I find it rather strange that Manchester United have given away only one penalty in the league, to Chelsea last week, and have only had two players sent off all season, Ronaldo and Nani. Some would argue that it is because of their rock solid defence and amazing discipline, however having watched them in action a few times this explanation appears a little detached from reality.
Nani's red card was pathetic, his attempt to avoid punishment for his head butt by feigning injury on the floor was beneath contempt. As Wrighty says, I wonder if old Nani will be vilified in the media to the same extent as an Arsenal player would have been for the same behaviour. I very much doubt it.
I have lost count of the number of times I've seen non Manchester United players sent off for two soft yellow card offences, Reo-Coker's red against Manu earlier this season sticks in the mind in particular, however when Tevez or Scholes commits their fifth dangerous lunge with studs showing the referee is always praised for showing common sense and keeping his cards firmly inside his top pocket. In particular Wes Brown, Vidic, Scholes, Tevez, Rooney and Hargreaves seem to frequently escape censure for some rather dangerous play.
The lack of punishment of Manchester United players for blatant intimidation and dissent is there for all to see. Who remembers Rooney telling Graham Poll to f*ck off about thirty times in one game? Owen Hargreaves seems to have taken over from Roy Keane in the intimidating of referee department, while players not coloured in Manchester red are sometimes sent off for the most minor of dissent. I am no fan of Chelsea, but at least the FA has had the guts to punish them for failing to control their players, however when Manu do the same the punishment is strangely absent. It's also strange that any brawls involving Arsenal are punished in ultra draconian fashion, while Manchester United brawls are simply brushed under the carpet.
And as for the penalties, this is really a little strange, I've lost count of the number of dodgy penalties we've had awarded against us this season, the Gallas 'handball' at Old Trafford and the Clichy's clean tackle at Birmingham stick in the mind in particular. I just wonder if those kind of decisions would have gone against Manu in the same circumstances?
Anyways if we're going to win the league we'll need to strengthen in a few areas and Arsene has been speaking out about the need for a bit more aerial power in defence, strongly hinting that he may well be in the market for a tall powerful centre back in the summer. It is also good news that we are going to report Inter Milan to FIFA for their dodgy tapping up of Alex Hleb, it's about time the powers that be clamped down on clubs that routinely break the rules concerning the approach of players under contract.