Arsenal didn’t beat Tottenham, it was the referee’s fault, according to Mr Pochettino.

by Tony Attwood

Mauricio Pochettino announced after the match that it was referee Mike Dean who did it all, with two mistakes.

Although, as Walter pointed out in his post-match review, only one of the goals could have been offside, Mr P wanted to go further and say that the free kick involved in the othergoal should not have been given.  Hence two mistakes.

But some commentators seemed to think there was a second offside goal too.  So just to be complete on that one, before dealing with Mr P, here is the law for the benefit of Mr P and anyone else not fully familiar with it.  It is taken from the FA’s official website, and although I don’t normally accept what the FA says as ever likely to be true, in this case I make an exception.

Offside position

It is not an offence to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and
  • any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
  • The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.

A player is not in an offside position if level with the:

  • second-last opponent or
  • last two opponents

But Mr P’s comment raises other questions.  Let us assume that his argument that, “If you analyse the game until we concede the goal the team was doing well before. We were better than them but in the end it is a massive mistake like this,” is right.

I think the problem is that if you agree with this argument here, then you have to use it for every game.  And this comes back to one of my central theses – that referees make a lot of mistakes.  Indeed as our review of the first 160 games of last season show, they make an awful lot of mistakes.  But against this we have the argument that “in total, refs make around five errors per game, meaning they are right 98 per cent of the time.”  That quote comes from Sky Sports, one of the mouth pieces of PGMO which has put on line an attempt to counter our argument that there is a problem with refereeing in the PL.

Of course I know some correspondents on Untold have written in and questioned some of our teams’ comments on the video evidence in the 160 game review, but even if those “errors” are allowed (and that it is a contentious issue) we would still not have reduced referee error level to five per game.

The problem is Sky Sports present no evidence to support PGMO’s claim – it is presented in a classic “PGMO know, and this is what they say” approach that all TV broadcasters are now forced to use if they want to continue to hold the rights to broadcast.  So we get it all the time.

But back to Mr P.  Let’s say that he was right.  One goal was offside and one came from a mistake because it wasn’t a free kick.  The argument still means nothing,without an analysis of how many other mistakes there were in this game – and in all the other games this season.   And that analysis with video evidence does not exist – at least in public.  Except the analysis presented by Untold last season.

It ought to exist, both because it affects the credibility of the game, and because the newspapers and TV broadcasters have the resources to produce it.  But… oh, they are not allowed to do it by the PL contract with broadcasters.  So it is left to a group of referees and others working for free with Untold, to produce the evidence.  Those who oppose our view could do it, setting up and running a web site, locating the video analyses, bringing in a couple of referees to do the analysis and so on.

But they don’t – or at least they have not.

And isn’t that a bit odd? When there is so much debate match after match about referee decisions?  Isn’t it odd that PGMO and the PL don’t make available video evidence to back up their claim so dutifully presented by Sky Sports that referees make only five errors per game.

I mean, they have all the evidence and all the experts, they could take the first 160 games of each season, as we did, and present the whole thing on line, and then analyse where the errors are and we could all agree or disagree and we could compare results.

Or come to that they could join in using the video refereeing technology in use in Germany and elsewhere – and we could be satisfied that way.  Except, oh, PGMO voted against it.

So, sorry, Mr P.  We can’t resolve the broader point you made in your interview either, that referees always favour home clubs.  We’d like to, but PGMO refuse to allow the TV companies to do it.  But now that Tottenham feel that they have suffered at the hands of referees, maybe their dedicated fans will take up the mantle and do an analysis of 160 Premier League games complete with video evidence.  Just to see.


39 Replies to “Arsenal didn’t beat Tottenham, it was the referee’s fault, according to Mr Pochettino.”

  1. Arsenal were the better team and deserved to win . If people are going to be honest and officials improved then you need to admit the free kick for the first goal was a poor decision . The ref said a shirt pull that did not happen therefore the ref was guessing and penalised a good tackle . The linesman then missed an offside that was tight but was offside no where near as poor a decision as Man City one v Arsenal . But football would be a better place if Mr. Wenger told the truth and said this is why I spoke out v Man City because this week the wrong decisions have gone our way . Anyone can moan when they lose it takes integrity to say the ref made a poor decision our favour when you win and the modern game lacks integrity . Spurs got a marginal offside decision v Real Madrid so it is swings and roundabouts.

  2. I am a Spurs supporter of many years and hold the view that regardless of the referee’s decisions Arsenal were the better team on the day and deserved to win. I believe Tottenham are too dependent on Harry Kane who, on this occasion, was well below par. If they are to win trophies they must buy a natural wide player and a midfielder who can score his fair share of goals.

  3. Thank you Brian. I know, and I think all reasonable Arsenal fans know there are perfectly reasonable Tottenham fans who analyse and consider matters just as we do. We do meet some such as you on this site, and it is always pleasant when we do.

  4. Graham – “swings and roundabouts” is the problem. It implies that things even up in the end – the old saying about referees. Our analyses, undertaken by referees, and done over getting on for 10 years suggests this is not so. If you feel it does all even up in the end, as the “swings” phrase suggests, then it would be good to have some well analysed statistics to show it. The 160 games analysed last season, and the work on “Referees Decisions” before that, suggest (with video evidence in the former case) this is not so. I would love to see some fulsome analysis over a large number of games, which shows we are wrong, then we can have a proper debate. But no one wants to provide it.

  5. Harry kane? red card for that petulant assault? Alli? mmmhhhmmmm ..iwobi in three years will make alli look like stepanovs

    mustafi …or chief mustafa from now on as i will call him. and kos the boss…oh kos..oh kos… we need to clone him…

  6. No graham..simply no, silva was a whole meter offside.. lacazette’s feet are in line with the defenders.

  7. Motd – Neville the lesser, reaffirmed it was no foul, yet 2 weeks prior the same programme reinforced the bad penalty decision against us, it only counts if it’s against us!

    Shearer was clearly pissed we won.

  8. Guys,

    think about the shitstorm we’d have had if M. Wenger had said what M. P. said. Wonder even if he would not have had the FA on his back for criticizing them etc etc.

    Reading Mr P.’s comments I remember our last second win at Leicester 2 seasons ago where their coach went the same way, blaming it all on the ref.

    I guess Mr P. still has a lot to learn from Arsene Wenger before he can pretend to want to emulate him.

    As for the statement that up to the goal, I have no idea what game he was watching or what colout his glasses were. Just a few minutes befor the goal, on the Arsenal website live feed there was a stat about where the action was, if I remember it right, in rounded numbers, 50 % in the middle of the field, 16 % in the Arsenal red zone and 34 % in the Tottenham red zone.

    So basically, if the ball was not in the middle area, it was twice as often in front of the Tottenham goal..and he has the arrogance to pretend that they were doing just fine and not one (so-called) journalist was there to contradict him ?

    As much as I felt the uy was ok and doing a good job with Spurs, he just lost quite a lot of my respect. And if he wants to emulate Arsene Wenger, he ought to ask him for a advice on being fair play and admiting reality.

    as for the rest of the Commentariat, screw them. I saw the game and what I saw was an Arsenal team that were better. The defence held strong, the offence clicked, and, am I wrong or is it the first time this year that we were able to field our A Number 1 team ?

  9. @ Brian,

    Cheers for that. There ought to be more fans like you, not at the Sprus but here at the Arsenal.

  10. Tony,

    I was not at the game, but watching it on TV, I had the feeling that the public, the crowd, the support was, for once, really there and behind the team, even pressuring the ref. The useless commentators on SFR were even talking about it. Was it that different from other games, and if so, any idea why ? And did it make a difference ?

  11. From The Sunday Mail:

    Arsenal (3-4-2-1): Cech 6.5; Koscielny 8.5, Mustafi 9, Monreal 7.5; Bellerin 8, Ramsey 7.5, Xhaka 7, Kolasinac 7; Ozil 8 (Iwobi 84), A. Sanchez 7.5; Lacazette 7 (Coquelin 73, 6).

    Unused subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere, Welbeck

    Goals: Mustafi 37, A. Sanchez 41

    Bookings: Xhaka 32, A. Sanchez 38, Mustafi 48, Monreal 73

    Manager: Wenger 8

    Tottenham (3-4-2-1): Lloris 6; D. Sanchez 5.5, Dier 6, Vertonghen 5; Trippier 5, Sissoko 6, Dembele 6 (Winks 62, 5), Davies 6.5 ; Eriksen 5, Dele 5 (Son 75); Kane 5 (Llorente 75)

  12. Tony
    Pochettino was saying both ‘mistakes’ were related to the first goal. Or have I misunderstood his complaint?
    Wenger’s riposte (on this very subject) to the attending media was a gem. His command of the English language is far superior to that of most English born speakers.
    A little off topic. He’s recently said that (unlike Poch) he will not write an autobiography while still employed in this country because the truth in it would get him into big trouble with the FA.

  13. Amidst all this brouhaha about Arsenal’s first goal, nary a word about the phantom call that stopped play when Oezil and Lacazette were in and Vertonghen was mugged by that goon that is Mesut Oezil. With a vicious wave of his massive forearm, the 25 stone Oezil flung the gallant Vertonghen ground. Or, perhaps Vertonghen was already slipping on the grass and Oezil waved his arm to nudge him out of the way.

  14. I watched the match live and TV replay showed Sanchez had an arm under Alexis left arm to his breast pulling him before he rough tackle him down which made Mike Dean to correctly gave a free kick to Arsenal that led to Mustafi heading the ball into the back of the net to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead in the game. But was Mustafi marginally offside just before he headed the ball past Hugo Lioris? Well, I don’t know. But if he was, the lineman would’ve raised his flag to alert Mike Dean not to give the goal. But as no flag was raised, it’s a goal to Arsenal and no amount of lamentation by Pochettino can have the goal cancel. Right? And did Lacazette appeared to be marginally offside when he passed the ball to Sanchez who scored Arsenal 2nd goal? Well, I don’t know but I’ll give the linesman the benefit of doubt. For, he would have flagged Lacazette off had he seen him offside. So, it’s a 2nd goal to Arsenal despite the insinuation by Pochettino to have the goal annul.

    But to think of it, did Pochettino see when Lacazette raced into the Spurs box in the first half trying to meet Bellerin’s pass but was hacked down by 2 Spurs players? Which to me should have been a penalty to Arsenal but Mike Dean ignored it.

    Did Pochettino see Alexis’ knee when it was deliberately kicked by Trippler? but Mike Dean did not give a free kick to Arsenal for the intentional offence neither did he book Trippler for the bookable offence.

    Did Pochettino see when Bellerin’s feet were violently kicked twice by a Spurs player which had Bellerin momentarily looking to be injured but got over the injury scares as playing continued? Referee Mike Dean should have in my opinion give a free kick to Arsenal and book the Spurs player for his deliberate violent kicking but he didn’t.

    Referee Mike Dean in my opinion had over booked the Gunners. Some of the alleged offences he booked them for were not bookable offences at all. I think the anti-Arsenal referring instinct in him became activated midway through into the 2nd half of the match as he tried to see that Spurs score but his anti-Arsenal referring was to no avail.

  15. If Walter finds time to do a full referee review, I would be very surprised if it shows a bias less than 70%in favour of Spurs. Two straight red cards for Spurs players and almost certainly a double yellow for their Sanchez who was fouling both Alexis and Lacazette all game. The single yellow for Xhaka I thought was about right, he was given a talking to over his first foul and then booked for his second is pretty much in line with PGMO normal policy for most players. The non foul called against Özil and the non-advantage when we had a clear break going on were other examples of him helping Spurs.



  16. I did not watch the game, so can only comment on the brief highlights in MOTD.

    Dean said that Sanchez’s shirt had been pulled, which was not the case.

    However, it may be that he took the view that Sanchez seemed to be pulled down, and assumed that it was by way of a shirt pull.

    When you see it from the other side, you see that it was not a shirt pull, but the defender has his arm locked around Sanchez’s arm and was pulling him down, so it was the same thing and Dean was correct, but for the wrong reason.

    In addition, although the defender got the ball, if he hit Sanchez’s leg first and then the ball, then it is a foul. It looks to me that that is what he did, so, if I am correct, so was Dean.

    To be fair, did not AW say similar comments about the effect the ref had on the game 2 weeks ago as Poch did?

  17. Tony – I do not believe it exactly evens up but it is amazing that fans , managers always see it only their way . On here people are saying Dean got it right to award the free kick because this decision went Arsenal’s way . Wenger was annoyed at Man City but had mo good grace to say the decisions went our way today . The poor standard of officials will never change when a manager only moans when it goes against them – it has more chance when they say at Man City we suffered a dreadful decision today we got lucky with a couple of decisions that at best were open to debate and not say they were correct without question .

  18. Pochettino’s comments sound like the comments we see on untold after every loss, so nothing strange. Infact Wenger has been saying similar stuff since the city game.

  19. Graham you are right about managers, but… we have made a difference in the way that slowly, very slowly, the way in which refereeing is debated, is changing.

  20. @Brain Clements,
    Spurs have very good players in their rank and file who have at away in the PL been playing actively and winning excessively but met their waterloo at the Ems yesterday against an Arsenal first team that had a game winning plan in place that worked which kept Harry Kane, Dele Alli and the rest of Spurs players goals scoring threat under control.

  21. This a garbled, petulant and rather pointless article. The referee made several errors yesterday and they favoured arsenal. Pochettino was angry and moaned probably a little too much as all managers do when they feel they’ve been let down by poor refereeing. Wenger did the same after the city game.
    Sadly, untold has typically twisted it into another opportunity to bang on about the corrupt, anti arsenal PGMO. This quote is particularly silly:

    ‘The argument still means nothing,without an analysis of how many other mistakes there were in this game’. This is wrong of course because the two mistakes in question lead directly to arsenal goals. One or two big mistakes impact a game a lot more than lots of minor errors.


    The good news is that we played excellently and fully deserved the win. Wenger got his tactics absolutely right and pochettino had no answer. The ‘front three’ were superb and Mustafi was a colossus at the back. I haven’t felt so comfortable watching a NLD for a long time.

    Arsenal need to push on from this and I want to see Ozil and Sanchez play with that intensity every game.

  22. Dean is the master at making a game “TV Ready”, as well as as manipulating it when told to.
    I don’t think the manipulations are for money(although who knows what bets the bosses make), but for “maximum TV excitement” to promote PL.

    Sad thing is, the game needs no manipulation to create excitement or controversy, it does it all on it’s own and if left alone would probably produce much more enjoyment to fans.

    Alexander Henry
    “I want to see Ozil and Sanchez play with that intensity every game.”
    I think we all want to see that. Even Pat!

  23. I want to see Ozil and Sanchez play with that intensity every game.

    This is something I believe every fan wants to see, of every player, in every game.

    For me, I have gotten so annoyed at the crap from the officials, and the stupid comments from the muppets, that I do not watch any games any more. I just look for commentary.

    So I have no way of telling if some comment about Ozil being lazy is real. or the person making the comment doesn’t know what they are talking about.

  24. @ alexanderhenry

    not for the first time your logic is desperately flawed. “The referee made several errors yesterday and they favoured arsenal”. Really? So a perfectly timed tackle by Mustafi was worthy of a yellow card was it? Which connects perfectly with your other schoolboy error, “‘The argument still means nothing,without an analysis of how many other mistakes there were in this game’. This is wrong of course because the two mistakes in question lead directly to arsenal goals.” But Mustafi was wrongly penalised and a free kick was given. So Spurs had the opportunity to score from that free kick. They didn’t. One can argue that a wrongly given throw-in in the first minute of the game is a factor in a goal scored half an hour later but that would be stupid. No I don’t believe Arsenal should have had a free kick for the incident that led to the first goal but I do believe they should have had free kicks in the game that might have led to other goals. The free kick may have been an incorrect decision. Play was stopped and it was up to the Spuds to defend once play restarted, they failed to do so. Mistakes made by Dean could have led to Spuds goals, they didn’t because they did not capitalise on them Is that our fault? And let’s face it mate, any fool can see from the 160 game analysis that we get many more bad decisions against us than most teams. It doesn’t even out in the end but when something goes our way which means it is some way towards evening out why do you have to moan about it?

  25. At the end of the day any match official is human and will make mistakes . Surgeons make mistakes and people have life changing issues . I watched the Rugby after and even with TMO which took too long for my liking Australia could still feel hard done by . Sometimes what is a foul and then a free kick in a dangerous area or even a penalty people see differently . Even after replays in the studio some feel it is a foul and some do not . There are blatant mistakes but some decisions are how people see the game differently . I am 57 and feel the game has now become a non contact sport like netball . Yet I am glad we do not see people like Ron Harris trying to amputate the legs of an opponent when unable to get near tackling them . Miss the days of a Storey , Roberts etc etc in a NLD . Tony – thanks for the debate been good natured and best wishes if you can make the debating of dodgy decisions more friendly and less partisan then I feel it will be for the good of the game . Maybe I am too old school – I want good natured banter and rivalry not some of the vile trolls language that is exchanged by many football fans not just those who support the two teams who contest NLD.

  26. Alexanderhenry,

    I doubt AW’s tactics here were as impactful in getting them right as they were getting them drastically wrong for the City game. Rather, we saw a complete team performance full of commitment and desire, in which every player did their job efficiently and with full purpose. It was pleasing to see us still hunting for goals right up until the final whistle, past the point it was obvious the game was lost for Spurs.

    Mr P is entitled to his complaints, although I have noted that week to week there is no mention from him on the theatrics of one Delle Ali, who has accumulated numerous free kicks and advantages for his team through some very obvious and disappointing poor sportsmanship. Tottenham second best in every department, the most damaging of all being mental preparedness. No title winners here this season or the next I’m afraid, Spurs fans. The dust in your trophy cabinet continues to thicken…

  27. I note also that Mr Ozil collected a Man of the Match award. I wonder, how many more of these will we see as the New Year approaches, particularly as it appears Barcelona are now preparing an approach for his services?

  28. I think if i ever come across lee dixon, martin keown, alan smith, ian wright, paul merson and tony adams…i think i will spit at their feet and walk away disgusted to embrace and salute the real arsenal legends, i.e the ones who do not stab the club the managers or players in the back like clickwhores or for some book sales….

    19/11/2017 at 8:52 am

    I’m sorry Mr Barker but you are barking up the wrong tree. The first goal was scored from a foul that should have see a card to (Spud)Sanchez. You are obviously more biased than Dean (who had a jig some years ago after Spuds scored). I am a gooner & I hate the state of the game at the moment because of the FA & these morons PGMOL.

    Mike Dean should not have been officiating as a petition of more than 1000 voted him personna non grata at the Ems. He is a corrupt cheat just like most of his fellow PGMOL officials. They have brought football into disrepute as have the FA, who rob the game of sporting honesty by maintaining a bunch of old greedy twits as their foundation.

  30. I don’t know how many times the Sanchez on Sanchez free kick has been analysed however I have not seen one person talk about the initial contact before the second contact and I’m all fairness a good tackle. When Arsenal’s Sanchez headed the ball back across the defender Sanchez there was a first arm out and across the chest of the arsenal attacker. Now anyone that has played football knows that when you divert the course of a football you already have that plan in your mind to do it and your body is ready to explode in a different direction following contact with the ball. The first contact of the Tottenham defender was an arm across the attackers’ chest to stop that initial explosion. Without that initial contact and denial of explosion, the attacker would have been away – or even had he opportunity to get away from the defender (depending how good the next touch after the header was). So the free kick should have been given for the first arm block across the chest of the attacker to stop the explosion. I have no issue with the second arm across the chest as that was done in the same movement as the tackle – and could be argued that was used more for balance than for stopping the attacker. Mike Dean has muddied the waters by making gesture for shirt pulling, when if he had gestured 1st contact arm block there would have been no argument.

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