Post Match View – Manchester United

The first thing that I would like to do is remind you that Ryan Giggs hates Arsenal as much as anybody you could meet. The look on his face when we play United reflects the anti Arsenal sentiments of every United fan in the stadium. Our players need to understand that when we play against Manchester United, it is very, very serious and personal.

Yesterday’s match has served two very important purposes; the first being that we have shown which is the better team. The objective United fan will admit that a dodgy penalty and an own goal are not good enough. Yes, a win is a win but United were there for the taking yesterday. The second thing that I have taken from the match is confirmation that despite the large global and domestic fan base of passionate, loyal Arsenal fans, the club and Arsene Wenger are hated by even greater numbers, not least English commentators and match officials.

The match was entertaining. Granted the score is a downer, but if you are an Arsenal supporter who watched the game yet still fears United or feels inferior to them, you are a hopeless pessimist.

I feel bad for Abou Diaby. It was not the best decision to even attempt to play that cross but I wonder if the keeper has told him to just let it go. The flight of the ball was the best defense against the cross. It looked to me that no United player would have been able to play it. It is the keeper’s job to command his box and communicate with his players at all times. Further evidence that the communication must improve was in the second half when a ball was played in Sagna’s direction. He played safe and headed it into touch because Nani was not very far away. Upon realizing that he could have made a better decision than to just turn over possession, he looked over his shoulder and gestured to Almunia to talk to him.

A shot once grazed the upper 0.025µm of the longest strand of hair on my head on its way into the net. The contact with the ball was so minimal that nobody watching could suggest that it was an own goal. Still, I felt like shit. I can only imagine how Diaby feels.

The image of Arsene Wenger above will stay with me forever. It is a symbol of the way people go out of their way to humiliate him. Well into the five minutes of injury time that were added (a surprise in itself, really) the man who issues more yellow cards than any other in the league, Mike Dean, sent Arsene Wenger to the stands. After realizing that Robin’s equalizer was waved off, Wenger kicked a water bottle. It didn’t strike or harm anyone. And with so little time left on the clock, why has fourth official Lee Probert found it necessary to report the action to Dean? Well, it’s his job I suppose. Then the question is who is being more pedantic here, Dean or Probert? Dean has decided to send Wenger away with less than a minute left in the game for an act that did not provoke an opponent or the crowd. Wenger has every right to be frustrated.

It was a ridiculous move on the part of Mike Dean. The dismissal was academic at best. So much so that it seems an apology will be issued to Arsene from Premier League chief of referees Keith Hackett. I might find it hard to prove a conspiracy exists where Arsenal are concerned, but if you try to tell me that there is no bias against Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in general, I will excuse myself from the discussion because I remain convinced that there is. The injury time dismissal is just one example. Moreover, if you listen to English match commentators you will hear the evidence yourself. Here are just two examples from yesterday’s match commentary by Ian Darke and John Gregory:

1 – Nani falls from a non-existent foul by Bacary Sagna. Free kick is given. As the replay shows that there was absolutely no contact, suddenly the previously chatty Darke and Gregory go silent. Not a word was mentioned about the incident.

2 – The two commented on how a pitch-side reporter had sent them word of Wenger’s “moaning” to the fourth official about Darren Fletcher. Fletcher was getting away with foul after foul without intervention from the referee. Well, shortly after the second half started, Fletcher fouled Clichy. As the referee talked to the United midfielder, the two, in a very ‘oh, by the way manner’, glossed over the foul.

Losing the way we have to United can’t do anything but help strengthen us. Mocking and humiliating Wenger (at least they tried to) will only make him more determined to complete the mission.

The real losers yesterday were not the team in blue.

Finally, the aforementioned breakdown(s) in communication must be sorted out. The keeper must play a very big part in that. For all the shot-stopping heroics Manuel Almunia is capable of, he must control his box better than he has. Another big disappointment came in injury time – the boys were spent, little to no energy left. They tried to gain and maintain possession, to mount that final attack. Almunia throws the ball directly to an unmarked Wayne Rooney.

He still worries me.

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2 Comments

  1. I heard about your blog today after another gooner here linked us to your post-match.
    I agree with everything you said and a lot of us see this anti-Arsenal bias in the media. Last year, I sort of thought we were making it up but based on the Eduardo fiasco and the United game, there can be no doubts about that.

    I live in Canada and don’t really know any influential fans in the UK. Would it be possible, do you think, to raise some awareness of United chants in the media and complain about it to the FA. I still feel awful about the game but nothing makes me feel worse than how they treated Wenger. I’m going to try to get in touch with arseblog and see if that helps or anyone I can get a hold of. Even if it comes out to nothing, I feel that we should do something. I’m sick of those chants. I’m sick of the FA, the media, UEFA, Barcelona, the Spanish press and everyone else picking at our club.

    As for the refs…an apology isn’t good enough. They need to grovel in front of Arsene’s feet and beg for forgiveness, the stupid cunts and United should get docked points for not controlling the behaviour of some of their fans. Of course nothing will happen but we have to kick up a fuss about this!

    • I honestly don’t feel that Arsene worries about insults hurled at him by people in the stands. His focus and determination are unmatched. Also, remember that our fans attack other managers’ mothers with great enthusiasm. I can see the FA asking why Arsene should be given more protection than other managers. I feel your pain however. The classless and tired pedophile chant irritates me the same way it does you.

      If the FA felt that it was bad for the game or even mildly inappropriate, they would have stopped it long ago. The FA act like they have a monopoly on high standards yet they tend to look away when certain players are involved. Wayne Rooney is known to be super abusive to referees and as seen Saturday (like Gerrard, Young, and Cole, just to name a few) is not above doing whatever it takes to win his side an advantage.

      As for referees, Mike Dean is all I need to say. Forget Riley or Bennett.

      So when fans and pundits (and officials) express an anti-Arsenal/Wenger attitude it’s not coming from a vacuum. I don’t think that it’s a reach to say that in the FA itself there are many who would be in the stands shouting the same type of insults at Arsene Wenger if they weren’t seated in luxury boxes at matches. Most non-Arsenal fans would have done exactly what Probert and Dean did. That’s just the way it is. They recognize how good we are and how much better we can be – fear breeds hate and envy breeds censure but we will laugh last.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply. I applaud you for taking action. Please let us know if eighteen86 can help.


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