Even though Arsenal weren’t at their best against Sheffield United on Saturday, had they been given a stonewall penalty when they were 1-0 up then the result would have been a different matter altogether.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: Referee Mike Dean in action on his 500th Premier League match during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Referee Mike Dean in action on his 500th Premier League match during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Before the game, I highlighted that the Arsenal match would be officiated by a horror team, led by Mike Dean with Lee Mason as his fourth official and Martin Atkinson running the VAR.

Our only saving grace, I thought, was Sian Massey-Ellis as the assistant VAR but we all know most men don’t listen to women about football so why I felt that would be of any help, I don’t know. Perhaps I was still drunk when I wrote it.

Anyway, with Arsenal 1-0 up and looking pretty comfortably Nicolas Pepe was taken out in the box. Yes, he knew it was coming, but it doesn’t make it any less of a penalty. In fact, it’s exactly the sort of penalty the entire Spurs forward line have turned winning into an art form.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal is tackled by Enda Stevens of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal is tackled by Enda Stevens of Sheffield United during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Rarely does a result turn on a single decision, but this was a huge one.

At 2-0 Arsenal, grow in confidence and Sheffield United shrink a bit. Arsenal apply more control to the game with their subs instead of having to chase a winner with the team, club and fans all desperate to get winning consistently again.

Of course, Arsenal could have taken their chances, but football is a game of fine margins. When your forwards aren’t firing, you rely on game-changing calls being made correctly.

Even with the help of multiple replays, the officials still denied Arsenal what will be a penalty every time you see it again this season. And you will see it again, probably every weekend.

All I want is the same rules for everybody, that’s it. I hardly think that’s too much to ask for, is it?

Same old Arsenal, always cheated