Morning all. No better place to start today than to chew the fat over the club statement that was released by Arsenal on the official website in the aftermath of the game at St James’ Park on Saturday evening. You can read it here if you haven’t already done so. The club have backed the manager and his comments about refereeing standards and VAR errors and you can tell that this has been born from a number of situations that have arisen in the last year or so; the poor officiating from Stuart Attwell and the VAR in Stockley Park this weekend are the straw that broke the camels back. Arsenal are pissed and, frankly, they have every right to be.
Takehiro Tomiyasu was sent off for a minor touch on Jordan Ayew, a lot more minor than what Joelinton did to Gabriel at the weekend. Kovacic was allowed to take out Declan Rice’s ankles at the Emirates. We’ve seen Gabriel Jesus cleaned out at Chelsea in the box. We’re 11 games in to the season and I think half of those games have had some kind of dodgy officiating with it. The standards are at an all time low and Gary O’Neill this weekend echoed Mikel Arteta’s exasperation when his side conceded the softest of soft penalties at Brammall Lane. Last weekend Wolves were the victims of the most horrendous decision to give Newcastle a penalty and at the beginning of the season the PGMOL apologised for not giving them a penalty at Old Trafford. Howard Webb is parading around TV as if he’s suddenly opened up the PGMOL to the world in an effort to show transparency, but all we’ve got is a man who is using the media as a platform to say “sorry”. Sorry is only worth it if you are learning from your mistakes. You can’t repeatedly apologise (or not in some cases) every week and expect people to not start to get more irate when nothing is done.
I have said it for years; the PGMOL needs to be blown up and started again. If Howard Webb had any real intention of changing things he’d already be putting in place programmes for a new blood of referees, with fast tracked schemes, in an effort to sweep clean the stench from the current set of sub-par officials we have. He’d be scouring the world for the finest officials looking to tempt them to the richest and most widely watched competition in football. He’d be looking to implement radical changes and he’d have already communicated them to us. But no, his tactic is clear; charm offensive. Get on TV with Michael Owen. Get himself close to Sky and see how that can help the PR of the PGMOL. That’s what he’s interested in, improving the image of the refereeing body, not actually improving the standard of refereeing.
As for Arsenal, I applaud this stance, because we’ve had enough of this and clearly the club and Arteta have decided that the only way to get some kind of action is to make a public declaration of this kind. The club’s carefully worded statement is designed to send a clear shot across the bow at the PGMOL and I am really pleased they have done this. We’ve been apologised to enough now; it is time that this disappointment is registered. Ball is in your court now PGMOL. What are you going to do? Keep things as they are? Or show us that you are making real and proper changes?
This is a political move Arsenal have done. They’ve taken the tactical decision to do this because now it is out in the open; just like Liverpool the other week, the PGMOL will – hopefully – be looking with extra-sharp laser focus on what happens with Arsenal. And do you know what? I’m glad. Because either they’ll start making more correct decisions and less f*ck ups, or they’ll keep making the f*ck ups and people will start to make more louder noises in the media about how often Arsenal are being shafted. It seems to happen a lot with Liverpool, so it’s about time we started tapping in to this type of approach.
There’s really not a lot else to say other than let’s hope this generates the right kind of reaction and not the referee this Saturday at home when we play Burnley doesn’t go completely the opposite way when reffing the game. I couldn’t guess for you what I suspect might happen – could be either.
For us, the attention needs to turn to Sevilla on Wednesday and with Odegaard joining Gabriel Jesus, Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe on the treatment table at the weekend, Mikel will have some real thinking to do about who lines up in two days time against the Spaniards.
That’s me done for the day. If you want some more Arsenal content for your eyeballs you can check out the post game Same Old Arsenal show that Amanda did with Albert last night – check it out here if you fancy having a watch.
But for now I’m going to pause, reflect, then get on with my working day awaiting to see if the PGMOL even bother to respond to Arsenal’s statement. I doubt they will. See you all tomorrow.