of this game maybe did show some need a rest but still despite a bent ref yet another year in addition to the last 13 or is it 14 in the knockout stages, absolutely incredible when you consider those years. Well done wenger and the team. The question what has this club done to annoy so many in power? At home and abroad

  • AL

    Doing things the right way; not being open to paying over the odds for average players thereby denying agents, unscrupulous managers and other interested parties from taking hefty cuts from player sales, that’s our crime.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true and maybe Boro primorac and wenger role in taking down marseille and tapir seriously embarrassed Uefa ultimately as they maybe wanted that kept quiet

  • bjtgooner

    The ref really ruined this game as a fair contest. It is interesting that Dortmund also had a player sent off playing away at Napoli.

    However, we have qualified for the knock out stages from the so called group of death, no mean achievement. Lets give credit to the team and manager for that effort. Tonight the team put a lot of effort in and managed to get through to the next round against a ref inspired gang of thugs.

  • Nelson Wong

    Goit it spot on again which is something we really don’t like!!!

    May be Wenger should read your article and set up the squad and tactic accordingly.

    It is a bit unhappy to be playing some toughter opponents but thatz life. Besides, if Arsenal can’t be “big teams” they aren’t good enough anyway. To me, we should see it as normal while, on the other hand the team plays a “weak” team, they got a bit lucky.

  • rantetta

    Thanks, Walter and Untolders.

    It’s good for me to see your eyes are open, as always.

    I believe Atkinson hates Arsenal at least as much as he loves Chelsea. We’ve seen how Martin views assaults on Arsenal players, so it would be folly to think this’ll be a fair match. That said – Come on Gunners. You go to that horrible North West City with our backing and love.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And keep your eyes open for Atkinson in the City game as he can have a direct influence on our next match…against his favourite team…Chelsea. So a sending off of any Arsenal player might be on the cards one could say… But more on that later of course.