Xhaka, Refs And Arsenal

I wanted to put in words my feelings on the whole Xhaka red card malarky. It’s hard, because when I tried on Twitter it came across that I thought he was a bad lad and I agreed with the sending off. Neither of these things are true. So when I saw  comment from our very own Arsenal Andrew, that perfectly summed up my feeling about not just that incident, but the overall state of the team and our position, in typical fashion, I thought “I’ll nick that”. 

Also, Andrew has been conspicuous by his absence (a bit like me really?) on the articles front, so this is my way of forcing the shirker out of his slumber.

“I’d be surprised if we see much more of Moss in the future, his ‘display’ left everything to be desired and had he succeeded, sorry, had Swansea succeeded in scabbing the draw we’d have never heard the last of it, and rightly so.

It’s rarely a single incident that riles fan rage but a culmination of confounding decisions that eventually add up to a deep-rooted dissatisfaction with the overall refereeing performance. And so it was on Saturday with Moss’s reckless ignoring of two Arsenal head injuries ahead of his joyous sprint to over-punish the over-stretched Granit.

Personally I love it when cheats are punished and would happily see all such unfootballing activities dealt with via the red card. But they so rarely are which makes Moss’s over-the-top intervention, in the context of his earlier tolerance of Swansea’s thuggery wholly confounding and ultimately unacceptable. Hence the outrage.

Which was a pity because refereeing shenanigans aside it was a thrilling game, thoroughly enjoyable and a terrific win for Arsenal. Except come season’s end, it won’t be remembered for that, will it?

And what of Arsenal’s wider form? As Shotta reminds us from time to time, we appear to be in the midst of a statistically significant run at the moment, though we have all been here before, right?

Our traditional Autumn Run tends to derail itself with a pile-up of injuries that clear themselves up in time for the end of season express train run-in. The difference this season, if any can be expected?

This will become manifestly clear over the next 8 weeks but to me we must be perilously close to having genuine strength in squad depth across all positions. Surely no team could absorb a loss to the side such as that presented by injuries to Ozil and Sanchez? I’d suggest that, brilliant though both clearly are, neither have hit top, top form which suggests the rest of the side – and the replacements in the wings – must be pretty decent.

I’m quietly confident.”

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76 comments on “Xhaka, Refs And Arsenal

  1. The thing is Andrew, had we drawn or even lost, which is not impossible to imagine, many fans would have blamed the Xhaka,the team and the manager, Just like they did at Newcastle when the Ref sent of Diaby and gave to outrageous penalties, to get them a draw from 4-0 down. I know this because I spent days on ACLF arguing with people like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Moss seems to be getting a bit of a slating from a few quarters these days, and not just from his regular mentions on the FIF blog.


  3. It always amazes me how quickly people forget the effect a ref has on a game the fact is Saturday’s game was only one in a long list where the ref was clearly biased.
    It’s seems that the bang to the head is this seasons favourite missed foul to an Arsenal player.


  4. “It always amazes me how quickly people forget the effect a ref has on a game”

    I don’t know Joe – I think we all still have a soft spot for Mr Clattenburg and his extraordinary effort at the King Power ( banned winkey thing)


  5. I see the referee on Wednesday is a Portuguese, Mr Artur Soares Dias. He is not a high profile official and, interestingly, has never had the whistle when an English club has won in Europe. He has overseen home draws for Spuds and the Ammers and was in charge on the greatest night for Danish football when Midtjylland defeated the mighty Mancs in February.

    I smell a rat !


  6. George – the malcontents, I’d suggest, love it when their own club fails to get the rub of the green. From them you will never see context added to any of their words written about a draw or a defeat. And of course, no words whatsoever in the event of a victory!

    Unless, of course, they are gifted a ‘dark red’ from a card-happy ref which appears good to license them for a few days vitriol at the unfortunate/’stupid’ player concerned. For these detractors, sadly, such events are now the only straws they have left to cling to as the rising storm of Arsenal’s resurgence threatens to wash them away altogether down the drain of irrelevance.

    It’s been some years since the cheating antics of our opponents has truly wound me up. I expect Rooney and co to do their worst and largely with impunity. The 50th game and the Newcastle 4-4, had I suffered high blood pressure, could easily have been games that ‘did for me’, in a terminal sense.

    Where I still lose it, however, is with the men in black and the inconsistency of their work.

    And it’s not even offsides wrongly applied/not applied, handballs given/not given nor even the odd case of mistaken identity. They are all human and the game is played at an unbelievable pace these days. That they get so much right is a cause for celebration and acknowledgement.

    But the strange decisions which would lead to unexpected results are the ones that concern me. As Foreverheady commented earlier today, Arsenal were the out and out form winners for Saturday so a draw v Swansea would have been exactly what the bookies would order. If they could, of course.

    Moss’s bizarrely inconsistent performance combined with the total lack of PGMOB accountability render questions regarding integrity the more likely.

    Only the introduction of the upcoming video technology, currently being tested abroad, will light finally be shone on any murkiness that may yet be proved to only exist in our frenzied imaginations.

    But then, at least, we will finally know.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I like to think that it’s no coincidence that Arsenal has struggled against Swansea and Southampton in recent years. It’s a strategic plan to let us routinely drop points against these teams fixture after fixture, then it can easily be brushed off as them just being our bogey teams whilst being pointed out that said refs had done a remarkable job in other games.


  8. Perhaps not this season but I recall two world class goal keeping performances last season at the Ems, especially the one by Fraser Foster though with Lukas’ effort not far behind, which also may have had something to do with them being seen as ‘bogey’ teams.


  9. What is wrong with you Andy, stop with this voice of reason malarky, Get with the program, its a fit up- just like 9/11. And furthermore, those Refs are lizard people.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It is all bleeding Mullarkey


  11. Somewhat off topic but in my perverse interests for the men in black I came across this blog about the new FIFA fitness tests for referees and linos;


    They look bloody hard work to me. I can understand why Michael Oliver left N’Golo Kante trailing behind him. I assume that PL and CL standards are just about the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The only thing marginally more irritating than goalies having a ‘worldie’ are the teams that lift their performance against us before subsiding to their ‘usual’ level against our biggest opponents a week later. Exactly what is that about? The tv exposure for a game v Arsenal can not be higher than for a game v United/Citeh etc, yet time and again you see it.

    Surely it’s not for le Boss’s benefit? Maybe playing in front of one of the finest managers in the whole history of the game has that effect on some visitors …

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The new fitness tests should see off the likes of Moss, Andrew.

    Somewhat back on topic(!), but watching THE sending off for the umpteenth time on Sunday and I noticed just how far away Moss was from Granit’s murderous assault. It may just have looked extra dangerous through a haze of sweat.

    Doesn’t excuse the lino, tho.


  14. George,

    What many on Twitter (myself included) objected to is your use of the word “cheating” concerning Xhaka’s foul on Barrow.

    Many, because we won the game are erroneously describing his action as “taking one for the team”. It isn’t. At least not from that part of the field and not in the manner he did. At that point Barrow was no threat, or least not enough threat to warrant the tackle. If Barrow was about to face Cech, I would understand and even applaud Xhaka for “taking one for the team”.

    But this was not the case. It was a stupid tackle that even Xhaka himself cannot justify. Those contorting themselves into knots to justify it are most probably the lot who have been moaning that he, as their latest expensive toy, be played ahead of the “cheap and old” Coquelin. Their new darling was played ahead of the tested and trusted Coq, he cost us a goal and got himself stupidly (and absolutely unfairly) sent off, of course his fanboys must justify this somehow, hence the tenuous “he took one for the team” defence. I have no doubt that had Coquelin cost us a goal and got sent off under similar circumstances, the uproar from the Xhaka defenders would be deafening. Hypocrites, all of them!

    Friendly critique George.

    You were coming off just like the people you were criticising with your own insistence that Xhaka’s act was cheating instead of brain dead stupidity that it was. The guy committed a stupid foul and owned up to it immediately. He was harshly punished for it in an unprecedented manner. If that is cheating on his part, I must re-learn the meaning of that word.

    Here is a poser for you:

    It’s the last day of the season, we are leading the park by a single point which would make us champions as long as we don’t concede. An opposition striker is through on goal but Xhaka (again!) brings him down and gets sent off. The ref awards a free kick which we defend successfully and we end the game as champions. Would you call Xhaka a cheat or would you say he took one for the team (the proper context this time)?

    I don’t think it is a good idea to get stuck on either extremes of a debate, unless absolutely and truly necessary. This is not one of the latter.

    Xhaka did not take one for the team on Saturday

    Xhaka did not cheat on Saturday

    Xhaka acted stupidly (rashly to be generous) on Saturday and was unfairly/harshly punished for it.


  15. Forster do have the ability to turn it up, so too Siggy. That doesn’t excuse the refs doing their damnedest trying to fuck us over. Or do we excuse the ref for the shocker on Boxing Day too because Tadic, being a very competent player himself, had a good game?

    There’s nothing redeeming about these refs who’s been culpable of Arsenal routinely losing star players to injuries for sometimes up to 2 months.


  16. “Look”, as Mr Wenger sometimes starts an answer to a question at a presser, I enjoyed A5’s review of the Swansea match, and the superb commentaries that followed. I thought of joining in but also thought I mightn’t have anything new/of value to add.

    I noticed Steww decided to “bow out” and thought, Yeah, I’ll just keep reading.
    Then along comes PG with his ‘I’m misunderstood’ shtick, and, well, I got sucked in.

    I’m afraid, AA, I think we’ll see plenty of Mossy. Fact is, refs have been picked for Arsenal’s games based on who can **** Arsenal over. Those refs who treat Arsenal fairly and evenly will only see us once, maybe twice a season. Yer Clatters, Deans, Atker’s & Taylor’s, etc, get multiple Ars games, whether against “top” teams or the others.

    I wonder which of the above named are lined up for the ‘big’ matches, like totty/manu?

    Surely anyone watching a full Arsenal game can spot the two different interpretations of a foul, esp. if your watching a full as-live replay? (Having said that, there were times when – the commentators on ArsPlaya – during the Swansea match, we’re so busy talking about ‘stuff’ rather than what was happening on the pitch, that they missed incidents and failed to note that ‘the ref should’ve returned to book that player’).

    On a few occasions this season, inc. against Swansea we’ve seen a nasty tackle – play on – and Ars have gone on to score a goal. But most times this doesn’t happen.
    This different rules/interpretation for Ars’s player’s ain’t new. You know that.

    PG mentions the Newcy match. Bear in mind that MOTD called this the “greatest ever Prem match”! (Wherefore art thou phatphil). And this despite the bending of Diaby’s shin, a rabbit punch on WS1, a ‘sandwich’ on RvP given as a foul to Newcy and multiple Ghost fouls given against Arsenal. If ever there was a fix….

    During the 15/16 season (and previously), one could access full match replays of Arsenal’s games for previous years on the ArsPlaya. However, you could only see highlights of that Newcy game, (or the Barca game where RvP got sent off for kicking the ball away at almost the same moment as the ref blew his whistle). But I’ve got a mate who has that full match from sports direct arena, and I’m afraid – that kind of reffing has been rife for more than a decade.

    A5 mentioned Ars winning 10 of 13 games with Johnny reffing. Well, those games were pretty spread out, and as an example of the Mean, one could re-watch the 2nd of Ars’s FkCup triumphs, against Villa. Sure, AV ended up with 5 or 6 players booked, but if you look at the 1st half you’ll see AV’s players trying to cripple Ars’s!
    No punishments. Villa could’ve had 3 players sent off.
    Norwich and Soton from 15/16 have been talked about here often (not only by me). All Moss-reffed.

    Prior to Eduardo’s leg being shattered even Dean was even with Arsenal. During and after that game at Brum, the switch flicked.

    So here Arsenal are – near the top of the league. What does that mean? To me it means ‘look out’. All sorts of patterns and dialogues will emerge. “X player should be rested”, will be said of whomever the plundits wanna see injured”. “They’re always gonna collapse”, plundits will scream, confident in the knowledge that Arsenal will get screwed one way or another, and having been chosen to plundit on the basis of their following the narrative (and established personal, moral or otherwise bankruptcy).

    To what extent does AFC’s non corrupt, living within means, being honest, embodying humanity AND playing beautiful football Piss “them” Right Off?

    Someone wrote ‘Arsenal win league = miracle’. I agree. It can (will) be done, but the officiating during (many) Swansea games, and most others means Arsenal will have to beat the handicap almost every time. (And a few broken limbs, cos that’s the pattern).

    Whilst I love this ‘run’ Arsenal are on, what pleases me most is the increased resilience of the team, partly brought about by having the best 2nd eleven we’ve seen for a while.
    Arsenal player’s remain good human beings.


    Liked by 3 people

  17. Whoops. I’d started ranting at about 10:15, when PGs comment stood alone underneath the article. With much else to distract me – by the time I finished and pressed Post Comment, and then read back over the comments following PG’s, the points I’d made had all been covered, nicely.

    A5, you’re an absolute tease. Gertcha.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Let me clear this cheating stuff up.
    I view all deliberate fouls as cheating, If a player is beaten by skill and has to resort to foul play to redress the balance, for me he is cheating the game the supporters and the player he fouls. He has deliberately broken the rules of the game to gain an advantage. That is the very definition of cheating.
    Call it “bending the rules”, “clever play”,”mastering the dark arts” or “being cute” I call it cheating. I don’t like it and I certainly don’t condone it.
    Part of the game ,you say? No its not, because if it was part of the game it would not be “illegal”, Illegal meaning outside the laws of the game. So, if a player deliberately goes outside the rules, he is cheating.
    I was making a general point about the game, brought to mind by the Xhaka “cheat”.
    So forgive me if my hypocrisy doesn’t run to calling all but Arsenal players cheats.
    And yes, I would rather we lose than cheat.


  19. I assure you if we had won the Champions League in Paris on the strength of Eboue’s blatant dive to win the free kick from which Sol scored we would never, ever have heard the end of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. anicoll5,

    Diving is cheating. I will not change the definition even if it favours my team. The media have their own agenda but it changes nothing for me.


    I guess we can agree to disagree on that. For me, deception or intention to deceive is a definite part of cheating. There is not deception here hence, why I am one of the many who strongly disagree with you on this. By your logic, all footballers – particularly defenders – are cheats, including virtually all Arsenal players. I doubt there is any non-cheats in all contact sports going by your definition.

    I’m always wary extremism. no matter how noble and that is how your definition is coming across here.

    But again, we can agree to disagree.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. PG

    I think most true Arsenal fans identify with that feeling and vision of the game. But it’s not as simple as that. I admit, I was surprised but pleasantly so, when Xhaka decided to stop Barrow’s run.

    Now is that hypocritical. Probably. But nothing exists in such isolation. After all, even our manager who insists it is never about winning at all costs, once talked about how Denilson, when collapsing with injury while on the ball, should have fallen on the ball and held it in his hands instead of giving it away, and taken the punishment that resulted from it (yellow card)

    Similarly, Xhaka made a decision of what the game required him to do (rightly or wrongly), and was prepared to take the punishment (as merited under the laws of the game)

    So while you say such fouls are ‘illegal’, another way of looking at it is that they are simply dis-incentivised on a sliding scale. I had a similar problem to deal with when I graduated to playing basketball in college. I was always playing as clean as I could since that’s how I always played, and was then instructed to think about the 5 fouls allowed (you get thrown out of the game on the 6th) as a resource, which I was wasting. I didn’t like it, and struggled to do it because it didn’t come naturally. But intentional fouling is considered a legitimate tactic in basketball, and indeed in football. I suppose it comes as part of the territory with professionalism where your responsibility to your employers is paramount, sometimes at the cost of your responsibility to the game.

    As for cheating. Yes, it makes me uncomfortable when Arsenal cheat, or even just get lucky with an egregious decision. But over the past decade or so, I feel we’ve been cheated out of so much, that if we were to get some lucky decisions and win the title, it wouldn’t bother me,

    So while I disagree with you to an extent, I understand your stance, and admire your sticking to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Seems the ex refs in the media cannot agree on this one,
    Halsey says it should have been yellow,
    Poll says Xhaka kicked him , meaning red, and suggests he should have just tripped Barrow, or pulled his shirt to get a yellow instead. Looked more of a trip to me

    Liked by 1 person

  23. dear all at PA– great comments today (so far) and have enjoyed the discussion stemming from Andrews interesting post!

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Come on – admit it – we all want to see Jose and the red Mancs get a right pasting tonight …. don’t we ?

    I know if LFC rattle in a few they move above us but, just this once, I will forego the pleasure of PL position just to see the Portuguese’s miserable boat dissolve into a teary, hiccuping, snot dribbling, mess.

    A sending off or two would be a cherry on my cake too

    Liked by 3 people

  25. image: http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/scaled/696×392/apr_13/gun__1366817537_little_kim2.jpg
    Kim Little

    We are delighted to confirm Kim Little will rejoin Arsenal Ladies on a long-term contract.
    The 26-year-old midfielder returns from Seattle Reign in the United States, where she cemented her position as one of the finest players in the women’s game.

    Kim scored a total of 34 goals in 67 league appearances for Reign, winning the league’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ award in her debut campaign and the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award for 2016.
    Kim is one of the outstanding talents in the women’s game and we are so pleased that she will be rejoining us.
    Pedro Martinez Losa
    She also excelled on loan with Melbourne City last season, netting nine times in 12 appearances for the Australian side.

    The Scotland international first joined us from Hibernian as a teenager in 2008 and won 11 major trophies in her first spell with Arsenal Ladies. She was the Super League’s top scorer in 2012 and the first-ever PFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2013.

    Arsenal Ladies manager Pedro Martinez Losa is delighted to welcome Kim back to the club: “Kim is one of the outstanding talents in the women’s game and we are so pleased that she will be re-joining us. She has proven that she can create and score goals at the highest level time and time again, and she will be a fantastic asset to our team as we prepare to challenge for the top honours in 2017.”

    Kim will join up with Arsenal in January 2017 to begin preparations for the new season.

    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/20161013/kim-little-rejoins-arsenal-ladies#FOKlGQlwXL9Haj5M.99


  26. I posted this yesterday but think it is apt for this thread too

    FAO george, I viewed your “cheat” tweets today, and I would disagree with you that Xhaka’s tackle is cheating, breaking the rules, yes, cheating no, you say that to deliberately break the rules to gain an advantage is the very definition of cheating. I would say no, For me cheating is trying to get away with breaking the rules without punishment, also conning the officials for me is cheating, such as diving, feigning injury to get someone booked, even something that seems as harmless as claiming a throw in or corner kick knowing full well that it came off you or a team mate. But to commit a foul, even a deliberate one, for me is not cheating if you expect to get called on it and are willing to accept the punishment.
    simply for me
    All Cheating is breaking the rules, but all breaking the rules is not cheating.


  27. Any defeat for Jose is of course priceless but really we want the four dropped points a draw would in total bring, plenty of yellow and red cards, an end of match brawl followed by an FA enquiry and indefinite touch line bans for both managers.


    Liked by 5 people

  28. If Arteta had made the foul, he’d have disguised it with some dainty foreign passing style pirouette and a flick of his immaculate hair. More often then not in such instances we saw officials ask him for his autograph as opposed to issue a card.

    They didn’t call him “The Prince” for nuffink.

    Barrow was blowing very hard after every run in hue he first half, we didn’t expect him to last the ninety. I think his fibula is still intact, and that’s because Xhaka was in complete control of what he was doing. So George can question him, fair enough, whilst he just needs to watch some vids of the former skipper.


  29. Tom Gordon ‏@GoonerGordo 16m16 minutes ago
    Xhaka would have been sent off for that Rashford challenge.


  30. Well that was terrible – one tame header from the home side and not a single shot or effort on target, or even vaguely towards the target, from Jose’s shambolic effort.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Hold that – apparently the 45 minutes of dross was Jose’s master plan to “quiet the crowd” according to Giggsy.

    I can see why Bob Bradley got the Swansea job

    Liked by 3 people

  32. stewart black ‏@StewBlack 28m28 minutes ago
    If Xhaka deserved a red card there should have been 2 reds and 4 yellows at Anfield so far

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Lamentable game, Klopp will be sick as a parrot after that effort.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. and super sunday sees chelsea v man utd


  35. Pass the fucking rope eddy

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Consider the oft derisory tone of plundits when Arsenal are playing, then compare with the apologist, non-critical, dross affirming sh*tefest posing as …

    Liked by 4 people

  37. Mind you I’ve always liked Fenerbache – C’mon you yellows


  38. yes rantetta, mind numbing boring football, and cos mourinho is involved, all sorts of excuses are made, its almost as if the pundits and journos wants us to believe its some sort of tactical master plan, and not just parking the fucking bus, and of course no questions will be asked as to why the worlds most expensive footballer is playing shite. again excuses will be made for him, it will be, utd need to sign a couple more players to get the best out of pogba, there will be no “stealing a living” articles written about him. just as there will be no articles written about how jose is not playing utd type football, they were all used up for LGV and Moyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Only Jose Mourinho could sign Pogba and Zlatan and then decide to play like a 2009 version of Stoke City.


    Liked by 1 person

  40. I wonder what our “we don’t even play good football anymore” mob think of the football “ambitious” Man Utd are playing under their favorite “modern” tactical genius of a manager.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Just got back from an AISA event with super agent John Smith, unfortunately it was also a AST event which meant the atmosphere at times was negative. John Smith was very interesting and suggested Arsene might sign a two yr deal in the region of 7-9 million. As Arsene is a friend and wrote a piece about his book I took this as a good sign. He did say it depends on how the season goes.
    I’ll say abit more later

    Liked by 4 people

  42. here we go, this is how the media see that borefest

    James Olley ‏@JamesOlley 31m31 minutes ago
    Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd. Klopp 0-1 Mourinho.

    James OlleyVerified @JamesOlley
    Better point for United – Mourinho has had a chastening 12 months but proved he can still shut a big game down.


  43. Kaveh Solhekol ‏@SkyKaveh 26m26 minutes ago
    Opta: Manchester United had two more points at this stage last season under Louis van Gaal (16) than they do this season (14)

    Rob Beckett ‏@robbeckettcomic 12m12 minutes ago
    Red Monday can piss off. So boring. Who buys Ibra and Pogba then plays 6 at the back with Rashford right back. Jesus wept.


  44. What a dull affair was that Liverpool v ManUre game?


  45. **** on a st*ck

    Still appears to be the most consice and accurate description no?


  46. I would gloat but you just know that injuries and or suspensions will force the tactical genius of the specialist to put the best footballer at ManIOU (Mata) on the football pitch.


  47. < come November


  48. Dean Jones ‏@DeanJonesBR 3h3 hours ago
    Man Utd had 6 touches in Liverpool box! SIX!


  49. ian herbert ‏@ianherbs 2h2 hours ago
    Mourinho walks back into press conf room to insist that a 35% ball poss figure quoted at him was wrong. “42% – our figure is right” #mufc


  50. Ta edu & fins.

    iDibs, you crack me up. ’09 Stoke…

    Liked by 2 people

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