The referees decision is final except for VAR. VAR is final except for…

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


16 Replies to “The referees decision is final except for VAR. VAR is final except for…”

  1. Churlish article. I don’t think you’d take this tone if your team had been denied a clear 3 points that they deserved and had two of your key players injured by reckless challenges. (A Liverpool fan) #justsayin

  2. As regards the incident of touching an official, the FA will probably take the view that she was a girly wirly and not really an official, so that’s all right.

  3. Have you seen the itemfrom Henry Winter in today’s Times and his comments about PGMO?

    I know it is not the Guardian, but he may have been reading your articles.

  4. Ben

    You really ought to check a few things before commenting.


    Press: The towering central midfielder could make only 124 appearances for Arsenal in the 9 years that he spent at the club. Diaby suffered a severe ankle fracture early in his Arsenal career that many have said paved the way for future injuries and ruined his career.


    Received endless assaults, but not only did referees fail to protect him from them, he was actually told it was all his own fault.


    With three minutes gone, the Croatian received a pass from Clichy on the half turn. As he nudged the ball towards a teammate, Birmingham defender Martin Taylor lunged for the ball. He found Eduardo’s leg instead.

    His tibia and fibula fractured instantly, the shattered bones rupturing the tissue of his standing leg as the force of impact dislocated his ankle. At first, the extent of the injury wasn’t obvious. It was only when Cesc Fàbregas started urging towards the bench that a sickening realisation spread throughout the ground, the Spaniard visibly shaken as the nauseating scene unfolded. Alexander Hleb turned away, putting his hand to his mouth as though he were about to be sick. Mathieu Flamini raged at the referee, whilst Emanuel Adebayor shook his head in quiet, disbelieving horror. “I’m told the injury is so disturbing we cannot show pictures of it,” said the scandalised BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce. “Rarely have I seen such collective anguish amongst football players.” Wenger “I think this guy should never play football again,” said a visibly upset Wenger after the game. “What is he [Taylor] doing on the football pitch?” When asked if Eduardo’s season was over, Wenger’s reply was sullenly prophetic. “More than his season is over.”

    This is what Birmingham manager Alec McLeish told Sky Sports News the next day. “I don’t think it would’ve been the tackle itself. It was a mistimed tackle, almost like a trip.” Really ???

    Quite unbelievably it was Arsenal, and Gallas in particular that received the criticism for his reaction at the end of the match.


    Famously had his leg broken by Ryan Shawcross but ended up being made to feel he was the guilty party because apparently Shawcrosss is a nice guy and didn’t mean it and apparently Ramsey made his mum cry. The lovely Stoke City fans even had a nice little song to sing at him every time he went to the potteries.

    There are more but I cant be arsed.

    It was actually on the back of these horrendous assaults that we earned the reputation for being soft. We didn’t receive an ounce of sympathy.

    As for the Van Dyke incident I agree it was a very poor challange, but that is not the point here, the point is about the sympathetic way you get treated by the media, and more the way your club tries to run the game. Yes the referee and VAR were poor and yes you deserved to win, but as we kept getting told, man up, take it on the chin, it’s football, and anyway, as Wilshere endlessly got told, it was probably Van Dykes own fault anyway.

  5. I have to admit I don’t understand the tone of the article.

    For us who have been yelling at the referees who had allowed every single Dan (Smith), Martin (Taylor), Ryan (Shawcross), Paddy (McNair)…to break our players without a proper punishment (Abou, Dudu, Rambo, Jack respectively), there was only one proper reaction on Pickford’s and Richarlison’s acts of violence last weekend – it was a disgrace. Also, it was a disgrace what VAR was doing in all three situations.

    Two wrongs don’t make one right.

  6. Josif

    It’s about Liverpool’s sense of injustice on the back of one bad day at the office. Yes things went against them but lets get this in perspective.

    They had a tight offside go against them. That happens. It’s happened to us. It’s happened to many others. If it had been allowed it would of been just as tight, but in Liverpool’s favour instead of Everton’s, then would we have had the same outcry from, or sympathy for Everton, or would the World and his dog just expect Everton to swallow it? Do I need to answer that?

    And yes it was a poor challange and yes it probably should of been a red, but again, how many times have we, and others, had calls like this, and worse, go against us/them ?

    But again, and this is the point you seem to be missing, who else other than Liverpool could have demanded that the Premier League review the use of VAR as a result of this one match ? According to the Guardian the club has “contacted” the League asking for “explanations”. Really? Can you imagine the shit storm if we threw our toys out of the pram in such a way? As I pointed out in my previous post we got very little sympathy when our players were being broken in two.

    To me it’s obvious what the tone of the article is. Essentially it’s asking the question, why do Liverpool think they are so special? Why do they not have to accept a bad day like we and everyone else has to ? Why do they think they can DEMAND explanations? Why do the media fawn all over Liverpool, when they tell us, and others, to suck it up ?

    They are the questions I think Tony is asking. That is the tone of the article as I see it.

    Even so Tony concedes : “In one way this could be a good thing, in that it could involve a challenge on PGMO”

    So yes, it could expose the PGMOL for the incompetents they are and change things forever but do you really believe that will happen? Not a chance.

    The most that will happen is Liverpool we get an apology, an apology I might add that will manifest itself in favourable decisions for the rest of the season, and call me a cynic if you want, that is what this is all about.

  7. Liverpool were definitely hard done by. It was a horrible tackle on van Dijk and who knows how long he is out. Who cares whether it was offside or not? As for the offside later on…Only God’s own geomatic engineer knows whether it was offside or not. How they can make a call that close is beyond me.

    HOWEVER…Whenever Arsenal has been in these situations, and Wenger made pointed remarks (neither Emery nor Arteta have done/did so in their short tenures), we were mocked for being soft. And, Wenger was called Whinger. I have never heard of an instance where we were given an apology, solicited or not. We have had calls go our way but if the red card and penalty ratios are anything to go by, the combination of our play, opposition play, referee decisions and media braying has worked distinctly in our disfavour.

    So, on a personal level, we wish van Dijk well. However, forgive us if a wee bit of cynicism crowds into our comments regarding the refereeing cabal, the Northeast entitlement train and the media’s fun and games as it rips Arsenal endlessly on line to earn a few extra quid on click royalties. We can’t really be arsed about how balanced our comments are.

  8. GoingGoingGooner

    Brilliantly put, especially the following which was exactly what I was trying to say, just not so eloquently.

    “HOWEVER…Whenever Arsenal has been in these situations, and Wenger made pointed remarks (neither Emery nor Arteta have done/did so in their short tenures), we were mocked for being soft. And, Wenger was called a Whinger. I have never heard of an instance where we were given an apology, solicited or not”

  9. Folks, let us also talk about the Kyle Walker/Gabriel Magalhaes incident. We can’t let it pass by in the context of all these.

  10. Ben is a master of irony.

    One day I’ll make a list of refereeing “bungles” affecting Arsenal negatively, but for now I’ll simply say 12 May 2001. The date when everybody in the stadium except for the officials were hallucinating. Ironically, Liverpool! were the beneficiaries.

  11. Ben seismic

    Irony upon irony. This is Gerrard’s reaction to Arsenals complaints about the bad decisions that helped Liverpool win:

    “In his autobiography released a few years later, Gerrard reflected that Liverpool were fortunate to win, but was critical of Arsenal’s “bitter” reaction: “Wenger and Ljungberg kept complaining about the hand-balls. Get real, boys. That’s football. Grow up”

    Perhaps Ben, Klopp and the media should read Gerrard’s biography.

  12. This is what Gary Neville says about game 49 at OT

    How did we beat Wenger’s Arsenal? By bullying them!

    UPDATED: 00:09, 28 August 2011

    “It’s the only match when I’ve ever been accused of brutalising an opponent. So let me first make it clear that in almost 20 years at United the manager never asked me to kick anyone. I’ve no idea if other managers have issued instructions to ‘take out’ a player but I can promise you that wasn’t our boss’s style. But did he tell us to get tight, put a foot in and let Arsenal know they were in for a battle? Of course, he did.”

    What a crock of shite. I challange anyone who has seen that match to class that as ‘bullying’. It was an assault, and an assault the referee was culpable in. You can only be a ‘bully’ or an assailant if the referee allows it to happen.

    The match is still on line if you don’t believe me.

    Neville asked: I’ve no idea if other managers have issued instructions to ‘take out’ a player?

    Well I think we know the answer to that don’t we Gary:

    Tony Pulis was ‘out of control’ before Stoke’s infamous clash with Arsenal which saw Ryan Shawcross break Aaron Ramsey’s leg, says Dave Kitson: ‘It crossed the line and went too far’. Tony Pulis ‘despised’ Arsene Wenger and wound his players up to such an extent it contributed to Ryan Shawcross breaking Aaron Ramsey’s leg, former Stoke striker Dave Kitson has claimed. The ugly incident came back in February 2010 when the Stoke defender clattered into the Wales international, who sustained fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg. It was a reckless and full-blooded challenge from Shawcross and Kitson, now retired, has shed light on just why the Potters were so fired up for the clash.

    So Ben, before you get your knickers in a twist over a marginal offside and one poor challange, know some facts.

    No other team, and I mean no other team has had to put up with the brutal assaults we have, and as has been said earlier all we ever got for our trouble was accusations of being soft.

    You can apologise for your ignorance if you like or you can disappear back into your cosy little ‘Liverpool are always so hard done by bubble’ you all seem to live in at Anfield, personally I couldn’t give a ****

  13. Ben go cry in the Mersey. It needs salt.

    The PGMOL are a bunch of select northern corrupt morons without a concience between them.

    The FA is a group of greedy mindless morons that should be pushing daisies and not be controlling English football.

    The media are the most evil of society allowed to comment on life. They create bias and mentalities that degrade society.

  14. Obviously I can’t speak for the whiners – those people who put forward comments without evidence – but I think those who have used serious evidence to show that there is something fundamentally wrong with PGMO will have every right to crow. We said there was something wrong with their refereeing, put forward mountains of evidence drawn from detailed reviews of 160 games, and now the cause has been found. Meanwhile they said they were getting 98% of decisions right.

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