Morning all.

The International Football Association Board [IFAB] will publish the detailed protocols for sin-bin trials in professional football later today. The IFAB is expected to include a provision for blue cards. During the trials, referees will have the power to send players off for 10 minutes for dissent or cynical fouls. Two blue cards result in a sending off, as does one yellow and blue card. So in reality, it’s just a booking with a ten minute sin bin added on.

If it helps stop the surrounding of a referee etc and the cynical fouls, then this will be a good thing in my opinion. The cynical fouls especially because I think it’s wrong that a quick attacking breakaway can be stopped with a cynical foul. Yes, an offending player will usually get booked but perhaps he/she will think twice knowing they will miss the next ten minutes of a game. Managers might start discouraging such behaviour from his/her players too because 8 times out of 10, an offending player is usually a defensive one.

Paul Merson hates the idea:

You put someone in the sin bin in football for 10 minutes, you’re killing the game. You’d get 10 players sitting behind the ball the whole time, it’d be the most boring football ever. It’s an absolute waste of time, a waste of time. Everybody loves the Premier League, you have a shot at one end and there’s a corner up the other end 30 seconds later. That just goes out the window for this 10 minutes, the team with the man down have got no choice but to sit behind the ball.

I think he’s missing the point really as he’s assuming players won’t take on board what could potentially be the outcome of the rule. We might just see better attacking play because there should be less cynical fouls. Forget the ‘ten men behind the ball’ idea, which to be fair, is already present in the game, there should be more free flowing football which is going to stopped by a shirt pull, or a foul when there’s been zero attempt to get the ball. The excitement in the game as Merse describes should in theory only increase.

According to The Times, The Football Association will consider trialling sin bins in the FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup next season.

Back to the here and now, football without blue cards and sin bins, we have to wait another couple of days before Arsenal are back in action. The victory over Liverpool seems a long time ago now.

Gabriel has been voted our men’s Player of the Month for January after receiving 68% of the fans votes. No surprise really as he’s been an absolute rock at the back. Plus his two goals against Crystal Palace couldn’t have been timed better. We’d gone through a sticky patch over the festive period and Mikel Arteta needed his players to start afresh after the winter break. I’d say he got exactly what he’d hoped for. Three wins out of three so far. Our big Brazilian is also in the mix for Premier League Player of the Month.

There are some big fixtures this weekend, especially ours against West Ham.

Jorginho on

Everyone is happy but now is the moment to stay focused and push even more, to go with the good momentum and try to win another game. It will be a really tough game. They play well there and it’s a hard place to go and win. They showed already that it’s really hard, we’ve been there, and now it’s the moment for us to change things around in our way. It’s important to keep cool heads in the title race, not get carried away and keep feet on the ground, and that’s exactly how the team are approaching it.


I think we need to focus, as I always said, game by game. The Liverpool game is gone now and we need to focus on West Ham and the next one after that and the next one after that. If we want to stay in the race, we need to focus on each game and give everything we can in every single game.

He’s right, we all know that. One game at a time, one opponent at a time too. There’s little point focusing on tomorrow when there’s a job to get done today. So on Sunday, it’s about West Ham and them alone, not what went on against Liverpool or next weekend’s match against Burnley. West Ham. Who in the squad is in the best form, who is best equipped to deal with a very strong West Ham team. Yes, Man Utd thrashed them last weekend but that might fire them up to come back stronger. Equally, just as we totally battered one of the best teams in the Premier League, it doesn’t mean ‘job done’ – it means we won three points and nothing more.

I doubt Manchester City or Liverpool will lose their matches this weekend as both clubs are at home. City face Everton while Liverpool take on Burnley. Totts play Brighton and Newcastle go to Nottingham Forest. Aston Villa play Manchester Utd on Sunday. The only important game on Sunday though is West Ham v Arsenal.

We’ll know more on the fitness of the squad etc after Mikel Arteta has held his press conference.

Catch up in the comments..