Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Referee's vs Arsenal/ Match Fixing?

I read an article on an Arsenal fan website about the possibility of match fixing and media driven bias against the team affecting referees.

There have been so many decisions in games recently that have gone against Arsenal. Not just minor things, but wildly bizarre things. Louis Saha's offside goal that was as obvious as Harry Redknapp's twitch and Newcastle's second penalty on Saturday. Nobody in their right mind would even comprehend that there was a foul there and that a penalty should be given. But it was. Two bizarre decisions in 4 days going against Arsenal. Coincidence?

Other decisions that have gone against us this season are the two penalty decisions at Wigan, the three hours of added time at Sunderland and a penalty at Man Utd that should never have been given. Also, the sending offs. People including Tony Pulis will look at our disciplinary record this season with huge grins across their faces but only three or four of those eight red cards (in all competitions) were deserved. Song's at Sunderland was a joke- I think it was the second yellow that was ridiculous, Koscielny at Liverpool- same as Song's, Koscielny's at home to Newcastle and Sagna getting sent off against Man City was just completely stupid and wrong.

This begs a couple of questions- Is there something sinister going on in terms of match- fixing or betting scandals? Or is the media bias against us getting into the heads of referees? By media bias against us, I mean how they can't wait to criticise once an Arsenal player does something remotely wrong, such as a simple sending off or complaining to the referee, e.g. Cesc Fabregas against Everton last week. If John Terry or Rio Ferdinand had done that would they have had the spotlight on them as much? I'm sick of our players and manager getting criticised too much and more than certain other clubs and players just because they're not English or because they play for a club managed by Arsene Wenger who everyone in the media seems to hate.

And now onto penalties. As I have already mentioned, the bizarre Newcastle episode (refereed by Phil Dowd), the penalty Tottenham got (refereed by Phil Dowd, who couldn't wait to give it) and the Wigan penalties. Add to this, the Song sending off at Sunderland and the fact that Sunderland equalised after stoppage time should have ended (refereed by...oh Phil Dowd).

If you still think this is just paranoia, lets look at Saturday's game at Newcastle as an example.
  1. Diaby sent off (probably rightfully) but Kevin Nolan not for his assault on Szcsesny.
  2. Newcastle's second penalty- why on Earth was this given?
  3. The free kick for Newcastle's equaliser- Not a foul at all. This is one example of a few that showed 'home refereeing' where Dowd gave Newcastle free kicks, bookings and penalties just because the crowd asked for them. He got caught up in the whole atmosphere and it was as if he was giving everything the crowd asked for.
Overall, all the decisions in the second half went against us and at times, bizarrely. I'm not saying that Phil Dowd single handedly gave Newcastle a draw, becasue Arsenal are partly to blame too. But he sure had a big part in it and if it wasn't for him, Arsenal would have won.

Decisions do go against you occasionally so it's not like I'm getting carried away just because of one game or incident, it's because of a LOT. More than anyone else, I bet. I am prepared for Arsenal to be hard done by every now and then, I can accept that, but when it happens to this extent and with this amount of bizarreness, I can't help but ask questions.

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