Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Referee forgets glasses as Kiev bully
I know we didn't play at our best, and I also know that Arene might have got his tactics slightly wrong, but I still need to vent my spleen regarding the pitiful standard of refereeing on show. Playing three central midfielders didn't give us the greatest width, and it also resulted in RVP being deployed wide left at times, somewhere I feel he is far less effective than when in more advanced central areas.
The first half consisted of a few very good Arsenal chances, a lot of huffing and puffing from an average Kiev side and no goals. RVP forced their keeper into a decent save early doors, while Ade broke clear to see his shot flash agonisingly wide of the top corner, near the end of the half RVP hit a crisp first time right footer that flashed just wide. We didn't play well, we didn't play badly, but we should have taken one of these chances. Song did well in defensive central midfield, but the lack of width on the left was rather obvious.
The ref had started poorly, missing a clear yellow card offence on RVP as he was cynically dragged down having skinned his man with a neat turn, and he continued in this vein. As the Kiev players realised that they would not be penalised for shirt tugs and clips of the ankles, they persistently left the boot in every single time they saw the back of a yellow Arsenal shirt. The ref must have left his spectacles in Spain, as he only gave free kicks if a player went to ground, which then encouraged some rather theatrical Kiev diving. Having said that RVP should have been in the book, losing his temper due to some rather close Kiev attention.
The penalty changed the game and what a shocking decision it was. The cheating Kiev player grabbed a fistful of Sagna's shirt and pulled him down, because of the referee's poor position and the Kiev player's cynical exploitation of it, a very undeserved penalty was given and dispatched by Bangoura, a player who otherwise would have struggled to hit Gordon Brown's fat Scottish arse with a sack of haggis. Kiev were then infused with a new found confidence and thanks to some rather impatient and rushed Arsenal build up play, threatened to add to their solitary goal on the break.
Emmanuel Eboue came on for the unfortunate Sagna and added some extra directness and impetus on the right. A neat move a couple of minutes from time led to Theo stroking a lovely ball across the Kiev six yard box, Adebayor prodded the ball on a couple of yards and Gallas slotted home, it appeared offside at first glance, but replays showed that the Kiev left back had player Gallas onside. The referee then proceeded to add on only three minutes of injury time, despite several stoppages for injuries and numerous substitutions, a truly bizarre decision to cap his woeful night. No wonder Arsene was fuming.
Not only did the referee get the big decision wrong, he also appeared to lack the bottle to inject some discipline into the game. Theo had to take far too many dangerous lunges for my liking with no protection from the ref, while he allowed Bougara to kick the ball away to waste time whilst in full view, he had already been booked for a comedy dive. The ref also failed to spot several blatant fouls, one example was when Fabregas turned neatly in the second half and he was then yanked back two of three times in rather blatant fashion, the ref did precisely nothing just because Fabgreas stayed on his feet. Anyways a draw is not a bad result away from home, I still feel a slighty more attacking side with Eboue and Walcott on the flanks would have been a more profitable tactic, but there's still a long way to go.