Match report – Player Ratings – Video
I was going to talk a bit about VAR in today’s blog. Not to complain that it was to blame for our result yesterday – we have to look at ourselves for that. The decline in quality in a few key positions, although there may have been good reasons / reasonable reasons to change, and our lack of consistency throughout the season were the main culprits.
We thought we’d scored, but legally Saka’s nail was offside, so there you go. I also thought it was ridiculous how they spent an age looking for an offside in preparation for the Fulham penalty rather than replaying the ridiculous dive. The slightest touch on a player’s foot shouldn’t cause them to jump through the air like they’ve been punched in the ass by a ten-ton truck. Why we still can’t come to terms with the idea that not all contact is a fault is beyond me.
Even when Eddie Nketiah scored the late equalizer, they did a VAR check. I know some will say it’s not VAR, it’s its implementation, and that just might be true. But when it seems like his main goal in the Premier League is to find the smallest possible reason for refusing a goal, what’s the point? If it was used to correct clear and obvious mistakes, there would be a lot less complaints, but it isn’t.
VAR, as it currently operates, does not bring anything positive to the game and takes away so much. The best thing about football is scoring a goal, and it has now come to a point where you can’t even experience that moment of joy without that worry in the back of your mind, it could be ruled out. Is it worth the compromise with the precision of a pixelated shadow of a toe half a centimeter offside?
I wish they would make it go away. Officials would always be wrong, but what VAR has done is make sure the decisions we endure fester for much longer. I guess it’s impossible to put the genie back in the bottle, genius little wanker that he is anyway, but unless they find a way to do it better, it negatively impacts the sport, in my opinion.
Besides, Arsenal were turgid. If I see Mohamed Elneny pass the ball back once more when we have to move forward, I think I’ll scream. It’s not all about him, of course, but it shows how big the gap is between our best midfielder and the one we asked to do the same job. A job he couldn’t do. We kept going, so fair play for that, but we almost lost our 13th league game of the season.
Not good enough, although I appreciated that our goalkeeper won a header in his box after extra time to get a pre-pass for the goal.
Anyway, one day when I thought VAR was going to be the biggest threat to the integrity of the sport, the Super League has arrived. A bunch of big clubs owned by rich men who want more money. Arsenal, unfortunately, are at the forefront of this horrible idea and released a generic statement last night about our involvement:
We are one of the 12 founding clubs of the European Super League
– Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 18, 2021
I don’t know what’s worse: the pride and arrogance of capitalizing the “ founding clubs ” in that statement, or that something of such magnitude – in which Stan Kroenke is a “ vice president – was posted on our official website with a quote from Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Man Utd. We’re used to Stan being silent, and I understand that was a blanket statement from everyone involved, but it’s pathetic, and another example of how little they care.
The reaction to the Tweet was also something. I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a wave of righteous indignation and anger over anything the club has ever released before. I apologize for some of the people who currently work at the club who have been pressured into creating this “content”. Arsenal are full of employees who love and understand the club to its fullest extent. Its place in the community, its history, its ambition, even if we are not far from it at the moment, and it is so far from it all.
From above comes the edict to post something they know fans, in numbers, will hate with all their hearts. Difficult concert. And the managers too? Arsenal fans aren’t the only ones who despise this idea. If a Klopp or an Arteta has genuine objections, how embarrassing is it to voice them when the club owners have their colors nailed to the mast? It’s the kind of situation that forces you to compromise your integrity, or you lose your job. Maybe it will happen, who knows?
The prospect of a European Super League has always swirled in the background, and I can say it’s something I’ve always dreaded. We have to recognize that when we hear from people from Sky (and I thought Gary Neville spoke very well last night), the Premier League, UEFA, etc., voice their concerns about this plan, there is has levels of hypocrisy that are off the charts.
They are not the protectors of the game. They will do, and have done, whatever they can do to make as much money as possible from football. They don’t care about the fans, watch how they spoil the kick-off hours, sending a team from across the country to play on the other end on a whim – knowing there is no public transport, knowing the inconvenience this causes. They don’t care about the well-being of the players, as evidenced by the latest international break, amid a deadly pandemic, and a grueling schedule that has seen teams play three games in six days. The litany of injuries suffered since shows that their only real interest is self-interest, bank balances and beyond.
At least there is a competitive structure. We know the decks are stacked in a system that wants the ‘big’ names to come out the best, but there’s still a 38-game league season, teams like Leicester and West Ham are potential qualifiers for the game. Champions League, and that’s what makes football and sport so interesting. . This abomination of a “super league” is a closed shop for the 15 “founders”, who can never be relegated, can never lose their place, and that’s all sport shouldn’t be. It is not sport. It’s television. It’s entertainment. These are à la carte subscriptions. This is everything any football fan should absolutely despise. And the ridiculousness of Arsenal, wallowing in the ninth, being part of a ‘Super League’ shouldn’t be lost on any of us (nor also the involvement of a club like Sp * rs who haven’t won the title of champion for 60 years.).
I remember the 2006 Champions League final like it was yesterday. The pain of defeat was intense, but that incredible moment when, at the final whistle, there was a sea of yellow as Arsenal fans gutted beyond belief we were going so close stood together with pride in what we had done to achieve. he will live with me forever. We appreciated that our time to win that famous old trophy had almost come, and that feeling that we might do so in the future. I can guarantee you that no game in this new format, this glorified exhibition tournament, would ever generate something like this. If you have dreamed that one day we could win the European Cup (as it was called at first), it’s over because this tournament will cease to exist. Why? So billionaires can get richer.
The huge sums of money being offered are what drives this. The timing, during a pandemic where many clubs have suffered losses, more than likely depends on the debts incurred. If you are in Barcelona with £ 1 billion in debt, why wouldn’t it be tempting to erase your history to erase your debt? If you’re KSE that has “ restructured ” Arsenal’s debts and someone basically comes in and offers to pay most of it in a lump sum with ring-fenced income guarantees that can go anywhere you want, you don’t. don’t. Think about what the fans want or care about.
I am deeply sad that Arsenal is involved in this. It’s a club I’ve supported my whole life, and while each has their own breaking point, it’s not something I can just turn off. I do not feel that this represents the Arsenal which is close to my heart. And look, I understand. Maybe it’s just an idealized take on the club, but I also think the loud reaction to that Tweet from Arsenal tells you that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s not who we are, what we are and what we stand for – as one of our most beloved sons once said.
It’s difficult, but I think we have to try to separate the club from the vultures who own it. Like I said on Twitter – and this doesn’t just apply to Arsenal fans, but fans of everyone involved – don’t hate your club, hate the owners. The club as a whole is important to us. This is something worth fighting for… at least until there is no more interest.
This thing is set to start in August, despite objections from UEFA and the Premier League insisting that those who participate will be banned from their competitions. It’s a power play to get more of what they want, and how it all plays out now over the next few weeks will be fascinating. But if that’s what it is, what’s the point in what’s left of this season? I want us to win the Europa League because I want Arsenal to win a European trophy, but also to qualify for the Champions League. What does it matter where we end up in the Premier League if we are assured of our spot on this grotesque reality show next season?
Maybe it won’t come true, but even if it doesn’t, there is still a stain in the relationship between our football club and its fans that will never go away, and it’s really sad. There are a lot of reasons to be angry and worried, but the way something like this got kicked out when they knew well how it would be received is so depressing and disheartening.
Stan Kroenke. Andrea Agnelli. Florentino Perez. Joel Glazer. Ivan Gazidis. John W. Henry. And all the rest: the enemies of football. As Jonathan Liew brilliantly wrote, “Only someone who really hates football can be behind a European super league.”
They hate football. They love money and don’t care what they destroy to get more. And that’s the bottom line.
James and I are going to record an Arsecast Extra for you this morning. If you have any questions or topics for discussion, send to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you are on Arseblog Member on Patreon, leave your question in the # arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord server.
The podcast will be released at lunchtime, until then calm down.