Jon Moss. Do we have to?
Yes, it will be Jon ‘even other refs say I’m rubbish’ Moss in charge of Arsenal’s game with Burnley and with Joey Barton back in business, that could be bad news for Arsenal.
Barton has a history with the Gunners and has spent the last four months telling anyone who would listen how Arsenal wanted him. Arsene Wenger says that’s not even true, but Barton needs no reason to kick all around him and we need a strong referee to take control of him and his teammates early on.
We won’t get it.
Moss is, of course, the referee who sent off Granit Xhaka earlier in the season for a rule he just made up in his head. Since then, it’s felt like we’ve seen a similar foul every weekend, some punished with yellows, some with no cards at all. Not once has anyone ever suggested they should see red.
That alone would be enough to fear for this game, but there’s more.
Although he hasn’t actually been that terrible for us in terms of results, he’s just a terrible referee in general. Mistakes in other games, notably Everton’s 1-1 draw with Palace, prompted Keith Hackett to say, “Moss is a referee who is a consistent bottom of the table performer. Every time he referees it’s a bit of a disaster.
“For me he either needs a rest or he needs taking off the panel. We’ve got professional referees, so let’s be professional. He’s not up to the standard in my opinion.”
And that’s from a former ref.
When you consider how much they stick together, you get the idea of how bad Moss is.
Hackett isn’t even the only one. Mark Halsey said this when Moss was handed our FA Cup final; “Greg Dyke has got to take a look at the appointment process for the FA Cup referee because, frankly, it’s become a joke.
“Seriously, Jon Moss at Wembley? I can’t be having that. He’s made too many high profile mistakes this season already.
“Even last weekend he missed two blatant penalties, one for Palace and one for West Brom.”
Only three referees have issued more yellows this season than the 82 Moss has flashed (Atkinson, Pawson, Taylor). Only two reds have been forthcoming, one of which was, you know, for Xhaka.
It’s the first Arsenal game he’s taken charge off since that whopper of an error and the fans won’t be quick to let him forget it.
Last season, it was revealed that Moss averaged a key mistake once every 1.5 games.