The first part of this post is concerned only with the game between Arsenal and Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last night, and more specifically the job done by the referee and his assistants. Arsene Wenger, while accepting that Arsenal were not at our best, also claimed that the officials and their poor decisions were a major factor in the result.
I am reluctant to bang on about refs too much because it looks like sour grapes and I accept that I can see things with an Arsenal bias, but has the Frenchman got a point? I would have to say yes. Giroud was at fault for his petulance in getting the first yellow but he was also right to tell the ref that his decision was wrong and it was clearly Arsenal that should have had a free kick.
The second yellow can be supported by the law books but it was also an accident. Those saying that Giroud was daft to make the challenge when on a booking are missing the point, like the ref, that he was going for the ball and did not know the Zagreb player would get in the way, so I have to say the red card was really harsh.
Wenger also suggested that he was much more lenient on the home team and once again I have to agree. Now some will say that this happens and that Arsenal will get our fair share of decisions. Really? I can´t remember too many, instead I think back to the harsh red card on Szczesny when he fouled Robben for a penalty but the Dutch forward was heading away from goal. No way was that a goal scoring opportunity.
What about Ramsey´s two yellows away to Besiktas last season, with both bookings being harsh and worse challenges going unpunished throughout the game? So a home ref then, but then the same thing happened at the Emirates in the second leg to Debuchy and the evidence that Arsenal do not get a fair deal from Eyropean refs starts to grow.
Then you look at the harsh decisions recently suffered by other English sides and I for one begin to wonder if UEFA does not have it in for us. Not only did the leg breaking tackle on Man United´s Shaw in the penalty earn neither a penalty or a card, but a UEFA panel gave the player who made it the Man of the Match award. Is that not taking the mickey?
Man City have had some shocking decisions go against them in recent years as well and what about that ridiculous red card for Nani against Real Madrid? Do you think that Arsenal and the other Premier League clubs are getting a raw deal in Europe?