Errors in City vs Arsenal match, a show of declining standards in officiating by English refs

By Daily Sports on November 7, 2017

Views: 3,250

The much anticipated Super Sunday clash between two of the best ball playing sides in England and the world, largely lived up to its billings as table toppers, Manchester City played host to Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium. The intricate passing moves of both sides and the wowing technical brilliance of their individual players were in full display after which City emerged 3-1 winners courtesy of goals from Kevin De Bryune, Aguerro and Jesus.

Record signing Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for Arsenal when it was 2-0 and with about 25 minutes still to play,  a terrible piece of officiating by the linesman allowed City to score a third when David Silva was clearly in an offside position.

Though City as expected, had the larger share of possession in the game,  Arsenal matched them with grit and brave pressing and at 2-1,  the stage was set for a tense and interesting end to the encounter,  until the referee's gaffe.

The poor performance of English refs in tight fixtures like this have become worrying for those who have fallen in love with the English premiership and particularly for English men who want to see their officials handling big international fixtures.

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger was frustrated for which he accused the referees of influencing the outcome of the game with  their wrong decisions and former English referee Keith Hackett feels the Frenchman is right.

Writing in the Telegraph, in the aftermath of the match, Hackett said: "As things stand, we (England) will not have a single referee at the World Cup next year and that is symptomatic of an ageing group of referees and a drop in the overall level.

"They have been getting too many important decisions wrong. There was the obvious mistake for the third goal at the Etihad that should have been ruled out for offside, but Wenger will also have been annoyed by a free-kick that Michael Oliver awarded prior to the penalty for the second goal. He gave a foul to Manchester City in front of the technical area when no offence had been committed."

On the penalty that followed, Wenger described Raheem Sterling as a player who "dives well  and, while he does go down easily, I think he had been fouled."

In his post-match presser, Man City's manager, Pep Guardiola sought to downplay the significance of the referees poor decisions by alluding to the handball goal that Arsenal scored at the dying minutes to beat Burnley away last season, and tried to make the argument that such bad decisions can happen and teams should live with them.  But it smacks of a poor argument when crucially poor decisions are taken as acceptable simply because,  as some wrongly argue, "they even themselves out." There is simply no statistical proof that poor decisions even themselves out.

Last season,  Arsenal lost to two offside goals to City at the same Etihad in the first round of the league.  When is that going to even itself out?

Hackett continued on the falling standard of English refereeing: "The assistant’s job has rightly become a speciality in its own right. To an untrained eye, it might seem that they are difficult decisions to make but, for a trained eye, this (Silva's offside) was a fairly clear decision.

"David Silva's foot and arm were in front of his opponent. It was also a critical decision at a critical time in the game.

"Why do I think standards have dropped? The first point is that we have lost people like Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg. They are difficult to replace.

"We used to have a minimum of two referees operating internationally for Fifa and Uefa at the elite level, but that is down now to just Martin Atkinson - and he retires from the international panel in December.

"I also think the existing select group of referees are not challenged enough, even when they are struggling to maintain form.

"It is not that there is a shortage of referees but a road block. I would like to see more people who are doing well at the Select Group 2 level – like Andy Madley – being given a chance."

Poor decisions like those that killed the City vs Arsenal game, make the clamour for more video technology in football to not go away.

Source Daily Sports

Posted November 7, 2017


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