March 9, 2017

Once upon a time on AA we had Rant Friday, well today is Rant Thursday.

Last night’s game at Camp Nou may have been exciting and the denouement exceptional but what about the rest of it? And what of our game the night before? My focus here is on Respect.

The cheating exhibited by Suarez, Lewandowski etc is a disgrace. It shows no respect for the referee, the opposition and much more importantly, the game. These people benefit from deceit. Their prime purpose is to gain benefit and kudos by blatant diving. Cavani got shown a yellow card  for waving an imaginary card (fully justified), yet Suarez who spent most of the evening diving and feigning injury picked up just one card when he should have been sent off at least twice.

It is wrong and could be so easily remedied. Post game analysis (of which there are endless re-runs) allows the authorities to retrospectively ban players. They have too do so if the game has any merit or morality.

FIFA and the FA show little respect for the spirit of the game. Tuesday night saw a referee completely out of his depth. His sending off of Koscielny , the penalty thus rewarding Lewandowski’s blatant cheating  clearly affected the game. So too did hthe referee’s rebuttal of our penalty claim when Theo was felled. It could so easily been sorted out  by the 4th official using video technology. It works ion almost every other sport and in both cricket and rugby adds to the entertainment. Why not football? The argument that it cannot be used at grass roots level is quite frankly ludicrous.

In the absence of true heroes current society makes heroes of sportsmen; they have to be role models and with that comes responsibility. That players are rewarded for cheating has a knock-on effect. Why be honest when deception pays?

The current authorities have to start to bring morality and honesty back to the game we love. There are simple solutions, I could do it and so could you, so why can’t they?

What happened to Fair Play?

Rant Over (for now)

written by Big Raddy


A Question of Sport – if we can’t beat ‘em, should we join ‘em?

April 10, 2010

Our little Russian doll Andrey Arshavin was a guest on A Question of Sport last night. I don’t think he understood half of what was going on, but at least managed to recognise Jack Wilshere and get an answer or two right.

It got me thinking about football (just for a change), is it a sport, a game, a way of life, an obsession?

By definition, it is a game. It involves teams, a set time for play and scoring. But should it be played in a ‘sporting manner’ or should we accept that ‘gamesmanship is part of the tactics? Beyond that, there is the question of whether we should continue to strive to create a spectacle involving elite sportsman or should we join the majority of teams who treat it as a game where tactics and other less virtuous practises can be employed to give an advantage?

I watched Stevie-me win a couple of free kicks for pool on Thursday by pushing the ball ahead and running into the defender in front of him and then diving spectacularly; the referee fell for it every time, but the slo-mo showed it for what it was; gamesmanship/cheating. Eboue has done the same thing for us and been soundly rebuked by fans as ‘letting the side down’. Barcelona outplayed us on Tuesday, but they also out-cheated us too. The quality of their fouls was far superior to ours. How many times have we  persistently been fouled by the opposition with no cards in evidence and yet, the first time one of our players deliberately brings an opponent down, out comes the card. We’re not very good at fouling – could this have a bearing on the number of injuries we suffer?

A few people have commented lately that we need a midfielder or defender who strikes fear into opponents, an enforcer in the mould of Patrick Vieira. We were once criticised for the number of red cards we collected in Wenger’s early years (coincidentally, the years when we were winning trophies). Which is the more effective weapon against the opposition….. team spirit, or aggression?

Vermaelen is the best ‘fouler’ we have, Song is not very good, he holds his hands in the air in a plea of innocence before he’s even committed the offence – bit of a giveaway! Sagna’s too nice to foul deliberately, although Clichy does like to mix it. Since the Invincible’s, we’ve recruited/developed players many of whom are just too ‘nice’. Look at the way Fabianski handed the ref the ball when told to do so in the CL game against Porto – Lehman would never have done that.

Reading this you could be forgiven for thinking that I’m in favour of our players being dirtier and I could ask, what would you rather win – the Fair Play League or the Premier League?

The problem is that it is not Arsène’s style, therefore it is not Arsenal’s style. In general we play by the rules – that includes the rules of business that stipulate that you have to balance the books, it’s a shame that nobody else follows suit. I think Chamakh will add some much needed muscle to our forward line albeit with the ball skills to compliment his tempered aggression and it looks increasingly likely that we will have to buy a CB. Most of us are praying for a new keeper who doesn’t look terrified, but terrifying. Perhaps we are about to enter a new era in Arsène’s thinking that combines the steel of the Invincibles with the mobile ball skills of the current squad and has ALL the elements necessary to bring to an end our famine of trophies.