Thoughts on Arsenal’s only defeat in October – Dodgy penalty or not?

Arsenal’s only defeat in September and October came against Watford, and I am absolutely certain that was totally down to the referee for giving our North London neighbours a very dodgy penalty, and this is why….

Some pundits who should know better seem to think that any contact between a defender and a striker should result in the award of a penalty. This is not the case. A penalty should only be given if 1) the contact was illegal 2) it was clearly initiated by the defender and 3) it significantly impeded the striker.

The penalty awarded to Watford against us recently is a case in point. It should not have been given since the incident failed to meet any of these three criteria. In the first place the contact was not illegal. Bellerin did not cut across Richarlison or tackle him from behind. He was almost level with striker when their legs accidentally collided. Secondly it was not clear who initiated the contact. Both players were running in a straight line in pursuit of the ball when the collision occurred. Lastly there is some doubt as to whether Richarlison had to go down. Bellerin managed to stay on his feet even though he was running just as fast. The acid test is this: would the referee have awarded a free kick if the same incident had occurred elsewhere on the pitch? I doubt it.

So should Richarlison have been retrospectively banned for diving? That is more difficult. Strikers are often tempted to collapse in a heap if they feel they have been unfairly impeded in the penalty area. But some take it a bit further and fall to the ground after minimal, even accidental contact. That, I think, is what happened in Richarlison’s case. He felt the contact and decided to go down. But to ban him the panel would have needed to be sure beyond reasonable doubt that he could have stayed on his feet, which is difficult to prove. So the panel were probably right not to take retrospective action in his case. However players who fall to the ground when there has been no contact at all, or who deliberately hook their leg around an opponent before falling, are clearly guilty of simulation and should be banned.

So should we have really had our one defeat?



  1. Dave says:

    The OP is asking the wrong question. The team’s performance was flat in both halves vs the hornets. They created more chances than us and played with greater urgency and in the end was rewarded. The ref was poor but the team needs to address problems it can fix before looking for outside reasons to “explain away” bad results.

    1. SuperClaes says:

      Agree performance was flat but they create so many chances? I can’t remember too many clear cut chances although we were under pressure in second half!

      Don’t forget that we had 2 very good chances to go 2 up!

      In so many games our real issue is that we are not clinical with chances created…. Thats has to improve but will they? Welbeck, Ozil and Ramsey won’t suddenly become clinical as unfortunately linked with overall player calibre/capacity.

  2. gmv8 says:

    More of a dodgy mental attitude – it gave us the required kick up the backside – how long the sting lasts remains to be seen ….

  3. ClassyGunner says:

    All that matters is that, this was a game we should have won but we didn’t. 3 points that should have been taken but we couldn’t. Makes it all the more worse that we were leading and still managed to loose. Those 3 points would have taken us above Spurs and just 1 point behind united.
    Stop playing victim, we should have played better and won. Ref was poor but the fault lies mostly with us.

  4. Declan says:

    North London neighbours! Sorry to be pedantic but Watford is a town 20 miles from Arsenal, between 45 minutes and an hour by road. Hardly neighbours.

  5. Ackshay says:

    it was certainly not a penalty since a similar one with welbeck was not given. Richarlison was a diving ass all game and a ref with cojones would have send him off earlier.
    but we were crap and only managed to sneak one goal plus wenger sabotaged us by removing lacazette. he was not having a great game but his constant running behind defenders did not allow them to push up the field. silva is a good coach and the moment lacazette went off they push 20m upfield and were all over us.

  6. Declan says:

    Nailed on pen if it had been in our box!

  7. Ozed says:

    In my view it was no penalty. Sadly that changes nothing.
    The most important thing was the boost we got from that failing and the effect of Deeney’s motivational talk after the game… Hey may be he is actually an arsenal fan. Those comments are the best example of tough love I have seen in a while. LOL.

  8. Vlad says:

    Was it a penalty? In my opinion, no. The ref got duped but Bellerin should’ve known better. Richarlison should’ve also been punished retrospectively but he wasn’t. Frankly, it baffles me that the incident wasn’t even looked at afterwards by the officials. HOWEVER… I can’t believe that we’re still talking about it. We lost the game, fair or not. Time to move on. In more lame terms, just let it go, dude.

  9. SuperClaes says:

    Actually believe Welbeck being runover was more a penalty. The Watford guy simply cut across and took Welbeck out!

    Was it a pen? No but nor was Watford’s…..

    Really believe we got rutted luck in this game although ultimately self inflicted. Missed chances to go 2 up and really don’t understand bringing on Ozil when already under pressure…..

  10. Iceman10 says:

    That test actually works the other way. Refs are usually more reluctant to call something in the penalty area than elsewhere on the field.

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