The Telegraph: Short of borrowing Roman Abramovich’s yacht, David Niven’s wardrobe and Jenson Button’s girlfriend, Arsenal could not have arrived in Monaco in more style. In reaching this afternoon’s Champions League group stage draw in the land of Rolls-Royces and Rainiers, Arsène Wenger’s side were elegance personified, barring an ugly act of deception by Eduardo.
ESPNSoccernet: Eduardo’s controversial penalty helped Arsenal secure another shot at the £30m jackpot of the Champions League with a comfortable 3-1 win on the night – 5-1 on aggregate – over Celtic at Emirates Stadium.
You can watch the whole match, a two minute highlight, or an extended 12 minute highlight package over at the dot com, if you’re an ATVO subscriber.
You can watch the Dive Heard Round the World and subsequent expertly taken penalty here.
Man of the Match
I’m giving man of the match to Eboue. His goal was excellent and his overall level of play was very high. Yes, the midfield worked very hard and looked very good and bossed Celtic off the pitch, but still Eboue’s pulsating counters and well taken goal sealed the match far more than Eduardo’s controversial penalty. Le Boss hailed Eboue’s character and I have to admit, the guy has done pretty much everything that Arsene has ever asked, all while simply keeping his nose clean, working hard, and playing hard.
Yay, we’re into the group stage where we could face real Scottish powerhouse Rangers, which would be a tricky test for sure. We’ll find out about that around 9am PST.
All around, I think Arsenal played their game for 90 minutes last night. Song and Denilson were magnificent in the middle of the park, Eduardo and Bendtner were scintillating up front, and the back four were assured and solid for 92 of the 93 minutes. Arsenal limited Celtic to just 2 shots and only one shot on goal in 90 minutes last night, that’s pretty much all you need to know about the game. We were just that good.
There is a little hand-wringing out there about the fact that we conceded another late goal but I just want to point out that Arsenal were up 5-0 on aggregate at that point, it was literally the last seconds, and the goal required a left-footed volley off the far post to beat Arsenal.
Sure, we don’t want to get in the habit of conceding goals at the end of games but we also don’t want to see Sagna come up with a hamstring pull because he’s straining to get to a meaningless cross.
Holy Christ, you’d think this was the first time anyone’s ever dived. As if Eduardo came up with this unique way to trick the referee into awarding a penalty. It was a dive, no one will argue that. The ref should have awarded a yellow card to Eduardo. The referee got it dead wrong and if I was a Celtic supporter I’d… well I’d be pissed that 60,000 of my compatriots support a team week in and week out which lacks the ability to get more than 2 shots on goal in 180 minutes of play. That’s what I’d be pissed about.
Maybe UEFA will give a two match ban, fair enough, I suppose. They’ve done it before and though I might argue that UEFA handing out two match bans for diving and three match (suspended) bans for acting like an utter crybaby cunt after you lose strains the boundaries of logic. But if that’s the rule, hey, then that’s the rule. And if that IS the rule and Dudu is banned for what Wenger calls “risk aversion” then I want that same rule applied next time Ryan Babel goes to ground and Arsenal are wrongly kicked out of the Champions League. Or how about a lifetime ban on Ronaldo, or Drogba, or any of the other serial divers out there who have cost Arsenal games?
I’ve written about this before,when Hleb viciously skull-f*cked Murty and then pooped on his head as he lie writhing on the ground with a compound fracture to his whole body, there are two types of dives: obvious and make a meal of contact.
They are divided by a single factor: did the opponent make contact? If so, then most fans seem to not have a problem with fakery. But if not? ZOMG HE IS A DIVORZ!!!1!1!!ONE!!!
It’s pretty strange to me that I never heard a single Scouser talk about banning Mascherano for his dive on Aliadiere. Or how about Manure supporters decrying the 4 match ban awarded because of Aliadiere’s love tap? Which, incidentally, came after JM slapped Ali in the face. Funny how Javier Mascherano, one of the world’s most prolific divers, on a team captained by one of England’s finest divers, goes down writhing as if he’d been shot by Lee Harvey Oswald’s magic bullet and it’s Aliadiere who’s appeal is considered “frivolous” and earns him a 4th match ban. Was that fair? No, but for some reason, I don’t recall people suggesting that Mascherano receive a European ban for his part in that disgrace.
In a time when the press can’t even be arsed to use an active tense verb when describing Taylor’s horrific tackle on Eduardo. Or at a time when the apoplectic reaction by English managers up and down the coast is to describe what a good boy Taylor is and how he’s been destroyed by the criticism — while Eduardo’s leg has LITERALLY been destroyed. Or at at time when Taylor’s manager receives no opprobrium for his part in telling the lads to go out and get stuck in, which directly leads to Eduardo’s leg being broken by Taylor. Or at a time when a player can break a man’s leg and receive a lesser ban than the man who touches another man’s face and sees his “victim” (a serial diver) go down as if shot. At times like that, you’ll pardon me if I’m not going to get in an uproar because of Eduardo’s dive.
It’s a dive, the ref got it wrong, Dudu should have gotten a yellow and the penalty not given. It was a dive, no more or less than Mascherano, Ronaldo, Drogba, Gerrard, or Klinsmann did before him. I don’t remember the Manure’s calling for Their Boy Ronaldo to be banned from the game for his constant diving. So, you’ll pardon me if I don’t take their criticisms too seriously. As it says in the bible: pull the Drog out of your own eye before you start looking at the Dudu in others’.
Was it the kind of terrible action that deserved Glen Loovens’ racism at the end of the match? Where the Celtic player said “I don’t think he even speaks English so there was no point talking to him?” Is that appropriate behavior at the end of a match?
But more importantly, did the dive win the tie for Arsenal? Tony Mowbray didn’t think so
The referee has given it, but if the TV pictures show it should not have been given, then so be it. All the boys thought there was no contact, but we have to accept it and move on. However, you cannot deny that over the two legs, Arsenal had more quality and deserved to go through.