Here's the brilliant Alan Alger's must-read Three Things We Learned after VAR limitations cost Arsenal at Newcastle
After last week VAR found new ways to prove it needs scrapping…
It was only last week after a great 5-0 home win over Sheffield United that I complained that VAR had ruined the ‘in the moment’ celebration of a couple of perfectly legitimate goals where no obvious infringement existed.
That’s just to point out that even after a comfortable win I can see the downside of the video ref! So, I can justifiably say that Saturday's debacle at St. James' Park is just further proof that we need to abandon the whole idea.
Wolves and Liverpool are obvious examples of teams that have been recently hard done by from the technology, although overall I think we’ve had the longest run of howlers.
They were added to on Saturday by a ridiculous decision to allow Bruno Guimarães assault on Jorginho to pass without caution. A ridiculous interpretation of the laws of the game where the VAR official added in his own benchmarks for good measure. Finally classifying the challenge (and I don’t even think it deserves to be called that) as ‘absolutely fine’ because of the part of the arm that was used.
As I’ve often said in this column, we always find new ways of being wronged by officials. Then we saw a Newcastle goal that now has a ‘doubt count’ of four incidents in the lead up. The most obvious of which was the foul on Gabriel.
Incidentally, Sky Sports, not content with the ridiculous assertions from Jamie Carragher and Izzy Christansen at half-time that the violence of Jorginho was just about fine, had their chief pundit Gary Neville saying Gabriel was ‘looking for it’ in a social media post today.
Do remember this lack of quality of insight when you go to renew their vastly overpriced products in the future.
While we’re on the subject of Sky, their Soccer Saturday programme now looks like it’s been put together as a sixth-form project rather than from a business worth billions, which we pay fortunes to each season.
No doubt saving millions themselves by ditching experienced journalists/reporters and now employing youngsters, a noble thing if done right, but lots of them are severely lacking in talent – and you can be sure the savings haven’t been passed on to us!
Statement on the officials a really poor decision from the club…
For all of the ranting above – we’re fans and we’re allowed to – I thought it was a bizarre communications decision from the club to produce their statement today. Let’s break down what purpose it can serve.
There’s not a chance that it will provide any leniency towards Mikel Arteta if he’s somehow asked to explain his post-match comments.
It will also have a long-lasting impact on the officials we have to deal with in the future. Furthermore, I actually think the addition of the line: “we’d also like to acknowledge the huge effort and performance from our players”, poses plenty of questions.
The word ‘huge’ is entirely misplaced and I really hope that this sentiment was not actually passed on to the players in the private confines of the dressing room - or will be reinforced at London Colney this week.
We plainly did not deserve more than a draw and it was a further extension of our worrying early-season form. I maintain that we’ve only played extremely well in three games – PSV, Bournemouth and Sheffield United.
I’ve not included the Manchester City game here, because the performance was brilliantly tactical rather than expressive.
I don’t want the players thinking they did enough yesterday, because they really didn’t. There were some culprits who actually massively under-performed and owe some serious compensation to us Gooners in the coming weeks.
The corners from Trossard at the end and the endless dinked overhit balls from Jorginho (above their defence and out of play) had me waking in cold sweats overnight.
Avoiding a nightmare November starts in midweek…
Trossard and Jorginho aren’t the only ones who need to show far more. The whole team have a big chance to put a terrible start to the month behind them.
Starting in midweek where we can all but qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League before embarking on a relatively kind run in the Premier League.
We’re still joint-second-favourites for the title along with Liverpool, and still being taken more seriously than our neighbours at the top.
Fixtures against Burnley (h), Brentford (a), Wolves (h) and Luton (a) are a platform to show that we are building into our season and getting used to new signings.
A return lower than eight points from those matches will not only kill any slim title hopes, but will also extend the feeling that we’re just not as good as last season and we may have gone slightly backwards.
That fear has to be very real now, despite all the good work that has been done by the manager and the majority of the players.