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August 2021

Mr Wenger comments on refs in Europe

By Tony Attwood

One of the reasons why Untold has published pre-match referee commentaries has been to try and tell the refs that we are watching, and we know what they have done in the past.

What we do know from occasional incidents and comments made off the record by a few people in the know is that these commentaries are looked at and noted.

I don’t know if there is any link between what we do and the fact that Arsène Wenger knows of us, as he mentioned us (although not by name) in an interview he did with the Guardian, reflecting on the number of referee decisions that are wrong.  But it would be nice to think we’ve helped his analysis along a little.

This time he dedicated much of his press conference before the Bayern game to referees, but the idea was clearly the same.  Point out to the ref and to Uefa that we are watching the ref.

Actually Mr Wenger was incredibly mild in his commentary, leaving out some of the most awful refereeing decisions we have seen in Champs League games – one thinks particularly of the match in November 2010 against Braga in Portugal – but still, he raised the subject, which is great news.

Sadly, the newspapers reporting the story didn’t do their background homework to include the Braga penalty event and many other curious ref decisions against Arsenal, but then, they tend not to do any proper research.

Mr Wenger cited the dismissal of Szczesny in the first leg of this match, the sending off of Jens Lehmann in the 2006 final and the ludicrous sending off of van Persie against Barcelona in the second leg game in 2011 for kicking the ball away.

Speaking of the latter case Mr Wenger said, “It’s the only time that I’ve seen that since I watched European football when Van Persie was sent off. So I hope we will get a fair chance to play with 11 against 11 until the end.

“What you want is a good referee and I think the closer they are to the tough leagues, the more chances they have to detect the tricks that can decide a game.  But that’s the same for Bayern. Sometimes when you come from a league that is less pacey …

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“I don’t know the referee. Honestly, I never look before the game. I never have any preconceived ideas. Sometimes, when the referees have big experience, it helps them to get out of tricky situations. You do not want players to stay on the pitch who deserve to be sent off but you do not want the interest of the game to be killed for reasons that are a bit tricky.”

As for the game itself, the early news (and of course we’ll run a full preview later) is that Gibbs is out but the accordion aficionado Laurent Koscielny is ok.  Thomas Vermaelen will probably play at left back as Monreal is also injured.

Mr Wenger concluded, “One-nil to us makes the game or the result absolutely possible, so that is what we will try to do. We scored two goals in the last five minutes against Everton [on Saturday, in the FA Cup win] so we don’t have to be nervous. We can be patient. Bayern have confidence because they are doing well but we have a great opportunity to do it. I am absolutely confident that, mentally, we will be ready to play at our best.”

Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years

25 comments to Mr Wenger comments on refs in Europe

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do hope that the UEFA board see fit to ensure that this competition does not lose its allure by poor refereeing and unprofessionalism within their ranks .Fairplay and honesty always .

    I just received this in my e-mail and while I cannot vouch for its veracity,a fine tale nonetheless.

    When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, there was a professor, whose last name was Peters, who felt animosity for Gandhi, and because Gandhi never lowered his head towards him, their “arguments” were very common.

    One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor, in his arrogance, said, “Mr Gandhi: you do not understand… a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat “, to which Gandhi replies, “You do not worry professor, I’ll fly away “, and he went and sat at another table.

    Mr. Peters, green of rage, decides to take revenge on the next test, but Gandhi responds brilliantly to all questions. Then, Mr. Peters asked him the following question, “Mr Gandhi, if you are walking down the street and find a package, and within it there is a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money; which one will you take?”
    Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “the one with the money, of course”.
    Mr. Peters, smiling, said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom.
    “Each one takes what one doesn’t have”, responded Gandhi indifferently.

    Mr. Peters, already hysteric, writes on the exam sheet the word “idiot” and gives it to Gandhi. Gandhi takes the exam sheet and sits down. A few minutes later, Gandhi goes to the professor and says, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

  • Menace

    It is obvious that some clubs get away with cheating. Barca have been caught by the revenue for evading tax on a transfer. It is the tip of the iceberg. The decision to send RVP off in the match v Barca was rewarded with CEO of FIFA cheats. Our very own Riley who gifted Man U with the match, that would have given us 50 undefeated, is CEO of the PGMOL cheats.

    Wenger was punished by UEFA for being honest, not realising that dishonesty is rewarded. Schez was red carded when Robben came in with a high ‘studs first’ boot while his teammate blocked Kos from defending the pass. It is not the last time the cheats will decide matches – there is too much money at stake. Wenger has focused the media on referees and Platini will probably increase his interest in doctoring the result.

    It does not hurt to lose fairly but it does when you are robbed by cheats.

  • malaysian gunner

    Wenger has a point about the refs. The latter think they are indispensable and are god.They are after all human and can make errors. The problem with these these guys is sometimes they don’t see the errors of their ways.The Norwegian ref in the Chelsea Barca cl sf refused three stonewall penalties by the Blues.I don’t know why UEFA did not take disciplinary action against him for such blunders and underperformance.
    UEFA shd take tougher acion against eror prone refs and bar them rfom officiating for at least one season .Then we can see referring std improve and the games decided by the players not the match officials whose decisions can have abearing on th game.

  • bob

    Perhaps UEFA doesn’t give dancing lessons to their inexperienced refs, so this might teach them:
    a reminder of how The Dean’s inner child broke out into dance step when his favoured side scored against us:

  • bob

    sorry, the video cited above is at the bottom of the above link, or here directly on You Tube:

  • Who cares about the gad damn ref shit? Do you think that prick platini can let the Arsenal beat Bayern? Or are we dreaming that the ref can do the unthinkable and send off any bayern player? i know we will win but those shit holes will never let us progress.
    I think the FA (FUCKIN ASS….)will call the ref and tell him how much they will be losing if we win.
    As of blackfields gunners i swear im gona sue you for making me laugh with tears.You just rock me up, keep them coming.

  • AL

    Well put, Monsieur Wenger. The van persie incident is something we see in every game with nothing being done. Some of the players even continue running a few meters and shoot well after the whistle but nothing gets done about it. At the weekend we saw a penalty ordered to be retaken, with Giroud booked. Again, something that happens 99.9% of the times with nothing being done about it. One rule Arsenal, another for everyone else.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Regardless of whether it’s called or not (and it isn’t). A case can be made for a retake but I’m still not sure why Giroud got booked. I was not aware that encroachment was bookable. Did Giroud say something?

  • vacong

    no its ok Giroud’s not Rooney who swears at the ref continuously and gets a pat on the back? I am fed up of double standards!! who knows how many trophies we would have won by now!

  • vacong

    Thing is Wilshire gets hacked to death and Rooney Gerard get all the loving? whats that all aboot?

  • Pete


    Dean for the spuds. Sh*t. That’s spoilt my day. Let’s hope it doesn’t do likewise at the weekend. Winning some dosh by backing an Arsenal red card and/or Totts penalty won’t really be much compensation.

    Absolutely unreal.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    There was no penalty decision during the game at Braga. It was rather a misunderstanding between Sol Campbell who slightly nicked the ball back to Fabianski, and the goalkeeper handling the ball, not having spotted Sol’s touch. The free kick was justified, but what is not justified is:
    -An Arsenal player was heavily fouled as Arsenal were on the attack.
    -The Braga players punted a hopeful long ball towards the Arsenal surface, and got lucky.
    -The referee allowed play immediately, and he blocked the Arsenal defenders from coming back to defend.
    In summary, the referee gifted Braga a goal.

  • finsbury

    You can listen to Tom Watts and Nick Hornby talking about that Braga game on an old fans forum podcast on the Arsenal site.
    Like most people who saw that game (apart from FUFA) they concluded, on the record, that the official in that game was simply bogus. No fanfare, no trumpets. It was what it was.

    My feeling at the time was that in a world of Barca Bunglers if you are going to get skanked/hosed/taken for a ride in a game then it might as well be in a game against the petit Arsenalistas*. I think Braga had to pay for their ground refurbishments somehow! What better way then a run in the Europa league? If you can’t beat ’em…

    * I do try to ignore the other incidents, though the stamping at Stoke was hard to ignore. Except for the ref who was only standing a few yards from the incidents.

  • Gord

    Supposedly later today, there will be a football game that we are interested in. We are not all watching/listening/reading the same sources.

    For whatever source, keep track of how many times “Arsenal has gone X years without a trophy” is mentioned in any way. Predict in advance, what your source is, and how many. See who does best, and what source is worst. Is should that be, which source is wurst? Should be wurst?

    BBC Sport – 48 times

  • jambug


    As usual talkshite this morning suggesting Wenger should get a ‘ban’ for his comments.

    No change there then.

  • jambug,

    I’m shocked.

  • para

    Got a feeling we will win and go through Tuesday, unless for very deliberate and transparent shenanigans from the ref, just a feeling.
    Come on Arsenal, keep on track.

  • AL

    What!! That is outrageous. I always feel the media seem quite happy when we get shafted in Europe or get knocked out, in fact they are always on the side of whoever our opponents are; Fenebarche, Shaktar, Braga, Barcelona, ‘Get_in_Marseille’, etc. etc. This proves it(not that there was any doubt, but them confirming it is just a new low for them)

  • AL

    The way they downplayed our victory in Munich last year just shows how much they hate us. Bayern had not lost at home in Europe in years, and especially by that scoreline. The same Bayern that went on to put 7 past Barcelona home and away. Yet they wanted to make everyone believe that Bayern had one eye on the next round (and some of our ‘own fans’ even repeated it, calling the match a dead rubber(SMH)). But one just had to look at Bayern faces at the final whistle to know that it was miles away from being a dead rubber or that a distracted Bayern had turned up. All one could see was some mighty relieved players. Too tired to celebrate even. Should we win again tonight expect more bullshite along those lines.

  • AL

    Just wondering what the reaction would have been like had it been Wenger that head-butted that player.

  • Mick

    AL, jambug etc, contrast the mass media condemnation of Wenger and Arsenal when we were knocked out by lower league opposition last year compared to the almost unmentioned demise of Man City to Wigan last weekend. A quite extraordinary difference between the coverage of each of them.

  • Mick

    Has anyone noticed how the media almost affectionately refer to most other Premier League bosses as Big Sam, Jose, Davie, Tim, Brendan etc etc, but when it comes to our esteemed manager it is Wenger, usually said with a large degree of disdain. Or am I being over sensitive?

  • jambug


    Yep. Utter disgrace, but hardly a surprise !

    My contempt, no, hatred, for the media knows no bounds.

  • Va Cong

    It’s a farce it makes me sick

  • Gord

    It is 21:40 MDT, way in the morning for those in the UK. I just did a search on Google News for “referees”. The only hit related to Arsenal, is the Mirror saying Wenger’s press conference didn’t do any good as they lost. But the snippet of content, suggests that there is no reason to actually read the article, it is all BS.

    COYG, let’s kill the spuds!