Still pretty frustrated about the way that Wolves game panned out on Tuesday, I have to tell you. It was clearly a contentious point that split most people in football but whilst the fault lines seem to be that every other pundit and ex-referee (most of them, anyway) were coming down on the “red card. Penalty. No choice” aide of the David Luiz sending off argument, I’ll be interested to see what the footballing world makes of the next bit of minor touch that doesn’t result in a penalty. Will we get the standard “there’s practically nothing there, the defender is unlucky” type response, or the same response as we seem to have received over the last 24 hours.
I don’t think this is an Arsenal thing by the way. I’m not sure we are targeted by referees any more than other teams. But I do think there is a bit of a ‘David Luiz’ thing going on. As Tim Stillman said on Twitter on Tuesday evening, this feels like we are getting the response from everyone because of the player more than anything else too. There are too many lazy pundits who talk about football in the media and love to use a bit of a narrative. The ‘This is who David Luiz is, this is what he does’ narrative is very strong. Too strong I think. The guy is an accident waiting to happen every fifth game he plays, but in this instance his reputation preceded him, which also cost us the game as a result.
So I will be watching with interest over the next couple of weeks to see any other decision in which a player is given light contact in the box, yet that is not warranted a penalty. There was even one in the Man City v Burnley game last night as Jesus was essentially pushed over. Peter Walton – the same melon who stuck by a fellow referee to say it was a definite penalty against us on Tuesday – suddenly decided that the ‘no penalty’ award was right on this occasion. But that isn’t what has drawn the attention of many of us; instead it is the way in which he has described the situation. Apparently the push over as the Burnley player was getting up was ‘incidental’, i.e. a chance occurence.
What, you mean a like a player who may or may not have slightly touched an attackers studs in the box, as an ‘incidental’ collision?
Sorry, but this is bullsh*t, because Walton has literally contradicted himself 24 hours after stating the complete opposite in a different game.
Narrative on the player more than the club in our case, but added to that, we also have incompetence by those ‘professionals’ who ref the game and/or are part of the refereeing union ‘old boys club’ who will stick together through thick and thin.
But it won’t change. Because the PGMOL won’t change. Because there is no accountability. It is the same cretins running that body who adjudicate on our game, whether that is on the pitch or off it via VAR. If you are a professional referee you have no recompense for failure. I don’t think these refs are poor on purpose, I just think they are led down that path because they are comfortable and safe in the knowledge that they will still be doing their jobs the next week. At worst they get taken out of the limelight for a couple of weeks but they are soon back in.
Imagine if there was a promotion/relegation criteria for referees. Too many mistakes and you are towards the bottom of the ref table and you get moved down the leagues. Good refs in the lower leagues can rise up through the divisions and get to the Premier League. It would create an element of competition that would also ensure that complacency doesn’t creep in. Somebody like Mike Dein would know that too many poor decisions and he’s slipping down the league.
But that won’t happen because it is a closed shop and a lack of any real accountability. It is not in the self-serving interest in people like Mike Riley to see his mates be shown up, because it would show just how poorly he has managed that organisation and it would most likely lead to consequences for him too. He can’t be having that. Improvement of the standard of referees in England doesn’t help him, it merely serves to highlight how he has been asleep at the wheel.
So we’ll go on with this farce time and time again. This weekend it might go in our favour against Villa. I’d be surprised but you never know. But eventually something like that David Luiz instance will come around again and Arsenal fans will be the latest ones to be questioning the competency of the men in the middle who should be the best in the game. We all know they are far from it.
Catch you all tomorrow with some pre-Villa thoughts.