It’s so maddening that every single team fighting for Champions League places this season are tripping up on a weekly basis. It was the same yesterday with Leicester and Man United. I can’t quite work out whether or not it’s because the league isn’t as good as it once was in terms of the top teams, or whether other teams have stepped up.

I certainly think Liverpool have an easier run to their first Premier League title than most eventual winners have had. They have no rivals and teams come up against them and just seem to be, well, a bit sh*t.

So we’ve got a league which is lower on quality, along with a refereeing institution which was already run by a complete moron in Mike Riley, who are being made to look all the worse because of the infuriatingly inconsistent way in which VAR is being applied to football matches.

I’ve woken up this morning and that Pepe stonewall penalty that wasn’t given is still pissing me right off. Especially as I looked at the Wilfred Zaha ‘penalty’ against us which got Palace back into the game at The Emirates. There was minimal contact from Chambers that day and yet VAR ruled that a penalty must be given. There was nothing on Saturday from Dean or the ref in Stockley Park, despite the fact I’m yet to come across a pundit or commentator not say that it was a penalty. If Chris Wilder pulled a ‘I didn’t see it’ Wengerism in the post match.

He knew it was a penalty. He knew that his side should have been behind.

And there are Arsenal fans – and others – who have said that it shouldn’t matter and we should have seen Sheffield United off by creating – and taking – more chances.

I understand that, but I disagree on it not mattering because football matches are swung on details like a sending off, or a second goal, and by not getting what we were owed in that penalty on Saturday, the game changed. Had we been given that penalty then statistically we were more likely to be 2-0 up than the ‘keeper saves. If that happens the game is put to bed and the likelihood is that we’re talking about a good win against a well-organised team.

So whilst I agree we should have created more chances, the fact of the matter remains that we have, once again, been denied something that the supposed ‘new technology’, was supposed to deliver on.

Once again though, I feel it’s important to point out that I’m not crying ‘conspiracy’ against Arsenal here. I don’t think there is an agenda against us. I do think that we are not getting the rub of the green this season though and I don’t know why. I have so many instances popping in to my head:

  • Sokratis getting his shirt pulled away to Sheffield United
  • McClean not getting sent off for his challenge on Guendouzi (an identical challenge to the one that saw VAR send Auba off)
  • Sokratis’ perfectly good goal ruled out for no reason against Palace at home
  • Jorginho not being booked for a second yellow at The Emirates
  • Pepe’s stonewall penalty this weekend.
  • It’s going round and round my brain because each of these decisions are a key, game-changing, moment and correct and consistent decisions could have made such a difference to our season.
    • Maybe we pick up one point at Brammall Lane
      Maybe we beat a Norwich side down to ten men
      We certainly beat Palace at home
      Chelski can’t put as much pressure on us in the last stages of the game – I think we win that match if that happens
      I think with a two goal advantage we see off Sheffield United.
  • I make that an additional ten points right there. And it’s poor officiating on each occasion that costs us. Again, I am not saying this is isolated for Arsenal, but we just seem to have felt it the worst. I’m trying to think of times where we’ve gotta away with it’ and so far only the Guendouzi shirt pull in the box at Leicester stands out. And we lost that game anyway so the outcome probably wouldn’t have been any different.
  • So, a lot of words from me here, sounding a bit bitter and full of irritatingly annoying hindsight. Such a thing can drive a man to distraction. But I guess I just use this as my venting platform and, being a superstitious man, I also hope that the laws of karma come around and start dealing us some fortune for a change. Heck, screw fortune, I just want clear and obvious infringements against my team to be called on. And be accepting – like all Arsenal fans I know – of when it costs us, like the Aubameyang sending off the weekend before last.
  • Is that too much to ask?