Arsenal v Watford: the sillyness and the teams selected by the media

By Bulldog Drummond

As we saw in the last piece, Arsenal are now top of the league when measured across the last six games, but in case you missed it I’ll run it again…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 6 4 2 0 11 4 7 14
2 Chelsea 6 4 1 1 15 3 12 13
3 Man City 6 4 1 1 11 5 6 13
4 Wolverhampton 6 4 1 1 9 7 2 13
5 Liverpool 6 3 3 0 20 7 13 12
6 West Ham 6 4 0 2 10 6 4 12

Here’s one other bit of trivial: this is Mr Arteta’s 100th game in charge of Arsenal.  

And because of this we find one of the most stunning bits of journalistic bombast that I have ever seen in the build-up to a game, as the Football London site says, (and believe me this is an absolute quote). 

“…with a near full-strength squad at his disposal, Arteta will be presented with a selection headache ahead of naming his lineup to face the Hornets.

“Luckily for the Spaniard,’s Arsenal writers Kaya Kaynak and Tashan Deniran-Alleyne are on hand to provide their say on who should start at the Emirates.” 

Mind you, not to be outdone, the Givemesport website has a piece on the most overrated players ever in the Premier League.  At number 8 is Thierry Henry.   Obviously, the writer has not been looking at the Arsenal History Society new Day by Day section of its video collection: An Arsenal video for (almost) every day of the year in order.    There are some rather amazing pics of Henry in that, although you do have to flip through the days to find them.

(Mind you I have to mention that feature as Tony did the work.)

A few final bits and pieces on the facts before the game.   We are, as you will know, top of the league in terms of the last six.   Interestingly, the media won’t mention that but they were all over the fact that we were bottom of the league after three games.  Odd that.

But Mr Arteta has had another run as manager like this – and that was last January / February during which we won seven and lost two. 

And not only is this Mr Arteta’s 100th league game, one more goal will also be our 100th league goal with him in charge.  But that ratio is rising all the time.

Interestingly we play to score in the first half – no one has scored higher than our 75% of goals in the first half.   (This is all part of the no-tackles revolution which really still does seem to catch the opposition by surprise, although you’d think they knew about it now).

Watford have failed to score in any of their league defeats this season but instead picked up 12 goals in their other four games.  But this was somewhat aided by five against Everton – and each one of those wins has come under the guidance of a different manager.

And another – one more clear sheet will actually be an Arsenal club record, reaching as it does 21.

I’ve already given a bit of a run down on the possible team and virtually everyone is in agreement.  

We’ll have the same one as the Guardian gave us in the line up provided by Who Scored


Tomiyasu  White   Gabriel   Tavares

Party Lokonga

Saka  Lacazette Smith Rowe


The Evening Standard rambles on a bit but they reach the same conclusion, but the Short Fuse does give us the variant approach…


Tierney  White   Gabriel   Tavares

Party Lokonga

Saka  Odegaard Smith Rowe


And they kindly tell us those who are waiting on the beach:

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Nuno Tavares
  3. Rob Holding
  4. Calum Chambers
  5. Mohamed Elneny
  6. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  7. Pepe
  8. Gabriel Martinelli
  9. Alex Lacazette

That variant approach does turn up in one or two other sites, but those are the only variations.  The vast major however leave out Tierney, giving him one more weak to recover, and prefer Lacazette to Odegaard out of awareness for the Watford weaknesses at the back.

40 Replies to “Arsenal v Watford: the sillyness and the teams selected by the media”

  1. Intereting situation on the table.

    If we can keep on the winning streak, we are 5th with 3 point advantage on the closest followers and either of WHA or LIV is going to come closer tu us.
    Who would have predicted that end of August….

    So this game against WAT is strategically important. Let’s hop PIGMOB is not capable of screwing it up and we keep the momentum

  2. The level of aggressiveness and fouling from Watford is unlike any of the latest matches I can remember.
    Yet with 7 fouls they’ve got 2 yellows, and Arsenal got 2 yellows for 2 fouls…

    And this in just 30 minutes….

  3. Rose must have been let off at least 3 yellow card offences and the penalty was arguably a red card.

    Watford are playing as thugs, because they are confident that referee will allow it.

  4. Watford area filthy team. Rose should have had a straight red and most by now should be on yellows. They have set out from the start to follow the “they dont like it up them” approach. Being fully excused by the Sky pundits of course – useless twats.

    We need to be more assertive in the second half.

  5. I do not understand how on earth Rose’s aggression on Lacazette which led to the penalty did NOT lead to a yellow.
    This is evidence piece #1 of preferential refereeing.

    And how the following aggression was not then a yellow is evidence piece # 2.

    This is out a referee influences a game and a result.
    Not surprised, we are rising up the table which, does not fit their agenda and cannot happen.

  6. Serial fouling with aggression from Watford clear as daylight. Some chap who’s wandered in off the street wearing shorts and dressed in black keeps blowing the whistle and nothing else. You just got to keep your fingers crossed nobody gets crippled for life.

    The lads will do it.

  7. GREAT !!!

    ESR again…he is starting to score every game !

    I enjoyed th Wtaford player hitting who was that Lokonga and playing dead to win time instead of doing his job.
    1) we are showing some steel 2) teaches them a lesson

  8. Fraking unbelievable. 4th yellow against Arsenal.

    PIGMOB is doing its best to deplete the team for the game against Liverpool.

    It is just so blatantly visible.

  9. Well played the lads, great result against the Watford thugs aided and abetted by the PIGMOL puppet.
    Can anyone explain how Rose finished the game without a card?
    Good to see the Watford hard men moaning to the ref every time one of their players went down like cry babies.
    They showed a complete lack of cojones if you ask me!!

  10. Kevin Friend has never been a friend to us but this level of deliberate bias is beyond the pale. The worst dozen or so fouls committed on that pitch were all made by Watford. Sadly, Arteta’s plan of reducing our cards has obviously been spotted by Friend. His clear intention to allow Watford to do, more or less, as they wished irrespective of the potential injury to Arsenal players whilst punishing every tackle we made with a yellow was so utterly transparent I’m surprised there isn’t a court case purely based on that. The bloke should never be allowed to referee again and if the PGMO had even a shred of integrity they would go out of their way to publicise the fact they were appalled by his bias and/or ineptitude and that his sacking was the only possible response. An utter disgrace…….but, of course, it will go unaddressed….yet again

  11. A happy Arsenal weekend with all the results going our way.

    And our next game is – Liverpool away!

  12. In fairness, Antonio impeded Virgil from his previously offside position when Virgil tried to move over and stop the shot on WHAM’s second goal. I thought blocking in front of a runner was only allowed in American football.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see Liverpool! lose but I also don’t approve of dodgy refereeing.

  13. Why didn’t Sala get booked for a high boot when Gabriel did ?

    And that question prompted me to have a look at this weeks cards. Obviously nothing like Tony’s in depth research but still eye opening.

    Yellow = 1 Red = 2

    Wolves 13 Fouls 1 Yellow = 1 in 13

    Leeds 12 Fouls 1 Card = 1 in 12

    West Ham 11 Fouls 1 Card = 1 in 11

    Man Utd 9 Fouls 1 Card = 1 in 9

    Crystal Palace 14 Fouls 2 Cards = 1 in 7

    Aston Villa 12 Fouls 2 cards = 1 in 6

    Brentford 12 Fouls 2 Cards = 1 in 6

    Man City 12 Fouls 2 Cards = 1 in 6

    Southampton 12 Fouls 2 Cards = 1 in 6

    Chelsea 6 Fouls 1 Card = 1 in 6

    Liverpool 6 Fouls 1 Card = 1 in 6

    Leicester City 5 Fouls 1 Card = 1 in 5

    Norwich City 13 Fouls 3 Cards = 1 in 4.33

    Tottenham 17 fouls 4 Cards = 1 in 4.25

    Everton 13 Fouls 4 Cards = 1 in 3.25

    Brighton 16 Fouls 5 Cards = 1 in 3.2

    Watford 19 Fouls 6 Cards = 1 in 3.16

    Newcastle 10 Fouls 4 Cards = 1 in 2.5

    Burnley 9 Fouls 4 Cards = 1 in 2.25

    Arsenal 6 Fouls 4 Cards =1 in 1.5

    As you can see our fouls to cards ration was the worst over the weekend and absolutely ridiculous when you compare the teams at the top of that list who can commit 13 (Wolves) and 12 (Leeds) respectively for 1 card apiece.

    But we did put in 22 tackles for those 6 fouls where as Wolves put in a not much higher 31 and Leeds an even lower 25 tackles for their much higher foul count.

    So, as you have been showing Tony, it is not straight forward, but never the less 4 cards for just 6 fouls seems pretty harsh.

  14. seismic

    I took my stats from Flashscore, who are pretty good, but I didn’t realize they log the 2 yellows (that earned the red) AND the red in which case you are correct. Sorry about that. As such their stats should read:

    Watford 19 Fouls 4 Cards = 1 in 4.75 raising them up above Norwich in the leniency stakes.

    Thanks for the correction.

  15. I don’t have a problem with Tomiyasu’s yellow, As for Lokanga’s…if it was deemed a professional foul, fair enough but it was not dangerous play which is what it seems to be called. Aubameyang’s was clearly a yellow and as for Gabriel’s…meh, it was waist high and no where near the dude’s face which he was gripping most intently.

    So, maybe 4 yellows… but the thing that bothers is that whereas we may have merited 4…based on the same set of standards, Watford should have merited at least double…especially Danny Rose.

  16. GoingGoingGooner

    I did not see the game so I cant comment specifically on todays cards, but from what you say 3 of them could be justified, and given the subjective nature of these things I don’t doubt it. But equally I would expect that others would disagree with you. Who knows ? That’s the problem with subjectivity. Basically you cant be wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion.

    A subjective decision can range from an 80/20 call, to a 20/80 call to a 50/50 call. My argument is that far far more than 50% of the 50/50 calls go against us.

    ‘Subjectively’ it’s possible all 4 Arsenal fouls that led to cards were cards. But equally it’s possible that ‘subjectively’ none should of been cards and that more than 4 (including the penalty foul) of the 19 Watford fouls could of been cards.

    But the fact is Friend chose to see Arsenals fouls as much worse than Watfords, subjectively speaking of course. The problem is we have been at the wrong end of this subjectivity for well over a decade now.

    It’s cheating without cheating and it’s whet I’ve been arguing about for years.

  17. Later at Borehamwood, our Womenrecorded a routine 4 – 0 win against West Ham. Six games in and we remain 3 points clear at the top of tme tableewith a perfect 18 points and 23 goals for and 2 away. In all competitions we now have 50 goals this season. Captain Kim Little opened thescoring in the 39th minute then doubled our score early in the second half. Beth Mead got the third just after the hour mark and forced an own goal from defender Fisk in the 84th. All in all a good day at the office.

    The West Ham keeperMckenzie Arnold made a number of vital saves otherwise we could easily have won by six or seven.

    Next up a trip to Denmark on Wednesday where we play Koge in the Champions League. Koge, whilst bottom of our group arent mugs and could easily have taken an early two goal lead against Barcelona before being made to pay for their profligacy and losing the game. In their domestic league Koge are unbeaten after 12 matches, winning 11. They have scored27 and conceded 6.

  18. @Nitram

    Based on the rules of the game, we deserved two or, at the outside, possibly three yellows. Based on the rules of the game Watford should not have got away with fewer than ten yellows. Had the referee been from the local Sunday league I’d have said it was a fucking disgrace. The fact that Friend is supposed to be a professional is completely unfathomable.

    Despite the evidence, I try and convince myself that English referees are not deliberately corrupt but merely incompetent. On the basis of today’s showing I’m left in no doubt as to which of those options is correct.

  19. I went to the game and watched the warm ups. When the officials were warming up Friend stopped near the Watford players and spoke at length with a coaching staff member of Watford. At least two minutes of chit chat. Did anyone else notice that?? His performance today was appalling. But yet again nothing will be said. Rose was filthy all day. Watford are the new Stoke and Ranieri has the gall to complain about our goal and a lack of sportsmanship. What goes around comes around.

  20. Also another positive fact that the media will never mention. Arteta’s 54th win in all competitions was only bettered by George Graham on 56.

  21. Mikey

    I’ve always tended to take the view that referees follow the line of least resistance. That is to say they know that screwing Arsenal is never going to get them a bad press, where as being lenient towards us is often as not going to see them in hot water.

    Basically I’ve never seen them as ‘corrupt’ in the sense that they take bribes.

    But seeing such a large amount of these subjective calls going against us suggests at least an anti Arsenal bias is at work. Whether this bias manifests itself from a malice of forethought or it just permeates their performance at a subconscious level I don’t know, but one thing I am absolutely certain of is that it exists, and with some referees it exists to the extent that it is cheating, plain and simple.

  22. I’m just so pleased with how things are going. Another clean sheet.

    Despite not being at our best. Shooting ourselves in the foot. An obviously biased referee. We still found a way. Doesn’t matter that it was ‘just’ Watford. There are very few ‘Gimmies’ in the PL, just ask Chelsea. We are definitely heading in the right direction and have been for close to a seasons worth of results. And this shows how.

    Premier League standings over the last 35 matches played since the miraculous turnaround in our form when we beat Chelsea 3 – 1 at Emirates on the 26/12/20.That is just 3 matches short of an entire season.

    Man City 83 points

    Chelsea 68 points
    Arsenal 67 points
    West Ham 67 points
    Man Utd 64 points
    Liverpool 60 points

    Man City are clear on points obviously on the back of lasts years wide margin of victory, but this year they are back in the pack. Even so, in my humble opinion they are still the best team in the premiership, perhaps just not by as far. But apart from them Arsenal AND West Ham are a match for all the other incumbents.

    But you wait, lose at Liverpool and the doom-mongers will be back.

  23. Nitram – cheating without cheating is summed up with ‘corrupt’.

    The very obvious and obnoxious PGMOL behaviour is taking a knee. The blatantly racist and corrupt PGMOL have yet to be called out by the media.

    Todays VAR cheat was the same Aussie (Gillet) who robbed us of a goal against Palace a couple of seasons back. He has Rileys special backing as his payback.

  24. how was Saka off-side? there was a Wattford defender practically standing on the goal-line????

  25. @ron de jonge – there need to be two players between the goal line and the attacking player before the ball is received.

  26. @menace well thanks for clearing that up haha, I hope to see the day all the off side mysteries I encounter will be solved, but I dont count on it. Cheers!

  27. Menace

    I can understand why you say that, it’s just a matter of degrees, interpretation or just semantics if you like.

    According to the dictionary:

    CORRUPT: Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

    Well Dishonest? Certainly.

    But is it about money ? I’m not so sure, at least not in the sense they are taking bribes.

    Is it for personal gain ? Well possibly.

    As I have said on many occasions, I believe Riley and the referees behave almost entirely in a manner they feel will fit with the ‘current’ narrative of the media. For example when Leicester were the media darlings we all saw how they allowed all-in wrestling by their defenders to go unpunished and rewarded Olympic diving from their forwards. It delivered what the media wanted. The media were happy.

    Is that a ‘reward’ ?

    Well I suppose keeping their bosses (The media) happy, and ensuring job security in doing so, is a reward of sorts, then on that score ‘corrupt’ could be applied.

    Whatever you call it I think they just referee how they think they are expected to referee, which often as not bears very little relation to the laws of the game.

    Either way it’s a disgrace.

  28. When anything has lost its integrity and is no longer the way it should be, it can be called corrupt. Money does not come into it. Data corruption or corruption of thought process, moral corruption, all are not money related but have lost integrity.

    The PGMOL have lost integrity as they apply bias to all of their processes including their selection of staff and their obvious secrecy and appointment of officials. The entity is corrupt as it has no integrity.

  29. Guys,

    did you follow what happened at the CL game Dortmund-Ajax ? How a PL referee, one of these who make 99% of decisions right, a world classe referee made a joke of his trade ?

    Wrong call, VAR review, not even bothering to look at the action again ‘I-know-what-I-saw-No-other-angle-nor-slow-motion-can-prove-me-wrong-I-AM-THE-BEST’ style. it is absolutely and undoubtedly visible that Anthony goes flying when he tripps Hummel’s ankle.

    Anyway, Oliver’s incompetence came out glaringly, made worse by his refusal to even look at the replays on his reserved screen. BVB will contest the decision all the way to the UEFA instances in charge.

    As I thought right away, Oliver let his PIGMOB training take over. BVB Dortmund were playing in yellow, the regular Arsenal external shirt colour. So he must have thought it was an Arsenal player, let his PIGMOB instincts react the way he was trained only to discover he was in the CL not the PL….

    And him not een bothering to review the scene is so arrogant and PIGMOB like.

    Anyway, he did not make many friends in Europe that night. Nor did he make PIGMOB and PL look good.

    Whihc is too bad, because when faced with incompetent people, you hope they get promoted and leave ! No promotion in sight there !

  30. I watched the BVB Ajax game and speak fluent German – the comments afterwards were fun!!

    On the website Wahretabelle (real table) I have never seen so many negative comments about a ref performance. There were a few who pointed out that Oliver was not very good in Euro 2020 and he ignored VAR there.

    His performance all through the match was woeful – both sets pf players couldn’t understand what he was doing.

    It is hard to believe that he is an “Elite” UEFA referee, but them twat Taylor changed the offside rule in the Nations league final and he is supposedly an “Elite” official

    I loved the explanation from UEFA – the interpretation of the rule by Taylor was correct. So now we can interpret rules however the refs please and that is explanation enough!!!

    He aloo changed it back because a ball came off defender (Real Betis) to a Leverkusen player on Thursday – He didn’t play on like the NL final he blew for an offside.

    I watched the last 30 minutes of the game yesterday between ARS and Watford. I am not an Arsenal fan but the all in wrestling and sheer brutality from Watford was astonishing.

    The standard of officiating at the top level of football is making the game almost unwatchable. It is almost as if the template of PIGMOB has been transferred to all governing bodies of the sport. The other point is that football is the only sport that needs a “Respect” campaign

    Talking of wrestling I will go and watch WWE- at least they dont expect you to believe it is not rigged!!!

  31. Oliver has a string of awful decisions to his name during the last few months. I can’t understand why UEFA would want PGMOL referees anywhere near their games. Unless…..

  32. This from the BBC website’s Twitter summary regarding the Watford (Stoke) match – “Smith Rowe made up for any embarrassment by later scoring a match-winning penalty.”

    The BBC is the national broadcaster of the United Kingdom.

    Where facts take a back seat, and sometimes miss the ride completely.

  33. Seismic

    Sounds like someone from the BBC sports department overheard a couple of drunks talking about the match at the bus stop on the way home, and based his report on that.

    That can be the only explanation for such ignorance.

  34. The lack of any apparent editorial control being exercised at the BBC is astonishing. “Journalists” are allowed to write anything, and truth is conspicuous by its absence.

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