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The Untold ref review: Arsenal – Shakthar; the best refereeing we have seen

By Walter Broeckx, the ref.

The ref in our CL game against Shaktar Donetsk was  Mr. Moen from Norway. Well let us just see how he did.

OTHER: Wilshere comes in late and hits his opponent. The ref gives him a lecture. He could have given a yellow there but later on it turned out that by doing this he warned all the players and no serious fouls were committed. So I credit him with a good point looking back at the game but at the time I would have given a yellow card. But the ref showed that he would not tolerate anything more like that. And this is a perfect example on how to do a game and how to build it up. A lecture for the first foul that could result in a booking can do the trick but you have to be sure of yourself to do this. Nevertheless, a good point to the ref  1/1.

GOAL: And for those who were in the Emirates this might be a surprise but this goal should have been disallowed. No there was not a foul on the goalkeeper and the ball was not under control by the keeper when Djourou pushed it forward. BUT Song was in an offside position when the ball was played forward to him. There was only one defender behind him so he was offside. I know the ref is not really to blame for this but he gets the good and the bad points from his assistants so sorry ref but you were let down by your assistant on this occasion. 0/1

GOAL: No remarks on the second goal this time. Well taken if you ask me. 1/1

CARD: against Hubschman for a foul off the ball on Cesc. It was not his first like that and the ref had enough of it. This was an example on a few fouls by the same player that added up to a yellow card. Again well done from the ref. 1/1

OTHER/PENALTY/CARD/GOAL: A lot to talk about.  Let us start with what the ref does before the free kick is taken. The defenders are holding the Arsenal players and preventing them running. The ref acknowledges this and calls a few players over to warn them that he will give a foul or a penalty if needed. Perfect according to the rule book and the instructions. 1/1

The ball comes in and Djourou is held firmly and dragged to the ground and also Song has been held and he also goes down. The ref gives the penalty he had promised the defenders he would give. And I am typing this standing up and applauding the ref(sorry for any errors)  for this, as this part is mostly forgotten by most refs. Our ref today showed character in this situation. 1/1

He also gives a card. And this is something he did to stamp his authority even further on the players. He smothers any attempt to come running to him to protest his decision and he also tells the player that made the foul that if the ref warns you for not making a foul and you still do it you show disrespect to the ref and you must get a yellow card. 1/1 Cesc scores the penalty and nothing to report on this. 1/1

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GOAL: Nothing wrong with the goal I would say. What a lovely move. 1/1

GOAL: What a strange goal this one. Chamakh was so surprised that the flag stayed down he stopped for a split second took a look at the linesman and then he shot but because of him looking to the linesman he almost missed. And Marouane next time just shoot at first sight and then look at the linesman please. And the linesman had it right as at the left back position a defender was playing Chamakh onside. 1/1

GOAL: Well I think this will be the goal in Arsenal history that will live in memory as the goal that was applauded by all supporters in the stadium and a goal against Arsenal. Eduardo scores his goal and all well within the rules. 1/1

So let us see what we get in total for this ref:

Goals 5/6

Cards: 2/2

Penalties: 1/1

Other: 2/2

A total score of 10/11 or 90 %!

When I started this review I said that a ref that would get a score of 90% he would have a almost faultless game. And this is what I have seen tonight.   Our match commentator said that the ref was only 31 years and I must say that if he keeps  performing like this he will be a great ref. This really was a top, top performance and I must say one of the best I have ever seen. And the only point I took away from him, he is not directly to blame but his assistant is to blame.

This was in my opinion a perfect example of a ref who felt that the game was played in a good spirit and when the first real contact was made he lectured the player. The players felt that he was not going to throw with his cards around like a madman but he made it clear he would give the next player a yellow card if he would go in hard. No one did after that for the rest of the game. I can only congratulate him on this.

I also would like to point out that I think that the penalty was some great team work between the ref and the 5th assistant. I can imagine that the ref said to the 5th assistant after he had called the players over and told them to stop the holding and pulling to keep an extra eye on this. He even changed his normal position where he should stand when a free kick flies in from there to have an opposite view of the incident with his 5th assistant.  Great, great teamwork.

I really hope that other refs take a good look at the way he performed tonight and try to learn from him. You can always argue about some minor decisions in a game but I really felt he had the game in total control from the start to the finish. He wasn’t influenced by the shouts for a first penalty from the crowd, he did what he had told the players he would do. Okay, I will stop here as I think it is clear that this was the best performance of a ref I have seen in a long, long time.

Arsenal v Shakhtar

Arsenal vs Shakhtar – the serious preview

32 comments to The Untold ref review: Arsenal – Shakthar; the best refereeing we have seen

  • indian_gunner

    As always, great article walter!.I really hope this trend continues,that of callinga penalty when players are shoved around in the box and all the more so in BPL..Great work by the referee and a very nice article from you to sum up his work

  • Hey, thanks for the article. It is great when a great ref comes around. I think that it takes experience to be a great ref, experience from playing the game, being authoratative, and being consistent. Thanks again for writing about this ref and his spectacular performance!

  • A Casual Observer

    Good write up Walter… but I feel that in our next game we will be looking at a %35 maximum for the ref. I will explain why when I get a few figuers together (work permitting).

    Anyway, back to last night – what was your opinion of the body checking in the penalty area? I thought we could have got a possible penalty there..?

  • Dark Prince

    I’d still give a yellow for Wilshere, coz it would be biased not to give one for a mis-timed and little dangerous tackle.Yeah it was the best performance but you have to admit, Arsenal were completely over Shakhtar.
    Now we have to focus on City – the must win game.

  • Viejo

    Quick bring him to the Premier league.

  • critic

    we won’t lose to city if u guys hatch a plan to kidnap tavez, do some voodoo magic on him..

  • arsenalist

    and we have another record guys…..chamakh is the lonly player who scored in 6 games consecutives in champions league……lat 3 games with bordeaux….and 3 with arsenal….brillant

  • walter

    A casual observer, I think you refer to the Rosicky and Arshavin tumbles with a Shakhtar defender cheking them in each half. For me it was on both occasions a challenge within the laws, the shoulder charge. I know shoulder charges can be punished in some occasions if you come in with to much force. But on these occasions I thought it was not exagerated force so I would also have allowed them.

    I think this is what they mean by “contact” sport. You are allowed some contact and this was one of those contacts that can be allowed. So as a ref I would also let them go. But with the Arshavin tumble I really thought it should have been a corner and not a goalkick. 😉

  • walter

    too much force… (wake up Walter)

  • A Casual Observer


    Our biggest problem in the City game will be Mark Clattenburg.

  • La Shiz

    Walter come to England. We need good referees in the BPL.

  • Ole Gunner

    Not sure you’re correct about our first goal Walter. There were 2 Shakhtar players ahead of Song when Djourou knocked the ball to Song.

  • Ole Gunner

    Oh, sorry I looked at it again and you’re correct, Walter. How could I have doubted you?

  • Flint McCullough

    I thought that was the best refereeing I have seen for some time & possibly even better than you think Walter.

    Just looked at the 1st goal. It looks to me that the ‘keeper has dived between Djourou & the ball & it is his arm that actually moves it back towards goal thus keeping Song onside.

  • walter

    Don’t you ever doubt the ref, Ole, this will cost you a yellow card. 😉 and 🙂

    To be honest I tried to put the picture in the article where it was clear that Song was offside but for some reason I couldn’t get the picture uploaded. And when I managed to load it, it was only a black picture or only the empty goal. Rather bizare but it wasn’t the computer I am used to work on…

  • olu

    A very pleasing win against a team, like Braga, who came to play, which was their undoing. As many others have mentioned, this was a more efficient performance as Diaby and Arshavin were not in the starting line-up, which must mean they will be on Sunday. Wilshre will not play, but who will then assume the defensive shield position with Song in our 4-2-3-1? At 18 years old,Jack has no doubt had to play there as Diaby cannot, or will not, assume that responsibility. With Song increasingly thinking his job is to score goals, no wonder our midfield indiscipline costs us in the League. After 150 games for us Diaby has to deliver consistently, as Nasri is now doing. But, one good game in five and a lazy and uncommitted attitude, has left me thinking he does not deserve an automatic position in the big games. We need 100% energy and focus, not crass comments on how he dreams of winning the Ballon D’or. But some players appear to be un-droppable, maybe they do “great tings in training” that would be it! Also, apart for Partizan, Rosicky has played pretty well either as sub or starting, but again, in the big games Wenger will not start him, preferring Arshavin. We could be bullied in midfield on Sunday and with the likes of Tevez, Silva and Johnson running at our defence, I’m fearful of the consequences. I’m sure Chelsea will have demolished the awful Wolves without breaking sweat,so they could be eight points ahead by the time we play. As Fabregas says, three points are a must, but who’s confident.. asking your head not your heart?

  • walter

    It looked to me that it was Djourou that touched the ball, Flint and even when it was the keeper the assistant should have raised his flag because he could never know if it was the keeper or Djourou and the offside position was to see. Then the assistant, the ref and the 5th ref couldh have held a meeting (like Dean did at Fulham) and then the ref had to make up his mind. The 5th assistant had the best view on who pushed the ball to Song.

    And oh stupid and silly me as for some reason yesterday evening I forgot to program my hard disk so I haven’t got the game to review it.

  • Stevie E

    Song was defo onside… just looked at it again on youtube & the shakthar player (Rat) to the right of the goal line was playing him on. Bring on city!!!

  • Walter if you are going to start correcting your own grammatical errors in English (of which I must say there are fewer and fewer) I will soon be out of a job as editor.

    (And in case anyone thinks I am being sarcastic, I would add, Walter’s native tongue is Flemish, and I am in total awe of his ability in English).

  • Flint McCullough

    If you have ATV they have an angle, from behind the goal, that looks pretty clear (but not definitive), that the ‘keepers arm has played the ball & not Djourou.

    I think the ref was close enough to see it & the 5th assistant certainly had a very very clear view of it all.

    Maybe the lino might have had a problem but you cannot see his reaction.

  • IndianGooner

    Spot on, Walter. The ref was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time..

    We no longer play with a DM. We play 3 midfielders and either 1 or 2 of them stay back allowing the 3rd to attack. Whenever Song attacked yesterday either Lil Jack or Cesc or both stayed back. Rosicky switched positions with Song when Song would attack on the right. This way we have a fluid formation and give opposition less chance to mark our player..

  • WalterBroeckx

    So I must review it again on ATV.

    But to make things clear just a copy/paste from the rule book:

    A player is in an offside position if: he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the
    SECOND LAST opponent.

    So this means there have to be TWO opponents between Song and the goal line. And I can only see one in the picture. And this picture I just cannot get it uploaded from where I am now. 🙁

  • Paul C.

    Walter – I laughed when I saw the title of your article this morning because I couldnt remember anything about the referee last night, which is of course the highest compliment you can give a ref!!!!

    Perhaps you should come up with a system of giving descriptions to your grades, such as “Rock Star” when the referee is terrible and “Invisible Man” when the referee is outstanding!!! It is so often that way isnt it?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes, for me the ref never goes unnoticed as I keep a special eye on him. But if a ref is invisible or like you say you can not remember him, you can bet he had a great game.

    And sometimes I can be hard on the refs but I think when praise has to be given we should praise him as much as we can.

    The thing is that when I start the ref review I do have a general feeling after 90 minutes. Yesterday I felt it would be good. On other occasions I felt it would be not that good.

    But then I start to analyse the things I have to take on board and it happened that a “good” at first sight turns in to a not so good. A bad turns in to very bad. I never had a good turn to bad or the other way round so far.

    So I can tell you at the end when all the points are given it also is for me always an exciting moment to see if my general feeling after 90 minutes is the same when I have given him the points.

    I intend to make a table halfway the season and at the end of the season. We could even hand out a prize: the Untold ref of the year or so. 😉 And the Untold crap ref of the year. 🙂

  • Paul C.

    Walter – based on your own experience, do you think continental refs “tend” to be better than English refs? Of course there are some bad continental ones, just as there are some good English ones. But on average, what would your feeling be?

  • FinnGooner

    It was great match with great referee (and once again great article).
    Altho Tony (Walter correct me if i’m wrong here) when I studied Dutch few years ago my teacher (nice man from Belgium) told us that in Belium they have two official languages Dutch and French. Flemish is kind of “nationality” (or something like that as I’m too tired to look it from dictionary) but it is not the language. So Walter’s native tongue is Dutch not Flemish (even everyone thinks so 😉 )

  • walter

    now this is new for me that you have studied Dutch. I never realised that apart from in Holland and Belgium they learned Dutch.

    And yes you are right. Flemish is a nationality and Flemish people speek Dutch. Be it with a slightly different tongue. A bit like when you hear someone Scottish speaking and hear someone from England speak.

    But the words Flemish and Dutch for the language are both used over here. But if you want to have it correct : I’m Flemish (born in Flanders) and speak Dutch.

    As you can understand we don’t make a point of it when someone is saying that we speak Flemish or Dutch.
    In fact we are just very happy if people even know that Belgium is not a French speaking country or if people know that in Belgium the majority speaks Dutch/Flemish. In fact there are around 23.000.000 people that speak Dutch as a mother language in Europe. 6M Flemish and the rest Dutch.

    This is getting way off topic…but on Untold everything is possible

  • LRV

    Great refreeing equals very good football spectacle. Thanks Walter.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And finaly I managed to load the picture where Song was offside. I got to do this at home the next time.

  • TommieGun

    Thanks for another great post.

    But I still think that there is something confusing about the grade system, with all due (much given!) respect.

    Getting a early goal, has proved to be very important for us. Since Song’s goal was not meant to be allowed, I think that the decision regarding it, had a much greater effect on the match result, than a decision regarding issuing a yellow card for the guy who did that judo move on JD (btw, I thought that he should have issued 2 yellows – 1 for the judo move against JD, and one for the sleeperhold on Song).

    But still, I agree that it was a fine performance by the ref, and wish that the clowns in the EPL will take a lesson or two.

  • Terence McGovern

    Very educational as always Walter thanks.