Arsenal / Palace; time wasting reaches new highs, or was it just me?

By Tony Attwood, fresh home from the game.

A 5.30pm kick off and Drew and I leave the ground as the match ends  – and I enter my home just after 10pm.   No stopping for a drink or chat on the way – its the walk from the ground to Archway for the underground, the tube to Finchley Central, Drew drives us up the M1 to Northampton Town’s ground where my car is parked, and I travel then home to near where Northants ends and Rutland starts.  Two and a half hours, and the AST and their little chum in the Telegraph think my season ticket ought to be taken away from me because I can’t manage this trek for every match.

They really have no idea; Drew and I spent much of the journey home trying to work out the logistics of how we were going to do  the next home game, and fit it in with work commitments.

But I’m home, and as yet haven’t seen any TV footage of the game – but just had a quick read of the Observer’s on line report.

And what struck me was that what I saw as a key element in the match doesn’t get a single mention in their report.

For me this game was dominated by time wasting – time wasting at a level that I can’t recall seeing before in the Premier League.

From the off the Palace keeper Speroni seemed inclined to take longer than need be on everything he did.  After 35 minutes when Palace scored, he redoubled his efforts – and ultimately took them to such levels that even Ramsey risked a card by standing by the referee counting out the seconds that were wasted, trying to suggest that the ref might consider some action.

But action was there none.

Speroni engaged in two illicit activities.  One, taking in inordinate amount of time to pick up the ball, place it on the place from which he wished to kick it, and then trotting away from it, considering his options, watching for passing flying saucers and whatever else it was that was upon his mind, before finally kicking the ball.

The other involved holding the ball for very long periods of time before he released it.

Both are offences – but both were ignored by Mr Moss.  The first is time wasting, the second breaks a specific rule which allows the keeper six seconds to get rid of the ball.

As Fifa said in October 1997 in a report “Goalkeepers are not above the law” “Time-wasting is one of the worst forms of unsporting behaviour, because it attempts to deny opponents a fair chance of using the full allotted time to use their skills to win the game” and they set out in detail why it should be stopped.

Mr Moss did not follow this Fifa instruction. In fact he found a very deliberate way around it.  For although he must have been aware of the time wasting by Speroni even before Ramsey sought to enlighten him, he avoided the issue by turning his back on Speroni when the keeper prepared to take a kick and instead of watching the unfolding offence he looked away and himself walked slowly up the field.  It was a disgraceful display.

As the crowd made a lot of noise, and eventually started to call out the seconds, Mr Moss kept up his walking routine, and when he eventually turned around simply waved at the keeper to get on with it.

Looking down from the upper North Bank, I did see a moment towards the end of the game where the ref, during a pause, went to Speroni and had a word. My guess is he finally said, “do that again and I will book you and give a free kick against you”.  But it was very late on in the game.

However seeing how their keeper got away with time wasting, the rest of the Palace team joined in.  Near the end we had the insane view of one of their players suddenly having a lie down for a while in their penalty area when the ball had gone out of play.  Eventually he got up and trotted up the pitch.

Every substitution of Palace took an age, with players almost crawling off the pitch and the new player taking extra moments to come on.  And Mr Moss did nothing.

Palace should have been stopped from the off, in my opinion.  The moment the keeper kept the ball for six seconds the ref should have been watching and should have put the whistle to his mouth in accordance with the Fifa directive of 1997.   That should have been the one warning the keeper needed.  After that it should have been a whistle, and a free kick on the spot where the ball was held.

Likewise time wasting should have been given one warning and then the keeper booked for repeated offences.

We have seen keepers booked in games – but invariably with a few minutes to go – which does no good at all.

So for me, Mr Moss should now be severely reprimanded by the FA for his ludicrous rejection of the Fifa directive and the rules of the game.   And several more Palace players should be in  the book.

PGMOL should also suspend Mr Moss until he has shown that he actually knows and understand the laws of the game.  But they won’t because they don’t have enough referees to cover all the matches in the Premier League.

But although the issue of time wasting certainly exercised many in the crowd – and most certainly all those around me, it clearly meant nothing to the Observer reporter who has just put up a review.

Worse, other clubs like Palace will have watched how Palace got away with this and how the referee deliberately encouraged them, by turning his back on each repeated offence.

Sadly we can forget rotational time wasting.  This season keeper time wasting is the name of the new game.

We won, but it shouldn’t be like this.

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55 Replies to “Arsenal / Palace; time wasting reaches new highs, or was it just me?”

  1. Glad you made it home safe Tony. Arsene Wenger has a section of his interview at devoted to this topic. I have not seen any medja outlet mention this in their reporting.

  2. There was one point at which one of their, apparently, injured players so show managed to drag his nearly dead body to a vertical position from the point at which he had given up the ghost. He then showed just how injured he was by taking an elliptical route from his erstwhile prone position inside the penalty area and just managed to cross the dead ball line to leave the pitch just by the half way line. Just about the longest route he could possibly have taken to leave the pitch short of doing a lap of honour.Clearly he must have been utterly disorientated. Or just taking advantage of a referee either complicit or utterly our of his depth.
    I expect no comment or action from the PGMOL. After all he voss only following orders…..

  3. Moss was very weak re time wasting – which Speroni started very early in the match. It progressed to what seemed to be every throw in & as ClockEndRider has noted, each substitution.

    The combined time wasting and the physicality of some of the Palace challenges would appear to left overs from the Pulis coaching manual.

    However, despite the Palace extensive gamesmanship and Moss’s weakness we achieved a good win & three points. Well done the team.

  4. I have seen plenty of yellow cards issued to goalkeepers for timewasting. But, as you said, hardly ever in the first half. Sometimes is so late in the second half, that the writing on the card that the ref does, seems like time-wasting in itself.

    But the really funny part for me is, that after a keeper receives a yellow for time-wasting, he practically keeps on doing the same thing. Basically saying to the ref: “Mine is bigger than yours.”

    If anyone has any footage of a keeper receiving a red card (second yellow) for time-wasting, please post the link here. I would really love to see it, as it would be totally new to me.

  5. Have to say I have just wasted 10 minutes reading this article, still I love it.

    Gutted about Eric dier scoring for them today. I wanted us to sign him but now he is one of them and we will probably never sign him. I honestly believe he will be a great player, just hope someone can steal him away, hopefully us.

  6. Even Sky was mentioning it about halfway through the game. Of coure they thought it was a great lark. I noticed that everytime there was a goal kick, Sky broke away to show a replay, however one could still see the clock ticking. By my estimates, each goal kick took in the range of 20-30 AFTER the goalkeeper had the ball.

  7. Thought the time wasting was ridiculous. What annoyed me most is that Palace almost grabbed an equaliser in extra time added for time wasting. the ref should have discretion in a match to end it if the team who did all the time wasting concede in the first part of time added on. He should have been allowed to blow the whistle as soon as Ramsey scored and ended the game.

  8. Hmmm, I agree with you over moss , but there are bigger fish to fry regarding refs, annoying as this is

  9. regular reader – 1st time commenter
    Love your articles, but this one made me really think.

    Like you, I too noticed an inordinate amount of time wasting by c.palace.

    I think an interesting concept that the papers haven’t covered is not the fact that it is cheating (as they will never report this concerning arsenal) – however that it slows the game down (more than technology to help / monitor refs would!!!), and also it ‘steals’ entertainment from people who have paid to watch the game.

    By this, I mean, I highly doubt anyone pays £30 + on Sky etc (monthly), or £50 + on match tickets to watch a grown man hold, stand above or slowly walk towards a ball – that is not entertainment!

    I would actually love to know just how many minutes are wasted in a game through these tactics, and match them up against the extra time given (i would actually really like a stop/start clock, like in basketball etc.. but anyhow…) I bet this game was around 10 minutes of time wasted – every goal kick was 25 – 35 seconds (I counted)

    To put this in perspective – 9 minutes of wasted time equals 10% of the match being lost – do we get a refund from these offending teams for this time and money wasted???

    Think it would be a great idea for the crowd to start counting out (really loudly) how long each goal kick takes – so that it actually becomes embarrassing that each goal kick is taking around 30 seconds … the ref couldnt hide from that for too long i bet (but then again… this is the PL and arsenal we are talking about…)

  10. We need to score early against these coached cheats, thus forcing them to come out and give us a game which then stops the time wasting.

  11. It’s kinda funny. After we won a hard fought victory against a good Crystal Palace side, the norwegian newspapers choose to focus on Moss and how he sprayed Cazorla, and not on Giroud, Debuchy and Ramsey for our winning goal…

  12. Justice served. We get the important 3 points. As mentioned by jayram, I was very anxious about the last few minutes during the added-time. We should be camping at the Palace half, instead of passing the ball in the centre or even closer to our half. Learnt from Henry and Co., move the ball to corner flags of the opponent, so that more time can be wasted. Remember how Bayern Munich lost the 1999 Champions League? They practically stopped playing, thinking that it would go to extra time; we practically stop playing after taking the lead, thinking that by stroking the ball around, we will “kill” the time off when in actual fact, there were still some 3-4 mins to go!

  13. In the commentary I heard there was no mention of time wasting.

    Hoever there was a new mantra said at least 10 times. It goes like this:
    ‘Arsenal haven’t won the league for ten years.’

    I watched the wet spam game and at one point in the second half we were informed:
    ‘With last years transfers settling in and a new manager and a new stadium in the offing spurs fans have a great future ahead of them.’

    No mention of now having won anything for xxx number of years.

  14. Its to a point of becoming annoying. I am staying up late to watch a game and I keep seeing yellow shirt players wondering around.

  15. Did anybody notice that Hangeland essentially wrestled Giroud to the ground, and no penalty was given?

  16. The time wasting was ridiculous, I think it started in the first 10 minutes and carried on right through to the dying minutes. I’ve read a few reports too and none of that is mentioned anywhere. Sky even labelled our win scruffy (even though palace were virtually camped in their own half both halves) and said Pumcheon was sent off with 10 minutes remaining(it was around 88 minutes when he was sent off).

    Moss’s performance was disappointing in this match. He was giving palace all the 50-50s, recall one where Chamakh just decided to lean into Alexis and got a free kick! And even though it’s early days we had two good penalty shouts which he ignored. The Chamakh handball was as clear a pen as you’ll ever see, but nothing doing. A few physical challenges from palace went unpunished too. The way he reffed that game felt as if we were the away team.

  17. Inferior teams will use any tactic to gain an advantage. Of course this can backfire. I recall Athletico Madrid time wasting in the CL final and that really backfired as Real equalized in added time. Refs should be aware of this tactic by now.

    Anyway how did we actually play?

  18. I made the same suggestion to Tony after the game as @Jayramfootball The ref adds time that has been wasted by the ‘defending’ team but then if and when the ‘attacking’ team score he should be able to say ‘time’s up’. The very first time that happens, time wasting ends because it will be shown to be counter-productive

  19. A cautious win, first game done. Well done lads.

    ALL teams do time waste, if they can get away with it, yes, even us the Arsenal does it too.
    Of course this does not mean it is good for the game, and I agree with Tony, it should be eradicated from the game. All these ambiguous rules should be removed, or should I say these “ambiguous” decisions of the refs should be made more absolute, no room for individual differences of each ref to taint the decision.

    Well at least the ball repositioning is now stopped due to the “magic” spray. Lets hope that one by one other measures are implemented to make the game as fair as it should be.

    The only area where i think it will be difficult, is when players deliberately kick or step on heels, shoulder barge a player when off balance and such practices, therefore ALL fouls whether deliberate or accidental must be punished, this way players will have to be more certain when tackling. This will also reduce injuries, and make the players come up with more skill full ways of passing or beating an opponent.

    This seems a good way to me, but what do I know? It would make football more enjoyable to me at least, where teams are winning because they are really the best.

  20. Should have said “make more players come up with…” as some of them already do thrill us with their inventiveness.

  21. I’m amazed over the surprise expressed over the antics of the Palace players.
    Pulis trained them for a year, remember, and it shows.

  22. Yes, plenty of time wasting which is frustrating for the team being “time wasted against”, and the six second rule is blatantly ignored by most keepers when it suits them, but it can be counter productive when the “wasters” get scored against and have no time to get back into the match. Remember Arsenal v Newcastle three seasons ( I think ) ago. RvP scoring late & telling Krull “time waste now”
    It’s an area that needs more attention by the FA, and a few small rule changes might make a big difference. For example at substitutions an outgoing player should leave the field of play at the nearest point thus avoiding the weary trudge across the whole pitch, and throw ins should have a time limit ( if they already don’t ) for completion.
    Even if there is no specific legislation for each individual time waste tactic you’d expect the referees to apply common sense and fairness wouldn’t you?

  23. I always like it when we win against a time-wasting team. It shows that they were wasting their own time afterall. I thought Chambers played very well, it was 16M well spent.

  24. Re: time wasting. Would additional rules help – well if there is a loophole in the existing rules then yes.

    But the present problem is that Moss, for whatever reason, did not do the job he is paid to do, that weakness would have to be addressed first.

  25. Bjtgooner
    That IS the problem; the rules are there but they’re not enforced. Or they’re enforced selectively. I did not watch the utd loss but heard there was some obvious bias from dean trying to assist van gaal get a win. Out of four minutes of added hear he added over six. With refs behaving like that, we don’t have much hope.

  26. The mantra of the press/pundits/commentators have changed. It used to be ‘9 years without a trophy’. Now its ’10 years since arsenal win the league’. Im guessing if we win the title this season it’ll change to ‘never won the UCL since its existence’. Its getting really annoying.

  27. Regarding jayarams idea of special powers to refs to stop the game against the team using the tactics.

    What’s the guarantee that it will be used properly when ARSENAL plays. After all simple straight forward rules are ignored when we play.

  28. @AL

    Quite right about Dean yesterday, he played injury time and then Fergie time.

    Fortunately the Swans were able to beat the Manures and dancing Dean!

  29. Added time can be a bit arbitrary. The fourth official announces a minimum amount to be added and the on field referee applies at his own discretion the actual amount of time he’ll allow. I noticed in the Man U v Swansea game yesterday that four minutes were signalled and during this period there was a further injury which could have been the reason for Dean adding slightly over an extra minute. I thought this was quite reasonable.
    We certainly benefitted in the famous 5-7 against Reading when Theo scored in the sixth minute of added time of normal time ( to take us into extra time ) after just four were originally signalled by the fourth official.
    I didn’t complain, did anybody here?

  30. I said there was “a further injury”, but it might not have been, but there was a definite stoppage which might have explained the extra time added to extra time

  31. The Reading game and the delays that lead to those added minutes can be observed on the .com Player.
    Any defenders of the official yesterday that all could observe to be tilting (hence the boos, the players counting out seconds etc. that kind of thing!), they can also use a stopwatch if they have trouble counting. HTH

  32. Oldgroover
    If you’re going to make a case it doesn’t help to say the ref added that time because of an injury, then oh no, it might have been one kind of stoppage or another. It severely weakens your argument if you are trying to justify added time you’re not even sure how it came about. As for me, I already stated I didn’t watch, but from comments made by non-Arsenal supporting colleagues, the message was clear dean had played fergie time

  33. Can’t forget Mr. Moss’s inability to use the vanishing spray. : )

    Safe to say it was not the most reassuring performance for the paying public from an official. How hard can it be to know the rules? When you are a referee.

  34. Thought so too finsbury. He looked unsure of himself, he almost had the mariner look/feel about him (when he wrongly sent off Gibbs), you know where it looks like the guy is following some instructions or something but making a mess of it.

  35. Can’t forget the hacking. Looked like Palace were the home team!
    Not very convincing for a professional referee.

    At best.

  36. Perhaps he was thinking it wasn’t a wise thing he had done to award Arsenal a free kick in a promising position…

    And Carzola’s look as he walked away (he didn’t just take a step back, but actually walked like 10 steps away!) was just priceless 🙂

  37. Arsene Wenger sounded excited about Calum Chambers in his post-match press conference. It was great to see him and Koscielny bumping chests after Koscielny scored our first goal. Team togetherness looks good and we will need it if this match is anything to go by – referee bias, time wasting, physical tactics, fouls on us ignored – the lot!

    As Arsene Wenger put it in his press conference – Speroni has made an art of time wasting, Crystal Palace has bought another tall player in Brede Hangeland and he scored the goal – veiled comments on the Pulis method.

    The question is, where will Pulis go now? If Gary Lineker’s interview with the Palace director on Match of the Day is anything to go by, there must be rumours. So it looks like we may have to deal with his anti-football somewhere else.

    The worst of it is, it is obvious that PGMOL refs approve of the Pulis method and support it. Not too good for fans who pay for entertainment when they go to a match.

  38. I imagine that most people go to watch a sporting spectacle would expect some gamesmanship. All fun and games.

    I also imagine that most people who pay to go and watch a match in some sport or other would to expect the paid official to know the rules! Certainly that was the wider consensus in the area of the clock end where I was sat.

  39. @Tony

    “the AST and their little chum in the Telegraph”. That made me laugh.

    I don’t wish to seem rude against Jon Moss but he did look out of condition for a Premier League referee.

    We did score in time added on so I guess there was some justice done but yes, the offence was continually ignored.

  40. Al
    For Gods sake, are we in a court of law or something. I did watch the match and there was a definite stoppage in added time, so I’ve checked the minute by minute facts on the Guardian and there was an injury to Sigurdsson right on the start of the added time, and If I was a petty person I’d say I’d strengthened my argument but as you know I’m not like that and wasn’t arguing in the first place was I?
    I’ll leave that to you & one or two others who are continually on my case.

  41. The bottom line is that Moss has never been a good referee. He is weak in every sense. That is why he turned a blind eye rather than having the spotlight drawn on him for actually having to make a decision.
    In the end we managed to overcome all the adversity despite our ring-rust. One would hope that Ivan has made a call to Mike Riley but the club is never proactive in these situations sadly (something Fergie was a master at)

    Still it stands: Arsenal 1 PGMOL 0

  42. Guudmon
    Agree Chamakh should have been carded twice at least. In my opinion his fouling was worse than Puncheon’s.

  43. Oldgroover
    This certainly isn’t a court case, but don’t you think that that you first said there was an injury, before correcting yourself, only to revert back to sorry it was an injury after a bit of research this from the press(hope you’re not going to change again – I don’t know the facts myself), might make people want to respond to your inaccuracies (esp where your comments come across as accusing those people of imagining unfounded injustices). I also will never make a statement that might ‘inadvertently’ defend the pgmob’s actions unless I was absolutely 200% certain of what I’m talking about. That’s all OG, look forward to some continued happy debating…. 🙂

  44. Al
    That’s right.
    I made the original statement (injury in added time) and as soon as I’d posted I wasn’t convinced so added the second “might not have been” (because I know how pedantic some people here are) which you took exception to, which I thought was rather petty & pointless to tell the truth. Anyway this challenge prompted me to check thoroughly and it was the injury to Sigurdsson, so I was right in the first place.
    My point really being that added time is very flexible.
    Anyway, glad we got that sorted.

  45. Moss’s performance was not disappointing. It was as expected from a PGMO cheat. The conversation with Speroni had nothing to do with time wasting. It was arranging post match reward from his wife. Media is as corrupt as PGMO so we will have to win despite the cheats.

    The fouling by Chamakh was despicable but pure Pulis.

    We were robbed of 30 minutes of football by an opposition supported by PGMO’s Moss, neither deserve to be in the English Premier league.

  46. I am starting to worry about Moss….you should see what footballisfixed has been saying about him for quite a while……

  47. Speroni started time wasting on the 2.03 mark, up to the point where Ramsey scored. I wished I could go on to the pitch by then and say “Waste time now, you Blackbeard!”

  48. Time wasting has been a big problem for a long time.
    I remember being at a game against Sunderland about 4 years ago. They started time wasting early in the first half. They then went 1-0 down and I expected them to speed up but they DIDN’T ! They carried on playing on the break with the keeper taking all the time in the world. Only in the last 10 minutes did they cut down the time wasting. I a convinced that they were playing on the nerve of the Arsenal players and the crowd. I think they were only ever looking to score 1 goal, whether this gave them a win or a draw was irrellevant to them.

  49. The answer to this all…..score fist, we will soon have the players fit and available to do just that in most games

  50. For me, the worst I remember, worse than this even, was back in 2007 against Wigan – Henry vs. Kirkland. They’d started within the first few minutes…well before anyone had scored.

    I couldn’t believe the backlash Arsenal and Henry took after that. What Henry did was not the most professional thing, but somehow playing with your dick for 90 minutes instead of playing the game was alright?

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