The morning after the game, and still my anger is strong. Arsene Wenger said Gabriel was wrong to retaliate, perhaps he was right, but if you do not retaliate, then somehow that also seems wrong.
As a kid at school, we had a school bully, this kid from the off didn’t like me, I don’t know till this day, what it was that he found offensive about my presence, but from that day till I left school, we fought regularly, I lost every time, I got nose bleeds at the slightest touch, so usually there was a mess after a tussle, perhaps he got excited at the sight of my blood I didn’t really know.
The trouble with me, was I found it hard to walk away from a bully, and I never knew I would lose, until I did , how many times do you lose but still not know, that was me. The strange thing was after I left school we met again and of course the habits of a lifetime, we fought again, strangely the battles ended after that fight, but I showed weakness, or should I say mercy, as I had the upper hand after all those years of defeats, and when he said he’d had enough I stopped hitting him and walked away. I realised that day that bullies are like mad driver’s, they meet themselves one day coming the other way.
I suppose Wenger would have said I was wrong to have fought in the first place, but if you are sought after, what do you do, walking away got you a clump round the head, so you have to protect yourself.
Gabriel was goaded, he took it for so long, but the man is only human. If he was guilty of anything it was trying to get away from him.
The game itself was a spectacle until the first half ended, both sides were evenly matched, chances for both sides. the second half Chelsea seemed to have found extra space down the left hand side and Arsenal’s defence was looking a little shaky, it has to be said that Chelsea’s fast attacks were picking up pace, and Arsene would need to bolster up somehow.
On one of those attacks the sequence of what was going to change the shape of this game a tussel between Chelsea’s Costa who had been a pain in our side all game and Koshielney, where off the ball Costa was all other our man, hands in the face a forearm pushed in Koshielney’s face and then an elbow. The Officials missed all of this action, but when the action stopped Koshielney looked to have said some thing to Costa and Costa retaliated with a chest charge where Koshielney was barged to the ground, Koshielney raced to his feet where it looked like the two players were to square up, When Gabriel turned up and stood between them, Costa Looked at Gabriel, they too had had a few tussles leading up to this incident, Costa looked to be saying something to Gabriel but he stood his ground and tried to ignore him , that seemed to antagonise Costa and he looked like he was getting more infuriated, the Referee intervened, he had words with both players and as they walked away, the two player looked like they exchanged little slaps to each others body, but the slaps did seem to look as if they wasn’t friendly slaps .
Again the referee stepped in again but this time he branded yellow card to both players. Had he seen the whole incident from the start I feel he may of acted differently but of course he hadn’t. The two players walk away again, but Costa would still be talking in Gabriel’s face until Gabriel turned his back on him Costa still continued until Gabriel retaliated with a lame raise of his foot backward and in full sight of the referee Gabriel was then issued a red which seemed to calm Costa down.
Now of course a game against last years Champions is always a tough game but down to ten men even tougher now, Pressure was to build up as Chelsea seized the advantage, the Arsenal players felt aggrieved for what had happened but they now had a battle on their hands They battled valiantly until Arsenal was pushing out from the back Ramsey who was trying for a little space was adjudged to have fouled a Chelsea Player I must have missed that, and couldn’t understand the decision, but a free kick was given in Chelsea’s favour, a well flighted ball to the far post saw a rushing in Zoumer to glance a header past the hapless Petr Cech many said that Arsenal should have covered him but with a man down almost impossible to cover 11 men with your ten.
Wenger made changes as the players were working hard and some looked out on their feet but just before the changes Cazorla was adjudged to have committed a reckless challenge that would be his second so out came another red and Santi was on his way, changes came on and still the pressure mounted but now and again the Arsenal still showed this game was still alive even with 9 men, Arsenal held out to the 91st minute when a ricocheted shot came off Chambers who diverted the ball past a stranded Cech and that was to be our fate, 2.0 to Chelsea.
I felt I had watched a stage managed game, where decisions were made without the full facts being known, Decisions that seemed to go against one team only where many would feel we were harshly dealt with. Whether the powers at be will look at the video and feel the same as me i am not sure but Gabriels possible 3 match ban will undoubtedly be challenged by Arsenal. Cazorla will be difficult to argue with.
I felt this competitive match was handled atrociously, if there is any justice in sport this is a game that needs investigating. Of course Chelsea may see the outcome differently but a fair FA must surely step in – but will they?
Written by Steve Palmer