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October 2020
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How Arsenal can tackle football’s Ministry of Truth and get back to the Champs League

By Tony Attwood

As I tried to show in the last article, the media is being incredibly selective in its reporting of what seem to me to be the key footballing issues of the day.  My article on this issue (When it comes to Arsenal we are being totally misled) is of course still on line, but in case you missed it and want a quick summary here are what seem to me to be the relevant stories they are regularly missing:

1: The three clubs who have achieved or are currently achieving the best ever points totals in the Premier League are the three sides that have been found guilty of major misdeeds in recent years and so fined and/or banned from competitions.

2: The PL’s system of refereeing in the Premier League being quite different from that in other Leagues with far fewer referees.

3: In the midst of the outcry about historic slavery, no one is mentioning that the stadia for the next world cup have been built by slave labour.

4: Infantino and the most senior man in Swiss justice are being investigated in Switzerland for corruption.

5:  Leicester City’s tackle to yellow card radio is so far out of line with the rest of the league it is at least worthy of investigation and comment.

6: Refereeing is run in a very different way, highly secretive way, in the Premier League from other leagues – but there is no explanation why.

7: Liverpool get the same referee to control their matches far more often that other clubs do.

8: The organisation that runs refereeing in the PL has claimed 98% accuracy, while re-runs of games on TV screens with and without crowd noise shows that their decision making is seriously affected by crowd noise, so they cannot be that accurate.

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9: When Arsenal gained more injuries than other clubs it was claimed that it was due to Mr Wenger’s training methods.  But now under new management the problem continues.  Might this always have been because referees allow Arsenal players to be fouled more violently?

Now I know that the common approach is to have a list that runs up to ten, but I am sure we’ll find a tenth point quite soon.  Let’s leave it at nine now and move on to ask what can Arsenal do?

Well, we are currently working on a new website that will, I feel, make referee decision making much more apparent.  I am not sure the media will report this any more than they have reported our previous efforts such as the 160 Game analysis, where all the major decisions of the first 160 games of a season were analysed with video evidence, to show the bias that there was.  But we can make a noise about it.

Otherwise, Arsenal could of course follow the example of Chelsea in bringing in youth players from across Europe, without taking any notice of Uefa rules.  Or Arsenal could follow the example of Manchester City by spending far more than is allowable on transfers.   Arsenal could also use the youth market as Liverpool did – bringing in children as they wished, without following the domestic rules.

Clearly it has worked for Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, and clearly they have not been hindered by the subsequent Uefa and Premier League injunctions.

But here’s another idea.  We could accept not being in Europe next season, and use that as a way to build up our squad and league position.

Not playing in the Europa would have saved us 11 and 12 games in the last two seasons.  Many of the games had poor attendances and the away games had long flights.

So here’s a thought.  Given that crowds are not going to be an issue for the rest of the season, why not stop trying to get up the table and instead use the rest of the season to give different players more of a chance to shine?  That is going to happen anyway because of the huge level of injuries we are now suffering, so let’s rotate as much as possible.

Yes it might look bad on Arteta’s record, but does that really matter in the long run if it helps gives younger players experience this season and be ready for next season without the distraction of the Europa?

We’re not going to be able to affect the way the media ignore key issues, and I can’t see how Arsenal are going to persuade PGMO to give us the same Arsenal-friendly ref (if there is such a thing) over and over again.  Likewise I can’t see Kroenke dishing out vast amounts of money for Arsenal to break the FFP regulations, even if he wanted to.

So let’s consider this model.   In 2015/16 Liverpool were runners’ up in the Europa, but because of their poor league position didn’t qualify for Europe in 2016/17.  That season they moved up to fourth in the Premier League, unhindered by long trips abroad and 12 extra games.  In 2016/17 they came fourth.  qualified for the Champions League, and came runners up in that in 2017/18 as well as fourth again to qualify for the next season.

That is a route back in, without following the element of getting banned from Europe for a while and without breaking all the rules on youth transfers.  It might just work.  Besides which, if referees continue to allow opposition teams to kick Arsenal players to bits, we will have more time to help them recover given there will be fewer games.

 

 

 

6 comments to How Arsenal can tackle football’s Ministry of Truth and get back to the Champs League

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    In terms of ‘serial’ referees this season we have had six. Atkinson leads the way with 6visits (W3, D2, L1j); Kavanagh has been seen 4 times (Wq, D2, L1j as has our old favourite Mike Dean (W3, D1, L0j and Taylor (W0, D1, L2); Tierney (W0, D2, L1) and Attwell (W1, D2, L0) have all been seen three times

    Of these, the best referee in terms of points per game is Mike Dean, but I still don’t want to see him again hör any of the serial visitors come to that!

    Liverpool have still only seen 11 referees. Oliver 6 times, Taylor 5 Times, Atkinson 4, Kavanagh, Moss and Marriner 3 Times each.

    Man U have had Taylor 6times.

    Burnley, Southampton and Wolves have each had 17 different referees (counting next weeks matches – Matchweek 32). Man U and Spurs have had 12, West Ham, Man City and ourselves have had 13.

    17 referees have done between 8 (Peter Bankes) and 28 (Atkinson) matches and a further four referees have each had a single trial game (Oliver Langford, Robert Jones, Darren England and Tim Robinson)

  • ken1945

    The way our injuries are going, we will have to blood anyone who can be seento kick a ball soon.

    I think this scenario will actually happen anyway – I’m quite resigned to having no european football next season and not having to worry about whether or not to stay down south for four days in order to not miss any home games.

    My travel costs down from Scotland will save me a fortune and the only thing I might miss would be Greggs sausage rolls in a motorway service station.

  • Nitram

    ken1945

    “I think this scenario will actually happen anyway – I’m quite resigned to having no European football next season and not having to worry about whether or not to stay down south for four days in order to not miss any home games.”

    Obviously CL football is the aim simply because, as Wenger understood so clearly, it is crucial on a financial basis alone, and that’s without taking in to account the kudos and how attractive it makes you for potential signings.

    The EL on the other hand, unless you win it, is a pain in the arse.

    But as you know ken, if WE miss out on Europe it will be the end of the World. In recent history others have done it and it certainly doesn’t have to be ‘The End’.

    In 2013/14 Man Utd failed to qualify for Europe and although as yet not returning to their halcyon days they are certainly not going out of business any time soon.

    In 2015/16 Chelsea failed to qualify for Europe and used the lighter load next season to win the PL. Now I’m not saying it will have that kind of effect on us but it shows how quickly things can turn.

    Liverpool went 5 seasons between 2011/12 2015/16 with the following finishes: 8th 7th 2nd 6th 8th

    I don’t ever remember Liverpool getting anything like the abuse for that little run that we received during a 4 season period of 3 FA Cups and a 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd place finish.

    As always it seems we are judged to different standards to those applied to others.

    My point is, if we do fail to qualify for Europe the rampant negativity will be ramped up to extraordinary levels and as we know will have the full and enthusiastic support of all the usual suspects such as the AAA and AFTV etc.

    It wont be pretty

  • Nitram, the other team who benefitted from no European football, was of course Leicester City.

    There has always been a core of dedicate Arsenal supporters, who will follow the club no matter what and Mikel Arteta needs these people to stand up to the gloom and doom merchants.

    The Arsenal will be here long after this current blip and it is worth remembering that in George Graham’s last season, we finished 12th, then up popped another untried Premier league manager and the rest is history.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Looks like no European football is going to happen.
    The problem will be if Kroenke uses this as a reason to seriously cost cut, but this may be overcome by using some clearly very talented young players.
    Whatever happens, just get a very strong feeling next season is going to be much, much better for this team, PGMOL or not.
    But if I am wrong, and things go pear shaped, wonder if Stan will be tempted to put Wenger somewhere upstairs, should he be willing, under whatever circumstances? I suspect the execs of the club are on a steep learning curve, and may, or may not get to the point of needing some experience in handling this league, and all that goes with it

  • Mandy Dodd

    Ken1945, get the feeling that this Leicester side benefit from a number of things, to a suspicious level. Perhaps their owner is a little more pushy on some matter than our Stan?