In the end justice was done but the officials made this one hell of a lot harder than it should have been. We were cruising a goal up and a second appeared almost an inevitability. Then the key moment came, a hopeful punt through saw Vermaelen ahead in a chase with Franco, the two players were shoulder to shoulder. Of note the linesman was in no position to call it as he was perpendicular to the line of their runs, the referee Atkinson was in an even poorer position about forty yards from the incident, so even if Vermaelen had fouled Franco there was no way that they could have been sure of their decision, there was no way they could justify a red card, yet this is precisely what happened, utter utter incompetence demonstrating a complete lack of insight and understanding from the officials.
Vermaelen had his eyes on the ball throughout, Franco was never actually playing the ball or in control of it, Vermaelen also won the ball fairly, Franco knew he was never going to get onto it and played the situation by throwing himself down in theatrical fashion, never a penalty and certainly not a foul. When one sees this in context of West Ham salvaging a completely undeserved point at Upton Park thanks to a blatant Carlton Cole dive, it shows just how ridiculously keen referees are to give things against Arsenal these days, the way this happens week in week out suggests that this is more than mere coincidence.
Anyway thanks to the character and skill of the players we didn't let this refereeing howler put us off. Manuel's outstanding penalty save was key, it kept our momentum up, still a lot of credit must go t the outfield players who played the second half with only ten men but looked by far the better side despite this numerical disadvantage. Song slotted in well at centre back, Campbell was aggressive and robust as always, while teh full backs were excellent both defensively and offensively, Eboue seemed turbo charged throughout. Denilson had an excellent game, very useful with the ball and efficient, Diaby came on to great effect, Cesc worked hard for the team and provided some good attacking moments. Arshavin worked really hard but was a tad erratic, Nasri put a lot of work in and was dangerous at times, Bendtner did ok but had to be sacrificed as a result of Vermaelen's premature departure. Our general play was crisp and sharp, the ball was fizzed around beautifully at times and West Ham just couldn't cope with it for the most part.
Overall coming away with three points showed how we have developed in the last few months. Apart from the one bit of Cole skill, West Ham never looked like scoring, even when they had more possession we defended solidly as a unit and didn't afford them the time and space with which to do damage. There was a new found fight and resilience on show, we were not to be moved, the three points were wanted by all of our players and they would not be relinquished, no matter what the incompetent officials did. The spirit is growing, as is the belief in the squad, and if we can keep fighting as hard for every three points anything might happen. We must for every three points as if they are to be our last.
Great grit, and in the light of Chelsea dropping points in one of their "easier" games then it also shoes how important it is to maintain focus in these games.
So a huge well done, and hopefully a sign if lessons learned for the run/in and next season. Probably more important for the latter.
Refereeing across the league is a farce. This weekend we have seen the atrocious refereeing at Stoke (how was that ever a penalty) and the Emirates. Fine if they are just individual errors, or highlight holes in the rules. But what irks me is the invonsistency in application of the rules. Fine, penalty & red card for TV if the ref mistakenly thought it was a penalty, a simple but poor error of judgement. But then why did Vidic not get sent off in the Carling cup final, or Mascherano today? In both cases the penalty was also given so the crime must have been the same.
I know we can't/shouldn't appeal but surely the FA should be challenged by the club to explain how their refs can be left to interpret rules so differently. And if they are making errors why they are not reprimanded/banned/fined as other professional players and managers are?
The refs in the epl are a disgrace.There is no consistency at all in the award of penalties.Bendtner was hauled to the ground.Same with Lampard in the BR game.
What about Drogba wrestled to the ground by Samba,the last defender.He shd have been off and a penalty awarded. I remember vidic was sent off for a similar offence.
Surely the FA shd expect some sort of standard interpretation of the rules.
Otherwise I will read as a conspiracy to perpetuate the red faced winning game /trophy run. You never know.
The refs are getting away with murder.Every week you can see penalties awarded and not awarded by the men in black. It seems they are untouchables.
The FA shd kick the ass of these guys for not interpreting the rules according to the FA,not the ref's own .
It's about time they are hit with fines /suspension /delisting. This will cause them to shape up or get shipped out.
it was ass that the ref let go of West ham's hacking for most of the game.
Agree entirely about the complete idiocy and incompetence of the ref. This persistent incompetence just makes a mockery of fairness and justice in the sport. One day some major screw-up will happen in a huge game (like a wc final) and FIFA will be forced to confront its stupidity.
We showed unbelievable class and grit playing with 10 men -- and so many players are coming into form at the right time. And thanks Fat Sam!
Maybe we should send some American baseball umpires over there. They don't know anything about soccer either, and their eyesight is marginally better. And there would be the advantage of them never having heard of Arsenal, thus not having the English refs' obvious Gunnerphobia -- the filthy bastards.
But character is having load after load of garbage (or "rubbish," sorry, forgot to speak English there) thrown at you, and saying, "To hell with that, we'll win anyway." And, so far, it's working.
Thank you Kanu, old friend, for practically ensuring Hull's relegation; thank you Fat Sam, it's about time you did something for this game that has made you rich and famous. Thanks for nothing, you dirty Scousers. And it's on to the Brummies.
Hi Another Arsenal Blog... just wanted to say hi and see if you wanted to swap links with us at Come On The Arsenal... (www.comeonthearsenal.com)
Enjoying your blogs take on recent events!
lets win it gunners
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