Arsenal were denied a win by the referee and his acolytes. Ederson fouled Odegaard early on, but no penalty was given, with VAR allowing the referee to cowardly give a corner instead. Arsenal dominated Manchester City for the rest of the first half, scoring nicely through Saka (assisted by Tierney and aided by Lacazette) but a bad foul by Rodri did not trigger a deserved yellow card. Early in the second half, professional diver and perennial cheater Bernardo Silva fell theatrically in the Arsenal surface as he was losing control of the ball, but Xhaka grabbed his shirt extremely violently (sarcasm) to allow the referee and his VAR sidekick to give a penalty to City, a decision that is even more frustrating because of Ederson's blatant foul on Odegaard in the first half. Gabriel got a yellow card for contesting the decision by the biased referee. Some accuse the referees of incompetence, but my take is that they are biased by their own preferences and by (in this instance) a juicy bundle of petrodollars. I have come to expect the worse of this group of referees, and it goes back to that famous Manchester United versus Arsenal game that was officiated with one obsession in mind, to make sure to stop Arsenal's series of 49 consecutive undefeated games. Back to this game, Rodri should have gotten a second yellow (and a sending off) for a very dangerous foul on Martinelli, but instead, it was Gabriel who got a second yellow card, with many Arsenal players being bewildered by significant refereeing inconsistencies, all in one game. Cue a nice petrodollar bonus for this referee. It was pointed out that this was the referee at hand as the fourth official in the game at Everton (officiated by Mike Dean) whereby Godfrey (definitely) and Gordon (probably) should have received red cards. As a side note, please bring back the Superleague, if it is stipulated that none of the PGMOL clowns are invited to officiate the games. As a follow up, Arsenal were fined 20,000 quid by the Football Association because the players did not wash satisfactorily the referee's car.
The other Saturday games saw Watford losing harshly at the death to the noisy neighbors and Crystal Palace losing 2-3 to West Ham after conceding three, scoring two, and threatening towards the end of the game. After the game, Patrick Vieira got a yellow card for telling the referee to get better glasses, or adopt a dog and buy a cane, as he was frustrated by some decisions. Sunday was shortened to four games as Southampton versus Newcastle was postponed due to the pandemic. Brentford beat Aston Villa 2-1, to stop a series of two consecutive defeats. Everton was dominated at home (2-3) by Brighton. Leeds beat Burnley 3-1 in a battle of relegation candidates. Chelsea versus Liverpool ended 2-2, with the hosts being far more satisfied with the result. Finally, Monday saw Manchester United lose 0-1 at home to Wolverhampton, with Bruno Lage's team boasting an impressive defensive record so far this season. The Premier League has decided at the last minute to tag on three more games to this game day, to be played (oddly) next week, and the usual awarding of points will have to wait as my modus operandi has been to use the schedule from Fantasy Premier League as my IKTS calendar.
FA Cup: Sunday January 9:
Nottingham Forrest - Arsenal
Week 21 added games: Tuesday January 11, and Wednesday January 12:
Southampton - Brentford
Everton - Leicester
West Ham - Norwich
English Football League Cup: Thursday January 13:
Liverpool - Arsenal