Despite repeated claims to the contrary, it is remarkable how football reflects real life. This may be shocking to those who see football as some form of escape from the every-day challenges of our human existence; stuff like work, home, family, politics, economics, you name it. The harsh reality, however, is professional football has become big business and like all big business it is institutionalized with various stakeholders fighting tooth and nail for their respective self-interests.
As in the broader society there are various ideological points of view; in football there is a desperate need to avoid anything political so we are left with the highfalutin concept of “football-philosophy”. Most of this so-called philosophy is deceptive, at least when it comes to the Premier League. Making money is the primary goal and the standard of football is secondary. In contrast to the PL, the German Bundesliga has a mandate to improve domestic football. So while commercially inferior to the PL, it produces more world class footballers and arguably the world’s best national football team.
Fact is the Premier League is driven by the need to maintain its commercial domination of the international tv market which is a multi-billion pound source of revenue. They care very little about improving the standard of domestic English football or even the standard of refereeing for that matter. I will get to the latter in a moment. The dominant narrative in the PL is money; super-transfer fees, super-salaries; super-managers, super-agents, super-owners, super-stadiums, you name it.
With the fantastic amounts of money going in and out of PL clubs, it is certainly a tempting attraction for international money launderers acting on behalf of the various oligarchs, despots and carpetbaggers who automatically enjoy the protection of the Her Majesty’s government once they become an owner of a premier league club. In the world of international finance London is one of the major money centers and the PL is a significant player. No wonder it is so important to protect the PL narrative and to punish those who may upset the apple cart. I am absolutely positive this reality is not lost on Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club.
To convince the masses worldwide, that they have the best show in town, the PL has the mainstream media, both home and abroad, in their pocket. There is clearly an unwritten rule in both the English and American media; never broadcast or print anything that shows the dirty underbelly of the league. It is a known fact that those media, with rights to broadcast PL football, have a contractual obligation to not broadcast anything that brings the league in disrepute, no matter how true or factual. From the many reports online and the little I have seen of BBC’s flagship football program, Match-Of-The Day, they conceal and and edit most of the egregious refereeing decisions. As in Orwell’s “1984”, news reports are consistently rewritten and edited to sanitize the product; controversies conveniently disappear down the “memory hole”. In the words of that great Nobel Laureate and English playwright, the late Harold Pinter, describing the manipulation of public discourse by the mainstream media:
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.
This to me is symptomatic of what is currently happening with respect to the diabolical standards of refereeing in the premier league. Again readers must be reminded that the refereeing organization, the PGMOL, is a body bought and paid–for by the PL. It is currently headed by Mike Riley, who was the official-in-charge of the greatest match-fix any of us have ever witnessed in modern PL history in October 2004, i.e. Arsenal’s Game-50 versus Manchester United. In front of a worldwide audience, with the almost absolute complicity of the broadcasters and the football establishment, Riley did everything to enure a victory for United. According to Wikipedia:
The match saw a series of unprofessional fouls that were overlooked by referee Mike Riley, such as Rio Ferdinand on Fredrik Ljungberg in the 19th minute and striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s studs-up challenge on Ashley Cole. Arsenal dictated much of the early play and created several openings, but as the game progressed Manchester United threatened. The home team were awarded a controversial penalty in the 73rd minute, as Wayne Rooney allegedly tumbled over Sol Campbell’s outstretched leg. Van Nistelrooy converted the penalty kick and late in the game Rooney scored for 2–0. The result ended Arsenal’s record-breaking 49-match unbeaten run. Many Arsenal fans were disgruntled, as they believed Rooney had dived and the penalty should not have been given.
[As always the above report fails to mention Riley’s “carte blanche” to the Neville brothers to kick Arsenal’s then in-form striker, Jose Antonio Reyes, out of the game without fear of penalization.]
Is it any wonder that the one top club in England that refuses to join the premier league merry-go-round; not over-spending, not paying the highest transfer fees, not paying the highest salaries, not firing managers at will, not engaging super-agents, is not the preferred club by Riley and the PGMOL and by default, not preferred by the PL. This is despite the fact this club has long played the most, modern progressive football which the media now suddenly discovers to be worth fawning over Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. This is despite being the first PL club to build a brand new modern stadium out of its own pocket and still retain its top-4 status for 20 years. Not preferred, despite developing an academy which constantly produces top English talent who regularly represent the club as well as appear in English national colors. Etc, etc, etc.
Arsenal Is #1 In The Top-6 Table
Is it any wonder the PGMOL referees, reflecting the outlook of their paymasters, the Premier League, have made Arsenal, over the past 10-years, the most penalized club in the top-six League in terms of Penalties-Against. As always, the unbiased data tells the truth despite the attempts of many to bluntly reject any information that does not fit the narrative, peddled by the mainstream media, of a poor beleaguered PGMOL desperately trying to do a fair and unbiased job among a mass of cheating players. Apparently the recent video of referee Moss and his assistant making a penalty decision in favor of Tottenham despite being uncertain of a prior offside and the fact the ref is heard to ask something along the lines of “what do the tv people say”, is for some not convincing enough evidence that the refs have other motivations apart from what happens on the field when they make their decisions.
|Pens Against||Goals Against||PA vs GA||Correlation|
Primary stand out from the data:
- Arsenal has the highest correlation by far, i.e. 77%, of Penalties Against vs Goals Against of all the traditional top-6 clubs. In other words, as far as the PGMOL is concerned, in the case of Arsenal, the greater the goals-against the more likelihood of a greater number of penalties.
- Clubs like Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool who have conceded more goals than Arsenal but have a far lower correlation of PAs vs GAs. It is as low as 22% in the case of both Tottenham and Liverpool and no higher than 32% for City. How do the PGMOL and its apologists explain this blatant disparity?
Secondary stand out:
- Manchester United may have 10% of PAs vs GAs but there is almost no relation between the two variables, only a 1% correlation. It leads me to the conclusion United must be the greatest defensive team on earth despite the likes of Rojo, Vidic and Smalling who routinely foul their opponents in the box.
As I have often emphasized in the past, like the mainstream media, almost none of the big accounts in the Arsenal blogsphere, on twitter and on podcasts want to engage the PGMOL and the PL in these glaring statistical disparities. They are either intimidated or corrupted by the mainstream media (from whom many hope to one day get a gig) that truth-seeking is forbidden, a clear example of self-censorship. Meanwhile the club they claim to love and support is being screwed over year-in, year out. First it was the Riley fix, then the kicking and physical intimidation of Arsenal players that lead to Ramsey and Diaby being literally broken in two and Diaby’s ankle destroyed, rotational fouling, the penalty embargo after spurious allegations that Eduard dived and this year a rash of phantom penalties-against.
(PS: In 2017 I did a major study covering 20 years of PL data showing that the PGMOL was able to significantly victimize Arsenal with Penalties-Against; a 120% growth which far exceeded any of the traditional top six clubs many of whom had an inferior average league position.)
Already I have warned that the arrival of Aubameyang will result in the offside flag being used to sabotage his runs off the shoulder of the last defender. Based on the history of biased PGMOL officiating when it comes to Arsenal, the odds of my prediction coming true is as certain as night follows day.
Rather than a campaign against PGMOL bias and for a robust, transparent Video Assistant Ref (VAR) outside of secretive PGMOL control, many it seems default to the typical PL solution; have the current boss fired and employ a super-manager who sees football as a defensive war of attrition. Only a coward who has been corrupted by the money and the resulting negative football on show most weeks would welcome such a fate for Arsenal Football Club.
To all my fellow positives and especially my English friends, the words of Pinter is inspirational:
Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost.
Extracting truth from the unbiased data and its dissemination to our fellow gooners and the football public at large is our duty.