The Refs Are Biased (Part I)


During the course of last Sunday’s match versus Burnley it struck me how little data is publicly available on the role of the referees in deciding the fate of the Premier League title. Major game-changing decisions were made at key points by Mr. Moss and his officiating crew that significantly tilted the balance against the Gunners, such as; failing to call the penalty for the foul against Mustafi, the Xhaka red-card, the penalty against Coquelin and the controversial sending-off of Wenger. The fact that Arsenal were able to snatch a win from the jaws of dropping two vital points cannot cover up the fact that Moss was on the verge of causing a mortal blow to Arsenal’s chances  of a significant title challenge, minimal as they currently are. Chelsea establishing a 10-point advantage, in their current form, would be almost insurmountable in my opinion.

It strikes me that the role of the referees in punishing or favoring a team is either studiously ignored by the press for reasons best known to themselves or simply underestimated. In a recent tweet I described the situation as two unaccountable institutions dominating the premier league; one fixes the game and the other fixes the narrative.

For me, the penny dropped during the that fateful game in 2005 when referee Mike Riley blatantly corrupted the concept of unbiased officiating by doing everything in his power to favor Manchester United as they ended  Arsenal’s historic 49 game unbeaten run.  Among Riley’s many exploits was the unpunished multiple hacking by the Nevilles of Arsenal’s potential danger-man, then in-form Jose Antonio Reyes and the phantom penalty granted to Wayne Rooney who, untouched, dived like a swan over the leg of Sol Campbell. Thanks to YouTube this historic chapter of refereeing infamy is easily available for all to see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-pCRhFY9M

Any illusions that Riley’s conduct was without the approval of the English football establishment was to be soon disabused. After a decent interval had elapsed, at the end of the 2008-09 season he retired as a professional referee and immediately thereafter was appointed manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOB), where he is now in charge of all the officials, such as Mr. Moss and his crew, who can rightly be regarded as the inheritors of Mr. Riley’s legacy.

Yet we continue to have prattle by the media, premier league officials and by naive, feckless fans that the referees are doing a honest job under difficult circumstances and that their decisions even out in the end. What a load of bollocks!

I focused on penalty decisions which are measureable and have a clear and decisive impact on results as an average of 80% of all penalties is scored. The unbiased data for the past 20 years is very clear; of all the top teams in the premier league Arsenal is the least favored team by premier league officials.

15/16 91 2 3 2 5
14/15 83 7 5 6 5
13/14 86 3 5 12 7
12/13 86 6 7 6 11
11/12 100 3 11 6 5
10/11 105 7 5 7 8
09/10 111 4 8 3 12
08/09 84 5 4 6 2
07/08 89 6 9 5 7
06/07 108 11 6 7 4
05/06 76 7 3 6 4
04/05 79 3 3 4 6
03/04 82 7 4 9 4
02/03 83 4 8 6 3
01/02 58 5 5 3 4
00/01 66 2 3 4 4
99/00 70 3 4 3 1
98/99 52 4 2 8 4
97/98 56 1 2 5 5
96/97 62 7 3 1 5
1627 97 100 109 106
81.35 4.85 5 5.45 5.3

Liverpool is top of the charts with an average 5.45 penalties per season followed by Chelsea and Manchester United. Arsenal is the least averaging 4.85 penalties.

The data is even more staggering for the past 10 years. I have expanded the number of top teams to six (6) to include the “nouveau riche” Manchester City.

15/16 91 2 3 2 5 5 8
14/15 83 7 5 6 5 5 8
13/14 86 3 5 12 7 6 7
12/13 86 6 7 6 11 0 6
11/12 100 3 11 6 5 5 8
10/11 105 7 5 7 8 8 9
09/10 111 4 8 3 12 3 5
08/09 84 5 4 6 2 3 7
07/08 89 6 9 5 7 7 2
06/07 108 11 6 7 4 7 4
943 54 63 60 66 49 64
94.3 5.4 6.3 6 6.6 4.9 6.4

Compared to the previous 10 years the average number of penalties per season has increased by almost 50%, from 68.4 to 98.3. Clearly the referees are now having a more significant impact on the game by awarding one-half more penalties than prior years. Yet Arsenal remains in the lower reaches among top-teams at 5.4 penalties per season. Only North London rivals Tottenham are lower at 4.9. The most dramatic development is that the moneyed teams are getting more penalties in their favor led by the wealthy Chelsea, followed by City and United in that order. Surely this is a case of “follow-the-money” as would be the mantra of any unbiased investigation by law enforcement or any regulatory body.

What is not evident in the table above is gone are the days when a mid-table team, between 1997 and 2006, would be ranked first in penalties awarded, such as; Southampton (97/98), Middlesbrough (99/00), Newcastle (00/01, 01/02 and 03/04) and Crystal Palace (04/05). In the latter years the top-ranked team for penalties has been mostly City, followed by Chelsea and United. Arsenal was an exception in 05/06 and 06/07 and since then it has been downhill with one exception.

The most striking departure from the norm of the refs giving traditional big-teams most of the penalties was last season when Leicester was awarded an unprecedented 13, a record for the past 20 years. As I have observed on twitter this is a clear case of the officials choosing the PL winners and losers as Vardy in particular simply needed to wrap his foot round a defender and throw himself  to the ground in the penalty area to earn the decision. As things now stand, the disparity is not as great as three teams are on top (Liverpool, City and Spurs) have all been granted six (6) penalties. Arsenal is close behind with five (5). No wonder the top-six is so closely bunched together, apart from Chelsea who are way out in front. Clearly if the refs award penalties in an unbiased fashion it will not give one team, i.e. Leicester last year, such a decisive advantage.

After last December’s game with City when Leroy Sane clearly scored an offside goal as evident on tv, a technological aid which is easily available to match officials if the powers that be would allow it, Arsene Wenger remarked:

“… as it is well known, the referees are protected very well like the lions in the zoo, so we have to live with those decisions.”

Maybe Arsene has to live with it because he as a manager cannot highlight the bias and disparity in officiating lest he be accused of bringing the game into disrepute. What excuse do we as fans have for not protesting the nonsense that currently prevails where widely-used technology is unavailable officials to help decide game changing decisions like penalties and offsides?

In Part II I will share with you the complementary data on the penalties against. Trust me, the data is equally as damning.

41 comments on “The Refs Are Biased (Part I)

  1. Much obliged Shotta – a formidable review of penalties stretching back many years.

    Unless I am missing something, and I admit I have only gone back a few seasons in the table – it does not seem the team “winning” ( or being awarded as a result of foul play by an opopnent) the most penalties is likely to be PL champions ? Or am I missing the bigger picture ?


  2. I would expect some lose correlation between touches in the box and penalties. I would also imagine Arsenal have the most touches in the box.?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Fascinating stuff, a really great article but are we allowed to say all this?

    Awkward now, for the Premier League. Their brand’s flagship team stuck in 6th, seemingly ‘permanently out of the top 4. The policy of having referees ‘manage’ games has gone so far past its sell by date that calls for the introduction of VT are now all but totally irresistible.

    Last year they could have followed the money all they liked but the money didn’t perform. Fortunately for them, this season Chelsea have reappeared to save their blushes, saving them from having to donate the league to plucky outsiders.

    Hopefully the era of the Game Changing Referee is all but over.

    But in the meantime, those penalty stats – my oh my.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Well George, ‘statistically’ you’d expect attacking teams, by deign of their extended visits to opposition penalty areas, would ‘win’ more penalties.

    Of all the sides in the Premier League that might be described as attacking, Arsenal are your blueprint, alongside the Manure of old …

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Can I just chuck in a couple of quotes from one of my only two proper attempts at blogging (one on pens, one on Neville! Yep), my unpublished opus’s.

    It’s not me raving away but a couple of useful quotes to set the scene.

    From 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.’

    They follow that with a humorous take from an American writer, Adam Gopnik, who was familiarising himself with the game during the 98 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.’

    Soccernomics again

    ‘… in practice you will only get them [pens] 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.’

    Liked by 4 people

  6. AndrewNic: One would expect that despite 20 years of Wenger’s Arsenal being among the top teams in the league, with an average position of 3rd, known throughout the world as an attacking team, that our penalty-for data would in the LONG-RUN be statistically the same as similarly placed teams. To the contrary the gap between Arsenal and those in the top-six is widening even as the refs award more penalties. As the data proves, Man City, which was a non-entity 20 years ago, languishing outside the top-flight for two seasons, has in the last 10 years, after becoming a “nouveau riche”, has consistently been awarded more penalties than AFC.

    There is no clear correlation between Penalties-For and PL champions. Arsenal has repeatedly demonstrated one can overcome the penalty handicap. The one exception I noted is Leicester’s 13 penalties last season, a record number over 20 years, which in my opinion gave them a decisive edge. One other thing I observed, without doing any statistical tests, is that title-winning teams had to get an above average number of penalties compared to the rest of the League. That by the way makes a lot of sense intuitively.

    Part II, which is the data on Penalties-Against, is even more explosive in demonstrating bias.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Shotta.

    I think you did well by the way to go begin by going so far back (20 years). A consequence is starting with statistics which, to be honest, aren’t damning at all (just 3 pens less than Utd)

    When I approached it I tended to go right in on the Riley era, where the stats are truly shocking (- figures each year nearly all the way, having never had a minus beforehand)

    I think I would then typically compare this with the longer trend (10-12 years) but not all the way back.

    That was probably not quite statistical cricket of me, and left me weakened when the troublesome (banned smiley) Anicoll challenged me with the (pretty normal-looking) 20-year stats.

    I don’t know if I even responded with an ‘oh’ to that, though the longer term stats were not new to me. They had just showed me we once got them at a fairly normal rate for a successful team who had brilliant attacking players and strong defenders.

    Anyway, your way is surely better. My only suggestion is that, after such scrupulousness, you’d earned the right to finish with the whack of the Riley era pen stats, where that juddering change occurred and we could consider ourselves lucky to ‘break even’ any year.

    Maybe I should just bloody wait to see if that’s served up in Part Two.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. All interesting stuff, the Liverpool and Leicester years should have flagged suspicion in terms of pens given….not that the media were going to say anything about those two teams in full flow.
    Untold Arsenalhas looked into a few things, dont recall specifically penalties, but things like fouls per card, wrongly given and disallowed goals etc, dont have these extensive stats to hand, but seem to remember their data suggesting things went significantly downhill for Arsenal when Riley was appointed PGMOL head….appointed clearly not on ability or communication skills, must have been something else.
    Look forward to the next installment with interest.
    Think the cat is out of the bag in terms of refereeing standards in the league, really help they will soon be given the help they are needed, again, why has Rileys PGMOL been so resistant to technology? Probably just doing what someone powerful tells them to do would be my guess, get the feeling that is Riley all over.
    Still, looking around the media in recent days, it seems that Arsene Wenger is whats most wrong with English football….thats the fake news media for you

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Rich I am glad you can relate to the effort it takes to get and present the data. I have been researching this since Sunday together with a demanding schedule at work. But it is important to get a large population of data to head off all those ostritches who have their heads buried in the sand and just need the slightest excuse to dismiss this as “conspiracy theory” and “alternative facts”. George Orwell, if he was alive, would certainly have acknowledged how in this post-truth world the mainstream media and PL officials have done a damn fine job of hiding the bias of the refs and the PGMOB in plain sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “As the data proves, Man City, which was a non-entity 20 years ago, languishing outside the top-flight for two seasons, has in the last 10 years, after becoming a “nouveau riche”, has consistently been awarded more penalties than AFC.”

    But isn’t that because they have far far better players than they had 20 years who attack the opposition more ?


  11. Definitely appreciate work that goes into it Shotta. Someone’s gotta do it and it sure won’t be the media.

    Though, interestingly, the only time I’m aware of a journalist ever showing interest in the topic was Martin Samuel in defence of Jose’s claims refs were against them. He used a tiny sample, a year, maybe less, when they’d done poorly in pens, and ignored all else, i.e all the data which showed historically they do very well.

    Part of a galling pattern whereby many of the techniques Arsenal would have a right to use, if they ever went on the assault, which probably isn’t wise, have been used by Chelsea

    – the campaign claims
    – breaking down a match for key incidents which a ref got wrong
    -getting hold of, and showing one of those helpful media friends
    – a ref assessment report *, to see what PGMOL made of a performance, in the cold light of day, against what the ref saw and did in heat of moment
    – the aforementioned journalistic investigation into penalty stats (though that was independently done, of course. Something a journalist just decided to do
    – and, the ultimate, appearing on sky sports for an hour to lay out all the ills against them.

    * I cannot underestimate the importance I place on these. They are surely an even more accurate gauge of what pgmol actually think than the ref’s performance on the day. The latter is much more affected by human limitations and frailties, and thereby, at least when viewed in isolation, contains ready-made and reasonable excuses for mistakes.

    More importantly, the assessments afterwards, the formal feedback, is crucial to the career prospects of the refs, especially short-term, and is where it is made most clear what is really expected of them.

    What of game 50? All we know is that it can’t have been bad enough to dissuade them from making him boss, and, my guess, didn’t have any effect on him getting good fixtures in the rest of that season.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Shotta,

    Yet another masterful Post with statistical data in abundance and passionately argued.

    The information that grabbed my attention in the first table was that the end results showed ‘Pool had the most penalties awarded over the 20 years, with an average of 5.45 penalties awarded per season, and Arsenal the lowest with an average per season of 4.85, which is only just over half a penalty per season more awarded to ‘Pool than to the Gunners.

    I guess there are two issues arising. The relatively large sample of years (20) would in any event be expected to produce a smaller deviation, however, the number of clubs involved in the population sample would conversely be expected to produce a larger deviation.

    As we have discussed before, the interpretation of the results is key in coming to any firm conclusion, even given the poor standards of refereeing we have come to accept.

    Very good stuff – and valuable in making the points you feel strongly about. [raises hat].

    Liked by 1 person

  13. AndyNic: Didn’t Arsenal have equally attacking players and a more attacking philosophy than City under Mark Hughes and Mancini? In fact they bought many of our attacking players (Adebayor and Nasri) yet by 2009 started getting decidedly more penalties than Arsenal. How come?

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Anicoll

    Excellent point. I came up against that one pretty soon after looking into it. There’s no doubt their stats ‘should’ have improved, dramatically, and they did.

    Not only should a good or very good attacking side do well in terms of pens gained, but a very good side overall also tends to have a good defence, so they should also do well in terms of pens conceded.

    The issue here is weighing up whether over the 7 or 8 year time period, whatever it is, of their ascent, ‘should’ have been such a dramatic difference between their stats and our own. Were they, and others, that much better at us in attack and, even more so, defence?

    Moreover, were all the other big hitters (Tottenham aside, and I’m not sure they deserve big hitter status for all that period), much better than us. If I remember right we have ourselves a minus figure and Utd, Chelsea, City, Liverpool are up in the + twenties.

    The other angle I pursued was trying to find a relationship between goals scored and conceded in a season, and penalties scored and conceded. Basically a side who scores a lot can be said to do a lot of attacking/ have a good attack and ‘should’, on average, do well on penalties and better than teams who score less.

    This seemed to hold up quite well for all the other teams yet was completely out of whack for us, in both attack and defence.

    The picture was a confusing one of us gaining a lot less pens than an attacking team (in both the reality of our game patterns we see, and the hard facts of goals scored) normally would, while conceding more pens than a defence which, contrary to claims, was never awful and often fairly good should.

    An attack which is bad at winning penalties, i.e which doesn’t stress teams enough to commit fouls, but manages to score enough goals to be in the top four always; and a defence which, similarly, is insufficiently strong to avoid conceding many penalties, while always being strong enough to secure top four status.

    Every measure looks wrong, during Riley’s reign at least

    Maybe I’ll try find those figures later today so I can be less vague.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Great work Shotta_gooner.

    PGMO used to be PGMOB (B-stands for Board) some time back. They used to have a website of their own some 3 years ago, then that website went offline all of a sudden.

    And if you want check their or where to find them, this is what you get


    According to them the registered address is Wembley Stadium. Good luck if you want to contact them by phone or email as no info available on either, as well as no web site or name of a contact person within the organisation.
    All highly secretive. [Credit to MickHazel]

    I would like share two links.

    This was when the referees turned professional and stated there will be 24 refs from now on.

    And this is Walter from Untold talking about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. There are three seasons Citeh’s figures are significantly out of kilter wth ours, and I accept that with such identifiable discrepancies further scrutiny may be required!

    Let’s therefore look at those seasons in more detail;

    11/12 – C awarded 8 penalties, Arsenal got just 3

    13/14 C got 7, us 3

    15/16 8 v 2

    The problem I have in assigning that to evidence of referee bias is that the may be other explanations, for example in those seasons one might compare Citeh’s goals scored with our goals scored;

    11/12 C scored 93 goals, we scored just 74

    13/14 C scored 102, us 68

    15/16 C 71 v A 65

    It does not appear to me that even if the numbers of penalties were reversed between the clubs, and doubled, that in 11/12 and 13/14 we would have got anywhere near the number of goals scored as our light blue rivals. They attacked the opposition much more than us, thy scored more goals by the hatful in some seasons.

    Last season there may be an argument that if the differential had been reversed, with us getting eight penalties and Citeh just two we could have been five or six goals better off.

    Well arguably, in exactly the ‘right’ games it may have made an enormous difference. But that is not what you are saying, is it ?


  17. Thanks usamazaka. According to the BBC link the PGMOB was supposed to be more accountable. To whom?

    It is the same b.s. we get from our governments when they privatize or financialize something that was formerly a public service. As the data demonstrates, prior to the PGMOB less penalties were awarded and the top-3 moneyed teams were not getting most of the pens. As I documented in the blog, in the years when United and Arsenal were winning all the PL titles teams like Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Crystal Palace ended up as the top-ranked teams for pens. Leicester broke the trend last year but in my opinion it was an exception from the 10-year norm. I can hardly see mid-table teams like Southampton, West Brom or Bournemouth getting the penalty calls from this “mob.”

    Liked by 2 people

  18. “And if you want check their or where to find them, this is what you get”

    If you want every official company document ever produced by PROFESSIONAL GAME MATCH OFFICIALS LIMITED Company number 04195554, or Needtrack Limited as they were originally, all you have to do is Google Companies House Beta and put in their name.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. 2002-3 to 2015/16 13 and a half seasons.

    Thirteen and a half seasons starting from 2002-3, and, you know what, the figures are not that suspicious. Of the seven teams in the league for all that period we finished fifth (on pen difference.

    Chelsea 78/37 (+41)
    Man Utd 76/36 (+40)
    Liverpool 80/48 (+32)
    Man City 71/47 (+24)
    Arsenal 72/53 (+19)
    Everton 50/48 (+2)
    Spurs 57/59 (-2)


    Pens 2009-10 to 2013/14 (5 years)

    Chelsea 38/16 (+22)
    Man utd 36/15 (+21)
    Man city 35/17 (+18)
    Liverpool 34/24 (+10)
    Everton 21/16 (+5)
    Fulham 20/16 (+4)
    Sunderland 26/23 (+3)
    Spurs 21/24 (-3)
    Stoke 21/30 (-9)
    Aston Villa 21/31 (-10)
    Arsenal 19/31 (-12)

    Pen relegation form as soon as Riley stepped in. Honestly, with such an average attack and an overstressed or incompetent defence we just shouldn’t have been able to get near the top four

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Thanks Anicoll5, didn’t know about that tbh.

    They have the history of their employees/officers, various documents. etc.



  21. On a different, perhaps not totally unrelated note, isn’t it sad that Wenger is today saying Xhaka should avoid tackles when face to face and stay on his feet.

    Granit is far from a normal defensive midfielder but he is tasked with doing a lot of defensive work in midfield and operating in the heart of the fight; now he is has been half-neutered by two uncharacteristically harsh calls from a single referee.

    I’ve watched nearly every one of Xhaka’s games in full, seen Harry Arter about four times, Dier and Wanyama about ten, Rojo the same, and Xhaka has been by far the cleanest player of the group. Each one has made more cynical and more reckless fouls.

    So, for the time being at least, it won’t be Xhaka who gives us that capacity to fight fire with fire in the middle. Shame. He made one perfectly-timed absolute cruncher of a clean tackle in the Leicester game which made me think we might have our man for it. Or rather a second as Coq can do it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Arter is a bit of a nutter Rich and he will cause someone a very serious injury one day, probably himself. There are some other violent lumps about Fernandinho being a prime example. There have been some shockingy soft red cards though probably even worse than Granit’s first against Swansea – Redmond against Spurs was Deano at his worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. please read the work Untold do on referees. Even if I largely ignore their Wengerism, its well detailed and takes every decision on its own merits. it’s great that you have more than 10 years data on penalties but please understand, the metrics you chose to make your arguments are more important than your argument itself. You think Arsenal are getting a raw deal? Prove it with the right metrics. Untold have done it to an extent. just compiling the number of penalties is a really amateurish approach. And it you are talking about refereeing incompetence, what about our two wins against Burnley? A handball was ignored, an offside leading to a penalty was not given.

    Just taking the last game against Burnley as an example. He got two decisions wrong. Mustafi didn’t get a penalty. The offside wasn’t called. The other decisions were all spot on. A stupid challenge from xhaka, Coquelin’s lack of defensive control….those were our mistakes, not the refs. Wenger was sent off due to all this and not because the ref made a mistake.

    I urge you to take off your Arsenal glasses when you are analysing refs. Without that, there is no credibility to your argument.


  24. anicoll

    Yep on Arter. Must be pretty bad because he almost had me feeling sympathy for Spurs players earlier this year.

    Ok not quite sympathy, but he did make at least a couple of crazy fouls that day.

    His challenge on Monreal was also wild and one of those to make you ponder the disadvantage for us of not being primed, as most teams surely are, to recognise and make the most of any dodgy-looking challenge. It’s all the same thing I suppose but we lose out double as a consequence.

    In the same way the Stirling non-pen raised issue of having to fall for your pen, there’s a strong element of having to react dramatically and roll and get the physios on for your red. That’s league-wide or even sport-wide, so not specifically a comment on how we fare.

    We’re likely to get an answer in the not-too-distant future of how we’ll do if we join in with those antics, as it is surely inevitable the next man will be at least somewhat more cynical and quite likely significantly more.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Moss has sent off Xhaka twice, the only two sending offs of Xhaka’s time at Arsenal, as I said when Moss sent off Xhaka v Swansea, all fine and dandy if Moss(and other refs) send off players for the same thing, but as we know, that has not happened. we have seen Moss let the same offence go without a red since then, and then he sends off Xhaka v Burnley, again all fine and dandy if that is the way Moss refs games, but we know its not, he has let far worse go in a number of games this season, in some cases not only no red, but not even a yellow. And now tonight, less than a week after he sent off Granit, we see the same sort of tackle made by Rojo, but of course no red from Moss.
    Whatever excuse there is for other refs not sending off players for those offences, there is no good reason why Moss would judge an Arsenal player differently than he does those of other clubs. And by the way, Moss is not the only ref who has this inexplicable change of judgement when its Arsenal and when its not Arsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I missed Hull and just caught the after game pleasantries

    I’d have never guessed it was Jose’s birthday



  27. Callum Chambers has suffered a stress fracture of his foot.

    on better news for Arsenal, only Sanogo and Cazorla are not in full training. Debuchy and Metesacker are back in full training and Walcott is back in the squad for saturday.

    By the way if Arsenal lose to southampton we will have two weekends off in February, and will have 16 days between games after the Bayern Munich game.


  28. Bit harsh on Mossy – he pissed on Jose’s birthday parade tonight – perfectly correct penalty for Rojo shirt tugging – pity there is not more adherence to the laws of the game


  29. Very thin lips Henry Winter – very sinister


  30. jordan mceneff set to sign scholarship forms with Arsenal this summer – nice piece of skill in this link



  31. “I’ve said and done worse,” says Wenger ahead of FA hearing
    Updated / Jan. 26, 2017 23:19 0
    Arsene Wenger is in hot water with the FA
    Arsene Wenger is in hot water with the FA
    Arsene Wenger believes he has said and heard worse abuse on the touchline than the actions which have landed him in hot water with the Football Association.

    The Arsenal boss has said he will request a personal hearing following an FA misconduct charge after being dismissed from the dugout in Sunday’s Premier League win over Burnley.

    Wenger had until 1800 on Thursday to respond to the charge but revealed at his morning press briefing that he would not be contesting it.

    He was sent off by referee Jon Moss after allegedly using abusive or insulting language towards fourth official Anthony Taylor after an injury-time penalty was awarded to the Clarets.

    Wenger then tried to watch the remainder of the contest from the entrance to the tunnel and was shown pushing Taylor, who was asking him to retreat.

    At 67 and with two decades of Premier League management to his name, Wenger is the elder statesmen when it comes to top-flight bosses – and he believes his recent incident does not rank with the worst he has witnessed.

    “You know, I have said much worse than I did here and you are not punished and I have heard much worse from other people,” he said of his spat with the officials.

    “It depends as well on the circumstances. Sometimes some new level of problem you have all around.”

    Arsenal secured a 2-1 win over Burnley when Moss awarded them their own injury-time penalty, by which time Wenger was back in the dressing room.

    After the game he admitted he should have “shut up” and “gone home” but insists he has been able to keep a lid his temper on most occasions.

    “I learnt to control it,” he said. “I have certainly attendance to be super passionate. You do not make 34 years without interruption on the bench if not super passionate, believe me. I put you in this job for six months and then we will talk again – if you are still alive.”

    Although he believes he has witnessed worse touchline behaviour, Wenger admitted his charge of using abusive and/or insulting words and improper conduct when making physical contact with Taylor.

    When asked if he would accept the charge, he replied: “Yes, I’ve answered that in the press conference, there’s not more to add. I’ve been in England for 20 years, I have seen a lot on the bench, as you certainly know.

    “I think if I am after 34 years still in the job it is because I am big enough to stand up for what I do. And as well, I’m big enough to know when I do well and when I do not do well. So that’s it.

    “I am a passionate guy and I believe that I am completely committed in my job and want to win football games.”

    Wenger is expected to be hit with a fine and a suspension after Alan Pardew was banned for two matches and fined £20,000 after accepting an improper conduct charge following an incident in August 2012 when he shoved assistant referee Peter Kirkup.

    “I expect nothing,” Wenger said when asked about potential punishments.

    “I came out after the game and I said what I think I had to say. When I don’t behave like I think I should behave, I’m big enough to say ‘yes, that’s not right’ and that’s it.”

    Wenger confirmed he will request a personal hearing to answer the charge but refused to divulge what he would say to the FA panel.

    He also defended his decision to stand at the top of the tunnel, insisting there are no instructions where a manager is to go once dismissed from the touchline.

    Wenger referenced an incident at Manchester United in 2009 when he was sent off in injury-time for kicking a bottle and ended up behind the dugout with the home fans – on that occasion he was given an apology by Keith Hackett – then the head of the Professional Game Match Official Board.

    “When I was sent off I was surprised and I was in the tunnel because I thought I had the right to be in the tunnel,” Wenger said.

    “Last time I was sent off wrongly, in 2009, I had to go in the stand at Old Trafford and I didn’t know where to go. No one tells you what you have to do when you are sent off.”

    Asked if the guidelines need to be made clearer, he added: “I think so, because you don’t know where to go.”


  32. The U23’s game vs Chelsea tonight is cancelled.
    I was looking forward to watching it.


  33. Old Moss The Merciless had a great view of this one, by the way. So what exactly was he up to giving a free kick and nowt else?

    Elbow to the face from side without even a token gesture of trying to head the ball.

    Gotta laugh at the way it appears someone in the sky video truck was about to show a perfect front on view of incident before deciding, nah, best not.

    I’ve thought previously that you have to keep an eye out for fouling trends in the game- with something you might rarely or never have seen before, like Adam’s chokehold, popping up again-Ivanovic/McCarthy- very soon after, if the first one goes unpunished.

    I fancied Costa’s eye-scratchery was the same last year. Didn’t feel random to me- twice on Kos then something similar on Gabriel.

    At the moment elbowing seems ‘hot’. It’s not a new one but, at least in our games, even a blatant one is currently only a yellow and often not that. Keep an eye out in the weeks ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Good win for Mo and the Egyptians last night against a strong Ghana side – next up Morocco on Sunday in the QF


  35. Did Elneny play anicoll? If so – how did he personally do?

    [Initially I thought you were referring to Missouri] lol

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Mo put in the full 90 shift H but no details I have seen of anything special from our boy. The reports are of a good defensive barrier put up by Egypt as the Ghanaians tried to claw back an equaliser so he will have been busy.


  37. I probably mentioned this before, anicoll, but just in case – I was dealing with someone on a business matter, via ‘phone, and before we said Gd’ Bye he asked if I knew Elneney as they were friends and had been born and brought up in the same area of Egypt.

    I said not personally but that he was a good footballer and played for the team [Arsenal] that I supported. I know, he loves Arsenal — he said to me, and I was caught up in chat about what Mo hoped to achieve at the Gunners, and everyone in their neighbourhood now supported Arsenal.

    Quite fascinating. Sadly I have had no further contact since, as we had sorted out the issue outstanding.

    Small world really!

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Wenger gets a four-match touchline ban


  39. On pens I think the old indirect free kick should come back in to help refs. Mustafi was running away from goal and the burnley chap had lost control of the ball neither would have scored if they wern’t fouled.
    Only clear goal scoring opportunities would then be given as pens making players stay on their feet in most situations and less pens overall.
    See Arsene gets 4 game ban double what pardew got and a 25,000 fine


  40. […] my initial piece I was categorical. Based on penalties […]


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