Arsenal v Molde; Ole, referees and football in Norway.

By Bulldog Drummond

The first thing to report is the rather helpful note that appears on the Wiki sites about today’s opponents, telling us that they are not to be confused with Mold FC – a club that coincidentally was formed at the same time as Arsenal.  Mold is a Welsh team, and we are not playing them.

Right, I’m glad that is sorted out.

The one thing most of us knew about Molde – the team we are playing – is that before we were drawn against them in the Europa League, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, now managing Manchester United, was a player and then manager at the club.

Indeed he had some success with the club winning the league and the cup with the club before leaving in 2014 to join Cardiff City.  He then returned to the club from 2015 to 2018 before moving to Manchester United.

Molde have won the league four times (2011, 2012, 2014, 2019) in Norway and have won their national cup four times as well.  They are one of only two Norwegian teams ever to have participated in the Champions League.

Their stadium holds just over 11,000 – and since the 1990s they have been considered the rivals of Rosenborg, the country’s predominant club (who at one time won the league 13 times in a row).

But lest we consider them to be minnows with no chance of winning it is worth having a look at their recent results…

Date Competition Home team Scire Away team
17/10/20 League Molde 4 – 2 Bodø / Glimt
22/10/20 Europa Dundalk 1 – 2 Molde
25/10/20 League Molde 2 – 1 Strømsgodset
29/10/20 Europa Molde 1 – 0 Rapid Wien
01/11/20 League Mjøndalen 1 – 3 Molde

So that’s five wins in a row, including a impressive and unexpected win over Rapid Vienna.  We would do well to show them a lot of respect – not least because Bodø / Glimt whom they beat, are the team that is currently 16 points clear at the top of the league.

As we know, we are 9th in the Premier League at the moment, undoubtedly much lower than most of us hoped to be our position, by this stage.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 7 5 1 1 17 15 2 16
2 Leicester City 7 5 0 2 17 9 8 15
3 Tottenham Hotspur 7 4 2 1 18 9 9 14
4 Everton 7 4 1 2 15 11 4 13
5 Southampton 7 4 1 2 14 12 2 13
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 7 4 1 2 8 8 0 13
7 Chelsea 7 3 3 1 16 9 7 12
8 Aston Villa 6 4 0 2 15 9 6 12
9 Arsenal 7 4 0 3 9 7 2 12

The table doesn’t lie of course, but the fact is that the eight positions from second to ninth are separated by just three points, so movement up and down can happen very readily.

Also there is the fact that the way matches are being refereed at the moment is singularly chaotic.  Our article Home advantage has vanished: referee competence blown wide open  is a good place to start if you haven’t been following this story thus far, and there really is no way of knowing how referees and clubs are going to react to the figures that are now being revealed.

Last season as the figures about tackles, fouls and yellow cards began to emerge we did see a most dramatic change in the fortune of Leicester City, and such changes might happen again.  It is really hard to predict.

For ourselves, after four consecutive wins at the start of the season, beginning with the Community Shield, things started to go wrong.  And although we have indeed fallen down the league as the table above shows, we have to remember that we have won five and lost three.  Not what we would like but not an utter disaster.

Date Match Result Score Competition
28 Sep 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
01 Oct 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal W 0-0 (4-5) League Cup
04 Oct 2020 Arsenal v Sheffield United W 2-1 Premier League
17 Oct 2020 Manchester City v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
22 Oct 2020 Rapid Wien v Arsenal W 1-2 Europa League
25 Oct 2020 Arsenal v Leicester City L 0-1 Premier League
29 Oct 2020 Arsenal v Dundalk W 3-0 Europa League
01 Nov 2020 Manchester United v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League

As our research, and that of colleagues in Europe, reveals that everything that we could rely on in the past, such as home wins being considerably more common than draws and away wins, has now gone.  What we don’t know is whether referees will now sail on regardless, ignoring the implications of these new patterns (and what that says about their competence), or whether they will admit they have been getting it wrong, or indeed whether they will try and impose new behavioural patterns on games.

PGMO have no history of admitting they have ever got anything wrong, and so won’t or can’t say anything.  This is not least because they have previously stated that Premier League referees were getting decisions 98% correct.  But European referees… there we really don’t know.  We can just hope that our players have been warned that at the moment, with referees, anything can happen.

We’ll be back shortly with the teams.

2 Replies to “Arsenal v Molde; Ole, referees and football in Norway.”

  1. There are many ways to ensure some love for the Arsenal from the officials, the most obvious is to use Ozil as an ambassdor for this game. It might work or might have an adverse effect.

    As far as the Norway great that is OGS, yesterdays United match had two gifts that were greeted by Ole! Ole!

  2. Tony

    Thanks for all the insights and trivia. I would like to make a comment on something you said if I may. The relevant comment being:

    “As we know, we are 9th in the Premier League at the moment, undoubtedly much lower than most of us hoped to be our position, by this stage”.

    That’s an interesting observation as yes being 9th isn’t great, if taken in isolation, and could indeed be seen as ‘much lower than most of us hoped’ but looking at the bigger picture I must say I’m not really that disappointed.

    The reason being, given we’ve already played away at Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, as well as 2 tough home fixtures against Leicester and West Ham, if you’d of said to me before the first game of the season we’d be just 4 points off of top place after that little lot I would of bitten your hand off.

    In any normal season that would surely of seen us in the top 4, but this is no ordinary season, as you rightly suggest.

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