The (hopefully temporary) fall of Arsenal
After yesterday's tragic and embarrassing 8-2 defeat at the hands (or maybe I should say "feet")…
Actually, not a good week. Arsenal were very poor against ManYoo, suffering a 4-0 defeat in the F A Cup. It was a busy night on the M6 as a few thousand dejected Arsenal fans headed back South, and tens of thousands of happy ManUre fans headed back South (or headed to Manchester airport to catch flights to Belfast, Dublin, Oslo, etc). Bacary Sagna missed the game after the sudden death of his 28 year old brother Omar.
The mid-week 0-0 draw against AC Milan wasn’t a disaster but certainly makes the away tie difficult. Mind you, a 1-1 draw would be enough to go through.
So, today it was back to the league, with Arsenal hoping to at least maintain a five point lead. Things couldn’t have started in worse fashion with Eduardo suffering a horrific broken leg in the second minute. The injury was so bad that Sky declined to show a replay – but later Match of the Day did (after issuing a warning), and now I wished I’d looked away. No wonder the Arsenal players looked so distraught. That’s Eduardo out for a year. I am glad that Arsene Wenger retracted and apologised for his earlier comments about Martin Taylor, the unfortunate perpetrator of the tackle – I was planning a post to say that I thought Wenger was wrong to make the comments, and ‘excessive’ was exactly the word I would have used.
Wenger has a right to feel aggrieved about other incidents in the game. Birmingham scored from a free kick which was dubious in it’s award to say the least. Later, 2-1 up, Arsenal had a clear penalty claim ignored when Adebayor was held back. But worst of all was Birmingham’s awarded penalty – Gael Clichy was judged to have brought down Stuart Parnaby. But replays clearly showed that Clichy reached the ball first, thus making it a legal tackle. Well done the ref… a closet ManYoo fan perhaps?
Still there was always the hope that Newcastle could get a draw or even a win against ManUre, and surely Newcastle couldn’t suffer a defeat as bad as the last time they met the South East’s favourites (6-0). It certainly wasn’t as bad… but 5-1 was bad enough. What happened to that team who stuffed ManYoo 5-0 in October 1996? David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Philippe Albert… even Darren Peacock… come back, your former club needs you.
I hope Arsenal take the Premier League title, but much more so I hope Eduardo makes a full recovery and is playing again as soon as possible. To me it’s only a game, but to that unfortunate 24 year-old it’s a career and a way of life.