Morning folks and may I bestow unto thee a happy Saturday by playing my small part in some way, which is writing circa 1,000 words about The Arsenal. Or some sort of nonsense that at least kills a couple of minutes of your time.
Do you know who probably needs to kill more time? The FA. For yesterday they decided that not only was it enough that the PGMOL sent a completely incompetent referee to adjudicate Tuesday night’s game, but they have now hit Arsenal with a charge of improper conduct for the 95th minute complaints of the Arsenal players in the match, when the players thought that there should have been a penalty after Jacob Murphy had handled the ball in the box.
Hmm. Improper conduct. Surrounding the referee and complaining. Interesting. So the four separate incident stills I’ve seen of different points in the game in which Newcastle players surrounded the referee and remonstrated are clearly not the same as the Arsenal players surrounding the referee, eh?
I’m no expert on football laws, so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that in order to be charged by the FA in this manner, the referee must report the incident in his match report to the FA. So, we have the same referee who lost control of the game, ignored two penalty shouts – one of which was pretty obvious it seems to everyone except him and the idiots in Stockley Park – and decided to ignore a litany of time wasting antics by Newcastle, who has reported only Arsenal players it seems to the FA. I wonder if – by any chance – this abomination of a referee – heard Mikel Arteta’s comments afterwards about the decision making for the penalty shouts as ‘scandalous’, perhaps? Is it not within the realms of possibility that this terrible referee has decided to extract one more bit of revenge?
I wouldn’t put it past him or the PGMOL, who as we’ve now heard from that absolute lemon Dermot Gallagher on Sky Sports, are now VAR officiating differently to earlier in the season. Right. So we now have an instance in which based on time, that result would have been different. How on earth is this a thing? How on earth can you change the way in which VAR is utilised halfway through a competition? Shall we change the rules now to say that a win is now worth one-and-a-half points and a draw is worth half a point? That seems perfectly logical halfway through a season.
Facetious comment aside, the point I am trying to make it that this is another example of a refereeing body who are not fit for purpose, as well as a football body who are completely erratic in their approach to discipline. I’ve just looked on the ‘News’ section of the FA website to see how many teams are hit with an improper conduct charge. Do you know what I found? One game going back to the beginning of September – Everton versus Crystal Palace. Everton accepted the charge and Palace denied it. Everton got a £20k fine, Palace got a £40k fine, but that’s all I found through all of these games. Do you mean to tell me that what Arsenal players did on Tuesday was any different to so many incidents that happen in most games when a contentious last minute decision goes against a team? Of course they do. And yet the FA have waded in – ironically almost a year to the day after they decided to charge Arsenal for improper conduct for the Man City game in which we saw yet more appalling refereeing decisions taking place this time last year. What is it about the first game of January and referees at the Emirates? Do the FA need a whip round for their Christmas and New Year’s parties or something? Maybe they do a joint gathering with the PGMOL and Arsenal are a nice easy target?
What is also maddening is that on Tuesday we saw Dan Burn try to rip the shirt off of Gabriel, yet yesterday at Old Trafford we saw a little tiny arm on the shoulder of a United player to gift United a penalty in the last minute. You literally can’t make this sh*t up. I get it, different referees, different angles, blah, blah, blah. But there should be consistency and there should never in a million years be an incident like we had on Tuesday night with that Gabriel shirt pull.
Anyway, moving on from that frustration, let’s applaud Arsenal for once again bringing back the ‘No More Red’ campaign. The website today is entirely white and it is initiatives like this that make me proud to be an Arsenal fan. The club spends a lot of time using its platform and profile for good causes and this continues to be one that is important. Here is more information if you want to read about that.
On the playing front, I quite like the interview that Holding has done with the club. I’m not his biggest fan and I don’t think he’s quite at the elite level we need at the club, but as a person he has always struck me as a nice guy, he is clearly well liked and a worthy member of the squad from a personality point of view. His comments about his dad are interesting, as well as arriving from Bolton as a 20-year-old, but what I found most interesting was the Lacazette stuff at the end. Laca telling him ‘the grass is not always greener’ was an interesting footnote. At first I read that Laca was maybe having a dig at Lyon but I don’t think that’s it. I just think that the player himself probably realises where we are at right now and the impact that an overwhelming positivity that is transmitting from everyone with a stake in the club is having. Regardless of how this season pans out, as I think a few people have said already, let’s just to continue to enjoy the moment. We’ve had a great season up until now and we should all be pleased about that.
Right, I’m going to call it a day. I have a flight to catch later to some sunnier climes so I may or may not be able to put something together for Sunday. But I might have a go at a Monday pre match blog so catch you then.
Have a good one!