Chelsea Review: Poor Referee + Poor Defending Is A Bad Combination

Arsenal 2 – 2 Chelsea

It was, before I go further, a fine game of football; enjoyable to watch compared to the dross which is routinely served up by the World’s Greatest League™.

For once, everything in attack was sharp, aside from Alexandre Lacazette’s shooting boots. His movement was outstanding though and Chelsea’s three central defenders weren’t given a moments rest. He was ably supported by Alexis and Mesut Özil, with the latter dominating the five-man Chelsea midfield. There’s no doubt that the German was Man of the Match and if he played like that every week – and I mean every week – I’d be saying his £350k salary demands were very reasonable indeed.

Indeed, there’s very little criticism of the team in an attacking sense. Lacazette might have done better when he gave Courtois the chance to make a decent save after a nice spin from the French striker but his final shot lacked the bite we normally see.

That goal led a charmed life. Courtois’ stunning save in the first half came with a sizeable slice of good fortune as the ball struck both posts, rolling along the line between the two. And it was genuinely along the line which is a testament to the groundsmen, underlining how level the pitch at the Emirates is.

Chelsea rued the frame of the goal when a thunderous strike rattled the crossbar in the dying embers of the match. It’s a footballing cliche that these things even themselves out over a season; we didn’t have to wait ninety minutes in this instance.

Both goalkeepers made crucial saves with Cech enjoying his best game this season. Aside from the penalty; how he hasn’t even got close to 15 penalties I’ll never know. This is a man who won the Champions League by saving a penalty.

Due Reward for Hard Work?

Jack Wilshere takes the plaudits this morning for me. Fired up for the game, he made up for Granit Xhaka’s lethargy and capped a good evening’s work with a rasping finish to break the deadlock. It was a rare moment of unbridled joy this Christmas as the ball crashed into the net.

Wilshere was tigerish in the tackle, picked up an almost obligatory yellow card, got whacked on the ankle, and generally did all those midfield things we want him to. Without getting injured. In his sixth game in a row, which is the first time since records began apparently. And we still don’t think he’s worth sitting down and talking to about a new deal.

The point-saving goal came from an equally unlikely and maligned source: Hector Bellerin. The young Spaniard has been flitting in and out of form but I thought had his best game of the season last night. He is routinely criticised for erratic defending and that’s true; he is plateauing. That’s what happens when you don’t get defensive coaching; his critics need to turn their ire elsewhere.

Those two moments make Sunday’s lacklustre point at West Brom all the more irksome. The contrast in effort and thought is stark and underlines why we’re fighting with the also-rans for the Europa League places. We don’t play Liverpool and Chelsea again in the Premier League and have dropped nine points in those four games.

Once again, we’re reliant on Liverpool and Tottenham being all ‘Spursy’ to get into the Champions League. Mind you, when we are there, is it really worth the effort?

Young Heads on Young Shoulders

And with our defence at present, it’s a big ask for us to be able to take advantage of any slips. Alvaro Morata made mincemeat of Calum Chambers on more than one occasion and a mockery of his £70m fee. It was a good display of centre-forward play and an ineptitude of the highest order in his finishing, thankfully. How he missed at the end, I doubt even he knows.

At which point we come to that penalty, another poor excuse for a decision. It wasn’t a penalty; Hazard, kicked on the sole of his boot, collapsed clutching his shin. Theatrics, pure and simple. Wilfried Zaha gets called out for diving but the silence is deafening from the media over Hazard; go figure.

Anthony Taylor was in a good position and has no excuse for awarding the penalty. Hazard wasn’t impeded but threw himself to the ground nonetheless. Bellerin’s naivety – and lack of positional coaching – was exposed in that moment. He should have stood the Belgian up and made him pass; tackling in the area is fraught with dangers when a player is willing to hit the turf at the merest hint of a touch.

But why did the official fall for the trick? It’s the best case for VAR since the last time, which was Tottenham’s opener at Swansea. There are too many bad decisions now. I’d question whether there are more than yesteryear or are we more aware of mistakes thanks to the television angles we see? Are the Laws of the Game too subjective to be effective?

Whatever the case, it was a decision which changed the course of the game, coming so soon after Wilshere’s opener.

And gave Arsène the chance to get on his soapbox once again. A post-football career at Speaker’s Corner surely beckons.

Distraction Techniques

Wenger made it clear that he blamed Taylor for not getting three points, declaring that foreign reporters had few qualms about telling the world how bad English officials are. You can understand his frustration, coming so soon after Sunday. However, it’s a useful distraction from having a makeshift defence in a game of this magnitude.

Calum Chambers was OK, erratic and in need of some guidance as he comes to terms with the rigours of defending with Arsenal. Rob Holding gave an assured performance. Why Wenger overlooks him when we have injury problems or need to manage Laurent Koscielny’s Achilles is anyone’s guess.

A special word for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Sunday is time for him to move into central midfield. He learned the lessons of Mo Salah and kept Moses quiet last night. He was shuffled out of position for Chelsea’s second but it was the only mistake of the night. A costly error but now we need to see him properly in the midfield. He spent a fair portion of time there anyway…

So while there is a case for Taylor to answer, Wenger has his own issues to deal with and they are entirely separate. The two should not cross-pollinate in his mind or in reality.

Anyway, that’s the end of the festive fixtures and we’re sixth, hanging in the race for fourth by our fingertips and realistically, ensuring we stay in the top six is more of a target.

’til Tomorrow.

66 thoughts on “Chelsea Review: Poor Referee + Poor Defending Is A Bad Combination

  1. Whilst we’re great to watch for the neutral, I’m not such a fan of the old nervous nerrys style of play where we can concede at any given point.

  2. It’s a nonsense (the pen decision, not the post YW!).

    If mere contact makes it a foul then every challenge becomes a foul and the game becomes a non-contact sport. And let’s be honest, if a player throws himself to the floor it’s cheating plain and simple.

    Now ex-pro’s (we all know who they are) say that diving (which is what it is) is okay because if players stay on their feet the ref wont give anything. That ignores the fact that the force has to be sufficient to impede the player, and more importantly that if referees are not doing their job then that is the issue that needs to be addressed. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    First Richarlison and now Hazard – Bellerin must be sick of cheating forwards. But he needs to learn because he’s not going to get much in the way of instruction from our so-called coaches.

  3. I think you are right, Andy. This stupid nonsense that players like Hazard have to throw themselves to the ground to make sure the ref gives a penalty is perverted logic — and yes, it leads to cheating.

    What a contrast — Hazard hits the deck poor love – and the nice ref gives him a penalty because two players kick out at the ball in the same micro-second, and one gets a tap on the sole of his boot — and the ball dribbles away from goal — the other, namely our L’il Ol Jack, makes the most of a tackle to avoid an injury that could have resulted in him being ruled out for another year, (who knows) and he is castigated as a cheat, and there is a clamour for him to have got a red card, or to be pulled up in front of the beak retrospectively to receive a ban.

    And surprise, surprise, that idiot Gallagher the ex-ref said the penalty was perfectly correct because there had been some contact. What? like boot to boot? That has never happened before has it – like hell it hasn’t.

    A brilliant game by both sides, for sheer entertainment, and saying that does not hide the fact that Arsenal had yet another make-shift defence and crap midfield that leaks goals whenever any team counter attacks.

    I had better go back and read YW’s Post again.

  4. There were significantly worse ‘challenges’ than the pelanty decision which went unpunished yesterday.

    Another strange game – which I felt we ‘deserved’ or did enough to win BUT where we could also have come away with a hiding.

    A nice one would have been a soft penalty where late in the game a Chav – (Cahill?) turned his body to block a shot from distance and as a result the ball ricocheted off the arm (I thought) –

    Anyhoo – how can we be ‘up’ for some big games and just not show for the run of the mill encounters still has the power to amaze !

  5. Yes, the pens are ridiculous but so is our defense. I really believe they (our opponents) can score at will at any time!

    I’m sick to my teeth thinking about all the leads we can’t protect or play out. We make incredible come backs only to gift our opponents a silly goal. What a silly bunt.

  6. An excellent and objectively written Post, YW.

    I think you have covered the ground over the key matters in your article, and you mentioned Bellerin as both the zero and the hero, and defended his lackadaisical defending as being unfair due to lack of coaching.

    I agree with that, because the structure of the team is pretty unique among the top teams in the PL in that few of them would have been suckered into some poor defensive decisions – Belli Button and the penalty has been mentioned; but Calum Chambers’ decision to allow the ball to float over his head, near the end, presumably because he thought Mustafi had it covered, only for it to fall to Morata, who luckily blew a great scoring chance was piss poor; as too was the lack of support for M-N when attacked by their fresh substitute Zappacosta, a couple of times, and leading up to their 2nd goal – fresh legs tend to eventually beat even fast but tiring legs; and then once M0N was beaten by Zappacosta, the CBs decided to play ‘statues’ and watched Alonzo run 25 m to play ‘knock down Ginger, and score with ease.

    That defensive problem – and I could not be bothered to go on about the midfield farrago with two left footed players who do not seem to know how each other plays — but neither problem will go away, and tho we seem to be on the verge of buying a new, young CB he is clearly one for the future (Again) when what we need is at least two more gifted, experienced CBs — wishful thinking? It should not be!

  7. Afternoon all
    Thanks for the write up YW.
    I feel that AMN did a brilliant job last night-he’s a cool customer….I also don’t think his inability to stop that ONE cross should be completely his fault for the goal though.There were two very capable(maybe)defenders that then had to do their bit-they didn’t.

  8. wheelchair should have had 2nd yellow for diving before scoring but notice gooners not saying nowt about that

  9. Excellent stuff Yogi.

    This match is, outside of the Liverpool matches, has left me feeling like all of the big matches this season: we should have won if not for dodgy defending from our defenders and midfield. Its strange because our attack was both unplayable yet unlucky but so be it.

    Ozil and Maitland-Niles stood out for me plain and simple, yes Jack looked good and showed that fight that Jack has; but those two stood out. Was Maitland-Niles beaten for the cross, ofcourse he was but guess what, so does EVERY OTHER FB in world futbol past present and future so I don’t kill him for it because it was a cross and Holding and Mustafi should have done better. Outside of that cross Maitland-Niles was good both defensively and supporting in attack and, as Yogi said, its time for him to get his chance in midfield; Arsene doesn’t want to start play Elneny, fine, play Maitland-Niles. Ozil stood out again, he really has found consistency in his form since the NLD or the match right before that. It wasn’t just the Ozil type stuff that we all love, but it was the way he dropped deep to dictate the tempo of the match, tracked back and did the ‘other’ stuff people kill him unfairly for.

    The fact that it really does feel like we may lose Ozil, Jack and Sanchez and to think of the squad that will be left, my god that will be brutal to watch.

  10. Jonnygunner,

    Completely agree about Maitland-Niles and that cross, I mean how often do crosses come in and as Dixon said last night when it happened, can you name one FB in the history of futbol who didn’t give up a cross or get beat.

  11. Steve,

    I agree – it doesn’t matter if it’s for or against us, it’s still cheating. Which is why I never liked the old “I didn’t see it” routine when we were the perpetrators, it was just embarrassing.

    That said referees and the FA still need to step up and take this out of the players hands.

  12. Everton have got the striker they wanted in Cenk Tosun. Its really strange that they would sell him given they are still in the CL having topped their Group

  13. Speaking of midfield, its interesting that there is talk that Seri is wanted by several clubs in the PL and personally, I think he and Jack could form a good to very good midfield partnership.

    O and the Aubameyang thing, with him reportedly top of our list should Sanchez leave, feels lazy as fuck not only because we have been linked and Mislintat is from Dortmund.

  14. If there is ANY TRUTH AT ALL about Juve and Daniele Rugani relationship coming to an end and he is available even for 30-40M, I make that happen today no questions asked and we have our CB rock for the present and future.

    Where is Big Al, I’m sure he has seen him and knows the talent.

  15. You say Niles shud go back to central.how do u kno bout dat.from wenger rite?means he stil does sometns gud

  16. gary milburn,

    Not saying nowt is a double negative mate-which means the opposite to what you are trying to infer.
    Tell you what-fuck off,sort out your grammer(that’s not your grandma)-and then come back….and does thou support Chelsea?…or Bolton?

  17. Great post Yogi.

    A very entertaining game. A draw seems like a fair result. Both teams played well on the attacking end. The contrast between the way we played yesterday and the way we played against West Brom is quite obvious. Our defense is not very good. Its the same problem we have seen since 2008. You would think Arsene would have learned his lesson But I guess we will have to wait for him to retire before anything will change.

    I thought the penalty was soft. Your statement that the laws of the game are too subjective to be effective is absolutely spot on. Clearly there was contact and I am sure the ref heard as well as saw the contact. Additionally most of us would feel pain and we might fall over if a professional football player kicked us in the foot. Bellerin was trying to clear the ball and it wasn’t just a love pat. That said Hazard certainly made a lot more of it then it deserved and he made it theatrical for the benefit of the ref. That is where the subjectivity makes it impossible. How do you codify when it is or is not enough contact to be called a penalty? It would have been called a foul if it happened outside the box. I don’t know what the answer is but I have been advocating VAR technology to review every goal and every penalty for the entire decade. It won’t solve the issue of subjective rules and I am not sure the penalty would have been overturned because like it or not it was a subjective decision but reviewing will certainly help.

  18. On the penalty, if we are giving penalties for that, then shouldn’t a penalty be given when a striker is attacking a low cross and the defenders slide into him?

    For example, say Bellerin plays a low cross and Lacazette and 2 defenders are going for it and Lacazette slides to tap it in and both defenders slide and crash in Lacazette but don’t get the ball until after the car crash….shouldn’t that be a penalty, buts its NEVER given.

    The thing that bothers me is that refs nowadays seem to forget that futbol is a contact support and there will be collisions of feet but not all collisions are penalties otherwise the we would have stops every moment of damn near every match.

  19. You have a point there, C.

    As the basis for awarding that penalty it all boiled down to the boots of both players meeting — toe to sole — so to say.
    Presumably, in the future, every time someone accidentally treads on another player’s foot it is a foul and possibly a yellow card?

    Let’s see what happens tonight. At least once and probably many times, boots will collide or be trodden on — let’s all make a note of the time and we can send off a question to the PGMOL and be told “it’s all subjective’ basically that means it is a penalty when the ref ‘subjectively’ decides it is — and it’s not when the ref ‘subjectively’ decides it’s not.

    What utter garbage.

  20. HenryB,

    Exactly, the subjectivity of it all is absurd.

    I mean its crazy that at this point that Hazard dove like he did and Taylor with no hesitation called a penalty. Everytime we have a coming together people claim foul these days like futbol isn’t a contact sport and in a game where your feet are the main part of the body used going after a ball, there will be times that they just come together.

    Tonight it will be really interesting to see how it shakes out everytime feet collide. Funnily enough, we have one of the games ‘divers’ in Alli playing tonight so a ‘phantom’ penalty or two could be awarded

  21. Marcos

    No, AMN plays there for the academy sides. Seen him with my own eyes. Wenger is playing him at fullback rather than in his natural position, so no, Wenger isn’t doing something right.

    If that’s not what you said, apologies. I saw what you said and basically guessed.

  22. Also, that strike by Bellerin was sublime, I really do think that while he has his ups and downs, I think part of his struggles is that we have a manager who obviously cares about defending but doesn’t know how to manage it let alone coach it up in players.

    Also, with Lacazette, the goals will come for that I have no doubt because its not as though he is shooting wildly or pressing, he is still playing his natural game and was very unlucky not to score yesterday; but the rest of his game is still flourishing. Look at some of the movement and hold and link up play, its really good. His movement is sublime and he links up extremely well with Ozil and Sanchez.

  23. Afternoon YW.
    A great game to watch I think we still aren’t seeing the best of Lacazette for all his great movement he hasn’t reached the heights I saw during his time in Lyon, perhaps it’s just that he is in a mini drought.
    I agree Ainsley Maitland Miles had a very assured game at left back. I do however feel we must have more quality options in midfield as the continued persistence of Jack and Granit in midfield must require some freshening up soon.
    Wenger must see that we have been unceremoniously overtaken in the top 4 stakes, no amount of media spin can sweep the plain facts under that carpet. Our playing squad just isn’t as good as has been in yester-year whilst our rivals have quietly accumulated more competitive squads in our stagnation.
    I know I sound more more like a so called doomer but I don’t really give a rats ass anymore, my apathy isn’t isolated.

  24. I agree, C, @ 3:35

    When Belli Button went for that ball, I think I saw all the fans in Row Z lift their hands in the air, as if, like me, they thought he would balloon it up to them!

    He actually caught it beautifully, as we all saw, and it brought a very welcome relief, as it screamed past Courtois, as a loss last night against the Chavs would have been even more hurtful than the draw against WBrom — altho that was pretty upsetting with such a stupid penalty awarded to the Baggies. Boing, Boing. 😀

  25. C

    Watch the replay. That was not just a couple of players coming together shoulder to shoulder. Hazard was trying to bring the ball under control and Bellerin came in late and tried to clear it and he missed the ball and he kicked Hazard. I agree that Hazard made far more of it then he should and he dove like he was shot with an elephant rifle. However, in real time the ref saw and probably heard the contact and he can’t really tell how hard he was kicked. The reality is when a defender comes in late and kicks his opponent with his boot raised above knee level the ref is going to call it a foul in the vast majority of cases.

  26. I’m also amazed at ow little seems to have been made f the offside goal the Spuds scored v the Swans – meters offside !

  27. HenryB,

    Yup, it was quite a joy to watch one of those come off for Bellerin who has actually hit quite a number of good strikes but have also hit some that were it like a FB.

    I think the loss last night, and how it would have come about would have left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth and for that player to score that goal on a night when he played better hopefully is the confidence booster that he needs to push on through this period.

  28. C,

    You know I have often gone on about a serious flaw in the players we have had as CBs in recent years, with the exception until recently of Kozzer, is their lack of pace.

    It normally gets Bill into a bit of a lather, but last night proved a very valuable point in that regard – not the point for a draw, but the point I have been trying to make.

    Unfortunately, all three CBs suffer from the lack of pace needed at the top of professional football, and that was painfully obvious when each of them had to track back when Chelsea players got behind them. Morata, Hazard, Bakayoko and Zampacosta just could not be caught —- except by Maitland-Niles.

    Where the CBs plodded around fruitlessly, Ainslie just put on the afterburners and either cruised past the Chavs, or caught and tackled them.

    M-N is very, very quick, I grant that, but some of the best CBs in the world have that precious asset, and that is why they are so good. Without pace are defence will always be vulnerable — not that it is helped by every silly buggering defender going into the opposition half and ignoring their defending. Why?

  29. The bottom line is the game needs to have VAR reviews of every goal and every penalty and the managers should have the ability to challenge a couple plays every game. IMO

    A rule that should be changed is injury time. The way its done now is much more subjective and it leads to concerns about Fergie time. The clock should stop and everyone call see that its stopped when a player is injured or when there is a substitution or during a goal celebration. The game should end when the clock hits 90 minutes. One team does not get to finish its move or take a corner kick because all of that is subjective and it leads to inconsistency.

  30. Henry

    I am reasonably confident that all of our CB’s not named Mert could outrun John Terry or Nemaja Vidic who are arguably 2 of the best CB’s of the Emirates era. Mert was effective for many years and he has probably been the slowest player on the pitch in almost every game he has played in his entire career.

  31. Bill,

    Go back and watch the replay, Bellerin and Hazard stuck their feet up and went for it, Bellerin wasn’t late and if you watch he actually pulls his foot back. Taylor was in perfect position and because of that he should have been able to see that they were close. The other problem is how definitive Taylor pointed to the spot as though Bellerin kicked his rashly. It wasn’t like during the Spuds Swansea match when Sanches clearly kicked the Swansea player, no it was two players going for it and a coming together of feet where one player actually pulls his foot back and the other player dives and makes it look even worst. The other problem is that Hazard rolled around clutching his shin area and it that’s the case then no way should a penalty have been called because Bellerin hit his heel which is on the back of foot and not the front where Hazard was rolling around holding which actually made the decision for Taylor.

    http://www.nbcsports.com/video/chelseas-eden-hazard-equalizes-penalty-kick-against-arsenal

  32. VAR would instantly eliminate the missed offsides calls.

    The penalty yesterday might have been overruled but that one is +/-. We could argue that Hazard did not get kick hard enough to warrant his reaction but he clearly did get kicked.

    The penalty in the game at West Brom would have been much more likely to be overruled. Mike Dean thought he saw Chambers raise his arm but that is not what happened.

  33. Niles was a pleasure to watch, Mesut is an artist, Sanchez and Lacazette need to finish, Holding did better than I thought he would, and hazardouS dived like a swan. How can he not get shown Red? Play acting when getting tapped on the bottom of his foot, on a 50-50, then going down like a crying baby without his candy, and grabbing his shin
    It was an enjoyable game to watch going forward, but knew chavs on the counter would raise my blood pressure.

    It is going to be a wobbly second half of the season and who know what summer is going to offer.

  34. Bill,

    You are off on another of your fantasy claims.

    Both Hazard and Belli kicked out for the bouncing ball. Neither had the ball under control, and both went for it at the same time.

    Hazard is a short bastard with feet nearer the ground, so got his boot to the ball a microsecond quicker than Belli — have you tried to measure a microsecond — have a word with JonnyG — and if you look at where the ball went it trickled to the edge of the penalty area, proving neither player caught it properly — and finally, Hazard went down with a scream holding his shin, where replays show that the top of Belli’s boot caught the underside (sole) of hazard’s boot.

    One of the key considerations in causing a foul is ‘intent’ – hopefully you will agree with that – and if Belli had intended to kick the underside of another player’s boot within a microsecond of contact, however glancing, of the ball that is a trick he could make more money in a circus.

    Any intent by Belli to foul Hazard is a nonsense, and you should not keep rationalising something you do not seem to understand. [Incidentally – have you ever read FIFA’s Laws of the Game of Football? — I am guessing not — so you are in good company with many of the ex-pro footballers who influence supporters, by talking out of their asses — I do not mean you in that last bit!] 😀

  35. HenryB,

    I completely agree mate about pace and its something I have banged on about a variety of positions within are teams for years. I think the one thing that is clear is that outside of Maitland-Niles, Bellerin and Sead, our defenders truly do lack pace. Sure Nacho is quick and has quite a burst but he doesn’t have the pace anymore.

    I agree though, you need pace and I think the other thing that was evident was how much pace can help you in as a CF and as a CB especially in a back 3. Having Mustafi especially as the central of the CB’s is fine and makes loads of sense especially when you consider when he is focused he is good positionally and equally as good on the ball, the problem comes when beside him you have Holding and Chambers who both lack any sort of pace and quickness.

    Its why I have talked about us needing a CB and Daniele Rugani from Juve would be my choice because he has EVERYTHING and there is legitimate talk of both parties wanting to end their relationship and if that is true I would sign him up immediately. I mean the fact that from everything I have seen read and watched of him, he is exactly what we need and is the reason why Juve, while it hurt, was able to sell Bonnuci.

    Its interesting but the Greek CB that we have purchased, while he is a big unit, some of the things that I have read about him is that he does have that pace.

  36. Bill:
    Henry

    I am reasonably confident that all of our CB’s not named Mert could outrun John Terry or Nemaja Vidic who are arguably 2 of the best CB’s of the Emirates era. Mert was effective for many years and he has probably been the slowest player on the pitch in almost every game he has played in his entire career.

    Bill, again you are generalising. Terry was not fast, but he was far more skilful and ‘knowing’, after the years of experience he had, than any of the three CBs playing for us last night, with the possible exception of Mustafi. [Your view on Vidic is pure speculation]

    More importantly, he was surrounded by quick midfielders who ‘protected’ him when he was caught out of position, which was rare — because he did not foolishly run into the opposition’s half of the pitch, except when they took corner kicks. Who did our lads have to ‘protect’ when they went chasing into the Chelsea half – Xhaka? who is as quick as a London omnibus, or Jack who is only quick for the first 5 yards of a dribble.

    Sorry, Bill, I am not going to continue this because there is never any chance of convincing you, because we both know you will start changing the subject and invent some other argument.

  37. Bill,

    I agree with you regarding the elapsed time element — but even there football players would abuse it.

    What I’m referring to is the time wasting when GKs take too long to take a goal kick, or players kick the ball away at throw-ins or mess around at free kicks. Programming a clock would be unable to adjust for that, but a ref can add on time — so when ‘extra time’ is announced as say 4 minutes – that is the minimum time allotted – but any time wasting deliberately or otherwise can still be added on.

    I do not think British crowds would take kindly to the ‘clock stopping’ as in American football, for example, because they want games to finish broadly around 90 minutes, and not go on forever with TV adverts and ‘timeouts’ which is the main cause of American football lasting so long.

    I cannot see that happening.

    If time wasting becomes an issue, the refs can give a yellow card to the players concerned, and frankly both sides tend to do it, if it helps them.

  38. Listen, Bill.

    You have grown quiet, but if I have bugged you, that is not what I meant. I apologise. 🙂

    I was a terror in the University Debating Society for wanting to win debates. Don’t take any notice of me — I am probably talking bollocks — my only excuse is that when chatting to C, he has a habit of saying things I do agree with.

    As I said above, I also agree with you too sometimes — altho you probably don’t care about that. 🙂

    Anyway, I hope you will continue to argue your case with me. It can be fun. 🙂

  39. AND It’s offical, welcome Konstantinos Mavropanos to Arsenal, whether you go on loan to Bremen or not, welcome and I hope you develop into the top CB that many in Greece think you will become.

  40. Bill the way football, soccer to you, is played is just not conducive to VAR on the scale you are calling for.

    As it stands at present only the referee can call for it’s use, to hand that option to the managers or players would be absolutely ludicrous.

    One only has to watch the interminable procrastination that takes place in Rugby Union when the TMO (Telivision Match Official) is called upon to see how the game of football would be ruined for the spectators by your suggestions.

  41. Haha there have been several ‘coming togethers’ both in the box and in the field of play similar to that of Bellerin’s and Hazard’sand not one of them have been called a foul.

  42. Obiang might have just scored the goal of the season with an absolute THUNDERBOLT into the top corner near post with Lloris standing there and literally having no chance of stopping it because of the pace and power he hit it with!

    West Ham has 1 shot on target and WHAT A FUCKING GOAL IT WAS!

  43. I have to say, its quite interesting how much steam this Aubameyang to Arsenal rumor is getting especially since Aubameyang has come out and said that the contract that everybody thought he had signed actually HASN’T been signed.

    What do you lot think, sell Sanchez and buy Aubameyang and then give Jack and Ozil new contracts? We still need a CB but what about that scenario?

  44. VAR will be a disaster for football.

    May as well chuck it’s hand in and let American Football become the World game.

  45. What we need is competent, properly trained and managed officials.

    Bloody simple. Stop giving another layer of excuses for crap decisions.

  46. A very long way to go until VAR is actually implemented – I suspect fans and governing bodies will quickly realise that it’ll be bad for the game.

    A better route might be if each team had, say, one or maybe two ‘challenges’ per game – just to get rid of any clear howlers.

    C – I cannot, for a second, believe that Aubameyang would choose to come to us.
    Or that the club would spend that much on one player.

  47. YW,

    I completely agree it shouldn’t have counted and there is a strong arguement for a red being shown. Isn’t it funny that Dean continues to ref and he is so horrid at it.

    Is Dean the ref version of Arsene…….😂

  48. Orson.

    Bill as an American is calling for technology because Americans as we all know love their games to stop regularly so as to nip off and grab another chilli dog!!

  49. If we don’t want VAR then we have to accept the inconsistencies and missed calls. Its as simple as that. There is no ref this side of God who can make consistent calls in the millisecond he has to make a decision when a lot of the decisions divide opinions even when the reviewers have the benefit of unlimited time and multiple angles of slow motion replays. It is just not humanly possible for a ref to be consistent in that sort of scenario.

    Close off sides calls are clearly wrong about 50% of the time and there are a lot of calls that missed that which don’t even look that close on replay The same things happen in all of the major international tournaments that I watch so its not a unique problem in England. I don’t believe that the entire world’s referee fraternity have all gone bad at the same time. That makes no sense.

  50. To borrow Yogi’s phrase. The other problem is that “the laws of the game are too subjective to be effective”. The job is already impossible then we ask the refs to make a decision regarding how much contact is to much and when is a player going down to easily which is a highly subjective judgement. Again its impossible to have a consistent calls when there is no objective definition for what is or is not enough contact to call a foul or what is or is not a dive.

  51. Bill,

    We’ve accepted referee’s inconsistencies for well over a hundred years, it is only with the current technology and blanket TV coverage that we see those inconsistencies highlighted and picked over ad nauseam by pundits intent on driving controversies in pursuit of ratings.

    What we will not tolerate is the game being stopped while a VAR pores over endless different angles while the players and spectators are forced to twiddle their thumbs in ignorance of what is happening. It has already been decided that even with the limited use of VAR as envisioned, the replays will not be shown on screens in the stadia, nor will the referee view them, the decision will be made, and passed down to the on-field official by the man in the van. Who is just as likely to make incorrect decisions on judgement calls.

    Football is not perfect, the Laws of the game are not perfect and (most) referees are human and liable to make errors of judgment from time to time.

    We may not like it but that’s the way it is and no amount of technology is going to alter it.

  52. The Million Quid Question:

    “But why did the official fall for the trick? It’s the best case for VAR since the last time, which was Tottenham’s opener at Swansea. There are too many bad decisions now. I’d question whether there are more than yesteryear or are we more aware of mistakes thanks to the television angles we see? Are the Laws of the Game too subjective to be effective?”

    The rules of the game really ridiculous considering what’s at stake. You give one man the absolute power, not only over the physical safety of 22 players, but a complete power over the result even if it’s based on faulty decisions obvious to every one and tapped on video from a billion angles.

    The rules then says, it’s OK to cheat if the Ref falls for it because the result will count. It’s OK to decide an International Event on some absolute errors of one man.

    This is not a fair system and it doesn’t even itself out. Just look in life, some people get away with a lot and others get away with nothing, some make all the money, and others all the headache.

    There must be a way that’s much fairer than what we see now.

    I still believe the Premier League is creating the controversial events just for the sake of keeping your attention.

    ****

    Game Management seems to be the issue for me right now. We can’t hold a lead, especially in the big games and we play like amateurs in the small games.

    Were is the Manager on the line directing everyone on the field? I know it’s not Wenger-Style but to his disadvantage.

    You can’t just sit on the couch like he does playing with his naughty zipper while things are flying and fizzing around at a lightning speed on the pitch. A lot of things happens on the pitch in 45 minutes, fucking get up there and direct your naive players and remind them every minute what they need to do to hold the advantage and win the game.

    But no, Mr. Wenger just sits around in his favorite chair, like Grandpa fidgeting with his beloved zipper watching his team take the lead, then lose it, then lose the game, now most often than not.

    ****

    Credit to most of the players in the game, I don’t really blame a relatively “rookie” defense against Chelsea. Once again, I blame the Manager for having to play with a rookie defense in one of the most important games of the season.

    If Lacazette wasn’t wearing his shooting boots, then Alvaro Morata was playing with no feet.

    Once again, I’ll have to accept the point instead of loosing the three….

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