Why are Arsenal such a dirty team, and Has the curtain on refereeing been pulled back a little?

Normally no newspaper gets very involved in refereeing issues.   A while back when Walter published a series on video refereeing and commented that the FA and PL remain silent on the issue while other countries are pushing forwards, the Telegraph immediately responded by running a press release by Professional Game Match Officials (the body that runs refereeing with the PL) saying that actually they were doing a lot.

It was nonsense of course, but the Telegraph obliged.

Now I am sure it is a coincidence once again but now just a short while after I noted how  the papers did occasionally criticise both referees and the TV portrayal of football) the Guardian has looked very closely at PGMO, I think for the first time.  In the article “Why are referees silenced?” they note that only two prominent ex-refs have waived the £50,000 bribe that PGMO gives referees on retirement for never talking to the media.

The article speaks of Graham Poll’s run in with Mike Riley (head of PGMO or PGMF – Professional Game Match Fixers, as I have been calling them of late) and the difficulty he had of getting his autobiography published.  He self-published in the end.

The article contains some interesting lines such as “In no other league in the world does the league govern the referees’ representative body,” saying this leads to “a cesspit of political paranoia.”

Now the book has been available for a while but it is interesting that the Guardian covers it now.

The article doesn’t go into the sort of detail that has concerned Untold Arsenal, such as the tiny number of refs that leads to the same ref covering the same team time and time again, the lack of regional balance, and the sort of analyses that we are running which actually shows some PGMF referees getting under 50% accuracy marks – less than one one get if decisions were handed out at random.

Instead as the book says, “The Premier League has a controlling influence over the PGMOL, which discourages anybody from saying anything.”

His remedy is bringing in referees from Europe where there is “less resistance to the notion of referees communicating with the media,” and notices that Scottish referees are considering a more open approach.

Unfortunately this is more or less where the insightfulness of the article stops, going on instead to deal with non-contraversial matters, talking about famous referees and how much they are paid.

That is a shame, but it is a tiny, tiny breakthrough.  A recognition of the utter disconnect between the way the media portrays football and the way the people who pay for football see football.

A tiny step – but an important one.


  • 6 March 2004: Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 5 (FA Cup round 6).  Henry and Ljunberg got two each and Toure the other all within the first hour.  Sherringham scored for Portsmouth in the final minute.
  • 6 March 2012.  Arsenal 3 Milan 0.  Arsenal had lost the away leg 4-0, but with the crowd at its noisiest Arsenal rallied and almost forced extra time  Park chu Young made a rare appearance as a sub.

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62 Replies to “Why are Arsenal such a dirty team, and Has the curtain on refereeing been pulled back a little?”

  1. I saw the article you have referred to and was surprised at its content.

    It would be good I think to go to the many so called ‘Arsenal supporters sites’ and post a link to this article on them.

    This article is objective and is published independent of any club.

    May be, by providing the link, the message might get through that it is the PGMOL officials, (that is the four refs) that should be at the receiving end of their vitriol and in blogs the PMGOL and not as now the players.

  2. How the debate has not opened after yesterdays NLD is very mysterious. Such blatantly wrong decisions would be enough for the media to hang, draw and quarter inc any other walk of life. Something has to change and I might suggest that it is the number of testicles that the media possess. Such easy copy to write but no bottle. I hope the ideas of Untold can gain momentum and we can open the pigmf can of worms

  3. Just one minor thing Tony, I am sure you meant Mark Halsey struggling with publishing the book instead of Poll. And also, not taking anything away from serge, but I think you missed Walter posting that link here two days ago 🙂 Of course I know it was Serge’s post that brought your attention to the article but just felt I also need to give credit to Walter for initially picking it up.

    I fully agree that while it only scratches the surface its an important little step in moving towards uncovering the anomalies in the officiating that we get. Just as important as the other article that said if refs were doing their job Arsenal would be top IMO. The way the masses take what they read in the press as gospel makes these two articles even more important. It is an interesting article, not as detailed as pieces i have read here but it gives a bit of background on Ridley, the publisher of the book and I wasn’t even aware Webb had left his technical role at pgmol to join BT.

    With regards to their lop-sided headlines, I just thought let me search for the name Michael Oliver in Google this morning to see how much they’re making of his failure to send Dier off. Only the Metro mentions it. While the likes of the mail/mirror had headlines such as ‘Arsenal always choke…’ ‘Twitter fans troll Coquelin..’,etc. If ever there was any team that could be accused of choking yesterday it’d firmly be spurs. How anyone can describe ten men drawing a match from being 2-1 down as choking I’ll never know. But then again like you say the media reporting is detached from reality. Had Dier been an Arsenal player this would be the main headline all over the papers and TV, and Oliver would be facing a spell on the sidelines. As it is there’s more headlines on Coq, how they still want to put entire focus on him when he received his just punishment is another sign of their obsession with casting Arsenal in negative light.

  4. Some of the UK’s national dailies regularly pay £50000+ for good kiss’n’tell or whistleblower stories, so it’s not difficult to imagine a soon to retire referee opting out of his gagging deal with PGMO for a more lucrative one with a tabloid or even the BBC.
    That it hasn’t already happened makes me wonder if there’s anything worth telling. I’ve not read Halsey’s book, but I doubt if there’s any suggestions of corruption by his past employer or it would have made the headlines. Webb could’ve/should’ve (being a cop), but nothing coming from him either, unless of course he was involved in anything that might compromise him.
    At the end of the day I suppose the prospect of self incrimination is the deterent, but one day someone like Clattenburg breaking ranks could be very interesting.

  5. I am surprised no one has got in contact with you in reference to the recent conduct of Mike Dean at the FA cup game v Hull City. During the warm up before the game he and his assistants were warming up he was at the receiving end of some abuse. Though I don’t condone this, he should be used to it especially after his performances. But to my surprise he raised a two finger salute to the crowd.

    I wrote to the FA and the premier league about this behaviour as if it was a player he would be fined and banned. So far I have heard nothing.

  6. What more could be expected from a Torie paper, facts don’t matter to their base it’s all about make believe.

    PROPAGANDA 101!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. You know how teachers often get abused for being rude and annoying, right? Well that is the norm in most countries except the ones that are most advanced in education like Finland or Estonia. In those countries teachers are valued and respected for the service they provide. That’s why teachers are more motivated to do a better job and try their best to majnataim a healthy reputation. Similarly if referees were given more respected and encouraged to give better, more fair decisions on the pitch,I domt think we would be seeing much of what we had been seeing all this time. And for that, the referees should be owmed by the governing body, not some public limited company. God knows best, and you guys know better than me, but I just wanted to give my thoughts on this.

  8. I was surprised and pleased to see that in the Guardian. Won’t get hopes up that it is indicative of any change in mood, etc, but it was something.

    As for our sending off, like Wenger i don’t contest it, but it’s definitely another for the category of ‘wouldn’t have occurred with honest players’. Kane was barely, if at all, impeded by Coquelin’s legs and could have ran on naturally and easily. He had to do the old, unnatural ‘make like a plank, foot dragging combo’ to capitalise on the gift.

    A shame, but you can’t expect otherwise from football now. Couldn’t help comparing it with Bellerin from midweek when he had to use all his athleticism to vault at speed over a rash, undoubtedly bookable challenge on the edge of the box. Pushed me to the limits that one in thinking are we taking honesty too far.

    Anyone surprised Shearer stayed mute on Motd over the Dier incident?

    Also think we would take flak for a week or so if one of ours pulled that Lamela shit. Actually, the Danny Mills’ of the world would probably be referring to it for years as evidence of what we’re like

  9. @AI – and I will take the credit for informing Walter about the article. 😛

    @Tony – Spuds had been leading the league in terms of foul committed for quite a while when Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson saw it as a sign of improvement from being taken too nice to be taken seriously (article from 18th February). There are obviously double standards when it comes to media treatment of Arsenal and Spuds.

    For instance, Spuds have failed to beat either Arsenal or Leicester in the league this season. In fact, they have failed to hold onto their lead against both teams in THREE occasions. So much for energy and mental stability they’ve been praised for. If the age is the excuse of the day, I would like to see how media had reported about Arsenal 2007-08 when we failed to hold onto our lead at both Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford which effectively meant we ended up third instead of winning the league.

    Furthermore, Arsenal have played both matches against Spuds without number of players. Petr Čech and Laurent Koscielny didn’t play yesterday but thanks to brilliant Ospina we didn’t lose the game because of that. Coquelin’s partner in the midfield was a player without a single league start. In the reverse fixture Ramsey (a goal) and Bellerin (two assists) didn’t play due to injuries with our right-wing options decimated before the game. Santi Cazorla felt dizzy before the game but played 45 minutes anyway. The media were kissing Dembele’s ass for dominating a person who was ill after the game without mentioning that a fringe player like Flamini nullified Dembele’s domination in the second half (or, to put it this way: Spuds played 80 minutes of NLDs this season against ten men and failed to record a single victory).

  10. The fact, that there USED to be some really good, honest, competent referees, (Oliver, Pawson, and Clattenburg) who are now either totally incompetent or bent, suggests that the PGMOL should be independent. Not in it’s current format of course – for a start, referees should be more transparent and accountable for their actions. The referee communication system should be broadcast (as in Super League Rugby). In fact, I’d much rather listen to that than the droning on of uneducated TV “pundits” and commentators. (Might even stop my practice of watching TV pictures but listening to music instead of commentary).

    One other thing that needs addressing, is the physical fitness of referees. Dean, Mason and especially Moss, are just not up to it, in fact they make a laughing stock of the FIFA guidelines on the physical fitness of referees.

  11. dan, you are aware that the article here starts by pointing out some of the worst journalism by the guardian which definately isn’t a tory paper.
    The ‘bottom of the barrel’ quality of football hacks has nothing to do with a newspapers politics. They’re all just really poor journalists.

  12. The express are reporting Wenger will be asked to leave this summer should we go out the Hull…….and be replaced By a manager of vast experience………erm….Patrick Vieira!

    Desperate, desperate UK media.
    There is more chance of Donald Trump being appointed Arsenal this summer than this little scenario someone has dreamed up

    After yesterday, we could still be a threat to the title……and we know what that means, more bent refereeing….home and away. Have to credit the refs…..how they can just switch seamlessly from their performances against us…..to their performances for the Spuds or Leicester
    If Arsenal were actually a dirty team, we would finish most games with about five players on the pitch

  13. Sorry mis-typed… Ignore my the start of my comment, but the 2nd part stands.

  14. If only football referees were subjected to independent review, transparency and accountable for their decisions. Scratched my head a few times on that one. Rugby referees use technology and publicly announce their decisions and reasoning. Simples..as the meerkat said. The fans are treated with respect and it adds to the occasion. Football has arguments, conspiracy theories, player cheating, manager cheating, diving, professional fouls, conjecture, crap reporting etc. Not just the enjoyment of the game that rugby enjoys. Its like the intelligence lies with Rugby and the morose with the footballing public. I am sure that is not true but it can seem so. All the technology is in place with the main football leagues. Howard Webb reviewed the decisions yesterday and clearly stated Dier was a second yellow and should have been sent off. The panel agreed..we all agreed. The only person who did not was the referee ..most important under the current system…How can that be right when rugby gets it right?? The only conclusion is poor refereeing decisions creates an interest for discussion but its detracting from the game.

  15. I believe someone pointed out that Dier would have got a 2 game ban had he been subject to a second yellow card, one wonders if there was an alterior motive in the PGMO end game plan.

  16. Not too much notice should be taken of most of the sporting utterances of the “coffee table” Daily Telegraph, most of which newspaper is never actually read by those who buy it. Cricket reports apart, this
    establishment organ has little to offer most sport, particularly the world of association football.

  17. Josif
    A good link and a very promising development. The following paragraph from the article caught my eye….

    ‘In addition to the video technology trials, the IFAB has also decided to end the ‘triple punishment rule’.
    It means in instances in which the referee feels defenders have made a legitimate attempt to make a tackle inside the penalty area, they will not be sent off if they commit a foul. A penalty and, possible goal against their team, is deemed sufficient punishment.’

    I imagine a supplementary clause will be added to this stating….

    Unless of course said foul is committed by an Arsenal player in which case the “legitimate attempt to make a tackle” part will be ignored and the player sent off regardless.

  18. Josif
    Hahaha 🙂
    Actually, it might have been you who posted the link, can’t remember who exactly now but just recall reading it two days ago and Walter was in the midst of the convo on the day 🙂

    Yes, he would have missed two games as he is on 9 yellows. Just goes to show that perhaps some of these officials go into these matches having done their homework, thoroughly, on what sort of outcome they would like.

  19. Guys surprisingly one bright performance from the players and the AAAs have disappeared altogether.

  20. Rosicky
    Some of our ‘fans’ were more gutted with our equaliser than the spuds yesterday….

  21. Will video technology be introduced once Mr Wenger has departed, or will it be introduced with him still standing, his finger pointing?

    Surely time for a DVD collection – ‘Great Video Moments: The Glories Of The PGMO’ – with a voiceover.

    My own personal belief is that the PGMO gets away with it because the football fan has to be presented as a thick f#cker. Unscrupulous, bent, refereeing adds to the atmosphere, makes for better TV, more theatre, so it is thought.

    The audiences at Wimbledon, Twickenham, Lords, would not stand for such nonsense. How can you have a proper sporting contest when the match officials make decisions which fix the result of the game? That’s an utter nonsense.

    Imagine Federer at his finest getting overruled by a tennis equivalent of Dean and losing the title? You cannot.

    Rugby League is an eye-opener to attend because video technology has been used for years. The fans are treated with respect. Why isn’t the football fan deemed worthy of respect?

    To be able to watch a sporting contest in the guaranteed security that the result of the contest will be decided by the better team?

    One final point – in this last week in England a group of doctors have called for tackling to be removed from school rugby. They deem it too dangerous. With some luck we might be inching towards an idea of why we create sport.

  22. Al,

    I suspect Josif mailed Walter privately about this. I had seen Walter’s mentioning of it, and a little later in the thread I thanked Walter for the link. I think it was good that Serge gave another pointer to the article.

    A problem with that dirtyness chart, is it is based on bad data. There are times where Arsenal players have been subject to fouls, cards or discipline that report as points in that table, that should not have been issued.

    How much we “got away with” could be estimated from Walter’s reports (a report can be objective even if it comes from a source that is associated with a team), but that would not be of much help in estimating how much other teams got away with.

  23. Most if not all Western media have some kind political motivation, misleading the masses into believing an illegal war (intervention in Iraq), hiding the crimes of the establishment. Therefore it must also interfere within the sports sections, who controls this, do some of the club’s members/board have contacts in these outlets? Assuming the journo’s (internet repeater) aren’t fans.

  24. So the spudz DVD must be in works with the possibility of finishing ahead of us!

  25. Is it possible for fans to bring a legal action against the PGMO for manipulation of the results. It was clear to all that Dean was manipulating the game for Chelsea against Arsenal. I think a long list of clear official attempts to manipulate results can be made in a court of law and records of the PGMO demanded to be made public through this kind of legal action. If a petion against Dean can reach 100,000 I am sure that we can get 100,000 fans behind this kind of legal action.

  26. Benteke with a dive in the last few seconds. He said ‘I think he touched me’ in his interview…

    Not sure if it’s just coincidence or what but every match I decide to watch in the pl will have some kind of refereeing controversy.

  27. How lucky was Liverpool? Penalty with a few seconds to go, got to feel for Crystal Palace, they had 11 vs 10 and lost at end. Now will the media call it choking? Or it’s only applicable to Arsenal?

  28. So now refs will decide if someone tried to win the ball in order to send them off, what could possibly go wrong there as giving them license to pick and choose when to referee fairly has worked well so far…

  29. I think we should compile a video of the wrongs of referees against us and put the effect of it after each game (how many points lost) and then show the total number pf points lost/gained at the end of the video, concluding : Arsenal are not allowed to win the title, again…. the league is fixed.

    Post it on YouTube, twitter, facebook, create an easy hashtag… get some help from other blogs….

  30. Al,

    … and each one seems a little bit more deliberate than previously seen.

    There was daylight between Benteke and Delaney, so it WAS a DIVE.

    The way this is going, there soon won’t be a football industry in England as supporters will only put up with this for so long.

  31. Benteke dive was blatant. Ref and assistant must be shown the replay and asked to explain, before being demoted. If they are not bent, they must be totally incompetent.

    More evidence that refs and EPL are fixing things in favour of Liverpool etc.

    Will be interesting to see whether journalists ignore it as they would if it were against Arsenal

  32. Collymore to his credit has laid into Benteke on Talksport.
    Jason Cundy on the other hand denies it is cheating and has praised his cleverness to ‘earn’ the penalty, and says all players would do the same, its just part of the game. What a nasty pratt he is.

  33. Tony
    Refereeing question for Walter please
    Having seen the Le Coq “incident” and his “silly tackle” in slow motion,Kane saw this coming a mile away. As Le Coq slide tackled Kane, Kanes Left leg was above and clearing Le Coq, Kane THEN brought his left leg BACK and DOWN
    It was Kanes left leg which made contact with Le Coq, not the other way around, his right leg did not touch Le Coq
    In other words, Kane engineered the “foul”, if he had not brought his leg BACK and DOWN no contact would have been made
    As Oliver did not see this, is a retrospective charge possible ?
    Yeah, I know hell might freeze over

  34. The media in all its forms is a disgrace – they slant/distort almost all news – not just sport! At times one could almost think that we are fed censored “news”.

    The table above shows clearly that Arsenal are the cleanest team in the league, and assuming the figures are based on the official count of cards issued, the reality is much more in our favour – in every match we see our players being heavily penalised while our opponents foul with relative impunity.

    To return to Mr Burt’s article – obviously not one based on fact – but as noted above the media don’t base their articles on fact – only on sensationalism – all designed to separate us from our money.

  35. I know this link has been posted before, but just been reading it, so forgive me for posting it again


    Taking this at face value…to summarise, .Since Webb has been selecting refs…..and reviewing them on BT sport, Leicester have been given ten penalties, and have been on the receiving end of a single penalty.
    Red cards, since Webb, four to one in their favour.
    Only a few of the refs have recently officiated in Leicester games, Dean and Taylor crop up yet again in getting multiple games involving Leicester getting favourable results, as does Moss.
    Apparently, Leicester also have less possession and completed passes than anyone else.
    The question is, how are they about to win the league, why are they getting so much help…..and why has nobody looked into this?

  36. Mandy
    I do believe you are asking an ulterior motive question, naughty you !
    Funny how the same Ref. names seem to keep coming up aint it ?
    As you`re asking a pertinent question, I would be prepared to bet you`ll get no “real” answer

    bjtgooner, I would entirely agree with you that we are fed “censored news”
    One of the few things I would agree with The Trump is that we get the news that the establishment want us to get
    Hate to agree with Trump, but think he has a point even though he scares me

  37. Mandy
    Noone will ask those questions. If you do you’ll be laughed out of town, like what happened with Rafa when he tried to present some ‘facts’.

    The media, as BJT pointed out, are at the root of the problem. Is it coincidence that the side that usually wins the title will have also a significant amount of penalities that season? Utd got a high number when they won their last title (recall van purse scoring a high number of penalties in the last 5 or 6 matches of their title-winning season – more than he’d scored in his entire life with us I think). Liverpool were awarded a ridiculous amount of penalties too the year they almost won the title. This year it’s Leicester’s turn. I might be wrong but of the league winners, apart from us, I’d like to think only City have done it with the least amount of help (of course they had their billions to offset that).

  38. Is anyone else also having issues posting? I tried to post a comment 5 or 6 times but it’s not appearing, even got the ‘seems you’ve already said that..’ error message.

  39. A much better performance in the second half. I didn’t think we’d take anything from the game but credit where it’s due for salvaging the draw.

  40. Al and Terry, sadly I think you are right.
    Guess to even ask such things, you would need pretty strong proof….or you could be in all ki fads of trouble if you were to ask with any authority.
    Don’t think it is yet a given Leicester will win, but it appears they have been given every assistance. Watford could have easily had a penalty yesterday.
    I also find Leicester’s lack of injuries….and in rare events where players are injured, their recovery times a bit suspicious…..at least when compared to players at Arsenal, City or Utd these days.
    Not saying Leicester don’t have good players, they do…..but ten penalties for and one against…..haven’t checked these stats, but if true….someone should be asking questions. As pointed out, this is similar to when they tried to give Liverpool the league, only to be foiled by Gerrards slip and Rogers naivety.
    But, it seems the UK media don’t ask many questions these days, unless they are of our manager.

  41. And a Liverpool player has blatantly dived to get a penalty.
    Oh My Days! That’s never happened before…ever…at The club of Shankley and Paisley.
    Legends like Gerrard and Owen would never lower themselves.
    Will look forward to the media outrage, the pundits will surely laying into this player, guardians of the true British game which detests such things Souness, Hansen, Murphy, Macca, Lawrenson, Thompson , Colleymore,Jamie Redknapp will be in a heightened state of righteous indignation, mark my words, thiswill be remembered and cited for years ,as with the Pires Portsmouth event.
    The authorities may even demand retrospective action as they did with Eduardo.
    It will all kick off. A Liverpool player dived….

  42. Mandy, I wonder if someone with deep pockets and contacts in the right places amongst the corrupt, put a major bet on Leicester at the beginning of the season? Perhaps better not to answer!

    You made a good point about the fitness and lack of injuries in the Leicester team – especially given the extraordinary running they do all match and a numerically small squad. All very strange – could be nothing in it, but it makes me wonder & I know someone in the fitness business is also surprised at their apparent stamina.

    Re the Dippers – could it be that Benteke modelled himself on certain aspects of Gerrard’s game…..? 🙂

  43. Wouldn’t be at all surprised BJT, also gives the impression the league can be won by non oilers……

  44. The only thing suspicious about Leicester is all that referees’ decisions going their way.

    There is a simple explanation for their non-injury season:

    1) they don’t get fouled recklessly and when they do, opponents get punished,

    2) they don’t have highly incompetent medical staff as the one we have – compare Vardy’s quick recovery after injury around festive period or Kante’s recent injury with Welbeck’s, Wilshere’s, Rosicky’s and others’ “set-backs”,

    3) their style of play – they don’t have the ball possession, they use direct passing to reach the final third which reduces the risk of getting tackled by Shawcrosses of this world, and

    4) they don’t play European football and were out of both cups relatively early – less games, less opportunity to get injured.

    Arsene should make an internal investigation about numerous set-backs and after Welbeck’s minor injury that turned out to be a 10-month absence, someone should have been fired.

  45. Interesting points certainly agree on possession, relative lack of other tournaments….and internationals .
    Harsh on our medics, not my field, but if you are correct, I am beyond amazed nothing has been done, that would be costing the club a serious amount of money. In down time.
    Again, I don’t know, but would be amazed if we don’t contract out to world ranked specialists? The only thing that has worried me a bit has been seeing the likes of Ox and Caz staying on the pitch clearly in pain, with ultimately pretty serious consequences, and in the Ox case, after a nasty collision…..but again, my lack of sports medicine knowledge makes it hard to comment further.
    Maybe Leicester are just lucky……but they certainly are protected,especially compared to our players.
    Of that FIF article is correct in his conclusions, in fact, they are beyond protected.

  46. Gunz, I don’t know who is behind FIF, it may all be a big hoax, or the work of a fantasist, but some of their conclusions are remarkably similar to those of people on UA.
    Some of the names of refs under some level of suspicion are as well.
    But whoever he , she or they are, if they care as much for the game as they say, I would love to see them use what they claim to have, and blow this whole thing wide open.
    They claim to make money by advising clubs or persons on dealing with or combatting the corrupt, no reason to doubt their claims. FIF are quite scathing about Arsenal, saying they are myopic over this corruption….maybe they have a point, have often wondered why the club appear to do nothing.
    They could make themselves heroes of the fans worldwide, they could probably make a shed load of money as well by exposing this, they claim to be in danger…easy to say, but if they are what they claim to be,just wish they would just go ahead and do it!

  47. Josif, I agree with all your points on Leicester except the one about injuries. Why would a club like Arsenal have incompetent medical staff? The club can afford the best and no doubt pays for it. I still feel the constant unpunished fouling against us is the major problem.

    The other thing is, and I can see some people hinting at it, Arsene Wenger has said he would never send a player out with an injection to cover an injury. He values his players’ health too much for that. It is also clear he is against any use of performance enhancing drugs. Nobody knows what may go on elsewhere.

  48. Pat,,agree, you would expect Arsenal to be on top of such things, as much as anyone can be.
    Who knows what others are taking, we know that Wenger mentioned PEDs, and soon after, his training was interrupted by what was reportedly an unprecedented in this league 11 WADA inspectors demanding tests. I think the message there was clear, keep out of it Arsene
    But half truths lead to conspiracy theories and many other things. Arsenal are very vague on reports of injuries, as Josif says, Welbeck is an interesting example, what was the injury, why was surgery iniated at a relatively late stage….and why were the extents of his and Jacks outages revealed just after the transfer window shutting. And, why is it always Jack will be ready to train in another three to four weeks…..after a hairline fracture sustained in Aug?
    I am not suggesting The club are doing anything wrong, or that there is incompetence being covered up, but the lack of information….or vague information, or recovery times that are not met time and time again with certain players…perhaps for very good reasons could easily lead one to suspect such things.
    But yes, ultimately, our players get the crap kicked out of them and ref regularly do nothing about it.

  49. Josif, I don’t think it should be assumed that our medical staff are incompetent – if you have further information to that effect please share it.

    My take is that Arsenal do everything by the book – something which upsets some of those in authority as they cannot find anything to stick on Arsenal.

    But the return of players, belonging to some other clubs, from injury after a period inconsistent with natural healing would certainly arouse some suspicion.

    Yes, Leicester do not have to play quite as many games as Arsenal, but with their smaller squad they cannot rotate as much & with fewer injuries they don’t have to make compulsory changes. So their ability to keep their squad fit and relatively injury free is quite remarkable, esp given the amount of running per match.

  50. @bjt

    My only information is based on reading words “set-back”, “injury”, “three weeks out”…when we get informations directly from Arsene.

    I can think of five reasons why would we get misinformed:

    1) Arsene gets wrong informations from the medical staff in April about Welbeck’s knee which means there is a communication problem between Arsene and the medical staff,

    2) Arsene intentionally gives wrong informations to the public to cover up a) poor fitness-regime or b) incompetence of our medical staff,

    3) Arsene intentionally gives wrong informations in order to avoid extortion during transfer negotiations,

    4) Arsene intentionally gives wrong informations in order to mislead the fans about the need of purchasing new players,


    5) the medical staff is beyond incompetent. Wilshere is 24 and has already missed a whole season of football (2011-12, three years before McNair’s assault) even if he was supposed to be out for a few weeks. At the age of 24 he might have two-and-half seasons on the sidelines in his CV, and that’s without minor injuries. Truth to be told, Arsene did say Wilshere’s recovery would take 2 years.

    On that regard, my guess about our medical staff is as good as any suspicious thought about Leicester’s fitness. I wanted to make a huge analysis of Arsenal injuries and dates of return initially set and compare it with some other clubs but it’s not a work that one man can do in his spare time.

    However, if we have so many set-backs, I put the blame on them unless someone else (fitness coaches or even Arsene) take the responsibility.

    Oh, yes, about small squad… The Invincibles had a rather small squad which eventually took its toil in Champions League defeat to Ranieri’s Chelsea. Atletico Madrid won the league and reached Champions League Final two seasons ago with a small squad.

  51. Josif

    Thank you for your reply but basically you views are based on supposition, nothing more.

    I can’t see the club tolerating an incompetent medical team & therefore cannot share your opinion.

  52. Josif.

    “the medical staff is beyond incompetent”‘

    Behave, thsi is a stupid comment and one that gets recycled by certain types.

    Arsenal are a professional football club. They employ the top medical and finess experts. This is not some amateur sunday league team, with a bunch of amateurs witch doctors. Thsi is one of the AAA’s favourite abuses aimed at Wenger.

    The AAA have been doing thise ofr years. It is complete ignorance.

    I remember when somoene in the media, with support from the AAA, was rattling on about ‘average days lost to injury’ proving we were poor at managing injuries. What they didnt bother to do was acknowledge how many of those days was actually attributed to serious injuries. There was no ‘weighting’. The truth is inconvenient.

    For example the long term injuries to Diaby, Eduardo and Ramsey were counted up as days lost and used to ‘prove’ we have poor injury management. They also included the injury to Jack caused by McNairs late assault on his ankle.

    Interestingly, Eduardo and Ramsey have praised the medical treatment they received and the fact they were able to come back and play at the highest level, suggests to me we did a very good job. Unfortunately, the tackle on Diaby caused other problems and his promising career was ruined by a British thug. Diaby is always used as an example of how bad our medical team are, this is a nonsense.

    Another point. Arsenal don’t like injecting their players as other clubs do. More importantly, Arsenal do not opt for surgery as the first port of call, if they beleive there is an alternative. This is because when you operate on an injury, you cause tissue damage that is irreperable. This degrades the ligaments, tendons, tissues which causes a weakness. Often these weaknesses cause problems in later life. With the Welbeck situation, Arsenal tried to recover his problem without the need for surgery.

    Jack Wilshires injuries are all knocks. He gave a great interview a while back in which he explained this. Blaming Arsenal for Jacks injuries is funnny.

    Unfortunately, fans and the media recycle badly informed information and try to pretend they are medical experts. They look at a league table some moron has produced on injuries and then start making wild assumptions because they haven’t got the knowledge to research or identify the errors.

    Unfortunatley, everybody in now an expert. This is where times have changed. Todays media and the Social Media Addicts are all Fantasy Football Managers, Fantasy Football Accountants and Fantasy Football Doctors. Its a shame really we get so much utter drivel, expecially when it is used to attack the club and those of us who have more than half a bloody brain.

  53. @PK

    First of all, I’d like you to use more rafine language when you address to me. I didn’t insult you and I don’t intend to.

    Second of all, if you obliged to actually read my comment, you would notice different options stated and all are based on informations given to us by Arsene at his press-conferences regarding the length of players’ absences. I don’t know if there is a case of a player of any other club who was supposed to be back in a few days only to miss 10 months of football. Or, a three-week injury that becomes a season without football (Wilshere 2011-12). If you know them, feel free to share them with us.

  54. Josif.

    I apologise if you think I insulted you.

    I also apologise for not being able to confirm the exact reasons why Jack Wilshere missed a season of football. I am sure if we could both be bothered, we could find the answer. I know the Daily mail and one or two other media outlets jumped on thsi bandwagin a while ago but it all went quiet when Jack explained his injury situation.

    However, anyone who puts in writing that our medical team may be ‘incompetent’ etc should expect criticism. The amount of times this rubbish gets repeated in the media and by a certain element is not worth counting.

    As I said, anyone who cares to accuse Wenger and our medical staff of not looking after our players correctly is barking mad. Not only that, they are not considering the level at which these medical professionals operate. These are not witch doctors knocking up a potion with a few dead toads, the legs of a crane fly and the blood of a bat.

    This constant assault on the clubs medical team is a media favourite but has no foundation. Tony has provided information on this subject and comparisons with other clubs prove the lie.

    I believe I explained quite clearly the issue regarding the option of surgery and why Arsenal tend to refrain from that as a first option. Also, Wengers reluctance to ‘inject’ to mask injuries. Neither of these are helpful to the players and rightly or wrongly Arsenal Football Club takes the players interests in consideration.

    I also explained the situation regarding Jack, he was interviewed last week and explained the situation and the frustration with his injuries being the result of knocks. He laughed when the interviewer tried to blame the club, he’s a professional so he handles it well but obviously thought the bloke was two sandwiches short of a picnic.

    There are plenty of examples of players haviung set backs – it is not unique at Arsenal. Certainly, if you look at Aguerros hamstring recurrences and the situation with Sturridge at Liverpool, this is a complex issue and one none of us amateurs should pretend to understand.

    Finally, Arsene Wenger is the messenger. He does the press conferenaces and the interviews not the medical team. He is given information by the specialists, which he ralays, however he sees fit, to the media. As far as I know, Arsene Wenger is not a doctor and does not profess to be one.

    As I tried to explain, if a decison to avoid surgey is taken and the prognosiss is, lets say 2 months, then Wenger will probably report that. If after 2/3 months, the injury has not healed as expected and the medical team decided surgery is needed, then this is reported. However, he wont always be honest if it doesnt suit. He’s a helluva lot smarter than the journos, that’s for sure.

    Josif, I am sure Arsene Wenger would like to have his best players available and is as equally frustrated as us, almost certainly more so. Losing Cazorla, Sanchez, Danny and Jack this season may cost us the league.

    However, blaming him and the club for injuries is ridiculous. It is a very physically demanding sport and knocks and major injuries happen. Footballers now have never been fitter so their bodies are put under immense stress, whereas the only stress most fans put their bodies under is forcing the third cake into our bellies.

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