Arsenal lose two points thanks to Mike Dean’s latest pearler

By Simon Rose

Online Ed: Questionable spot kick makes for an unhappy New Year’s Eve at WBA

Ed’s note – I was unable to catch yesterday’s game. However, regular Gooner contributor Simon Rose was good enough to step in for me and cover the article on the match. My thanks to him for the piece that follows…

Arsenal didn’t play well enough to win at WBA and the hosts’ penalty shouldn’t have been given, but the two matters are unconnected. We are Arsenal and we should have played well enough at the bottom team to win convincingly. The Baggies’ late contentious penalty should have been nothing more than a mildly patronising consolation, a puny backdrop to an otherwise sound 3-1 or 4-1 win. It shouldn’t have mattered.

We shouldn’t have to question a refereeing decision, or ponder his integrity. Arsenal should be above this, because we should be better than this. But we aren’t. Our superiority should give us more leeway than to be sucker-punched by a late drama. But it doesn’t, because our style of play is no longer superior.

Arsenal are weird and we, as supporters, are curious gluttons for recurring punishment. We have been brought up to support our team and believe in Arsenal’s values, yet we don’t trust what we see anymore.

All too often, Arsenal are now dull and uninspiring. Slow sideways football. Wide players running in-field, leaving no width. Strikers entirely unsure where to position themselves, because they don’t know where their service is coming from. It leads to ponderous football that even the weakest of opponents can retreat against and fend off.

Arsenal have become so formulaic. We play out patterns on the pitch, almost irrespective of our where opponents are. Very little seems in the moment, or intuitive. Too many Arsenal matches are like a fresh episode of a TV drama where you’re left at the end thinking “Haven’t I seen this episode before?” If Arsenal appeared on Strictly, our tempo would be slow slow slow-slow slow.

This match elapsed with two teams fairly busily doing not much in particular. Things threatened to happen, without much happening. When Sanchez’s late free-kick deflected in I was delighted in a sort of “okay, now end this game” kind of way. It was one to forget. We’ll just take the points thanks, Happy New Year, bye. And then Mike Dean had to ruin it.

Gibbs’s cross hit Chambers’ arm, yes, but if such moments need to be intentional for a penalty to be given then nobody could rationally say that was the case, as Chambers was at point-blank range. The ball just hit him. You can only give a penalty for that if you really want to. And we can only presume that Dean wanted to give it.

Petr Cech asked Dean at the full-time whistle to clarify why the penalty was awarded. Cech later said that referees have visited the training ground and explained that point-blank handballs won’t be given, hence he wanted to know why this one was. Dean booked him. I’ve seen photos on Twitter of Dean imitating an elbow by his head, but of course Chambers’ arm was nearer his waist. A video replay would have shown that Chambers’ arm was not head high and Dean could have changed his decision. VAR won’t be perfect, football is not an exact science, as every incident is different, but it’ll certainly help.

Wenger complained after the match about our fixture scheduling. He was irked how we had three days to prepare for this match but West Brom had five and how we’ll get one less day to prepare for Chelsea than Chelsea will. And there is clearly no doubt that Wenger is right: TV scheduling has ended all teams playing at the same time and there is an undeniably unfair contrast in recovery time and travelling.

But Premier League clubs handed over their rights when they signed up for TV riches. There was a crushingly futile irony for Wenger to complain about scheduling to a Sky TV reporter, in a live post-match interview, after the final match in a round of contests that were mostly played the day before.

The scheduling horse has long bolted, for clubs, fans and broadcasters. Clubs get varying time to recover and prepare, fans travel at random times and broadcasters are paying over the odds for a product that is becoming less interesting.

Happy New Year!


Ed’s note – I was sent a text message from Doktor Schneide this morning. Too good to waste it so here goes…
Arsenal supporters leaving the Hawthorns last night were unanimous in their condemnation of one of the poorest judgements affecting their club. A typical Arsenal fan vented his fury by stating 'How on earth that decision was made I do not know. It's a scandal!' When asked for his opinion on how similar incidents affecting Arsenal could be avoided, he answered 'Well Kroenke has to go with Wenger following for a start...'

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1st January 2018 11:59:57


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

RobG  12:25pm 1st Jan 2018

Very good summation of the current situation. For what it's worth, I think we will see some action in this window that is about to open. Outs as well as Ins. Not Sanchez but I wouldn't be surprised to see Oil and Walcott depart. Who comes in, is anyones guess. A Very Happy 2018 fellow Endurers 🍻 - Post No. 111503

Ebor Gooner  12:27pm 1st Jan 2018

Very fair report. The penalty decision shouldn't have affected the result, but Arsenal weren't good enough, against a poor WBA. I wish I could get more annoyed, but to be honest, I've come to terms with the fact that no progress will be made under the current management, I'm just marking time until there's a change at the top - and I don't think I'm alone in that feeling. - Post No. 111504

Scruff  12:32pm 1st Jan 2018

Just a couple of point's for the delusional one's, why play wing backs who can't cross the ball ( bloody infuriating) why did we not revert to a back 4 when Kos went off and play 2 up front ( 3 centre halves marking one striker) why was Wally not sent on when it was obvious pace was required why was Iwobi not replaced earlier and why can't Cech get anywhere near saving a penalty. Blame Dean quite rightly but we were woeful and should not have been put in this position WBA are currently the worst team in the league and at times we made them look good. Pathetic. - Post No. 111505

Paulward  12:35pm 1st Jan 2018

Don’t really see where you’re coming from Simon, yes we were poor but we were grinding out a much needed victory against a team 2 days fresher and fighting for their lives, Dean put paid to that with an almighty howler in the 89th minute. If you watched Man City yesterday the same thing nearly happened to them but for the Eagles missing from the spot, so even teams playing well are not going to be 3 nil up after 89 minutes every week. - Post No. 111506

markymark  13:37pm 1st Jan 2018

Very good summing up. On Radio 5 they strongly condemned the penalty decision but equally pointed out that neither team deserved to win - fair assessment I thought. Obviously sport is full of contentious decisions and unfairness. Some clubs ( once us 15 years back ) you just knew would go on and win. Our present mob you just know they will go on and draw or worse. A symptom of the malaise under Wengo. - Post No. 111507

PETER59  14:24pm 1st Jan 2018

Lacklustre performance. Ozil possibly missed? He has been putting the effort in recently. Iwobe not involved and would not track back or put in a tackle. Should have been taken off at halftime appaling effort. Dean could not wait for an excuse to give the penalty. He was perfectly placed so I hope he has to explain the decision. - Post No. 111508

Arseneknewbest  14:38pm 1st Jan 2018

Simon I was reading your report and internally vocalising 'yes,yes, Simon's finally recognised the problem and is about to point the finger of blame'. But no,you tantalisingly pull up short. All of yesterday's sh*t is down to one person. Add your voice too Simon and recognise that you've finally had an epiphany. After all, it's the right time of year for one isn't it? Wengo out - he's an enemy within. - Post No. 111509

mbg  15:11pm 1st Jan 2018

We are not the Arsenal anymore Simon (whether some like or not, or will admit it or see, or want to see it) and haven't been for a long long time now thanks to an old past it manager, we've lost all pride thanks to him, the fact you admitted we didn't play well enough to win it proves it, because when was the last time we did play well enough to win, and win a game like that, where a manager can read TOF like a book and didn't bow to, or allow his players to bow to or roll over for, no we're not the Arsenal any more wenger has seen to that, you should have realised that and gotton used to it by now. We want wenger out. - Post No. 111510

mbg  15:23pm 1st Jan 2018

Scruff, well said, blame the referee (as usual) for wengers deficiencies, to answer your questions, because wenger is fooking clueless. - Post No. 111511

Exeter Ex  15:39pm 1st Jan 2018

It's a shame that even people that want him out get taken in by Wenger's spin over scheduling. Over the Xmas and New Year period as a whole AFC have the kindest schedule. And the first 11 has only had to play league games this season. But still doing worse in the league than this time last season. There is no excuse. Arsenal have a poor and getting worse manager, there's your explanation. - Post No. 111512

Mark Mywurdz  17:12pm 1st Jan 2018

The thing is that Chambers playing on the right hand side of a back three is a disaster waiting to happen. Too slow by far. Gets in a tangle positonally. Hopeless against Saha at Palace. Gets little support from Bellerin. The handball could have gone either way, but I’d have put money on the fact that if WBA we’re going to score it was going to come from that side of our defence. - Post No. 111513

Goonhogday  18:13pm 1st Jan 2018

Totally agree the penalty should’ve been a mere consolation for WBA in a comfortable win for the Gunners. However, we’re nowhere near that standard anymore and I’ve lost count of how many seasons we’ve struggled with mid and bottom of the table opposition in this manner now. Away fans should start chanting “boring, boring Arsenal” in jest nowadays! Wenger out, Kroenke out - Post No. 111514

CORNISH GOONER  19:28pm 1st Jan 2018

Golly gosh - looks like the penny is finally starting to drop even with AKB Rose!! However, he is still banging on about "Arsenal values". Personally, I thought I knew what they were but, thanks to Arthur's overlong tenure, I no longer think we have any uniqueness to offer. I too had a good look at recent scheduling & agree with Exeter that we have done well overall - but I don't remember Arthur ever going whoop de doo over that piece of good fortune. Perpetual complainer against all "injustices" - real or perceived. - Post No. 111515

KC38  19:43pm 1st Jan 2018

Simon well summed up. We are slow and have no devil it’s actually boring to watch, I may suggest there is a lack of management one to one, ie speaking to players demanding end product. We are poor in both boxes! With regard individuals a big question mark hangs over Bellerin very weak defensively and poor going forward, Chambers could be a very good player given games. Week by week we are getting worse the table doesn’t lie, it’s a slow painful journey. The penalty decision was shocking it does not matter if we deserved to win or not it was a criminal call. Iwobi plays safe, with no end product, not sure how our travelling fans keep their patience, they are being served up dross and it’s difficult to understand how the manager can keep watching it, I guess deluded comes to mind. - Post No. 111516

GoonerRon  20:09pm 1st Jan 2018

Yet another stodgy away performance lacking zip and imagination. Annoying to lose two points to Mike Dean’s twattishness. Chelsea has become a must win now otherwise those prophesizing a 6th place finish might be proven correct. - Post No. 111517

mbg  21:14pm 1st Jan 2018

Obviously Hodgson and palace didn't bow as much for Pep and City at the weekend as they did for TOF and his merry men, maybe such is his love for him he made sure his players tried that bit harder I wonder did he throw a reception for pep. wenger out. - Post No. 111518

mbg  21:40pm 1st Jan 2018

CORNISH, perpetual complainer alright, and has been for years, but we knew that already, (TOF's problem is he thinks he should have and get the same respect as Fergie and can't understand when he doesn't) did you see the whinger after been reprimanded by the ref for arguing with and complaining to the lino, the very first thing the serial complainer did was turn around to the lino and complain, what an arrogant c**t. wenger out. - Post No. 111519

TonyEvans  7:31am 2nd Jan 2018

Stop press! Online Gooner can exclusively reveal that AFCs Director of Pathetic Excuses and Meaningless Drivel, Mr B Arse, has resigned. 'I've had enough' he told us. 'There is only so much claptrap you can come up with, and even I can see now that it's not getting any better'. Mr Arse has been Arsene Wenger's right hand man for nearly ten years and he cited the pressure of the work as his main reason for quitting. This will come as a bitter blow to Wenger, who was unavailable for comment. Apparently he was too busy preparing the list of players he is going to try but fail to sign in January. - Post No. 111521

Bob Bayliss  7:43am 2nd Jan 2018

Need a mass clear out in this window. El Ninny, Walnut, Corporal Jenkinson, Monorail, Chambers of Horrors. None of them remotely good enough. Add Coq Au Vin to the mix. Ozil clearly can't be arsed. All Wenger's doing - Post No. 111522

Moscowgooner  8:20am 2nd Jan 2018

There is that superb irony of course in complaining about scheduling issues when you are enjoying a salary that has been inflated four or five fold (at least) by the cash from TV rights..... - Post No. 111523

The Man From UNCLE  10:16am 2nd Jan 2018

Critics about the penalty seem to conveniently forget the home game vs WBA where one could easily have been awarded against us. What goes around, comes around. As for complaints about the fixture list, our esteemed neighbours have got a good reason to complain with two games in 48 hours. Sorry but I ain't buying it you can't try to gloss over this sides glaring deficiencies (lack of direction, lack of creativity, lightweight up front and at the back) as easy as that. - Post No. 111524

GSPM  12:52pm 2nd Jan 2018

Deflected free kick, disputed penalty , overall 2 poor sides. Wenger Once again hiding behind Ref decisions to hide the shambles that is Wengers Arsenal. Most fans can see what is going on. Groundhog Once again....happy New Year ?? - Post No. 111525

peter wain  13:26pm 2nd Jan 2018

lack of creativity was apparent for all to see. no doubt of any positive news in the transfer window so we will finish anything from 6 to 12 in the league which means kroenke will have a decision to make. The need for at least 6 new players has never been more apparent the chances of getting them never lass so. Wenger out now. - Post No. 111526

equalizer  13:41pm 2nd Jan 2018

@peter wain, Is there any point in bringing in six new players under Wenger? - Post No. 111527

markymark  15:27pm 2nd Jan 2018

The point I’d raise is generally during an internal player dispute the player who’s the agent of the problems is normally playing crap. From what I can see is Sánchez is playing mediocre but still able to score. While those around him with supposedly better values are actually playing worse. Not great at all. - Post No. 111528

Paulward  15:39pm 2nd Jan 2018

UNCLE Tottenham actually have the advantage tonight as they haven’t played since Boxing Day and Swansea played on NYE. On Thursday they play a West Ham side who also play tonight. If anybody thinks a 48 or 72 hour rest advantage makes no difference in top level sport they are wrong and these Xmas schedules need a re think - Post No. 111529

mbg  16:34pm 2nd Jan 2018

The man from UNCLE, well said and neither am i not for a minute, the wengerites apologists will never mention any of what you posted of course, it's always somebody elses fault with them, no sympthay for TOF whatsoever, Karma if you ask me. wenger out now. - Post No. 111530

mbg  16:51pm 2nd Jan 2018

Bob Bayliss, although I agree we need a mass clear out, it never ceases to amaze me why some people think a mass clear out and new players will make any difference, there's no point when we still have whinger who'll only bring in a couple of like for like, or worse, and then carry on where he left off killing them and making them even worse, the only clear out this club needs at the minute is wenger and a new manager. wenger out now. - Post No. 111531

Exeter Ex  18:36pm 2nd Jan 2018

Agree with those saying new players make no difference. We have over a decade of evidence to show that it makes no difference who the personnel are under Wenger, or whether he has more or less money. He is the problem, full stop. As for scheduling, the fact remains that over the whole period AFC's schedule is the kindest. WBA had a rest advantage for that specific match, but then AFC have the advantage of having 100 times the resources of WBA. Complaining about scheduling is also a bit much considering the TV money is the reason Wenger is so obscenely and undeservedly well paid and should have the squad to cope if only he did his job properly. It's weak excuse making and he shouldn't be backed up in that. - Post No. 111534

mbg  19:35pm 2nd Jan 2018

I see whinger has been charged over a ruckus in the officials dressing room after the game the other night(just barged in no doubt)over the pen, after saying on live TV he won't be talking to them or going anywhere near them, another lie, I guess his arrogance got the better of the whinging weasel. wenger out. - Post No. 111537

markymark  20:02pm 2nd Jan 2018

Paul Ward - everyone seems to be coping accept Wenger and Maureen. Both of these Managers are on that post 10 year slide. Maureen though can still pull a result or two and can still win in Europe albeit at a lower level. Wenger is like a bald man fighting over a comb. Each moan is being chalked up in his excuses book ready for review by Kronke. I suspect Westbrom might make it harder to finish 5th. It’s not exactly like this was two points dropped in a tight title battle against City.... sorry I’ve got to break off now as my bladder just leaked as I piss myself with laughter. I’m sorry I really am. - Post No. 111538

Yes its Ron  21:26pm 2nd Jan 2018

It was the first game ive watched all 90 mins since August. I was grateful to Arsenal as it reinforced my decision not to bother and wont be doing so now until Wengos gone. As for his annoyance at the pen. What a hypocrite he is. Had it have been a pen for Asl he would have said some thing to justify it being given. The pen served as a crotch for him to use so to avoid admitting that Arsenal are rubbish and have been for nigh on 10 years. They didnt lose 2 pts, they got what their abysmal weak kneed performance warranted. - Post No. 111539

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

15th January 2018

Being muscled off the ball by Bournemouth is like being mugged by your grandma

Online Ed: Another poor Arsenal display on the road just another signpost as we near the end of the Wenger era