Refereeing blunder hands Arsenal victory

Refereeing blunder hands Arsenal victory

Arsenal secured a dramatic late win over Brentford this evening, but another refereeing blunder will grab the headlines, as Arsenal's goalscorer should not have been on the pitch.

There is an old saying that "People in glass houses should not throw stones". That feels especially true this evening of Arsenal fans, who last week accused Liverpool of cheating their way to the title - after our dramatic late winner at Nottingham Forest - only for Arsenal to this week profit from another refereeing blunder.

The Gunners took on Brentford at the Emirates Stadium earlier this evening and looked like dropping two points, after a determined display from Brentford, until a late winner from Kai Havertz gave Arsenal the victory, and moved them to the top of the Premier League table (for tonight anyway).  The only problem - Havertz should have been sent off earlier in the match - for blatantly diving to try to win a penalty.  The striker was already on a yellow card, and the letter of the law states that players guilty of diving are given an automatic yellow card, regardless of whether they are already on a yellow.

So did the referee misinterpret the rules, or did he bottle his decision and allow Havertz and Arsenal to profit from cheating?

Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool incident - 2nd March 2024

Last weekend everyone who was not a Liverpool fan was accusing the Reds of cheating their way to the title after Darwin Nunez scored a 99th-minute winner at the City Ground.  With 97 minutes on the clock, referee Paul Tierney incorrectly gave Liverpool an uncontested drop-ball, after stopping the match for a head injury to Ibrahima Konate.  By the letter of the law, the game should have restarted with Nottingham Forest in control of the ball, as they had the ball when the game was stopped.  The error was condemned by fans and pundits alike, with many claiming the error directly led to Liverpool's winner.  That of course, is simply not the case, as 1 minute 50 seconds elapsed between the error and Liverpool scoring.  Forest had plenty of opportunities to clear their lines before Liverpool scored, and can only blame themselves for not playing until the final whistle.

Very few Liverpool fans will argue that Tierney made a mistake, but to say it directly led to Liverpool's winner is ridiculous and lazy, and shows a lack of class on the part of opposition fans.

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Arsenal vs Brentford incident - 9th March 2024

Despite taking the lead in this evening's game, Arsenal looked like choking once again, after a goalkeeping howler let Brentford equalise.  With the clock ticking towards 86 minutes, Kai Havertz popped up to head in a dramatic winner, sending Arsenal to the top of the table.  Unfortunately for Brentford (and Liverpool), Havertz should not have been on the pitch to score the vital goal, as he should have been given a second yellow card midway through the second half, for a blatant dive in the Brentford penalty area.

The striker had already been booked in the first half and was very, very fortunate not to be sent off following his attempt at winning a penalty.  Everyone watching could see it was a dive, with the Brentford players surrounding the referee to ask why he did not produce a second yellow.  Diving is cheating.  It is not subjective or open to interpretation by the referee.  If a player dives, then he has to be booked.  That's the rule.  If the referee has missed it, he has the Assistant Referee, Fourth Official, and VAR to help him.  There can be no excuse for not issuing a second yellow card.

Had Havertz been sent off then he could not have scored the winner.  Would Arsenal still have won the game, maybe?  But it is far more likely that Brentford would have held on for a draw, or even gone on to win the game.

Either way, it will be interesting to see how many Arsenal fans have short memories, the next time a refereeing decision goes against them.

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... About The Author ...

Peter Farrell :: LFC - Back On Our Perch Author and Editor

Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 552

Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.

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