Tuesday 8 April 2008

A tale of two penalties

I'm proud of the lads, and I'm proud to be an Arsenal fan, they all worked their cotton socks off tonight and gave it all for the team. They displayed immaculate discipline, there was no play acting or diving from our boys, all eleven men tried to stay on their feet at all times, rather than taking the easy option of a dramatic dive to the turf. While the same could certainly not be said about Liverpool.

Arsene started with the much maligned Eboue on the right of a midfield five, Diaby on the left, while Liverpool lined up with a standard 4-4-2 with Crouch and Torres up front. We started on song at a quick tempo, Liverpool look like a pub team, the ball was zipped around at pace, the passing was crisp and precise, this was the Arsenal we all wanted to see. Diaby thumped in a low rocket at the near post to put us one nil up, the dominance continued but Liverpool held firm. Hyppia scored with a bullet header as he was left in far too much space 12 yards out from a corner. As the half went on Liverpool continued to grind and came into the game a little more, although creating nothing clear cut they menaced with some dangerous runs in behind our full backs.

Kuuyt tried to con the referee with an embarrassing dive in the penalty box when Diaby had not touched him, but the referee saw through his tricks. Mascherano had earlier tried a dive himself and had been lucky to to go into the book for a very bad late tackle on the Flamster, who unfortunately had to go off just before half time with an ankle sprain. It has not been our season for injuries at key moments.

The second half was more evenly balanced, as the referee decided to ignore Liverpool's rather over physical pressing tactics, quite how blatant kicks from behind were not seen as fouls is only known by the referee. Liverpool pressured but didn't create much clear cut. Eboue made a neat run to be fed in on the right hand side of the box, he beat his man and was clipped, but stayed on his feet having lost his balance and sliced the cross out.

Another seemingly harmless long ball got through to Torres, who was given far too much time and space to turn when only ten yards out, he then crashed the ball into the top corner, his only meaningful contribution to the game other than several pathetic acts of gamesmanship that bordered on cheating; I really have lost all respect that I ever had for him having seen his play acting in the last few games. Moments later Adebayor missed a great chance when one on one with Reina, electing to shoot first time when he surely had time to take a touch.

Then the moment of the game for me, Walcott broke through at high speed, avoiding two cynical attempts at rubgy tackles from Arbeloa and Mascherano. He broke clear on the right and squared expertly for Adebayor to slot home into the empty net. We were going through at this point, 2-2 things stood, the away goals were going to be vital.

Then the penalty, or the penalty that should not have been. Seconds after our brilliant equaliser, Babel cut inside Toure, Toure clipped Babel as he attempted to get around Babel, only the most minimal of contact was made; Babel stayed on his feet but thought about going down, there was no further contact, he then slowed and fell down. The referee pointed to the spot despite not being in the greatest position to see the nature of any contact made, a 'dodgy' penalty according to Arsene, Gerrard dispatched it, 3-2 Liverpool.

Liverpool got another on the break to make it an extremely flattering 4-2, but the game was decided by yet another poor refereeing deicsion. At best it was a very soft penalty, at worst it was a dive from Babel, but in the context of the two matches it was a travesty. Only one side tried to play football in both legs, and only one side tried to stay on their feet when the challenges rained in. Mascherano summed up Liverpool for me, he did three appalling tackles tonight and escaped a booking on each occassion, he tried to rugby tackle Theo but was too slow, he tried a shocking dive right in front of the referee but was told to get up, he is Mr Liverpool under Benitez's charge.

There were many causal factors in our defeat, some of our players certainly have their faults, however I cannot fault the effort or ethic of any of our boys tonight. I would like to be more congratulatory towards Liverpool's victory, but I cannot given the manner of it. They were second best on a footballing level, they were simply fortunate that the big decisions went their way, while some of their players did the very opposite of covering themselves in glory. I can tell you if it was Eboue that had gone down as Babel did for the penatly, the scouse chorus would not be that of 'clear penalty', it would something far less complementary. If Adebayor had thrown himself around as Torres did tonight, I am sure the experts would be keen pass their judgement, as it was it was simply ignored. It was a tale of two penalties, and a tale of rank inconsistency and double standards. As Arsene says there is a sense of injustice in the air.


Anonymous said...

dude look carefully.both decisions r 50-50.its up to the ref's point of view to give it or not.arsenal r really whiners.take it on the chin n stop crying like fabregas.arsenal was pinned down pretty much by liverpool n was obviously 2nd best.outplayed arsenal in their own passing.give credit where it is due.saying bout no sportsmanship from liverpool but what bout you?sportsmanship is also admitting bout being the 2nd best team.whiner.

Anonymous said...

also 1st leg u said bout kuyt being 'buddy' with the ref cuz both r dutch n knew each other b4.so what now for this leg?babel is a VIP embassador for sweden n has bribed the swedish ref?

1979gooner said...

oh dear sir,

over the two legs only one team tried to play football,

one team had more possession,

one team had more clear cut chances and opened up the other side,

one team played with honesty and integrity,

it was most certainly not Liverpool,

as for the penalties, look at the media reaction, a majority of 'experts' think it was not a penalty or a soft penatly, whereas Hleb's was a stonewaller in their opinion,

Liverpool's negative football and gamesmanship don't deserve much credit,

you're like Mourinho's Chelsea side and that is ironic, shame you can't see that, Benitez's tactics are similarly anti-football.

Ted said...

Arsenal have had a fair share of divers over recent years, but I don't think Babel's penalty decision was a 50-50 last night. It was more like 10-90 and shouldn't have been awarded.

Hleb's in the first leg may have been more 50-50 (or at least 60-40 if you are an Arsenal fan) but wasn't given.

Overall, that means the luck favoured the Scousers. Especially the fact that the dodgy penalty came 2 minutes after Walcott's breathtaking run set up what should have been Arsenal's winner.

Liverpool are a physical and organised side who know how to foul and know how to dive when it suits them. They also know how to play decent football but rarely do it and didn't show much over the last 3 games. Gerrard is one of the best in the game but he is guilty as well - a blatamt dive in Istanbul won Liverpool the Champs League.

At no stage did Liverpool "outpass" Arsenal. Liverpool know how to keep the ball and are good at passing sideways or backwards. They are also good at hoofing it - Liverpool scored 4 out of the 6 goals directly from long balls, the only exceptions being Gerrard in the first leg (from a bad clearance by us) and Hyppia from a corner. Thats not a single goal from a passing move, whereas both Arsenal goals last night were.

However, "Mr Arsearsenal" is correct to say that sportmanship is about knowing when you were second best. Whilst Arsenal can and should take it on the chin, the simple fact is that Arsenal were not second best and suffered at the hands of a dodgy decision at a crucial time in the match.

When the dust settles at the end of the season, Liverpool will be 4th in the league and generally regarded as a poor footballing team compared to the entertainment provided by Arsenal. That's revenge enough for me.

1979gooner said...

well said ted,

it's ironic that Liverpool hate Mourinho and Chelsea so much,

but they are the footballing mirror image of their enemy

Anonymous said...

well so is it rafa's fault that pool played tactically to counter arsenal while u stick to ur wonderful football?so we r suppose to play to the style U like so U can win us into the champs league semis?u make me laugh.when man utd football style was out-thought by careful tactics do they whine lyk u do?all tt u expect from teams is to play beautiful football like U do so u can outplay them.n when tactics r deployed against ur beautiful style of play u complain?sorry soccer is bout tactics n outwitting ur opponents not to play to a style ur opponents lyk n den lose.in this case it seems tat arsene lost out tactically to rafa.

Anonymous said...

However bitter we all feel after last night's events, the facts are simple. Our season is over and we need to analyse why. Yes, we have been unlucky at times with injuries and poor refereeing decisions but our first team squad is too small and lacks experience. We need to buy at least another proven goalscorer and a creative midfielder. I reckon we could get Crouch and Kewell for about £25m, which would be fantastic business. Kewell has the creativity and experience to run the left flank while Crouch has the finesse and skill to be a subtle foil to Adebayor. What does everyone else think?

1979gooner said...

tactically Benitez did not outwit wenger,

over the two legs Arsenal had more possession, more chances and more clear cut chances,

it came down to the tale of two penalties, one being rather more dodgy than the other,

obviously we do need more strength to our sqaud, I'm sure this will be remedied in the summer,

I'm sure scousers are irked by what their team has become, a Mourinho-esque side,

there was nothing great tactically about Benitez,

he has spent many millions more than Wenger and assembled a side that was dominated over two legs by a young arsenal side made up of young talent and baragain buys,

what tactical genius! it's funny how with the eyes of retrospect some account a lucky victory to tactics,

I just wish the referee was a bit better tactically!

Anonymous said...


In terms of strengthening the squad, did you hear that Christopher Wreh is still banging them in for United Counties League side Buckingham Town? In my view, he was always top class and reminded me of a young Pele in the '58 World Cup. I reckon we could get him back for under £3m which would be a bargain. Him and Theo would run riot.

K man said...

Kewell and Chris Wreh - are you on drugs or have you just got a very dry sense of humour?

Anonymous said...

oh. great. arsenal fan. just accept the fact, you fucking lost. so if you don't like that, you can fuck off and die. thank you.

K man said...

Good chat moron. If you haven't got anything decent to say please torment a different blog.

1979gooner said...


grow some testacle before you post such pathetic bile,

thankyou though for being such a delightful individual,

are you Steve G by any chance?

sign him up, Wreh is one of best around

Anonymous said...

so u attribute adebayor's miss as pool's 'luck'?so u attribute babel 'dived' when he was trying to stay on his feet?n bout pool turning out to b a 'Mourinho-esque' club,well looks lyk we qualified with that style n not ya so im pretty happy with it.n lets c chelsea won the titles under mourinho using same style so did 'beautiful' arsenal win with their 'fantastic' brand of football n whining?n lets c benitez switch babel on n he scored by racing past ur crybaby fabregas so tat decision was 'lucky' as well?n btw looking at the 2nd leg pool had 51% possession n pool made use of it no?in the 1st leg arsenal has 65% possession no?so wad the hell were u doing with 65% possession n not scoring?becuz we didnt play according to ur 'pretty' football?oh tts just too bad cuz ur 'pretty little game' is useless n ya dont have the tactical brains to change n adapt to ur opponents.

K man said...

Crapchat - turn your spell checker on and try and write something decent please.

1979gooner said...


go to school and learn to write,

then come back and comment,


Anonymous said...

OK, k man, spell checker now on, cuz u r cleerly sum posh twat.

Stevie G is not only the best midfielder in the world, he is also an incredibly self-aware and astute tactician. When interviewed before Saturday's game, he intimated that he was happy to be played off the park in all three games against the Arse as long as Liverpool got the right results. And that's exactly what happened.

Liverpool don't dominate teams (unless they are called Besiktas). They don't play beautiful football. They are not able to and they don't need to. They make the best use of the limited talent available (Torres and Gerrard excepted) to frustrate teams. They have played like that for over 10 years so you really can't say the last week has been anything of a surprise.

In a two-leg tie, they also have more experience than any other team around. There was no panic after 25mins of chasing shadows last night. They knew Arsenal would get tired and, with the exception of Whippet Walcott, Arse were dead on their feet by 70mins. Hence Torres taking advantage of the one sniff of goal he had in 180mins of football. Hence Liverpool surging forwards in the 86th minute while half the Arsenal team were still bumming Theo on the edge of our box. Someone should have been shouting "Heads up, who wants it, get back in position." But you have an immature, self-obsessed captain in Gallas rather than a natural leader like Chopper, so that was never going to happen.

Sure Liverpool were lucky. We always are in Europe. Dodgy penalties get awarded in front of the Kop - that's football. But its too simple to blame the referee. Arsenal were the better team and had enough chances to win both games outright. The fact that they didn't means the players and Whining Wenger only have themselves to blame.

Anonymous said...

simple stop complaining about teams who turn negative to counter your attractive play and turns out winning.if u got 65% possession in the 1st leg and u cant convert in your own ground then shut up and cry about your impotency of your attack.we had 35% possession n we got an away goal so grow up and use some tactics to adjust to teams who play negatively.instead of playing attractive football which doesnt work everytime and then complain about a penalty.your "superb" brand of football,does it get you any silverware?losers that whine you are best.

1979gooner said...


none of your banter changes anything that has been mentioned by ourselves,

indeed we may be posh twats as you say, but is that really the best you can do?

big cup games are turned on dodgy decisions like the Babel penalty, that't the point we're making,

actually wenger has acknowledged that our defence was too porous, if you cared to read his words in context you would realise this,

however to deny that luck or the big decisions had anything to do with it is simply ludicrous, just like the rest of your rather incoherent argument,

so in conclusion, we have both ourselves and the referee to blame actually, as I have said all along, if you bothered to read what has been written rather than band around lazy accusations,

ps I wouldn't be proud of your grammar if I were you

Obsinho said...

wot I think wud B usefull, 1979Gooner, lyk, is to say stuff in da way dat wud mek sense 2 all peeple, not just sum of dem, nsted of using wurdz like "remedies" n commas n stuff lyk b4.

1979gooner said...

y de fuk is de world ful of sutch krettins?

well sed bruv obsinho,

mayb de blog will now av tobe scrybed in de language au chav?

ows bout dis:

skittle and babble r bof kunts

Anonymous said...

dude im not writing a compo n i dont need perfect grammar.running out of things to say n resulting to shooting us about grammer n spelling.merde.bunch of losers.

1979gooner said...

shit. we've been tactically and intellectually out thought on this one obsinho, my pants have now browned, time to call it a day.

Obsinho said...

I think we should probably just sit down and have a little cry. It's what Gallas would want us to do.

Also, is this person not that stupid and swore in French, or am I the stupid one and can't understand what merde stands for in "stupid" (I think that's what the language that needs no grammar/grammer nor spelling is called).

Anonymous said...

Liverpool divers? All I can say is Robert Pires.

I think liverpool's penalty was given because Toure was skipping around like a fairy in the box(seriously watch the replay in slomo, it is hilarious) instead of booting the ball into touch.

Reina would have saved the peno in the first leg if it would have been giving, since Liverpool tend to have a lot more luck in European matches than in the League.