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By Bulldog Drummond
According to the BBC Lee Mason has left his role as a Premier League video assist referee, presumably for breaking the myth that PGMO staff are genetically modified so that they can never make errors of any kind.
He was the first Premier League Video Assistant Referee to be appointed. However, much to the glee of Manchester City, the Premier League has not given Arsenal the two points extra it would have had, had the VAR not been in existence.
What the PGMO said was, “We would like to thank Lee for his dedicated service to the professional game and wish him all the best for the future.” What they didn’t say was, “We have asked him to sign a new non-disclosure agreement, so that none of our innermost secrets will get out.”
Those secrets of course include how for today’s game the PGMO has appointed a referee who has not overseen a single away win all season. (See With Simon Hooper as referee, Arsenal have no chance at all today)
Thus while PGMO line-followers such as the Daily Mirror focus on the departure of one long-standing referee, there is not a single mention of the fact that today’s bit fact – as noted (but I want to say it again) this referee has not overseen one away win all season.
Indeed the Mirror says, “ (OK that’s three times. I’ll stop now).
Meanwhile the Guardian tells us that “Thomas Partey, who missed the City game with a thigh injury, will be tested but Jorginho is likely to continue deputising in midfield. Emile Smith Rowe could return to the squad after injury and Arteta may be tempted to freshen up his starting XI, with Leandro Trossard a viable replacement for a slightly off-colour Gabriel Martinelli. “He’s had an impact every time he’s been on the pitch so he’s an option,” Arteta said of the Belgian.”
Football London gives a line up which leaves out Nketiah
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney;
Jorginho, Zinchenko, Odegaard;
Saka, Martinelli, Trossard.
Although to cover all angles they also offer
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney;
Jorginho, Xhaka, Odegaard;
Saka, Trossard, Nketiah.
Sports Mole come up with the same but shuffle the positionings a bit…
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Saka, Odegaard, Trossard;
There is a good bit of research by the BBC however when they say, “Unai Emery’s side have conceded a top-flight high of nine goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches this season.”
But let us divert for a moment and consider something different. The little table below shows Arsenal’s complete set of results away from home for last season – 19 games with nine wins. The second line shows Arsenal’s away games so far this season. A win today would take us equal with last season’s away total results – with seven away games still to go.
|Arsenal 2021/2 away
|Arsenal 2022/3 away
So it’s not all over yet. But the desperate desire of journalists for bad news about Arsenal will not go away, not even with the realisation that Arsenal have not lost three games in a row without scoring since 2009. Such stats are set up by the media in order to prepare the way for the screaming headline tonight and tomorrow if things don’t go well.
But consider this. Here’s the league table as it stood at this moment in 2002 and now…
You might remember what happened in 2002. (Hint: we won the league)
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