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.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. salparadisenyc

    Origi is so poor, get the feeling Klopp wants to castrate him.

    Have to say Thiago slows it down for Liverpool, Hendo keeps it ticking at a higher rate. Incredible to write that as I rate Thiago more… but kinda how it looks.

  2. Batistuta

    Man so much referee conspiracies on here since yesterday and maybe rightly so.

    Have to say though for all of the “progress”, we’re having a quite poor season. Really have to go for it in the Europa league, only way to stop it from having been a bad season

  3. shaun

    bit harsh on luiz but the manager should not be picking him when he had Gabriel fit and ready , it’s common sense one of the two CD’s has to have pace , the man is 34 years old and done at the top level just like willian , benfica or sporting would be a better fit for both and it speaks volumes that both Edu and Arteta think these players can still play twice a week . I have my reservations about Holding and Mari for that very reason …no pace and playing against a Vardy for example that’s just food and drink for him , he either gets through or gets a penalty but with Gabriel it is a different story as he is quick and has pace , that’s why I had hope for Saliba who also has pace

  4. WengerEagle


    I mean their problem isn’t conceding goals, it’s that they cannot seem to score them anymore.

    That’s 5 of their last 8 PL games that they have fired blanks.

    No Anfield goals since West Brom 5 weeks ago and they drew that one 1-1.

  5. Dissenter

    The way Bissouma is playing right now, we wont be the only ones seeking his services come the the summer.

    We have pay the fee quickly, can’t haggle too much or some club with a deeper pocket will grab him.

  6. WengerEagle


    Citeh will do them on Saturday, can smell it coming.

    It’s nearly identical to last season except the roles are reversed. All of the pressure will be on Liverpool, expect a confident City to pick them apart.

  7. salparadisenyc


    Hope so, zero chance I can endure back to back Liverpool Premiere league romps.

    Near identical scenario for Jurgen at Dortmund, that tempo only sustainable for so long. Injuries took him out at Dortmund after taking title two season running and look to have done similar to this side. They’ve cracked on at a very high level for past two seasons somehow didn’t take the title with 97 points then waltzed it last year.

  8. WengerEagle

    That’s the main reason that the PL and leagues around Europe this season are so chaotic.

    It’s not so much the ‘competitiveness’ of the PL or that the weaker teams have much improved, even if they have to some degree.

    It’s that the don’t have to play in front of the baying mob in places like Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, etc.

    It’s no coincidence that Liverpool are struggling at Anfield and United are struggling at OT.

  9. Dissenter

    Wenger Eagle/AFC
    Sometimes an excellent player does not improve a team, especially when that player forces you to play away from your strengths.
    I really don’t think Thiago Alcantara [as world class as he is] has helped Liverpool that much.
    They are easier to defend against with him on the team.

  10. Dissenter

    The Athletic; “Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Runarsson left out of Europa League squad”
    “Alex Runarsson has been left out of Arsenal’s squad for the knockout stages of the Europa League, reports James McNicholas.

    Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and goalkeeper Mat Ryan have been added to the group, with Runarsson the non-homegrown player to give way.

    Why has he been left out?
    Runarsson was part of Arsenal’s squad for the group stages and played in four of those games.

    But Arsenal have limited space for non-homegrown players in their squad. Martinelli has been added to the squad now that he has returned from injury, while Ryan has been preferred to Runarsson.

    Odegaard has also been included, with two spaces in Arsenal’s squad freed up because of the recent departures of Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi.”

  11. WengerEagle


    I think that blaming Liverpool’s problems on Alcantara is too simplistic and ignores the wider issues that they have.

    It’s too easy to just look at them last season, see them this season struggling and deduce that Alcantara must be the main reason they’ve regressed.

    Like Sal says, I think that burnout is the main problem they are suffering from. Not even physical so much as mental fatigue. Same thing happened to City after putting up back to back 97+ point seasons.

  12. WengerEagle

    Mixture of fatigue, luck not swinging their way like it did last season, certain players like Firmino, Mane and Origi in particular being subpar in front of goal, no Anfield crowd behind them, and the pile-on effect when results start slipping.

  13. WengerEagle

    Barcelona 2-0 down after 88 mins in the Cup vs Granada, pull it back to 2-2 to force ET.

    Go on to win 5-3 in ET.

    5 goals and not a single one scored by Messi. LB Jordi Alba with a hat-rick.

    Not your atypical game right here.

  14. Dissenter

    Wenger Eagle
    The mental burn-out factor is why good managers know when to freshen up teams to create new competitiveness in the squad.
    Liverpool’s decline started after the league was all but won last season. Klopp should have done more to stir them up with exit and incoming transfers in the summer. .
    Maybe they just didn’t have the funds.

  15. Max

    @ Wenger Eagle

    Inclined to agree re fans but United were defo losing games at home under Ole with packed stadiums long before Covid.

    Defo think pens must be easier to take even if aware of the occasion not having fans to throw you off must be a massive help.

  16. Crabregas

    Gary Neville did a piece recently saying the best front 3’s have only been together 2-3 seasons and then it’s freshened up, whereas as this is the 4th season of Mane, Firmino and Salah.

    Others great front 3’swere:
    Duff, drogba, robben
    Tevez, Rooney, Ronaldo
    Sane, Aguero, Sterling
    Gervinho, Chamakh, Bendtner

  17. Goobergooner

    This couldn’t be a more hypocritical statement 😂😂
    “You think you are the police or moderator on here, you’re not. Join the convo or start a new one but stop acting like you’re more important than you are by accusing people of being something”

  18. Mqtt

    Neon, spot on with that observation. Hopefully Arteta will have taken note. Or who knows, maybe it was a known area of weakness contributing towards him being sold!

  19. Pierre

    Played 25
    11 Goals
    10 assists.

    Always said he was class …..Emery has a lot to answer for.
    He , more than anyone is the reason for the Arsenal’s dramatic decline since Wenger left the club…

    Out of all the midfielders that were here when Wenger left , Mhkitaryan, Ozil, Ramsey , Cazorla all left the club for nothing, whilst Xhaka and Elneny are still here…..how was that allowed to happen .
    The Emery midfield signings of Guendouzi and Torreira are now surplus to requirements.

    Thankfully wenger left us with a good youth system that have the young guns playing football the Arsenal way…

    I’m not sure where we would be without smith rowe and saka.
    The other youth products will bring in good money if they can’t break into the first team.

    Iwobi has already brought in 30 mil
    Bellerin would bring in similar ..30 mil
    AMN 15/20 mil
    Nketiah 15/20 mil
    Willock 15/20 mil
    Nelson 10/15

    Smith Rowe and Saka would bring in at least 100 mil combined….maybe more.

    Our transfer dealings have been so poor and wasteful over the last 3 years that if it wasn’t for our youth system, the club would be on it’s knees .

    The academy is doing a fantastic job bringing such talent through and they will save the club millions..

    Also , it Looks like Emery/Arteta have cocked it up with Balogun…i hope I’m wrong…

    There is more talent coming through at Hale end that has to be utilised before we have another Balogun situation on our hands if they are not given a pathway into the team ..

    We keep bringing players on on loan that have blocked the pathway for our academy players , whilst at the same time , the loan players have offered very little..

    For me , it has to be youth all the way , keep Partey , Holding , Tierney , Aubameyang , Gabriel , Mari , Cedric , Leno…sign Bissouma in the summer and offload Lacazette, Xhaka , Luiz , Bellerin , Ceballos, Willian, Elneny and start trusting the academy players

  20. bacaryisgod

    Pierre- the world transfer market is in a depression right now.

    Can’t see how we’re getting the sums you think we can for the younger players or if we offload the more senior ones.

  21. Dissenter

    “The Emery midfield signings of Guendouzi and Torreira are now surplus to requiremen”

    Emery didn’t sign them though, it was golden eye that made the signings

  22. salparadisenyc

    “PierreDo we have someone in the academy who can back up ESR? If not, we may want to keep Odegaard.”

    Please tell me this a b a n t e r.

    Dissenter… Its Diamond Eye please try and do better.

  23. Goobergooner


    “Always said he was class …..Emery has a lot to answer for.
    He , more than anyone is the reason for the Arsenal’s dramatic decline since Wenger left the club…”

    You really do talk some absolute bull shit.

    I agree, we have seen quite the regression since Wenger left.
    But if you care to have a proper look back over the years, we have been regressing since we won our last title.
    We had squads in the meantime that needed that little bit of extra magic aka dynamic winger, or little bit of solidity aka quality DM/B2B or CBs; something Wenger couldn’t take advantage of and then considering how much money we have wasted over the last 5 years.

    Wenger built up a big old ‘war chest’ then spent it on the likes of xhaka mustafi Perez, ozil’s extension you name it and our true decline started then.

    We have been hamstrung by absolutely appalling decisions; which is where my roundabout comment comes back to the main point:

    – Mhkitaryan was part of our worst ever deal as a club. A deal in which we swapped our best player for United’s worst.
    You can revisionise all you want, but mhki has only been a great player in other leagues than the epl.

    We gave up 60m which could have bought a proper replacement for Sanchez, or bought a player we actually needed, not a soft cock AM/ wing playmaker.

    That deal in itself epitomises how poorly the club has been run for the last decade at least.

    Emery achieved 5th his first season. With a squad that wasn’t his at all, and he was also overruled on signings.

    Arteta finished 8th, albeit one of our worst starts to a season when he took over; but then proceeded on having one of our best tw windows for ages then took us to our worst start in 50 years.

    You have to be trolling with that first comment. So good on you for working me up.

    If you look at it how I do, Wenger built an absolute shit squad (for top 4 comparisons) then a manager who should never have got a sniff at the job came in and did a decent job, now we have a rookie who does seem to be turning it around but also can’t deny the fact he took us to the worst start in 50 odd years despite looking to have turned the corner on Emery last season.
    I am hoping he does properly click Next season.

    We should have had someone competent in after Wenger. Raul is the antithesis of wenger and that’s where Gazidis the fuck absolutely screwed the process.

    God damn Pierre.

  24. Gonsterous

    That was a shite result, especially since we managed to get a point from utd. Not really artetas fault in the last game, but at least we can stop all this talk of a top 4 finish. This team isn’t managed by a peak Wenger who could get his team to go unbeaten and finish in the top 4.

    Time to focus on the EL but one could argue that was emerys undoing in his first season. Finish 6th and reach the EL finals. That’s good enough for me this season.

    Get the useless wankers out in the summer and cross your fingers for next season. CL trophy in 3 years my arse. We may qualify for the CL after 3 years.

  25. Tony

    GooberGooner/Guns of SF
    ‘He even claimed his love for Ozil was just to wind us up on the board’

    Then squeals like a stuck pig when he gets replies in kind, which is his 2nd part of his act employing the ‘poor me’ routine for sympathy.

    Pierre’s got a great imaginary bromance with Jamie that’s fun to read when he’s not busy with his sock draw.

  26. Northbanker

    Pierre – not sure why some on here get wound up by you – at least yu post thoughtfully and not the inane pointless points of Sid or Henry19.

    I agree on the youth point to a degree but there would be gaps even with the points you have made. The sale of Bellerin is fine but who replaces? We have 4 or 5 promising full backs emerging but none of them are anywhere near match ready. Maybe Osei Tutu but he has had a bad injury record.

    ESR would need a standy by and here we have a few players develiping – Matt Smith, Catalin Cirjan is further away and even furthewer away the highly promising Charlie Patino..

    The decline didn’t start with Emery although he was a terrible choice given his lack of language skills. It began under Wenger especially the last 3 or so years. Awful decision making – swapping Sanchez for Mikhi and not cashing in for 60m; the brainfarting splurge of 100m on Mustafi, Xhaka and Peres. Wenger Mk1 would have bought an entire squad of great players on that sum!

    We were out of the CL before he left

  27. Samesong

    Can someone answer this simple question on the last game

    Why did we push so high up the pitch seconds before half time?

  28. Terraloon

    We know that Arteta said that there would be an appeal against DL red but has anyone seen confirmation that the appeal has indeed been lodged?

    The time ,in working day terms, between the Wolves and Villa games mean that not only would be fast tracked but even then that fast tracking is accelerated.

    The appeal had to be lodged by 1.00pm on Wednesday, evidence sent to the appeal board by 5.00 pm on the same day and the decision by no later than 6.00pm on Friday.

    If Arsenal have appealed they can’t appeal the red card, that surprised me all they are arguing about is should the one game ban apply

    Here’s the bit that I find very odd

    Regulatory Commission that considers a claim of wrongful dismissal is concerned with
    only the question of whether any sanction of a suspension from play is one which should be imposed in view of the facts of the case. This role is not to usurp the role of the Referee and the dismissal from the field of play will remain on the record of the Club and the Player.

    Looking deeper into what would justify the suspension not taking effect the basic point you have to prove is did the ref fail to apply the rules as per Laws. Good luck with that one !

    So we get to the point that Arsenal have to pay £1500 , the red card ( even if the suspension is cancelled ) remains on his record, potentially the suspension could be elevated to two games and on the basis that this sending off was in accordance with the warped law then that’s a real possibility.

    Nah I would take it on the chin, rest Luiz and move on

  29. Valentin


    Good thing that Wenger did not leave us with Sanchez, or we may have had to cancel his contract like ManUtd had to.
    We complained about Özil stealing a leaving at £350kpw, but Sanchez was on £450kpw at ManUtd and he was completely woeful there.

  30. WengerEagle

    Mkhitaryan was shit in the PL under Mourinho, Wenger and Emery.

    And yet this retard is still convinced that he would have been a massive success under Arteta based on evidence he is doing abroad in other leagues rather than 3 seasons of evidence of him stinking out the league.

    Toreirra looked a fantastic player in Serie A and average for us in the Prem. Eriksen looked great in the Prem and shit in Italy.

    Lukaku looked decent in the Prem and now looks a world beater over in Italy. Mo Salah and Alexis Sanchez both looked like world beaters in the PL while just being decent over in Italy.

    Certain players take to certain leagues better or worse than others, Mkhitaryan wasnt built for the PL.