The FA have confirmed today that they will investigate both Adebayor’s stamp on van Persie and his goal celebration which sparked a near riot among Arsenal supporters. Not explicit in that statement, but implicit, is the fact that when they look at the files they will almost certainly have a look at the conduct of the handful of Arsenal fans who threw objects on the pitch and I’m sure the head of referees will want to know how Mark Clattenburg missed a deliberate handball in the box a vicious elbow to the face and two stamping incidents.
As I have maintained since the Eduardo incident against Celtic, the fact is that any punishment meted out now will be a case of too little, too late. The facts are that had television replays been allowed Emanuel Adebayor would not have been on the pitch to score his goal and then would not have been there to perform his shameful goal celebration.
If you have any doubt about what was in Adebayor’s mind, Gunnerblog has compiled a series of animated gifs and a youtube clip which prove, conclusively, that Adebayor intentionally stamped Cesc, van Persie, and that he was not “celebrating in front of home fans” as City boss Mark Hughes has comically stated.
Here’s the first stamp on Cesc:
Note that he’s A) over the ball and B) looking at Cesc’s ankle. That this was a deliberate act of violence there can be little doubt. In fact, Clattenburg had words with Adebayor after, telling him to calm down.
The way that referees in the EPL justify behavior like this as “heat of the moment” or as “he’s geed up” has always been a source of tremendous frustration for me. More often than not they allow this first type of attack, but then will punish the retaliation. In Saturday’s match Adebayor stamped Cesc, elbowed Gallas, raked Robin’s face, and then attacked Alex Song from behind with a vicious kick to the back of the knee. When Song retaliated immediately, yellow card to Song.
I’m sorry but that’s the kind of refereeing discrepancies which allow refs to get away with illegal activities such as what happened in the NBA betting scandal. I’m not calling for perfection, but a semblance of balance would be nice and would prevent people from complaining about the refs so much.
Oh, and cue the “Arsenal are whingers about the refs HURRRRR” comments.
Irregardless, I do expect that Clattenburg will come in for some questions about why he chose to call the game the way he did. I doubt that anything will come of it. Heh, maybe he’ll apologize to Wenger as Mike Dean did for wrongly sending Wenger into the stands during the last Manchester match.
The second stamp (hey why not have a second bite at the apple?) was even more vicious as Adebayor felt aggrieved that van Persie had the temerity to take the ball off him and clearly looks down and lashes out at Robin. Make no mistake that was a deliberate attempt to stamp, Robin’s hand. Of course, as most of us are used to with Adebayor, he missed the target and instead hit Robin’s face.
Robin van Persie has released a statement about the incident and to his credit he didn’t use the words “huge,” “fucking,” “scabby,” or “cunt.” There is no doubt in my mind that he will get a 3 match ban for this… well, unless Clattenburg intervenes and says that he saw the incident and judged it to be “incidental.”
I know a lot of Arsenal fans are expecting further punishment to be meted out for Adebayor’s goal celebration but I’m not so sure we’ll see anything from that, at least not for Adebayor. If you look at the history of these things you’ll see that the FA is reticent to act in these cases. The only person I can remember getting a suspension from the FA for a goal celebration is Robbie Fowler for snorting the end line. Given the fact that Clattenburg gave a yellow, it would take an extraordinary action on the part of the FA to do something here. Normally, the club would fine the player but given the fact that Mark Hughes is talking out his ass about Adebayor wanting to celebrate in front of home fans, I think that is highly unlikely.
What I do think is likely is that there will be a huge stink about the Arsenal fans’ reaction. First of all, though, this wasn’t a “near riot” as some folks would like to make it out to be. There were a few folks who over-reacted and I expect that the club will receive some sort of censure for it. Second, I would not be surprised to see at least a few identifiable supporters banned for throwing chairs. But only if they are clearly identifiable.
And what did they react to?
Disgraceful, but no less that you’d expect from a guy who blames the fans for being caught offside 40+ times last year. Yeah, it was all their fault that you couldn’t be arsed to get onside.
So, the FA are promising to look into all this and have also promised to rule early next week. Good, the sooner we can get this ugly incident behind us the better.