KEEPER SIGNS – WHO NEXT?

by .

I am BACK. How are you? Is everything good in your world? Have you bought a pair of Skechers after that most excellent advert VO’d by the powerhouse audio vibes of Harry Kane?

Ok… let’s get into it.

Jurrien Timber is out for 7-8 months with an ACL injury. I am so gutted for the player. He looked so at home with the club and the fans adored him. To injure yourself like that so soon into your new career is tragic.

Few things I wanted to address regarding the weird narrative surrounding the issue.

  1. Blame culture.

People who have never worked in sport, don’t have a medical degree, haven’t put on a pair of football boots in their lifetime should not be passing hot takes on WHY the injury happened or who is to blame for it.

Don’t blame the doctor – they followed protocol. I wrote about this on Twitter, but here it is again.

Medical teams have a battery of clinical tests they can run at halftime, Mikel confirmed that happened. They test for structure, movement, strength, dislocation, resistance, and stability in the knee. Player feedback is absolutely considered. Arsenal has top-tier medical professionals – if his ACL was ruptured at halftime, the tests would have exposed that. He wouldn’t have come out at halftime. There might have been a small amount of damage done, but no way of seeing that (without a scan). If it is an ACL half tear or a rupture – same recovery time. 6-8 months. Has to be noted, the club hasn’t confirmed yet.

So to repeat – if he’d blown his ACL at halftime, he’d not have come out. If he’d torn his ACL at halftime, it’d be the same recovery time. Arsenal have top doctors, top performance people, and we have a very, very good record when it comes to soft tissue injuries.

I’ve read people blaming the training ground grass – the stadium grass – and the manager. I can’t be having it unless you have some expert analysis on why those things are suddenly an issue. Sometimes, in football, bad things happen, and no one is to blame. ACLs and those horrendous / very rare blowouts sit in this category. Until there’s a pattern – like there is in women’s football, the blame game is kind of pointless.

ALSO:

Been told that ACLs being career-limiters at the highest level is a bit of an old wives tale in 2023. Best example: Virgil Van Dijk in 2020. He collided with Pickford, busted his ACL, had surgery, was out for the entire 20-21 season. The following season, he returned, played 4,621 minutes over 51 appearances, was part of a Liverpool side competed on 4 fronts, and pushed City until the end of the season clocking 91 points. ACL doesn’t mean it’s over these days and there’s a very high chance Timber comes back the same was he was before.

Wishing Jurrien the speediest of recoveries.

David Raya has joined the club. He’s coming to be number one. No doubt in my mind. Aaron didn’t develop at the rate he was expected to, so Arteta has signed in what he believes is an upgrade. Raya has better distribution and his save numbers are top 4 in the league versus Aaron who is 12th. Brutal – but hopefully this will up Aaron’s game.

The referees are at it again. I know there’s been a lot of chatter about the Wolves decision. Onana clattered a Wolves player, the ref missed it, as did his VAR crew. The decision was so bad, I’m pretty sure if you had Mark Goldbridge in the VAR room, he’d have given the penalty.

Those officials have been dropped. But what does that mean?

Are they being retrained?

Are they being fined?

Is there a three-strikes policy?

What are the consequences here?

Lee Atwell, the ref who was sacked last season for being utterly useless, has made his way back into PGMOL to train Premier League referees. This is a prime example of the rot that is going on with the refs. Someone who was clearly not at the level for a long time, finally lost his job, then he was brought back into the fold. This decision reeks of old boys club and protectionism. It’s refs over performance. It sends a message to the rubbish refs that there are no consequences and it tells the good refs you are treated the same as the useless ones.

If you want to create a high-performance culture – people that don’t hit the mark need to be exited. The best need to be rewarded. There needs to be constant inspection of what needs to be improved.

What has Howard Webb improved? Yellow cards for managers? How many managers were sacked last season? How many refs? One referee is really all you need to know here. Does that make sense considering the constant drama around bad decisions? Not to me.

PGMOL needs to offer up more transparency. Refs need to be more accountable. Fans need to know there are consequences for referees the same way there are for managers and players.

Is Howard Webb the guy to deliver that? Has he ever ran a high-performance organization? Does he have a background in improving dead organizations?

If not – why is he ‘the’ guy?

The storyline of this season so far has been ‘punish managers like Arteta’ and ‘do not ask why managers get so angry at officials.’

Let’s talk about Gabriel getting linked to Saudi. This is a WEIRD link and I’m telling you – do not be shocked by him. If Arteta could upgrade him, he would. This is a Raya/Ramsdale moment waiting to happen. You don’t get linked to Saudi when you are a 24-year-old that has played EVERY SINGLE GAME of the last season. These links happen when someone from the players camp sounds out the richest league in the world (in my opinion).

This might not happen this season, but I would bet my house Gabriel isn’t here in two seasons time. Keep an eye on it.

We’re getting to the exciting stage of the transfer window, the cogs are moving, there will be opportunities for Arsenal to move on undervalued talent if it comes available. Our squad is basically where it needs to be, but there are some worries.

Relying on Zinchenko to stay fit feels like a big ask – the loss of Timber probably needs to be addressed for that reason.

Reiss cannot cover for Saka, so we’re still lacking a speed demon to give him a rest

Our squad is bloated and fat. I told you a few weeks ago Nuno would get a good fee and it looks like Forest might pay it. Sambi still hasn’t moved. Kieran T needs to exit. Rob Holding, for my health, needs to find a new club. Maybe there’s a surprise exit in the mixer as well.

Fun times.

We have two podcasts in the mixer you might like. Johnny spoke to a Palace fan and Matt spoke to a FFP expert about the Chelsea growth strategy. Check them out below!

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AFC Forever

Pete & China You’ve both raised great points. This has been going on a long time. Most of it goes back to the changes Mike Riley made. Masters got rid of him because the Premier League clubs were fed up with some of the things he was doing. They called him the ‘Goal Killer’..! One of the most important things about sport is keeping it honest. You do that by mitigating risk. So much money in the game. Former heads of PGMOL have constantly made the point that nobody deliberate cheats (I’m not convinced) but unconscious bias does affect decision… Read more »

Positive pete

China.Would love to see Webbos’ face getting his weekly compilation of Ref & VAR f** ups.With explanations demanded.Make sure Match of the day get a copy too.

Positive pete

AFC & why are ‘ local’ PGMOL officiating? I’m fairly certain if I support Real Madrid & I’m playing at Barcelona,I don’t expect to see a geezer who lives on the “ La Rambla” officiating?Think there would be riots.Could be wrong.?

Bob N16

Consistency is the goal and I’m not talking about consistently giving ManU decisions!

Transparency, with an explanation as in rugby where you are able to listen to the decision making process.

Agree, stop the clock, again as in rugby. I’d almost be willing to see a ‘adding of 10/20s’ for timewasting.

Bring in top foreign officials – let them be in charge of VAR!

Red Line

What I don’t understand is why the clubs don’t make more of a fuss about these VAR errors, vote of no confidence etc. Also in light of a few players being suspected of gambling on games can we really be sure nothing untoward is going on with the officials.

That’s why it’s in everyone’s interests to make it more transparent, can’t understand why the clubs aren’t pushing for it…..well everyone except Man U of course

AFC Forever

Red Line / Bob

That’s right. Some of us remember when far east gambling gangs were trying to influence our games. At the end of the day it’s a billion £ sports industry.

The decision at Old Trafford was unacceptable. He had a video to watch but decided the referee had not made an error. I’m sorry that’s is sackable it had to be bent. That is not a mistake.

Stop click needed 100%.

We must never allow our game to be infected with match fixing but it’s hard to find other reason to explain these unbelievable errors by VAR.

AFC Forever

Red Line

It was the PL Clubs that got Riley sacked. The problem is PGMOL haven’t changed, it’s the same incompetent or bent officials. Worse, Webb is re-hiring them to train…!!

Bob N16

I reckon it’s bias rather than match fixing

Positive pete

On a diff topic.Looks like the Chavs are going to cough up the reqd £50 million ( cough cough)for Balogun.Lets hope there’s a sell on clause inserted.As they’re particularly good at flogging their numerous player( even if it’s to a Saudi fiddle)

China1

Match fixing or unconscious bias, the outcome is the same There is NO justification for how VAR can miss/advise incorrectly on clear and obvious decisions. I run a tech team for a major bank and most weekends we make minor system updates that we’ve been working on live. There are controls in place to stop us from missing clearing and obvious mistakes (which is exactly what VAR is for) and if we don’t follow them there is HELL to pay when things go wrong. We get reprimanded. We get forced to explain our mistakes in front of senior management (and… Read more »

WengerEagle

Nobody else a little concerned that Balogun would be seriously good at Chelsea ? He’s been weirdly written off as subpar give he is the only 21 year old or younger besides Mbappe in the last 20 years to score 20+ in Ligue 1.

China1

As well all we need to do is build up a coalition of clubs which feel hard done by with decisions Whichever teams got fucked each weekend, reach out and show solidarity. Say if we will publicly support them to challenge PGMOL together so that they won’t be alone and treated as a pariah. It happens so often that I can assure you by 5 weeks into the season you could probably already bring together 7 or 8 clubs that would be willing to unite to make a combined formal complaint about the clear and obvious ‘mistakes’ they got caught… Read more »

Tony2

I personally think it is match fixing. As some1 said the far east betting companies betting on a throw in the 1st minute or a certain player getting a yellow within a specific period in the match or whatever any situation arises. So so many obvious fuck ups yet nothing is done about them why? Some1 once said power corrupts and total power corrupts totally and this is what we’re witnessing. We are mere fans. We love and follow whichever team we support but don’t really know what goes on in the game above our heads. Cfc? Nufc? Mcfc? Owned… Read more »

dSidstathopoulos

Balogun would do well in a Pochetino set up.

At Reims, Balogun and Ito combined very well, at Chelsea, Mudryk would play that role.

Positive pete

China.With you on that 100%.The problem with Arsenal is that they have’ old school’ mentality & stiff upper lip.When it’s plain to see we’re treated differently.Were under Graham,definitely under Wenger & it’s continued now that we’re seen as a threat once again.
But yet the club do nothing.Sit on their hands or get bent over.
Arteta sees what’s going on & grumbles rightly.But where the club going all out.Ferguson was able to get Refs barred from doing manure matches if they upset him.

allezkev

If Chelsea are really serious about Balogun then a £10m/£15m increase on his fee would be just the ticket.

allezkev

If the bookies make Arsenal 2nd favourites then I guess that means they think that we’ll finish 2nd in the Premier League…

Positive pete

Wenger Eagle.He may or may not be.Time will tell.It’s a gamble for us & them.Accept they don’t mind pissing money up the wall if that’s what happens?

Rich

WE

Sell to the highest bidder, he wants to leave.

We could sell him to Monaco for less, but he could end up at Chelsea in 12-24 months anyway.

We could cut off our nose to spite our face, but ultimately if we get a good fee for Balogun, there’s more chance we can improve our defence + midfield this summer.

We should focus on how we strengthen, and give ourselves the best chance of success, not worry about what others are doing.

I know you like your Serie A….. Is Barella any good?

allezkev

Interesting to see that the inverted full-back is now becoming de rigueur right across the Arsenal academy with midfielders like Rosiak and James Sweet filling that role successfully at U21 and the FAYC.

allezkev

Taking a player or two on loan with an option to sign them next summer might be the way to go with Timbers absence in mind.

The club still needs to leave an avenue open for young top talents like Lewis Skelly, Walters and Nwaneri to progress this season.

WengerEagle

Rich I mean sure there’s a chance but that’s all it would be, a chance. Sell him directly to Chelsea who have built a pretty spectacular young group of players around an incoming ST and it could potentially hurt us much more than selling him to Monaco or Inter for 10m less. They are to be taken seriously despite having a bit of a buffoon as their owner. Money always talks at the end of the day, unless of course it is in the hands of Ed Woodward, lol. Re Barella, he’s a good player but overrated imo based on… Read more »

WengerEagle

I’m being harsh on him actually, he’s a very good player to be fair.

Why? Somebody linked to him?

WengerEagle

Their LB DiMarco is my favourite Inter player and has made the best impression.

Superb player, well-rounded, technically brilliant and tough as nails.

Rich

Arsenal, City, Liverpool, have all been linked to Barella this summer.

Not sure where City will look now Paqueta is off the menu.

Guns of Hackney

Sanctimonious poster alert.

Now betting syndicates are getting it in the neck.

Perhaps the reason Arsenal have been like watching teeth being pulled for the past 20 years has been because of those Orientals and their gambling ways.

The fact is. Anyone who wants to hold onto their money never bets on, or against Arsenal, because we straddle the realms of the absurd and sublime every 15 seconds.

By the way…if you can’t see your wife right now, she’s with me.

TheLegendaryDB10

China1 Great post @ 10:38:09 If I may be the devil’s advocate here. If we did go all out and present concrete evidence after concrete evidence as to how inept PGMOL refs are, we may end up being singled out. And considering how badly singled out we already are this wouldn’t help our case. And don’t get me wrong, I would love to see us do this and show up how incompetent PGMOL refs are. Positive Pete But yet the club do nothing.Sit on their hands or get bent over. This is for me,,our own little syndrome that we seem to have,… Read more »

izzo

Chuba Akpom joined Ajax. He gets to showcase himself in the Champions League. Good move! No use wasting away in the Championship.

Marko

WE u said it at the time Tonali should have been targeted and at 55 million in terms of other fees this summer he’s a bit of a steal. Barella would be great for the 8 role imo but I dunno if the rumors are true and frankly right now our business seems to be wholly dependant on sales and we have a Timber sized hole to fill.

Marko

On Balogun look I’m all for giving him a go at Arsenal and I’d personally gladly take him over Nketiah but he wants to be a starter some place which you gotta respect and frankly it’s time we start to cash in on players when their value is up. Joel Campbell great world cup linked to Milan we held onto him for too long and he disappeared into nothing. AMN we refused a 20+ million offer from someone for him and this summer we let him go for nothing. Chambers we refused 17 million from Fulham or palace for him… Read more »

AFC Forever

Legendary / Pete / China I think we all accept the speed of the game makes it difficult for referees. On the pitch it’s easy to miss things. We’ve all played the game. However there is no excuse for a VAR official forgetting offside lines or deciding Onana did not make a foul. This for me is the real issue. How on earth can anyone defend a PGMOL official who is paid well to know the rules inside and out. This cannot be a mistake; it isn’t possible. The worse thing is this happens regularly. I’m sorry but if people… Read more »

Dissenter

Liverpool bought two quality #8s and a 30 year old #6 who came from a low block team that finished 16th in the Bundesliga
They are going to get their midfield crushed all season long .

jwl

The PGMOL is a union, and unions exist to protect the midwits and incompetents, so until the fa gets serious about refereeing nothing will change.

I assume southern teams can see problems with most refs being from manchester area but northern teams like advantage so it’s impossible to change because there not enough votes for change. Webb can’t fire anyone, he can only shuffle the deck, so incompetence will continue until fa gets serious about reform.

Dissenter

Philip Billing Is one of the most underrated midfielders in the league

dSidstathopoulos

Liverpool defensive issues continue

LoveSausage

Balogun would probably be a better in a Poch system than in an Arteta one. But considering how awful we are at selling players and that we might need to make unforeseen purchases, we should take the money. Strategizing about where you sell your players is something you do when you’re good at selling them.

Dissenter

It’s wrong to select referees based on race
It’s equally wrong to use geographical quotas to select referees

They need to pay them a lot more, there’s no reason why a top referee should be making 500k-1million per annum, based on what the league is generating.
Then attract the best referees from overseas and like in any other enterprise and hold them accountable

I can’t understand for the life of me why a sport that’s a global product needs to have only UK referees.

China1

Deary me some of these hipster tactics in football are so silly it’s almost comical

Bournemouth goal kicks consist of getting all their defenses to run back parallel to the keeper only for the keeper to hoof it really long and said defenders then having to run back into position

What a pointless 50m of jogging they are asking the defenders to do on all the goal kicks, I mean honestly…

At least they’re winning tho!

TheLegendaryDB10

AFC Forever The speed of the game is not an issue once you have VAR in place. The fact that you can slow-mo anything nowadays helps a lot. cf rugby. Rugby has also become much faster than it was before yet this doesn’t stop VAR to be exceptionally accurate. Now don’t get me wrong, I have seen cases where slow mo makes the foul look worse than it really was but the reality is, with football being faster than it used to be, VAR should be seen as a massive bonus to see whether an action was indeed a foul.… Read more »

LoveSausage

Brilliant finish from Diaz.

Liverpool will be entertaining this season. Plenty of fire power up front, awful at the back. Almost Wengeresque.

Dissenter

The class of English football
Anfield giving a standing ovation for a Evertonian that died in their stadium construction

China1

1-1.

Perhaps if Bournemouth spent more time training useful things than hipster goal kicks they’d be less shit

AFC Forever

Legendary

Hard to disagree with any of that. I’ve been on their case for years, which proves it isn’t a new thing. The strange thing is everyone knows they can’t be trusted. Perhaps gam sshould be replayed, like the Wolves one, instead of an apology. & the official stood down for one game. There is no accountability & no punishment that’s the problem.

TheLegendaryDB10

Dissenter

I can’t understand for the life of me why a sport that’s a global product needs to have only UK referees.

I think it is the same across all federations, refs are local to these countries.

Then when the World Cup and Euros come about they can select a quota of refs from these different regions to be balanced.

Dissenter

ThelegendaryDB10
There are no rules that prevent referees from being recruited abroad
If such rules existed you wouldn’t have the Australian in the select group.

Dissenter

Pay referees properly and attract the very best from all over the world
Pay them well and then make them accountable

TheLegendaryDB10

Dissenter

Really???

Crikey…. makes you indeed wonder why we don’t recruit abroad. Makes you really wonder why we don’t

We keep crowing on about how we are a global product yet we have risible referreing on a weekly basis.

Makes you wonder how and why it carries on. Corruption maybe (who knows???,)?

Madhu

Brighton ripping apart Wolves.

raptora

Woah was this a red card challenge? Mac Allister sent off lol?!

Dissenter

MacAllister has that nastiness in his game
Just like he stamped on Kiwior last season

TheLegendaryDB10

Someone was mentioning how racist the PGMOL was

China1 is right when he says they are not.

One must remember that PGMOL covers all refs across all divisions.

So there will be good representation across the full group ot refs.

But, at EPL, level, this is the polar opposite. As per the article, we have now only inducted our second black ref at the higher referreing level.

https://versus.uk.com/2023/08/akil-howson-becomes-the-second-black-official-in-premier-league-history/

The realiry is, is there is underrepresentation. One cannot deny it.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-11051459/amp/The-lack-BAME-representation-football-exposed-data-shows-97-officials-white.html

AFC Forever

Mac Allister was shin high but I don’t think there was intent. Still a red card though. Wolves being smashed after giving Man Utd a good hiding.

Dissenter

Wasn’t Jota offside ?

Dissenter

I was expecting more from this Iraola, the Bournemouth manager since they sacked Gary O’Neal to hire him.

AFC Forever

Mike Dean employed by Sky Sports for his expert opinion. If you don’t laugh, you will cry.

raptora

The 30 yo Japanese Wataru Endo with first minutes for Pool.

Justin Kluivert plays for Bournemouth btw. Whatever happened to his career.

Dissenter

I dunno why ‘intent’ comes into play at all for red card.
The ref is not supposed to be a mind reader
Always thought it was just pundit talk to explain away why the ref didn’t punish their favored club.

AFC Forever

Dissenter

‘ I was expecting more from this Iraola, the Bournemouth manager since they sacked Gary O’Neal to hire him.“

I wasn’t. It’s pathetic the way managers are treated by people who think the sport is so easy. Look at Potter what chance did he stand really? If you have owners with fan mentality you’re in real trouble. Look at Levy at Spurs.

Dissenter

Kinda feel for Justin Kluvert
It’s hard to fill the shoes of a famous father like that. He’s always lived under that burden.

Dissenter

AFC
True but somehow I don’t feel sorry for Gary O’Neal again
Why does he always put himself in the same type of lose-lose situations ?
I was disappointed when he walked into the Wolves Jon a few days before the season started. Lopetuigi walked away because he realized that they didn’t have zilch to spend and then…. In comes O’Neal.

Even if O’Neal does the impossible and keeps Wolves up, they will still sack him like Bournemouth did .

He should have waited for the right job like Eddie Howe.

AFC Forever

Dissenter

It used to be intent now they have changed that to ‘endangering the opponent’. Split second tackles but when I was playing you could mistime & be okay. Now you’re not. Unless you’re Harry Kane who took Robertson out shin high & didn’t even get a yellow!! .VAR & referees don’t always apply the rules the same., as we’ve already discussed.

AFC Forever

Dissenter

Hardest job in football being a manager. Everyone expects miracles because they think it’s all so easy. Hiding to nothing. Luckily they get generous payouts. O’Neill had been there 2 games, had very little time to work with the players but you watch the ignorant fans jump on his back. If that corrupt VAR official, Salisbury, had awarded the Onana penalty, makes a world of difference. .

raptora

Diss,
Kinda weird Justin is 1.71 m / 5’7″ when his dad is 1.91 m / 6’3″. Whatever happened to genetics there. His mom isn’t short either.

China1

Bournemouth are so poor

Even a man up they don’t look like they have any clear advantage

Dissenter

AFC
Intent to injure is extremely rare, most players have a mutual respect for the other. They don’t seek to go out an injure. You have to find the rare instances like Roy Keane injuring Alf Haaland as cases of intent.

The more common causes are recklessness, poor technique and just plain bad luck. It’s the actual act that ought to be punished not a subjective basis of ‘intent’

Dissenter

raptora
Maybe Kluivert Jr. got his height from a grandparent.

Dissenter

I think they teach ‘nasty’ in South American football academies
When you see what some Argentine players are capable of, you understand why Alf Ramsey made that unfortunate statement in 1966.

AFC Forever

Diss

Don’t disagree which is why they bought in ‘endangering an opponent’.

raptora

Another crock is out injured btw from Round 1 last week – Reece James. Just had gotten promoted to Captain for Chelsea. Solid player but shit injury record makes it hard to consider him all that good.

Now another crock, Luis Diaz looks injured.

Dissenter

Hope Arteta starts with Trossard on Monday. He’s the player on form in the squad
Has to start with Trossard, Saka and Martinelll

China1

Will be interesting to compare havertz and dom slobby of pool by the end of this season

Only 5m difference in price tag, similar profile and skill set

So far in the PL s lobby is looking better tho the season has barely begun. Hoping the first week of the season is not indicative of how these two will end up doing long term

Fingers crossed for a big havertz performance on Mon

AFC Forever

Surprise, surprise we have a new post……..!!

raptora

See how Ten Hag and his assistant are watching replays of the foul against Bruno? They, along with the medical staff are checking out for visible injury signs like ACL etc. From the Timber incident I realized that the way ACL works is you could easily see the knee move out of place and you can be pretty sure about what has happened. I wonder if they were provided some good footage, cause there’s no way he would have been allowed to start the 2H if they had seen the video someone shared on twitter. That was a very obvious… Read more »

izzo

Bryan Mbeumo has been tearing shit up. how about him to backup Saka?