To my readers, supporters and friends, here is hoping you had a Merry Christmas. For football and premier league fans, the festivities culminate with today’s traditional Boxing Day program.
Instead of the usual happy-go-lucky anticipation that one approaches a post-Christmas game of football, I am quite fearful for the refereeing fate of Arsenal commencing with today’s game at Brighton. It all has to do with the inflammatory allegations made last Saturday by Sean Dyche that the Gooners were guilty of:
“….absolute cheating, dives. No one seems to want to do anything about it, apart from me. If one of their players had been booked for it – he would have been off.”
These accusations are incendiary, striking at the professional reputation of the football club as well as the legitimacy of the referees who do Arsenal games. Yet, to date, no one, not the FA nor the media have demanded an explanation from Sean Dyche, much less, to reproach him for bringing the premier league into disrepute.
By the way, UFV was the only blog to provided 10 years of facts and data to demonstrate that there was no merit to Dyche’s allegations based on either the penalties-for or the yellow cards-against Arsenal. As usual many fans remain somnolent and asleep, ignoring the pattern of lies and obfuscations that are used to hammer their club.
The mainstream media is very quiet.
In the past, should any manager attack the credibility of the referees, whether directly or indirectly, the media would be quick to demand action. To ensure public attention; they would replay or reprint the offending comments and demand an investigation by the FA. In this case nothing, zero, nada, zilch. Instead, the BBC via MOTM, simply replayed incidents that confirmed Dyche’s complaints rather than the multiple times Burnley players engaged in reckless tackles or ungentlemanly conduct that require a yellow card, which they often escaped. Despite being lenient, the ref punished Burnley with 5 yellow cards versus 2 against Arsenal.
Yet Dyche says Arsenal players were allowed to dive. Clearly he is implying that Kevin Friend was biased in favor of Arsenal. This is a most serious allegation.
And the mainstream media is quiet. Where are the voices of prominent football journalists, pundits and talk-show hosts demanding that Dyche either withdraw his allegations or be punished?
Just imagine if an Arsenal manager made such allegations. Actually there is no need to be imaginative. Two recent incidents will suffice.
In January 2018, just exactly 11 months ago, former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger was hit with a three-month touchline ban and a $40,000 fine after he admitted to verbally abusing Mike Dean and questioned the referee’s integrity. On the face of it, Wenger was justified in going after the ref who had awarded West Brom a penalty from a clearly incorrect hand-ball (to those of us watching on tv) against Calum Chambers. In fact Dean was later to admit post season that he erred. At the time the hoopla in the media was loud and repetitious.
A year earlier in January 2017 after a match against said, same Burnley, Arsene Wenger was charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) following an altercation with the fourth official in the tunnel after he was sent to the stands in stoppage time of Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium. Wenger had complained to referee Jon Moss about the awarding of a 93rd-minute penalty to Burnley, to equalize the game. Wenger was eventually given a four-match touchline ban.
Yet Sean Dyche is walking away scot free.
This should make every Arsenal fan very afraid. If Dyche’s accusations are being allowed to go unchallenged by the authorities than objectively it has their endorsement. If the FA and PL have accepted Dyche’s claims that Arsenal is a diving club then this will inevitably be communicated to the PGMOL referees. Surely this will color their perception of the club and how they referee Arsenal matches.
As I observed in my most recent blog, in 2009 after Celtic made false allegations against Arsenal and Eduardo, in particular, for diving in a champions league qualifier, the PGMOL extracted its revenge on the Gooners awarding only 3 penalties to the club that season. That was the second lowest in 10 years.
With no additional evidence available, it may be premature to make any predictions. But as Shakespeare wrote “past is prologue”. That is why all gooners should fear history repeating itself, starting with Brighton today.
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