Let’s face it, every fan of every club thinks that officials hate them. It’s not surprising, you often notice that which goes against you but not what goes against the other team. Last night, Lee Mason went out of his way to show that, when it comes to Arsenal, you can be damn sure we won’t be getting a level playing field.
He was so bad in fact, that I received many messages from fans of other teams regarding his ‘performance’. Now, you could point to the fact that he might have just had a bad game, it can happen to everyone, but then what do you make of this piece by Untold Arsenal which was written BEFORE the match started?
(The one they wrote post-match is worth a read as well)
Patterns are patterns, trends are trends, and Lee Mason is as biased as they come.
So what of this ‘controversial’ offside? Well, there was nothing controversial about it at all, that is unless people have changed the definition of ‘controversial’ to mean the same as ‘wrong.’
Saha was offside when the ball was played TO HIM. Kos attempted to stop the ball BECAUSE Saha was there. The ball reached its target without being deflected significantly. Every day of the week this is offside, there is no question, no debate to be had here.
Anyone that tries to justify it by saying Kos’ touch initiated phase two needs to go and read the offside rule again.
An almost carbon-copy of the move occurred in Chelsea’s game last night. The result? It was flagged offside.
But all of this deflects away from what was a great, spirited comeback by Arsenal, the stuff of champions it could be said. Everton set their stall our to deny us space and time, and their rotational fouling was allowed to go for most of the night with neither the referee nor the commentators thinking it was worthy of further scrutiny. But Arsenal this season kick back. We don’t kick as much or as hard, but we do kick back. The result? We are now being described as a ‘dirty’ team.
Now, excuse me if I’m wrong, but we finished with 50% of the cards which Everton received, and that was after you take in to consideration the number of fouls which should have resulted in yellow but didn’t even warrant a free-kick in Lee Mason’s mind. Do you hear any mention of Everton’s six yellows? Or the fact that Fellaini was allowed to foul with impunity, as was Heitinga? And what of Rodwell who should have seen yellow in the first half (for a foul not even given) and was booked in the second half?
Post-match Moyes did his best to deflect from his team losing a lead by accusing Cesc of making disgusting comments aimed at the referee. Comments so disgusting he wouldn’t repeat them he said. Arsene denied that Cesc even spoke to the referee, Lee Mason failed to include it in his report, and once again we have a manager making unfounded, unproven (and denied) accusations (in a very forcible and aggressive manner) aimed at the Arsenal club captain, and nothing will be done. Can you imagine if Wenger had said anything about their players? Even if he could back it up with video evidence he would still be branded a whinger. Moyes? Not a word.
That disgusts me Mr. Moyes, more than any words you imagined Cesc said.
As the match developed it was clear that Arsenal were not at their free-flowing best, but a lot of that could be said to be down to how fast and hard Everton players were barrelling in to ours. It’s hard to get a rhythm going when under that sort of consistent pressure. In fact, it seemed as though we would never get the breakthrough, destined to be one of those nights when the referee really did cost us all three points.
But then Arsene made some changes and the impact was almost instantaneous.
Arshavin has had it rough for quite a while now, but recently his performances have improved dramatically. The goal was coming and it was kind of fitting, that at a time when we’ve just lost Samir for the first leg against Barcelona Andrei stepped up. His anticipation and finish for our first goal was top-notch. The difference that it made to the man himself could actually be seen. From then on he was more upright, more confident, and far more assured when on the ball.
A turning point in his return to form? I really, really hope so as his hard work warrants it.
The second came from a corner, something we’ve clearly been informed we can now practice, and Kos’s weird way of heading the ball is finally starting to come off. That practically every Arsenal player piled on top of him showed just how much his goal, and, in turn the three points, meant to this side.
Don’t ever say they don’t care again.
The confidence stemming from this result, and the manner in which it was achieved cannot be over-estimated. Each time we overcome a hurdle, the team move that little bit closer to believing they deserve to be champions because they are playing like champions. Six wins out of six in all competitions since we lost so appallingly at Ipswich. Tell me know they aren’t making the effort? The performances may not be extraordinary, but they are effective. We are getting the points, we are progressing through rounds and we are doing it with a team which cost not much more than Fernando Torres.
Post match Wenger spoke about how we are starting to show ‘the heart of champions’ and it’s hard to argue.
Fabregas had this to say to ATVO:
“It was a very testing game for us, It started and we were losing, we did not start the game well at all, we were very, very sloppy, we were not up for it from the first minute and at that stage we know that we can pay for it but fortunately the team stepped up in the second half. We realised that if we kept playing like that we were going nowhere and I think we did very well.
“It is a very inspiring comeback, maybe we needed something like that as well to lift ourselves up and see that we have a great potential and even with injuries, with suspensions, we can still have a very strong squad and that is what we tried to do and we managed to win a very important game.
“We are happy with the attitude we showed in the second half. We played two games in three days that’s not really the best thing but we managed to have two wins so we have a nice three days to recover for a big game on Saturday.
“We are concentrating on ourselves and if the other teams lose, they draw, they win, it doesn’t matter, the whole thing is that we are there fighting for the championship because we really want to go for it.”
Van Persie said this:
“If you look at the first half and the way they played and the way we played I don’t think it was a big performance from us. It wasn’t a great game to watch either in my opinion, correct me if I’m wrong, but it was really important to get those three points and in the end we managed to do that so I’m really pleased for that and complements to the team.
“(on AA) I was really happy for him because he’s having a hard time but we all tried to help him and he is a really positive player, a positive person, so everyone was really pleased for him to get a goal like that because it was a really important one and a difficult one to take as well because it came over him and then he had to get his balance right and have a good first touch. Credit to him.
“(on Kos) Last week against Ipswich a similar goal from the other side and now again from the other side, the cross this time, but he is really strong, you can see that on his defensive heading as well, he’s always on top, he’s working hard and in my opinion he has had a really good season. So great to get a second go in and in the end we just fought together and we had the three points in the bag, really important.
“It’s vital to keep looking at yourself basically because we know the schedule. We know Chelsea’s schedule, we know Man U’s schedule, but the main thing is just to look at our own schedule. We have a tough opponent on Saturday with Newcastle away so we only need to look at that. I am confident that Man U will drop points, 100%. They have big games coming up, they have their own derby coming up, games against Chelsea, big games. We’ll see what’s going to happen but I’m confident that we can fight until the end.”
And what of Andrei, he of Man of the Match fame according to Arsenal.com? Question (and answer from Arshavin.eu):
Q: You scored a goal. You were very active and useful. Maybe Arsene should have let you out to play earlier?
AA: No. He shouldn’t have
Do I need to add anything more to that?
Didn’t think so.
Well done Arsenal.
[UPDATE] Cesc releases statement regarding Moyes accusations. Read it in full here.
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