Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The ref's a wanker

Yeah, Arsenal rogered by the referee in their tie with Liverpool. Call it sour grapes, but I don't care. If Gunners get the benefit of either disputed penalty call, they are likely watching film of Avram's "tactics" this morning.

I guess the dynamic duo of Hicks and Gillett have decided that the best way for them to overcome Rafa's obstinate rotation policy is to just go all out and bribe the refs. I kid, sort of. Or maybe a superbly trained athlete like Ryan Babel, who was able to easily blow through a weak shirt grab, didn't dive and really did lose his balance two steps later and flung himself to the ground in the opposite direction. Come vent with me, after the jump.

After the game, Arsene Wenger rightly blamed the refs. He told the official website that:

"I believe that we have to live with that and sometimes you have to swallow it. It is like that but it is very difficult to understand it because it was not a penalty tonight. I watched it clearly again. Last week [the challenge on Hleb] was a real penalty but we have to accept it. As well we have to accept in a game like that where we had so much control, but we were too naive. We lacked a little bit of maturity defensively."
Hey, at least he didn't bust out the usual "I didn't see anything" defense. I'm sure non Arsenal fans are laughing, but he has a point. If that penalty isn't called and Babel picks up a yellow for diving, then Arsenal advance on away goals.

If the Hleb call is reversed the outcome is less clear, but it would have been an advantage to have won at Emirates. After Diaby's early goal, it would have been 3-1 Arsenal in aggregate.

In a high stakes environment like this, its a shame that the referee feels a need to interject himself so blatantly into proceedings. And these weren't even shitty EPL refs like Mark Clattenburg! I was hoping for more, Mr. Peter Frojdfeldt, whatever Nordic country you hail from. At least he didn't grow up five minutes from Dirk Kuyt.

Arsenal fans can take some cheer from last night's proceedings, though. They bossed play for large parts of both legs, and the team clearly has the quality to beat anyone in Europe. Theo Walcott looked exceptional out on the wing, and he would be a huge upgrade over Eboue if he can stick in that role. Gilberto played well replacing Flamani. Its too bad he apparently can't be happy as a squad player, because he offers great depth in the midfield and would be able to spell Flamani in games against Bolton and Wigan. We also learned that Rosicky and Van Persie are made of glass, and should be flogged off to some middling Continental club, or Man City, at the earliest opportunity.

Anyways, its looking like another empty season for Wenger. That's four in a row, if you are keeping score. This weekend's visit to Old Trafford could very well be a severe beating given the fragile state of the team psyche. Like every Arsenal supporter on earth, I'm on record that he needs to make it rain this summer and buy some depth.

Also I'm hoping for Chelsea to beat Liverpool and make it to Moscow, just to see the hilarity that will ensue when Abramovich literally tries to fix a Champion's League Final. Ronaldo and Rooney better make sure they don't visit the wrong whorehouse when they are town, less they get arrested and shipped off to the gulag in Kamchatka.

And no, I'm not bitter at all.

[photo credit: BBC, Getty]


The Fan's Attic said...

Your mom's a ref!

The NY Kid said...


Mike Georger said...

"In a high stakes environment like this, its a shame that the referee feels a need to interject himself so blatantly into proceedings"

is exactly what we liverpool fans would be saying if the penalty were called in the first game. you got a bad break, it happens, move on.

heres a tip, get someone other than senderos who can cover the BLAZING speed of hyppia moving across the box, or doesnt get juked out of his shoes on the exact same move torres used against inter.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Ian, were you watching a different game? I don't believe you "bossed us" for large parts of the second leg, but hey, whatever takes the pain away.

We're in the semi-finals. Truth.

The Fan's Attic said...

@NY Kid: Yeah, that was a pretty good burn.

The NY Kid said...

I have to agree with LB - I think we got outplayed in the second leg, but that makes the loss even worse knowing that we could have gone through on away goals at 2-2.

Ian said...

I don't let facts stand in way of what I write.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Ian -- you certainly didn't need to explain that part to us. Complete tosh, start to finish, if you ask me.


Goat said...

I got attacked on SBI for calling Babel a diver. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thought that. If I ever see Ryan Babel on the street (is he going to be in Champaign, IL anytime soon?) I'm going to knock him the fuck out. It doesn't matter if run into him 70 years from now. He could be 90 years old. I don't care, I'm still going to kick his walker out from under him.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Hate him for the well-taken, if a little cocky, fourth goal where he breezed past golden teen Fabregas en route to a tap-in.

Don't hate him for trying to win a football match. That was a PK.

Goat said...

Everyone else has been blaming the ref, Arsene, Senderos, Stevie G for taking out Flamini, Eboue, etc. I just thought I'd mix it up a bit. Also, as a Browns fan I still have the same vow in effect for John Elway.