Aston Villa v Arsenal: Referee upheavals and Arsenal’s team



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, “Arsenal were left furious that Ivan Toney’s goal was allowed to stand.”  True, but it should be followed by the statement that “Arsenal have been left even more furious at today’s referee who has the highest level of home team bias of any referee in the Premier League.”   (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

Ramsdale ;

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;

Xhaka, Jorginho;

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.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
6 Arsenal 2021/2 away 19 9 1 9 26 31 -5 28
1 Arsenal 2022/3 away 11 8 1 2 20 7 13 25


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…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Arsenal 2002 22 11 8 3 43 26 17 41
2 Arsenal 2023 22 16 3 3 47 21 26 51


You might remember what happened in 2002.  (Hint: we won the league)

13 Replies to “Aston Villa v Arsenal: Referee upheavals and Arsenal’s team”

  1. Well…that was some second half! When Odegaard missed the open net, I thought that was it. I hadn’t given up but I was strangely satisfied with the point because of the effort and creativity of the lads. The last two goals were a wee bit strange but they gave us two points.

  2. At full time I went to the BBC website to see what they said about the game. I know they are quite anti-Arsenal but they’re match report was either wishful thinking or written by somebody more interested in being first to the bar.

    I can’t find it anymore but I took a photo of it and this is what it opened with……I kid you not!

    “Unai Emery’s Aston Villa denied his former club Arsenal the chance to go back to the top of the Premier League as they played out a dramatic draw at Villa Park.” [A draw would have meant we were top anyway but while bother with facts!]

    The article later said, “Mikel Arteta’s side remain level on points with Manchester City but are now winless in three.” [A draw would, of course put us a point ahead.]

    It also made reference to, “….Villa’s defence strength was evident as they earned a deserved point.”

    What a bunch of inept amateurs.

    Fantastic comeback by the lads. Psychological pressure off a little. COYG

  3. Aston Dark Arts Villa 2 – Arsenal 4. What a rubbish ref who allowed all the kicking in the world without a card being shown or even fouls getting awarded. We never gave up even when playing against 12 man.

  4. Let’s hope that Hooper will soon be relieved of his duties. As usual, Saka gets a yellow card for being fouled repeatedly. Martinez was regularly wasting 20 seconds making his clearances, but the referee waited until the 84th minute to give him a yellow card. Why are referees unable to enforce the simpler laws of the game?

    I wonder why Howard Webb was really brought in to replace Riley. I don’t think it has anything to do with the current standard of officiating. I think it’s more likely that Riley would have been unable to deal with the approaching storm, and will be another scapegoat when the truth comes out.

  5. Arsenal browk the ref’s perfect record (and probably world record…). So mean lads…so mean… ;=))
    Our Young Gunner are not dead yet.

  6. Mikey,

    send the picture to Tony…I’d bet he’d probably be happy to publish it ! No reason not to make fun of them and show the world what idiots they are…

  7. Chris and Mikey

    I think more than showing what idiots they are, it shows just how desperate they are are for Arsenal to fail.

    Gloating before there’s anything to gloat about.

    Making things sound worse than they actually are, even if we did draw.

    It’s sad. it’s pathetic. It’s the BBC. What more can we say?

    Please send it to Tony. And please, make something of this because it is absolute proof of the BBC’s desire to see us fail.

  8. BBC sport has changed their tune, now saying:

    “Winning titles is about overcoming adversity under pressure, and that is exactly what Arsenal did today.” by Harry DeCasemo

  9. WOO HOO , HOO ! Possibly the most funny end of the game in a long time ! Not that it was not undeserved .
    Karma , was a real bitch !
    Up the Gunners !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *