In the debacle that I just witnessed, poor old Arsenal were robbed. If that injury-time ‘tackle’ by Robinson on Walcott had happened anywhere else on the pitch, it’s a free kick. But why not a penalty? Because he had his hands down? Do me a favour.
Officials have conspired to consign Arsenal to their third defeat of the season. Frankly, this shoddy officiating is becoming a joke. Arsenal were the better team today and any neutral would agree with me – the stats don’t lie. A clearly offside goal and a fortuitous own goal by Song made the difference in a game that the Gunners really should’ve won.
These freak events sometimes happen, and you can’t legislate for them. But today, right at the death, Arsenal should have had a reprieve. Robinson comes charging out, Walcott squeezes his shot off, Walcott is sent crashing to the ground. Apparently a late tackle isn’t a foul when it’s in the box.
Rewind a few weeks to the Newcastle game. Barton assaults Gervinho by yanking him up off the ground by his throat. A foul. In the box no less. The referee has to stop play. But do Arsenal get a penalty and does Barton get a red for his violent play? No, Gervinho gets a red for pawing at Barton, who in turn gets a yellow.
These are two incidents in recent games that have shaped Arsenal’s season so far. Even forgetting the offside goal scored by Blackburn during a crucial passage of the game, the Gunners should’ve got at least a point today. If you were to add three or five points to their tally then things wouldn’t look so bad for Wenger and his men.
There will be inevitable calls from disgruntled Gooners, screaming for Wenger to be sacked. I don’t concur with them though. He’s just not getting the rub of the green at the moment. Hardly a sackable offence.
The problem for me is with the linesmen and the referees. Nowadays, all to often, refs and their officials are affecting results. These officials are supposed to be watching over games, not deciding them. Every season the sport gets faster and faster, and refs can’t keep up. Unless they’re given help they are going to keep making massive mistakes, then the wrong teams are going to keep getting results they don’t deserve.
Last season, in an independent study, it was shown just how much inept decision making cost certain teams. Have a look here to see just how different the league would have looked if referees didn’t make costly mistakes.
Even with video help and a fourth referee, you are never going to erase human error from the game. But in this day and age, with so much riding on results, how can the greatest, most popular sport on the planet still be living in the dark ages when it comes to officiation.
I’m getting bored of it now; bored because more and more often results are being unfairly handed out. How are we, as supporters, supposed to maintain our enthusiasm for a sport that is not only corrupt, but deeply unfair?