40 Comments

Atkinson 1 – 4 Arsenal – But Let’s Not Mention The Ref

turnip-in-black

A turnip in black.

“The referee’s incompetence has done the home side no favours here having simply provoked The Arsenal into administering a punitive thrashing”

Or so I wrote on Twitter at about the 1-3 point of yesterday’s trip to the North East.  It was probably one of my more sensible remarks on a day and in a match which could have ended very differently.  Certainly my first draft for this piece, efficiently started within minutes of the close of play, sorry, final whistle, threatened to be a very different piece to the one I’m writing this morning.

Carrying one of the original sets of rusting keys to George’s online sanctum doesn’t come without a degree of responsibility, oh no.  It’s not as easy as some of his star writers make it look.

As Steww’s occasional forays into the world of meta-blogging demonstrate, as one cogitates on precisely what to write, the pressure to ‘not let the blog down’ from the lofty standards set by our main writers never gets any less. Yes, Steww’s genius finds expression in a weekly (often bi-weekly) masterpiece that could – and should – be read by anyone, including those of us with a passing interest in football.  Andy Nic’s grasp on a sense of balance is actually bordering on frightening, despite the frequent provocations by circumstance to deliver otherwise. Shotta’s recent evidence-based forays into the world of footballing trends and statistics are, in the round, the online equivalent of one of the Seven Wonders of the Online World (at least 98.8% of the time).

And precisely what should we be writing about, reading, debating, this grey English morning?

Well, my fevered half-draft of a review, started around 2pm Saturday, had the provisional title of:

“Arsenal v Atkinson: A Referee Of Two Halves”.  With a photo of a turnip or some other vegetable of disparaging symbolism.

Frightfully clever of course (said the voice in my head, at least) – but it also tells you exactly where, despite a handsome away win, my focus lay in the immediate aftermath of a game Arsenal were expected to win, and win at a canter.

But what of ‘the lessons’ of the game – what, if anything did we learn from it (despite the confirmation of our worst fears as to the inconsistent state of our referees).  Do we, here on PA want to make Atkinson our main focus?

No of course we do not.  But will we?  Yes, of course we will – if only little bit.

As one of the Twitterati poignantly posted mid-game:

“My love for the game is diminishing weekly because of the refs. They are shocking to the point it’s no longer a talking point @FA. #corrupt” (@Bandoguk).

My Twitter friend was referring to Atkinson’s waving away of Sanchez’s appeal for a nailed on penalty having been hauled down mere seconds before Cech ‘felled’ a Sunderland player who had somehow strayed into our own box – and done so with the lightest of touches.  In truth, both were surely penalties. But not only did Atkinson spot Cech’s micro-brush (or “coming together” as some refs might have otherwise judged), but he saw fit to book Petr for the least dangerous tackle of the day.  Before then going on to fail to book a Sunderland player for high-kicking Coq almost out cold on the edge of the home penalty area.

So that’s one rule for one half of the pitch, another for the other.  Or so it felt.

But was Atkinson really that bad?  Well, thanks to the result, his worst efforts will be quickly forgotten and in truth he probably didn’t plummet to Moss-like levels of incompetent inconsistency which resulted in this weekend’s Jilted John’s demotion to the lower leagues.

But the main point – or ‘lesson’ from this is that at pretty much any moment over the last ten years, Atkinson’s best efforts could easily have resulted in a shock draw or even a shocking win for a club that has, not to be too unkind, always been several levels below Arsenal FC during this same period.

And yesterday, as Andy Nic tweeted at the time:

“Let’s hope we learn the lesson – I dislike relying on referees.”

So, as already agreed, this post-match meander will not be ‘all about the ref’.  Honestly.

Well, okay then, what of the actual lesson that is still sitting, waiting patiently in the wings, to be taken from this frankly somewhat tame encounter?

For me it was the Official Baptism of Arsenal’s attacking Plan B.  You, know, that other ‘option’ we should be able to turn to during a game when all else has failed for 70 minutes and we simply can not get a goal for love or anything else that may be on offer. That we are riding so high in the league is not entirely down to playing Sanchez ‘down the middle’.

Things like a miserly defence and a dominant midfield has a role or two to play.  But the option of having Alexis move politely to the side as the Bearded Wonder was introduced to take just two touches to draw level with Vardy’s season’s Premier League goal tally is of immense significance.  Yes, that’s right, two goals from two touches from yet another of Arsene’s acquisitions that have, according to some of the lesser denizens amongst us, and in common with Koscielny and Le Coq, supposedly not been fit to wear the shirt at one time or another.

Yes, it was ‘only Sunderland’.  But that same Sunderland – away from home – which, with more than a hint of help from certain unnamed friends in black, have stolen the odd point or three on a seasonal basis over the last ten years. So, welcome to the team, Plan B.

As an Arsenal fan, in this modern Emirates era, there are two times of the year we all dread.  One is October and the other, February.  These are the two months of the year when injuries have ‘traditionally’ kicked in to derail our otherwise stately progress to the top.  It’s not just injuries of course, but the time required for the rehabilitation of the mended but not-yet-up-to-speed stars who simply can not switch ‘it’ on or off like the machines we all wish they were.

But wait!

We stand on the brink of November with apparently only Danny Welbeck, out of our biggest stars with a serious injury awaiting a (December?) comeback. This means we go into the next period with an almost complete squad (Santi will surely be back before Daniel’s Yuletide return), ready to rotate and with options galore for a manager more used to juggling than planning with a cold eye, and a full team list to select from.

Scoring four away from home is, for sure, some kind of statement. That we have for the most part ploughed through the opening 3 months like a knife through butter, and with some style, suggest the period November-February will be far less perilous than at any time  over the last 10 years.  That we ended up winning at a ‘canter-plus’, without truly breaking sweat or with any morale-sapping points dropped, is of huge significance.

And those, my friends, are the real lessons I’d take from yesterday’s victory.

 

 

About ArsenalAndrew

Annoying, perennial optimist and lifelong supporter of the finest football club the world has ever seen. My support for the club manager and every single player is non-negotiable, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Retain all options on fellow fans.

40 comments on “Atkinson 1 – 4 Arsenal – But Let’s Not Mention The Ref

  1. Morning AA, great piece and I loved reading your thoughts on yesterdays game, I for one would always be interested in reading more posts by you along side the regulars on PA. Always good writing on PA.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The PA bench is just as strong as the Arsenal’s atm. Giroud, Chamberlain, Gibbs and Andrew, we are being spoilt here.

    It’s not just one thing. Like the signing of this or that player or the final adaption/evolution of Alexis into a PL CF which we all knew was part of the plan after the 2015 FA cup final where he did ok (heh!) even if all the plundits bloggers and Arse-Experts completely forgot the team’s form and style from that distant time in 2015.
    Or the encouragement for Özil to become a goalscoring playmaker and to emulate his childhood heroes which, let’s be fair, was probably a major reason why the gaffer convinced him to sign when he’d have been paid more Wonga etc. elsewhere.

    In 08 the Arsenal had a similar-ish squad, possibly weaker in midfield and stronger in attack? Three CF options, the super duper delux striker who plays like some kind of playmaking striker tribute to Di Natale*, the ‘big lump’, and the ‘fox in the box’. Though if Welbeck and Lucas both come back fit and strong, then perhaps the current front line is also looking deeper? Welbeck…

    …first things first. A midweek trip and then time to end this Tottenham squad’s unbeaten run though if they are allowed to dive and get awarded pens like they usually do it will be a little harder to beat the footballers that lost to Iceland in a game of football when they have the PGMOB on hand to change their nappies.

    *Sanchez spent years as in years and years playing alongside the legendary and much admired striker. I’m just going to leave that consideration hanging out there in the hope that some Expert might pick up on it, you never know…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. If we get Welbeck & Lucas back in decent form then are we looking at Henry/Wiltord/Kanu levels of silliness?

    Amazing what the gaffer can do when he doesn’t have to turn a profit!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Alexis Sánchez 8
    Theo Walcott 8
    Mesut Özil 6
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlail 5
    Santiago Cazorla 2
    Olivier Giroud 2
    Laurent Koscielny 2
    Lucas Pérez Martínez 2

    Liked by 2 people

  5. well its no thanks to Atkinson that we are not looking at an injury crisis, the amount of bad fouls he let go on Arsenal players was unreal, the ill treatment of Alexis was clearly in the Sunderland game plan, and Atkinson allowed it unabated. In fact Alexis and Arsenal had more fouls awarded against them than Sunderland had, yes MA ended up booking four or five Sunderland players, but there should have been at least two Reds added to that, If he had given the penalty to Alexis it would have been a second yellow and so a red for the defender, but it was Alexis who got a yellow for that incident. We also had Pienaar getting away with a least one nailed on yellow, before he actually got his nailed on yellow, and when I say nailed on yellow, well they are nailed on unless you are in an Arsenal shirt, then they are Reds, just ask Xhaka.

    Over recent years, or going on the stats over his entire Arsenal career, November is the month of the season that we have the lowest average points gained, as Andrew points out in his article, this may be due to the massive injury list we get from October. We have Spurs and Man Utd as our first two BPL games in November, but unlike other seasons, we have players returning from injury this time around. Last November we drew with Spurs, lost to WBA(penalty spot kicked up) , drew with Norwich(Alexis pushed into a camera pit), this season we have even with our injury list, been able to rotate a bit more, and now with Ramsey and Giroud back, and with Monreal, Cazorla and Theo all due back this week, we have even more options. Come December 1st, we will have a better idea how our season is shaping, but I will say it again, this team feels different to me, so I am expecting our historic poor showings in November will be consigned to history. My only concern is that the PGMOL seem to be clicking into gear with AFC, as we have in recent weeks had them roll out Dean, Moss and Atkinson. We have seen bare faced one sided performances from the officials, Atkinson took a full half hour to award AFC a free kick yesterday, We’ve had Xhaka sent off for a new rule that does not exist. So Whats next.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant Andrew. Simply brilliant. For just beautifully putting into words and distilling into reason the myriad of conflicting emotions one felt as the game unfolded. I just tweeted to d_c and a5 that the most important lesson of the game is how we overcame Atkinson attempts to screw us over. But that was only one of 3 big positives. I am still partial to that bearded fellow though. Can we win the title without him?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Very well done Andrew. The trick to worrying about writing for the blog is not to worry about it. Write assuming no one is going to read it, if I didn’t the nerves would stop me doing it at all.
    As far as yesterday goes that nearly pivotal moment when one penalty was ignored and Cech’s attempt to pull out of the way wasn’t had me fuming and I can see why you’d have it on your mind. However Arsenal simply went up a gear and swatted Sunderland’s impudence aside.
    The fascinating thing for me was other people’s response to the ‘two penalties’ moment. Some were angry with the team for throwing away their lead (despite earning a clear penalty which is hardly throwing anything away is it?) others were angry with the referee.
    Not saying anything disparaging about those is the former camp just saying that they are not in the same camp as me.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Back Page Football ‏@bkpgftbl 20h20 hours ago
    After ten games at #mufc

    Van Gaal – 20 points

    Moyes – 17 points

    Mourinho – 15 points

    Like

  9. For those of you still making apologies for the appalling decision to send off Granit Xhaka. Why the deafening silence over the incident in the first half yesterday? Go to Arsenal Player, fast forward to about 27 minutes and watch as a Sunderland player commits precisely the same offence – in an almost identical fashion – only in a more advanced area of the pitch. Why are you not screaming that he deserved a red card?

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Good stuff. You’ve been too kind, for me, in your assessment of one of Pgmol’s biggest tools.

    I’ll get with the positivity,though. We played some lovely stuff yesterday. Many a thought dirifted through my head about the quality of play on offer, and the huge contrast with what Sunderland fans get to watch.

    I think that gulf contributes to my pain on the days those in the Sunderland role get something from the match.

    I’m sure there’s a more appropriate (less embarrassing for me) word than unfair but, bloody hell, it seems unfair, unreal almost that so much brilliant skilful football, played with energy, wit, invention, skill, hard work, etc, can be undone by a corner, a pen, etc.

    Nature of the game, no doubt, and part of its appeal, but when the contrast is so big, and the stakes of course so high for me, it still feels like a fresh situation each time.

    It’s also what keeps my anger fresh and outsized when a ref badly fails to do a reasonable job out there. Kept things exciting, I guess, but with either the deserved first half red or the pen the likelihood of it being one of those nasty days would have been far less.

    A few pluses at random : Elneny : bloody hell, is this guy ,very roughly, our *5th choice central midfielder- he was outstanding ; Gibbs: great game; Ox : magnificent run and cross, much less erratic, lots of threat ; Mustafi : has an excellent long pass in him if our opponents leave space behind defence. Could pick another half dozen big pluses with ease. Oli! Sanchez! Ramsey back!, etc.

    * Don’t think we even need to think of putting our midfielders in order. Evidence is beginning to gather,though, that Coquelin and Elneny might be a great pairing for away games.

    Bad news might be coming with Coq,though, as Deschamps will surely recognise his form before long. Once he gets a game, if he plays anything like his best, that’ll be it.

    Ok, one more plus to piss of the Mert loyalists : I think kos benefits from not being as stretched from having to cover his partner so much if there are big spaces around. He was sprinting for two.

    I like Mert, honest, and if we played deep (as we did against Spurs once when Mertesacker had a flawless game) he’d be a certain starter, but I swear that as well as looking such a good partnership, kos is benefitting with Mustafi by not being pushed to the edge physically on a very regular basis.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. If Darth Mou’s poor run continues,does it mean when we soon go to the Cauldron of sweat,will all the nefarious forces be out to stop us?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. so guys which of our goals was your favorite

    goal 1 – a 22 pass move – yeah I know Match of the Day said Alexis started it six passes out, but really it was a 22 pass move, started by a throw in about ten yards from our own goal line, – ended with a burst of pace from ox and a fine cross only bettered by a bullet of a header from Alexis

    goal 2 – good interplay, superb cross by Gibbs, and with his first touch of the game, Giroud hits a sweet half volley

    goal 3 – Ozil corner, Giroud with a deft header despite two big lumps of defenders hanging out of him.

    goal 4 – good passing move, gibbs shot hits post, then a bit of ping ball, a Ramsey mishit shot becomes an assist, as Alexis takes it under control, turns, dummies as to hit it with his left(how did Sunderland not know he never scores with his left), and he dinks the ball past the keeper with his right.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Mills I would not be surprised if we witness a bigger travesty than the 50th game. PGMOL have only been warming up in recent weeks with Dean, Moss and Atkinson. I’m sure the other refs have noticed the message the PGMOL are sending in regards to Arsenal.

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  14. The old fart’s thoughts:
    There’s really not too much that can be said of this game other than we were professional and the opposition were as poor as the referee. Reviewing Atkinson’s previous displays when reffing Arsenal and comparing them with his other matches, one is forced to the conclusion that he is totally biased against us. Admittedly he booked 4 of Blunderland’s minions versus two of ours, but it could easily have been 24. That we escaped serious injuries was the only redeeming feature.
    But we still had good performances to savour. Kieran may well have claimed back his spot from Nacho, Mo Elneny and Le Coq stood out and the second half substitutions to bring on Rambo and Olly were very welcome. As Eddie pointed out yesterday “Giroud scored with his first two touches today. But what did the useless plank do with his third touch? Waster” Nice one Eddie. This was more than matched by a lovely quote from @7amkickoff: “Giroud only had 11 touches in this match, 12 if you count the time he touched my heart and made me feel funny inside,”
    In between that, Alexis and the Ox were laying waste to the non existent defence with both young Alex and Ozil the Hun eager to pick up the pieces. That we didn’t go in at half time leading by 4 or 5 was a mystery but all we had to show for it was the stunning interpassing (somebody counted 22 passes) finished by Alexis great header from the Ox’s cross.. This mystery was compounded shortly into the second half when we were denied a blatant penalty and almost immediately, young Watmore, one of the few Sunderland players to show enthusiasm, took advantage of an unkind bounce that confused Shkodran and was then brought down by Petr. No problem then for Atkinson to give the penalty. 1-1 and the thoughts of dropping another two points must have entered many heads.
    But, enter Olly. What a great return. With Alexis adding a fourth some justice was done.
    Now for the CL again with what appears to be a close to full squad. Rather AW’s selection problem than mine. Keep the faith

    Liked by 7 people

  15. steww we seen giroud taken out of it v Reading when going for the area, and no outcry that a red was not given,
    you see part of the problem is, that due to sky and bbc both falsely claiming that there is a new rule, no such rule actually exists, but once a lie has been heard and then heard again, it is very hard for some to not believe it, even when evidence of it being a lie is produced. Smoking does not have any links to causing cancer, is still believed by some, so what chance a lie over football rules will be discredited.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ed-no three for me, I loved how the ball seemed to be hanging in the air as it remained out of Pickfords reach. Plus Kos was getting on the keepers baps so his mind was split in two,Kos’ presence, and watching Larrys header slowly coming down.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. It’s easy to be distracted by the refereeing which careens from game to game between crass incompetence and blind prejudice.

    So let’s not forget the luxurious flow of sumptuous football in which we are privileged to bathe each week.

    As the great man himself said: “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art”.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Fitted in seamlessly .I’d say.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I read the first couple of paragraphs then had to scroll up to see who was writing this article. I’d presumed it was A5 – following his very nice preview, but ‘turnip in black’ didn’t fit the pattern. (Not at the top of a review)!

    But having woken “early” for a Sunday, I wondered why the review wasn’t already posted upon my awakening? (Gotta moan about summat).

    May I say, AA, you ****ing Nailed It.

    And what’s more, due to ablutions and brekky (two dry brown rolls), my myriad cross-ness of yesterday’s refshite have been covered not only in the article but by superb comments from Fins, Edu, Rich, et al. You’ve all left me little insight to post. That’s OK.

    I lost the picture after half time. I had to take Fins advice and listen to the ArsPlaya – until 1-2. I managed to see the full 2nd half a bit later, but even the folk on ArsPlaya were outraged by the shenanigans.

    Danny ****face on MOTD came up with a completely different summary of the game, which is par for the course, I know, but…. **** me!!!

    As I and others have said before, we must give thanks for our players producing these wonderful performances, and despite our team looking ever stronger/different, we must always call out the ref-crap, because our not winning the league since being at the Ems IS ENTIRELY DOWN TO “THEM”!

    Well done Arsenal.

    Liked by 5 people

  20. ah BBC keeping up their anti arsenal agenda, “the goal v Burnley should not have stood”, – never mind the rules, as we know the BBC will make up new rules if it suits their anti arsenal agenda, they are a disgrace.

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  21. One of the biggest things is we winning games where the ref is against us, in previous seasons (and in game 50) we lost them. Yesterday we wern’t clinical, until the lastest bit of deadwood floated on, at times downright wasteful.
    Steww I said at the time the tap tackle was never punished by a red in the history of football and will probably never will be again and I think over the last few weeks that has come true. We have feel victim twice since the Xhaka incident and Ive also watched other games where its also been ignored. We may have just had enough to push us over the line at home to borough who knows, If that was the case then the ref done his job in losing us points a slightly stretching our squad further.
    Its great to see Ox and Gibbo coming in with big performances and Aaron and Oli making impacts on their return.
    Actually Andrew I always thought November and February were our worst months and with the spuds playingt a home tie in the week and us away and players coming back from the internationals just before the, away early kick off manure game, we will be at a slight disadvantage in both. Good results in those games will be a major boost.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Just a thought on our opponents yesterday, Sunderland, or more to the point, their fans. Sunderland have been struggling badly for several seasons now, – real struggle, not the sort of struggle stupid Arsenal fans claim we are enduring – relegation battle after relegation battle, their fans really can not enjoy it. So could it actually be better for them as a club, and far more enjoyable for their fans if Sunderland were to get relegated this season. Last seasons 3 relegated teams fans are probably enjoying this season more than they did last season, Newcastle are on top in the championship, norwich are in 4th, and Aston Villa are on verge of already bettering last seasons points total.
    The only real reason why the Club might not want to be relegated is the loss of the BPL money, even if they get parachute payments, and of course the fear that if they do not get back up withing a season or two, they could be stuck, but Sunderland, a bit like Newcastle and Norwich, and also the likes of Hull, have a recent history of being yoyo clubs, and they have the structures to cope with relegation and would be a good bet to come back to the BPL soon enough.
    So if you were a Sunderland fan, would you be afraid of relegation, or would you think it might actually be a good thing.

    Like

  23. Why would this be included (or not) in MOTD highlights?:

    https://streamable.com/i2z7

    Like

  24. Asano scored his first goal for stuggart today, a fine left foot finish from just inside the area

    Like

  25. I’m always wondering how our loanees are doing. I found a thread where someone’s commenting on Jack v Callum in yesterday’s BournBoro game.
    Warning: there’s relentless swearing on the thread, so don’t look if that doesn’t suit:

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh sh*t. I’m sorry. I thought there’d just be a link which viewers could choose to look t or not.
    Please delete my post if necessary.

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  27. Looks like Derek and Clive were writing the ticker for the Boro/Cherries game!

    Like

  28. I think we are justified in feeling confident about the coming months. We have never been in this situation for many a year. An almost completely fit squad? Playing so well? Maybe much more in store? Oh my….Thanks AA…..

    Liked by 2 people

  29. A super-duper Post full of meaty content and insightful opinions about a game where the result could have been adversely affected by a ‘strange’ refereeing decision.

    I completely agree with everything you said, other than the penalty designs, altho as those things are subjective I am probably talking bollix.

    In my view there was no question that Sanchez was pulled at the shoulder by the Sunderland player — an overreaction by Alex? — well the laws do not say how much the fouled player has to resist a foul – he got pulled – it’s a foul – FIFA Law 12 (Holding a player in the penalty area) it’s a penalty.

    At the other end Belli Button made a mistake and the coin of the bag beat him and the forward raced off with Kozzer in pursuit. Cech seeing it developing moved out to intercept the ball, with the forward moving away from goal and likely to be challenged by Kozzer, the toe-poke pushed the ball past Cech, and e turned away so that he did not foul the Sunderland player, who ran into his back – as all forwards do to win the penalty – and it was duly awarded — but a penalty it was not – in my opinion.

    Anyway – I do not care we won – and won handsomely.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. isn’t funny that after the kicking our players took yesterday that danny murphy on match of the day bemoaned that sunderland did not get stuck in enough to them. its a disgrace that in this day and age that pundits get hired to tell teams that they should be kicking teams that are better than them, its their favorite line, well along with the cure for any team not winning trophies is to spend more and more and more, either that or sack the manager and let the new guy spend spend spend.

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  31. pundits

    S ‏@attwood10 29m29 minutes ago
    Jamie Redknapp just called Victor Moses, a 25 year old Nigerian, a “young English talent”.

    Like

  32. Randy @ 1:53 pm – Excellent report. Colorful language but clearly it was a boring cunt of a game. Had me laughing after every sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Grand stuff Andrew and the elements of the contest, and it’s full range, cogently dissected and ordered.

    One thing that struck me today – when is the last time two Arsenal strikers scored with headers in a match ?

    Has it ever happened in the past 20 years or is my memory hazier than usual ?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Just re-read my comment and that was a bit late. Auto-correct was up to mischief ‘coin of the bag – was actually ‘spin of the ball’ + ‘penalty designs’ should have read ‘penalty decisions’ and so on.

    But you guys are smart enough to know that without my explanations. lol

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Hi anicoll,

    Like you, I cannot remember the last time I saw or heard of two forwards scoring with headers in the same game. Interesting to know, if anyone else can remember.

    Like

  36. Thank to Mills, Fins, Steww et al for kind comments.

    It certainly helps to get an easy game to review but the blog is graced, as ever, by the full range of top quality comments and observations from our usual friends and acquaintances.

    Long may that continue.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. HenryB I have a vague memory of Arsenal scoring 4 or 5 headed goals in one game back in George Graham’s time as manager, for some reason I think it may have been an away game, maybe Southampton or QPR (as I have the feeling that Colin Clarke played against us), I remember some match reports suggesting that the Arsenal forwards should give their boot sponsors their money back as they did not use them, as it was all headed goals.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Nice one. A very poor performance from a ref with who we have history. Maybe he hasn’t forgiven the fact our fans so publically in the stadium called him out when he tried so blatantly to tilt the pitch when we played Leicester at home last season.
    Sunderlands tactics were pathetic, completely reliant on a lenient ref, as if they knew they were going to get one. I hope they are relegated after that, and I am still amazed the WOB wanted Moyes managing Arsenal.
    I know refs are human and make mistakes, but, despite some decent performances this season, some seem serial offenders against our team, and Atkinson is up there with the worst. Incompetence, Personal bias or a wider agenda? whatever the root cause, the boys gave the perfect response.
    Will watch the refereeing in our next two league games with interest. It seems Tottenham get away with rather a lot on the day, and are only ever called to account retrospectively.

    Liked by 4 people

  39. I suspect that any Man Utd fan would feel much the same about Clattenburg this weekend – or, indeed anyone who had decided Man Utd at home against Burnley would be a nailed on banker for their accumulator. It is very rare to have a weekend when there isn’t some form upset or other, and a well-drilled defensive team will often pull off a nil-nil or even a shock result if they are excused clumsy tackles all over the pitch and especially in the box.

    Liked by 3 people

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