ESPNSoccernet: United are hairy cunts.
Telegraph: I said HAIRY cunts. (The Telegraph gave MotM to Clichy, they couldn’t very well give it to a United player.)
Arsenalist, who else? Though if anyone can recommend cheap (or free) video editing software, I’m very interested. Now that the dot com offers up the whole match, it would be fascinating to edit together a video of, say, all of United’s fouls and send it to the league.
Man of the Match
Mike Dean handed out 9 yellow cards, awarded 1 non-penalty, failed to award another stonewall penalty, and in the final 30 seconds expelled Arsene Wenger to the seats, no wait, the stands, no, I mean the standing area in front of the stands, or maybe it’s just best to go to the dressing room. It was a masterful performance from Man U’s 12th man who was right where he likes to be, the center of attention, in the spotlight, dishing out yellows and handing out penalties.
Mike Dean is the most controversial referee in the league. He hands out more yellows than any other and assigns more penalties than any other. As I’ve said already, he loves to be the center of attention and yesterday was no different than any other Mike Dean match.
That said, the big decisions are always the stuff of controversy but the subtle decisions are often more, erm, decisive in the total tally. So, if you don’t want to use the Rooney decision, or the Arshavin decision, you could point to several other early calls by Dean which radically changed the game.
For example, there was an early elbow by Valencia into the face of Vermaelen which went unpunished. It was pretty clear that Valencia led with his elbow and had no hope of getting the ball. Dean even took him aside and explained at length how he had violated the rules, miming why the way he used his elbow was a foul. Not but a few moments later, on LITERALLY his first foul, and for an action that was far from dangerous, Mike Dean gave Alex Song a yellow card.
I’m going to say that again, because I think it’s mildly important: in the 23rd minute of a crucial match and for his first infraction, Mike Dean gave Arsenal’s defensive midfielder a yellow card for a minor challenge. At the same time Darren Fletcher was fouling people all over the pitch, consistently making dangerous tackles. By ESPN’s count, Fletcher ended the day with 6 fouls (which doesn’t even count the two-footed tackle on Arshavin which didn’t get called as a foul) and Song ended the day with 3 fouls — and only Song got the caution. It was a critical decision which left Song hampered the rest of the match.
So, since he was the most important person on the pitch and since his calls so consistently and demonstrably favored United, Mike Dean wins Man of the Match.
In fact, he was so bad that I heard UEFA is going to investigate him for simulating being a referee.
Don’t let anyone bring you down, Arsenal should have won that game. Against a very average looking Man U team Arsenal put on a hell of a show and outplayed Man U on their home patch. How many teams could boast that they went to Man U’s home, in front of 75,000 hostile fans and went toe to toe with them as far as shots, shots on goal, time of possession, corners, and even forced Man U into more fouls (always the sign of a lesser team)? All the while missing their captain and best player, their captain’s backup, a critical wing player who has single-handedly won games for them against United, their fastest player, and at least two other players? How many teams could do that? Man U were less than ordinary, they were below average. Arsenal should take solace in the fact that Mike Dean won that match, not Man U.
Song and Denilson in the middle of the park were magnificent. Denilson, in particular, hardly put a foot wrong. Moreover, he was a man in constant motion, nipping in to steal the ball when United’s midfielders lost control, then playing the perfect pass to start the attack, dribbling to create space and even had a shot. Neat, tidy, and more than once his vision forward nearly led to a goal.
Song meanwhile tracked back, covered defense, and even with a yellow card was still strong in the challenge and still bossing Man U’s midfield around. But my favorite part was how Song made Giggs look old and obviously outclassed.
And Andrei Arshavin… the English language does not contain enough adjectives to describe how brilliant he is. I mean, all he did was receive a two-footed lunge from Fletcher and promptly dust himself off and rifle home a shot that silenced Old Trafford.
This is a great team, guys, let’s be proud of them, they will do something great, this year.
I’ve already heard enough complaints about Diaby and I’m done with it. I don’t really want us to start that trend over from last year when we shredded Eboue on a weekly basis. Diaby made a mistake, so what? He’s an Arsenal player, he’s a very talented player, with amazing touch, who is working hard on his strength and speed. As far as I can tell his major flaw is that due to his size and shape people keep comparing him to Vieira. Well, he’s not Vieira, he’s more like a Fellaini and it’s unfair of us to be getting on his back. We need to accept him for who he is, not for who we WISH he were.
And for the record, I though he was fantastic today. My big beef with him has always been that he looks lazy some times but today he ran for the full 90 and it showed.
You all can say what you want and it seems endemic to Arsenal fans that we love to hate our own men. Perry Groves talked about it in his book, how people would come up to him and tell him he was shite. But me, I’m not going to get down on Diaby, I don’t feel like I’ve earned that right. Besides which none of you could possibly be more down on Diaby than he probably is on himself at this moment. What he needs from us is support right now, look what it did for Eboue.
Rooney’s “penalty” was a dive. It was actually, in many ways, a worse dive than Eduardo’s and is exactly the type of intentional deception that needs to be stamped out of the game, right?.
Here, watch it again.
Notice the following things:
- Rooney does get to the ball first, but he is always looking for the contact. He went into that challenge with the intent to get a penalty, the same that has been said about Eduardo.
- Rooney’s touch is so astonishingly poor that he knocks the ball nearly out of the park, there’s no way he could have gotten to the ball, so even if there’s contact it shouldn’t be a penalty. We see that decision waved off for that exact reason pretty much every weekend.
- It’s a dive for the exact reason we’re told that Eduardo’s is a dive, watch it again, Rooney is nearly to ground before Mooney gets anywhere near him. In fact, it seems to me like he screws the ball out of play because he was on his way down when he kicks the ball. Rooney goes down before the contact, he was simulating all the way, thus it’s a dive and should be a yellow card.
So, Mike Dean’s only excuse to give the penalty? Dangerous play. What’s funny is that might be what he called because “dangerous play” would explain the strange yellow card. Mike Dean saw Almunia racing out to get the ball and decided that Alumina went out, head first, with intent to injure Rooney. Probably with his head. In which case it IS a penalty and Almunia deserves a yellow card.
Now, I’ve just gone and done a lot of logic there to explain how it’s not a penalty but there’s a simpler way to look at this and that is to apply the “Rooney test.” The “Rooney test” goes like this: would that have been a (foul, yellow card, penalty, etc) if Wayne Rooney did it? Now, take that same test and skew it a bit and ask; would Man U fans have been so certain that this was a penalty if Eduardo was the one going down?
Well, we got fucked.
And now we have a week to lick our wounds. Hopefully, key guys like Cesc, Walcott and Rosicky get a rest, though you can’t count on it because they are still included in their national sides. Wenger’s got some thinking to do this week and the team is going to be coming in for a lot of criticism for all that;s gone on this week. The thing is, this is a young side and they are challenging the status quo. When you do that, when you’re the up and coming side, and when you’re challenging the very fundamentals of the way the game is played, managed and financed, you’re going to get a lot of stick and you’re going to have a lot of games where cunts like Mike Dean screw you over. The only way to beat that is, well, to overcome it. The players, managers, and fans all need to stand up, as one, and keep pushing. Because when we win something, and especially when we win many things, then we will become the status quo and then we will get the benefit of these calls and people like Platini will get off our backs.
Notice I said “when” and not “if.” I still believe in this team with all my heart, this match didn’t lessen that belief. If anything it strengthened it. Arsenal are a massive threat to the footballing order. If we weren’t we wouldn’t be in all the papers. I’m full of belief that this team can do it. Fuck… if I can become an Eboue supporter then anything, and I mean ANYTHING is possible.
Right… I’m thinking I might not post every day during the inter-lull. I hate writing about the daily nothing that happens during inter-lull and refuse to suckle fools and chronicle small beer.* I’d rather, and I think you’d rather, get one or two good articles that week and maybe a caption contest. Sound fair?
Too bad! It’s my blog and I’ll take time off if I want!
*Yes, that is William Shakespeare, from my second favorite play “Othello.”