89 Comments

Arsenal: Every good boy deserves football

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Good morning Positives,

A sumptuous evening of entertainment last night from two of the three best attacking sides in the country last night. The perfect paradigm of the two half contest. Thrills, a couple of goalkeeping spills, a point apiece the only fair result. Yes, yes, yes I know three points would have been handy but what we got is what we deserved.

First, a word of praise for Klopp’s boys who in Firmino, Mane and Salah have a very talented strike. If they were given a sight of goal anywhere around the box they pulled the trigger. The bloody irony is that all the Liverpool goal’s we the result of either a deflection from an Arsenal boot or leg ( the first two) or Cech muffing a shot from outside the box the would deal with nineteen times out twenty.

Second, I read a few comments last nigh to the effect that AFC’s defending was woeful in the first half. Well perhaps, but during that 45 Liverpool’s movement and passing in our half was excellent in our half. Like a boxer trying to move up a weight we found ourselves pinned back and hanging on under the flurry of blows. On the intermittent occasions we managed to get the ball over he half way line nothing came of it. Mignolet snoozed. To go in at 0-1 was a relief to me, though apparently not for those AFC fans who see booing anyone in red shirt as constructive criticism.

To go two down on 52 minutes from a breakaway was a potential knock out but like any shock to the system it worked. Within seconds we reeled up from the canvas, swung in a speculative cross any our favourite Chilean rippled the onion bag. Like a balloon meeting an angry knitting needle suddenly the Scousers could not keep the ball, and in their turn staggered sideways and back as we finally roared.

Mesut, who had been quieter than a church mouse suddenly was everywhere. Xhaka hit a decent but saveable shot which Mignolet produced the most inept one handed effort to keep out. Even from 0-2 to 2-2 in three minutes.

 

Taking the lead through Mesut’s individual craft was, by that stage, entirely unexpected and for a few minutes afterwards Liverpool were dead and we could ( and probably should) have scored again. However, the goddess of football had other ideas and cast a spell on Cech who gifted Firmino the final equalizer. Is it me or is our keeper looking a little older of late ? We huffed for the final 20 but our game was run. Liverpool hoped to catch us on the break again but even they were running out of energy. Atkinson finally blew his whistle. I slumped exhausted to the carpet.

So finally to the mentions. Of our lads, Granit, Ainsley, Mesut, Jack and Alexis get upon Santa’s knee for a extra special extra present. You deserve it boys. To be fair I was satisfied with everyone last night.

So five clear days off before Palace. A few games today to keep an eye on.

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Enjoy your Christmas and we shall meet later.

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89 comments on “Arsenal: Every good boy deserves football

  1. Rich
    December 23, 2017 at 9:35 am Edit

    Mixed emotions. Said earlier in week I reckon we’ve played in 2 of top 3 most entertaining prem games this year. Make that 3 of 4.

    Genuine neutrals should absolutely love watching us and hope Wenger stays for years more, but I’m not sure there are many genuine neutrals about.

    Think current liverpool are our most difficult opponent, above City even, thanks to their countering quality. Speed, skill, dribbling, shooting, interplay in abundance from the front players. Puts us in a bind as to how to play.

    Echoes of City game, and Utd, in that going 2 down ended the bind and we just went all out, and this time the goals arrived quickly during a breathtaking spell.

    Brings us back to how we should play these games against city and Pool. We can’t really go all out in that fashion from off, and we’d certainly get monstered by press and fans if we did and were duly killed on break early on.

    My hope is that maybe one player can significantly alter balance of team for these contests. Not that I know name or skill set of this player.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When we scored the 3rd I was sure it was going to be 5 2 in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wot I wanna know is, WTF is it with our players slipping arse over kettle in dangerous positions? Memories bring back 3 off the top of my head, 2 resulted in goals. Is it our studs? It rarely seems to happen to the visitors.Something surely to look at.
    I was so close to going to bed as we went 2 down but then remembered my dear old Scouser mate, Ron, who went to bed with ‘pool 3-0 down in the European cup final. As he drove to work, he spotted a newspaper flyer saying ‘great ‘pool win’. He took his eyes off the road to double check and ran his Merc into the back of a bus.Thanks Ron…those 4 minutes were worth it!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your right Ian – Sanchez for the third and Ainsley for the second – when you add to Koscielny being knocked out the way by Pogba for the Manc 3rd you have to wonder

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They should play in pit-boots

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pedantic george
    In the first half ,it looked like they already had pit-boots on

    Liked by 2 people

  7. On Cech. I think he’s brilliant at 1-on-1’s where the striker and he have to act quickly. Probably that’s mostly about getting angles right. Whatever. He is very good at those and makes a lot of first rate saves in those situations. Seems pretty good at collecting crosses as well.

    He’s perhaps a 7.5/ 10 goalkeeper these days. It would obviously be great for us to have a 9 like De Gea to call on but there are only a handful of those, they’re at big clubs already, and those clubs have no reason to let them go.

    Maybe we can find an 8; maybe we can identify the next big thing. I really hoped Martinez might be special, so it’s a big disappointment he hasn’t got in the team at a struggling La Liga club

    If we’re adding falls then Kos had another big one in first half they nearly scored from.

    I’d say you’re much more likely to slip if changing angle rapidly, on turn or running back, than facing forward with action in front of you, so that could explain some of it. Maybe panic plays a role, though what’s the line between that and understandable desperation in defending when there’s space and danger?

    Kos, for all his great qualities, perhaps does lose his head momentarily at times in the biggest games. For instance he charged briefly into centre forward position right after conceding first. But that same desire probably helps in a lot of his best work

    Same, really, as trying to evaluate a player like Tarkowski, Keane before him, or any defender who plays in a rigid deep defence. Different ball game for our defenders.

    Anyway, what with how defensive so much football is these days, and all my bitter complaining about it, have to say again that the excitement and entertainment we regularly provide when an opponent does something other than park up, especially if that opponent has quality attackers, is off the frigging charts.

    An open game, with all that speed, all that threat, all that action…it’s very nearly a different sport to me than a lot of what you see.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Blimey, I wouldn’t know where to begin to describe last nights experiences, Buy Andy has done a fine job of describing it.
    Every possible emotion sqeezed out of me last night, from agony to estacy and back again.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rich
    The squad is shy of that Midfield Generalissimo (the Saint from Cazorla) or a Prince upon the Park (who rightfully has no time for a fradulant transformonger tied to the Portugese mafia). Ramsey is the classic box to box midfielder, it was noticable that Liverpool did not come out and immediately target an opposition CM with hacks and clogs aided by dodgt pgmob reps though as the game went on the lack of a card for the hacks and eventual clogs on Wilshere was a telling and and obvious, undeniable, giveaway that yes, in spite of some horrors at the back, that it was a tilted pitch. Still!
    What chance an official who is even handed, dafe i mention it again a Friendly official, getting one of these matches? Any year soon? I think I’ll head down to the bookies and see what odds i can get…(Mark Thomas has a special account for the bets and surveys in his stand up show – I might have to use that facility…)

    The kid who so impressed Mick McCarthy and me (heh) will get his chance in that often vacant centre circle area. And he is a very exciting English prospect.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Real Madrid 0-2 down at home against Broke Barca, can they get back into the football match or do they lack that Troy Deeney quality do beloved of *insert correct adjective* and Theatre Luvvies and “game management” enthusiasts (that would be “cheating” in English) like Riley?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. AFC get pelters for passing the football. In a football match.

    “Chelsea need to bring on Fabregas (can’t run since the old bruised bone clog but at least he can pass!), they need the ability to use their possession…Chelsea are so good in possession”
    It’s a comical, transparent and remarkable contrast. You can’t help but to remark upon this observable bias. And laugh at it!

    They really, really, don’t like The Arsenal. heh.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Xhaka seems in my opinion lacks spacial and positional awarness. I can’t remember Arteta ever been so many times out of position (maybe it’s an experience thing), he also takes far few all around pitch scans than any central midfielder the team has depended on that I can remember, Cesc head was on the constant swivel.
    Is that form or lack of football understanding?

    Like

  13. Fins

    I’m hoping we go after Santiago Viera. That would be an interesting mashup.

    More seriously, still rue us not getting to see Cazorla, Arteta, Diaby beyond 3 or 4 games about 4 or 5 years ago. That woulda been beautiful.

    As it happens Diaby did look like almost a cross between Viera and Cazorla in his stupendous performance at Anfield. Size and power, tackling, could run with it, wonderful touch and composure. It’s eased slightly, but I’ll always be sad we were denied all his prime years.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Tangental thought for the day:

    Is it safe to make the comparison between Abu Shabi FC,Gazcorp upon Fulham etc. to Godolphin stables? There are plenty of droppings…

    Like

  15. Sure would be nice to get as many pens in a season as one the Luvvie mwah mwah media darlings one year this century.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. too much swash and buckle & not enough dirty ugly for my liking. 1-0 would have suited me just fine with a scrappy goal to boot. As entertaining as it was it really did highlight the areas of concern on the pitch but anyway onwards and upwards as they they. Merry Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yep, the pgmol Spurs love in continues with gusto.
    As for us, spirited comeback, but we will not get where we want to be until we cut out those most basic of errors.
    Confidence clearly an issue, not for the first time, we only start playing when behind.
    Arsenal, please sort out the defending, some of that was not really acceptable at this level

    Liked by 2 people

  18. mentioned it last night about our players slipping and falling over, its not the first game recently that its been noticeable. By the way add to the list of slips, Wilshere fell over in the middle of their half as he went to close down the guy who released the ball upfield for their opener, so a fall over by one of our players on all 3 of their goals, plus two big deflections, that led to two of the goals, kos on the first and mustafi on the third.

    our defending was woeful, it was panic stations so often, even kos was spinning round like a headless chicken, once again we had on all 3 goals lots of players in the vicinity to deal with the problems but not actually taking the lead in actually doing anything to stop them, standing off, backing off, rushing over to a lfc player who was already marked and leaving the guy they were covering.
    Kos was as poor as I’ve seen him, and he actually looked to be in pain, anytime the camera panned to him he had a grimace on his face, his eyes looked watered if not blood shot and if he is actually playing while in big pain, its madness, we have Chambers and Holding in reserve.

    Wenger basically said after the game that the players did not follow the game plan on how to stop liverpool in the first half, he said the plan was not to drop off, but in fact to push up leaving space in behind our defense but with defense and midfield close together it would have made it difficult for liverpool to find the through ball, also it would have seen our midfield closer to our attack and so mean they had support and the ball would have stuck up front much easier.
    Wenger put this failure to adhere to the game plan down to the fear in the players over conceding early goals v man utd and the knowledge that lfc have a good attack. Froze and paralyzed by it was part of what AW said about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Mandy
    Plenty of unpredictable and unforseable “Theatre” in the show involving the club that really need that top four Wonga to help pay off their hyper inflated comical (within the const. industry) and fast rising stadium build costs.

    Mr. Riley is spoiling us with these scripts.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. It’s odd really – our defending against Liverpool was woeful but our defending against the Ammers and Toon was pretty good. I can’t understand it.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Maybe the other two clubs didn’t have the forwards to take advantage of any errors though it’s hard to remember any previous errors as glaring as JW losing Salah on the second and the hole for Firminio for the third.

    We’ve been worrying over Kozza’s ankles affawcting him when the fixture list builds up before it was fashionable for the wrist slitting brigade, but it was a timely and reassuring to see the two apprentice CBs have a decent outing against PL opponents midweek.

    Like

  22. Adding together the decisive falling over of our own players last night, the collapse of Mustafi on his arse for the Mancs a decent conspiracy theorist can surely add 2+3 ?

    Liked by 2 people

  23. What’s a conspiracy theorist?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I know!

    Umpire Hair had a crazy conspiracy.

    That’s a very good example.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. If I explained what one was Fins …………..

    Liked by 1 person

  26. VARs was a real star on LBW in the recent ashes.

    Can’t imagine why the richest sport in the world would wait thirty years to catch up with the rest of world sport.

    I am sure there are some conspiracy theories that could explain.

    Alongside the obvious.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Yes.

    I’m not sure you explained why you were doing so in relation to the common incidence of cheating in sports. So forgive me if I found the reference to be as confusing as Umpire Hair’s performance of his:

    “Theatre”

    He was certainly no Dickie Bird.

    Like


  28. When the BFG was the same age as mustafi he was starting every game for Germany at bc and had been for a time.

    The loss of his influence is as big a change as with Arteta imo.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. We are going to defeat ManCity….I cannot wait…

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Why do the pgmol keep indulging dele alli , when we all know what he is

    Liked by 3 people

  31. What does dele alli need to to upset the pgmol?
    Answers on a post card

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Mandy Dodd
    Easy answer NOTHING
    He plays for the team that is going to save England FC

    Liked by 4 people

  33. In the immediate aftermath of the game I said that fortunately both sides were pathetic and that was of course an over-reaction for which I apologise. Some of the players on show were very good indeed, some perhaps less impressive.
    You don’t often see Ozil fall over. Maybe his studs are longer, maybe he is better balanced and less rushed than most. The problem with the current Arsenal team is that when everyone is fit they still have to all be playing at the very top of their form to beat the too sides, and this will only happen once in a while. If we had more players of Ozils class then we could play within ourselves (and not slip over so much) and still compete. So unless we can suddenly add several hundred millions to our transfer budget, or enlist the help of a less than scrupulous referee or three then I don’t see much prospect of real change.
    And despite my outburst on Friday I’m fine with that for patches of sunlight give more pleasure than constant glare.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. FH
    The other day I made a comment about frauds like Alli simply having good agents who can promote them with their buisiness partners onto the cover of computer games (“Theatre mwah mwah” innit) even though they have shown their quality (when fit) on the pitch against Iceland etc.

    This was not meant as an insult to footballers in the championship. I should clarify: as Coquelin told any and all who were listening on his return from Charlton there are footballers as good and most probably better then clogging divers like Alli in the championship.

    Like

  35. “Good” agents hehe

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  36. Finishing off my thoughts from earlier:

    Cazorla was marked for that senior CM role in the squad, and Koscielny at CB, but injuries may hamper both of them (not just Santi *sobs*) from fulfilling those roles.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. reports in France say Giroud has a torn hamstring and is out for six weeks,

    well at least that cuts down the chances of him being sold in January

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Welbeck, Walcott, Eddie & Akpom etc.
    There is some interesting cover in the squad though only Welbeck has the stature to provide some of what Giroud can.

    My mind was blasted by listening to one of the uber blagging Arseperts exclaim that Tammy Abraham was a player AFC should be after.

    Eh?

    With more minutes on the Arsenal home pitch this season then Eddie Tammy did not make as big an impression as the Arsenal youth.

    Many a player in world football these past 15 years gave up attempting to dribble past Mertesacker when given a chance in a one on one (first time I noticed how much fear the BFG put into an opponent was when another Groaner’s insane favourite with a “good” agent, Loic Remy could not take him on for Marseille, & the one time he did attempt it the RB was covering).

    When given a chance the other month to have a go at a rusty BFG in a one on one for Abraham he was distinctly unimpressive, I have no doubt if Eddie was given such an opportunity he’d have impressed more then Charlie Austin – another good footballer from the championship, who unlike Alli or Hart (L.O.L) doesn’t have the “best” agent which is probably for the best for all concerned!

    All of which to say is that in spite of some recent and consistent defensive horrors I’m excited to see young English players with such potential like AMN breaking into the AFC first team and putting serious pressure onto players like Saed and Granit.
    As AW said Chambo will still be a player for England, given the competition with the Fraud’s out there who can’t compete against the likes of Iceland, but there are some gifted players coming through and not just at Arsenal though we do appear to have some of the real good ‘uns, with serious potential. Of course.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. So much for this congested fixture schedule. I wouldn’t half mind watching us today but next game feels way off!

    Liked your post ForeverHeady. Excellent analysis of overall situation. Against attacks as potent as Pool’s and City’s we need to be at our absolute best and probably enjoy some luck,too. With Chelsea and Spurs it’s still tough, but not as formidable a task, as the main job is to try keep on top of their main striker, and there aren’t the same number of excellent dribblers, technicians and speedsters to worry about.

    Liverpool and City present all teams with that same basic conundrum : defences which can be got at if you commit enough forward, but how do you do that when their own attackers are so plentiful and dangerous? Most teams will opt to sit deep. Liverpool have been caused problems by that; City, who are better, have defeated the tactic each time bar a single draw.

    Utd meanwhile are the most expensive counter-attacking team ever seen.

    Nearly all our other games are about breaking the bus, and dealing with pgmol tactics.

    I found it a bit hard to accept that at 3-2 we seemed to have no way of adapting, tightening up against a shellshocked team, and then looking to pick them off when nice opportunities became available.

    That’s the ultimate in a team for me, when they can act as one almost, making intelligent adjustments, mostly about how many to commit or what level of risks to take in passing and positioning, depending on particular match situations. If we had City’s budget I’ve no doubt we’d be in that position or just have so much individual quality it wouldn’t matter.

    With our budget, it’s about enjoying the good, keeping perspective, and always hoping a transformative player or two may emerge from somewhere, within or without.

    Liked by 4 people

  40. foreverheady
    You don’t often see Ozil fall over
    Why?
    Footwork
    Mesut has exceptional footwoork
    I criticised a few of the players earlier on in the season on this same subject.
    Not the boots or studs
    There is on on the pitch warm up before the game
    The team train in almost identical conditions at Colney everday, where the boots can be tested and experienced. International players should be able asses what work for them with thier preffered manufactures
    Poor footwork is the problem. That is a technical issue

    Thierry Henry
    Denis Bergkampf
    Santi Cazorla
    Cesc
    Patrick Vieira
    Robert Pires
    Nacho
    What all these players had in common they all have/had great footwork which seperates them from the average player.
    The pitches during this era are the most cosistant than at anytime in football history, boot technology is improving daly , boots or studs are no excuses for the players.

    Liked by 4 people

  41. Is Charlie Austin that sort of player?
    It doesn’t matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. He needs a “good” agent!

    Like

  43. As no one else has mentioned it I thought I’d ponder if the Saints are playing the Luvvie Dahlings or another favoured/protected club anytime soon?

    Boxing Day?
    Blimey.
    There’s an unforeseeable coincidence!

    (Austin twanged his hammy so he’s out for 3/6 weeks anyway).

    Like

  44. Ladies and Gent,

    Seasonal Greetings to all Positaves out there.

    Without wishing to sound too formal, I want “to put on record”, my appreciation to all of you who posit your comments and thoughts during the season. I read each and every one.

    Whilst I don’t necessarily subscribe to all the views and shades of opinion – and it would be odd if anyone did – the site is a “must read” and a veritable treasure at a time when so much written about our wonderful team is trite, or much worse.

    Hitherto, my principal concern about what’s published “out there” about Arsenal is that more often than not it’s ill-informed (wrong) and invariably mean-spirited – the sort of thing you might hear in a pub. I now believe it’s much worse. There is a constant flow of what can only be described as deliberate misinformation about Arsenal. (I refuse to use “fake” as the people who use this term are often the same people who make false or misleading statements.)

    As I get older, I realise we are all having to grapple with paradoxes on a daily basis. It’s part of life, other than for those who see everything clearly in black & white terms, and who are not interested in the possibility that issues might perhaps be more nuanced. Or that new information has come to light. Having to modify one’s opinion because details change is surely sensible, and as adults it’s exactly what we should do. And this includes facts being published that do not sit easily with other information – hence my comment about our having to deal with paradoxes.

    We all have to find the best way to negotiate troubled waters, and this excellent site provides an opportunity to do this. It’s never less than challenging. What’s also a breath of fresh air is that even if opinions become heated – with people expressing different viewpoints – everything is still conducted civilly. That’s so important these days: we should all respect (within limits) the opinions of others and if we “agree to disagree” we should do so without resorting to abuse or aggression. Hardly a radical thought, but it’s difficult to look at a site these days without seeing so much hate and bile. (By the way, this is as much a feature of comments to Financial Times’ articles as it is as it of the tabloids.)

    I believe that much of the media discussion about Arsenal is frequently hysterical and inaccurate, some planted by professional (paid) commentators. I prefer to look at the facts, or at least to read comments founded on objective (statistical) analysis. I’m fortunate enough to be able to watch all Arsenal games, so I would like to think that I am “seeing” what’s going on. However, when one digests the post-game stats – and after the emotions have settled – one realises that things were not perhaps as one believed at the time. It frustrates me immensely that people who make a profession on commenting on games do not make far more reliance on the wealth of statistics that’s now available. It’s incredible that the level of reporting on our great game, which is now a multi-billion dollar business, has not moved on much from hysterical tabloid rants along the lines of “we woz robbed” etc… Why do people accept this? Odd.

    Many would say “they know what they have seen” (even if that may be a five minute snapshot and “analysis” on Match of the Day) and that’s all that matters. But they are deluding themselves – and it seems most don’t care. I happen to believe that comments and observations based on statistics enable a much more nuanced discussion to take place. There will still be a difference of opinion, which is how it should be, but at least we are starting from somewhere that has an objective reality. It doesn’t mean that comments become boring. Indeed, quite the reverse as witnessed by this site! (By the way I am no paragon of virtue. I experience the same gamut of frustrations we all do when watching Arsenal games. If I was to tweet during the course of each game, you would see many rants/frustrations. But most would be ill informed – or worse – because of my frustrations. Fortunately, only my family has to endure this.)

    Whilst venting my stream of consciousness (apologies to all who may still be reading), another observation –or gripe if you like – is the “head in the sand” approach when it comes to matters going on behind the scenes which very few of us have access to. When AW picks a team and we see the names go up an hour before kick-off, none of us know what’s behind the team sheet. Is one player absent because he’s been carrying a niggle? Or perhaps he in is the “red zone”? Or another player is in the team because it’s a squad game and game time must be given to everyone, not only from the point of view of having match day fitness, but also of morale/team spirit. Or is a player missing because of dressing room tensions – of which there are sure to be many, or because of some behind-the-scenes contract negotiations. Or might there be a tactical stitch? The point is that “to be AW”, one has to be aware of all these factors – and many more besides.

    Another bugbear is the narrow lens through which we view the result of each game. A manager can be sacked these days for losing, say, five games on the bounce, but how many injuries was the team carrying during this period? Did the team play a disproportionate number of games away? Or against teams that have been playing with few injuries or are objectively stronger? It’s all too easy to see a defeat or poor performance – or heaven forbid two or three defeats– and to triumphantly declare that the manager must change course or be sacked – and that a certain player should be relegated to the reserve team, even if only a month or two before the same people were saying what a wonderful player he was. Or that “we should immediately get rid of him and sign someone else”. How quickly we change our minds. We ask for the loyalty of players (and managers) but many fans are happy to remove a player from their fantasy team on a whim, as if removing a piece from a chessboard. I’m not saying that defeats should not mean analysing the reasons why – and taking corrective measures – but we need to look at these things over a far longer period than four or five games. But how many do?

    Another concern is the direction the game has taken in terms of team ownership. Whereas we were once at the whims of oligarchs, we now see football used for geopolitical purposes – witness Manchester City and PSG. I find it incredible we have got ourselves in this position. What other multi-billion business would be regulated like this? Apart from moral and ethical questions, there is also the matter of “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”: who knows what the financial position of some clubs will be in a few years’ time if (and when) backers move on to other things. If clubs become mere playthings, or pawns, in a political game of chess, fans should not be surprised if bad things happen. I, for one, am grateful (relieved) with the ownership structure we have. Incidentally, I do not expect owners to put money into the club – why should they? It’s a business after all. One thing I really do hope is that the Financial Fair Play initiative gets real teeth. Otherwise, what’s to stop other state sponsoring for political end? Fans should be far more vocal in venting their opposition to reams being acquired this way, but I cannot help wondering whether the reason we don’t hear much is because they are secretly hoping they will be beneficiaries one day. How sad.

    I know some of you on this site are sometime wont to “conspiracies”, particularly when it comes to referees, but I’m not so sure. Although there are undoubtedly some bad smells – and definitely poor referees – I happen to think most of what we see is the result of gross ineptitude rather than anything more insidious. On balance, I see events as cock-ups rather than will pre-planned conspiracies. It’s been expedient for clubs/owners/administrators to largely “leave things as they are” on the grounds that changes might work against them. VAR is an obvious case in point. How on earth can it be that key decisions are left to one official running around the pitch supported by two assistants on opposite sides. It’s madness. It seems to me that many referees, and particularly their professional body, are generally against anything that might have the temerity to determine what actually happened during a game. One only has to look at the way NFL is refereed to see how backwards we have become. Leaving it to referees to move with the times is not the answer; I’m afraid many are like modern day Luddites. They cannot stomach the idea they may have got something wrong. It’s bizarre we afford so much authority to referees. They are there simply there to administer the rules of the game. Whilst I understand the need to take account of the ebb, flow and nuances of a game (and I have referred games) I have no time for any referee that eschews an aid to making correct decisions. I would take this point further and look at the ridiculous situation when an incident is replayed that clearly shows a major offence was committed (ergo Mr Ali a week or so ago…), but because the referee “saw” the incident at the time, no retrospective action can be taken. Why not? Surely it’s important that justice is administered. No referee can possibly see everything that’s going on, and certainly cannot comprehend everything in a split second.

    Anyway, to all of you who maintain this wonderful blog, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Liked by 9 people

  45. Great post Stephen Page and very well put, agree with so much of it.
    The only point I would question is referees, maybe not as individuals, I am sure the vast majority just want to do their best, but more their organisation, there have been too few refs, not a great geographical distribution of them, I remember what mike Riley did to our boys, and I firmly believe the Spurs player you mention, a couple of his colleagues, Vardy in his time, and a few others are protected species, partly media induced ,but you really do make some great points

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Happy Christmas to you all and thanks so much for all you have done to keep my spirits up this year. One day we will get a few gifts from the refs, but as Hardy says so fair a fancy few would weave while so many in the press want to do us down. Still enough of all that tonight and may Santa treat you well.

    Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.

    “Now they are all on their knees,”

    An elder said as we sat in a flock

    By the embers in hearthside ease.

    We pictured the meek mild creatures where

    They dwelt in their strawy pen,

    Nor did it occur to one of us there

    To doubt they were kneeling then.

    So fair a fancy few would weave

    In these years! Yet, I feel,

    If someone said on Christmas Eve,

    “Come; see the oxen kneel,

    “In the lonely barton by yonder coomb

    Our childhood used to know,”

    I should go with him in the gloom,

    Hoping it might be so.

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Stephen – if only the referees did simply apply the rules.

    Alas, they see themselves as ‘game managers’ – a very different role than that originally envisioned by the game’s early custodians.

    And this isn’t conjecture, having been confirmed by the Clattenburg Revelations just a few weeks ago.

    So there is no conspiracy ‘theory’; it’s a modus operandi played out in practice in every game of every week throughout the season.

    Liked by 5 people

  48. Seasons greetings to all.

    I’ve a lot to catch up on.

    Liked by 1 person

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