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By Walter Broeckx, the new year’s ref
Peter Walton was the ref at Birmingham today. And he was in charge when Stoke finally managed to break Ramsey’s leg last season after letting go too many tackles. Was he up to it today…?
OTHER: ….With less than a minute gone Fabregas is brought down clearly and the ref gives nothing. 0/1
OTHER: A back pass from a Birmingham defender and the keeper takes the ball in his hands, realises it and throws the ball in the air. I think the linesman saw it and told it to the ref who gave the indirect free kick. A good decision. 1/1
Shiver, shiver, shiver
OTHER/CARD: A Birmingham thug comes in with a frontal tackle and catches Fabregas just above the ankle. My throat was in my mouth for a few moments. And if you do want to look at a replay of this you must try to keep your attention on how long it took the ref before he blew the foul. Way, way, way too long it took. And it took even longer before he finally decided to hand out a card. A yellow one.
Just take a look at the picture and realise with my how lucky Cesc has been not to been lying down like Eduardo with his leg in two. This the kind of tackle you don’t want to see in any game and certainly not in a game between Birmingham and Arsenal. Now I do admit that I have some kind of bias against Birmingham. And I do find it difficult to accept that he didn’t gave a red card. It was a frontal tackle but not a complete outstretched leg (if it would have been Cesc would be in hospital right now). But I do keep on struggling with the fact that it took ages before he even gave the foul. I had the impression that at first he didn’t want to give the foul at all. But as he got it right at the end of the day I will give him the points for that. 1/1 and 0/1
OTHER/GOAL: There was a pull on Van Persie so it was a foul. And scoring with a little help from the wall is allowed. In fact the player in the wall hit the ball with his hands. 1/1 and 1/1
OTHER: Fabianski has a good intervention on a cross and receives a late kick from Jerome. The ref does nothing. When you kick the keeper that has the ball, you must give a foul. 0/1
Jerome plants his foot on Fabianski who has the ball in his arms. A coincidence? or tactic?
OTHER: Van Persie is being kicked… nothing seen by the ref again. 0/1
OTHER/CARD: A blatant pull on Walcott and the ref gets out his card. Correct decision. 1/1 and 1/1
PENALTY: From the resulting free kick Djourou is held back with an arm around his neck and he can’t get to the ball. The defender held Djourou for a few moments like in a wrestling competition. But the ref who was not in the position he should have been (already tired?) did or could not see it. But it was a foul and should have been a penalty. 0/1
I give you this image to explain why the ref made a mistake. The circle on the right is his position when the free kick was taken. You can see he is some 20-25 meters away from the edge of the penalty area where the players are. The second circle on the left is the position that he should have been in when the free kick was to be taken. The arrow indicates that he would have had a clear sight on the incident and maybe would have given the penalty. Now he was too far away and couldn’t see it. Maybe this has something to do with his age and the fact that he couldn’t run the distance and was having some kind of break?
OTHER/CARD: Djourou blocks Jerome and gets a yellow card. It looked a bit like Jerome just ran in to the back of Djourou and then went down. But Djourou had his arms spread so he blocked Jerome. So it was a foul (obstruction) and a card could have been given. 1/1 and 1/1
PENALTY: Van Persie tries to head a ball away in our penalty area and misses it. His arm is raised and clearly touches the ball. We are lucky not to get a penalty against us. So the ref got this wrong and we were lucky on this occasion. 0/1
OTHER: Djourou heads the ball away and gets charged from behind. When a defender is being charged like that almost on his own goal line (just 5 meters out) you should always blow the foul. There cannot be any advantage to the defending team in such a situation. 0/1
OTHER: Koscielny clears the ball and Jerome puts his foot on the ankle of Koscielny. Koscielny is in pain and the ref and the linesman, who is only 10 meters away didn’t do anything. I really had the impression that Jerome put his foot deliberate on Koscielny. Certainly after what happened earlier and later on in the game. 0/1
Koscielny has kicked the ball away a few seconds ago. And Jerome keeps on dancing until he can plant his foot on the leg of Koscielny. Second time this happens to Jerome.
In we go at half time with a 1-0 advantage.
OTHER/OTHER/CARD: Sagna is being kicked from behind. The ref gives nothing. Sagna who is still on the ground kicks the ball away. What else can you do when the ref gives no foul. Then Bowyer comes in and kicks in a nasty way with his studs on Sagna who was down on the ground. This was mean and nasty and deliberate and should have been a red card. The ref missed it all. 0/1, 0/1 and 0/1
Sagna is being tackled from behind and it is a blatant foul but nothing given. Sagna kicks the ball away. Watch where the ball is and where Bowyer is aiming his leg at….
No ball in the picture anymore and Bowyer has a go and kicks Sagna right above his knee. This should have been a red card! The second one against Birmingham.
OTHER: A defender comes charging in the back of Van Persie jumping in from a few meters behind him. The ref was blinded by the floodlights I think. 0/1
CARD: Another card against Birmingham and a correct one. 1/1
GOAL: A very fine goal and if you look at it again, please take a look at the way Fabregas runs and makes room with his run for Nasri to score. Sorry for going off topic but this was well within the rules. 1/1
OTHER: A defender kicks Wilshere to the ground. The ref does nothing. This was just a kick trough the ankle of Wilshere. 0/1
OTHER: Jerome goes in on Fabianski and the ref gives the foul. Correct decision this one. 1/1
OTHER/CARD: Sagna gives a pass back to another defender and Bowyer again kicks him deliberate on his Achilles. The ref let it all go and Bowyer did not get a yellow card. But in fact he should have been off the pitch already at this moment in the game after his first kick at Sagna. 0/1 and 0/1
Again Bowyer kicks Sagna when the ball is already played. But we take revenge by scoring. But Bowyer shouldn’t have been on the field anymore by then.
GOAL: They all count and it is not against the law to score an own goal after a double deflection. And there have been 3 one-two combinations after each other between Cesc and Nasri. 1/1
And after this even Birmingham stopped kicking a bit and the ref wasn’t troubled anymore. So where does this leave our ref when we try to count his points?
Total score: 12/27 (44%)
So hey, for the first time in a while we can count ourselves a bit lucky with a penalty decision. The Van Persie handball should have been punished with a penalty. Keep your hands close to your body Robin when in our own penalty area. It could have gone wrong and this time we can be happy for once with the fact that the ref did not see it.
But again the ref missed some things that he shouldn’t have missed. The deliberate “landings” on ankles and legs by Birmingham players when they could have easily avoided the legs of their opponents went on unpunished during the game. Even MOTD pundits found it necessary to highlight them. Are you reading my ref reviews, over there on the BBC? Anyway, thanks for pointing it out.
The overall score is still below the 50% mark and not acceptable in the EPL. As long as it was not 3-0 I was afraid some Arsenal player would have been kicked off the field with a serious injury. Cesc escaped, Sagna was lucky and I had some kind of Stoke feeling creeping in. Lucky we managed to score that third goal and then Birmingham was thinking: let us not risk any more cards as this game is lost and we could get suspended for next games.
The ref missed so many dangerous and mean attacks on Arsenal players leg is maybe isn’t a surprise to see that he missed the penalty from Van Persie. The behaviour of Bowyer was really shameful and he should have been sent off after his first attempt to assault the knee of Sagna. He sure didn’t help Birmingham with missing the penalty but he sure did not try to stop them much in kicking us all over the field.