[Video] Anti-Arsenal Refs? Let’s look back at Mike Riley ending our unbeaten run against Man United

After the minimal contact from David Luiz on Wolves’ Willian Jose in Tuesday’s game which ended up with the Brazilian defender getting red-carded and allowed Wolves back into the game, there has been an incredible amount of discussion on social media about the ‘Anti-Arsenal conspiracy’ amongst referees.

Here at JustArsenal we do not generally believe that there is a real Anti-Arsenal conspiracy in the Premier League nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen in the past. As the counsel for the prosecution m’lud, I would draw your attention to a few incidents in the game between Man United and Arsenal in 2004.

Strangely enough, that was 16 years ago today! How poetic is that?

READ MORE: “I was really shocked” – Arsenal ace aims parting dig at Mikel Arteta


  1. didn’t Pires dive against Portsmouth ?
    So if reff wasn’t pro Arsenal that day , 49 undefeated streak never would have happened
    Can’t have it both ways peeps
    when a player dives against us it’s a conspiracy when we do it and reff gives pen it’s a ?

    1. Dan, you are right, as your post about ref conspiracy.
      Ref decision is like a 2 edged sword, could go either way, however technology improvement has given hope to reducing human error, and with the introduction of VAR, its shameful to still have issues as Luiz red, if VAR could overturn Saka goal, why was VAR mute in Luiz case, that in itself is suspicion, i may not agree totally to conspiracy but the review of that incidence is totally absurd, we have seen VAR review free-kick and offside for over a min, but a penalty call and red was only review under 30 sec. Its suspicions, probably refs have made a huge bet against arsenal

  2. exactly put as fans we we bias emotionally ?
    for example , lets say we beat Villa thanks to a free kick
    If our player dives for that free kick hiow many fans would walk away from that game saying ‘ reff was bias because it wasn;t a free kick’
    If you really want too every game you will find a reff make a wrong decison

  3. Well, Ad PATS deliberately provocative article has given all you conspiracy theorists out there, who passionately believe that all refs hate us and are biased against our club, to vent you juvenile spleen with your usual silliness. So go ahead , give me a laugh at your naivety and unreality about how football works.


    Food for thought, or would be , if any of you actually ever THOUGHT. But of course you don’t!

    1. Here you go again acting all Sage-like!!! Stop it JF. I know you have the ability to pass your words across without falling to the low levels of many who feel a need to put down others. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

      As regards the topic, one thing is for sure, certain clubs have gotten away with a lot over the years. I have folks who have followed British football for decades and they all say one thing. The officiating is poorer by the day.

  4. Absolutely shocking what happened that day…
    Almost 2 decades later and the wounds have not healed…

  5. Dan Smith.really? There’s wrong decisions & there’s blatant,outright,criminal cheating.if you can’t tell the difference no wonder the men in black continue to take the piss out of our club!

    1. Dude a debate works with facts not every time saying really
      Yes or no did pires dive ?
      If it’s yes , then conspiracy theory ends
      Why would pires dive and we get a pen if reffs were anti arsenal ?

  6. It’s quite simple really, once you take highly nuanced decisions out of the hands of human beings, regardless of the fact that a human is analyzing things in the booth, you must create steadfast and somewhat problematic rules that are no longer up for interpretation…the very act of bringing technology into the realm of officiating requires you to adopt a more black/white relationship with the rules, which invariably eliminates those old familiar grey areas…much like the difference between a judicial system that is predicated on precedence setting case law versus one that employs a more case-by-case philosophy…for some weird reason, it seems to be an underlying belief that you can’t create some sort of hybrid system that allows for technology to logically take the lead when it comes to offsides, out of bounds, over the line and any violations outside the direct purview of the gameday officials, then allow the highly trained arbiters of the game to use their expertise to assess those parts of the game that speak to the “spirit” of the rules, like in the case of arm/hand contact…hopefully common sense will prevail in the long run

  7. What we witnessed that day, was not one or two dodgy decisions, it was a continuous and deliberate example of a team using any way possible to stop another from playing… aided and abetted by a spineless and incompetent referee, who has since admitted he had a “bad game!!!”.
    This has nothing to do with Pires diving (if he did) or a sending off during our cup final win against Chelsea.
    This match saw just how much Fergie influenced every area of the PL and yet I read on JA just recently that AW wa criticised for challenging and questioning the biase MU were shown!!!
    For those who try to ridicule fans who believe their is a biase against our club, look at Pat’s excellent video and ask yourselves why no red cards were shown to the Neville Brothers, Rooney or Nistleroy?
    I don’t give a damn about anyone trying to be clever regarding conspiracy theories, this match was the beginning of Riley’s vendetta, as he was called out for his lack of any kind of backbone by most fans, players, media and pundits.

    1. Ken I agree no one should mock fans if that’s their belief
      Equally no one should mock fans if they disagree either

      Mike Riley reffed 8 more times after that and we lost one , drew one , won the others
      Gave us 4 pens , opposition one
      Gave Charlton a red card , us none

      That I think is a fair argument so equally I shouldn’t be bullied into changing my mind

      1. I’m not asking YOU to change your mind Dan, you actually do respect others point of view and don’t try to ridicule them.
        Again though, I fail to understand why you keep bringing up the Chelsea game at every opportunity.

        What does that have to do with the match this video has highlighted as one of the most shocking examples of refereeing involving our club?
        Furthermore, what happened afterwards with Riley and his refereeing of out club is equally irrelevant to this game…. perhaps one could argue that his performance that day was so ridiculed, he actually had a conscience?!
        So Dan, how many red cards would you have given during that game and was Sol correct in refusing to shake hands with Rooney?

        1. No dude 100 percent t at Old Trafford that day he was terrible

          But that’s different to a conspiracy
          I can’t say there is an agenda , etc if I can equally name games where we get decisions our way

          I use cup final as example more as a common sense
          If fa and officials had a conspiracy
          When we get pen wouldn’t mike Riley at stockley park say don’t give it
          Then why would they send a Chelsea player off ?

          If Riley said to official let’s screw arsenal today you don’t get those decisions

          1. Equally invincible season
            If reff get together pre season and say
            ‘ Okay remember we are anti arsenal ‘
            Why give Henry pen against Everton for harsh hand ball
            Pire s pen when he dived against pompey

            And then which no one can answer why did Riley after United in approx 8 games , give us 4 pens , opposition one ? Us 0 red cards opposition 1
            those stats are not anti arsenal

  8. There will always be bias, its human nature and the bigger club will always get the decisions and that includes us when we play lesser teams. The bigger clubs have more fans, so more chance of bias. Refs are biased and so are we as fans, not all the time (both sets) but some of the time. VAR for all its foibles has improved it in part but im afraid there is nothing (except a robot) that will be 100% fair. That doesn’t mean we cant put pressure on the culprits to try to improve it but even if we do, unless its blatant it will be the norm. If there is no excuse for a decision the hoards will have their say and pressure would be put on to sort the culprit. There is a slight difference to bias and to cheating, if it borders cheating it get highlighted by people and thats the only way it can be kept low but it will always be in our society.

    1. Again Dan, you are trying to justify the referee in this article, by bringing up other games.
      So again, how many red cards did you see that were not given in the video?

      As for the other questions regarding a vendetta… someone else pointed out to you that there are incidents that simply cannot be ignored or they become obvious.
      Riley had made such a fool of himself in that game, he had to ensure he was seen as being unbiased and left it to fans like yourself to point out his impartiality.
      Why has he made the PGMOL answerable to no one and why has he made impossible statements such as his referees have got 96% of all decisions correct?

      On this one we disagree Dan, but I respect your views as always and look forward to seeing how many red cards you think Riley missed and United got away with.

      1. Mate as far as United game Riley was terrible
        Rooney dived , was never a pen
        Rio should have got sent off for taking out Freddie
        2 or 3 for kicking Reyes
        So 100 per cent terrible game lol

        But that’s as far as I go
        A bad reff but zero conspiracy

  9. Back up you do not think there is any anti arsenal bias by looking at what other teams get away with.

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