West Brom Review: Arsenal Pay The Penalty For Dean’s Arrogance

West Bromwich Albion 1 – 1 Arsenal

Let’s cut to the chase. There are two aspects of yesterday’s match to address: the performance overall and Mike Dean’s decision.

We’ll go with the latter first. Kieran Gibbs, the nearest West Brom player, doesn’t appeal until the ball is out of play. He’s quite obviously asking for a corner. Mike Dean, obscured view and all, decided it was a penalty.

Even Petr Cech the politest footballer this side of Theo Walcott was on the verge of losing it post-match.

As he left the pitch, Cech was more succinct:

Mike Dean’s utter incompetence denied us a point, spoiling not only Arsène Wenger’s 811th match but also Petr Cech’s 200th clean sheet. What kind of fool does that? A Mike Dean sized one is what.

Some argued that Dean must be allowed to speak in front of the camera but on occasions like this, would that help? He can’t add anything other than a goofy, “Oops, got that one wrong, didn’t I?” and from thereon in, the machinations take place behind closed doors. A younger official than Dean can be ‘re-educated’, which sounds a bit 1984-ish but someone as old as King Pillock is beyond help.

That said, if officials are sacked or demoted each time they make a huge mistake like this one, we’re going to end up with the managers refereeing a half each.

And Then There’s Our Performance…

That’s not condoning refereeing standards, it’s condemning them. When Dean, an absolute lunatic, can continue unhindered by ignoring communicated standards, no wonder referees and PGMOL are viewed with suspicion.

It was such a bad decision that it’s beyond corruption. No-one bribed for a particular outcome could make a decision that bad and expect to get away with it. Not in a televised game?

If this was Ferguson-era Manchester United, Dean wouldn’t be anywhere near Old Trafford for years. I do genuinely believe Arsenal should make a complaint, citing other incidents as well. Don’t let the preening peacock off the hook.

Arsène observed afterwards that not one English referee is going to officiate at next summer’s World Cup. That’s a first for as long as I can remember but it also sums up the current situation. PGMOL has to address falling standards and removing a few of the bunglers – Dean, Moss, and Mason – for starters would send a powerful message to others that they need to raise their game.

So, we move onto Arsenal’s performance which was, well, frankly not unexpected. I mean, we don’t go into each game thinking the XI will play crap but we’re not surprised when it happens. One-touch passing, that’s what we’re constantly told Arsenal are famed for. One touch from Arsenal in this afternoon’s game was frankly leaden with the second touch ponderous.

Mesut Özil’s absence just cannot have this impact on the side but it does. Mentally, there is such a lack of belief that Alexis goes into ‘One-man Superhero’ mode and makes runs here, there and everywhere.  No-one really knows where he’s going to go but he’s always looking forward with a pass. It was a shame he didn’t look to the wings sometimes but there you go.

Where’s Noele Gordon When You Need Her?

I’m not blaming him by the way. Iwobi had plenty of opportunities to send Bellerin away on the right but chose inside instead. Everything with this era Arsenal feels like it is an inside pass, and a general reluctance to use the flanks. All of them get sucked into the mentality, even if they start off with good intentions.

We are, in my view, about as far away from Wengerball as could be imagined. If drift any further away, we’ll be watching a Mourinho team.

Beforehand, the great and good regaled us of how Arsène loved passing football – “passing with progression” David Dein called it – but there was precious little sign of that happening. The only passing we’re doing is to bore everyone into submission and finding that doesn’t work.

I’ve just realised that 720 words in and I haven’t mentioned the Arsenal. An own goal, the Premier League decreed. Deflected say I, but an own goal? Football is disappearing up its own arsehole at a rapid rate of knots. I’ve never known a freekick which strikes the wall be classified as an own goal. It’s as if the Premier League clowns have fantasy teams and they are looking to nobble the league leader’s team.

Alexis, it’s your goal mate.

And so here we are at a crossroads. I know if I go on much further from this 800-word mark, all I’m going to do is moan about the performance. The trouble is, we’ve seen this type of performance all too often before.

Look, I know we can’t legislate for referees being arses and yes, good teams do win games 1 – 0 when playing badly. The question that raises is how often do you win 1 – 0 playing badly before you admit that the team isn’t actually that good?

Low Expectations Can Lead To Great Ones

We sit today 5th, three points off fourth and seven from Chelsea. Wednesday night’s game takes on extra importance in the race to finish in the top four, even to finish as high as possible. While nothing is definite, it’s hard to believe that anything other than a win torpedos hopes of getting into the Champions League via league position. The Europa League becomes the be-all and end-all of our season in that respect.

It was a performance which summed up Arsenal 2017, certainly away from home. We’re capable of so much better yet more often than not we turn out to be less than the sum of our parts. We read tale after tale about our new signings this January or how much money we’ve got to spend but we always end up with bits of a squad. We always fall short in that sense.

Maybe with Sven Mislintat’s new scouts, with Raul Sanellhi at the negotiating helm, 2018 will be different. But I’m not holding out hope on that front. I don’t expect things to improve but I am fully prepared for them to get a whole lot worse.

Happy new year to you all.

’til Tomorrow.

52 thoughts on “West Brom Review: Arsenal Pay The Penalty For Dean’s Arrogance

  1. That MD has cocked up doesn’t surprised me. The fact is his performance
    ha not led to his suspension irks me. This aint the first and neither will be
    the last till he officiates his final game.
    Surely the FA have a review committe to run the rule over the we games and
    penalize who under perform.
    MD has been getting away with murder and surely will be disciplined soon.

  2. Good morning all.

    Dean’s decision was a stinker and it denied us a win, but it should not have mattered.

    Arsenal are a club with an eye on the top four and playing against a team close to the bottom of the league should have been able to close out the game at one nil.

    The worst aspect of Dean’s action is to mask the fact that Arsenal were crap from back to front and from start to finish.

    Frankly, the way this team has been playing for most of the season is indicative of a malaise which will inevitably lead us deep into mid table mediocrity.

  3. Refs ought to be borderline irrelevant – and playing against the bottom side in the league it was our own lack of effectiveness that allowed MD to have an impact.
    We are simply bereft of ideas beyond pointless narrow short back and sideways passing – and a tempo of slow, slow, slower slow.
    On the plus side we lost to both the baggies and palace last season so clear signs of improvement.
    Happy new year one and all in advance of us stuffing the chavs !!

  4. If Man City approach arsenal and offers about 40 mill for Sanchez, surely Arsenal will say yes. Surely the board will accept the dough, particularly with any chance of winning the league now over and done. The offer would also make sense from Man City’s point of view because, if they wait until next season, they will still have to pay Sanchez a decent signing-on fee. Why not pay it now, when they need Sanchez?

  5. Morning and a very HNY to one and all!

    Super post YW. Nice and upbeat, which is pretty impressive in the face of that shite show last night

    Seeing as Cech might as well just stand by a post these days for penalties (when did he last save one? How many on the spin has he been beaten? Record?) I was somewhat comforted to see that he redeemed himself after the final whistle. I’d actually rather a few of them did it in game though. Can you imagine a Fergie era team on the end of a decision like that? All eleven of them would’ve swarmed the ref and given him a verbal volley

    The worry with a defeat on Wednesday is it probably cements us as a top six but not a top four side. I’d imagine Stan will begin to cut our cloth accordingly. Que January wage trimming and bargain bin replacements

    On a positive, I’m enjoying Jacks contributions at the moment

  6. No complaint about the penalty, as we have been on the lucky side many times, just ask Burnly. The away form is a worry though. As it stands, finishing 6th, and out of the Europa Legaue soon.

  7. I would like to ask Wenger how the video technology would have helped us yesterday. Many decisions are subjective, such as hand ball, and would stay controvertial. Was is far away? Did the hand move towards the ball? All up to the ref.

    Technology is a side show.

  8. Damon,

    Exactly my thinking – you don’t have to be a genius to work out that spending a hundred million to get a CL place which reaps around forty million is bad business. Top six would give the wigged one the best ROI and gives Wenger a new comfort zone in which to spend his retirement from competition at the highest level.

    Fans don’t matter, but it’ll be interesting to see what the impact is when we renew commercial deals. That at least may make Stan finally sit up and take notice.

  9. He (Wenger) said: “Two things that aren’t normal in the the Premier League is the schedule and referees. Maybe we haven’t played well enough but West Brom had five days to prepare and we had three.

    “I’m ready to play every day as long as our opponent has the same time to recover. It’s not normal. We have the same problem against Chelsea on Wednesday, they played on Saturday.”

    More deflection I’m afraid – according to all of the reports that I’ve seen we had the second easiest schedule this Christmas with our matches spread over a longer period than all but one of the other clubs. And relatively little travelling too.

    Fact is when we have a longer break than the opposition Wenger claims it’s unfair because we are rusty. The guy has no shame.

  10. The clearest penalty you will ever see. Chambers brings his hand up to stun the ball and stop its flight. He didn’t complain much because he knew what he’d done.
    It’s all Karma anyway as WBA we’re denied a clear penalty in the game at the emirates, and did anyone say how unfair that was and go on to write endless whinging blogs crying about it? no they didn’t, they just moved on. Now move on girls, fact is you’re not a very good team and hiding behind referees decisions is not going to change that.

  11. andy1886,

    In England Arsenal will always attract a lot of tribal loyalty, no matter how badly it performs. However, if Arsenal doesn’t perform, it won’t do nearly as well in foreign climes like China.

  12. andy1886,

    I don’t get it on the commercial front. We seem to be perpetually one step behind on deals. Just when we renegotiate a package and think it looks good, one of the real players blows it out of the water. Chelsea’s new kit deal for example.

    Interesting thought that if there were a split to a European super league today I doubt we’d be invited. I wonder if they think our fans are stupid enough to have been paying top whack for second tier product for years now so it doesn’t and won’t ever matter?

    It’s not about football, trophies or style. It’s all about a strong brand connection, isn’t it?

  13. Freddo,

    Yup, and our sponsors are global brands who value emerging markets. When your USP is the only club being managed by a delusional dinosaur you really are in trouble!

  14. Damon,

    We struggle on commercial deals because we are neither a real challenger for the top trophies like City or Chelsea, we don’t have the global fan base that United do, or the pedigree at home or in Europe that Liverpool do. We had a chance to break into the elite bracket but blew it post 2005 by sticking with Wenger and his outdated ideas, conservative approach and idealistic views. Hence we are still very much a second tier club rather than a marquee sports partner.

    There is no chance that we’d be in a European Super League if it was based on sporting merit, BUT if it’s based on financials then we might get in. Not that I’d look forward to it – we’d be the equivalent of Stoke or Palace in that sort of company.

    I agree that anyone with no emotional connection would never deem AFC as good value, but as long as there are still enough of us prepared to pay top whack prices for distinctly second class fare Stan isn’t going to worry about that. Ultimately though the commercials are more important than match day income which is why I believe that they will determine if Kroenke sticks with Wenger long term or takes a hint from what happened with the Rams this year when he got a young hungry coach in.

  15. Thanks for another excellent year of posts, YW. Top, top class.

    ‘Last of the Jedi’, that’s our generation of Arsenal fans. Fans who were brought up ‘proper Arsenal’. Highbury, terraces, proper kits and trying to do things the ‘right’ way, even if we usually cocked them up.

    Once we shuffle off or give up, it’s all over. The ‘Empire’ wins through outlasting us. Any last outposts of idealism and romance will be crushed by the forces of ‘Corporate Governance’.

    No disrespect intended for any of our younger fans or posters here. It’s just that football has changed so much and Arsenal even more in the Pl era, that those who were not there cannot possibly imagine an earlier world where players actually chatted with fans as fans. Where you could go to Highbury on Saturday and hand over your few bob on the gate and stand on the North Bank. Where to win a Double was an outrageous achievement and doing it by fucking off Leeds, Liverpool and Spurs, bloody glorious.

    Rot them all. PL, SKY, Corporate owners, the FA, FIFA, EUFA and the next generation of corporate sponsors and looters of sport.

    Happy New Year!

  16. Good morning YW( afternoon on the continent. Comme d habitude excellent reportage.

    We are at a Cross Roads. There’s no Benny or Miss Diane to bail us out.

    Meg Mortimer really has fluffed her lines this time and got her work cut out.

  17. Will M Dean be reprimanded in any way? Don’t think so.

    The fact that We played so abysmally does not surprise Me in the least.

    Watching the TV interview and seeing the frustration the anger felt by AW for such poor officiating is understandable.

    However, for Me it highlights the continued alignment of circumstances that are being played out, and AW is unable to affect change on the things he has power or control over.

  18. Hear Hear!
    Happy New Year

    Thanks for another excellent year of posts, YW. Top, top class.

    ‘Last of the Jedi’, that’s our generation of Arsenal fans. Fans who were brought up ‘proper Arsenal’. Highbury, terraces, proper kits and trying to do things the ‘right’ way, even if we usually cocked them up.

    Once we shuffle off or give up, it’s all over. The ‘Empire’ wins through outlasting us. Any last outposts of idealism and romance will be crushed by the forces of ‘Corporate Governance’.

    No disrespect intended for any of our younger fans or posters here. It’s just that football has changed so much and Arsenal even more in the Pl era, that those who were not there cannot possibly imagine an earlier world where players actually chatted with fans as fans. Where you could go to Highbury on Saturday and hand over your few bob on the gate and stand on the North Bank. Where to win a Double was an outrageous achievement and doing it by fucking off Leeds, Liverpool and Spurs, bloody glorious.

    Rot them all. PL, SKY, Corporate owners, the FA, FIFA, EUFA and the next generation of corporate sponsors and looters of sport.

    Happy New Year!

  19. Dean gave Wenger the ideal excuse to avoid questions like “Why did Arsenal play so badly?” “Why do you persist in selecting such a poor player as Iwobi?” “Where was Arsenal’s right back when Gibbs was allowed to waltz down the wing and buy a penalty off Chambers?” “When are you going stop fiddling with your zip, moaning at the fourth official and actually do some coaching from the touchline?”

  20. YW,

    Well that makes me feel a whole lot better!

    I’ll now enjoy, even more, a family lunch at The Saracen’s Head. Catch you all later.

  21. YW,

    That’s the rumour. I think he’s saying “I’m talking” repeatedly, before walking off because Wenger is just ignoring him and talking over him

    Chances of Dean even admitting he’s wrong, let alone apologising for it? There we go… my little piggy pork chops are flying over a pink elephant!

  22. I’ve seen that video, YW.

    What Mike Dean is clearly saying is not “I’m sorry” but “I’m talking”. Which, given his arrogance, is no surprise at all.

  23. Actually, he has done Wenger a hugh favour, hasn’t he?

    Wenger looks wronged and all the focus is on Dean.

    It should be, as Orson has put so well, on another piss poor Arsenal performance overseen by Wenger.

  24. Great review Yogi

    I have been a ref apologist for a long time but the penalty yesterday was just a bad decision. We see refs making mistakes that are easily understandable going for and against us in every game and they mostly even out but this one is more one was just unexplainable and there is no excuse. All that said it was another very bad performance and it would have been very lucky if we had won. Some will suggest that it would have been different if we would have had Mesut Özil in the game but the reality is that our performances in the majority of our games this season have looked similar to yesterday and Ozil has played in most of those games. Its not any one players fault but that sort of languid slow pace style of play has become our standard operating procedure and having Jack Wilshere back or having AWOL on the pitch together will not change that.

  25. Looking at Liverpool’s attack over the last month compared to Arsenal’s is instructive. Arsenal have faced Southampton, West Ham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Crystal Palace, and West Brom in their last seven matches. Arsenal have scored 8 goals and have created just 7 big chances in those matches. An average of about 1 each per game. Liverpool have had a fairly similar fixtures list and have played Brighton, Everton, West Brom, Bournemouth, Arsenal, Swansea, and Leicester. In those matches, Liverpool have scored 20 goals and created 25 big chances. What’s that, 3 times as many as Arsenal?

    Against West Bromwich Albion today Arsenal only created an expected goals of 0.77, their fourth worst output of the Premier League season (City, 0.39; Liverpool, 0.59; Soton, 0.61). So, while we can complain (rightly) that Dean shouldn’t have awarded them a penalty. Arsenal’s offensive output is far from “fuckin excellent” at the moment.

    I copied and pasted this from another article I saw. I am not a fan of most football stats because I think the way most of the stats are recorded and interpreted are highly subjective but in this case the stats actually match our subjective opinions of what we see when we watch the games. Over the last couple of years we have talked a lot about how we create chances but our finishers are the real problem. I am the first to complain about about our lack of firepower upfront but our eyes have also been telling us that our style of play has been ponderous and we don’t do our finishers any favors and because we don’t create very many good chances and these stats match what our eyes are telling us. We have an occasional good game where we play at a higher tempo but in the majority of our games we are not an effective attacking team

  26. No way Alexis signs a new contract and I suspect that he will phone in the rest of his season if we don’t sell him in January. I am in favor of moving him if we get a decent offer. However, Lacazette has stopped scoring since the ManU game and if we sell Alexis we will have absolutely no else in our squad who is a legitimate threat to score.

  27. Happy New Year to all.

    Can’t bring myself to comment more about yesterday’s effort. Dean got it completely wrong, but his mistake seems to give Wenger a free pass.

  28. Wavey,

    Exactly – he has more lives than a dozen cats, there’s always an excuse to gloss over failure. It’s the one thing he does better than anyone, wriggle out of any responsibility for poor performances whilst being centre stage when the plaudits are flying around.

  29. Dukey

    I think Jack is over rated and even if he wasn’t trying to build a team in which he is one of the important players would be insane given his injury record.

    I agree that Walcott should get more minutes. He is at least a threat to score.

  30. Mike Dean again

    It has reached a point where Dean should be stopped from officiating a match involving the Arsenal

    Alan Pardew admitted that the decision was hard on Arsenal

    It is high time we launched a complaint against Dean

  31. It was a poor match to watch yesterday, and made worse by Dopey Dean awarding a penalty for handball that did not meet the requirement of Law 12 of FIFA’s the Laws of the game of Football.

    So far so bloody annoying.

    What has totally got my back up was listening to a plank called Micky Quin who ‘vehemently’ insisted that it was a penalty. So that’s OK then — as long as it was vehemently.
    The problem is that is not a requirement of law 12. He went on to justify his idiot’s rule of handball by saying ‘if the ball hits the hand it’s a penalty’ — allowing for the assumption the ‘foul’ was committed in the area, I suppose. What tosh.

    Ex-players now working in the media always seem to be one screw loose, or simply have never read, or learned the Laws of the Game. The other commentator, in fairness, did point out if Quin was right, then every player in each team would aim the ball at the hand of every opposition player to win a foul or a penalty depending on where they were — and that is not what football is all about.

    We all know that Law 12 says;


    Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm.

    The following must be considered:
    the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
    the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
    the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence
    touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) is an offence
    hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) is an offence
    The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. Inside their penalty area, the goalkeeper cannot be guilty of a handling offence incurring a direct free kick or any related sanction but can be guilty of handling offences that incur an indirect free kick.

    It does not mention ‘vehement belief’ or one player kicking the ball at the hand of anther player.

    I do not know Quin, but that brainless ‘wisdom’ would irritate whenever I heard it — but when a poor refereeing decision wrongly awards a penalty which costs us 2 points, it is more than irritating, and is downright disgusting that this guy is paid to talk bollocks, based on ignorance of the Laws of Football — and he is not alone in this among the ‘professional’ pundits.

  32. *******************************************
    Happy New Year Yogi and ACLF Fans

    The Referees have been cunts to Arsenal for a long long time. Despite the absurdity of the Penalty decision, in all honesty we have done nothing to earn the 3 points ourselves.

    We played like shit, if we played seriously for 10 minutes we would have won the game comfortably. Instead, we scored a lucky goal that took like 5 deflections to get in (exaggerated for dramatic effect) and then allowed the Moron Referee to make the wrong or intentionally wrong decision by playing like morons ourselves.


    You can say a point each is a fair result in this game, the problem with it is the Referee took it upon himself to make the result fair.

    I’ve said it here a million time, English referees change the results of games -not for money- but to even it out and create drama which the English media and fans thrive upon and live for.

    But many called me a conspiracy theorist and all that shit…..No wonder English Referees are not welcomed in big tournaments now and the Entity in charge or them English Referees is just as culpable in this as the Referees.


    Watching this team play is becoming a torturous event, I truly dread watching an Arsenal game now and always expecting the worst.

    To top it off, Let the Crazy Transfer Window Show begin…..

  33. HenryB,

    Not only is Micky Bloody Quinn a poor pundit with a very limited understanding of the laws of the game, he is also the fattest tub of lard to score a hat-trick against us (for Coventry when they beat us 3-0 at home during the first game of the 93-94 season). I have despised him ever since.

  34. Hi Andy,

    Thanx for the info — my instincts were correct then! 😀

    Not sure I wanted to hear he scored a hat trick against us. Boooooooo

  35. I thought shots that were off target that deflected into the goal were always considered OG’s.

    Maybe they looked at it and saw that the shot was going off target until it hit the wall, and so they made it an OG.

    Anyways, the more important stuff, I agree, the refs don’t need to face the media, as that would only make things worse, and cause more disagreement and outrage. There needs to be some sort of accountability though, and I have no idea what that would look like. And not necessarily for a player getting fouled in the middle of the field and it being a close call and that one being wrong, those are understandable. But for as something as blatantly obvious as the call that Mike Dean made yesterday, there needs to be some sort of retrospective action from pgmol to Dean here. He is literally the only one on the planet that thought that was a penalty. EVEN GIBBS didn’t think it was a pen.

    I think the most frustrating thing was when Dean mimed it to the players right after he blew the whistle and his elbow was above his head, he clearly didn’t see it and HE GUESSED! You can’t guess on decisions that will alter the outcome of the game. In any other profession you cannot just guess. It’s ridiculous. The refereeing all season has been absolutely terrible across the board for all teams, and something needs to change

  36. Well done pool….keeps our rivals Burnley off pur backs…let’s hope Leicester don’t go on a good run.

  37. Liverpool win. Our dropped points against Chelsea will seal a second in a row finish outside the top four.

    Someone already mentioned that the club may have calculated the pros and cons of the CL football and come to a conclusion that financially it’s not worth it. I tend to agree. It’s that simple. For the CL money, you’ll hardly get a good player. If your lawers are good enough and remove the CL clauses from the sponsorship contracts, there will be no downside to becoming mid table. Apart from the frusteared fans.

  38. Soon there will be video replays available to referees for matters such as disputed penalty awards. The drawback is that only the match referee can call for the decision to be reviewed. Can anyone believe that an arrogant twat like Dean would deign to make use of the facility?

  39. Orson Kaert:
    Soon there willbe video replays available to referees for matters such as disputed penalty awards. The drawback is that only the match referee can call for the decision to be reviewed.Can anyone believe that an arrogant twat like Dean would deign to make use of the facility?

    No. That’s why talks about technology are a waste of time or a distraction.

  40. Eric,

    That’s the amazing thing about the whole incident. Dean thinks he saw what happened. He signaled that Chambers had raised his elbow unnaturally high to block the ball coming across. If what had happened were in line with what he signaled there would be no dispute, it would have been a penalty. But Chambers didn’t raise his arm to block the ball in that way and Dean clearly didn’t see it properly.

    It still gives Wenger a cop out option though, when we shouldn’t have been anywhere near that position with one goal in our favour and a minute of regulation time left.

  41. ‘Alexis, it’s your goal mate’ ffs you self righteous buffoon! The rules are simple and have been in place for years. If the shot is OFF TARGET and is deflected in by an opposition player it’s an own goal. Sanchez’s free kick was going wide, it was a shit free kick, it was missing the right hand post by a yard or two, it was a poor attempt, very poor. Luckily for us it hit Maclean’s leg and it was diverted on target and into the net. It’s an own goal, what part of that confuses you?

  42. Morning all…..especially you YW….I’ve been reading the blog each and every day but haven’t commented a great deal…..always here though,always here👍

  43. I’ve said it a fair few times about certain players YW but the two standout players that are in our team that just shouldn’ t be in are Hector and Iwobi…..I can’t fathom it.
    Martin Tyler called it right when he made a comment on Ozil against West Brom-certain players make you realise the effect they have on a side when they’re not playing-I thought we missed him badly.

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