The untold ref review : Arsenal –

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by Walter Broeckx, the SM ref

Sometimes I love doing the refs reviews. And sometimes I hate it. But if a dirty jobs needs to be done, someone has to do it. So I try to switch off my Arsenal heart and try to switch my brain to ref mode. If I can succeed in this.  I really tried to do my best to be as neutral as possible when looking at the incidents.

And believe me, the last thing I wanted to do is to see the whole game again and look back at some phases all over and over and over again.

So let us see what we can say about ref Dowd this time.

GOAL:  Nothing to report on this goal. 1/1

CARD: Sagna gets a booking and we cannot complain about this. 1/1

Note to linesman: level IS NOT OFFSIDE!

OTHER: Chamakh is sent through on goal, the linesman flags but it was no offside as can be seen on the picture. He was level with the defender below and so not offside. What a mistake to make…..  And now that we are talking about it and I have such a clear picture of the situation I can tell you that the linesman his position was wrong. You need to be at the same level as the second last defender and in this case it was Esso Ekotto.

As you can see when you look at the grass the linesman is behind this position (about 1 or 2 meter- one could say in an offside position himself). But the problem is because of his position he will get the impression that Chamakh is offside. Because if he would have been level it would mean that he couldn’t see Chamakh (because the defender blocking his sight on him and therefore you know as a linesman he was level and onside) and he would keep his flag down. But now he could see Chamakh (but only because of his own bad position) and so he thought it would be offside. That is why it is so important for a linesman to keep absolutly level with the second last defender. Anyhow a very, very bad mistake. 0/1

CARD: VDVaart goes deliberately in on Denilson in an aerial duel. You could see him looking to be sure he would hit him. He gets a lecture but no card.  To be fair he didn’t use his arms to hit Denilson, just his body. A card was not needed in this case. 1/1

OTHER: Song gets a little kick from behind but stays in possession but his pas goes to a Tottenham player and Dowd comes back on the advantage. Good work. 1/1

GOAL:  Nothing wrong with this goal.  1/1

CARD: VDVaart again goes in this time with an arm against Denilson and catches him. He has been lectured before for a similar challenge in the air and this time gets another lecture. This is one lecture to many. After you give a player a lecture for a foul and he does it again there is no other option than to give him the yellow card.  The ref  fails to do it this time. 0/1

GOAL: we could write a book about this goal and point at mistakes from different players but I could find nothing against the rules. 1/1

OTHER: The ref plays a good advantage and Modric can shoot on goal that just goes over. 1/1

CARD: Gallas goes in from behind on Chamakh. The foul is given but this should have been a yellow card. Tackles like that from behind is a yellow card. 0/1

Song puts his body between the ball and Modric and the ball is in playing distance: no foul

OTHER/PENALTY/GOAL/CARD: : The ref gives a foul for Tottenahm. Modric goes down. The ref indicates with his hands that there was a sandwich. But to have a sandwich both players should be closing the door, as they say in my country. The picture clearly shows that the other Arsenal defender was not closing the door.  So there was no sandwich. Was there a foul from Song? No. Song just anticipated the run from Modric and put his body between Modric and the ball. Song had the ball in playing distance so he didn’t commit an obstruction. Modric just ran against Song and fell and the ref made what proved to be a costly mistake. 0/1

Cesc lifts his arm and it is not in front of his face. So the ref cannot do anything else but give a penalty. The penalty decision itself is correct and also VDVaart does nothing wrong when he scores, except break our heart a bit.  But this all is the result of a free kick that never should have been given.  And it all came as a direct result from the ref’s mistake.  Vdvaart gets a yellow card for his celebration but I wonder if Dowd finally realised his first mistake in the first half but not much was wrong what I could see on TV.

But maybe he did something that was not shown on TV. Surely a ref will not give a card for nothing??  So I cannot agree with final outcome of these decisions at all but the decisions itself were correct. So I thougt I would give them points on a scale of 2 and make it 1/2 and 1/2  and 1/2

Note to Cesc and Chamakh: how wrong the free kick might be, please keep your hands down.

GOAL: Disallowed goal for Arsenal  for offside and this was a correct decision. 1/1

PENALTY: Song gets a push in the penalty area  and the ref does not give a penalty. It was a push in his back so it was a penalty for me. 0/1

CARD: Denilson comes late, should have been a yellow card. 0/1

CARD: Koscielny gets a yellow card for a foul on Bale. Correct decision 1/1

GOAL: how painful it might be I could see nothing wrong with the goal itself. 1/1

So this gives us a total score :

CARDS: 4/8


GOAL:  6/7

OTHER: 2/4

Total score: 13/22 (59%)

The big talking point was the penalty but for me it was the foul which lead to the penalty was where it all went wrong for us. Song did nothing wrong in my opinion as he just put his body between the player and the ball and the ball was in his reach. And this is where the major damage was done. Of course Cesc/Chamakh should have kept his hands low and so the ref could do nothing else but give the penalty. And this was the mistake from Cesc/Chamakh.

As a ref you have to look at each situation with a fresh eye and mind and so he could not think: well it was a light foul or maybe not a foul so I will not give the penalty. It doesn’t work that way, you cannot compensate a decision because you have doubt on a previous decision. So I don’t blame Dowd for giving a penalty, I blame him for giving the foul which lead to it all.

For the rest he had once again some moments where he made life difficult for himself. You can only lecture a player once and if he does the same thing again you have to show him a yellow card. He didn’t do this with Van der Vaart and so undermined his own position on the field and that is something you cannot do as a ref.

Did the ref cost us the game? Now that is an interesting question one could say. And to be honest I cannot give you an answer to that. But let me put it this way: after seeing the game live I had some kind of bad feeling about the ref, but I thought it was just the bitter feeling of the defeat. After seeing the game again 2 times and analysing his decisions I have the impression that the ref did all he could to prevent Tottenham from losing the game. I’m not saying that he wanted them to win the game. But a very wrong offside decision, a foul in an interesting position that wasn’t a foul (from which our troubles started) and a penalty decision not going our way, or going Tottenham’s way means that they surely where the luckiest team and benefited from most of the refs’ mistakes in this game.

Last time around ref Dowd got a score of 50% so I think he is just that kind of level ref in the EPL.  And under 60% is not good in my score book. His average is around 54% so not good at all in total ref Dowd.

Best score so far this season  93% and lowest 30 %.

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22 Replies to “The untold ref review : Arsenal –”

  1. Did you see the invented free kick in extra time that was given on Bale. That was deliberate. Look at it, it was same as the free kick invented that led to their penalty. Denilson gets in front of Bale and Dowd decides it’s a free kick. This allowed them to keep the ball in our half for 2 minutes.

    From a Tott perspective this was a godsend. Exactly what they needed to see the game out.

    I thought Dowd favoured Tottenham. The exact same idea you had.

  2. Dowd most definitely favoured the spuds. You only have to look at his incorrect decisions, all but one of them going against us.

  3. I would agree – the second half Dowd tilted the pitch in favour of Spurs.

    I recieved several texts during the match througout the second half from people asking me to confirm that this was the case – it is hard to judge when the game is against your rival… but even the objective me thinks that Dowd had a hand – the other side of me thinks that we should be capable of keeping a 2 goal lead no matter what – as I also saw some pretty sloppy defending as the legs got tired.

  4. Yes Ole, I kept it out the review that last free kick as I had enough of it.
    We got the ball, we wanted to start an attack and then he suddenly seconds later realised: well why don’t I blow my whistle as there is a player down from Tottenham.

    My feeling was that from the second half he wanted to help them “a bit”. How much that “a bit” was going to be is unclear but it did help them ‘a bit’.

    And yes my first feeling at the end of the game was right and confirmed by analysing his decisions. He gave them a push in the back.

  5. Dowd certainly gave VDV the greatest number of “last chances” that I have ever seen before finally deciding to put his name in the book.

  6. How about braga now/?
    We need to forget abt the last result
    I think we should give rest to most of our First-teamers
    my line-up would be
    eboue squillaci koscielny gibbs
    wilshere eastmond denilson
    JET vela

    Also i think that djourou should be 1st choice( as long as Vermaelen is out) for league matches

  7. Thanks for deep insight Walter. I have to admit, at some point I was in such rage I couldn’t even see things clear… After we conceded 3rd I have feeling Dowd was intentionally cutting game, whistling almost everything, not letting us to try to finish anything. But again I cant be objective (nor I want).

  8. Good, balanced observations Walter. It’s galling that one man can make such a big difference. When you watched a game with Pierluigi Collina or Anders Frisk in charge you rarely, if ever, screamed an obviously wrong decision. They were just fair.

    Our referees seem easily manipulated by players, the crowd and their own bias.

    I’ve heard people say that ex-footballers should be referees. If ex-footballing “pundits” are anything to go by then I hope it never happens!

    That said, I don’t know what the answer is.

  9. Right from the day i saw Dowd as the ref, i was depressed cos i never liked his ways.i knews we were going to loose the match.He was totally against us.he should’t be giving arsenal game to officiate.he is always bias.

  10. Thanks for the post Walter. However, in my humble opinion, it would be hard to say Dowd’s incorrect fould decision on Modric cost us the game. Cesc’s handball did.

    i’ll try to demonstrate with an example: a car is speeding into an intersection, where the light is green. The driver is going 10 MPH above speed limit. While in the intersection, a second driver, crossing at red light, collides into him.

    So to me Dowd’s decision is the speeding driver: yes, maybe if he had kept it under the speed limit, he could’ve anticipated the other driver; but the major culprit here is the guy who crossed in red light.

  11. Walter

    I thought Van der Vaart stole 10 yards or so for the free kick that led to the third goal. I mean he took it way ahead of the actual foul location and thus gained a good angle. While I’d agree Arsenal should have pointed this out to the ref, shouldn’t the ref see this on his own?

    I’ve not had the heart to watch it again so I might be wrong but would like to know your opinion.

  12. tony,the second one worked.actually i am using a mobile,there might have been some technical difficulties.sorry…

  13. He was the same referee who made us drew against Sunderland. An unjust redcard to Song and 95 mins.

    He hates arsenal, why cant anybody see that?

  14. utshav shrestha,
    I am keeping an eye on this.

    One time (like in Sunderland) could mean : bad luck, a bad day for the ref.
    second time (Tottenham) could mean: the ref is not good enough (70%) or he had another bad day (30%)

    if a third time new comes up this season and if he cost us again it means: he is biased against us. (95% sure)

    I hope I don’t have to see him again this season but I will be looking with my eyes open as wide as I can.

  15. You missed several early incidents that Dowd ignored. Pavluchenko pushed Sangna a few times and was not reprimanded or punished. Van de Vaart got away with several little digs that didn’t result in stoppage in play but should have had a cumulative foul card. The assistant who flagged against Chamakh was poor in his officiating in several instances.

    The loss of the game is because Wenger didn’t play Harry at his game and change formation to optimise our quality. Dowd was a contributor but not the cause.

    I keep saying that what we need is not new players but we need to buy a referee or two. They appear to belong to an anti Arsenal brigade and a pro Man Utd group. The officiating in Scotland has been bigotted for years and now the chickens want to roost for the weekend.

    In football a good team will win in spite of poor officials – we did in 2004.

    The game that Man Utd won which would have been our 50th undefeated was due to a blatant one sided official in Bennett who ignored Law and used the ‘referee is God’ to the ultimate. Reyes was kicked and mauled by the Nevilles and subsequently returned to Spain. Rooney dived and was awarded a penalty and several issues arose.

    The FA are toothless and corrupt and ignored the crude officiating of that game and several since. The goal that Spurs scored when Carroll pulled it back from 2 feet past the line is another example of poor FA response. Carroll and Man Utd should have been fined for unsporting conduct. It would result in fear to cheat.

  16. Great article again Walter (and as usual I was thinking what will Walter say about that during the match). I did think ref was bit against us but weren’t sure if it was because my “Arsenal glasses” or not so I waited until you tell me 😉
    For Unknown the problem with your bench: RvP and Arshavin stayed in London to be rested (well for RvP to get full fittness too) and Lansbury is loaned to Norwich City (Good luck for him there).
    Tomorrow is away match and hopefully we can keep up with our resent away results.

  17. You will lose a game every so often. Analysing every goal, identifying a villian don’t help confidence of defenders. Humans make mistakes. Our referees aren’t humans, they are puppets (CHEATS) with Fungus pulling strings. I would have put money on goons losing. Look at the silly results recently. One team gains the advantage even if they are now old and useless. Shrek got big wedge and promises of star buys. Where’s Kaka, Rubery ….?
    I still see only fanny Fletcher. batty O’Shea, les Brown…..
    What I don’t have an anwser for is how he fixes tonite’s game between his two special-needs sons!!!

  18. You know, it’s reached the point for me where I no longer expect refs to be fair when we’re playing. For The Arsenal, it’s become a part of the game, it’s almost always gonna be 11 vs 12 or 13, or 14, depending on whether the linesmen want in or not. Despite the biased & sloppy officials though, we should have won.
    A lot of that is thanks to Cesc Fabulous. And a slightly smaller thank you for Kos too. Between the 2 of them, they threw the points away for us.

    No, stupid… That doesn’t mean I want them to leave.

  19. Thanks Walter-its great so see a refs view. I am concerned though if the view is this result is an aberration- due to tired players and refs decisions. However it does not seem to me that this defeat was the result of an aberration at all.
    Even AW is talking about our anxiety in the face of pressure- and panic is what Cesc did-in conceding the penalty and he is the player others in the team look to for inspiration. We have to remind ourselves that AW has the primary responsibility for motivating the players and talks only in the future tense- not the past- we are not encumbered by that burden.
    Do our poor results in the last few years against the big 2 reflect the same problem- panic, mistakes under pressure, loss of defensive discipline.

    Part of the solution is to win a big game to overcome the demons in our players heads and prove they can win- its a bit like treatment for a phobia. I cant really see that we can do that when the opposition can smell the fear in our players- as Spurs players said they did on Saturday. I think there has to be a change of personnel for this to change- in defensive coaching- so that the players have better organisation to fall back on under pressure-but primarily in players. I am sure this is what AW had in mind when he was thinking about Vieira- but it is not going to be successful if it is done on the cheap. We have to have strength and leadership on the field- and performance.

  20. always love your ref review. written while being neutral as well. off course, everyone loves a win especially the north london derby, but for once, i would like to see wenger accept defeat with grace. especially in front of the camera.

    but yeah, dowd made some really poor decision(s).

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