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Arsenal – Back on the Air

2646Suprabhat Positivistas,

For many of us watching yesterday’s epic battle from the Lane in the UK from we suffered the ultimate horror of the armchair fan as the BT signal went down three minutes from the final whistle and a brightly coloured “ We apologise for the interruption – We will be back on the air as soon as possible” popped up. Within a minute the signal was back up in time to see Aaron bursting into the Spuds box and firing over, so it was no more than a moment of eye watering frustration on an afternoon when I had already been pacing to and from and waving my arms in the ‘technical area’ in front of the TV since the 54th minute. The slight advantage of the unexplained broadcasting blip is that the commentators, other than a far distant and faintly mumbling Hoddle, were silent for the last two minutes of the game until Mr Oliver brought proceedings to a close. The missing minute among frenetic 94 no more than a trivial footnote, other than for the unfortunate BT engineer responsible I presume.

 

Reflecting on the technological anomaly this morning than breakdown was a fair metaphor for our afternoon. Our hosts had, entirely predictably attached us vigorously for the opening 25-30 minutes. During that phase we had, I think, defended well if at times a little scruffily. For half an hour we occasionally got the ball over the half way line but could never keep it there. For al their huff and puff though just once did the home side create a clear chance and my man of the match , David Ospina, palmed away the close range effort. Having allowed their Lilywhite storm to blow itself out we took control of the game, scored a beautifully executed goal with a delightfully clever ball from Hector and a touch of magic from Aaron, and for the remainder of the half there was only one side in it. Our hosts were pinned back and, in their turn, holding on for the half time whistle to re-arrange themselves.

 

We were out first on the pitch early for that second half. On a foul weather day my impression was that demonstration of sharp enthusiasm was deliberate, goading the home fans and showing we had come for the victory. And so it proved with Tottingham not “gaining any traction” ( I love that cliché) in their efforts to recover a goal.

 

And then as surely as later in the afternoon some misguided BT engineer brought the broadcast to a sudden halt a left me and a million Arsenal fans open mouthed, young Francis committed THAT FOUL. Off he went, no complaint from either the player, or me. As I said above I started to pace, I Pointed , I shouted, my arms never still. If I had enjoyed the benefit of a fourth official I would have been constantly “at him”, as they say.

 

As Le Coq trooped down the tunnel, the following message could/should have been posted on screen on behalf of Arsenal Football Club;

 

“ We apologise for the interruption – We will be back on the air as soon as possible”

 

Entirely fortuitous though their windfall was Spuds seized the initiative and two goals in two minutes followed. But for a super save from Ospina and the miracle of goal line technology it could have been worse. The second goal from Kane was an absolute screamer. Bloody hell.

But then – but then – just like the BT signal we suddenly switched back on, we stabilised, those few minutes of unnerved disorganisation dissipated and we began to control the game again. We took possession of the ball, we had a shape again. Our passes found their target. Suddenly the ten men of Arsenal were taking the game to the eleven men in white! Did Spuds take their foot off the gas thinking the contest was over – Surely they can’t be that stupid ?

And so, gentle reader, the final phase saw us again I n the ascendancy, a well worked goal from an obviously delighted Sanchez rounded off the afternoon, though not before Gabriel had stopped a few red hearts with a shanked clearance onto the roof of the net – Brazilian humour – he is a card that boy.

Some great performances all over the pitch from our lads, Ospina, Gibbs, Hector, Danny, Aaron, and Mo Eleneny ( what a PL debut!). I would go so far as to say that after a recent “interruption” to service that we are “back on the air” again.

Enjoy your Sunday.

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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90 comments on “Arsenal – Back on the Air

  1. TEAM NEWS: CECH, KOSCIELNY AND COQUELIN

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round replay against Hull City:

    on team news…
    We lose Coquelin from his bad tackle on Saturday and everyone else looks available. I have to see how everybody has recovered today but overall we should have the same squad that went to Tottenham plus Alex Iwobi will certainly be added to the squad.

    on Petr Cech…
    Petr’s scans were better than expected, but it will still be four weeks for him. So after the international break.

    on Laurent Koscielny…
    Laurent will be short for Hull. he has a chance to be available for the weekend, but I think even for then he will be short.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160307/team-news-cech-koscielny-and-coquelin#tfqOW9FWiM7R4w3i.99

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  2. cue weird music.

    For the banner brigade: ” when a bird is alive, it eats the ants, when the bird is dead the ants eat it.One tree can make a million matchsticks, yet one matchstick can burn a million trees”.Be careful what you wish for, and if you change the world forcefully, be prepared to accept the consequences,for you cannot see them.

    end weird music.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. If the quite easily thinkable should occur and AW decide at the end of this season that he has has had enough of the torrent of abuse that seems to greet his every pronouncement, and if he can no longer muster the energy to compete on playing fields that seem at times so brazenly titlted, then I hope the Arsenal board will take great care with his successor. There is only one man that seems to fit the bill: international experience, recent title winning form, a belief in long term building. Step forward Manuel Pellegrini, who would do very well for me, but whose appointment I sense would not go down well with the banner wavers. You fancy they fancy someone younger and more obviously testosterone laden, but showers do not always outpoint growers. I fear those calling for AW’s head will have a rude awakening when the time comes that they get their way.

    And I know Andy Nic would disagree with this (and by the way, what another top piece) but I think it is the way we seem to be refereed as opposed to the treatment accorded to other teams that to me has the most impact on the way we play and our failure at times to win games that we perhaps might expect to win. I would think it drains the players, robs them of momentum and sometimes makes them feel that they simply cannot win. I wish the home crowd would be more on the refs case than the players or manager – and I certainly wish the so called superfans and allegedly AFC supporting journalists such as Cross or Lawrence made a bit more of this.

    Having said all of that, the result on Saturday has put me in a much more positive frame of mind, and I sense it may well be a pivotal moment in the history of this season. Can we claw back 8 points? Unlikely, but possible: the bookmakers still have Leicester odds against to win the League, Spurs second favourites at 3-1 and us and City 5-1 and 11-2 respectively. So they don’t think it done and dusted yet, and no reason for us to do so either. Was it three seasons ago that all seemed doom and gloom after losing to Spurs 1-2? We pulled that one back (and all but overturned a 0-2 deficit against Bayern) so there is recent history of results picking up in the Spring. Nine Premier League games still to go, and perhaps a few more Cup matches means the season is far from over: we could be in for a lot of fun yet!

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  4. Osman ‏@OsmanZtheGooner 13h13 hours ago
    The atmosphere vs Swansea was so toxic and clear to see. Imagine Sat when we went 2-1 down vs spurs was at the emirates. Dear lord
    Not saying fans reaction decide games but it plays a small part. Vs Leicester it was great, fans put pressure on the ref. and it pushed us

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  5. some very valid points DC, it looked to me as if the fans did get at the ref in the second half of our home game against Leicester…after a first half where Atkinson let every Leicester foul go.
    I refer to the second half performance in relative terms of course, still didnt stop Atkinson sending off Drinkwater after his assault on Ramsey.
    Agree, some of this must be dispiriting to the players. We all know refs have a hard job, need help and cannot see everything in a fraction of a second, but some of the things we are on the receiving end of make you wonder.
    We are told refereeing mistakes even themselves out…..despite my inherent bias, just cannot see this happening with this Arsenal team. Three goals against us at Soton that should not have stood, two goals at home to Swansea that should not have stood, the foul on Ozil at home to Leicester in front of the officials, numerous penalty claims, yet only two given our way this year…compare and contrast that to the current league leaders. Players getting away with blatant and rotational fouling of our players on and off the ball to the extent it has become a clear tactic to be used against us.There is a lot of even upping to do!
    As for Wenger, maybe wouldnt blame him, but he is no quitter. Unless there are things going on we dont know about, think we can be confident he will see out his contract whatever happens this season. Sense a bit of rebuilding in the summer, on the pitch, and reportedly behind the scenes.
    Wenger is the man for this, despite the banner boys and media favouring a playing great, but managerial novice….erm….Paddy Vieira!

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  6. all evens out in the end – yeah right

    when was the last time Arsenal were given an offside goal
    when was the last time we got a soft or dodgy penalty
    in fact when was the last time we got a penalty
    when was the last time one of our players got away with a clear penalty foul not being given against them
    when was the last time anyone could say a ref clearly favored Arsenal in a game
    when was the last time an Arsenal player got away with a nasty foul
    when was the last time Arsenal got booked less per fouls committed in a game than our opponents
    when was the last time we benefited from a refs blooper

    I can’t off the top of my head answer any of the above but I can answer each and every one of the reverse of them, as these things have happened against Arsenal in our last three or four league game, some of them a couple of times

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  7. I suspected Atkinson was going to go a bit easy on Leicester Mandy – especially after he reduced them to 10 men ( banned winkey thing)

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  8. Allowing the Leicester game to carry on after the additional four added on minutes had passed did not do us any harm either.

    As Claudio said of the sending off and Arsenal’s late winner later that afternoon;

    “I think maybe I make mistakes but an international referee give two yellow cards for normal fouls and the match was full of fouls and very difficult fouls. I remember the first half when we scored and there was a bad tackle from [Aaron] Ramsey and it was a yellow card but it is not the same yellow card when Simpson stopped the other player. You have to stay calm, my players, but also the referee. I think there were two kinds of reaction. The first half was strong. But in the second half maybe because the crowd push a lot and put him under pressure.”

    “Sometimes the referee stopped the time. Four minutes extra time [and] there was five minutes when they scored. ”

    The man is clearly deluded.

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  9. Ian S in SA sent this in yesterday, a litte light relief at the expense of Middlesex’s finest


    Complaint lodged

    A complaint was lodged today at Environmental Services Head Office regarding excessive cockerel crowing from the vicinity of White Hart Lane. If found guilty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, an Abatement notice may be served, which, if not complied with, would result in a £20 000 fine.

    The factors considered as required for an Environmental Health Officer to investigate are:

    • Source of Noise
    • Environment of Noise
    • Duration of crowing
    • Time of day of crowing
    • How often it occurs.

    The complaint cites that all of the above factors are present:

    1. Source: an undetermined radius around the vicinity of White Hart Lane
    2. Environment: Football
    3. Duration: Non stop… until the event noted in point 5 below occurs.
    4. Time of day: from midnight to midnight
    5. How often it occurs: Whenever the fans of said Tottenham Hotspur find themselves above near neighbours Arsenal in the Premier League Table. That this has occurred approximately eight times in the last twenty years is sufficient cause to ask for a permanent banning order. Inevitably at some time during as early as March or as late as April, the crowing desists to a croak, but the complaint is made with the objective of not spoiling Easter festivities.

    The complaint also notes the facts that no practical attempts have been made to minimise cockerel crowing by:

    1. Ensuring that the cockerel is located as far away as is practicable from neighbouring residential properties and/or web sites attached to same.
    2. Avoiding other cockerels in the area which causes them to compete with each other, resulting in excess crowing
    3. Keeping their coops as dark as possible to minimise crowing as a cockerel will crow when light enters the coop. Neither has any attempt been made to lower the coop ceiling to prevent the cockerel throwing back its head and crowing.

    On this last point, the complaint notes that whenever a ray of light appears within the stygian gloom of White Hart Lane, the rose coloured spectacles being given to fans results in a non-stop raucous crowing possibly offensive even to those as far off as residents of Old Trafford in Manchester, let alone residents a mile away.

    Tottenham Hotspur have been advised to plead guilty to the complaint.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. when injury time is announced it is with “a minimum of”, and so in the leicester city game there was a minimum of 4 minutes injury time, Welbeck scored 4 minutes 28 seconds into injury time, so not 5 minutes as claimed by CR and the game kicked off again after the goal too, maybe if his side had not done so much time wasting the game would have stopped at 94 minutes.
    Vardy pen was not a penalty, Vardy dived. Drikinwater should have been a red card, it was not even called as a foul. Rotational fouling went on all game long. Time wasting went on all game long took, so much so that 4 minutes injury time was a joke, there was five subs brought on in the second half, normally 30 seconds per sub is allowed, that is 2 and a half minutes of stoppage time right there, and then there was the sending off time,

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  11. these questions still stand

    when was the last time Arsenal were given an offside goal
    when was the last time we got a soft or dodgy penalty
    in fact when was the last time we got a penalty
    when was the last time one of our players got away with a clear penalty foul not being given against them
    when was the last time anyone could say a ref clearly favored Arsenal in a game
    when was the last time an Arsenal player got away with a nasty foul
    when was the last time Arsenal got booked less per fouls committed in a game than our opponents
    when was the last time we benefited from a refs blooper

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As I said eddy – the man is clearly deluded – although as I recall it Simpson’s second yellow wasn’t much different to the second yellow Hector did not get on Saturday for tugging the player back on the touchline. Might be my memory.

    You make your own mind up though;

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  13. very valid points Anicoll5, Drinkwater aside, thought that overall, he did ok in the second half, but a contrast to his first half performance….where he appeared to let a lot go. Some have suggested Simpsons two bookings were soft, but he was constantly fouling our players through out the first half…maybe the ref warned him and ran out of patience?
    But, looked to me at least a ref game of two halfs, hence speculating as to whether the crowd got to him a bit…..ok he is a professional, …but a human being too. Or…maybe he just got fed up with their pretty cynical antics

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  14. I am not by nature a conspiracy theorist, and am also aware of the one-sided way people watch their own team (or children). So when I feel we are hard done by when it comes to decisions both for and against I do try to run it past some kind of balanced view. And I then find myself asking why. Why should a game be tilted? To whose benefit? And why so often against one side rather than another?

    And then I begin to wonder if there is some explanation in the way we play? Do we get less penalties because we do not commit defenders at speed? Or because our first instinct is not to try for the penalty? Ramsey in the closing moments on Saturday for instance? Might a different player have been aware of the defender closing in and played in a way to invite the foul? Do we seem to get fouled in midfield because we play in a slow and tight way which invites so much contact that refs no longer really see it as foul play? And if we are systematically disadvantaged because of our style, how might we change that to a formula that makes foul play harder to inflict.

    Or is there some reason why quite unconsciously most refs and pundits can’t stand us? Are we the goody two-shoe smart alecs that deserve bringing down a peg or two? Are we the posh rich kids that no one cares for? Or are we the ones that are all too likely to show up the glaring deficiencies of everyone else. Or are we just a little bit soft, a little bit not quite passionate enough, so that it is all too easy to put us down, and that which we protest as foul play is just ordinary rough and tumble that others would take in their stride.

    And yet despite all of that, all of those questions, I am left with a feeling of something not being quite right, as if all too often we have to fight with one arm tied behind our back.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Feel free to peruse the stats Tim – I have to say it all looks a bit random to me. One thing that does occur to me that if you run fast and hard at PL defenders in the box, like Vardy, like Suarez, like Hazard, like Sanchez last year but not so much this year, and like Henry and Pires in days gone by, then you are going to get either a) a lot more goals and/ or b) penalties. It may be our sparsity of goal scoring and our penalties are tied up

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/Premier_League_Penalty_Statistics.html

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  16. the stats required are available eleswhere which is why this is not the blog to for that thread.

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  17. Tim,

    Clough when eulogising in praise of the Invincibles:
    “we were brough up to hate the Arsenal”

    Or: has any other PL/L1 team been deducted points in my lifetime (pre-Wengerian era)?

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  18. Manchester United

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  19. Pompey

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  20. Portsmouth,Middlesborough and us as far as I can recall fins-could be wrong without checking it.
    FH liked your 5.13pm post, interesting questions to mull over. Bob Wilson (patron Saint of PA?) said that other teams/people were jealous of Arsenal. Certainyl when I lived in the North of England I had to take a lot of shit form people for being a Gooner.And I mean shit.Wasnt to funny at times.

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  21. Soz A5 am so slow at typing that I didnt see your posts.

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  22. slow at typing and unable to spell!

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  23. That’s Google for you Mills !

    Liked by 1 person

  24. thats what I always like to say!

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  25. Portsmouth was financial, Boro not fulfilling a fixture and manure well in order to punish us they had to punish them.
    However we obviously were punished harder.
    No other club has been deducted points for fighting on the pitch even though many have been charged with the same offence including both spuds and chelski.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. And then we went on and won the League – marvellous wasn’t it Ian !!

    Next time we had a good punch up at Old Toilet was Martin Keown acting the angry orangutan – amazed we did not lose points that day but on we went to win the league. In those days Arsenal Football Club could not give a f***

    Maybe a good 21 man punch up in Manchester is exactly what the team needs – certainly would not do Theo any harm – forget the points – think of the honour, think of the storm – no more accusations of too many nice boys

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  27. Orbinho ‏@Orbinho Mar 5
    Paul Merson: “Defoe is two chances, one goal.”

    Conversion rate goals/shots
    Spurs 1/6
    Portsmouth 1/7
    Sunderland 1/5

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  28. Andrew, according to older and wiser ears (Tony Atwood’s) the song that was popular on the terraces that season was:

    “You can stick your two points up yer ar*e…” Etc.

    Or something like that. Wish I’d been there, to hear the songs.
    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. So: AFC (& Utd) the club’s deducted points for infield infringements. No surprises really. They were a doity old oirish team full of filfy foreigners and ain’t nuffink changed since!

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  30. Stuart MacFarlane ‏@Stuart_PhotoAFC 2h2 hours ago
    I post one picture of players smiling before a training session and some people go mad. Don’t know why I bother sharing pictures.

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  31. Foreverheady….who knows. But we do know the media have had it in for Wenger from day 1, with the ridiculous allegations they made against him on his first ever press conference. Against Deins advice, as we all know, Wenger faced them down and challenged them to repeat the allegations. We all know her majesty’s media have long memories….and it looks to me the media certainly have an agenda against Wenger, maybe this goes a bit further. I have my own …completely unfounded of course….theories on one or two of the refs..will leave that for another day, but a guy called Proudkev wrote to Keith Hackett, and published a summary of his reply on UA. Basically, the vast majority of the refs are from what we once called Lancashire, now greater Manc, Wirral etc or Yorkshire. None are from London. Apparently Hackett raised this concern,but was told southern refs had training issues. So there could be some regional bias, or north South bias…who knows. Or there may be nothing. We now have a ref from greater Manc, who is listed as supporting Altrincham refereeing games involving Utd…and City..that leaves him open to all sorts should things go wrong, not fair on the ref.But I write this with caution, if they appoint a southern ref to this league, with our luck, it will be a guy who claims to support Stevenage, but is in fact a dyed in the wool Spud!.

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  32. Did somebody say ‘tell us your thoughts on penalties and these damn referees, buddy’?

    die-hard conspirator (conspirationist?) here, or rather someone who thinks if there were one, r just actual corruption, the results would look like this.

    If it bores you or you think it inappropriate for the thread, apologies.

    I made a doomed attempt to write something on penalties for Untold but had to admit defeat as blogging isn’t for me (can’t keep the word count down and didn’t have the necessary statistical skills when it came to the crunch. Anyway, I just want to throw a couple of things out there from that attempt.

    These were a couple of bits from the into, taken from the book soccernomics

    ‘At first sight, the penalty looks like the most unfair device in all of sport. First of all, it may be impossible for a referee to judge most penalty appeals correctly, given the pace of modern football, the tangles of legs and ball, and the levels of deception by players.’

    ‘… in practice you will only get them if you have possession (or at least a decent chance of winning possession) in the opponent’s penalty area. Many a penalty is wrongly given. But it is almost always a reward for deep territorial penetration. That makes it, on average, a marker of the balance of power in the game. That’s why good teams get proportionately more penalties than bad teams, and why home teams get more penalties than away teams. On average, a penalty is given with the grain of the game.’

    I particularly liked this one, from an American writer new to the game watching a world cup

    ‘The more customary method of getting a penalty…is to walk into the ‘area’ with the ball, get breathed on hard, and then immediately collapse…arms and legs splayed out, while you twist in agony and beg for morphine, and your teammates smite their foreheads at the tragic waste of a young life. The referee buys this more often than you might think. Afterwards the post game did-he-fall-or-was-he-pushed-argument can go on for hours.

    Next up, some stats.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Interesting from the club photographer Ed……but when the team are not on a winning run, the fans have every right to know they have retreated to some Trappist monk like existence, no smiling, no selfies, no hoodies, no headphones,no six packs, just repeated defensive drills. those who flout the rules need to be paraded on Utube in an orange boiler suit.
    That will have them winning again in no time.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. The stats. Damn, that was what really undid me. Vital to my argument but i couldn’t present them well enough.

    The first bit was easy. I looked at the stats over the years and noticed how they dived for us from 9-10. It stood out that in the five years before – 4-5 to 8-9- we’d had 31 for 13 against; in the following five years 22 for 31 against.

    I then looked at how Chelsea did in the latter period : 43 for 16 against.

    None of these things are proof of wrongdoing, of course, but taking that bit from Soccernomics which nicely caught much of my general thinking –

    ‘… in practice you will only get them if you have possession (or at least a decent chance of winning possession) in the opponent’s penalty area. Many a penalty is wrongly given. But it is almost always a reward for deep territorial penetration. That makes it, on average, a marker of the balance of power in the game. That’s why good teams get proportionately more penalties than bad teams, and why home teams get more penalties than away teams. On average, a penalty is given with the grain of the game.’

    – and, well, the stats look egregiously suspicious to me. I’m a layman only, but that’s where statistics come into their own ,surely: a large enough sample size should invariably erode the quirks of fate and misleading anomalies; more so the bigger the sample is.

    I knew I needed more, though, because…couldn’t it all be the result of us dropping as a team over the latter period; our attack being less skilful and dangerous, our defence shakier?

    Well, in the first 5 (good on pens) years we scored 360 goals and conceded 170; the second (bad, bad) period was 369 for, conceded 211. So our attack was just as good and our defence indeed a bit shakier. Though we have some chicken and egg problems there, as a fair chunk of the worse defence is accounted for through all those damn penalties that went against us, and we scored more in spite of receiving slightly fewer pens.

    Whatever, it is incongruous that a team which meets the criteria for getting a high amount of pens- attacking a lot, being in the opposition box a lot, even scoring quite a lot of goals- can do so poorly on the pens for front; and we were conceding them at that time at a record I’m not sure anyone beat.

    Chelsea’s stats over that time (43-16) meanwhile were 383 for 177 against.

    My conclusion if I’d got the article finished would have been that the stats are not as outrageous as they first appeared to me, but they nevertheless support my conviction that refs, for reasons unknown, seem to find it hard to give us penalties (or any key decisions) in our favour yet find it easy to punish us.

    I can do lots of speculating about why that might be- Riley, Northern bias/ interpretation; nice guys really are in danger of finishing last in the ultra cynical world of modern football; a system which seems to result in bad consequences for refs when they are deemed to have been kind to us, while the reverse isn’t true (so, again, Riley); the media- but that’s all I can do

    I can dish out one last pen stat for the road though ; apparently the chance of scoring one is 77% against a 12% chance in open play. So they really are handy blighters and it really is a shame that despite being an attacking team who spend a lot of time in the opposition box we get so damn few of them. They are the canary in the mine for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. There are also stats available for touches inside the opponents pelanty area, so it’d possible to work out an average over a season.
    And in most recent seasons AFC have been the league leaders for that stat (happy and comfortable to speculate on that one!) though as more teams play with better players and have evolved their play to be similar to that at the Arsenal, Pellegrini at City, Gazprom minus the Maureen hiccup etc., the stats are probably a little closer the past season or two.

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  36. You will never guess who the referee was on the day of the great battle at Old Trafford in 91 ?

    Gowangowangowan

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  37. Hackett.

    Whose time at pgmol came to an end a year after Ferguson said ‘Hackett has got a lot to answer for in this country,” said the Scot. “He’s not doing his job properly. He should be assessed like everyone else is assessed. I’m assessed as a manager, the players are assessed, referees are assessed. Martin Atkinson will referee next week, no problem, but his performance today should not be accepted in our game.

    Hackett done got assessed and then it was time for ole 7/7 Riley to take over.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Not saying Hackett is the perfect ref…or bent, far from it
    Just summarising a post on UA ….which suggested regional issues with refs that were not and have not been addressed….according to Hackett at least.
    But there are too few refs that can do EPL, which means a ref from greater Manchester has refereed Utd vs Arsenal…..yes, he supports Altrincham……but with a more reasonably sized pool of refs, he would not be compromised in such a way, as apparently Hackett alluded to. I am sure Fergie would have had words if a ref from Fulham who claimed to support Chiswick Borough …..should they actually exist…was chosen for Chelsea vs Utd.
    Think there was about 18 refs qualified for EPL…tho stand to be corrected, but a couple of those are now injured. We have been refereed by some refs…including those with a serious rep of being against….. us five or six times a year in recent years. Yet other refs, we hardly see at all. Not sure how they are picked, or how we get a Dean Taylor or Atkinson five times a year, but rarely a marriner. Maybe there is a good reason.
    Refs need to be seen to be above board, and transparent. Some aspects of the way they are run do not help, including the fifty grand they get when retiring in return for keeping quiet. The PGMOB really don’t help themselves……at all in some cases.

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