By Tony Attwood
So this weekend we learned some stuff, such as
- The refs decision is final except when VAR is involved.
- The VAR is final except when Liverpool is involved
- Touching an official is not an offence any more so long as the guilty player is officially designated a nice guy by his manager..
Liverpool, as we know, are different. In this case they are different because whereas most club managers and players simply have a moan to journalists when they don’t like a decision, Liverpool inevitably go a step further. For while their owner of Liverpool along with the owner of Manchester United is suggesting that the whole essence of competition involving automatic promotion and relegation is abolished, Liverpool are also now demanding that they have the right to dictate how a referee oversees the game.
In one way this could be a good thing, in that it could involve a challenge on PGMO which has served Liverpool so well for so many years, but this “one rule for us, one for the rest” approach is frustrating.
But this is what we have as Liverpool have demanded that the Premier League review the use of VAR as a result of their latest escapes on the pitch, and the fact that Everton had the temerity to avoid being beaten by Liverpool. For according to the Guardian the club has “contacted” the League asking for “explanations”.
If they get them there is of course no guarantee that other clubs will be entitled to do the same thing, because for Liverpool things are different, as we have long come to know. But if this protocol of asking the League for explanations is instituted, it would be interesting if Arsenal could ask the League why a Manchester City player was allowed to put his arm around an assistant’s shoulder and have no punishment at all.
But that is not all, for Liverpool! are also wanting the right, it seems retrospectively, to question VAR. Klopp’s comments was that, “We lost one player in a situation where VAR was not involved with Virgil and maybe another one in the red card situation and scored a legitimate goal which didn’t count.”
One can only presume that the referee was confused and thought that it was Arsenal who were playing rather than Liverpool! Klopp concluded, “If it not offside it is 100% a penalty,” and we can only say, “Now you know how Arsenal feel.”
As for us, we still have the second best defence in the League, which is a positive – especially since last season we had the eighth best defence as befitted out league position. Where things are wrong is in attack as we are in the bottom half of the league when considered on goals scored. We have scored fewer than Brighton and Hove, and only just over the number of goals that Tottenham has scored. (Although to be fair they do have Bale, who has the ability to come onto the pitch as an attacker and then see WHAM put three past them – that is quite a skill, and probably why Real Mad refused to allow him on the pitch).
Meanwhile, as you will undoubtedly recall Arsenal ended the transfer window (main stage) with two players too many for the “25” list who then had to be left out. So Football London’s response to that, with the next window still a little way away is to run the headline
Four players Arsenal could look to sign in the January transfer window after summer interest
They helpfully give us the list… which is Houssem Aouar, Patson Daka, Odsonne Edouard and Dominik Szoboszlai. Which is all very well, but as with the last transfer window they once again forget to mention that we already have a full squad of foreign players. And with the UK government looking to become more nationalistic and protectionist in the coming months I am not sure they have any interest in making life easier for football clubs wanting to import foreigners.
But for each of these players Arsenal would have to sell one of our existing 25, and in the last transfer window that appeared harder to achieve than the newspapers and websites seemed to imagine – hence we ended up with 27 in the 25.
What the decision to leave Ozil out in the cold means is that even if a rapprochement was arranged between club and player we still couldn’t play him – not even in the Europa league where as we noted before, Arsenal listed four goalkeepers in the squad, rather than include Ozil.
It is not so much an issue of whom we might want to sell, but rather the issue of who any other club might want to buy. And the fact that the last two summers have seen the biggest Arsenal spend ever. Will it really continue that way for another window?
We will of course see on Thursday what the boss thinks about the Europa League through his selection
- Is anyone happy with football any more? And why players need personality tests
- How the “big six” got more brazen and more certain of their power
- How football can be saved from itself: a simple 15 point plan.
- Arsenal’s finances: another loss but going the right way
- WSL 2022-23 Arsenal v Everton – Match Preview
- Which Arsenal transfer tale is being repeated the most often?
- How much have Arsenal’s rivals spent on transfers in recent years?
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?