Sunday, 20 September 2015

Help the Refs

If you’re a regular to our blog page you may know that we have a dedicated writer by the name of Dave Meiers aka @meiercy (twitter handle) who tackles the subject of referee’s, with him being a referee an ex-professional referee and all. However this weekend I feel compelled to chime in on the situation of refereeing after seeing the comical acts of Mike Dean and his officials yesterday during the Chelsea vs Arsenal London Derby. This isn't an attack on Mike Dean as such, as having done refereeing myself (level 8 ref, passed the basic course back in 2013) I know what sort of pressure he is under as a ref and how overwhelming situations can become especially when incidents explode as they did on Saturday Afternoon. In saying that I haven’t actually seen the full game yet but I have seen the highlights of key incidents and I’m absolutely dumbfounded by what I’ve seen, all that comes to mind when looking back is "One rule for one and another rule for others".

So to start let’s just say YES! Gabriel's red card was deserved, there can not be any arguments levied here! He had already been shown a yellow card for reacting with his initial clash with the Despicable Costa, he allowed his aggression to get the better of him and understandably Mike Dean carded him (I assume hoping to diffuse the situation) but after Gabriel back heeled Despicable Costa in front of the referee, he's given Dean no option but to Red card him. It was also deplorable seeing the Chelsea players surrounding the ref, with Fabregas even acting out a back heel gesture in hope to help the referee make the decision. Yet as said there is no denying at all, it was a clear sending off. 

However using that logic Costa should have been red carded as well if not at the same time, before that incident. Three Incidents clearly seen by teammates, fans and most importantly video cameras show the Brazilian born Spanish Internationals misdemeanours. Hand’s in Boscielny Face, Chest bumping the Boss to the floor and slapping both Boscielny and Super Gab were rewarded with telling offs. We've seen players being sent off for lesser offences yet it seems whenever Costa is involved it’s never him and he’s always the victim. I’m starting to feel that Mourinho speech about Chelsea being the Little Horse of English football has affected the way Referee’s approach Chelsea games. It’s almost as if Costa specifically is getting an easy ride being that he plays for the little horse of a team called Chelsea Football club.

On a real note and getting back to the issue, my thought’s are as follows. The way referees are fulfilling their jobs is of a bygone era. An Era where technology wasn’t available and everyone was expected to respect the referee's final word. As he was the ultimate official of the game, the Judge Dredd so to speak. Romanticist of this era may miss this type of logic but now with multiple replays, in game stats and multitude of camera angles the referee's are not the all seeing eye anymore! In fact viewers see more than the referee does and they are not even physically at the game. In my opinion referees now need more help, they are struggling out there. The way the game is being watched is progressing on all fronts, yet the referee's are still subjected to post 90's tech to officiate games and they no longer need to struggle with just making split second decisions. They have a 4th official, so why not use him sufficely. He should be sitting or FIXED at a monitor sweeping up all the decisions the referee has missed and reporting it back into the ear of s/he and their officials. (All decisions). People claim doing something like this would take away from the game (I used to claim this) but thinking about it now, how can it, it can only improve the game and improve the standard of officiating. Taking away from the game would be to allow big errors to be made week in week out, which therefore ends up costing teams.

It seems so wrong that the 4th official only steps in when he wants and basically leaves the ref & his officials in the quagmire of ill decision making! I'm pretty sure if players and fans knew there was someone on the sideline who was assisting the referee, judicating from the sidelines. Helping the referee make the right decisions and the decisions end up being right. I’m pretty sure fans would not object, players would not object and neither would managers or clubs, so much of the game would clean up. Just imagine the incidents of yesterday, with an active 4th official, who is using this tech to assist the referee, he could have interpreted exactly what he saw on video play back to his on field officials, giving them second by second accounts of what had happened. The ref would have been instructed about the face grappling incident, the face slapping and neck squeezing! (Read that sentence alone and it sounds like a kinky sex game but believe me it was nothing of the sort) By having someone who’s actively involved, watching the game, seeing the things the referee couldn't have seen would be of so much help. It would allow the referee to be that all seeing eye again. Would help the referee make his mind up about key incidents because the case right now is referee’s are looking rather incompetent and silly. Especially when Sky, BT sport, BBC, ITV etc are broadcasting images across the world which show a referee making what is seen as blatant mistakes. Compared to other sports Football is starting to look like somewhat of a joke, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis & NFL to name a few all use video official to assist them in decision making and what it seems to do for those sports is provide consistency in officiating. There is no excuse to have all this tech, the monitors, access to replays, ear pieces for communication etc... and not a make 100% use of it. It could help with so many incidents like diving, fouling, etc as it does with Goal Line tech. 

Again I repeat the argument against has always been that tech will ruin the game and I was once a believer of this, however after the introduction of goal line tech I can't see an argument for not having or using any tech that will improve the game. Goal Line tech has proved It works and helps the referee massively, to the extent that once the Goal line Tech has made the decision, players don't even bother remonstrating… The technology has actually empowered the referee’s when making those decisions.

But you know what that just my views. You’ve got your own. If you wish to share them then please do! 

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by Gavin 'Gman' Henry

Monday, 10 August 2015

Too much playing, not enough conviction!

It’s fantastic to see the Premier League back, God knows how much I’ve been suffering since Arsenal's last real competitive match on 30th May 2015. My life was left with somewhat of a void and the desperation became so bad that you almost had me convinced I was a lover of Golf, Tennis and Cricket (EWWWWW!). 

All I could envisage was the start of the new #EPL season, when the Fixture list dropped in June I like many other Arsenal fans had high expectations for this opener against Westham, I’d be lying if I were to say I wasn’t expecting nothing but a win. My prediction on Saturday as posted on North London Gooner Lawro Facebook wall was a confident 2-1 victory. I felt my prediction was justified not only by the fact that in the past 6 games of which both Arsenal and Hammers have met, Arsenal have gone on to win all of them but also I was riding off the steam of the FA CUP win against Aston Villa, that victory was so brutal that I could only imagine a repeat performance. However that just wasn’t to be, wasn’t to be at all!

First Half:

Whilst writing this I’m finding it very hard to fault Arsenal in the first half, we didn’t do too much wrong, not that we done incredibly much right either however we showed flashes of our usual game, slick 1-2 passing, triangles and movement into space yet these moments were too far and few in apart for my liking. The OX had a few opportunities on goal, not quite on target, Rambo clipped the bar with a deflected shot and Santi also had a few slinky runs, which were blocked off just as he looked like he was going to pull the trigger. The Hammer too showed showed their sturdiness and flashes of their counter attacking ability. Sakho and Zarate worked their bollocks stretching Mertz and Boscielny all over the gaff.

The actual turning point came as a surprise, I wasn’t actually expecting things to go down the way they did. Westham Free kick, taken by Payet who lofted it in to the box. Now the decision making of debutant Champions League winning experienced keeper Petr Cech has to be called into question as he came dashing off his line to punch the ball away from the head of Kouyate, but for what I saw live he had more chance of punching the moon. What Petr was thinking I’m not sure but what he must of been thinking after he totally missed the ball I bet I could Imagine (SH^%! I DONE F*&% UP!). This goal came on the cusp of the end of the 1st half which was so disappointing but at this point my belief was, not to worry we got this man!!

Second Half:

The second half didn’t bring too much joy for Arsenal. For a 25 minutes spell they looked like the better of the two sides. Giroud and Ozil having some really good chances to get the boys Level. Yet Westham were doing everything in their power to shut us out, honourable shout out to Adrian who I believed had a wonderful game and was most certainly man of the match. Westham’s second goal is all about perspectives. Either you’re an Arsenal fan and you saw what was an absolutely crazy goal keeping howler or you’re a Hammer and you saw a classy well determined goal by Zarate. Again from my point of view, 10+ million pound man Petr Cech has to take full responsibility for this error here. He may say his sight was slightly impeded but really and truthfully it wasn’t enough for him to make that sort of misjudgement… (Szczesny at this point in time was at home sipping tea like Kermit, I’d assume). After this goal went in the game was effectively over, the lads had no one to blame but themselves. The came in to the game full of confidence but I’m starting to think maybe over confidence made them lazy and unconvincing.


I would love to be able to just sit here and play the blame game, however that’s very hard to do. The only real bud of light which was revealed from yesterday was the performance of THE OX. He was exceptional, seemed like the only person who wanted to keep going for 90 minutes. Even after he was reduced to playing a right back once Sanchez had come on the field! Everyone had their moments of just dire commitment, concentration and conviction, I’ve pointed out Cech earlier for the goals but it would be harsh to blame him only as Boscielny, Ramsey and Ozil had lapses at key times. But I’m going to end by saying, it’s not the end of the world, yes it was a poor loss to London rivals and it was made worse by the fact that we were at home however put all into perspective, it’s only the first game of the season. As we know things change quickly in the premiership so let’s not jump to conclusion to hastily. Wishing the lads all the best in their next game vs Crystal Palace, hopefully we will show up and get a result.

THE 3 Word Reflection: POOR, LAZY & DEPRESSING

Arsenal Player of the Game: With out a doubt THE OX! (Chamberlain) All of his efforts went to waste today.

West Ham Player of the Game: Adrian made some fine saves and was the all important factor that kept Arsenal at bay.

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by Gavin 'Gman' Henry