Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A Tale Of Two Penalties

It's been a pretty eventful time for Arsenal recently and Sunday's 2-1 win over Burnley was certainly no different. With the game swinging to and fro in second half added time Arsenal somehow managed to take the three points with a 97th minute penalty. By that time it looked as if 10 man Arsenal had blown their chance of moving ahead of the other chasers and into second place behind Chelsea.

We had been treated to Arsene Wenger getting his marching orders at that stage and the FA have seen fit to charge him today. He has no defence really, but the suggestion from some quarters of a 10 game ban is ridiculous and not based in fact. Sure, he cursed at the referee or fourth official, didn't leave the tunnel after he was sent off and gave that fourth official a little push too, but 10 games would be way over the top. Then again having written the previous sentence maybe he will see that book bounce off his forehead.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if he got half of that in a ban which would rule him out of some pretty big games. In all of this there is no mention of yet another awful refereeing performance and that performance of course had an influence on his reaction. Burnley may well be upset at the late concession of a penalty which they considered to be offside, but the rules clearly state it was a penalty even if he was offside as the whistle had not gone when Laurent Koscielny was kicked in the face.

I've heard it suggested by some that Koscielny put his head down and it wasn't really a high boot, but that doesn't hold any water with me. What those who claim it wasn't a penalty are also forgetting is the stone wall penalty not awarded to Arsenal for the foul on Shkodran Mustafi earlier and you can't focus on one and ignore the other.

The time for referees to get some help from video replays must surely be just around the corner and it can't come quickly enough for me. I'm not for a minute suggesting that Arsenal suffer any more than other clubs from the awful decisions, but it just seems like too many games are being decided by bad refereeing decisions at the moment. 

While all that was going on the performance from Arsenal wasn't exactly one to write home about yet again. They did win though and have now taken 13 points from the last 15 available which is a mere one more than Chelsea have taken in that time. There's still eight points to make up though and the crunch is just around the corner.

If Arsenal are going to have any real chance of winning the league they are going to have to go to Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs and win as well as winning at home to both Manchester clubs. Judging by past performances this season and for far too many previous seasons it's a highly unlikely scenario. This team will have to become something they have never been before to win the league and that's consistently good in the big games.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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