As expected, The Ronaldo’s went 3 points clear at the top of the table. I guess Bolton can only give anyone a good game when they’re named Arsenal.
Not expected was a 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane. I didn’t see the game and so I can’t comment on too many things, but I was reading the BBC text commentary of the match when the Ashcole incident happened. I think they said something about the Chelsea players “protesting” the yellow card and I immediately texted a friend of mine (who is a Chelsea supporter) and said “Chelsea players protest the call, I can imagine it now: Drogba is waving his hand in the ref’s face while Lampard and Terry are remonstrating the ref. When the card is given the Chelsea players make exaggerated faces and dismiss the ref’s decision with hand waving and head shaking.” And then I woke up this morning to this picture:
It’s laughable how predictable Chelsea are. Especially when it comes to the way they treat the refs. Arsenal should expect to see this scene half a dozen times on Sunday. Prepare for it boys, this is what you’re up against.
I don’t know how much the Chelsea player’s actions influenced the ref but he did only give a yellow card for what most observers thought should have been a red. The FA are promising to crack down on players charging at the ref and acting like they play for Chelsea by only allowing the captain to speak to the ref, but you’ll forgive me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for a huge change. This is the same FA that supposedly cracked down on diving and Ronaldo is still using the pitch as his personal Olympic swimming pool.
The other weird picture from the match is the tackle that sparked the row. Here:
So, what I don’t get (and I didn’t see the tackle) is that Cole’s tackle is widely seen as a red card and yet Taylor’s tackle is widely seen as “barely a yellow.” Cole must have come in from further away and the tackle must have been in response to something Hutton did. Those are the only ways that the tackle above is an automatic red card: there must have been malicious intent.
Now, frankly, I’m getting to the saturation point with the whole Taylor incident. I’m pretty much ready to quit talking about it and just move on with the season and the inevitable off season rumor mill about who Arsenal are going to buy. But of course, as soon as I’m ready to give up FIFA sticks it’s nose in and tells the FA that Taylor deserves a bigger ban. Ok Sepp, listen up, this is not a “one bad apple” problem. This is a cultural problem. This will not be solved by simply banning Taylor for 5, 10, or 20 matches. This problem will only be solved when the managers who tell their players to attack their opponents in order to “send a message” are dealt with by hitting them in the pocket book or docking their team points.
Which, as we all know, has about as much chance of happening as the FA does of reviewing the Cole tackle. Which is to say, none. Since Riley gave him a yellow, the FA claims it is powerless to act. Pathetic.
And now for some good news! Theo got himself a call up to play against France based on his performance against AC Milan. Good for him. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to make that a regular thing. Keep it up young man.
There’s some talk about Arsenal going after a replacement for Flamini. I’ll believe it when I see it. There’s no doubt that Flamini could use some cover and competition in his role as holding midfielder so, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Wenger does buy another. Especially with Gilberto essentially gone. However, as we have seen time and again, Arsenal are linked with one player and buy someone completely different. So don’t count your Perrin’s before they slip on the number 16 shirt.
And finally, U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! has agreed to play a friendly against England at Wembley on May 28th. Cool, I guess. I mean if you’re into all that international stuff. Personally, I follow France, if anyone, and so I couldn’t care less about the USA team or the England team. I just thought I’d mention it for my two American readers.