Morning folks. How are you guys doing? Are you still as frustrated as me with what happened over the weekend?
I was so frustrated, in fact, that yesterday I just couldn’t be arsed to write anything. Normally I’ll always write a post-match blog, but I just couldn’t be bothered with it. Why? Football is why. This isn’t an Arsenal thing, it’s a football thing, because for me it is just being ruined right now. You know when people say “have a day off mate”? Well that was me yesterday because I just couldn’t be bothered to watch some kind of other controversy or mistake made by the referees in any games. But not just that, I just couldn’t be bothered to watch another boring match with no fans. It isn’t fun, hasn’t been fun for a year, so the sooner this season is done the better.
Yesterday late afternoon I cooked a roast chicken. I have a Sky box in my kitchen and usually that’s so that I can switch the football on – any football – and have it on in the background whilst I’m preparing to cook. But yesterday whilst I was firing up the box I thought to myself “do you really want to watch it?” and concluded that no, I did not, in fact. So I put on Crocodile Dundee II instead. A movie I’d seen a million times before rather than the ‘product’ that I predominantly pay the vast subscription fee for. It is seriously making me question whether what I pay for is even worth it. I watch Arsenal because it is my addiction, but even that feels sterile and blander these days.
And it is everything around it too. Match of the Days pathetic Micky taking from Lacazette; I watched it as a Twitter clip and thought “really? You guys are going to make the most out of that? Perhaps it is because we are now the running joke in the Premier League. A fallen giant who deliver stupidity and comedy game by game. This weekend it was Granit Xhaka giving Burnley their 20th goal of the season by essentially booting the ball at a player. So very on brand for Arsenal to throw away three points through their own making and entirely by their own hands, whilst missing a hat-full of chances, hitting the bar and even hitting the post in injury time. Masters of our own downfall game after game and the sooner the season is over, the sooner some more players can be shipped out, the sooner we do some more sweeping the broom through the squad, the better.
But football is mainly being ruined by the inconsistent and illogical application of VAR. This weekend it was the clearest handball that we’ve ever seen by Erik Pieters, being described as in close ‘proximity’. That’s the latest buzz words and when even Peter Walton is saying he doesn’t really know why the referee and then Kevin Friend the VAR official didn’t give it, you know it’s a terrible call. Do you remember when Lee Mason sent of Xhaka a few year’s ago for that foul on the halfway line? It was a straight red he gave Xhaka. We have literally NEVER seen that type of foul get punished like that again. I guarantee you the next time there is a handball decision like that – for or against Arsenal or ANY other team for that matter, the word ‘proximity’ will not be dished out as the reason for the penalty not given. Why? Because we have the same idiots running VAR as the idiots who referee Premier League games. The PGMOL has used VAR as an opportunity to dish out more work to its under-performing stable of referees who are not fit for purpose and literally change the interpretations of rules week-by-week.
Why aren’t the Premier League and FA acting on this? Why are there no checks and balances to assess and deliver accountability to the PGMOL? What are the repercussions of under performance for that body of referees? There is none. So they have no incentive to improve. There are a collective of people who can do the same job every week, who can deliver a sub-par experience for the football fan, then get to do it all over again the next week. IF football managers don’t perform they get sacked. Players get transferred. Even if pundits and writers don’t deliver eventually they get found out. But referees face no sanctions, they have no accountability, so there is no striving to improve, only a desire to keep the status quo and that is why football is being ruined for me.
Of course I’m angry about the weekend, but I’m also angry about situations like the Lewis Dunk free kick that was disallowed against West Brom. Football being ruined game-by-game and with no fans and no match day experience, the ‘product’ is getting less consumable from my perspective.
We should be spending this week bemoaning how we don’t take our chances, how we’ve been poor all this season in attack, but instead we sort of have this refereeing idiocy to hang on like a crutch. Instead we – me especially – keep thinking about those one or two wrongs done to us almost every game it feels like now, when in fact we should be looking at the wrongs that we do to ourselves.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – and it isn’t one i’m proud to readily admit – but there’s a little part of my that thinks that when/if we get knocked out of the Europa League either to Olympiakos or the next round, it will give me the excuse to just switch football off for a while and wait until the summer. I’m that ‘done’ with it. Give me the fans back, give me a properly administered VAR system (they seem to do it right in other countries???), then give me the 2021/22 season back where I can start to love it again. Because I certainly don’t right now.
Catch you all tomorrow.