Arsenal, Wenger, Manchester United, van Nistelrooy, Ferguson, Vieira, and all that jazz

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
September 22nd, 2003 • 4:16 pm

Oh boy. Yesterday’s incidents were inevitably going to generate a lot of controversy, and further statements by the managers and players have not helped.

Perhaps the most interesting commentary is the column in which Pete Gill asks “burning questions” about the whole thing. Pete Gill raises many valid questions. What amazes me is that it took until the 80th minute for the game to actually become highly controversial. And leave it to van Nistelrooy and Vieira to be right in the thick of it. That Keown went overboard after the final whistle is hardly surprising. The guy is not exactly a choir boy.

Speaking of choir boys, why does Pete Gill not see what ArsËne Wenger meant when he described van Nistelrooy as looking “like a nice boy”. The Dutchman is always soft-spoken in interviews of the pitch, and heaped praise on Thierry Henry in an interview just before Sunday’s clash. If that’s not playing nice boy off the pitch in ORDER to get away with murder on the pitch, then I don’t know what is.

My theory about the whole thing is this. Arsenal and Wenger felt that they were, once again, victimized by all the talk about Robert Pires’ alleged dive against Portsmouth last week. They were tired of always being accused of diving, when Manchester United in general and Ruud van Nistelrooy in particular are never put under such scrutiny, even though they deserve just as much criticism in that department. So they set about to prove that, when it comes to cheating, RvN had nothing to envy Robert Pires. And RvN handed them such the opportunity to prove on a silver plate, with his very clumsy challenge on Vieira.

They also knew that tempers would boil over, and Wenger figured out that putting Martin Keown on the pitch would be a way to minimize the damage. After all, if he gets suspended, it won’t have too much of an impact on the team, in which he’s hardly a regular.

What they couldn’t control is — once again — the lousy refereeing. As Pete Gill says, selecting Steve Bennett for this game was clearly asking for trouble. The penalty call against Martin Keown in stoppage time was just laughable. Thank God he didn’t let Ruud van Nistelrooy retake his penalty kick by accusing Lehmann of jumping off his line. This “new” rule that referees are supposed to enforce is simply unenforceable.

Speaking of new rules, wasn’t there talk, a couple of seasons ago, of giving attackers “the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to offside decisions? Thierry Henry was denied two one-on-one opportunities against Tim Howard when he was clearly not offside. Unfortunately, this particular issue will be lost amid all the hoopla about RvN and Vieira and Keown.

11 Responses to “Arsenal, Wenger, Manchester United, van Nistelrooy, Ferguson, Vieira, and all that jazz”

  1. vaag says:

    It’s ‘Ruud van Nistelrooy’, not ‘Ruud Van Nistelrooy’, and consequently ‘RvN’ instead of ‘RVN’.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks. I had been wondering :).

    Changes made (in this post).

  3. George Kaplan says:

    Let be honest for a change.
    Arsen Wenger has brought Arsenal down to very low point in the football world. 52 Red cards in his time at the club. This is atotal disgrace. Wenger should be thrown out for good by the club and the FA!

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Let’s not exaggerate for a change :-). The disciplinary track record is not good, but it has to be balanced against the number of highly debatable decisions that this track record includes. (Just for the 2001-2002 season, remember the red card against Ray Parlour in the Newcastle game that even Alan Shearer — the alleged victim — asked the referee not to give, and remember the red card against Van Bronckhorst for alleged diving…)

    There also seems to be some kind of bias favouring Man U when it comes to yellow/red cards. Remember that the alleged offenses of Arsenal players during the Community Shield game were all in reaction to unacceptable challenges by Man U players that were unpunished. I’m not saying that Arsenal players are right to take the law into their own hands, but OTOH you can’t help but wonder why so many of the initial challenges by Man U players are left unpunished. RvN regularly bullies his way through defenses and is not yellow-carded because he’s a striker and there is a bias against defenses in such cases. Roy Keane has an awful temper and regularly abuses people both verbally and physically, including the referee, and is rarely punished for it. Phil Neville is extremely clumsy and rarely gets booked. Paul Scholes… Nicky Butt… I could go on and on. Remember how the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford started last year? I think there were 3 yellow cards against Man U players in the first 20 minutes or so, and justifiably so. Then Man U came back to Planet Football, and lost.

    Finally, you would have a point if Arsenal won games and titles THANKS TO their allegedly violent behavior. But it is simply not the case. Arsenal win because they play (or can play) beautiful, elegant, classy football, and it’s all ArsËne Wenger’s doing. Big teams and their managers are always going to be controversial. Remember Ferguson’s accusations against the UEFA last year? Wasn’t THAT disgraceful?

    It was, but he’s still around, and respected, and admired. Let’s not exaggerate.

  5. Sam Chand says:

    I think the way in which Van Nistelrooy conducts himself on the field is nothing short of discraceful and is a dissapointment when you consider the great dutch legengs such as van basten,gullit and cruyff. His antics on the field include blatant diving and niggly kicks on players. What makes it worst were his actions against Arsenal at Highbury last season where he had a key part in the dissmissal of Sol Campbell. Van Nistelrooy showed what he considered as sportmanship by telling the referee to send him off. This is clearly evident by his reactions on tv. This is typical Man United behaviour- Cheating opponents out of games. This saga continued this year at Old Trafford in September where Van nitelrooy Kung foo kiced Vieria in mid air and got away with it. This again resulted in the arsenal player being dismissed, and it all comes back to his antics. The one piece of justice from that game was when he hit the croosbar with his arrogant penalty. The reactions from the Arsenal players was wrong but the emotions they showed reflected how much they want cheats like him to be erradicated from our game. Not many people realize this but Van Nistelrooy also had a key part in the split between the dutch team, where the white and black players had a split. It is alright being a class finisher which Van Nistelrooy is but if you cant play football by the rules and with a fair degree of sportmanship, dont play it at all, and do all us true football fans a favour.

  6. vaag says:

    >consider the great dutch legengs such as van basten,gullit and cruyff.

    Could we please have the order right! Thus:
    1. Johan Cruyff
    2. Marco van Basten
    14. Ruud Gullit

    >Not many people realize this but Van Nistelrooy also had a key part in the
    >split between the dutch team, where the white and black players had a split.

    This really is nonsense.

  7. Sam Chand says:

    just have to accept that Van Nistelrooy is a bad influence and its not as if he would be missed by the Dutch team if he was to be ejected, they are blessed with quality players. It is because of Van Nistelrooy’s incapability of playing with quality players for example Kluivert that the Duthch team has been under achieving. He cant accept he isn’t as good as HE thinks. I also apologise that i placed the Dutch legends in the wrong order but i think you missed the real point- Van Nistelrooy was notin that that list and never will be.

  8. vaag says:

    Well, Holland beat Scotland 6-0 for the European championship playoffs, with three goals by Van Nistelrooy. Who is missing the point here? The Dutch coach Advocaat finally saw the light -as the last Dutch citizen-, he put Van Nistelrooy and youngers like Van der Vaart and Schneijder in the team, and left Kluivert and other ‘old generation’ players out. Kluivert only showed up late in the second half when the job was done. Time for some gallery play, the only play players like Kluivert, Seedorf or De Boer can play these days. Maybe they were once ‘quality players’ (I don’t think at least Seedorf ever was), but now they are old and saturated, left without any fighting spirit or ambition, which they never showed in the first place anyway. Remember: with them Holland didn’t qualify for the 2002 World championship! They are the most prominent representatives of the so-called ‘pommes frites-generation’. Holland will never ever win any tournament with them. That’s the point! So it’s not a black-white clash, nor is it a Van Nistelrooy intrigue – it’s simply a change of generation.
    Now, obviously you (and this Blog owner) don’t like Van Nistelrooy. But I don’t care if YOU both think that he is not so great. As long as he is consistently scoring 25+ goals a season I have no complaints. At the moment he is simply our best striker.
    There is no reason to apologize: this is the fate of a small country. I don’t think the world respects Johan Cruyff as the unique football genius he really was and in some way still is.

  9. Sam Chand says:

    Well as far as Scotland goes, my grandma could score a hatrick against them, lets be honest! I most definetly agree that the new generation of Dutch talent will take the team to new heights, Van der Vaart in my opinion one of the hottest prospects in world football. As far as Clarence Seedorf is concerned, theres no argument he is a quality player. Anybody who wins Champions league honours with 3 different clubs must be able to play the game with a high level of quality, (Ajax, Real, and AC Milan)!!
    It is also true that i dont like Van Nistelrooy. I watch Premiership football week in week out and the way in which Van Nistelrooy ‘acts’ on the field is a discrace to the great imports. When you consider the great foreign players to have played in the Premiership, such as Bergkamp, Zola and Henry, Van Nistelrooy is embarrasing. He throws himself around like an Italian. (In simple terms he is a cheating dive!!) I think most people who watch the premiership reguarly will agree that Nistelrooy has a proven goalscoring record but also a proven diving record.

  10. vaag says:

    Sure your grandma could, but Kluivert (alone or together with Van Nistelrooy) couldn’t even score one goal in the first game against Scotland, while Van Nistelrooy -alone at last- easily scored three in the second one. Bergkamp, Zola and Henry play on different positions, you cannot compare that with Van Nistelrooy’s striker position, where some nastiness is needed to survive. By the way: Bergkamp really had his mean moments during his career. Did you forget those?
    Now to Seedorf. I would say his penalties are of exceptional beauty -everybody in Holland can dream them-, furthermore he certainly is very good in selling himself to top clubs. But other than that he really is only a substitute at the very best. Let’s face the facts: in the great Ajax team of the mid-nineties he only was a substitute (midfield: Davids-Litmanen-De Boer). After winning the Champions League he was the first one to leave Ajax (for Sampdoria) because he disagreed with his status as a substitute. After one year in Italy he left for Real Madrid where most of the time he was a substitute. One year with Inter Milan – just a substitute, and now with AC Milan – I don’t care anymore. I really wonder how many 90 minutes games he played in all those years.
    His play for the Dutch national team (almost always as a substitute, or at least the first one to be substituted) was in general disastrous (some crucial games were lost because of Seedorf’s megalomania). I challenge you to take all his playing actions for the national team and combine them in a movie. Should make a hilarious Christmas movie 2004. Just show the moments where he gets the ball and watch what he does with it. And then count and judge. With Seedorf I do it (unconsciously) all the time. Seedorf is our own national butt of football. The moment he retires will relieve our minds.

  11. innocent adikwu says:

    the best criteria is to look at their per match and per minute goal scoring records.

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