Another frustrating performance sees Arsenal drop points and by the time we get to the end of this weekend’s fixtures, it’ll be just three points and a game in hand between Arsenal and Man City. This is a City team who we keep hearing ‘aren’t quite the same’, ‘has something missing’, etc, etc. yet they are breathing down our necks and we are stuttering. That’s no win in three and we are playing City on Wednesday that could officially confirm we are in a rut if we lose that game.
I fear that, I really do, I have to admit. We’ve been so good all season but in recent weeks we aren’t looking as imperious as we were for the first half of the season and we have some incredibly tough games coming up that could flip the balance of power against us. City at home, Villa away, Leicester away – all games that are going to be massively tough and unless we find a way to break down teams the. We are going to suffer.
Brentford are a good team. They are disciplined, organised, they looked compact without the ball and they went long for Toney to win the knock downs all day. And in that first half we struggled with it a bit. Toney hit the bar, Mbueno had a chance that he skewed wide, Brentford had their chances to go ahead. It wasn’t clicking for us and at halftime the fear was that this felt like an increasingly impossible task to break down a stubborn Brentford defence. Martinelli and Saka were marshalled well once again in that first half and teams are now doubling up on them game after game. The blueprint of how to nullify Arsenal’s attack has been set.
The second half, however, saw us take more control and I don’t recall Brentford getting too many chances. We pressed hard for that goal and when it came courtesy of Trossard, it felt very significant. Martinelli had an in-and-out performance I felt and you do wonder after Trossard popped up at the back post, whether it might be time to switch the Belgian in for the Brazilian. But whether or not Arteta does that on Tuesday it remains to be seen.
But we got the goal, we deserved the goal, all we had to do was hold on and see this out for the three points.
Step forward VAR Lee Mason. He was the man who, at Old Trafford earlier in the season, asked the referee to have another look at the ‘foul’ by Ødegaard before Martinelli scored. The PGMOL later apologised to Arsenal for the error; an error that could have completely changed the outcome of that match.
And here we are, once again, talking about an utterly scandalous decision by Mason to allow the clearly offside Brentford goal to stand. It’s criminal. It’s a disgrace. It is something that should never happen. There are some things in football that remain subjective and open to interpretation; whether a foul is a foul, or a penalty is a penalty, for example. But the one area in which VAR is fairly easy to implement is for an offside call. You look at the moment the ball is played by the player – in this instance when Pinnock heads it down – you pause at that second, then you look at whether the attacking player is in an advanced position. Norgard was, he therefore had an advantage, you rule it out for offside.
Not Lee Mason though. He doesn’t even bother to draw the lines. I’ve seen some suggest that it was because there was an infringement he was focused on, not the possible offside, but that is simply not true. It is not true because on the big screen in bright white on purple we saw the words “checking for possible offside”. So there was information from Stockley Park to suggest that Lee Mason was looking at the offside call. But he apparently looked, forgot to draw the lines on the pitch, made a human error. A shocking error. An error that could have a significant bearing on the title race this season.
Lee Mason is not fit to VAR a single Premier League football match ever again. And he should certainly not be allowed anywhere near an Arsenal match again, that’s for sure.
That egregious error from an incompetent referee aside, our second half was much better than the first and we showed some good flashes against a very disciplined Brentford side. Wednesday night now becomes even bigger and I have everything crossed for that game. I am not overly confident – I never am with these games and especially given our shocking run of results against City – but my hope is that the team gets itself fired up and we go all guns blazing on Wednesday for the visit of the reigning champions.
That’s me done for today I think. A short one because I’m still frustrated with that refereeing call and I don’t want to go on and on about it.
See you all tomorrow.
The big screen said Pinnock no offside, so that implied they were checking whether Pinnock interfered with Gabriel on the very first part of the play. He did and that’s what annoyed Arteta. That’s before we get to the debacle over the offside that wasn’t checked.
The problem is that Arsenal cannot protect the team from PL corrupted refs within the operational framework of a unique dictatorial FA