EPL 2005: Day 10 (Manchester United 2 – Arsenal 0)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
October 24th, 2004 • 5:34 am

The end of the unbeaten run is obviously a crushing disappointment. The fact that it happened at Old Trafford, and just one game short of the symbolic 50 mark doesn’t help.

But what is really disappointing is that, once again, what was supposed to be a “massive” game had so little to do with actual football and so much to do with negative playing and dubious refereeing decisions. The final score line doesn’t mean anything. The turning point was the penalty awarded to Manchester United. Yes, Sol Campbell didn’t have to stick his leg out, but once again a United player “made the most of it”, as they say, in a manner that was both theatrical and rather disgraceful. (You might have noticed that, earlier on, when Thierry Henry fell a bit easily in the box, he got up right away and went on with the game.) Of course, since Rooney is English and finished the game off with a meaningless tap-in, he’s going to be branded as a new hero, when in fact once again the entire game was decided by theatrics and dubious refereeing, i.e. things that have absolutely nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the teams or this particular player.

I also wonder if it’s possible to be uglier and more obscene in one’s celebrations than RvN was after scoring his penalty. What’s the great merit in scoring a penalty? What else did RvN do in the game that warranted such celebrations — apart from that typically ugly kick on Ashley Cole’s leg that went unpunished, as usual? What a despicable, ugly, inelegant, rude, and crude player RvN is. He doesn’t create anything. He specializes in pushing his way around, preferrably in the box, when the referee can’t see him. And then he celebrates obscenely after he’s been gifted a penalty kick by the referee, as if he had any merit. What a jerk.

Oh well, at least the pressure is now off. No more record to break. Let’s get back to the usual business of scoring goals and playing nice, elegant football against teams that actually value quality sportsmanship above ugly demonstrations of dubious pride in alleged footballing prowess.

$14.99 for this? Geez. What a rip off. That is definitely the only Pay-Per-View game I am watching this year.

5 Responses to “EPL 2005: Day 10 (Manchester United 2 – Arsenal 0)”

  1. LoonyPandora says:

    Nice reply ;-)

    I agree, massive games have never lived up to their billing in my experience. Arsenal play a very nice brand of football, which to the neutral is very attractive.

    I would hardly say Man U play negative football though. It’s not as positive as Arsenals, but it is still pretty good. The last 10 minutes of a game Man U are losing is truly a site to behold. Everyone going forward, it is stirring stuff. Not even Arsenal get close to that kind of passion, and will to win.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    LP: I guess the bottom-line for me, the real reason for the disappointment, was that it was not a very good game. I hate these allegedly “massive” games that end up being about defense, tackles, yellow cards, and tough refereering decisions. To me, a “massive” game is a game with attacking football, with goals, with entertainment. That’s why I like Arsenal, because they provide this kind of entertainment more consistently than any other team. Yes, Man U ended up winning with their defensive strategy, but it hinged on such dubious decisions (while Rio might have been the man of the match, he could just as easily have been sent off for his challenge on Ljunberg) that it wasn’t a win in anything other than the score line. They didn’t win a football game, they won a dicey game of defensive, negative play based on the hope that, on the whole, refereeing decisions will go your way. And in this case they did. But it could just as easily have gone the other way. That’s what I don’t like.

    There used to be a time when Man U also provided entertainment by scoring goals, etc. These days, they play more negative football, and I just can’t condone it.

    As for disgraceful post-match comments, I haven’t seen Patrick’s comments, but Alex Ferguson is the manager and when he says something like “if a player goes down in the penalty area, it’s a penalty”, can there be a more blatant admission that diving is part of the game? The rule is not that if a player goes down in the penalty area, it’s a penalty, it is that if a player is unfairly challenged in the penalty area, it’s a penalty. It’s a substantial difference.

    Oh, and Fergie also said that he “didn’t see it”. Now that reminds me of someone… :). Maybe the “reversal of power” has finally happened, this week-end’s defeat notwithstanding :).

  3. LoonyPandora says:

    Ruud’s celebrations were perfectly OK – after the harassment he got from Keown and the boys last year after missing a penalty in a similar situation – I think those emotions spilled out in his celebrations, and who can blame him really?

    I was actually at Old Trafford, and the atmosphere was electric – the gamesmanship was about equal on both sides. While the Rooney penalty decision was suspect, the Ronaldo incident was a clear penalty, which wasn’t given. I was 10 feet away from it, and it was blatant and malicious. things have a tendency to even themselves out like that.

    The ref was as good as he could have been given the circumstances, if he had stuck to the letter of the law, there would have been 5-6 players sent off. He could have performed better, but he was “disgraceful” as some people make out…

    You mention Henry getting straight back up, but neglect to mention the incident where RvN got straight back up after a similar challenge near the box. Both players realised that they weren’t getting a penalty, so stopped rolling around on the floor, and got on with the game. You mention Rooney making the most of that challenge, I saw Reyes do the same thing while under pressure from both Nevilles. As I said earlier, honours even when it comes to gamesmanship. ;-)

    I totally agree on the stamping incident, I didn’t see it until the replays, but that sort of behaviour is not acceptable in football. I’m sure he will get a suspension by the video panel, and a deserved one too.

    RvN is a striker. He scores goals, he is not employed to create anything. It’s not pretty, but it works. Man U play a different style to Arsenal, and RvN fits perfectly into Man U’s system.

    An interesting statistic, although Arsenal are known for their passing game, Man U make more passes, and complete more passes than Arsenal. Without looking at the stats, you wouldn’t think that…

    Overall, the match was won by the defence, not the penalty, not the tap in goal, not the ‘dubious’ refereeing decisions – but the simple fact that we stopped you scoring, which is impressive, considering you scored on average 4 goals a game so far this season. I can’t remember the last time you failed to score… Rio was the man of the match, and the true hero of that game. While I agree the press will be all over Rooney like a bad rash, Rio is the man.

    Did you catch Patrick Vieira’s post match comments? Those were disgraceful. Talk about a bad loser. It really gets to me when people talk about Man U’s arrogance, but blatantly ignore such arrogance in others…

    Let’s see where we are in May, good luck ;-) :P

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Yes, the irrepressible “will to win” appears to still be missing from Arsenal sometimes, especially in the Champions’ League, for some reason. But collective passion cannot always make up for the lack of individual talent and vision, and in fact it could be argued that this collective passion does require individual vision in some players at least. This particular game, however, was not won through a “will to win”, unless you include falling theatrically in the penalty area as an illustration of that will :).

    I also cannot see what you found so offensive about Vieira’s comments. What have read online is not particular disgraceful. The “soup” incident is somewhat disgraceful (if it did happen, and whoever is responsible for it), but if you are willing to excuse RvN for his exuberant and misguided post-penalty celebrations, by the same token, you have to accept that such post-match incidents will happen sometimes. The latter is not any more childish or disgraceful than the former, quite the contrary.

  5. LoonyPandora says:

    I guess it is something that you have to have seen on TV to appreciate… The tone of voice that he spoke in when he accused referees of being systematically biased towards Man U, in as many words, made my blood boil…

    I agree this match wasn’t about a will to win or anything so noble. It was a hard fought match, and Arsenal dived just as much as Man U. We got the penalty because we like to get players in the box, Arsenal don’t like getting players in the box, so had to settle for lots of free-kicks just outside it. We stifled your creativity, we could argue whether that’s due to us being ‘cheats’ forever, I think it was a bit over physical, but I have seen far more violent games in the past…

    Arsenal are a very pretty team to look at, very creative and a joy to watch in full flow. But they ‘aint my team :D

    Again, I cannot see what was wrong with Ruud’s celebrations – he really wanted that penalty to go in, especially after throwing it away last year. That explains the celebrations perfectly adequately IMHO. It’s not as if we went around throwing his shirt off or anything ;-)

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