Good morning, I hope you’re having a great day. Arsenal are having a great day. Their match with Liverpool has been called off due to covid (at Liverpool) and the Football Association has charged them with the old gem “failing to control their players” after the Oilers game.
The charge stems from something that happened in the 59th minute. That was when Gabriel was sent off for clotheslining Jesus (and as we all know, nobody fucks with the Jesus).
It’s important to remember that the FA is not the same as the PGMOL. They are two separate pearl-clutching organizations. So, what’s happened here is that the match official Stuart Attwell has probably included something in his match report about the Arsenal players getting in his face in the 59th minute.
Watching the video you could see that Xhaka was throwing his hands in the air and very animated, then Gabriel barreled in, and as he walked off the pitch he clearly clapped at the fourth official, said something, gave him a thumbs up, and stormed into the tunnel.
The “failure to control your players” thing is always hilarious to me. What is the club supposed to do? Is Enos supposed to drop his prawn sandwich, burst out of his luxury box, run on to the pitch, and bear hug Gabriel into submission? Are we supposed to lecture the players before hand? “Ok, guys, no matter how heated things get, you are NOT allowed to show emotions when you think a call has gone against you. And sarcastic clapping is right out!”
Failure to control the players is such a weird charge but the actual charge wording is “Arsenal FC failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion“. So, I guess what the players should have done is formed a queue (we know how much the Brits love a queue!), taken numbers, and complained to the referee each in turn.
Whatever the wording, this is a transparent “show of support” by the FA to the referees. Attwell came in for a lot of criticism from Arsenal supporters (and pretty much no one else, all the main non-Arsenal pods said he had a great game) with one going so far as to make a Banksy-like installation of him lifting a pile of cash out of a pool of oil. But the referees have been receiving a LOT of criticism this year (actually for the last few years) and every VAR decision is reviewed at length on the various pods and blogs – also on TV for the three or four people who still watch stuff like Match of the Day. So, I guess the FA just wanted to make some kind of statement and of course we are the ones who are getting the sharp end of the stick. Though exactly what that sharp end will be, I’m not sure. Jurgen Klopp basically said Kevin Friend is a cheat and he got an £8,000 fine so we will probably get an £80,000 fine. Because when we did was so utterly damaging to the very fabric of football – no one has ever seen such a ruckus (since a few hours ago).
Meanwhile, in the real world, Arsenal’s Caribou Cup matches with Liverpool have been postponed to the 12th and the 20th. This is causing some fixture pile-up for us now and it will probably mean that the Burnley match, scheduled for the 22nd (2 days after the return leg against Liverpool), will be moved?
The thing I keep thinking about is how utterly stupid it is that the Caribou Cup has a single, two-legged fixture. It’s not stupid for the broadcasters and sponsors (of course) because the semi-final is usually where all the big teams meet – so forcing Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea to play four games instead of just two lights up $$$ in their eyes.
I don’t even know why Arsenal (or any Premier League teams) play in the EFL cup, technically, none of the Premier League clubs are in the English Football League. And it’s kind of a joke tournament because Premier League teams typically play their youth brigade.
I get it. It’s just a way for Premier League teams to give back to the “football pyramid”. But it’s such a weird thing to call it the EFL cup when there hasn’t been a Football League team in the final since 2013 and I think the last time a club from Football League won the title was 1991, before the Premier League broke away from the Football League (BTW: the original name of the Premier League was actually the Super League).
But alas and alack we are in the Caribou Cup. And to be clear, I’m not really complaining about Arsenal helping out the Football League by being in their tournament – it’s fine. It’s all fine. Just stop it with the two legged semi-final. It’s really weird. Play the match at some neutral venue instead. Like, ohh, I dunno, Wembley? Or take it to some EFL ground like Tranmere Rovers. You can get 16k in there at Prenton Park.
Also, please rebrand it as the Milk Cup. Did you know that the original sponsors were the Milk Marketing Board? When I first started following football my friend Curtis (who was from England and supported Nottingham Forest) always called it the Milk Cup because that was what it was called when he lived there. So, I’ve always thought of it as the Milk Cup. And “Milk Cup” fit in with Wenger’s approach to the tournament since he was always fielding babies! You wouldn’t give babies that hideous taurine drink (which is made from Caribou piss) that sponsors it now!
I’ve rambled long enough. I’m sure I’ve angered all three of my remaining readers. See you tomorrow!