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Wolves 0-3 Arsenal


Game changer

By Tom Bason
April 12 2012

Last night, Wolves took another step towards the inevitability of Championship football next season. An early Robin van Persie penalty, following a sending off for Sébastien Bassong set Arsenal on the way. Theo Walcott doubled Arsenal’s advantage soon after, before Yossi Benayoun wrapped things up with 20 minutes still to play.

-       When I saw the line-up, I wasn’t surprised. I think it would have been suicide to go into the game with two strikers, and I’m not sure how effective Steven Fletcher has been as a lone-forward this season. For Kevin Doyle’s faults, he is a very effective ‘defensive forward’. By this, I mean a striker who defends from the front – think the likes of Dirk Kuyt, a player whose goalscoring record isn’t brilliant, but does a lot of work for the team. Anyway, if I was lining up a team that was looking for a 0-0, I’d take Doyle over Fletcher.

-       The game was, obviously, over inside the first 10 minutes. For once, I’m writing this with the benefit of having seen the replays on Match of the Day, but they only confirmed what I suspected at the time – Bassong fouled Walcott, it was clearly a goalscoring opportunity, so he had to go. I have no qualms with the officials over this decision (although it seemed to take them one hell of a long time to decide it was a penalty – I wonder who actually made the call?), but I have a big issue with the rule. Bassong didn’t mean to foul Walcott – it was clumsy, but not intentional. Surely for this, a penalty is enough? (It could also be argued that Bassong didn’t deny Arsenal an obvious goalscoring opportunity at all, he simply delayed it. Arsenal still had an obvious goalscoring opportunity thanks to Bassong’s foul, and van Persie scored it.) Because of one, slight mistake by Bassong, we were actually being punished three times:

  1. The penalty. 77% of penalties are scored, a number I’d guess is at least equal to the number of obvious goalscoring opportunities that are scored, so this seems a reasonable punishment.
  2. Wolves were forced to play the resultant 80 minutes of the match with only 10 men. A recent study shows that if a team has a player sent off in the 15th minute, they score, on average, one goal less than their opponent, putting them, in effect, a man and a goal down.
  3. Bassong will now be suspended for the Sunderland game.

That’s seeing Wolves punished three times for a foul that clearly wasn’t intentional. To quote Mr Bumble from Oliver Twist, “the law is an ass”.

-       Saying that, once the red had been given, I wasn’t 100% sure why Terry Connor felt the need to introduce Christophe Berra. Given the timing of the decision, I thought it might have made more sense to keep the same players on the pitch, but move Ronald Zubar to centre-back, and drop Karl Henry to right back. This move might have been an awful decision, but it could have at least been tested, if only for five minutes. As it was, we’d conceded again within two minutes of the substitution. Saying that, I thought Berra did well when he came on, although I felt ridiculously sorry for David Davis – he’ll have waited all his life to play against the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, only to start both games but only play a total of 52 minutes, through absolutely no fault of his own.

-       Talking of players who haven’t had many minutes, was Sylvan Ebanks-Blake even there? He was named as a substitute, but I didn’t see him on the pitch at half time, and only noticed him warming up once in the second half?

-       Given the game was over in the first 10 minutes, I thought the team battled well, especially the front three. I wonder how many goals Doyle would have scored had he been flanked by both Matt Jarvis and Michael Kightly for the past 30 months. He only had one proper chance last night, Szczęsny saving well, but the front three played very well together, and worked extremely hard. It worked less well when Fletcher was introduced, but I think this was partly due to tiredness. Jarvis was obviously knackered, and ended up playing in central midfield as we switched to 4-3-2 late on (Kightly moved upfront with Fletcher), presumably as he no longer had the energy to get up and down the left wing. Kightly’s energy levels were excellent though, and if there’s one positive to take from the last few weeks, it’s definitely his form.

-       I moved to the Steve Bull stand for last night’s game as I brought a friend along with me, and for a while thought I’d found myself in the Arsenal fans. There were at least ten sitting around me. The family of four sitting in front of me of me were evicted after celebrating the opening goal, and a Wolves fan complained to a steward. You don’t get that in the South Bank very often.

-       This was the first time I’d seen Arsenal live this season (I missed the Emirates’ game, although I did see them twice in the Emirates Cup last summer), so I was a little surprised at their waving pre-match. After both teams had shaken hands, all of Arsenal’s team (well, apart from André Santos who appeared to be in his own little world and had to be called over) stood in a line in the centre circle, before circling 360˚ and waving to all four stands.

-       I also had it pointed out to me that Arsenal didn’t appear to have a goalkeeping coach last night, which seemed a little strange. Wojciech Szczęsny and Łukasz Fabiański just seemed to do their own thing, aided a little by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who swung in a few crosses for some catching practise. According to Arsenal’s website, their goalkeeping coach is Gerry Peyton. There was probably a very good reason why Peyton wasn’t there (a quick Google search tells me nothing), but it begs the question why someone else didn’t take responsibility. The obvious choice would have been Lee Smelt, the Academy goalkeeping coach.

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Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Wolves (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 10:26
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Stourport Wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 11:13
The main issue with the Bassong sending off is if the situation had been reversed and it was say Kightly or Jarvis went down under an identical challenge would the ref

(1) Have given a penalty
(2) Have given a sending off

I think the answer with most if not all premier league referees is (1) PROBABLY NOT and (2) VERY VERY UNLIKELY and this is where the bias creeps in with premiership referreeing tilting the balance in favour of the bigger clubs.

At least the situation is now being scrutinised very closely. Arguably Wigan gained a decision they would not usually have got against Man Utd (by not having a penalty awarded against them) after the controversy surrounding decisions given in the Chelsea v Wigan game and the Man Utd v QPR games.

At the Emirates Milijas was sent off for what should have been a borderline yellow card while Song had a double incident that went unpunished. Last season Fabregas did a shocking tackle on Stephen Ward and he stayed on the pitch. Frank Lampard did a dreadful tackle this season at Molineux and did not receive the red card he deserved.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 14:14
I agree sending off was harsh, its a stupid rule that needs changing. You still made some good chances.
A very fair report, I was disapointed that some Wolves fans vented their anger on Theo, he did not deserve that, it was good play by him. We have suffered similar sendings off eg Koscielny, but we blame the ref not the player.

Herbert Chapman introduced the waving routine, even in those days footballers were privileged and he wanted them to respect the working man, or woman, who paid to attend the game.
It has not always been faithfully carried out, but Arsenal fans often complain officially if the players do not acknowledge them.

I dont understand what your directors are doing unless its what I call the "Producers" strategy. If you have seen the film you will know what I mean.

By the way I saw Billy Wright play for Wolves, and was part of the campaign that forced him to leave Arsenal, a lovely bloke but a useless manager. He did leave behind some wonderful youth players, I think he develped youth every bit as well as Wenger.

Good luck for the rest of the season.



Arsenal is a top 16 European club that will remain a top 16 European club and the Emirates is tape-loop that will win trophy after trophy

Nothing will change to stop Arsenal's domination except the ticket prices which must go up so that Wenger can make even more marquee signings.

Kroenke, Gazidis & Wenger are made for each other a glorious triumvirate heading for immortality.

Arsenal’s not a football club it is the one true religion Milton Palmer

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
younghansolo (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 14:37
Quote:
Stourport Wolf
The main issue with the Bassong sending off is if the situation had been reversed and it was say Kightly or Jarvis went down under an identical challenge would the ref
(1) Have given a penalty
(2) Have given a sending off

I think the answer with most if not all premier league referees is (1) PROBABLY NOT and (2) VERY VERY UNLIKELY and this is where the bias creeps in with premiership referreeing tilting the balance in favour of the bigger clubs.

At least the situation is now being scrutinised very closely. Arguably Wigan gained a decision they would not usually have got against Man Utd (by not having a penalty awarded against them) after the controversy surrounding decisions given in the Chelsea v Wigan game and the Man Utd v QPR games.

At the Emirates Milijas was sent off for what should have been a borderline yellow card while Song had a double incident that went unpunished. Last season Fabregas did a shocking tackle on Stephen Ward and he stayed on the pitch. Frank Lampard did a dreadful tackle this season at Molineux and did not receive the red card he deserved.

I notice you failed to mention the absolute clear cut penalty on Ramsey in the second half. Was the ref being biased then? Stone wall comes to mind in reference to that incident.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 14:47
We have had several reds in the last few seasons which were very similar. Believe it or not it does happen to big clubs.
Take a look at Gervinho's sending off at Newcastle, it was rediculous.



Arsenal is a top 16 European club that will remain a top 16 European club and the Emirates is tape-loop that will win trophy after trophy

Nothing will change to stop Arsenal's domination except the ticket prices which must go up so that Wenger can make even more marquee signings.

Kroenke, Gazidis & Wenger are made for each other a glorious triumvirate heading for immortality.

Arsenal’s not a football club it is the one true religion Milton Palmer

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
SuperRob (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 15:15
The issue isn't that refs are biased towards the big clubs, it is that referees are influenced heavily by big crowds.

there have been numerous statistical studies that found evidence that football is the sport where this happens most often and that the clubs with the biggest stadiums were the ones most likely to get decisions going for them when they play at home.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
microdire (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:02
Talking of favourable refree decisions going ones way. Man utd and chelsea benefit most. Arsenal is don't get this often. Newcastle Vs Arsenal 4-4 draw comes to mind particularly their second spot kick.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Stourport Wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:03
Quote:
younghansolo
Quote:
Stourport Wolf
The main issue with the Bassong sending off is if the situation had been reversed and it was say Kightly or Jarvis went down under an identical challenge would the ref
(1) Have given a penalty
(2) Have given a sending off

I think the answer with most if not all premier league referees is (1) PROBABLY NOT and (2) VERY VERY UNLIKELY and this is where the bias creeps in with premiership referreeing tilting the balance in favour of the bigger clubs.

At least the situation is now being scrutinised very closely. Arguably Wigan gained a decision they would not usually have got against Man Utd (by not having a penalty awarded against them) after the controversy surrounding decisions given in the Chelsea v Wigan game and the Man Utd v QPR games.

At the Emirates Milijas was sent off for what should have been a borderline yellow card while Song had a double incident that went unpunished. Last season Fabregas did a shocking tackle on Stephen Ward and he stayed on the pitch. Frank Lampard did a dreadful tackle this season at Molineux and did not receive the red card he deserved.

I notice you failed to mention the absolute clear cut penalty on Ramsey in the second half. Was the ref being biased then? Stone wall comes to mind in reference to that incident.

Listen mate - I really struggled to remember this so called stonewall penalty you mention as I only saw the game live not on sky or even MOTD. All I can say is that it didnt look stonewall when watched live but like the ref I didnt have the benefit of slowed down replays from 17 different angles.

I could compile a video hours long of stonewall penalties we didnt get in the 3 seasons Wolves have spent back in the prem. The bias I am talking about where a ref gives a different decision depending on which team it is.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Stourport Wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:09
Quote:
SuperRob
The issue isn't that refs are biased towards the big clubs, it is that referees are influenced heavily by big crowds.
there have been numerous statistical studies that found evidence that football is the sport where this happens most often and that the clubs with the biggest stadiums were the ones most likely to get decisions going for them when they play at home.

I agree with you up to a point. I suppose crowd influence might explain why Milijas was sent off while Song wasnt at the emirates or why Gervinho was sent off at Newcastle but it does not explain why Fabregas did not see red last season at Molineux or why Frank Lampard also managed to get treated so leniently earlier this year both of whom did absolutely shocking career risking tackles.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Flava (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:21
I like Wolves. Have been to Molineux a few times and drunk Banksy's in the Goal Post.

The Bassong sending off ruined the game as a spectacle. The law is so wrong. A penalty was punishment enough in my opinion.

I thought Wolves battled hard and avoided the cricket score. 2:0 down after 11 minutes and you feared the worst for them.

Sacking MM is looking like a really bad decision now. I hope Wolves can pick up a victory in their next match to give them some hope for their remaining fixtures.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Stourport Wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:28
Sacking MM was the right decision .... the timing was wrong (it should have been sooner) and the shambolic attempt to recruit a replacement manager was what has caused our current absolutely dire and embarassing predicament.

I agree that the Wolves performance after going down 2-0 was decent. Fortunately Arsenal were in training ground tippy tappy mode by this stage and so failed put us to the sword with a real big beating that looked on the cards.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:35
After the first two it looked like Arsenal were on the training ground practicing, I thought we did well in the second half. Didn't think a red card was deserved at all, and that pretty much ended the contest before it got going. I've heard a few times that sacking MM was a big mistake- ironically all from fans of other teams, look at how we were doing before he left, we had a few more draws, that's about it.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
Golden Place (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 16:38
OK, who would you all prefer:

Bring Mick back OR Megson ???? the choice is yours folks

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
ernesto hunt (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 18:33
Stourport - the decision in sacking of MM DOES include the TIMING! How can it not? Thats when it was done and thats when it happened. At that TIME!

In reality did Morgan and Moxey debate the issue - "shall we sack him tomorrow, or today; or perhaps in a minute or after dinner?" No, they do it when they do it. In this world there are no two actions available for any instant, just the one.

Is that action right or wrong? Only time will tell as the consequences unfold with the events following on. When they don't do it to how you wanted them, that is called the Law of Unintended Consequences, and it is used to cover up the fact you just wern't clever enough to see it coming!

Arsenal fans could well be right - one one can ever get that right, just guess at it.

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
barmy army wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 18:57
@#$%& it give megson ago, why not?? We look frigging stupid as it is at least if we get megson, dress him up like a clown rename the mol as the morgans circus and bring the lions elephants on at half time.... Brilliant half time entertainment with moxey as the ring master, will make the season tickets worth their value!!

 
Re: Wolves 0-3 Arsenal
an angry wolf (IP Logged)
12/04/2012 20:06
Quote:
barmy army wolf
@#$%& it give megson ago, why not?? We look frigging stupid as it is at least if we get megson, dress him up like a clown rename the mol as the morgans circus and bring the lions elephants on at half time.... Brilliant half time entertainment with moxey as the ring master, will make the season tickets worth their value!!
(Sm6)


On a cold, moonlit Saturday night down Brighton pier, a solitary old bean shuffles down the waterfront looking for the "bomb squad". As he turns a corner his facial expression broadens into a huge grin revealing gleaming white gnashers viewing a collection of scantily clad sailors with a "come hither look". "I see I have found the bomb squad" squealed the old boy in excitement and looking down drooling he whispered..." and I see you are primed for detonation"

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/280x200q90/908/4zZp0h.jpg

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