Arsenal were on the receiving end of yet more questionable refereeing during their 4-2 loss to Nottingham Forest – a common theme this season it seems.
There has been a glut of controversial decisions since the beginning of December.
Arsene Wenger’s frustrations got the better of him after the West Brom game and he took those out on referee Mike Dean. That landed him a touchline ban and a fine.
Another fine could come his way for the comments he made about Anthony Taylor after the Chelsea game. After the Nottingham Forest game, Wenger could have had another go at the referees but decided to hold his tongue this time.
“I said what I’ve had to say many times and I will not talk about the referees,” he said. “I think I’ve talked about that and that’s basically what I think. For the rest, there’s nothing to add.”
December saw a great number of penalties incorrectly awarded and more obvious penalties not given.
At the start of month, Arsenal were denied two late penalties against Manchester United for fouls on Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette by Andre Marriner. The score was 3-1 to United at the time, so those two penalties might have earned Arsenal a point.
A week later, Arsenal were denied another penalty. This time, Southampton’s Maya Yoshida went in late on Lacazette in the box, but Robert Madley saw nothing wrong with it. Arsenal were a goal down at the time, drawing the game 1-1.
The incident at West Brom was notorious. Mike Dean decided that Calum Chambers had handled the ball intentionally, despite being so close to the West Brom player as the ball was played. Arsenal were a goal up at the time but drew by the end.
Then, in January’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, Anthony Taylor got in on the act. He decided there hadn’t been enough contact on Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Victor Moses to give Arsenal a penalty in the first half.
Yet, in the second half, a similar level of contact was enough for Chelsea to get a penalty when they were a goal down. To compound matters, Hazard received no punishment for simulation.
Two more penalties were given against Arsenal in the 4-2 defeat to Forest. The first, committed by Rob Holding, was a penalty. The second was a more questionable decision from Jon Moss.
To make matters worse, Kieran Dowell, the penalty taker, hit the ball twice. This was spotted by the Arsenal players, but not by the referee or his assistant.
Key decisions continue to go against Arsenal in such a short space of time, but it remains to be seen what action will be taken to prevent in the future.