Arsenal have, once again, been charged by the FA for “failing to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.” This time, the charge stems from the 34th minute non-call of what looked to be a clear handball by an Oxford United defender to block a Sambi Lokonga shot. Four Arsenal players, Mohamed Elneny, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney, and Lokonga approached the referee to plead their case for a penalty. Their protestations ended rather quickly, and the match continued.
Regulation and Discipline update on @Arsenal: pic.twitter.com/mScJrlk2vL— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) January 12, 2023
The charge comes as a surprise, honestly. I’ve watched it back. The Arsenal protests lasted all of 20 seconds. None of the players got particularly close to referee David Coote. The only thing, in my mind, that would justify the charge is if any of them said something inappropriate but that nobody was cautioned in the incident seems to cut against that possibility. Other than that, there is nothing to distinguish the Gunners’ conduct from what you see multiple times a match whenever there is a big, contentious call / non-call.
Y’all already know how I feel about the petty crusade the FA seems to be on, and my thoughts on the Football Association, generally. I fully believe that the two charges — from the Newcastle and Oxford matches — are retributive punishment for Mikel Arteta calling the decisions in the Newcastle match “scandalous” in his post-match comments.
If the Arsenal conduct in those two matches were truly the standard for FA charges, we’d see them leveled against both teams in every single match. But we don’t. There is clearly some sort of selection / cognitive bias in play.
The idiotic media narrative that Arsenal complain too much, that Mikel Arteta spends too much time outside his technical area, or whatever other bullshit they want to come up with to whine about because they can’t handle the Gunners being the top team right now, seems to have accomplished its aim. The FA have got it into their heads that Arsenal need to be put in their place or something.
I just hope we avoid the next step in the progression: the unconscious, media narrative-influenced bias affecting an in-match decision. It’s annoying when the FA charge Arsenal after the fact. It’ll be rage-inducing when it decides the outcome of a match. And it feels like it’s coming. I mean, what better occasion than a pivotal North London Derby to really stick it to Arsenal.
With absolutely no respect whatsoever, screw the FA. Bunch of pathetic fools desperate to make themselves relevant.