By Tony Attwood
After the match the Burnley manager said, “It probably is a penalty but it was never not going to be given.” (That is the quote I have picked up from the Guardian, and I think it is right.)
It was one of the more extraordinary statements I have heard from a profession that is particularly known for its outpouring of extraordinary statements. Let’s try and take it to bits.
Part one seems to mean, it is a penalty. OK, we can agree then, it is a penalty. But then part two…
“It was never not going to be given.”
“Never not” is one of those double negative things that I used to be warned about in school – the two negatives cancel each other out, and so it means “It was likely to be given.”
So it was a penalty and it was likely to be given.
It hardly seems necessary to say this in such a convoluted way, but some of these managers do like their NewSpeak.
Of course the newspapers can’t let it go at that point. “This was the third consecutive time Burnley have lost to Arsenal in controversial circumstances,” pronounced the Guardian, noting last season’s Laurent Koscielny’s goal, and the game before in which there was a “disputed 98th-minute spot-kick”.
There are a couple of points that come out of this. The first is that Burnley play negatively. They close down so much that they don’t reduce their own chances of getting free flowing smooth running breaks which can generate so many goals. As such they cling to goalless scores and hope for a point or to sneak a winner.
If you want to see that verified in numbers just look at the league table.
Our problem until now has been the away situation but even here there is improvement…
|9||Brighton and Hove Albion||7||2||1||4||5||7||-2||7|
Again, I am not trying to say this is where we should be, merely that we have got moving on the away front and we are starting to pick up. Any supporter of the club surely would welcome this.
But let us return to the notion that big clubs get big decisions. The manager of Burnley is suggesting a bias among referees in favour of the “big clubs”. In the past that could have led to the manager’s arrest, if not being hung drawn and quartered. But now it seems to be let go.
However it does need contemplating, not least because it is made without any sort of evidence. It is just a throw out comment without back up. The sort of thing that can be quoted over and over and which could grow.
I’m reminded of the statement we often get here which Don highlighted in his article recently. Untold is accused of taking a position saying that the referees are all against Arsenal all the time – which is not something we have ever said. To clarify, for what seems like the 1000th time, the argument put forward is that the way PGMO is organised makes it singularly easy for Type III match fixing to take place. That’s what we point to. Just showing a match in which Arsenal got a penalty which some might suggest was not deserved, alters nothing.
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