The untold ref review: Arsenal – Partizan Belgrade

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By Walter Broeckx, the delighted ref.

According to my match commentator our ref for today’s game was a débutante in the Champions League. So what more could we say at the start of the game at our ref from Italy besides: welcome. Or benvenuti as it seems to be in Italian.  (Walter how the hell am I supposed to edit this and check for spellings if you keep throwing in foreign words?  Tony)

The name of the ref  looked like some Italian food at first but his name was not tagliatelli but it was  Paolo Tagliavento. So let us see from where the wind was blowing, let us just check its ranking on the Beaufort Scale and wonder at just how freezing cold the Emirates really was. Well it looked really cold from the warmth of my home.  (Cold, but not as cold as Kettering Station at 1am on my journey home – Tony)

OTHER: in the first half hour there was not much to get excited about and the ref also let the game flow a lot. One can always argue about some minor decisions or mistakes but all in all a fair first half hour for the ref and as there were not many major decisions I decided to give him a mark on his overall performance in the first half and he was doing a good job. 1/1

PENALTY/CARD/GOAL : Van Persie with his back to goal turns away from his defender who comes in, in a rather silly way and hits him. Van Persie goes down and the ref brings some vento in his whistle and gives the penalty. What else could he do? He doesn’t give a card and this is also correct. There was not a real goal scoring chance it was just a foul like you see a dozen in a game. Just the fact that the foul was made inside the penalty area does not mean you have to give a yellow card. So well done 1/1, 1/1 and 1/1.

OTHER: THE HIGLIGHT OF MY EVENING!!!!!!! Well for me as a ref anyway. What happened: Arsenal have a corner and when the ball is in the air the ref blows his whistle and gives a foul against Arsenal. I think I have been boring you at times telling you over and over again that it is forbidden to make any moves in front of a keeper when a corner is (to be) taken. I have shown you the laws of the game from Fifa. Oh, I might as well give them again:

Offences committed against goalkeepers

• It is an offence for a player to prevent a goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands

• A player must be penalised for playing in a dangerous manner if he kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it

• It is an offence to restrict the movement of the goalkeeper by unfairly impeding him, e.g. at the taking of a corner kick

And then now suddenly on a cold night is there this young Italian ref who gives a foul for just the fact that Song had placed himself in front of the goalkeeper (no foul in itself that!) but just the fact that Song made himself wider with opening his arms and made movements so that the goalkeeper could not run freely is a foul. And right before the corner was taken the ref blew his whistle and indicated that he would not tolerate any nonsense.  I have a feeling I have told you this before but my god, for the first time in ages I have seen a ref giving the foul for this offence when Arsenal is involved in a game. And then the foul is given against Arsenal. But a very correct call. 1/1

If there is anyone out there who has seen the game with English commentators and pundits could you tell me what they made of it as I really would like to know. On the reporter said: “I’m not sure what Song has done wrong.” Well this reporter can read it here if he likes to. You can’t even trust these days.  But for those who have and want to see it again just check the time when its 33.53 at the game clock. And compare this to the rugby tackling on keepers, the surrounding of  keepers that is allowed in the EPL by some teams and most refs.

And after that you at the Emirates could need a warm cup of thee at half time and myself a cool cola to get over my excitement about this decision.

GOAL: It isn’t against the law to score with some help from a defender so nothing wrong again. 1/1

CARD: Krstajic gets a yellow card for bringing Walcott down to prevent him for going for the ball. Right at the edge of the penalty area and possible dangerous attack on the way and a foul away from the ball. Correct decision. 1/1

GOAL: Walcott brings some warmth in the Emirates with a well taken goal and everything very much within the rules. 1/1

GOAL: That’s more like it and did you see that movement from Nasri where he pretends to give it back to Song and then suddenly drags it for his left feet and shoots. NO? Really look at it again. And oh, yes nothing wrong with the rule book. 1/1

PENALTY: Denilson gets the ball in the penalty area and is brought down by a Partizan player. Another clear cut penalty but the ref lets this one go. This was a mistake from the ref. 0/1

CARD: Sagna brings down a Partizan player at the edge of the penalty area. The ref gives a foul and a red card. Yes it was a foul (he clipped his foot a bit) and if Sagna would have let him run he would have had a goal scoring opportunity. So according to the instructions the ref had every right to show him a red card. So I will give him the full marks for this. As this is what this ref review is all about. It is to see if the ref does it within the rules and according to the instructions. And then he did the right thing. 1/1

I do think that in a few years time when he has more experience in this type of games, and when the game is played and won he and most of the other more experienced refs would have given a yellow card. And as a supporter and as a manager you can say it is a bit harsh. And I think we can point at several other fouls where there is no red card given. But maybe if this ref, as a new ref on this stage, is setting out the lines for the future it might not be a bad thing as it will stop defenders bringing down players in such a position. Fabianski would have saved it anyway, I felt.

But this was the last really meaningful event, from a ref’s point of view, in this game and now let us see what this makes in total for the ref.

CARDS: 3/3


GOAL:  4/4

OTHER: 2/2

Total score: 10/11 (91%)

Now that is a score on your report you want to take home and show your parents.

And like I said in his first CL game he gave a very solid performance and always looked in control. He missed one penalty (the foul on Denilson) and this just shows how difficult it is to get all the decisions right. He nearly did. So I can only compliment the ref with his game.

And yes as a supporter I would loved it if he had just given a yellow card against Sagna but over here in this series, I try not to be a supporter when I write this. I leave it to you in the comment section to act like supporters and tell me that the red card was harsh.

Final note: as I am not working on my normal computer I cannot give you any pictures (disappointing oooh) and I also  cannot give you the scores of the other refs so far in the champions League (oooh again). But I will try to make up with this and give you one of these days a summary of the refs in the CL we had so far now that the group games are over.

Life, the universe, Arsenal

Why are you always going on about the past?

Political note: if you are a UK resident and you agree that it is wrong that government funding should be cut while Vodophone, Topshop, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Barclays Bank, and most recently Cadbury, should avoid UK tax by utilising tax loopholes that the UK government refuses to shut down, please visit UK Uncut

21 Replies to “The untold ref review: Arsenal – Partizan Belgrade”

  1. Interesting point about the foul on the goalkeeper. I couldn’t see what the foul was given for and indeed the commentators on Canal+ (France) said it looked more like a foul on Song.

    Now I know better, thanks!

  2. If only I could add video images to these articles then I could explain it better. Even the pictures could do the job I think. I will try it later on my normal computer this evening and maybe try to make some kind of presentation.

    I will check it later tonight if I can make something of it if not in video images then in pictures.

  3. I also thought the ref was outstanding. I laughed at the Song incident remembering your complaints in the past. I knew you would bring it up!!!

    I thought Sagna knew exactly what he was doing. He took a red card for the team. He saw exactly where the penalty area was and clipped his man. Red card. Well done, Sagna. Time for Eboue to step up for the lads at RB in the next round.

  4. i thought the ref let us get away with a few tackles that were a bit off colour but then like you say he tried to let the game flow so divers got short shrift, now is there any chance that our next game will be officiated in a similar manner? i think not.

  5. ugandan goon – what, you want consistency? Are you silly? Referees do not do consistency!!!


  6. Regarding the Song foul against the opposing goalkeeoer it would be interesting to know how many points have been denied Arsenal in past seasons due to the refusal of Premier league refs to punish this kind of infringement. It is entirely possible we may even have been robbed of a title or two given the concerted efforts of opposition teams to exploit the leniency of refs in this regard. Given your referee status Walter would it be possible for you to make some discreet enquiries of our referees assosiation to establish why they ignore this law as it cannot be right.

  7. Spot on Walter. Though many do not like the red card, from my position last night absolutely right. I thoughjt this guy was a class act and so superior to many on the Premier league. I did not really enjoy the game last night as it was mainly lack lustre but I thought our Italian chum had an excellent game.

  8. Great ref analysis again. I fully agree with your comments on the red card and I also believe a more experienced ref may have given him a yellow card in this situation as the game was petering out. Had the foul been in the penalty area then a red card and a penalty may have changed the outcome of the game. Would you have marked the ref down for just giving a yellow card??

  9. Dan – I suppose the argument there is that there shouldnt be any difference between the 1st minute and the 90th minute. It is like the folks who said the ref in the City-Arsenal match “ruined the game” by producing a red card so early. It shouldnt matter when in the game the infringement is, if it is a red card offense then a red card should be shown, or else players will begin to think they can get away with stuff at certain points in the game. Certainly had Partizan scored from the unsuing free-kick it would have been hard to argue that the game was petering out.

  10. Dan, I would have deducted him a point if he had given a yellow card. How much I like Sagna (and I really like him a lot as a player and as a human being – as far as one can know him in that way).

    The reason I mentioned other refs who would have gone for a yellow is the fact that they can afford to do such things and not give a red card when it is strictly needed.
    But a new ref if he wants to hold his place in the CL he has to as strict as possible. So I think in his head he clicked the boxes: goal scoring chance, last defender= red and gave the red card.
    If he would have give a yellow it could have cost him some points in his evaluation and this could mean the difference between europa League and Champions league

  11. And like Paul C, it shouldn’t matter in which minute it happened, how sorry I feel for Sagna

  12. Good Article Walter as ever.

    Quick question maybe for Tony

    Fifa today after initaly last year agreeing to provide Welington De Silva a special talent work visa to join Arsenal decided to withdraw the agreement.

    How can they just change their minds and why would they, is it just more sour grapes after the BBC documentary ?

  13. @dupsffokcuf
    That’s what I saw too…
    Of course I’d be happy to stand corrected, but it seemed to me that the goalkeeper put HIS arms AROUND SONG.
    To answer your question Walter, the (English) commentators were just as surprised as I was that Song would be penalized for having the keeper put his arms around him…

  14. Nice analysis as ever Walter! The young Italian has a promising future and would be an admirable replacement to the one and only Collina. Bald head and piercing stare allowed for of course!

  15. About the arms around Song one could say that if Song wouldn’t have been there he wouldn’t have felt the warm embrace of the goalkeeper. 😉
    Serious now a bit. I will try to answer this with some images if you allow me but I have to see if I can insert them in an article. I will try my best to bring this to you as clear as possible. Please have a bit of patience as a picture can say more than thousand words.

  16. Walter, I may be looking at this from the English side, as you see it ever week in the premier league. As you said yourself Song is within his rights to stand there if he does not impede the keeper.

  17. Dupsffokcuf,
    It really is strange to me as the rules are mainly written by the home countries and they together with Fifa write the interpretations of the rules.
    Rules that should be the same around the world. And yet for some strange reason this rule about not impeding goalkeepers that is written and agreed upon by the home countries is totaly neglected by English referees.

    I just cant get it.

  18. I have prepared an article about this with pictures and some explenation and left it for Tony to find tomorrow morning. Could be interesting or could be boring…. 😉

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