Thoughts on Premier League Referees and their Officiating
For some reason, I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like with this blog. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with lack of content, writer’s block or those excuses Jose Mourinho would give when things aren’t going well for him. It’s more from the fact that my job keeps me so busy and it affects my blogging but hey, we gotta do what we gotta do. However, if someone out there is interested in holding the fort while I’m out for work, just contact me.
So where was I? Aha! The referees. It’s funny how I was one of those folks that wasn’t really impressed with the VAR in last year’s Confederations Cup. It makes the game slow, blah blah blah. I just kept whining like a typical Jose Mourinho, asking for more funds or something. But seriously guys, I was kinda disappointed with the idea. You know, Cedric Soares scored a late goal against Mexico and was so elated, then the ref does the VAR sign thingy (yes, they have a sign.. very VAR-lly) and runs to the dugout to watch the video. Apparently, the words of the video folks wasn’t enough. He wanted to see it for himself, then finally, he awards the goal. Like duh! We saw it the very first time and we are sure your linesmen did but no, you just had to make the FIFA folks get some value for their money. The momentum of the Portuguese team dropped, the wind went off their sails and I think Mexico equalized or so. Bleh.
Fast forward to December 31, 2017. Arsenal playing such a terrible West Brom side at the Hawthorns, fabled not to have won a league game since David Silva had some hair. The game itself was drab but I’m sure at Freebets.org the odds were nice for the bookies. Alexis Sanchez scores a free kick that deflects off James McClean (quite ironic name for a guy whose hands are ‘dirtied’ by tattoos) and it seemed like the Gunners were on course for another smash and grab victory a la Burnley, but something really terrible happened a few minutes later.
That double agent, Kieran Gibbs, drifted into the box and attempted a weak cut back that clipped Calum Chambers arm and went off for a corner. I’m pretty sure the West Brom lads were bracing themselves up for a corner kick but alas, the man with the whistle, Mike Dean, pointed to the penalty spot for one of the cheapest spot kicks you’d ever see. I don’t know what pissed me off more – the fact that we conceded a penalty so late or the fact that with Petr Cech between the sticks we were certainly going to concede a goal from the resulting penalty.
Jay Rodriguez scored, we attempted one of our regular weak late rallies and three sweet points changed to one thanks to our poor overall play, profligate finishing and of course, terrible officiating. Arsene Wenger was within his full rights to be angry about what transpired and the usually cool manager lost his calm and said some not too nice things about the officiating, which prompted the FA in their infinite wisdom to charge him. As if that wasn’t bad enough for Wenger and his team, the Gunners were on the wrong end of some Eden Hazard theatrics that made Anthony Taylor award another penalty kick in the high octane match against Chelsea. Two contentious penalty decisions against Arsenal in the space of three days.
Yes, I’m an Arsenal fan and some folks would feel I’m a bit biased here but that’s certainly not the case here. Besides Arsenal, there have been some teams that have been on the end of such poor officiating decisions this season. Decision so bad that they can be the difference between a loss, draw or victory. For years, terrible refereeing decisions have plagued the Premier League and it seems like the trend isn’t stopping any time soon. The mere fact that England will have no referees at this summer’s World Cup speaks in volumes. I’ve seen the likes of Howard Webb and Mark Clattenberg officiate at the biggest stages but there’s no footballing spectacle greater than the World Cup and yet a league as prestigious as the English Premier League will not boast of one of its men on the whistle to make those big decisions at the world stage.
In the wake of all this nonsense happening in the league, I’m optimistic about the VAR coming to the Premier League in the 2018/19 season. At least, it would help the likes of Mike Dean do their jobs, since they seem incapable of making those decisions that have high consequences.
Enough with the referee’s rant.
I hope to be more consistent in the coming days.
Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page.
Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List