What a VARce! Is VAR Leading to Fairer Referee Treatment of Arsenal?

Spurs had a goal disallowed and later on Man City had a goal which would have been their 5th disallowed, both after the ball inadvertently brushed the arm of a player from the side that scored in the build up. Technically it was hand ball, but whatever happened to the term ‘deliberate’ – has that now disappeared along with ‘common sense’ and ‘spirit of the law or game’ in this modern era of robotic refereeing?

Of course when it happened to the mob from Middlesex I just chuckled, especially when I saw the not so special one having a meltdown on the sidelines, that’s always good and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I was a bit miffed later on when what would have looked a total walk over at 5-0 was reduced back to 4-0 in the City vs Scouser game, which whilst still emphatic, at the the same time isn’t quite as complete at a good old 5-0…

See the source image

Now so far the Glorious Gunners have avoided those kinds of disappointments. We’ve had three referees in our last three games who we usually don’t have and I think in general we’ve been treated fairly, but we all know that we’ll get Mike Dean again and the hopeless Atkinson, probably when we play Spurs and Man City in the Cup. It’s almost as if the PGMOL are setting us up, giving us a fair crack of the whip before engineering another major stitch up in a game that matters.

I had hoped that VAR would be beneficial to Arsenal as we seem to suffer more injustices than most, but I’m not sure that it has with Riley still at the helm and the usual suspects sitting in judgement in Stockley Park.

What do you think?

By Allezkev

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17 Responses to What a VARce! Is VAR Leading to Fairer Referee Treatment of Arsenal?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Great little discussion starter, Allezkev (hope you dont mind me turning your comment into a post?!). 🙂

    Once technology is introduced there is less leeway for human interpretation. The law is the law, rules are rules and human interpretation and acts of ‘common sense/fairness’ become much harder. And of course earlier in the season precedents were set re ‘any ball touching any arms is automatic handball’, so were is an official VAR-reviewer to go?!

    It was of course very funny to see the Spuddies suffer from an incredibly poor decision – from a common sense point of view – to rule out that goal. Yet I believe it was consistent and that is what we really need more than anything else, and there is hope for us. I am more worried about inconsistencies regarding our players being fouled without consequences, yet us receiving so many red and yellow for similar or less aggressive actions…

    And that seems to resonate with your concerns in the post?

  2. allezkev says:

    Nice one TA, yeah I thought that both Brighton in particular and Man City got away with low level fouls against Arsenal in our first two games, you know ‘leaving your foot in’ as a player kicks the ball, clattering someone with a trailing leg, the arm across your ‘boat race’ as was excellently executed on Saka by that midfield destroyer whose name escapes me who played for Brighton.

    That’s why I was so surprised when Lacazette got his penalty when that guy went through his ankle, it’s the kind of decision that we rarely get and that Atkinson studiously ignores when we’re on the receiving end, he really is an appalling referee.

    Now we had three referees recently during our winning run who we normally never get and I wonder if that made a difference, you know no previous situations that can cloud someone’s view of you, because we were treated very well in comparison with the usual suspects.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed, agreed, Kev. I think key is to address the ref on the field and we have the sort of guys who can do that: Luiz, Xhaka, Auba. But I also feel we need to dish out more at times. I was impressed how we dealt with the Blades at the weekend. Especially Willock and AMN and also Xhaka responded well to the physicality of the orrible Blades.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Just returned from the botanical garden of Edinburgh. Only open to local residents and although it rained a bit just great to see all the flowers, plants and trees again. How divine our earth can be!

  5. GunnerN5 says:

    How divine our earth can be!

    That’s a lovely line Total, I used to love watching my various gardens develope, nature is truly marvelous. We sold our last home and moved into a top floor apartment to get away from stairs (dicey knees due to old football injuries) but I still have many plants to look after.

  6. GunnerN5 says:

    Refereeing decisions are hard to rationalize but I really feel that the main decisions have been taken out of their hands with the advent of VAR. It will take a while to refine VAR but its most certainly a step in the right direction.

    Frankly I don’t know of any football fan who doesn’t think that the refs are against their team.

  7. GunnerN5 says:

    Thanks for your post allezkev, I must say that watching Spurs get beaten is a very enjoyable experience, I wonder how “special” moaniho feels after that performance.

  8. jw1 says:

    Interesting perspectives Kev.
    Also noticed the lesser-known refs-in-charge– and an idea popped up.
    In this time of COVID19– how do these guys travel? Are they now selected by nearest proximity to the match grounds? Would they have drivers? Probably not all riding together. 🤔

    Then again– the last three matches involved teams sitting 10th, 14th, 15th and 20th in the table. City being the only marquee club on our dance card (drawing Manchester-born Anthony Taylor).

    There (understandably) seems to be no ‘PGMOL website’.
    The Premier League website is a bit skinny on details– but:
    Select Group referees get the perks–

    What does PGMOL do to support the Select Group?
    – There is a support team which mirrors that of a football club: sports scientists, sports psychologists, performance analysts, operational assistants, physiotherapists, sprint coaches, podiatrists and vision scientists are all employed to improve referee performance.
    – Technology is used as an aid too: detailed performance analysis is supported by Opta, which provides statistical data on each match.
    https://www.premierleague.com/referees/pgmol

    Also found an PL referee index too.
    https://www.premierleague.com/referees/index
    With just matches, and cards given by season– hardly an index

    Anyhow– another incidental I came across in following up my questions:
    How much do top-flight match officials make? Found this surprising:
    Country Match Fee
    England £1,150 + retainer
    Spain £5,200
    Germany £3,150
    Italy £3,000
    France £2,400
    Portugal £1,000

    By the by– did find the Spurs circumstances amusing.
    Kane nets the ball 4x and is credited with but one.
    Perhaps VAR has change the landscape after all? 😁

    jw1

  9. jw1 says:

    Interesting perspectives Kev.
    Also noticed the lesser-known refs-in-charge– and an idea popped up.
    In this time of COVID19– how do these guys travel? Are they now selected by nearest proximity to the match grounds? Would they have drivers? Probably not all riding together. 🤔

    Then again– the last three matches involved teams sitting 10th, 14th, 15th and 20th in the table. City being the only marquee club on our dance card (drawing Manchester-born Anthony Taylor).

    There (understandably) seems to be no ‘PGMOL website’.
    The Premier League website is a bit skinny on details– but:
    Select Group referees get the perks–

    What does PGMOL do to support the Select Group?
    – There is a support team which mirrors that of a football club: sports scientists, sports psychologists, performance analysts, operational assistants, physiotherapists, sprint coaches, podiatrists and vision scientists are all employed to improve referee performance.
    – Technology is used as an aid too: detailed performance analysis is supported by Opta, which provides statistical data on each match.

    Also found an PL referee index too.
    https://www.premierleague.com/referees/index
    With just matches, and cards given by season– hardly an index

    Anyhow– another incidental I came across in following up my questions:
    How much do top-flight match officials make? Found this surprising:
    Country Match Fee
    England £1,150 + retainer
    Spain £5,200
    Germany £3,150
    Italy £3,000
    France £2,400
    Portugal £1,000

    By the by– did find the Spurs circumstances amusing.
    Kane nets the ball 4x and is credited with but one.
    Perhaps VAR has change the landscape after all? 😁

    jw1

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one, GN5. I can almost see you looking after your apartment plants! 🙂

    We have only been once outside of Edinburgh in the last three months and that was last week. The shops, restaurants and toilets etc were all closed so there was really little to do, even if we dared to venture out (not allowed until very recently). The botanical garden has only just been opened for the public and it was a treat!

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Total, we have an incredible park (Springbank Park) less than a mile from our home and we used to walk in the park every morning, but we have not been there since December of last year. Its now open for social distance walking while wearing a face mask – but we have not taken advantage of that due to our advanced age – better safe than sorry.

    I have several thousand pictures of wild life we encountered on our walks, we used to start our walk between 5 and 6:00 am in order to see the most birds etc.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes that was a good read, GN5. Cheers,

  13. LE GALL says:

    one thing’s for sure; the var check of auba’s so-called offside position when he scored against brighton, must have been the shortest in the young var history – so short it was almost funny, in the midst of atkinson’s horror show that day, we weren’t even given the chance of making our own minds about it
    as many of you know, i think, untold’s tony attwood has been doing a tremendous job (watching, compiling, editing, analyzing) on the “pgmol vs. arsenal football club” case, and i think he has proven “beyond any reasonable doubt” that something very fishy has been going on against us for years.
    honestly, who among us doesn’t know that when one of the names atkinson/dean/oliver/mariner/dean appears on the game sheet, we’re gonna get screwed? but what i don’t understand is:
    first, the why? i am not convinced by the corruption argument, if only because it seems so easy to investigate; now what else? an anti-london bias seems so childish to me, that i don’t buy it either, so … beats me, really
    second, i very often rage against the lack of reaction of the board, can’t they “stand up and fight for our rights”, at least once in a while, if only because there’s money at stake, isn’t there?
    anyway; we’ll get another episode of the drama tomorrow, since we’ll be treated to no less than sir oliver himself
    as for ta’s botanical reveries; my friend, i think you’re in the mood for celebrating john clare day, ten days from now …

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    I realize that nobody has missed me…and that this comment will be buried by the New Post (already up, but TA didn’t put up the usual bottom-of-the-thread notification)…but, I have some ideas. I’ve said them before (and gotten some push back about them…) but, repetition is what turns the fake news into reality…(or something).

    As the post-writer has mentioned (elsewhere), the local media (notably the Guardian–nee the Manchester Guardian–but now very much a London–and global–operation these days) does more than it’s share of investigative journalism about our club. Kev was talking about payments to agents, which, I believe, we had moved away from during the Wenger era, but now seems very strong with Raul Sanllehi in charge. More importantly, this “culture of journalism” at Arsenal is very (very) strong among the fans, who, in my opinion, are some of the smartest and most educated in the world (present company included). As such, when the Internet arrived on the scene (coincident, maybe with the turn of the century–or maybe the 90s, or maybe just the arrival of a certain erudite Frenchman…) no other club turned so inward and spawned such a plethora of “weblogs.” Suddenly every Gooner with a keyboard had a place to say their piece. No more fighting on the terraces or in the pubs; they (or we…) could do it with our keyboards. Back when newspapers were actually made of paper, the Guardian-clutching Gooner–heading out to the Highbury Library–was a cliché. (In other words, less noise, more contemplation on the terraces–or, after Hillsborough, in the seats…) Fast forward and it’s now very different. A lot of the “angry” blogs have run out of breath… (Arsenal Arsenal, from which this blog was birthed, seems back in action, now that there are games again, btw…) but others still try for their one 10,000 of a penny by way of click-baiting headlines designed to anger fans/supporters. Still, we’re pretty strong in this space (as they say…) what with the Arseblog (pretty reasonable) empire at the center and then extremes at each end of the spectrum. Watchable (or listenable) content is more important now so Arsenal TV has taken much of the territory from Le Grove (and a million other self-hating bloggers) while places like Positively Arsenal (and maybe this blog) represent the other end of the spectrum. Then there is Untold Arsenal which even leans toward (or into…) has what might be called the “conspiracy,” referenced above by LeGall…

    That’s my version of the history and I do believe there is bias in every human–meaning the refs–whether one is interpreting the action on the field or on the slow-motion replay. BUT, if the fans (note, I didn’t say supporters…) are more dedicated to their narratives (10-15+ years of Wenger is killing the team, for example…) then it’s that much easier for a referee to shade his calls in favor (favour…) of the other team. So, why blame the ref…when they actually HELPED you (not you, maybe, but quite a number of Gooners…) get what you (they) wanted?…

    Now, maybe, with our plummet from those (glory) days (of finishing top 4, winning a few FA Cups etc…) Arsenal are back to being plucky underdogs and our brand (maybe…) will get fairer treatment. The VAR helps… Playing behind closed doors help…but what would REALLY help (in my opinion) is if ALL Gooners could get behind their team (home and away, in the stadium or just yelling at their screens)…and support the players…(and maybe the coaches and even others in the club).

    But who am I to complain? I have deep doubts about ownership and upper management–and definitely believe we’ve got some issues in the squad…

    There’s a game tomorrow, however, so more “evidence” to shape our (or is it my…) narrative…

    Thanks for reading…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops, Sorry, I now see the New Post thing from TA…It wasn’t at the very bottom, I guess, so I missed it… Apologies…

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