Should Cesc Have Been Sent Off Against Manchester City?

October 26, 2010

It was disappointing to see Cesc Fabregas apparently making the ‘give him a card’ gesture to Mark Clattenburg on Sunday.

Only four minutes into the game against the Mancunian lottery winners Boyata was beaten to the ball by Chamakh, who would have been clean through on goal, but the young central defender lunged in recklessley and brought down our Number 29. It was as bang-on a red card as you’ll ever see for denying a goal scoring opportunity.

I have no doubt that Mark Clattenburg made up his mind immediately to show Boyata a red card. So, in the seconds before the red was produced, to see our captain shaking his hand at the ref in what seemed a card-wielding gesture was a real shame.

As an offence it’s not in the same category as studs-up tackles or flying elbows, but it’s still one of those things you don’t like to see in the game because it shows a lack of respect for the referee. And yes, I know that we in the stands can spend many a happy half hour disrespecting referees, but for the players it’s different.

Some years ago the FA’s refereeing panel deemed the ‘give him a card’ gesture to be an unsporting action that could merit a yellow card at the discretion of the ref.

So… if Cesc had been booked for that gesture – as he might well have been – he would have been off before half time after receiving what would have been a second yellow for a foul on De Jong and who knows how the game might have gone then?

This has certainly been a complaint made by many Citeh supporters and, even if you leave aside the ‘what ifs’ (like, if he had picked up a yellow for the card gesture he might have been more careful about not incurring a second yellow and so would not have fouled De Jong) they may have a point.

Having looked back on the incident I think Fabregas was lucky that Clattenburg had his back to him when he made the gesture.

“So what?” you might reasonably ask. We deservedly won the game, Cesc didn’t get sent off and worrying about things that didn’t happen is a sure step on the road to madness.

Well, the reason I raise it is that it’s not the first time that our captain has shown what opposition supporters would describe as a ‘nasty side’ to his character.

His rap sheet is not long, but it does have some highlights:

  • Throwing pizza at the purple-faced Gorbalian in the dressing room at Old Toilet.
  • Telling Mark Hughes to shut the f**k up and asking him what he’s ever won.
  • Throttling Tim Cahill at Goodison Park (and earning a red card for his trouble).
  • Allegedly spitting at Michael Ballack during a European game (denied by Fabregas and, later, by the German FA who said Cesc had merely been shouting insults. Spitting vitriol, as opposed to spitting, er, spit).

And most heinous of all…

  • Wearing a puffer jacket onto the pitch at the end of a home game against Hull.

Of the above, I happen to approve of the pizza-throwing, Cahill-throttling, Ballack-barracking and Phil Brown-baiting (all actions that show our Number 4 has bottle and passion).

But I’m less impressed by a player in his early 20s insulting a manager with an outstanding playing record like Mark Hughes. That’s just disrespectful and. To his credit, Cesc later apologized to Hughes for that one.

Making the card-waving gesture in Sunday’s game is a similar sort of offence – not terrible, just unworthy of our captain.

One of the best things about supporting Arsenal is that we know we have the classiest team, manager, supporters and club in Britain.

Compare Arsenal’s honourable and private dealings in the transfer market with those of our rivals.

Compare Arsene Wenger’s intelligence and restraint with the frothing fury of Ferguson or the crass stupidity of Allardyce.

Compare the way we play the beautiful game with the gridiron approach of Chelsea and Man City.

Compare Cesc’s dignified handling of Barcelona’s pursuit this summer with the money-grabbing, media-spinning tawdriness of Wazza Rooney’s campaign for a bigger payday.

So it’s disappointing when anyone associated with Arsenal (especially our captain) occasionally behaves in a less classy way.

I don’t want to go overboard about this but, as he enters what could turn out to be a very significant period of his Arsenal career, I would like Cesc to remember who he is and what he represents. He does not need to resort to unsporting behaviour – he has all the power and eloquence he’ll ever need packed into those two wonderful feet and that one amazing brain.


Cahill’s Ban Should Be Extended – written by RockyLives

September 14, 2010

So Gary Cahill is appealing against the red card awarded for his foul on Marouane Chamakh.

Good. I’m delighted. Bring it on.

By appealing, Cahill leaves open the option of having his three-match ban for a straight red extended by the FA committee that hears his appeal. And make no mistake – he deserves to have the ban extended.

If you’re in any doubt, take another look at the challenge (you can view it on Cahill comes in late and from behind on Chamakh, who has just executed a sweet back-heel into the path of Arshavin.

Watching it live (and from high up in the West Stand) I thought the red card was harsh and, at first glance of the replay, you’re tempted to agree. One of the reasons it doesn’t look so bad is that Chamakh just gets up and gets on with things without any histrionics (Eboue, please take note). Chamakh’s not badly hurt – so it should be a yellow card at most, right?

Wrong. Take another look. Cahill dives in with both feet off the ground, which is a definition of recklessness. His left foot takes Chamakh’s left ankle, his right foot takes Chamakh’s right ankle. Neither foot gets within nodding distance of the ball.

By a small miracle of timing both Chamakh’s feet are off the ground at the moment of impact. Now play back the tackle in your mind and imagine what the outcome would have been if either one of our Number  29’s feet had been planted at the moment of impact: with Cahill’s flying, uncontrolled lunge, Chamakh would surely have had ligament damage at the very least and possibly even a broken ankle. We would have lost him for several weeks or several months, at a time when we are also missing Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner.

That he was not seriously injured was a pure fluke. Cahill’s challenge was dangerous and stupid and the instant red card proffered by Stuart Atwell was a rare instance of good refereeing by the ‘up and coming top ref in England’ in a game in which he was generally out of his depth.

He correctly adjudged that he should punish the intent, not the outcome. By doing so he may just save some other professional from having his leg snapped by the likes of Cahill later on in the season.

I don’t need to remind anyone of the horrors our players have faced in recent seasons from wild, uncontrolled challenges by brutish defenders. Cahill’s was a collector’s item of the species and three games on the sidelines is the least he deserves.

Following on from the Joe Cole dismissal in our first game of the season, the Cahill red card gives some hope that referees have discussed how to protect creative players and have agreed among themselves to act quickly and decisively if they see reckless lunges like Cahill’s. Quite how Atwell managed not to dismiss Robinson for his even more dangerous challenge on Abou Diaby a short while afterwards will, however, remain one of the great mysteries of football.

When Cahill gets to stand before the FA, let’s just hope they have the intelligence to study the video properly and the balls to act accordingly.