by Walter Broeckx, the referee
Together with West Bromwich Albion came ref Michael Oliver. A young ref with some kind of reputation. Let us see how his match was. Could it be worse than ours?
OTHER/CARD: the ref blows a foul against Eboue at the moment the foul is given. The ball runs to Nasri who could have made a run at goal but is called back by the whistle. The ref gives a yellow card against the WBA devender. The foul was correct but he could have given an advantage. 1/1 and 1/1. I will come back on the advantage later on.
PENALTY/CARD: the WBA striker goes on goal surrounded by Arsenal defenders. Almunia comes out, the player pushes the ball to the outside and is fouled. The ref gives a penalty and a yellow card. Penalty is correct and according to the instructions the yellow card is also correct. The player goes to the outside of the keeper and if the keeper brings him down it is a yellow card. If the player would have gone at the other side of the keeper (direct route on goal) it would have been a red card. 1/1 and 1/1.
CARD: late tackle on Sagna. Should have been a yellow card. 0/1
GOAL: as a supporter we can have some complaints but when you look at the rule book I cannot find anything to complain about. 1/1
CARD: yellow card against Koscielny and nothing to complain I think. 1/1
GOAL/CARD: as a supporter we can maybe have even more complaints but again when I look at the rule book I cannot find anything to complain about. The scorer gets a yellow card for pulling out his shirt. 1/1 and 1/1
PENALTY: Nasri goes down but I have only seen it once I think I would have done the same and not give a penalty. To be fair for the ref he had some 4 or 5 bodies between him and the incident so he didn’t go for a foul as he maybe couldn’t see it with his own eyes. 1/1
CARD: Chamakh slides to the ball and hits the keeper. I would have done the same thing and given a yellow card. You don’t attack the keeper with your foot going in and if you touch him you get a card. 1/1 The keeper made a lot of it but that is what would you expect.
CARD: card against WBA and again the ref had it right. 1/1
GOAL: a lot to complain about but nothing against the rules. 1/1
GOAL: finally something to celebrate and nothing to complain when I look at the rule book. 1/1
CARD/OTHER: the ref misses a foul on Nasri, who is kicked from behind. Rosicky then goes in and gets a foul against him. Correct that Rosicky comes in late and gets a yellow but the ref should have blown his whistle before for the first foul. 1/1 and 0/1
GOAL: a good goal and nothing to complain about the rules. 1/1
TOTAL: 15 /17 (88%)
Just one remark on his performance in the first half: right before half time a WBA player is injured. He is being treated at some 3 meter from the goal line. When he gets up he is not sent to the nearest touchline but he walks slowly to the side line and is winning some time there. As a ref you should keep an eye on that. But when I have to point at such a minor thing it means that the ref in general had an excellent game. And his score tells it all. 88 % is a very high score and one of the best so far.
About the time wasting. This is something that as a ref you can only punish by giving extra time or by giving yellow cards. So he could have booked the keeper. By doing this we would have lost another minute. You cannot wave a card from the half way line (where the ref is standing when the keeper kicks the ball in the field o play) so you should run over to the goal an give a card. You can see this costs a lot of time. What he could have done is do a Dowd and that is to allow more time even after the extra time. But like I said before this is something up to the ref and the ref alone.
I think time wasting is something that can only be really kept if we stop the clock and restart it when the ball goes out of play. It will be a point of debate until the rules are changed I’m afraid. I hate it as much as you all do but I think it is up to Fifa to find a solution on this.
About the advantage or better said the not given advantage to Nasri. I think the ref was very close to the fouls most of the time and as a result he got most of them correct (just one on Nasri that lead to the Rosicky yellow card that I can remember). So this is good but sometimes when you are a bit further you have a better look on a possible advantage. But when you see a hard foul that you want to punish with a yellow card you sometimes blow a fraction of a second to quick. It happened to the ref on this occasion and we could feel a bit hard done by. It happens to every ref that you blow and that just when you blow you can see the advantage but then it is too late. A ref who said it never happens to him is lying. I think the ref new this but this is one of those things that in a fraction of a second you blow and then realise that you could have given an advantage. So bad luck for us (maybe) and for the ref.
I also would like to invite the Sunderland fans who came over here telling me that I was a biased as can be and other rubbish. I think I can be neutral when it comes to looking at a ref. I don’t feel the need to blame a ref just for the sake of it. I don’t need to blame a ref when we lose points. I only feel the need to blame refs when they had a bad game or showed that they had a bad performance or made blatant mistakes. So despite the pain of losing the game I will not blame the ref for us losing the game.
I think that I can say as a final conclusion that if our 11 players would have been as good as the ref we would have won the game and by a large margin.
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