2016-17 Season: The half time review of referees and players, and the top 6 table.

by Andrew Crawshaw

After 19 games Arsenal had 40 points and sat in third place in the table behind Chelsea and Liverpool and with City and the Tinies close behind,

Team Points Goals
W L D For Against +/-
1 Chelsea 16 1 2 49 42 13 +29
2 Liverpool 13 4 2 43 46 21 +25
3 Arsenal 12 4 3 40 41 19 +19
4 Man City 12 3 4 39 39 21 +18
5 Spurs 11 6 2 39 37 14 +23
6 Man Utd 10 6 3 36 29 19 +10

In these 19 matches Arsenal have been the beneficiaries of 4 wrong Important Decisions.

  • Alexis should have been sent off in Min64 of our home game against Bournemouth
  • In the same game Monreal should have been penalised for a handball in the penalty area
  • Chamberlain’s ‘goal’ in the opening day game against Liverpool shouldn’t have counted as he was offside
  • Alexis was also offside when he got his third in Min 86 against West Ham.

I do not believe that any of these decisions would have affected the results in those games.  We lost against Liverpool and beat West Ham by more than one goal.  In the Bournemouth game Arter should have been booked in Min 14 and had a second yellow card in Min27 and Smith should have conceded a penalty in Min42 for handball so in this game the wrong Important Decisions evened out.

If we construct a table for games between the top six clubs we get

Chelsea Liv Ars City Spurs United
Chelsea 1 – 2 2 – 1 4 – 0
Liverpool 1 – 0 0 – 0
Arsenal 3 – 0 3 – 4 1 – 1
City 1 – 3 2 – 1
Spurs 1 – 1 2 – 0
United 1 – 1 1 – 2 1 – 0
  • Chelsea have played 3 home games and two away winning three and losing two for 9 points
  • Liverpool have played two home and three away winning 2, losing 1 and drawing 2 for 8 points
  • Arsenal have had three home and two away games winning 1, drawing 2 and losing 2 for 5 points
  • City have had two home and three away winning 3 and losing 2 for 9 points
  • Spurs have also had two home games and 3 away winning 3 and drawing 2 for 11 points
  • United have had three home and two away points winning 2 and drawing 2 for 8 points.

Arsenal are the losers in this mini table being between 3 and 6 points behind all of the other teams.

Looking at our referee reviews to see if this is down to the PGMO

The result against Liverpool was correct (although the final score should probably have been 3 – 2  to Liverpool instead of 4 – 3.

Our 3 – 0 win against Chelsea was also unaffected by the referee Michael Oliver who had an excellent game.

The 1 – 1 draw against Spurs was certainly referee affected as Spurs should have had Waynama sent off at the end of the first half, this would almost certainly have seen us scoring at least one additional goal.

The 1 – 1 draw at United was, again, referee affected.  Darmian should have been sent off for a second yellow card in Min 25 and again with a straight red card in Min 33.  A one man advantage for 75 minutes would have almost certainly have seen a second Arsenal goal for a win.

Our 2 – 1 loss at City should at worst have been a draw.  The first City goal was clearly scored from an offside position and City should have been reduced to 10 men in Min 80 when De Brune should have been sent off.  Addisionally deep into extra time Sterling should have been sent off for an arm to the back of Bellerin’s head and Toure for deliberately delaying Arsenal from taking a free kick (both second yellow cards).  Would the man/men advantage have enabled Arsenal to effect a win – unlikely but a game we certainly shouldn’t have lost.

So in our 5 games against the other teams in the top 6 we have been denied 5 points

In other games the PGMO have cost us a further 5 points

Leicester (2) where a draw should have been a win as we should have had two penalties awarded

  • Min 31 Morgan for holding Koscielny and
  • Min42 Huth holding Holding.

Everton (3)

  • Min18 Jagielks should have had a straight red card for a last man foul on Coquelin (the referee chickened out and only awarded a yellow card)
  • Min 24 Jagielka should have had a second yellow card for dissent against a linesman but the referee failed to back his official,
  • Min42 McCarthy should have had a red card for a kick to Coquelin’s achilles ( again the ref chickened out and only gave a yellow card),
  • Min 90+ 4 Mirallas should have been penalised for a trip on Alexis in the penalty area (but sub rule 8b was applied – unless an Arsenal Player is involved).

All typical pieces of Clattenberg chicanery with Dean in on the act as fourth official.

Had the PGMO done their jobs properly Arsenal would be top of the table on 51 points with a W16, D1, L2 record.

Which players have done well, which not so and who have we missed?

Alexis has been without doubt our stand out attacker, with him leading the line we have been threatening and inventive all season

Theo has been another success when fit, but again muscle injuries have had an impact on his season

Olivier has had to be patient for gametime but has always been effective when on the pitch

Lucas has had a longer settling in period than he would have liked but has at times shown how effective he can be.  The injury he got against Forrest in the EFL cup when he was kicked by a player just on the pitch didn’t help.

Our other strikers Danny, Yaya and Chuba Akpom have all been injured so far although Danny and Chuba are now both back training with the first team and will be looking to be involved as the second half of the season progresses.

Mesut has been unplayable at times and has scored more goals than we are used to

Alex Iwobi continues to improve and seems to be being eased into the No 10 slot on the occasions when Özil isn’t available.  For a 20 year old I am delighted with his performances, he is almost as two footed as Santi and I believe with extra experience will be a long term star for the club.  As supporters we must remain patient with him, he still isn’t the finished player yet.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in and out of the team, promising much but rarely delivering as well as we would have liked.  His direct running gives us an option that few of our other players have but I fear that he is becoming a squad player rather than a starter.

At the base of midfield our best pairing without doubt was Coquelin and Santi such a pity that Santi seems to becoming increasingly prone to long spells out through injury.  Coquelin when he hasn’t has the shit kicked out of him is our go-to ‘defensive’ midfielder.

Xhaka for the most part is assured but he is still prone to the occasional costly rush of blood to the head.

Aaron hasn’t been fit for much of the season and this has showed in his performances so far.

Mohamed has always been energetic and full of energy and a valuable squad player.

In defence we haven’t yet seen our club captain Per Mertesacker, the main players at CB being the peerless Koscielny and Skhrodan Mustafi, they have been understudied by Gabriel and the young Rob Holding who seems to be settling in well and has shown signs of possessing the qualities needed at this level.

Hector at Right Back is another of our outstanding star performers, neither Carl Jenkinson or Matthieu Debuchy can get a look in when he is fit.

The position at Left Back is more fluid as there isn’t a lot to chose between Kieran and Nacho.  Kieran probably edges it going forwards whilst Nacho is probably the better defender but has sometimes been caught out by the paciest opponents.

Overall then a reasonably solid first half performance, not helped by our friends at the PGMO.  Chelsea have been unstoppable since we beat them and that means that all other teams are playing catch up.  When we play at a high tempo there are few other teams that can live with us, when we allow our game to slow down we can get bogged down and bullied off the ball which is something to work on.


Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society: 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

November 1936: Arsenal reborn, TV starts, the king demands, the palace burns down.

The nine health benefits of playing football, and what to do when you get too old.

Cohen Bramall the new Bellerin (inc film), Belloti and Griezmann on the way. Plus nicked copy – an outrage.

Do Arsenal players care about the club? Are they properly prepared for each game? Here’s how you can tell.

Could football learn a thing of two from the way games are refereed in rugby?

The index of all the major articles on the Arsenal History Society site about Arsenal players is now complete.  It comes in two parts:

A to K     L to Z

Of course there are many other sources of articles on Arsenal players but I do like to think that the articles here add a lot more detail, and have often found stories and issues that have been missed in other reports.  I do hope you will give us a try.

9 Replies to “2016-17 Season: The half time review of referees and players, and the top 6 table.”

  1. Andy Crawshaw, thanks for your this unrivalled referees performance review.

    However, one David Hirshey, I think a football columnist at the Espnfc has written an article in which he had daydreamt and lambasted himself saying in his delusion and purport Spurs will finish above himself (not Arsenal) this season. He went ahead enumerating to himself how individually and teamly strong Tottenham Hotspur are this season and has even alluded to his own thought a title win for Spurs. It could be he wrote that Spurs title win statement in error or out of incorrect thinking by him. if he was of the correct thinking, he should have written otherwise to say, Tottenham will lose this season title to Arsenal as they will finish below them again for the 21 consecutive Seasons.

    Arsenal as from this weekend round of PL matches and save any FA Cup match replay they may have to play will have a maximum total of 31 matches to play and have to be successful in all them to win the treble this season. Which they should win to compensate us the Gooners for missing out from two of the treble titles for such a long time.

    The Gunners have been labeled in some quarters to lack PL title win mental discipline as they are often seen engaged in overzeleous celebration for selfie purposes when they score instead of them to maintain discipline and concentrate on how they can score more goals. Consequently resulting into taking their title charge lackadaisically.

    Of the 31 maximum matches or more Arsenal could play before this season comes to an end, Arsenal must honour 21 matches out of the 31. Can the current Gunners quality depth in Le Prof’s 1st team and backup team see Arsenal through those upcoming 21 minimum matches they have to play very successfully? I mean without dropping points if a top quality striker reinforcement by Le Prof is signed maybe from Torino during this January window to bolster the top quality depth for option in the rank and file of his 1st team? Not to talk of the remaining 10 others games the Gunners will be playing if they are progressing game after game in the FA Cup & the UCL up to the very final 2 matches of the 2 competitions.

    I will leave the rest to Le Prof to think about it.

  2. Thanks Andrew for this summary.
    Well nothing has changed or will change as long as Mike 50 is in charge I’m afraid

  3. Great article Andy a good read. However and I am going to play devils advocate here. Should we not have won the matches mentioned above and taken the referee’s out of the equation. Take the city game we had a good start then rather than go for jugular and try and get a couple of more quick one we sat back and were poor with the possession we had. This is way before any decisions made by the referee can into play. Samuel it is quite easy to label the plAyers mentally weak etc as when the times they have had chances to go top this and previous seasons . However, looking at how they come from behind against Bournemouth and recent matches suggest that they do have the right mentality. Let’s be realistic everyone is playing catch up with Chelsea and catching and overtaking them may not be difficult but keeping in front will be. Now I enjoy the referee reviews but let’s explore the reality of the situation they make mistakes now let’s be fair they have split seconds to make a decision based on what they see at real speed, every programme like sky match of the day etc can pick apart those decisions by freeze framing a situation watching it from multiple angles and at multiple speeds something no match official ever gets a chance to do. There is every chance the referees are at least incompetent now this analysis is not because they make mistakes but because they can’t consistently apply the laws of the game all the games they officiate. The pgmol is reluctant even against admitting problems because it would the bring into question their role within the game. You know what would be useful and the technology is there to do it and that is to have ref cams so you can actually see what view and what speed a ref sees an incident at.

  4. – – –

    No troll after all these years have been able to muster up the footballs required to argue against the numbers or data.
    Bless ’em for trying though.

  5. Iwobi is two-footed like Santi Cazorla?
    I don’t think so.

    Iwobi does NOT have a decent left foot.
    Every time he plays left wing he never crosses with the left foot. He nearly always uses his right foot to cross or shoot at goal.

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