By Tony Attwood
Arsenal were accused of three simulation attempts during the Huddersfield match, and each time a player was given a yellow card.
Two of these events were shown in match of the day during the reprise of the game, and in discussion after the panel gave their view that they thought these were not to simualtions. The two men involved – Ian Wright and Martin Keown were Arsenal men who are known on occasion to be critical of Arsenal – Keown particularly so.
The third was not shown at all during the match but was played in slow motioned at the end of the game and thought by the panel to be a simulation. So the programme commentators thought just one out of three was an actual simulation.
However there was a curious point made in discussion on this site – one that suggested that I should not be criticising Huddersfield when Arsenal were doing such bad things as faking fouls.
This is something that interests me because it is arising more and more – the notion that one should not be making a certain point.
In the early days of Untold the point was often made that we were lopsided and unbalanced in our commentaries and that because of this we could not be taken seriously. My response has always been that we need to press our case strongly because we are alone in making the points we make; everyone else presents cases that are biased against Arsenal.
For example not only is the bias and secrecy of the PGMO not riased at all, but the issues of the way in which PGMO is run (so very different from the rest of Europe) is not debated it. We therefore have to raise it since no one else does. But how then can we raise the contrary point of view, when there is no such view. It is either our discussion, or no discussion at all.
The fact is that when no one else is discussing a point the only thing we can do is make our point, give such evidence as we can, and allow others to comment. There is no need to put the alternative point of view, because it is there all the time.
It is also suggested that somehow we should not put a point because we are not qualified enough – again a question that I virtually never see put before other blogs. In this case the point was made that our credibility was reduced by a spelling mistake. One can of course argue this, but is seems rather a curious notion. My dyslexia, long apparent to readers of Untold, has no impact on my ability to analyse and draw conclusions.
But were Arsenal guilty of cheating by simulation? No, I think not with the exception possibly of Guendouzi, a 19 year old clearly excited by his elevation from the French second division to the big time in just six months. Quite possibly he did simulate the foul, but I am not sure how much that affects anything, other than raising the question: how could the referee get the two previous simulations so wrong? Is the ref being sent for re-training? I suspect not, but of course we don’t know because PGMO is a hyper-secret organisation.
The fact is, the attempt to suggest that Arsenal are multiple cheats is very similar to the attempt by the media to suggest that Pulis was wrong to hype up his players as he did, while ignoring that they approved of his actions and criticised Arsenal for not being man enough to take the resultant assaults.
Further they chose match after match to ignore the referees’ ability to control the players and stop them committing such assaults upon Arsenal.
The reporting of the Huddersfield match in most cases ignored the way the Huddersfield team were set up and how they played, as well as ignoring how the referee controlled the game. No one else mentioned it much, so if it were not for us, there would be hardly any coverage of an approach to the match which did little to promote the good name of football.
Calling out things that are wrong, while trying to provide some evidence and comparisons is all that we can do in the face of the onslaught that Arsenal receive.
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