Official reactions to Dyche will show us how the authorities are thinking

by Tony Attwood

Sean Dyche made a number of serious accusations against Arsenal players in particular, the  Arsenal team in general, after the match yesterday and complained about the behaviour of the referee in this match and referees in general through commenting on the fact that (he claims) Burnley do not get given penalties.

The issue now arises as to whether in so doing he was bringing the game into disrepute through comments that would make the general public to think less or poorly of the Premier League football and whether he was improperly seeking to influence the action of referees in the future.

In short, Dyche went far far beyond saying “that was a stonewall penalty” when pointing to a specific incident, but instead complained both that Arsenal players constantly fouled Burnley players with impunity and that no matter what opposition players do to Burnley players, Burnley never gets a penalty.  (His exact phrase was “Where do you want to start with the decisions? Shall we start with the 61 games without a penalty?”)

Taking Dyche’s comments as a whole one could draw one of these conclusions…

1: Arsenal were diving, pushing, fouling and cheating repeatedly and the referee was incompetent by not giving penalties, free kicks and other punishments.   The referee thus should be suspended or at least severely reprimanded.

2: Arsenal were not diving etc and thus the referee was not incompetent on this score but refereed the match in a balanced and reasonable way.   Dyche’s allegations are therefore untrue and the matter should be investigated with a view to seeing if Dyche was bringing the game into disrepute by alleging the wholesale failure and possibly bias of the referee.

3: In matches, clubs are repeatedly using the tactics specifically against Burnley.   Indeed the clear implication of Dyche’s comments is that referees are repeatedly biased against Burnley.   This would suggest some sort of anti-Burnley conspiracy by referees and to consider this the FA would have to investigate PGMO which employs the referees.

Thus the issue I am considering thus is not so much if Dyche was right in his accusations, but what the League, the FA and PGMO should do about these accusations.

To ignore the allegations and do nothing about the implications suggests that any manager can now make any allegations – allegations which in any other field of professional life would almost certainly lead to legal action for slander.

What was particularly interesting is that the media generally have reported Sean Dyche comments, so they very much are in the public domain, but not considered the implications.

And it is not the question of whether Arsenal players dived throughout the match (Dyche particularly mentioned Mesut Özil and Granit Xhaka as being offenders), but rather whether managers can now say anything with impunity.

Here’s an example:

“We’re on about blatant, no touch, no contact; about phantom touches and people just jumping up in the air and going over.  The absolute cheating, dives. No one seems to want to do anything about it, apart from me. If one of their players had been booked for it – he would have been off.

“I want to see people banned because if they were, it would evaporate. I’m not talking about gamesmanship. You clip a centre-forward in the box and he goes down. End of story. I’m talking about blatant diving. Cheating.”

This is such a clear statement of referee incompetence that to ignore it means that anyone can allege anything now – and that is the issue the authorities face.

But if we move on there is another matter, if we listen to the diatribe and watch a re-run of the match and consider Dyche right then clearly the referee here was incompetent and should not referee again.  If we take his broader perspective that it is happening all the time, then all the PGMO officials are incompetent or biased, and the PGMO is similarly incompetent or biased for employing them.

So who is going to hold the PGMO to account?  That’s an interesting point because as far as I can see they are answerable to no one.  

But, what if Dyche was incorrect.  Why would he lie in such an overt and open manner to the world’s media?

One reason could be that the stress of the job has got to him and his employers should seek psychological help for him.   Another is that he is trying to divert attention from the action of his own team and their fouling, perhaps secure in the knowledge that the FA will not bring action against him.  Certainly this would be the tactic of a man who feared for his job.

But Dyche reported that after the game Emery said to him, “You are questioning the referee?” and Dyche stated that he replied “You’re absolutely right I was.”  So there’s no doubt about his point of view.

And indeed even the media (which rarely seems to support Arsenal in such disputes) felt Dyche had completely lost any relationship with reality, the Guardian for example saying of one Burnley player, “As ever, Barnes appeared to run on rage.”

Dyche then attempted to suggest that his anger was because he was trying to protect the good of the game with talk of “Kids everywhere are watching, all copying it. No-one seems to care about it. It’s purely factual. Facts, facts, facts. Nothing to do with a campaign. If it was a campaign I’d be out there everywhere.

“I want to see people banned because if they were, it would evaporate out of the game. Millions of children, millions of children.”

But then he went onto stranger different ground.

“There’s no point speaking to the referees. They haven’t got any power. It’s a bigger picture than that…

“The powers-that-be have to get their heads together. The Premier League, the FA, the PGMOL – they’ve all got to get their heads together because it’s gone too far.”

As for whether Burnley were cheated, beyond examining the game we might also note that Arsenal scored three goals but Burnley had only two shots on target.  That does suggest a certain disparity between the teams.

Will any of the authorities take action in relation to Dyche’s comments?   Will Dyche get punished, the referee suspended or PGMO investigated (the only three logical responses to what he saud)?

I suspect not.  But we can wait and see.

Final score live match report Arsenal – Burnley : 3-1

30 Replies to “Official reactions to Dyche will show us how the authorities are thinking”

  1. Tony
    I watched the game yesterday on a stream with no sound and rewatched the game on MOTD
    The game was sanitised by the BBC and bore no resemblance to the live game , Barns was a warrior and Burnley were hard done by .
    We can go into various incidences in the game and with your views and many readers on this site Arsenal are up against big propaganda machines which try to distort what is going on in the running of the Premier League

  2. it would be good to bring back some honesty into the playing of the game. i certainly believe guendouzi goes down too easily but watching other matches i do not see that arsenal stand out in this respect . even in the huddersfield match there were two instances where huddersfield players appeared to go down similarly but were not booked. it would be helpful if commentators were condemning of the taking one for the team attitude . do not see any difference between this and diving.

  3. This manager better watch a video of the game and it will show how the Burnley players were dishing out robust tackles.
    Ozil was brought tumbling to the ground and no free kick was given. The worst was the stamp on our French md.The Burnley player shd have been given a red but no yc was given.
    Hopefuly come May this team will get banished to the Championship.

  4. Tony, these comments go far further than those Arsene used to make and which always saw charges brought against him.

    I thought Mr Friend was very lenient throughout, Burnley should have had two players sent off for double yellow cards and yet Mr Friend went out of his was just to warn the players and the Burnley captain about not doing it again.

    I thought Özil in particular was rat getter by rotational fouling and was far more sinned against than sinner. When this is happening the team captain should be instructed that the next foul will incur a card irrespective of the number of fouls that player has committed and if that doesn’t stop the fouling the captain should also get a card as well as the player committing the foul.

    If the referee considers a player has dived he should be booked no matter where on the pitch the incident happens. VAR would probably help in reaching the right decision as to the severity of contact, if any.

    Mr Dyche was probably surprised that Arsenal now have players able to stand up to his team’s bullying tactics and give back as much as they received. He must also be very concerned about his security of tenure given the way they are playing and position in the table. Seventh last year and odds on for relegation this season. And Mourinho is now available as a replacement!

  5. @Ron
    Yes, Guendouzi go down very easily and the ref gave a free kick against him because he touched the ball with his hands when he fell. And I think we should have conceded a pen when Kola pushed a Burnley player in the pen area.
    61 games without a single penalty is very odd. Is it because of their style of play? I’m reviewing the match on french TV and I think you can’t play this way in modern game. And their only goal in this match… I mean this kind of goal should be banned from modern game. Football is not about 22 warriors in a pitch anymore. So don’t be surprised if you’re treated like warriors when you play like warriors. That said, refering in PL is atrocious. No one can argue with that, apart may be Sir Alex. PL and the FA should definitely investigate about refering in PL.

  6. Burnley, like a couple of other teams in the EPL have only one tactic and that’s to make the game as ‘physical’ as they can and to engineer as many (preferably aerial) confrontations as they can. Last season Mavropanos in particular was rock solid in resisting it and we won 5-0. This year Sokratis did the job and it was a slightly less convincing outcome.
    When your only tactic is being nullified week after week it is going to frustrate any manager. Stoke made it last for years but it seems to be being found out a bit more often these days and hopefully the coaches that employ those tactics will fade from importance and we will end up with a far more skillful/technical EPL. If it requires players to ‘over react’ to physical intimidation in order to achieve that cleansing of the situation then, sadly, we are going to have to go through it.

  7. To suggest that Sean dyche comments that diving automatically means refs are incompetent is a total stretch and is an interpretation to help support Tony’s argument. All it means is the ref has been conned. Are we going to condoned this cheating, I hope not. I would go further than banning the players. I a club was docked points for it the managers would soon clamp down on the players and it would stop almost immediately. The comment about arsenal scoring three goals and Burnley only having two on target is another flippant statement. If the penalty had been awarded I’m sure it would have been three on target and probably 2 goals. Also this would have changed the game and arsenal probably wouldn’t have got the third. I am also fairly sure one of the arsenal goals were offside. Food for thought

  8. Tony – if I had suggested that Dyche’s comments that diving automatically means refs are incompetent it would be a “stretch” as you put it, but I did not suggest anything of a kind. I wrote about the logical outcomes of his commentary, given the rules within the PL.

  9. Dyche was right about one thing, the ref was incompetent or at least not doing his job, if he was , Burnley would have had at least two sent off and maybe more. But unfortunately, teams, or certain types of teams are given a lot of latitude to kick our players, and very glad to see players like Papa S coming in maybe to help counter this, he did a great job yesterday, as did Kola and others.
    At this point, we cannot be sure, but I suspect the powers that be will do nothing about the Burnley manager. He is English, he is part of that League Managers Association cabal of Home grown managers who tend to get away with things, are indulged by the media, like his footballing cousins, Pulis and Allardyce, Hughes and recently Jose. Stoke have departed, but another manager always seems to follow their tactics, this relic at Burnley seems to have stepped into the breach. Not like the English game to move forward too quickly when there is mileage in cloggers kicking better teams.
    For me, a good 2019, away from Arsenal, with Jose and Hughes gone, will then see Middleboro miss out on promotion, Allardyce untouchable in terms of employment, Burnley relegated with that will entail for Dyche. I know others may step in, but doubt many will be quite as cynical as this unpleasant breed of English managers determined to keep our game in the Stone Age.
    I strongly suspect Dyches tactics after the game were diversionary, for a number of reasons.

  10. sean dyche clearly lost the plot for reasons Andrew made clear, the scary thing is that it seems that there are enough people to take him seriously, look at the comments on Motd, instead of calling him out as a sore looser with the tactical brain of a troll who ran against opposition who were not affraid to give back. Go Sokratis! Go Torreira! COYG!

  11. Good to see Arsenal supporters have not changed. What a totally biased report & Dyche said ” he was shouting at the referee” in reply to emery’s comment. We see week in week out total bias by officials towards top 6 clubs. 61 games without a penalty tells you something,to many incidents to outline!!!! Diving it is not just Arsenal it it is rife in the PL.

  12. OT – I see the Guardian (with all their usual independence in football matters) have just named their 100 best players in the world. Of course we know what the media are like when it comes to Arsenal but to put PEA in 55th as the 15th best premiership player when he has the best strike rate of anyone in the premiership in 2018 is a bit odd. What, however, is completely offensive (PEA should sue!!) is the idea that he is 14 places behind Lukaku ffs……………….

  13. OT – I see the Guardian (with all their usual independence in football matters) have just named their 100 best players in the world. Of course we know what the media are like when it comes to Arsenal but to put PEA in 55th as the 15th best premiership player when he has the best strike rate of anyone in the premiership in 2018 is a bit odd. What, however, is completely offensive (PEA should sue!!) is the idea that he is 14 places behind Lukaku ffs……………….

  14. OK that may be true Gordon, but to make your case you would need to provide some evidence. As you will hvae seen, on this site we have done just that at
    So now show us you are not just being sarcastic and provide us with similar evidence. You will find the readership of this site is very keen on evidence – and logic. And indeed in my article I just found the logical extensions of a current situation. I am sure you will want to do the same.

  15. Just watching full game highlights on Arsenal Player. It’s clear that Sean Dyche’s instruction to his team is that Arsenal “don’t like it up ’em” and Barnes, Westwood , Mee and Cork are all guilty of following through into the back of Arsenal players multiple times, then moaning to Kevin Friend trying get Arsenal players booked.

    I agree Guendouzi goes down too easily sometimes, but he didn’t deserve the “stamp” by Barnes, who should have been red carded.

    Also everytime the camera pans back to the dugouts, there’s Dyche bending the ear of the 4th official. He is a serial offender at trying to intimidate officials.

    I agree that the Kolasinac push could have been given as pen, but the WWF defending of Burnley defenders could also have been penalised in the box.

    Fortunately we have – in Sokratis – a warrior who enjoys taking on the opposition.

  16. There is pushing in the box at each and every corner and free kick near the box. If a penalty was given for each one, there would be little time for any other play.

    The reason why this was not a penalty was simply because he was pushed one way and fell down the exact opposite way.

    It was obviously a simulation, although one wonders why he was not booked for it.

  17. It is interesting that Guendouzi is being seen as a diver. There is a recognition on this site that he does seem to go down easily at times…few of us, I would say, condone this. Perhaps an SAF-like comment “He’s a good lad but he can’t be doing that…I’ll have a word with him” would help the propaganda wars. That and choosing his spots better.

    From a broader perspective, however, I would say that he is being recognized as a key player of our system by opponents and/or a soft player and is being targeted. Veiera was targeted when he arrived and he fought back…Reyes was targeted and he wilted. It will be interesting to see not only the big picture as Tony has suggested but the more personal picture to see how the individual, and his teammate, react. I cannot predict how the coaching staff will react but I would suggest, based on 18 matches, that this version of Arsenal, will not back down. I like the way that Socratis, Torreira, Kolasinac and Lichsteiner give as good as they get. Wrapping yourself in the flag, as the defender of all that is good and virtuous only goes so far, Mr. Dyche. Perhaps, you should try winning some matches.

  18. @jjsol I agree. Kolasinac did give a slight push in the back but the contortions of the Burnley player before he hit the turf were truly worthy of an olympic gymnast…or a cat.

  19. The MOTD editing eh?

    Either it’s a parody sketch show written by Chris Morris and Sacha Baren Cohen, or they need help. Serious help. A lens clealer to help them see their monitors, screens or the football cwould be a good place to start.

    No credibility left whatsoever.

  20. Regarding the push from Kolasnic, it appears to me that the Burnley player was running backwards and straight towards Kolasnic, it is not required that any player should not be expected to get out of the way of any other player. The push was for protecting his own ground and also if it was a foul, why would a player fall backwards when he was being pushed forward.

  21. Mandy; good to see you back every so often. As usual I totally agree with your thoughts. Hopefully, as the way of all dinosaurs, Dyche will perish, but long before the meteorite crash. He got it so wrong with his tactics for the new Arsenal. No mate, we do not roll over to thuggery any more. Lichsteiner and Sokratis are excellent professionals in this respect. Also good to see Ozil getting involved at incidents, as captain. Nothing changes as regards the agenda driven media, pathetic motd, hopeless pigmob, but Emery’s Arsenal is evolving very satisfactorily. COYG!

  22. Thanks Genorm.
    Agree, and Emery is doing a very good job. There are a few things that need working on, but that will happen in time. All things considered, UE has been excellent

  23. One other aspect of the Dyche rants. He said it is a physical game and that crowds like the contact. He should think on and ponder whether crowds really like watching football the way that Burnley played it. Who really wants to pay hard earned money to watch the crap served up by Burnley every week. Sooner or later even the home crowds get fed up.

  24. I am working on another pass of cleaning some part of my data.

    In the past, you could see data about all situations where a player needed treatment. After the third game of this season, the only data you could get was treatments which required the player to be removed from the field (or was a goaltender – which they still screw up).

    All of these treatments are “serious” enough that the player is receiving treatment for some length of time off the field of play. Perhaps that precludes the possibility of these being simulations? I suspect some simulators would follow this through being carried off the field.

    Being serious treatments, some have involved long term injury. Arsenal lost Ainslay Maitland-Niles and Rob Holding to such incidents. I have no way to be exclusive on who has been or who wasn’t for any team, let alone Arsenal. There has been about 200-250 such treatments so far this 2018/19 season. I think about 3% involve the issuing of a card. All cards issued, are for rough play on the person inflicting the injury (none for simulation of an injury). Perhaps double this 3% (I am not sure, yet) have the player in question being substituted at some point, so likely to be injured.

    This says two things to me:
    1. THE PGMO doesn’t thing there is any simulation in the league.
    2. The PGMO is not interested in protecting the health of players on the field.

    But, I am cleaning the data to prepare for looking at some more relationships.

  25. What would help, is if you know of situations this season, where a treatment eventually became a player being injured, or a situation where a player’s injury is self-inflicted, please write in with this. I believe there are 2 or 3 instances where an opposition player to Arsenal was trying to tackle an Arsenal player, and injured themselves. I have almost no information on similar situations involving other teams.

  26. somewhat controversially can I say that I quite like Sean Dyche? Last year Burnley did pretty well but this year (as Tony and discussed on the way to the match) they have found that the success of finishing in the EL places caught them out. Without the depth of squad (and pockets) of other teams in the top 10 they had to start their season too early and have suffered. Dyche built a side to get our of the Championship and fight to stay in the ‘big time’. He;s done well but this is such an unforgiving league that Burnley are now facing relegation and life back in the football league, perhaps for a long time.

    Now, I have limited sympathy for a team of bruisers like I saw on Saturday, and I echo the comments that admire the fact that Arsenal can now mix it again. But I don’t think Dyche is a bad manager nor do I condemn him for standing up for himself and his team. Little teams do get a raw deal in the league, we see that every week, and while I hate the time wasting, the shithousery and the rotational fouling, if you don’t have much else to offer then what can you do? Roll over and let Arsenal, Citeh, Liverpool!!!, and Chavski put 5 past you every week?

    Merry Christmas folks!

  27. Blacksheep

    While The (sweet) FA is trying to make english football more english, the problem they run into in UEFA even many years ago is that they are too english.

    The EPL is a mixture of 2 leagues: a Top-N league and the Rest Of The Pack (ROTP). At the moment it appears N is 6, in the not too distant past it was 4. It is not impossible for 1 or 2 of the N to have a bad year, and hence finish outside of the Top-N at the end of the season.

    The Rest Of The Pack (ROTP) in many years, behaves as a group of 20-N teams that are all identical. By and large who gets relegated is a crapshoot, just a roll of the dice. There is no significant difference between the quality of the team in highest non-Top-N team and the 3 teams which are relegated.

    A few years ago, the PGMO (probably involving The (sweet) FA) wanted to demonstrate to investors all over the world, that any team could win the EPL (with help). And they successfully guided a ROTP team to winning the EPL. As near as I can tell, it was a 2000:1 shot.


    I would say the writer does a good job in trying to assume that everything is fair.

    If I look at the last 2 paragraphs, Dyche knew coming into this game that his team would be allowed to be far more physical than they normally are. That he then talked about Arsenal dives, is because in the game before, some idjuts in the medja talked about Arsenal dives. Most of which was refuted?

    But what would help (probably disallowed by EPL contract) is for Arsenal to show video of the actual contact, and then show the stud marks on the player in exactly the place the video would presumed stud marks would be.

    And then we would get charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

  28. On the flip side, the EPL does have N > 2. There are entirely too many leagues where N=1 or N=2.

    For me, that is what makes the EPL the best league.

    But to have all this crap about PGMO is not needed, and should be removed.

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