by .

Every season there’s a game that you play where you are utterly f*cked by circumstances beyond your control. It hurts. It’s unfair. It stings. That game was last night against Wolves.

The game hinged on a very poor decision from a very poor referee.

David Luiz was adjudged to have fouled Willian José when his foot clipped the Brazilian’s knee. Craig Pawson, desperate to give the penalty, was backed up by VAR and he issued a red card, going against double jeopardy ruling. This is Mark Clattenburg on the incident.

David Luiz was incorrectly sent off after giving away a penalty at Wolves — it should have been a yellow card.

The Arsenal defender made accidental contact with Willian Jose as he ran clear on goal and that caused the forward to fall. No one can dispute it was a foul and the award of a penalty was the right decision.

However, a law exists that protects teams from conceding a penalty and losing a player to a red card if a genuine attempt to play the ball has been made.

It was a horrible decision and it completely ruined the progressive football we’d been playing for the previous 46 minutes.

The penalty was scored and shortly after kick-off in the second half, Moutinho let off a screamer that beat Bernd Leno from about 25 yards. Saka and Partey should have done more, but really, it’s quite harsh to apportion blame, the strike was lethal.

Things got worse for Arsenal, Bernd Leno, an absolute rock for us, misjudged a long ball and was sent off when he handled outside the area. Matters were made worse when we gave the ball boy keeper gloves and played out the game with an amateur between the sticks.

We lost. It was rough. The game shone an light on a harsh reality… Premier League referees are awful.

I don’t want to be a conspiracist, but simply put, if you cannot make good decisions when you have the luxury of technology to support you, there needs to be a change. Arsene Wenger had it right, he said that no one wants to have this conversation, but when it comes to the World Cup, FIFA don’t exactly line-up for our referees. How could they be good, the managing director for PGMOL is Mike Riley, a bad referee famed for incompetence is leading them.

PGMOL lacks accountability. The standard of officiating in the UK is terrible. This isn’t mere gripping, it’s fact. Technology is used poorly, bad refs keep ruining important games, and there seems to be no one competent in charge to drive improvement.

Back to Arsenal. David Luiz needs to take some accountability. If you know the refs are shit, don’t take risks. If he were a driver, he’d be the guy going 80mph on a country road, 3 inches behind the car in front… chances are, that sort of motoring is going to get punished at some point. It was, and it happens too often. Still, the simple fact is, history doesn’t matter here, we were totally fucked by a shit referee… again.

However, let’s put some things in perspective, especially for all the ghouls that showed up after the game to condemn the project.

Arsenal are going places under Arteta. We all had our doubts before Christmas, but the transformation on the pitch has been nothing short of electric. If you can’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to see it.

That first half was the best half of football we’ve see all season. The energy was outrageous, we looked powerful, we pressed with intent. The attacking football at times was sublime. We’ve gone from one power-play to a whole plethora of options when we move forward.

Thomas Partey made amends for his average performance at the weekend. He was world-class. He is the balance between attack and defence. His instincts for the game are unreal. He was everywhere. Can you believe that people said they wouldn’t take him on a free? Embarrassing carry-on.

Bukayo Saka, you absolute beauty. He’s so, so important to us. He dominated in attack. His finishing was off, but my oh my is it clear that we missed him for the United game.

Xhaka was very impressive. Cedric had another good game. Lacazette played that false 9 role like a demon.

Nicolas Pepe… OH MY… is it starting to look like I bet on the wrong opinion. He should live on the left. He was unplayable at times. He is working like his career depends on it. His body language was excellent, his desire to be involved felt different, and he showed up with a goal. He won the ball back with the press, he held of challenges, retained balance, and smashed home with a clinical finish. A thing of beauty.

We’re shaping up nicely. Every issue we’ve had with Arteta is being resolved one game at a time. We’re still defensively resolute, even with 9 men, just look at what happened to Southampton. We’re getting better and better in attack, some of the football was scintillating. We are starting to look elite even without our best starting 11. Our bench had Martinelli, Gabriel, Auba and Odegaard… true strength in depth. We’re also rattling the naysayers… which makes me happy. Too many Arsenal fans hate it when we’re doing well, a shame, but the reality of the modern-day superbore.

A bad day at the office, but plenty to be pleased about.

This season is done. That’s terrible. It wasn’t on the bingo card this year. So we have to move on, we have to look to next season, we have to start thinking about how we can best used the remaining months as a preseason to a normal year in 2022.

We were robbed. 3 points would have been ours had it not been for that pesky ref. Time to show we have the strength to come back from it at the weekend.

Onwards and upwards, ignore the melts, we’re progressing very nicely.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Dissenter

    By the way, I think the referees are incompetent, it’s nit that they don’t like Arsenal.

    One referee on the field is not enough to deal with the modern game.
    VAR needs to be handled by a different authority, separate from the PGMOL or an agency behind a Chinese wall within the PGMOL. They can easily staff it with retired FIFA badged referees.

  2. Gbat

    Wow!! It looks like many of you have never kicked a ball in your lives judging by your comments

    You can easily tell which ones they are. These are the types that get into refereeing. And we wonder why the rules and refereeing is terrible.

  3. Dolomite

    Interesting comments.

    After all is said and done, the blame for yesterdays loss lies solely with David Luiz.

    All he had to do was attempt a decent tackle without taking the player out, hard but entirely possible and that red card would have never materialised.

    For a defender of hids experience, its bad enough to be caught square and out of position, but being unable to make a 50/50 recovery tackle is criminal.

    The man is a liability any way you look at it with the MOST red cards of any Arsenal player. This reeks of incompetence and a complete lack of team spirit from him, as it shows he doesnt do anything about his terrible record apart from constantly letting his team mates down.

    Not absolving Leno of his red card, but I really couldnt see him being in that position had Luiz stayed on the pitch and not lost his head.
    Its a cumulative effect of one idiot player disrupting a whole teams progressive dynamic.

  4. andy1886

    AFC Forever, I’m not one for conspiracy theories but that 50th game was about as close as I’ve come to thinking a game was fixed. For what it’s worth I think it was unconscious bias on the part of Riley. I believe that referees go into games with preconceptions that influence their decisions such as certain players dive (Pires), others simulate being fouled (Reyes), certain players are clumsy (usually defenders like Luiz), and others are hot-heads (Xhaka). I’m not saying I agree with those assumptions, just that is what is beind some of the decisions that have gone against us in the past.

  5. Winthorpe

    DissenterFebruary 3, 2021 12:16:42
    It doesn’t matter whether the offensive player simulated the contact.
    Running across the back of a player is like sticking a leg across the path a running player in the box.
    The modern player will simulate contact and go down.


    It’s called cheating. Also not a foul

  6. Winthorpe

    DolomiteFebruary 3, 2021 12:22:51
    Interesting comments.After all is said and done, the blame for yesterdays loss lies solely with David Luiz.

    Every other time, yes. The man is a liability, no doubt
    But yesterday’s loss was not his fault
    It was down to disgraceful officiating.

  7. Rich

    Create a competitive market place for referees, based on a meritocratic system

    Statistically if there’s more professional referees, you’re more like.to produce better referees

    In the same way competition keeps players on their toes, and heavily incentivising staff, tends to motivate them, which produce better results

    Do the same for referees, with a points system, where refs get relegated + promoted based on the seasons performance

    Tier 1 Premier League
    £200,000 p/a

    Tier 2 Championship

    £100,000 p/a

    Tier 3 League 1

    £65,000 p/a

    Tier 4 League 2

    £40,000 p/a

    Tier 5 Conference

    £25,000 p/a

  8. Pierre

    Let’s be honest, in real time,we all thought Luiz tripped him and deserved a red and not one Arsenal fan would have complained of the decision..
    The replays of the incident were clear to see that it was accidental contact initiated by the striker .

    The fault wasn’t with the referee, the fault was with VAR.

    VAR was brought in to right the wrong decisions as they got it right with Lacazette being adjudged offside..

    VAR failed to come to the correct decision and there should be no excuse as it was an easy decision to get right..

    Luiz WILL have his red card rescinded because it was an ACCIDENTAL contact by the attacker NOT the defender.

  9. AFC Forever


    No most conspiracy theorists spend their lives in tin foil hats.

    That game was something though. Some of my mates think it was fixed, I don’t want to believe that. Sol Campbell says it left a bad smell with the players it was so bad. Lots of people keep showing the youtube highlights to demonstrate the incompetence of Riley. The Ferdinand last man foul on Freddie, Nistelrooys studs down Coles shin, Rooneys dive, the Reyes targeting; it was so many things.

    He is a very weak, wet man so I like to think he couldn’t handle the pressure and the intimidation – but it was a shocking performance. The real issue is why anyone decided he should be head of the referees after that.

  10. Dolomite


    This is where his experience should have come into play.

    He had a decision to make –

    1 leave the player through on goal (50/50) as to whether he would score or not

    2 attempt a clean tackle which could also go either way – penalty/no penalty red card /yellow card

    3 attempt a professional foul which would definitely result in a penalty, but a decision for the referee to make yellow/red card

    This is down to Luiz’ judgement making NOT the referee.

  11. AFC Forever


    “The fault wasn’t with the referee, the fault was with VAR”

    Yes, agree with this. I thought the same as Pawson, that Luiz had deliberately tripped him which is a red. It was only freezing a side angle frame on TV it was clear that wasn’t the case.

    The link from Pedro in my previous comments shows perfectly well that Jon Moss in the VAR room made a wrong call. What surprises me is the speed in which he made that decision, in the Southampton game it took almost 5 minutes.

  12. Jaroda

    The game against Villa is going to just remind us that down the other end of the pitch they have Emi bossing it in goal and we’ll have Runny egg between the sticks.

  13. Mr.J

    “However, a law exists that protects teams from conceding a penalty and losing a player to a red card IF a genuine attempt to play the ball has been made.”

    As much as I firmly believe that David Luiz should have no place at AFC and that it was madness to renew his contract (something which can partly be placed at the manager’s feet), he was somewhat unlucky yesterday.

    HOWEVER, LUIZ DID NOT MAKE A GENUINE ATTEMPT (or any attempt for that matter – hence why he’s unlucky in my opinion) TO PLAY THE BALL – this is why the double jeopardy rule does not apply here. Clattenburg is wrong here!!

    its a ridiculous rule, one which we found ourselves on the wrong end of yesterday… but its the rule none the less!!!

    The only things I can blame Luiz for was the fact that he switched off, and stepped up to challenge for a header which he lost, and allowed the space in behind him. Having made the mistake though, Luiz probably should have just wiped the guy out!!

    Leno on the other hand… I guess one can look back and laugh saying, ” you utter berk!!”, but even with him there was some slight misfortune – not sure why he didn’t go with his feet in the first place but it looked like the ball slightly changed direction (which footballs balls often do – you really ought to know this as a goalkeeper) and it appeared that he tried to chest/belly it away (why would you do that?!?!) – in the end he just looked ridiculous.

    I know I wasn’t laughing at the time but looking back now – its comically bad.

  14. Mr.J

    “Things got worse for Arsenal, Bernd Leno, an absolute rock for us, misjudged a long ball and was sent off when he handled outside the area. Matters were made worse when we gave the ball boy keeper gloves and played out the game with an amateur between the sticks.”

    Sorry, running commentary with this….

    How were matters made worse? Runarsson kept the score-line respectable with two decent saves!! Did he make any errors?? No… So how were matters made worse??

    Perhaps the decision to purchase Runarsson, coupled with the decision to sell a very good keeper in the first place, has come back to bite us.

    Whose fault is that??

  15. Ernest Reed

    “Sticking one of our referees behind VAR is like asking Jimmy Saville & Rolf Harris to look after the kids.”

    I get your point AFC Forever, but that comparison is brutal and uncalled for.

    Officiating in Britain is an unmitigated failure with no foreseeable future of improvement – end of.

  16. AFC Forever



    Had he committed a ‘professional foul’ it would have been a red card. It is only a yellow if an ‘honest’ attempt to play the ball is made, which wouldn’t have been possible because he was too far behind the ball. Luiz knew that.

    Luiz decided to do nothing, avoiding the red, which was the right decision & not one he always makes. Unfortunately for him, there was accidental contact initiated by the striker, as his heel came up and struck David Luiz knee. You cant attach any blame to him for that.

    If you look closely at this image, you can see this to be the case:


  17. Ernest Reed

    “If you look closely at this image, you can see this to be the case:”

    Football is a fast paced game where things happen in an instant. Equally, perhaps the angles available to VAR were such that they were unable to overturn the decision. This was the referee’s decision and VAR saw nothing in the views they were provided that could overturn it.

    Not saying it was ever the right call, but using a still photo tells a thousand potential stories.

  18. Winthorpe


    Professional foul is a straight red. No questions asked.
    People like you would have football a non contact sport
    The only option according to your logic would be to just stand still and allow the forward to score

  19. AFC Forever

    Mr J

    Runarsson did make a couple of good saves, the one down by the foot of the post in particular. I think Matt Ryan is expected to be fit for the Villa game.

  20. Time Up

    The referee was too quick to pull the red card. Even Mike Dean had to slow down and go watch the VAR. He didn’t see the incident, he react to the Wolves players.

    Having said that, we have the most stupid footballers in our team. Against ManU, we’d the chance to reduce them to 10 in the first half. What did Xhaka do!?. Shook hand with rat face Bruno without any of our players react or question the ref.


  21. Dolomite


    I simply stated the options available to Luiz, as a defender

    The judgement call was still his to make and IMO by doing nothing he chose the wrong one.

    The bad officiating only came into play AFTER his decision making.

  22. Ernest Reed

    “Anyone who saw Fernandes tackle on Xhaka cannot with a straight face say that Luiz decision was the right one.”

    Apples to oranges, you cannot compare the two as they are unrelated.

    Fernandes at the very least should received a yellow, but an astute and observant referee would have given a red because the foul was purely cynical in its intent because ot was a frustration based retaliation by a weasel footballer.

  23. Jaroda

    The problem with football is that referees and the games lawmakers are too focussed on creating rules, whereas it should be that the game is based on principles. If you create a rule then it is followed even if the outcome is ridiculous but it’s near impossible to define a rule to every possible scenario that can crop up in a game.. If you follow a principle then the common sense outcome can be arrived at.
    Was it a penalty? Probably so.
    Was there no attempt to play the ball? Agreed.
    Was this the scenario that the ‘was there an attempt to play the ball’ rule was expected to be used in? No
    For the lawmakers of the game to argue that had Luiz taken lunge at the player from behind, possibly risking injury to both, would have resulted in only a yellow shows that the rule is not fit for purpose.
    Same applies to Bednarek.

  24. DivineSherlock

    Look at Southampton they have asked The FA not to allow Lee Mason and Mike Dean not to officiate in their matches . We should do the same with Craig Pawson . He has officiated in 4 matches and we havent won any of them.

  25. S Asoa

    The referee was bad even earlier. Not balanced bad either. Yesterday match Arsenal was really playing beautiful, even factoring Xhakha “ statistic – padding “ back pass and usual stray crosses to no one from Bellerin. Then David Luis happened, and Arteta too lost his mojo. He substituted Pepe who could have given us something in attack and was good defensively due to his pace …with Auba chasing halfway and giving up. With a man down, we need an energy input.
    Have no doubt Arteta will learn when he loses 3 men which gives him a knee into his testicles and forces a good decision

  26. AFC Forever


    I’m not sure who took the still image but if VAR can measure millimetres in a crowded penalty area you would like to think they would see this with the technology they have.

  27. Marc


    Small problem with that – by the time we got through all the ref’s who are fucking useless when it comes to us there wouldn’t be any left.

  28. Samesong

    February 3, 2021 12:30:08


    Even an ex pro footballer wouldn’t have been able to tell in real time.

  29. Time Up

    And what’s this BS about us dominating for 46 minutes?. We dominated for 31 minutes and after scoring Wolves had about 6/7 corners. We couldn’t get hold of the ball in midfield with 11 men against poor side just lost 3/2 to WBA.

    I was pointing out during the game to get hold of the ball in midfield and slow the game down as I could see the Wolves goal was coming.

  30. Dolomite


    That was actually an option – from a position of dominance an equaliser wouldnt have automatically guaranteed a loss, again a judgement call that was required to be made by a so called EXPERIENCED player….

    However a sending off in todays Premier League is 90% guaranteed to end up in a loss for the team with 10 men.

  31. I hate Green Bay

    As far as I can see, the contact was made by the backwards motion of the attackers leg, on to Luis knee. Does that mean it was a penalty? Haven’t got a clue.

  32. Ernest Reed

    Totally agree AFC, simply put they MUST do better. With each passing controversy and with technology and they still cant get it objectively right, thats a massive credibility problem.

  33. Winthorpe

    SamesongFebruary 3, 2021 12:53:15
    February 3, 2021 12:30:08This! Even an ex pro footballer wouldn’t have been able to tell in real time.


    Yes but this ref had the benefit of var to correct his poor decision
    An all round shit show from the premier league officials yet again

  34. DivineSherlock

    Ernest Reed

    Its not Apples and Oranges . Its about whether the decison was right or wrong. In both cases the decisions were wrong. Cant have both. With VAR available to them , they fucked up both . My commonsense tells me its the Refs and person operating VAR that are constantly responsible for this fuck ups.

  35. G

    ‘’ After all is said and done, the blame for yesterdays loss lies solely with David Luiz.All he had to do was attempt a decent tackle without taking the player out, hard but entirely possible and that red card would have never materialised.’
    Are u having a laugh . .you actually think he took the player out. Lol

  36. AFC Forever


    “Look at Southampton they have asked The FA not to allow Lee Mason and Mike Dean not to officiate in their matches. We should do the same with Craig Pawson. He has officiated in 4 matches and we haven’t won any of them”

    Has Southampton really done that? Fergie had a number of referees removed from future games after he was unhappy with their performances.

    Pawson sent of Nketiah I think?

    It is a dangerous precedent though.

  37. Graham62

    Although the Luiz incident divides opinion, we can not overlook the fact that Luiz is always going to be an accident waiting to happen.

    A sensible, level headed professional would have dealt with the situation differently. Running back at speed in such a cluster of bodies was suicidal. The chances of Leno saving the shot would have been, I feel, relatively high. Luiz though has this tendency to go walk about far too often.

    Even at Southampton last week, he had a 5 minute spell towards the end of the game that just beggars belief. It’s as if his posing on Copacabana beach, with not a care in the world.

    I’m afraid he is and always will be, a massive liability.

  38. Dolomite


    If he attempted TO PLAY THE BALL as in tackle he wouldnt have been sent off.

    No one is saying he took out the attacker

    Basic comprehension.

  39. Ernest Reed

    “Although the Luiz incident divides opinion, we can not overlook the fact that Luiz is always going to be an accident waiting to happen.”

    Exactly my belief as well, Graham. Its never a matter of IF with Luiz, but always a Matter of WHEN.

  40. Time Up

    Who says, he could not see The Wolves goal was coming was actually watching a different game and not have been watching Arsenal for long.

    The previous game was the same we scored first and lost with 11 men after them losing their best striker.

  41. AFC Forever

    What is so alarming is the fact that they introduced VAR to stop this.

    In the Southampton game, the Bednarek sending off, was another monumental cock-up. It took them 5 minutes to make a wrong decision! It only took Jon Moss 20 seconds. (??!!)

    In many ways, it has become worse with VAR, which makes it pointless..

  42. Dolomite

    Thank You Graham62

    At least someone realises that the situation from the start was entirely one of Luiz making, not the referees.

  43. SpanishDave

    Luiz joined us for the money he doesn’t give a monkeys about the club.
    Leno was slow coming out for the ball he just watched.
    Man City liked progressive fouling it seems Arteta likes it too.

  44. Samesong

    Who says, he could not see The Wolves goal was coming was actually watching a different game and not have been watching Arsenal for long.The previous game was the same we scored first and lost with 11 men after them losing their best striker.

    Time Up I saw your comment yesterday and was feeling slightly the same about the conceding.
    For all those long passes partey attempted. Some of the passes went straight to the opposition and they were able to use that and pass to the flanks.

    I don’t think we played bad, but we did switch off on the couple occasions that led to the those goals.

  45. Mr.J

    “Nicolas Pepe… OH MY… is it starting to look like I bet on the wrong opinion. He should live on the left.”

    Have you not noticed, Pepe looks far, FAR MORE dangerous when he’s not pinned to the wing??? When he get to come inside, he is much more of a threat!! Notice he scored with his right foot too.

    It is clear to me that the was being told to stick to the side lines, which is completely unnatural to him and that he needed to be played as a wide forward not as a winger!!

    What is also painfully obvious to me is that people wrote/still write him off due to his price tag, because despite his perceived lack of output – his numbers are still decent when he IS played. (why Arteta chose to play Willian over him has to be one of life’s great mysteries) Those writing him off are beyond me, as you can clearly see there’s a player in there… He just needs to be played in the right conditions!!!

    Some might argue that a 70m player shouldn’t need the right conditions to perform – lets be clear here – Pepe is NOT a 70m player – but he very much so has his uses! He’s just been mismanaged!!

  46. AFC Forever

    “However a sending off in todays Premier League is 90% guaranteed to end up in a loss for the team with 10 men”

    That is why it is so dangerous to have a system open to abuse without accountability. Like it or not, you have to protect against the risk of outside influences affecting match results. With impunity, that is a risk.

    Bad tackles that endanger players are one thing but there are so many soft sending off’s and second yellows it is starting to get silly. We have to be very careful we keep the integrity in the game. And that means accountability because there that is sorely missing.

  47. Mb

    It’s not down to Luiz or Leno. Referee blew it up for us. Had it just been a penalty and a yellow, I’m pretty certain we would have scored couple more in second half.

    Lots of if, and could.. As an Arsenal fan, I am living in it from a long time.

  48. Graham62


    Is it?

    These referees are shite because they are not held accountable.

    Clubs should raise these issues and the authorities have to look at the inconsistencies that are ruining the game.

    There seems to be no logic anymore. A top referee sees things and reacts instinctively. He also knows that there has to be some leeway in the decision making.

    Many of these refs are up there own backsides and need a reality check.

    It’s about time clubs started to act and push for change.

    Can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.

  49. Dolomite

    Good point AFC, accountability is crucial.


    If laymen and fans realise this, how can seasoned pros like Luiz, Xhaka and even the managers like Arteta not spot the apparent danger in going down to 10 men due to a lack of concentration or misapplication?

    As a manger one of the first things I’d impress on my team is to avoid stupid red cards because of the handicap it gives.

  50. Tom

    “Our first half dominance against a shockingly poor Wolves wasn’t that dominant, which is why we lost over 90 minutes.“

    Have to agree with Jamie here.
    Didn’t watch the game in real time but after having checked some of the comments from various fans , including Pedro’s, I expected to see a total domination by Arsenal which it was not.
    Arsenal started stronger which was a departure from the previous games but faded after 30 minutes where wolves, who have been the worst form team in the league dominated.

    It brings to mind that Eddie Murphy bit how if you’re starving and someone gives you a cracker you think it is the best cracker you’ve ever had.

    We should’ve won but this wasn’t the Wolves/refs smash and grab many on here are proclaiming.

  51. Tom

    Bringing up the Riley performance from the worst ever refereeing game in football history every time a single bad call goes against you cheapens that atrocious Riley performance.

  52. Terraloon

    Samesong I played semi pro football in the late70s early 80s and when I played that wouldn’t have been a foul of that there is no doubt but the point is that using the 2020/21 version of the laws it is.

    I love the idea of ex players being either officials.

    As we see time after time is the pundits who almost ex pros have no idea what the current law as or indeed interpretation of them is.

    I do wish that people would stop trying to suggest there was intent or was it accidental that in the current published laws do not feature.

  53. AFC Forever

    Graham62, I just wonder what would happen if we all tried to control the selection process.

    I am 100% within you, something has to change. Two games yesterday with shocking decisions. Fernandez the weekend. Tyrone Mings and the offside advantage against City and he and a lot of players saying they didn’t understand the new rules. In Italy Ronaldo came from an offside position but unlike the City goal they disallowed it. How many times do you watch games and see inconsistency in decision making and a misinterpretation of the rules, while those of us sitting at home who have played the game, can see straight away it is a wrong call by VAR.

    This is all on Mike Riley. PGMOL is incompetent it has been for far too many years. We were warned by previous referees that Riley wasn’t up to the job, he’s a bean counter. Give them VAR and they still get it wrong!!!! Sorry but as I said earlier, sack Riley and get rid of PMGOL as not fit for purpose. And anyone saying they are doing a good job and we’re all conspiracy theorists must be watching a different game every week.

  54. Mr.J

    On a lighter note – I must must say That Pedro Neto looks like a baller!!

    He’s ripped us must of the times I’ve seen him play against us. He absolutely roasted bellerin, one time there were two of our players in front of him… and he just ghosted through them like he was playing Super Mario Bros or something.

    Would love to have him at AFC

  55. Mr.J

    In fact, as much as it was easy to utterly despise Wolves yesterday…. to be fair to them, their recruitment/scouting team needs to be poached!!

    they’ve done excellent work in the transfer market in recent times

  56. AFC Forever


    I too played at senior level. Reserve team football and spent a spell in the Isthmian league until a bad tackle ended my career in my mid-twenties. My Uncle was a referee at a decent standard and tried to get me to do it. I wasn’t interested, too much abuse and aggravation I would have chinned someone. That’s the problem.

    It would make sense to get ex-players in but then you listen to them defending cheating as either being clever or somehow having the right to fall over and you realise it wouldn’t change. They wouldn’t do it anyway, too well paid to do sod all.

    The only people who want to do it are the officious types, the power-crazed. Give people like that a bit of authority and a clipboard or whistle and there is no stopping them.

  57. AFC Forever

    Mr J

    Yes, Neto looks a very good player.

    He knows the Portugese market and he’s bought in some excellent players from there. Jota is now at Liverpool and was doing well and I love Jimeniz, wish him well, a very classy striker.

    Reminds me of Wenger in the early years when he knew the French market and bought in some superb players for bugger all. I’m surprised more MAnagers aren’t bringing in players from Portugal, they adapt well to the EPL.

  58. Tom

    “Refs should use common sense instead of applying laws as written “ goes one theory.
    That’s only a good idea if you believe common sense is common.

    Firmino handled the ball in the build up to a Liverpool goal and the goal was cancelled out.
    But it was Dier who handled it first and was clearly fouling Firmino while grappling with him from behind with both fists full of Firmino’s shirt.
    The ball landed on Firmino’s arm momentarily only because he was struggling for balance, because he was being fouled, and he gained no advantage from this whatsoever.
    Should the ref ignore his hand ball then and make the Salah goal stand?

  59. andy1886

    “As far as I can see, the contact was made by the backwards motion of the attackers leg, on to Luis knee. Does that mean it was a penalty? Haven’t got a clue.”

    Given that it’s impossible to run without that backward motion of the leg then Luiz impeded the natural movement of the forward, hence the penalty.

  60. englandsbest

    Great piece, Pedro

    If VAR was promoted as the way to get the right decisions and it continually makes the wrong decisions, what is the point of VAR? Okay, it works with goal line decisions, but nothing else.

    Looking ahead to the summer IMO Arteta won’t need to add much. With Pepe coming good, AMN, Willock, etc returning improved, plus Saliba, a couple of high calibre players should be enough.

  61. Captain Tierney

    Arsenal are now top of the league in terms of red cards and 8th in yellows.

    They are 20th in terms of fouls per game.

    By comparison Tottenham are 4th in fouls per game and 17th in cards awarded.

    Explain how there’s no bias.

  62. redbro14

    If we want consistency, and surely any team that has high pretensions should, Luiz does not play. Pedro’s car analogy is well placed. He should have known better. However, to send him of for that bit of accidental contact is just clueless. It totally ruined a good game. Having said that, we need to be more ruthless and put teams to the sword by taking our chances when we get them. We move on. So many positives. Can’t wait to see Odegard play.

  63. Samesong


    Could you imagine like a Roy Keane refereeing a game and a player telling him to f off!
    That wouldn’t end nice.

    I don’t think Ex pros would be interested in refereeing at the highest level or lower leagues either.

    Maybe sitting in VAR room would be better for them. Can you imagine a ex player giving the

    wrong decision the amount of criticism they would get.

    I would like to see more younger referees who are coming into the game and learning from the bottom upwards.

  64. andy1886

    CT – We’re obviously not very good at the dark arts!

    Take Luiz yesterday – not mailcious just plain stupid and clumsy. As we get rid of these brain dead players I expect those stats to change. Most fouls are petty ones that break up the flow of the game and you don’t tend to get cards for those. Compare that to Xhaka’s challenges for example that are just asking for a card.

  65. Terraloon


    When I played under 16 football, a long ole while ago, I regularly came across a player who se father and brother were professional footballers and this lad went in to become a PL ref. Long since retired.

    The reason he became a ref was he was not quite good enough, a bit short and short sighed ( the irony) he wore contact lenses.

  66. Ernest Reed

    VAR was supposed to work in unison with refereeing, but sadly its made them meek and scared to make the tough calls. You have the undeniable feeling that Paulson knew better but was hoping that VAR would bail him out.

    Instead of being an aid, VAR has become a crutch and is now a beacon of the ineptitude of officiating. The referees don’t deserve sympathy, they deserve a swift kick up their backsides for bringing the game into the next generation of repute.

  67. Black+Snake

    The biggest problem i have with yesterday is Luiz being on the pitch at all, even if he didnt touch the guy, he’s still a waste of space. His discipline record is atrocious for us and seems to attract penalties against us. He just needs to fuck off asap

  68. Marc


    “Given that it’s impossible to run without that backward motion of the leg then Luiz impeded the natural movement of the forward, hence the penalty.”

    I don’t think anyone who’s reasonable thinks that the pen shouldn’t have been awarded it’s the red card as well that is going overboard.

  69. Henry19

    “Arsenal are now top of the league in terms of red cards and 8th in yellows.They are 20th in terms of fouls per game”

    You’re not going to give away many fouls when you’re not competing for the ball.

  70. Terraloon


    And here’s the point how do you know it wasn’t?

    That’s why intent disappeared from the law on fouls because other that the perpetrator no one knows

  71. Pedro

    ‘Arsenal are now top of the league in terms of red cards and 8th in yellows.

    They are 20th in terms of fouls per game.’

    Is this true?

  72. Marc


    But what if the player isn’t making any attempt at a tackle? Not saying it wasn’t a pen and a yellow card but surely the “no attempt at winning the ball” argument is for blatant just take them out “tackles” and not a coming together?

  73. Mr.J

    @AFC Forever

    Agreed – I had even forgotten about Jota. I wish Arsenal could still operate like that… dropping 70m on a player really isn’t our forte.

  74. Marc

    “Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off.”

    But that’s my point “e.g. holding, pulling, pushing” are all deliberate acts I really don’t think Luiz was planning some genius plan of taking him down without giving a foul away.

  75. Tom

    “Why cant VAR have an audio broadcast, what are the FA trying to hide?“

    Lucky for you I have that audio.
    -VAR to Mike Riley: “The Wolves’ owners are offering £50k if we send Luiz off.”
    -Riley to VAR: “What’s Arsenal counteroffer to keep him on.”
    -VAR to Riley: “ Arsenal’s owners can’t be reached.”

  76. MilanøGunner

    Hypothetically, a player goes down injured in the box, ball is cleared and comes back and the striker trips up on that player injured, does that mean that the injured player is sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity? Following the rule book is fine but there needs to be some common sense which prevails

  77. Marc


    It’d more likely be:

    Mike Riley to VAR – Our Leader (Fergie) has ordered you to send off any Arsenal player at any opportunity

    VAR to Mike Riley – We obey our mighty Leader

  78. MilanøGunner


    That is exactly what would have happened..

    Rugby does the VAR best, football is miles behind in the implementation of VAR

  79. Uwot?

    There’s a peculiar type of “ Arsenal fan”.Melts as Pedro refers to them who seem to take great delight in any opportunity to denigrate there club why? If they feel Arteta is the wrong man for the rebuild.pray tell us who can do it better? For under the £200/300 million plus they’d be looking for? I’m dying to know who they are? What is their great qualities?They will guarantee success in a season? Really?They will deal with the lack of finances & deadwood we’ve been burdened with? They will get us top 4 ,straight away,no question.Who are these managers who will provide wondrous football,elite tactics & unrivalled success? WHO ARE THEY?????

  80. Upstate Gooner

    “This season is done.”

    This really angers and annoys me at the same time. If the season is done with almost half the games still to go then Arteta should be done as well. He’s the reason we’re in 10th place. He’s the reason we’re (likely) not getting European football next season. He’s the reason we’re out of the FA Cup competition. He’s the reason guys like Luiz, Xhaka, and Willian are at the club. If you were asked before the season started whether it’d be okay to finish 10th and for the manager to keep his job, would you say Yes? Not in a million years if it was Emery or Wenger but somehow it’s okay if it’s effin Mikel Arteta.

  81. Uwot?

    AFC – great 10 point plan for future refereeing standards.Alas it’s so good you just know the prem will never do it.
    Marc-spot in re Var.The cat would really be out of the bag with the PGMOL if they were forced to be “ miked up” such as Rugby union where the fans can hear their reasoning.Let me tell you.The average ref would be over to the monitor to cover their back every 5 mins!

  82. G8

    The shit refs and the corrupt PGMOL always have it against arsenal
    We were robbed again
    Just like that good goal papa sok scored against Palace only for the rookie Aussie VAR ref to rule it out and deemed Callum chambers had fouled a Palace player in the build-up
    There was no contact whatsoever!
    It cost us 2 points that should have seen us qualify to the champions league
    I didn’t see any outrageous calls for investigation then and I wouldn’t expect it now !

  83. Marc


    Are you saying there’s no other manager in world football who could do a job without demanding £300 million?

    That sounds identical to the argument made by the fuck wits on why we couldn’t get rid of Wenger.

    See what you’ve done Pedro?

  84. Marc


    Mate you really need to ignore anything Pedro says re Arteta. He’s less objective when it comes to Arteta than a 13 year old girl is on her favourite boy band!

  85. AFC Forever

    After discussions with Arteta and the Arsenal legal team, they have decided to appeal against the red card decision.

  86. Uwot?

    No Marc.Not saying that.Just would like to know who are the better managers we could attract that prob wouldn’t require that sort of budget to upgrade on Arteta.Who are they?

  87. Mark

    Arsenal are definitely treated harsher than other teams when it comes to giving yellow cards and sendings off. I’ve seen it happen too many times. We tug a player,in the slightest, card’s out. I watched our player get pulled back , saw Michael Oliver reach into his pocket automatically, only to pause then take out the spray, and not book the player. This after he had not long ago booked Bellerin for a tug.

    Weasel faced cheating cunt. Or the ref who booked our player for pointing out, he should have shown the opposition a yellow! It’s way too much to be coincidence.
    Our players really do need to start making more of these incidents, demanding bookings for the opposition if needs be. So that the refs can’t get away with it.

    My answer to this is to ‘accidentally’ blast the ball at any ref who treats us this way. Several times during the game. These things happen.😉

    Much more satisfying I think.

  88. Pedro

    Uwot, you have to ask a more pointed question… what would you be upgrading right now?

    Defence is amongst the best in the league.
    Attacking football is really starting to get exciting
    We’re starting to see big improvements in players
    Players are all bought in
    We’ve just cleared out the deadwood

    Who is doing better right now?

    Carlo? Mourinho? Nuno? Who else were we linked to that is doing better?

  89. Upstate Gooner

    Jardim, Allegri, Rafa … I’d be okay with Sarri as well. Arteta doesn’t cut it and we’re just wasting time with him. We’re likely going to be in 10-12th place again by the same time next year so might as well cut our losses now, and move forward.

  90. Graham62

    How many of these referees have actually played the game?

    If you’ve played to a reasonable level, you have a feel for things.

    Personally, I think VAR should be monitored/controlled by ex-players.

    One things for sure, you wouldn’t have decisions being reviewed for 5 minutes from 200 different camera angles.

    Imagine Roy Keane drawing all those lines.

    It wouldn’t be necessary.

    30 second reviews max.

  91. Upstate Gooner

    “Carlo? Mourinho? Nuno? Who else were we linked to that is doing better?”

    A bit silly to list managers/teams that are still ahead of us in the table, with 2-3 games in hand.

  92. AFC Forever


    Yes, 30 seconds tops.

    VAR is taking the game away from fans. I preferred controversy without VAR because it’s easy for a referee to miss something on the field but no excuse for VAR. At least the game was exciting.

    Now we face the prospect of hanging around for 5 minutes while some computer geek with a degree in the Lord of the Rings, strokes his beard while producing a graphic that measures to the tiniest fraction or millimetre; Jesus, how has it come to this?

  93. G

    ‘ N one is saying he took out the attacker‘’
    But that’s exactly what u said

    ‘to do was attempt a decent tackle without taking the player out
    Basic comprehension

  94. I hate Green Bay

    Copied from the Telegraph

    Arsenal’s rough justice at Wolves on Tuesday night was a great example of an evergreen quandary in football analysis: to what extent can isolated incidents be siphoned off from a team’s performance? Are mistakes random aberrations or the result of underlying problems? Can a team have two men sent off, lose a lead away from home and be said to have ‘played well’?

    Your answer will be decided by whether you grant more weight to process or outcome. The result is clearly of primary importance, or else why do we bother keeping score and tallying up a league table? Nevertheless, ‘team wins: good, team loses: bad’ would be a meagre post-match offering and your position would change like the wind as results fluctuate, especially in this Premier League season. Any attempt at serious judgement has to allow for the possibility of a losing team doing things well and a winning team doing things poorly.

    There is a broad consensus that David Luiz was unfortunate to be sent off at Molineux, although the decision can be justified by a particular interpretation of a law which calls for a red card when there ‘is no possibility to play the ball’ and a clear goalscoring opportunity has been denied. The worst you could say for Luiz is that he arced his recovery run into the path of Wolves striker Willian Jose, but if running behind a player now constitutes a challenge then something feels off. A law that would have produced a yellow card for Luiz had he lunged in with a sliding tackle looks in need of tightening up. The debate will run and run.

    Nevertheless, the incident did not occur in a vacuum and Arsenal were guilty of resting on a lead seconds before half-time, like a runner leaning on a lamp post to catch their breath. Putting the penalty controversy to one side, Arsenal let Wolves’ striker run clean through when they should have seen the half out. To have this loss of focus and concentration punished by the concession of a goal and loss of a player is harsh in the extreme, but is symptomatic of a small but notable trend.

    Arsenal have been starting games, and halves, like a train, but flagging as they progress. Within the first 90 seconds of testing away games at Wolves and Southampton, they had an attacker through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. They have out-shot and out-passed Wolves, Southampton and Manchester United between the first whistle and the 15th minute. However, in all three fixtures the reverse is true between the 30th minute and half-time, and convincingly so. Across all three games, Arsenal have managed just two shots on goal in this period of the match.

    The pattern was especially pronounced at Wolves. Arsenal completed 86 passes to Wolves’ 41 in the first 15 minutes, 10 in the attacking third to Wolves’ six and took three shots to the home team’s one (with Bukayo Saka’s disallowed goal not included). Between minutes 15 and 30, Arsenal and Wolves both took two shots but Arteta’s team continued to control the game, completing 119 passes and 23 in the attacking third compared to the home team’s 43 completed passes of which nine were in the attacking third.

    In the 15 minutes before the break after Nicolas Pepe’s opening goal, Wolves were on top although not unduly threatening. They took two shots to Arsenal’s one, but in a significant reversal completed 95 passes to their 25 and 18 in the attacking third to Arsenal’s nine.

    Across the whole season, if you break down Arsenal’s goals scored and conceded by 15-minute chunks the difference is negative in two periods: between the 15th and 30th minute and from then until half-time. Their best period is the 15 minutes immediately after half-time, scoring seven and conceding just one. They have scored just two league goals after the 75th minute this Premier League season.

    In a season shaped by fatigue, Arsenal are not the only team struggling to sustain performance levels across 90 minutes. During Project Restart and their FA Cup run, Arsenal and Arteta made a habit of regrouping and getting a stronger grip of games after drinks breaks. Their strong start to second-halves this season suggests they benefit from the chance to physically recharge, take on tactical instruction or a combination of both. At Wolves, they were perhaps guilty of sitting on a lead and not pressing home their advantage in a game they were dominating.
    Copied from the Telegraph
    Cp[ied from Telegraph

    Whether it is through better general fitness, chasing additional goals more aggressively, or adding players with the athleticism to maintain intensity levels, building on good starts is the next step for Arteta’s Arsenal. If they can extend their attacking football at Wolves and Southampton over longer periods, they will win more games than they lose.

  95. Mr.J

    “Carlo? Mourinho? Nuno? Who else were we linked to that is doing better?”

    Aren’t, like, two of those three above doing better than us in the league??

    The one who isn’t just done the double on us?!

  96. Captain Tierney


    We may not be good at Dark arts but the bias is very clear.
    You can’t be top for red cards and bottom for making fouls, even if you are as dumb as they come.

    The level of officiating needs to improve in England. There’s a reason there are so few, if any English refs officiating at Fifa and Uefa competitions.

  97. Uwot?

    Sorry but don’t see any of those as a massive upgrade on where we are or where they are,at present.Maybe it will be obvious by seasons end.But I remain to be convinced.

  98. AFC Forever


    Yes it is an England specific thing. Our refereeing is looked down on in the continent.

    One of the biggest problems is the fact that we think English football is somehow superior. The edict for English referees has always been to let the game flow and for physical challenges to be encouraged. Challenges that would be deemed as fouls on the continent are ignored here. They didn’t want us ruining the English game. That is why the powers that be decided not to have any of our referees at their World Cup tournament, simply referee differently.

    Pires said how stunned he was at the standard of refereeing and the lack of protection Arsenal players received. You only have to remember the broken legs our players have suffered; Eduardo & Diaby effectively had their careers ruined while the Stoke fans sang sick songs about Aaron Ramsey after Shawcross went over the top on him. The referees sent the players off but the tackles happened because referees allowed this kind of physical, on the edge, tackling. None of these was a coincidence, there was too many. Remember the late McNair tackle that broke and dislocated Wilshere’s ankle with the referee giving a goal kick – Mike Dean.

    You only have to look at the Italian referee in the Juve game, where Ronaldo came from an offside position to steal the ball from a defender. No question, it was disallowed. Same rule here, but our officials decide to allow Man City’s goal to stand, while all our fans and the players wonder what rule book the referees have swallowed.

    Take VAR. On the continent, they use it much better, as an aid for the referee on the side of the pitch. Not ours, it’s all secret squirrel, whispers into headsets.

    Yes, it is an English thing.

  99. AFC Forever


    Xhaka has really been good since the turn of the year.

    I think he is benefiting from the improved movement ahead of him and the better balance we have.

    I had to laugh yesterday, imagining the look on the faces of the Xhaka bullies as he made those two drag backs. We need webcams, that would have been very funny.

  100. Dissenter

    Honestly, it’s always a bad idea to run across the legs of a player bearing for your gool…in the penalty box.
    Forget VAR or all the other conversations

    Luiz is an accident waiting to happen.
    Every 4-5 games, he will do something daft.

  101. Henry19


    Despite the slim advantage, the Gunners were cruising and coping well with Wolves’ meager threat, until David Luiz cursed his teammates once more by conceding his sixth penalty and third red card in his short Arsenal career.

    Lots of arguments on this one, but for me it’s pretty cut and dried – the Brazilian fucked up. He’d pushed too high up the pitch; Willian Jose was released and beat him for pace. Entering the penalty area, Luiz ran across the forward touching his left foot with his right knee just prior to Willian Jose pulling the trigger.

    Whether Jose Willian’s foot made contact with Luiz knee first or not is immaterial because intention is immaterial, Luiz simply got too close to the striker and risked contact. We have to also accept that Luiz was trying to be clever and make it look like an accident.

    There was controversy over the red card too but current FA rules state: “Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off.”

    As Luiz didn’t attempt to play the ball, it’s a red card.

  102. Words on a Blog

    So Arsenal has the highest number of red cards awarded against them, and amongst the highest number of yellow cards, despite committing the fewest fouls.

    When it comes to their treatment of Arsenal players’ infractions -whether major or minor- referees are like fanatical Jesuit monks rigorously enforcing the rules against non-believers during the Spanish Inquisition.

    Fouls against? “Yeah, whatever…..Fernandes/[insert player name] didn’t really mean it. He’s a top, top guy.”

    Meanwhile, Man U players get treated like Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. Gods amongst men, their every misdemeanor glossed over, their every complaint assiduously checked using all the angles known to VAR.


  103. Dissenter

    Why is nonsense?
    Because it doesn’t agree with you?

    Keep up your refereeing conspiracy agitation
    Better still why don’t you help deliver Arsenal’s appeal to the red card in person.

    If Luiz wasn’t trying to make an attempt to play the ball, why is he running along the back of the players legs?
    Running across the back of the legs is just like leaving a leg out in the box- the attacker will use the leg to simulate contact.

  104. AFC Forever


    You flip flop more than Gandhis sandals.

    I can only give you one piece of advice; if you wear glasses get your eyes checked.

  105. Bergkamp63

    I have lost count of the number of names of managers from people on here who’m they want to replace Arteta.

    They are like tumbleweed blowing through.

    Including Hasenhüttl !

  106. Pedro

    Bergkamp, imagine the rage if we’d conceded 9 goals for the second time?

    Or we were playing Allegri football?

    Or we dropped Arteta to bring in Rafa B?

    Staggering views on here.

  107. Captain Tierney

    I think this should be the end of Luiz bring a first teamer for Arsenal. It should be Holding, Gabriel and Mari as top 3 choices with Luiz being the 4th, if not 5th ( behind Chambers).

    The defensive improvement is more down to the system and manager than the personnel.