It may not be something you are encouraged to try, but a sense of perspective can help

By Tony Attwood

I am sure there will be many who will agree with a headline in the Daily Telegraph that reads “Arsenal are still exhibiting all their old failings with expensive new personnel” and another in the same paper today, “Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London”.  Or in the Independent “Derby defeat shows Arsenal have not fixed the fundamentals” and so on and on.

Our two new players are being rated after two games.  And I wondered what might have happened if Thierry Henry had treated in the same way.  (Indeed I think he was, but Mr Wenger chose to stick to what he believed in).  You will recall (or have read) that not only did Henry fail to score a single goal in his first eight games, but Mr Wenger had paid for him what was considered an outrageous fee at the time of £11m.

Henry and Wenger were lambasted during that period, and subsequently journalistic apologies for the hysteria were noticeable by their absence.

One might also recall reactions to Dennis Bergkamp’s early games in 1995/6.  It was again a case of immediate reaction to the situation, and immediate judgement which turned out to be false.

Judgement on changes is instant and the emotional belief that somehow things could be better if only one more change were to be made (normally replacing the manager) remains.  And of course sometimes that is right – change the manager, change a player, change the team, and you can make things better.  But not always, and indeed not most of the time.

But occasionally other justifications are made.  I recently saw the comment that the Wenger reign at Arsenal had been the worst in the club’s history – a complaint that at least had the merit of being original even if bonkers.

The best Arsenal period of 21 years was 1929/30 to 1956/57 – which of course looks like more than 21 years but takes into account the shut down of league and cup football for the duration of the second world war.

During that 21 year period Arsenal won the league seven times, and the FA Cup three times.   The lowest position we came during that era was 14th, in the first season of the era (when Arsenal won the FA Cup in 1929/30 – their first ever trophy).  Later in the run they notched up a 12th and 13th, but otherwise stayed in the top ten.

During the last 21 years Arsenal have won the league three times and the FA Cup seven times.  Our lowest position has been 5th.  So a reverse of trophies but a higher position.  I’m counting the earlier period as better as most agree that the League is harder to win than the Cup.

That comparison shows (to me at least if no one else) that the club has no God-given right to be at the top.  The fact is that over the history of the club we have not been the dominant team in the Football League – we’ve won the League 13 times and the FA Cup 13 times.  That 13 is a record for the FA Cup but Liverpool and Manchester United have both exceeded our League total; 20 for Man U and 18 for Liverpool.

My point in dragging up all this history (which of course you will know is a passion of mine, if your read the blog of the AISA Arsenal History Society) is that the club self-evidently doesn’t have the absolute right to be at the top.  Add to that obvious observation a second fairly obvious point, that a lot of other teams fancy being the dominant team of the era, and one starts to get the beginning of a sense of perspective.

Add to all this an awareness of our worst period in living memory of 1953/4 to 1968/9 in which we won none of the major trophies and had lows of 12th (twice), 13th (twice) and 14th in the League and some of the short-termist “judge the players after one game” begins to look a bit silly.  (The book “Arsenal the long sleep” by Jon Sowman covers the period brilliantly).

Interestingly, in the club’s greatest period from the 1929/30 season to the outbreak of war, Arsenal became known as the “Bank of England” club because of the money spent on transfers.   It is a title still thrown at the club by people who try and counter the arguments relating to the level of wealth that clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City can call on.

But the money Arsenal had in the 1930s came from one very simple bit of foresight: the move of the club from south London to north London in 1913, and the decision, not to build a stadium that was equivalent to the size of the old south London ground, but one that could hold over 73,000.  Crowds were the source of the money, and Henry Norris, who engineered the move, realised this.

He not only moved the club to a location where there was good transport, but also one where there was already an interest in football (with Tottenham Hotspur and Clapton Orient being close by).  That meant that the local papers would endlessly having something in the football world to talk about, and would develop a local passion for football, beyond that which already existed.

That is where the money came from, and indeed that, plus the subsequent sponsorship and world wide marketing is where Manchester United’s money comes from.

Of course no level of world wide marketing is going to match the availability of money that Manchester City now has – that will need access to another sovereign wealth fund – but it gives a context.

“Give it time” may not be a popular concept in football these days, but it is one worth heeding, for many a club has made a sudden change, and even seen short term improvement as a result, only to wish that they had thought a little harder.

Mr Wenger’s first season, 1996/7, ended like this.  Looking down the list I can think of quite a few clubs that could have done a little bit better with their long term planning.  Clubs like Newcastle, Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Wimbledon, Leeds, Derby, Blackburn, Coventry, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Forest.  Indeed even Tottenham who beat us yesterday and are now hailed as the greatest of teams, has only won two trophies (both the league cup) since that league table was first published.  Just remember nine clubs out of that list of 20 are no longer in the PL and one (Newcastle) has had a troubled time.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 38 21 12 5 76 44 32 75
2 Newcastle United 38 19 11 8 73 40 33 68
3 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 62 32 30 68
4 Liverpool 38 19 11 8 62 37 25 68
5 Aston Villa 38 17 10 11 47 34 13 61
6 Chelsea 38 16 11 11 58 55 3 59
7 Sheffield Wednesday 38 14 15 9 50 51 -1 57
8 Wimbledon 38 15 11 12 49 46 3 56
9 Leicester City 38 12 11 15 46 54 -8 47
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 7 18 44 51 -7 46
11 Leeds United 38 11 13 14 28 38 -10 46
12 Derby County 38 11 13 14 45 58 -13 46
13 Blackburn Rovers 38 9 15 14 42 43 -1 42
14 West Ham United 38 10 12 16 39 48 -9 42
15 Everton 38 10 12 16 44 57 -13 42
16 Southampton 38 10 11 17 50 56 -6 41
17 Coventry City 38 9 14 15 38 54 -16 41
18 Sunderland 38 10 10 18 35 53 -18 40
19 Middlesbrough 38 10 12 16 51 60 -9 39
20 Nottingham Forest 38 6 16 16 31 59 -28 34

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65 Replies to “It may not be something you are encouraged to try, but a sense of perspective can help”

  1. Well said, Tony. When journalists suggested after our big win at Everton that our new players had given the club a big lift, Arsene Wenger made a cautious and realistic answer.

    Actually, losing one nil to Spurs on their ground is not a terrible result. It is just sad, and of course given our position in the league it makes it harder for us to finish in the top four. We seem currently to have the confidence to go in all guns blazing on our home ground, but be more nervous and cautious when playing away. This is probably simply a result of our current away form.

    Let’s hope we break out of it soon. If anyone can help that happen, it’s our manager.

  2. Your proposition that we should deploy some perspective when we judge Arsenal is entirely correct of course. I fully accept that no club and it’s dans should expect to win the league regularly. I do think that we should debate Arsenal’s defensive failings and away results though. There isn’t a single Arsenal game I watch now where the Arsenal defence and midfield does not concede simple chances to any opposition three or four times in each half. Granted, Arsenal are predominantly organised as an attacking unit, which by definition means we will invite the opposition to have a go.
    What I don’t understand the reasons for are the following.
    1. I maintain that Monreal is a great player, but he is not a defender.
    2. The two centrebacks, can defend, but regularly get exposed because they don’t aleays hold a line and often leave too big a gap between them. This results in numerous opportunities being presented to our opposition because we don’t have a central midfielder with the Moyes to track back and close the gap consistently..
    3. The fullbacks charge forward regularly with aplomb, but they can’t always recover the defensive be position when we are counter-attacked. This is particularly poignant i with regards to my next point.
    4. When you are designed as an attacking unit, you have to be more efficient with the number of chances your side creates for you. Otherwise you end up with a high possession percentage and a low number of goals scored versus goals conceded.
    I do not have any football management experience, nor do I dare suggest that I know more about the science of football than a junior school coach. But Arsenal got beaten by a side containing a group of less talented players overall, apart from Harry Kane. But you t was a team who put more effort into their defensive setup and finished the chance they created better than we did. Undeniably ably this has happened a lot in the last few seasons. So they if as is the common thread, we cannot compete with clubs backed by Oligarchs and Sovereign wealth funds, then we need to make a few changes to the way we approach games.

  3. I pay zero attention to what pundits have to say in general and especially when it comes to Arsenal. Their agenda is crystal clear and has been so for donkeys years!

    When all said and done, its one a piece (we got bragging rights last November with a convincing 2-0 job and they got theirs in Feb 2018).

    As far as the game yesterday, from get go, we were “in control” but as in defending and containing them…we gave them too much respect it would seem and sacrificed our attackers by starving them of the ball. Could it have gone worse for us? Most definitely yes, was their goal a foul on Kos? yes, was our Aub goal wrongly waved offside? yes! However, we weren’t at the races for the 90 mins and at best we could have got a draw.

    Always painful to loose to them, especially at a time we desperately needed the three points. I am sure the manager and players know this and will/must get an urgency about them for the rest of the games…in particular our away form MUST improve dramatically!

    Onwards and upwards

  4. Of course the boss had this to say about the goal: “The first goal was key and we conceded it. Kane made the difference, that’s what he’s about. I have seen the replay, it is no foul, just good centre-forward play. We can only look at ourselves.”

    So who am I to argue with him!

  5. Also remember the evening standard, we know their bias, and others telling us ” The jury’s out on Emanuel Petit”, he ended up with a fairly ok career in the aftermath.
    Agree on the perspective, just wish we would sort out our bloody awful away performances and defending though.

  6. I’m hoping our Women can restore my perspective this afternoon. I’m on my way to Borehamwood where we play Yeovil. Kickoff is 14:00. As Yeovil are yet to score a goal yet alone win a game I have high hopes of a good win.

  7. i think they won against us 1-0 the first game after don howe was released? Anybody know how the following 30 years played out? haha! no wonder they can’t stand having a local rival!

  8. Sorry but here are the facts.

    1) We have won just three out of 14 away games in the league this season and not a single one in which Alexis Sánchez didn’t score.

    2) We have collected 13 out of 42 points available.

    3) We have a goal-difference of just +15.

    4) We have spent over 100 million pounds to sign two top strikers in the last two transfer windows. We now have two experienced international playmakers with a reported combined wage of 520k pounds per week. We mustered just one shot on target against Tottenham yesterday (and their team was much cheaper than ours).

    5) It’s very likely we’ll miss out on Champions League place unless we win Europa League. Given how we play against well-organized teams, our strongest asset in EL is…a prayer. Let’s pray we won’t play Atletico Madrid, that someone else would do us a favour and knock them out.

    6) Our defensive record is awful and our defending is at the amateur level.

    7) We have won just one of our eight league games against the rest of Top Six.

    If we don’t win EL (or at least Carabao Cup), I think the club and the manager should make a mutual agreement on the contract termination.

    (Of course I didn’t mention PGMO-exhibitions at our expense. When Arsenal FC do it, I will do it as well.)

  9. Thank you for your post, with which I agree.

    The world will not end because we lost yesterday, neither is our season over as a result.

    I would have been less disappointed, however, had we put on a better show. I did not watch the match, nor the highlights and I have not read the Sunday Times report, and can only comment based on what I have seen in the blogs I look at, all of which make it clear that we were lucky not to lose by more.

    I wonder whether AW might have been experimenting yesterday with the CC final in mind.

    The whole style of play nowadays seems to emphasise the “pressing game”, used by most teams from the top ones to those who park the bus.

    The “top teams” are very good at it, which explains why we have so much difficulty in beating them.

    AW’s style is to play football, not to prevent the other side from playing.

    If he was experimenting a way to counteract it yesterday, it was a resounding failure.

  10. Still scoreless in the Women’s game. At 27m, Williamson was substituted after being injured in what the Arsenal Women’s twit feed called a 50-50. O’Reilly came on.

  11. Josif, not all the things you say are facts.

    “our defending is at the amateur level” is a matter of opinion. The amateur teams I watch are not of this standard.

  12. In the women’s game, we are apparently into 2 minutes of time added on for stoppages in the first half. We are 1 goal to the good. I’ll not say any more, allowing Andrew to expand on the activities. Perhaps Andrew can confirm later on whether or not this is also time added on for sausages. 🙂

  13. Tony

    You are right.

    Which doesn’t change the fact we have conceded as many goals as the last-placed WBA.

  14. Goals conceded: 20, 18, 24, 31, 23, 36, 24, 40, 46, 41, 47, 46, 36, 42, 37, 47, 38, 36, 53, 37

    mean is 36.1. As this is a Poisson process, we’ll assume variance is 36 and hence a standard deviation of 6 (sqrt(36)). Two SD range is 24 to 48. There are no teams with 49 or more goals conceded. There are 5 teams with 24 or less goals conceded. So we’ll pull those 5 out. Our new mean is 40.9, and we’ll assume SD is 6.4, so our 2SD range is from 28 to 54.

    At the moment, it appears the bottom 15 teams of the EPL are _ALL_ conceding the same number of goals.

    So yes, Arsenal is conceding the same number of goals as WBA, as well as Burnley (in 7th).

  15. Except maybe change Burnley (7th) to Leicester (8th).

    Analysis is iffy with 4th place being a high conceding team and 7th being low.

  16. More things for Andrew to write about in the women’s game. 6 minutes of regular time left at last twit.


  17. Agreed Tony, a bit of perspective is required. Even by you. We are 9th in the away table, with a negative GD.

  18. Callum Chambers & the impossible handball 🙂

    Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm.

    The following must be considered:
    the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
    the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
    the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence

  19. Lamela fouls VVD


    Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the opponent’s path to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.

    All players have a right to their position on the field of play; being in the way of an opponent is not the same as moving into the way of an opponent.

    It also covers them Karius penalty, both players hadn’t a right to challenge for the loose ball, the correct call is a Cromer a strong it’s was impossible to adjudged in real time the facts, the is certified by the discussion between officials.

    The decision to converse is absolution of the GK and in keeping with the spirit of the game.

    When you are neither protected from persistent fouling, and penalised for challenging in abundance 50/50 against the spirit and rules of the game, the only human response is to develop a complex.

  20. Oxlade handles: yellow penalty?

    f the referee plays the advantage for an offence for which a caution / send off would have been issued had play been stopped, this caution / send off must be issued when the ball is next out of play, except when the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity results in a goal the player is cautioned for unsporting behaviour.

    I think that either advantage is played and the game continues with a yellow, if correctly it isn’t determined that the ball was not goal bound.

    However if the shot is goal bound, or deemed to be it resultant on a direct opportunity to score, which mean something no caution can Ben administered until the penalty is scored or missed. Then either
    Account results in a caution and 11 v 11.

    If they cannot corr Celtic determine the identity of the player in question, it Ian evidenced that by admission the officials collectively could not be sure of the offence, thus no card nor penalty shouldn’t be issued.

    Don’t let me have any piece of legislation if you don’t want to have it back, improved and defined correctly.

  21. Intentionality: allowance of rotational fouling.

    Needs definition.

    A player is cautioned if guilty of:
    delaying the restart of play
    dissent by word or action
    entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission
    failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in
    persistent offences (no specific number or pattern of offences constitutes “persistent”)
    unsporting behaviour

    Again caution:

    Handles the ball in an attempt to score a goal (whether or not the attempt is successful) or in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent a goal

    Blatant disregard for the rule book; officials.

    More cautions, propensity to subvert the rules of the game.

    There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour including if a player:
    attempts to deceive the referee e.g. by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)
    changes places with the goalkeeper during play or without the referee’s permission
    commits in a reckless manner a direct free kick offence
    commits a foul or handles the ball to interfere with or stop a promising attack
    commits a foul which interferes with or stops a promising attack except where the referee awards a penalty kick for an offence which was an attempt to play the ball

  22. More unsporting conduct resulting in sanction. Basically how everyone else bar is and pretty much Bournemouth and Huddersfield play, to some degree Liverpool.


    Referees must caution players who delay the restart of play by:
    appearing to take a throw-in but suddenly leaving it to a team-mate to take
    delaying leaving the field of play when being substituted
    excessively delaying a restart
    kicking or carrying the ball away, or provoking a confrontation by deliberately touching the ball after the referee has stopped play
    taking a free kick from the wrong position to force a retake

  23. Jena stays on V Barcelona, Kane goes in the recent derby.

    Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off

  24. Serious foul play: intend is enough.

    I forgot, intentionally inciting violent conduct from an opponent. Cesc on Fernandinho.

    A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

    Intent is 9:10

    Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play

  25. The source:

    he Football Association © 2001 – 2018. All Rights Reserved

    To knowingly allow misconduct, whether the trafficking of minors, sexual harassment/assault, or corporate saboutage, violent offences or abuse of position, all lead down the same road.

  26. Conflict, FA states referees are liable for nothing pretty much. This is illegal, it is a misrepresentation of facts.

    A bit like BBC Laura Kuenesberg saying there is no way to reverse Brexit.

    It the recently deseated C4 News director, formerly being the ITV director, owned by C4 madness before that BBC.

  27. informing the referee of irresponsible behaviour by any technical area occupant – 4th official, so any sanction on Arsene it’s always by the 4th official.

    The match officials operate under the direction of the referee. In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve them of their duties and make a report to the appropriate authorities.


  28. An unprecedented 0 stoppage tone.

    I’ve definitely seen a game a topped in less time then indicated by the fourth official.

    • assessment and/or removal of injured players
    • wasting time
    • disciplinary sanctions
    • stoppages for drinks or other medical reasons permitted by
    competition rules
    • any other cause, including any significant delay to a restart
    (e.g. goal celebrations)
    The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each half. The additional time may be increased by the referee but not reduced.

  29. Source BBC 2012 4th officials begin taking note of stoppages.

    Sir Alex Ferguson is among managers that have repeatedly called for the responsibility of timekeeping to be taken away from referees. Has this ever been discussed?

    It has. It is something that has been discussed at the PGMO technical committee, which meets quarterly to discuss and potentially suggest to Fifa any changes in the laws of the game.

    It would be an International Football Association Association Board (Ifab) decision for that to be introduced. If it was to be introduced by a third party, whether that’s a fourth official or somebody up in the stands, Fifa would need to make that decision and if there was a particularly strong request for that, PGMO technical committee could suggest that too.

  30. The FA know!

    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

  31. The bookmakers favourite:

    Salah received the ball in an offside position for goal 2

    Kane Ian offside because the touch is not deliberate an drew the collision is resultant of both players right to occupy the same space on the pitch.

    rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent
    been deliberately saved by any opponent
    A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save by any opponent) is not considered to have gained an advantage.

  32. That penalty:

    if the kick is scored, the goal is disallowed, the kicker is cautioned and play restarts with an indirect free kick to the defending team

    If, after the penalty kick has been taken:

    the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player:
    an indirect free kick (or direct free kick for deliberate hand ball) is awarded the ball is touched by an outside agent as it moves forward:

  33. From what I am reading incidentally, Alex OC incid my of mistaken identity should have resulted in a yellow and an indirect free kick outside the box.

    LoL indeed!

    ‘You know exactly what you’re doong’

  34. I need a team, at least 3 magazines and a micro broadsheet, a website my company re-registering and my LLP, plus the subsidiaries an drew the purchasing arm. And the club I want to buy, which went for £1 not so long ago.

    Blame the .Gov they should not have kicked this hornets net.

    Anyways, Alexis’ second league trip out, Martial started on, Lingaard went off, Matic and Pogba were subbed for Mata, Carrick (lol) and some kid. Another loss, karma is a b**ch!

    Rashford, squad unbalanced. City are 6 games from the league title with 11 to go, I expect it to come sooner.

    Liverpool dismiss Southampton in professional style, Fiminio sorting out his transfer. Salah, going nuclear. VVD returning.

    Chelsea out of the top four, with no incentive for any key player to perform. Kante goes to France and PSG if they miss out; Hazard finally gets home s move to Real, Courtois gets back to Madrid with two options, meanwhile De Gea hasn’t t balance performing with not pricing himself out of a non move.

    Offloading Fiminio will give Klopp chance to rebuild, needs another signing like the last two Mo and VVD, but that’s £110m. Best to avoid too many S, Americans, they tend to fancy leaving eh!

    Now who hits that brick wall first, Spurs, or Liverpool.

    Hey Toby, we have a spot for you, next to Sead, you want it right. We’ll buy you whoever you want as a partner provided they are good enough.

    Hahaha! Can’t wait! Destroying your enemy, let him take himself out, people are great at that.

    Again boys, dust down, again. Unless they’ve got chainsaws, I mean again.

    COYG, IWIT. Rotation for the EL, Mo, Ramsey, Jack, Ozil, Mikhi, PEA17, you get 17 if we make top four!

    Sead, Monreal, Koscielny, Hector, Ospina

    Release all the kids for EL,


    Kill them with pace, exuberance and tenacity!

    We go back to back City! My focus isn’t the league and qualification through too 4. We pull Athletico, we mirror them. Contain for 20, counter.

    The rest don’t scare me.

    I trust them,

  35. Interesting that Wenger, who was on the touchline by the halfway mark, immediately gestured that Kane had used Kos’s body as leverage for his header.. when 3 officials, 2 of whom were much closer to the action, fail to see it. Wenger saw it from 60 yards away, what is their excuse?

    Also found it interesting that Kane had not been flagged off (correct decision) for a free header when he had been level in a similar sort of way Auba was when he was incorrectly flagged off. This just shows that these guys choose not to see what they do not want to see.

    Also noticing a gradual increase in this pattern of officiating from a few linesman; where they call everything they can against us no matter how thin (e.g. at Stoke) while letting our opponents off (e.g. vs City, Watford, etc). Yes replays may show their decisions to have been correct since the player’s eye lashes were off, but how would they have seen that in real time? It just demonstrates a preconceived desire to blow against us. Think we need to start paying attention to who the linesman are a lot more.

  36. Just to add to my post above, there has certainly been an increase in key decisions being (erroneously) made by linesman, influencing results, unlike in previous years (e.g. the kane penalty v Liverpool). New tactics from the pgmob? Wouldn’t put it past that mob.

  37. @Tony Attwood, do you mean the amateur teams are better at defending? LOL.

    Good post Josif but I’m not sure there’ll be any change at the end of the season should we again fail to qualify for the CL. I always like your post btw, very measured and objective on the whole.

    Personally I’m no fan of the CL, a competition wrongly named and one we didn’t stand a hope in a hell of winning for the last dozen years or so anyway and I was finding the endless humiliations at the hands of the proper big teams of Europe rather tedious. The Europa Cup is our level and has been for many many years.

    Spurs aren’t hailed as the greatest of teams, Man City are. Yes Spurs beat us and deservedly so though it pains me to say so.

    And I agree change for changes sake is rarely a wise action but there also comers a time when change is necessary. Chelsea have changed managers regularly and won plenty of honours. Spurs, Pool, City and Utd. all have in the last ten years with mixed success for some but there has been the constant striving from all these teams to improve. We just seem happy bumbling along, content to annually fight for fourth and looking more fragile every year.

  38. @AI:

    But Wenger said: “The first goal was key and we conceded it.

    “Kane made the difference, that’s what he’s about.

    “I have seen the replay, it is no foul, just good centre-forward play.

    “We can only look at ourselves.”

    Wenger himself has said that was a perfectly good goal. what other excuse do you have?

  39. Thing is about perspectives is, we can only go by the perspective we have of the performances we see.
    To say that our forwards have failed us in the game against spuds is of course right, but the team failed us too in the 2nd half.

    What else is one supposed to say? We cant rely that other forwards came good later, all we can do is hope that these forwards come good sooner than later too, especially after their past performances signify that they will, but until they do, we can only go on what we see in the last game.

    To try to excuse it is being just like those who condemn it.
    Tell it as it is played out before us and we will have so much more joy when they do come good.

    Ok, we are biased, but to try to make excuses is not our call, we can only react to exactly what is played out before us each game. Take them one at a time and let our emotions be sad or happy as the result requires.

    Any more than that is going into the realms of “excuses” or “condemnation”, is that not true?

  40. Al

    I suspect that Wenger was only gesturing that Kane had climbed on / pushed Koscielny because Monreal was gesturing wildly that that was what had happened. After seeing the replays, Wenger subsequently said that he didn’t believe that it was a foul after all. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Kane had momentum on his side, allowing for a prodigious leap. There is not a chance that Koscielny could have jumped that high from a standing start so there was only ever going to be one winner of that header. Technically, was it a foul? Yes, probably. But when you see it in real time rather than slo-mo or still shot, you can see that Kane derives little benefit from it. Regardless, I don’t think we can blame the officials for not seeing it. I was directly behind that goal, near the front, and didn’t see it.

    And if it helps to relieve any feelings of the officials conspiring against Arsenal during this match, as you claim, I could just as easily point to a not entirely dissimilar infringement that was missed by the officials. Early in the game, Spurs broke down their left. Alli crossed along the ground for Kane but Mustafi intercepted, forcing Cech into a dive to prevent an own goal. Replays showed that, as Kane was trying to meet the cross, Elneny was holding him back by the arm. Would Kane have got to the ball first had it not been for Elneny’s foul? Probably not. But just as with the goal incident, it was nevertheless technically a foul. So a penalty should have been the result. So let’s call it even on that score.

    As to the Aubameyang offside, firstly…….no, the Kane free header that was correctly called onside was not similarly close. Kane was a good yard / half yard onside. Aubameyang was millimetres onside, if that. A harsh call, perhaps. Possibly even wrong. But so very close that there cannot be any real blame directed at the linesman. Certainly, accusations of conspiracy seem wholly inappropriate in this instance.

    Again, if it helps to relieve feelings of persecution, there appeared to have been another very marginal call shortly before the Aubameyang offside. Kane was completely clear down the inside left channel in Arsenal’s half with support inside him. There looked to be a very high probability of an excellent goal scoring opportunity. But the referee deemed that Kane had obstructed an Arsenal defender on the halfway line. I haven’t seen a replay of the incident, so stand to be corrected, but it seemed to me to be a harsh and possibly incorrect call. Certainly, if the ref was hell bent on helping Spurs to win – or Arsenal to lose – he wouldn’t have given it.

    None of which is to dismiss any legitimate complaints and concerns that you and Untold generally has about PGMOL. Rather it’s just to say that the officials didn’t influence the outcome of this match – at least, not purposefully. If I was an Arsenal fan, instead of seeking to find blame elsewhere, I’d be asking why the team looked so vulnerable and disjointed in the second half; why is it that the away form is so poor; why does Ozil too often fade into obscurity in big games; is there a lack of mental fortitude in the squad; how can Wenger sort out the defence / defensive midfield with the players available; and much else besides.

  41. Wenger’s view is his own, I have my own view, and there’s no way Kane is staying in the air that long to head the ball if he’s not holding onto something, Kos in this case. Crouch scored quite a few illegal goals like that, remember one at a world cup where he pulled down a defender’s dreadlocks for leverage. That’s a foul, whether anybody else comes and says they don’t think it is doesn’t change anything.

    My view is thats a carefully worded statement from Wenger, given what’s gone on before when he complained about these decisions..

  42. @JimB

    “As to the Aubameyang offside, firstly…….no, the Kane free header that was correctly called onside was not similarly close. Kane was a good yard / half yard onside. Aubameyang was millimetres onside, if that. A harsh call, perhaps. Possibly even wrong. But so very close that there cannot be any real blame directed at the linesman. Certainly, accusations of conspiracy seem wholly inappropriate in this instance.”

    Yes, it should be a blame at the linesman. “In dubio pro reo”, as they say in the criminal law. When in doubt, decide for the suspect. In football, it’s a player that was suspected to commit an illegal act – in our case, it’s Aubameyang. The linesman made a wild guess due to poor positioning and instead of letting Aubameyang to go one-on-one with Lloris (and probably scoring his fifth goal in five games against Spurs), he raised the flag.

    Not for the first time this season an offside call at Wembley went against Aubameyang and for Spurs – similar thing happened before Spurs scored their third goal in Champions League match.

    Only a week after two close offside calls went Spurs’ way to the extent PGMO had to publish a statement (when was the last time before Kane-Lovren incident they had done it?) to protect their fat incompetent employee?


    A bit off-topic, now that you mentioned illegal goals from the past: do you think that legendary Bergkamp’s goal v Newcastle should have been given? Take a look at the goal and the description of the goal by Bergkamp himself.

  43. Josif

    Aubameyang was put through by an exquisite 10-15 yard, threaded forward pass by Wilshere. At the time, Wilshere was close to the linesman on his side of the pitch. Consequently, after the split second that it would have taken for the linesman to switch his attention from the pass being made to Aubameyang’s position, there is likely to have been little of the doubt (that you cite) in the linesman’s mind that the Arsenal striker was offside.

    Had the pass been across the pitch (at least somewhat) rather than forward; and / or had it been a pass of 5 yards or less; and / or had it occurred on the other side of the pitch (in which case, the greater distance would have allowed the linesman’s peripheral vision to hold both Wilshere and Aubameyang in view); and had the linesman still made the same call, then you would have had greater justification for being so unforgiving. As it is, though, I can’t help feeling that you are failing to appreciate just how difficult a linesman’s job can be in such instances.

    By the way, since you mentioned it, Dortmund’s second goal at Wembley was not offside indeed but since it occurred after a foul by a Dortmund player on a Spurs player only seconds before (Spurs player went up to head, Dortmund player eased him out of the way while making no attempt to jump for the ball), it was the right outcome ultimately.

  44. If we’d have lost 4-0 which we might well have done perhaps we’d have less of this conspiracy nonsense. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched highlights of league games and seen definite penalties not given, offsides missed, fouls unseen or ignored. Just about every decent attacking team in every match should have had one penalty.

    There’s no sensible reason why any organisation should wish to obstruct Arsenal in their quest for league glory. Not buying a decent DM for ten years is probably the more cogent reason for no league title, or having a defence that knows how to defend consistently.

    Prosaically the truth maybe that most of the big teams in the last dozen years have had better players. There’s no shame in that, it’s just how it is.

    As I’ve said to Tony before I’m out of step with modern Arsenal. I don’t actually know what the purpose of the club is. Is it purely in existence to make money for Kronke? Is it merely a personal experiment for Arsene Wenger? Does it have any actual obvious ambition? If so is that financially motivated or trophy motivated? I mean to a certain extent one has to feed off the other but then how much can you neglect one at the expense of the other?

    Maybe I’m just too obtuse to understand the subtleties of the modern Arsenal business model. In which case ten years from now we’ll be the richest club in the world with a couple of league titles to our name and I will apologise to anyone I may have offended with my confusion.

  45. Change the offside rule to if the whole body of the attacker is beyond the last defender than it’s offside, similar to the ball must be fully cross the line to be considered out of play or a goal.

  46. We don’t seem to get the benefit of the doubt, that is what worries. me. So many 50/50 decisions go against us, it is almost as if we can only get the blatant decisions.

    Abubamayang was onside Saturday, yes it was close but nevertheless onside. Take the lead and the whole dynamic changes, goals change games.

    Lacazettes goal at Stoke was ruled out when replays showed he was in line.

    Making these type of runs to beat the offside trap is a skill that is practised. Therefore, we should expect the linesman (asst ref) to allow for that.

    These are human errors and to be fair these are tough calls but we just don’t seem to get them. The best example is the game at Stoke where, apart from lacazettes ‘goal’, we have 4 clear penalties turned down.

    Yes we had a generous decision in the Burnley game (as we are always reminded) but with us these things don’t even themselves out. Ricarlisons dive, the WBA handball, I could go on. Not sure if it is bias or just bad luck but we certainly don’t get the benefit of the doubt very often. That is a fact.

  47. Rupert, I am sorry that you have not understood the essence of what the few of us who have written articles on refereeing problems in the Premier League. We’ve really done our level best to explain our view, not just in the 160 reviews section and on Refereeing Decisions, but in a large number of individual articles. We have compared the situation in the PL with refereeing in other major leagues in Europe, and shown what I believe are significant differences which raise all sorts of questions which the PL and PGMO never discuss, and which the media have no interest in taking up.
    Fine, we will continue to develop this theme, and you dismiss it as nonsense. Of course that’s your view. But you have said it now, and I think it is time that you should stop saying it. Just saying the same thing over and over without further elucidation is, I find, rather boring.

  48. @Tony, I’m not saying the refereeing is good in comparison with other leagues in Europe, did I mention that? No I didn’t. Yes I have seen all these statistics and as I’ve said before refereeing in your armchair is very different to the reality. That better refereeing is the case abroad may well be a fact though I’m sure fans abroad get as infuriated with refs sometimes like we do. I’m not disputing your good and tireless work at all so please don’t be offended.

    I simply pointed out that I see no reason why there’s a conspiracy against Arsenal. It just seems odd, that’s all. What is the purpose of this bias? I also find it strange that every ref, or some of them anyhow, would be instructed to penalise Arsenal. Surely if this had been going on for years we’d have found out by now? You have yet to explain this. It mystifies me so maybe you can tell me why the refs are instructed to punish us? I don’t want to antagonise you, I’m only wondering why. I sincerely would like to be enlightened.

    ( And if you have explained this in the past I must have missed it and do accept my apology for asking you to repeat it again ).

    All the best and I hope my post hasn’t bored you to death!

  49. Rupert, I can’t go any further. I have explained it all so often there is nothing more I can add. So please just accept, quite a few people understand what those of us who have written about refereeing are writing about, but after hundreds of articles going back eight or nine years, you don’t. Let’s just leave it.

  50. Mr. Atwood as always I have a very high regard for you as a fan and also for your knowledge in the history of Arsenal FC. I just would like to raise 2 points as a respectful conversation. A) I genuinely believe majority of the fans were patient while we were repaying our loan for the stadium. During that time we lost a lot of talented players those years were the years of pain and we persevered. In 2013 we bought OZIL, followed that with acquiring Sanchez in the following year and most of the fans agreed with Mr. Wenger that we cannot rebuild the team in one or two season. But the following year 2015 out talent acquisition was only Chech. Now this was baffling the lack of planning or pursuing the plan was evident this season. In the coming years we missed on lot if talent in areas we needed to bolster. Virgil was playing for Celtic those days and we did not move for him.and he landed in Southampton. The saga of Kante having approached us and we not going for him is well documented. When a larger section of the fans including me are baying for a change in manager is not a thought that has happened overnight. Lot of us truly believe that Arsene’ s best before date has long past us by and.his present decisions are hurting the club much more than doing good. B) I agree with you being at the top is no entitlement for any club. I am sure there are many fans who would be happy to see the club well prepared for each match tactically or otherwise putting a good show and then it’s a sport we loose some we win some, everyone understands. Our frustration is we see the team making same mistakes year after year after year and there is no correction. Every team needs a leader a character like Tony Adams was like Patrick Vierra was to go through tough matches and hold the team together. We have not had such characters in the team for long. Although I am.not privy to the insight of what goes on inside. But I have a feeling that ALEXIS was one such character. Be that as it may. Our major concern is slipping down a spiral and after a point returning becomes extremely difficult as it happened with many clubs you mentions like Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds etc. Forget what the fans feel if you see the difference in points between the league leaders and Arsenal it is clear to see we are slipping each year. This season after 27 games we are 27 points behind the league leaders and 8 points behind the much coveted Arsenal 4th position. I hope at the end of this season Arsene resigns and the club management gets us a good.manager like Mr. Lowe. With the talent we already have and a few tweaks to our defense I am sure we will be a force to reckon with under a good manager like Mr. Lowe. We play well put our best foot forward and I am sure the fans will be re-energised. Most Arsenal fans are reasonable if they see the club on the ascendancy a good vibe will be back.

  51. The rules were not applied, the score could have been far greater in our favour, or far worse against.

    One thing remains, the score was not and the score was directly impacted by the lack of application of the rules, regardless of interpretation.

    When someone considers all of tue reasons a decision which not is inaccurate, yet not then innacuracy, obvious bias or methodology used to bias the game, I am not stpinded. But again question them, an drew there motivations.

    One quietly calls from r replacement, whom with, let alone the statistical basis for that change.

    The other maligns who, what does he do, pull money out of some near crevice.

    Tired of humans!

  52. People acting like you can’t say one thing and think or feel another, they clearly have little interaction with females; of any meaning and are not female.

  53. Tony & Co. I am out, an owner who wants undermine the manager, so as rob fascilotate his BS, and they’d actually can see it, the dumb fans, the fake fans, the hacks etc. An drew they can see the demise of the game as something of a spectical to behold and they still ask for any entertainment. Even if the end result isn’t against what they really crave.

    Lost is an understatement, I can put up with it or then, and I’m close to smacking everyone in the mouth. So……

    What will be will be, they can try as they might, but I think neither he nor I will implode, they want is, they can try take us.

    In me I trust


    Valentines, the only thing o discovered was the how. Small compensation. Now to try and feed myself!

  54. Josif
    Sorry just seeing this, and gone and viewed Bergkamp’s goal again, don’t see much wrong with it apart from a few flailing arms from both players. Unless I’m missing something?

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