Whatever Wenger and Nasri said, it was the truth and nothing but the truth

By Walter Broeckx

So ref Busacca has made a report about the behaviour of Wenger and Samir Nasri after the game in Barcelona. And now Uefa will charge them both with improper conduct and they could face a ban. In a way this is good news. Because this now gives us the chance to show even more than before what a bad ref Busacca is.

So in the tunnel, away from the cameras Wenger and Nasri have spoken to the ref and told him the truth. I don’t know the words that have been said but if they contained expressions like: not fit to wear a ref’s badge, coward, blind, biased, bent, incompetent, …well this is just the truth and nothing but the truth. Let us show what really happened in Barcelona. And let us show what an absolute shocking game the ref had.

Being a ref is not easy. You will never hear me say it is. But no one forces me to become a ref and no one forces me to stay a ref. So it is something that I have taken on my shoulders in free will and knowing that I will have to face rough moments and times. But those rough moments once in a while don’t spoil the fun for blowing the final whistle after a game and having 2 teams congratulate each other and myself and tapping each other on the back for having a great game.

But this isn’t always the case. A ref makes mistakes. And a ref also can miss things. You know when something happens behind your back and you couldn’t see it. Those are painful moments as you cannot punish a player when you haven’t seen it. Unless of course one of your assistants has seen it. Then he can inform you and you can punish him.

So let us take a look at the first incident. The grabbing Van Persie by his throat by Abidal.

Now I don’t know in your part of the world but grabbing a person by the throat is where I come from a very aggressive behaviour. Maybe in Cataluña it is a gesture of “let’s be friends” or maybe in the part of Switzerland where Busacca is coming from it means: “oh, what good friends we are”?  But in my part of the world grabbing a person by the throat is seen as an utter aggressive act. After all when you put your hands around a persons throat you can choke that person if you don’t let go.

And as such grabbing a person by his throat is a red card offence. No excuses, only one punishment possible: RED CARD!. So at first sight I was thinking: “Well, maybe Busacca was standing with his back to the incident and didn’t see it”. But then I ask myself the question: How comes that 6 (SIX) officials standing there and not one has seen it? I can imagine that the assistant standing behind the Arsenal goal was a bit too far away from it. But the linesman and the 5th official standing behind the Barcelona goal how come they didn’t see it? What are they doing there? They should cover what happens behind the ref his back.

What is the use of putting 6 or why not 10 refs on and next to the field if they don’t act? Platini can put as many as 20 refs out there as long as they don’t see and react to what they should have seen you can better put the ref out there on his own and let him handle it. Now they are only given us a false feeling of fair play.

But let us suppose for one tenth of a second that all the 6 refs were suffering from a temporary moment of blindness. You know it can happen, can it? Well let us take a look at our next picture in which we can see Samir Nasri in the spotlight.

Well how about that. Are your pants dropping down? This is so far the best picture of the year for me. One picture can say more than 10000 words from me. Just look at that man in the middle. Yes, the one dressed in white. He is just standing there between the players and he is looking at Nasri being grabbed by the throat by a Barcelona player (which I cannot identify) and what did he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So this is a ref who allows players to grab their opponents by the throat and even when he sees it and is standing next to it he just let it go. He even doesn’t give a yellow card which also would be wrong in fact but it would mean that he was trying to behave like an unbiased ref should do. No he just let it all go without punishment.

This is such an utter disgrace that I really cannot know how to express myself in English without using words that could force Tony to censor them. So I will try to censor myself.  ****,*****,*******,*******,*****,***** And I can tell you that know I understand in a far better way the reaction of Van Persie just after that and why he was so furious. He knew that we were going to be robbed once again. “Robbing” Van Persie was the word from the ref one could say. And remember it was 0-0 at that moment and we should have been playing against 9 men from that moment on! And also remember that in the EPL we have been on the end of some highly disputable decisions lately so how much can a player take?

So my dear ref Busacca you have just been exposed as the biased ref you are. You are a disgrace for doing nothing. You are a coward. If you don’t want to behave like a ref should do, then stop being a ref. If you are to much a coward to go against Barcelona stop making a fool of yourself.

So my dear Mr. Platini you can stuff your 6 refs there where the sun doesn’t shine because if they could not see Abidal grabbing Van Persie by his throat and act they are useless and worthless.

And my dear members of whatever committee that will try to ban Wenger and Nasri based on the charge of improper conduct I challenge you to see at the events and ask yourself: what was the worst improper conduct on the night?

Was it Wenger and Nasri telling the truth to the ref away from the cameras?

Was it a Barcelona player grabbing Van Persie by his throat? Was it a Barcelona player grabbing Nasri by his throat?

Or was it the ref who has seen it all but didn’t act like a ref should do when a player is grabbing another player by his throat and send them off?

And if you do come to the conclusion that it only is Wenger and Nasri that need to be punished I know from where the wind is coming. Another wind full of smell from the gutter it will be. It is a time to chose and to make your position clear: are you an independent organisation who only is working in the best interest of football in general or are you just there to help the big clubs to stay on the top? Are you an organisation that only punishes managers and players or are you an organisation that also punishes refs who don’t do their games like they should do them?

Time to show the football world what you really are. Time to remove the masks. I will be waiting with great expectation but I think I know what the outcome will be.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Thanks to many people out there I must admit I was wrong. It wasn’t just two players grabbing our players by the throat. No it was actually 3. So this means that Busacca should have send 3 players off the field.  Please forgive me my mistake.

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126 Replies to “Whatever Wenger and Nasri said, it was the truth and nothing but the truth”

  1. Adriano and Valdes both grabbed Nasri, from the replay I posted earlier it seems:
    Nasri saw Abidal vs. VP, and tried to get there, Valdes pushes him, turns and grabs him.
    Nasri uses his arm to get Valdess hand away, and then Adriano grabs Nasris neck.

  2. Unbelievable. To think I have been constantly hearing of Spurs fans who think they can win this – well they should read this and think again.
    The fact is that Barca must have at some point felt sufficiently threatened by Arsenal to have to resort to the dark arts – think the ref got wary at 1-1 as well.
    Arsenal have a very good legal team – as they used to overturn the proposed EUFA ban for Eduardos ban. They must use this sort of evidence to fight the charges against Wenger and Nasri.

    This level of match fixing will eventually render the CL worthless and kill their golden tournament, just seems the current EUFA lot cannot or will not see this.
    If this ref really does get a final involving Barca, it says all.
    I repeat, Arsenal are well out of this farce.

  3. the third one is victor valdes and he also grabbed nasri by throat. the 2nd one is adriano as you can see the no 2 in his pants and he was wearing a full sleeve in his jersey.

  4. Mandy Dodd

    You really think the old men sitting in charge of football really care what happens to the game 30 or even 10 years from now? They have reached where they wanted to and NOW is the time for them to make the big bucks. Once they are gone, the game can go f*** itself as far as they are concerned.

  5. Just watched Wenger’s pre Manchester United press conference. He’s denied the charge and come out strongly against UEFA. What he mentioned that was the referee, and he himself, very well knew exactly what would happen when he sent Robin off.

    I feel that Arsene is right pissed off now, and if we are continued to be denied by the referees this year, then we will hear an accusation, even if subtle.

  6. Dear Mr. Selective Journalist, why don’t you show a picture of Djourou’s handball at the Emirates, or Messi’s disallowed goal at the Emirates, or the fact that Kosceilny was not given a 2nd yellow card for the penalty on Pedro, or the fact that V. Persie could’ve been sent off earlier for his fouls on Messi and slap on Alves, or above all Arsenal’s abysmal performance. You know why Arsenal will never win anything. You fail to accept your mistakes and learn from them. You should actually be grateful for the referee for clouding you GREATLY TERRIBLE performance with his stupid decisions. If for one second, you think Arsenal would have gone through even when if Wenger was the referee, you are DELUSIONAL. I was an Arsenal fan for years until the Carling Cup exit. Arsenal have a book of excuses that they quote from after every disappointing performance. My advice is for your team to Grow Up.

  7. Is anyone else wondering what it is with this team and grabbing throats? Maybe its the “safe word” created at the begining of the game, sort of a let us do one thing and get away with it deal with the ref..doubtful but still doesnt explain why they fancy throat grabbing so much

  8. I literally cant describe how bad I am feeling. It doesnt feel like a loss, it feels like we were robbed of proper match. It wasnt messi or xavi or any other player that was frustating arsenal it was the ref Busacca. Barca starts choking arsenal players, ref looks away. Van persie hits some barca player in frustration he gets yellow carded. Then they score and I sense a smile from ref Busacca. Second half starts, We equalize and i get worried that ref Busacca might not allow the goal for some bull shit reason, He doesnt I am relieved. Barca attack starts again and I am worried that something might go wrong. Then all of a sudden van persie gets the ball with a lobbed pass and he quickly paces towards the goal. He misses I say dammit. Then all of a sudden I find out that van persie was offside, and the ref Busacca is coming to send him off. I scream at the ref rest of the world sreams at ref but I guess ref Busacca really wants to be hated by every arsenal fan out there.
    In all my life I have never felt more robbed of a match this even beats the not so distant draw against newcastle. Then again if refs keep making bad decisions like these something worst can happen. Also i wanted to say that why is uefa backing someone that clearly doesnt know shit about being a ref. UEFA GROW SOME BALLS AND ACCEPT THE FACT THAT SOMETHING WENT WRONG IN THE MATCH.

  9. Just highlights how much we need an independent body tto red the refs.
    This can’t keep on forever!!!

  10. True Shard, but there was once a stage where I thought Platini would have been beyond all this crap. He is younger, was such a fine player who seemed to play for the joy of the beautiful game. And for what its worth, his dad is/was a close friend of Wengers father!
    But he seems to have been sucked into the anti English / anti EPL stuff.As we know to our cost, the EPL is far from perfect but he heads an organisation at least as bad. And who knows – maybe he partakes other forms of curruption. What is it they say about absolute power? And why is it the American presidents can only do 2 terms? (ok – I know some only need 2 terms to wreak havoc but for another forum!)
    But I never thought I would see the day where Platini was overseeing a body involved in match fixing. Beckenbauer is quitting FIFA – citing his displeasure at some of their activities. Seems Platini is a different kettle of fish

  11. When Platini became UEFA president, I too felt some hope. But I was suspicious as to the way he won the election. It was by offering sops (and slots) to the ‘smaller’ nations that he was elected. It was declared as democratisation of football, but I never really bought into it. I couldn’t and still can’t quite put my finger on it, as to what felt wrong with it though. I don’t know what their internal workings are, but I do not believe in the power of one person, even if well meaning, to single handedly overhaul a corrupt or bent system. The current American President a case in point (You brought it up Mandy)

  12. Wenger doesn’t give a monkey’s anymore..

    He’s declared UEFA a dictatorship and told them to apologize to him.

    He’s basically told them to shove their charge up their arse where it came from. Love it.

    This is getting funny now, can’t wait to see how it pans out and how this Swiss turd carries on

  13. Just to add that Sergio Busquets slapped RVP in the face after Abibal grabbed his throat….unbelievable it really is. Something HAS to be done to stop the corrupt ref’s from ever entering the field!!!!!!

  14. Is it possible that the pics used above can be used as an evidence in support of Wenger and Nasri?? That is the only way justice could be done…..

  15. I agree Marcus. I love that he’s come out the way he has and challenged them to do their worst 🙂

    UEFA tried some crap with us before with the whole Eduardo ‘dive’ thing, and had to back down. I don’t know if they’ll back down over this, but I think Wenger is determined to show them up as the farce they are if they choose to push it. His comments about saving what the referee, and presumably other officials, had said ,for UEFA were to me a threat. It’s a game of chicken, with Arsenal basically having nothing to lose. Our prize is already gone. Over to you Platini.

  16. @dark Prince

    I’d already thought of sending them to UEFA along with a request for them to react in a manner fitting of their stated goals. But guess what.. The mighty, powerful, UEFA, do not list an email address to contact them at. A postal address in Switzerland and a phone number is all you get.

  17. I think it is both funny, and could also be very interesting.

    he really has laid down the gauntlet and called them a shower

  18. And because what Wenger and Nasri said was the truth they charge them. Because the (disgraceful) truth hearts!

  19. I’m not really fussed. So they’ll ban Wenger and Nasri for 2 games in the group stages next season. Anything more than that will only make them look more ridiculous. Only thing they can do is step up their institutionalised witch hunt.. But far better for it to be in the open, rather than the way we face it now.

  20. I applaud and totally support Arsene for calling out UEFA on these charges. It’s one thing to laugh it up in the smoke filled back rooms at the daylight robbery that occurred at the Camp Nou last Tuesday night, quite another to publicly charge the wronged party for refusing to lie down and just take it. It’s infuriating that the press is so quick to point out that RvP’s sending off had no effect on the game because we were getting schooled anyway but that there has been absolutely no f***ing coverage of these events which occurred at nil-nil. Why isn’t anyone asking the pertinent question of would Barca have beaten us if both Abidal and the unknown player who grabbed Nasri’s neck hadn’t been JUSTIFIABLY sent off? I wish Wenger would do it more often. People say there would be a backlash against us if he did but, honestly, how much worse can it get? Arsene is already dismissed as a whinger by the xenophobic gutter press and could the ref’s decisions against us be anymore ludicrous than they have been?

  21. Hi

    Is it possible to have an open trial where all of us can know what happened.. Because Wenger can surely rip apart all the arguments and UEFA will be shamed to death.. Only if its possible…

  22. My reaction during those various incidents of throat grabbing? I wanted to jump through the tv screen and punch someone. My second reaction was I wondered at the mild reaction of Nasri and RVP. And that explains RVP’s reaction at his feeble attempt when he flailed at Alves.

    The Barca players rolled on the pitch calling for a card on numerous occasions. Why did the referee not react when Messi continued playing after the whistle, or committed an obvious handball?

    This was one of the most disgraceful performance by a referee. As good as Barca claims they are, they do not need help from the officials.

    Anyone who says Barca would have won that match with Arsenal on 11 men only needs to look back to the meeting at the Grove last year and this. We owned the match in the last 20 minutes each time.

  23. “bias shitty fans, van persie deliverd an elbow and was goin around acting like and wild pitbull…if that wasnt enough he insulted abidal… for those who have fallowed him would know that abidal is pretty calm.
    should he recived a yellow for this?
    Answer- yes!
    Should Rvp have recived an red for his elbow on the rightback?
    Answer- yes!

    @TheNGGN grabbing someone or trhowing an elbow are not even in the same leauge of punnishment. Someone grabbing somebody or pushing somebody or pulling hair whatever fouls that are comitted are yellow.
    Im a ref, for division 1 in sweden/europe and according to the rules that punnishment is rewarded with an yellow card, depending on how severe the foul is, they could get a warning if they just pust. But grabbing somebody like abidal did, was a yellow any day of the week.” – Jonzer1983

    What do you think about this, Walter? I didn’t see exactly all that happened.

  24. I agree Tee Song.. I think part of the reason we’re so happy about Wenger responding to UEFA in this manner is because we’re frustrated of playing by the rules, while everyone around us plays dirty. I think it’s not out of a fear of backlash, rather out of a genuine regard for the principles of the club, and indeed his own, that he doesn’t say somethings. But still, I think it has reached a stage where it is wenger’s responsibility to highlight the ‘biases’ that Arsenal face, with more regularity. He made a start after the draw at Sunderland, and now this. I can’t wait for more 🙂

  25. Walter, it is very painful to watch Abidal grabbing VP by the throat, because you have an impression that he’s chocked, can’t breathe, and that’s where the ref didn’t protect us. The other player you couldn’t identify is Adriano. Wenger and Arsenal should show these pics to UEFA, telling them that if they ban them, Abidal and Adriano, maybe Iniesta too, should be banned as well. This really make me hate more Barca. Because as talented as they are, as superior they think they are, they lack attitude. I believe attitude is more important than education, than money, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. Well Barca players excell in everything except attitude. It again makes me painful, that we cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude! And I think neither Bussaca, neither Guardiola, whom I really liked from the entire Barca community, neither their players, showed respect towards Arsenal FC as an organisation, and as Wenger said, UEFA is the one who should apologize.

  26. @leany

    I would dissect what you said, but I can’t bring myself to deprive you of your fun.. Carry on please.

  27. Hi Walter! I’m a big fan of your articles and I love it that you can be sound so biased towards Arsenal when all you do is state facts. It’s disgusting, this whole referee situation, be it in England or elsewhere. I feel Wenger did not use anything obscene, and disgusting is the correct word.

    I have a suggestion for you though. You know the ref reviews you like to do? I think you should do it for a top team who has lost their matches. They will see that your rating method is accurate and depicts exactly what happens in a match, and then there would be less trolls and haters. I didn’t watch the Chelsea-ManU match but I heard it was full of controversy. With your readership including those who support other clubs maybe it will be a good chance for you to gain credibility as someone who actually states facts!!

    Cheers and I look forward to reading more of your articles!

  28. Terrible,bad,bbbbbbbbbad. What have got into Arsenal lately. We could of be in first place by now but the defence has just faded away.WE NEED DEFENCE

  29. @Mikhail

    If every week, we had to face what ManU faced in the Chelsea match as regards the refereeing performance, I think most of us would just heave a sigh of relief and rejoice. The referees don’t hate us anymore would be the cry from the rooftops. Just my opinion from watching the game of course.

  30. Excuse me Leany but how do you know that van Persie insulted Abidal? And at any rate, grabbing RvP by the throat is an over the top reaction AND a straight red card 24/7/52.

  31. Barsa has no respect for anyone, because they have this superiority complex and of course they know Inter beat them last season, Arsenal beat them in the first leg and they know for sure they can’t lose again this time. Guardiola knew Arsenal actually could produce a ‘upset’, UEFA knew, Busacca knew, and they didn’t want this happen. Not good for the money. In world football, Arsenal is a small potato, not in the league of Barcalona. Sad isn’t it !?

  32. De Rossi charged after the game for hitting srna in the face and provoking a yellow card for srna. Wonder if barca 3 will get one…

  33. @ dy

    Barca KNOW they were handed that victory in the end. Not saying they didn’t play some simply awesome football, but then that isn’t enough is it? And it wasn’t enough. Their reaction post match has been so brutal simply because they want to hide the truth as they can’t take a hit to their egos. We had the ‘best team in the world’ beaten, against a very pro-Barca referee, and were going through, until the referee decided he had to do something drastic. That is a fact. Barca players and their manager know it too. They just don’t want anyone else to know.

  34. @Momoney

    Walter says he was offside.. wow, if UEFA have charged De Rossi for something like that, then they HAVE TO charge Abidal and Adriano. Don’t they?

  35. The more fuss Wenger makes , the more embarassing for EUFA it could get, they may even feel they cannot use that piece of sh1t to help Barca in the final.
    The question is, will they quietly drop charges against AW/SN or really go for them and the club in a really big way/ Maybe this was revenge for making fools out of them over Eduardo?
    If EUFA really do go for them, Arsenal may have to go outside the juristiction of EUFA, as they threatened to I believe over Eduardo. Now that WOULD be most interesting – EUFA in an open court proceedings!

    I hope there is just some small part of the Barca team that feels ambarassed by all this – the fact they needed to play so dirty and have a bent ref step in for them. The myth of Barca may be indelibly tarnished. Dont get too close to idols!

  36. Except Mandy, MOST people in the world rely on the media to tell them what the truth is, and they can’t be bothered to think beyond that. And as we know, the media can’t stop fawning over them. The rest will just rejoice at Arsenal’s failure. As for the Barcelona players, they have no shame at all. I genuinely feel they are incapable of it.

  37. They may have no shame, especially as they count up the spoils of their deeds but I would still feel a tad embarrassed if I were one of them – that the ref felt he had to step in. These are supposed to be the best in the world by a long way.
    As for the media, or shall I say the English media – we all know why they hate Wenger – goes back to an early press conference, they mentioned “stories” about him, he challenged them to print this unfounded, untrue crap – they bottled and most, have hated him ever since. Especially as he now makes a point of giving real scoops – outside his press conferences- to French reporters first. The likes of Philippe Auclair have done very well out of this. The English reporters just hate him – with a couple exceptions

  38. It’s all very well declaring the bias, ineptitude and sheer hatred certain refs have for Arsenal, but no-one comes up with a foolproof plan for putting things right. We all know the sickness but we don’t know the remedy.
    On Saturday, we will see further examples of the referee’s attempt to deprive Arsenal of a certain win. There will be fouls, off-the-ball incidents and red and yellow cards mostly against Arsenal. It’s the only way Man Utd can possibly win. We must be wary of the aged thugs Scholes and Giggs as well as the young thugs Vidic and Fletcher. Jack Wilshere will be targeted and will need to keep his cool.

  39. Number of throat-grabs by Barcelona against Arsenal that appear to have been within the line of sight of referee Massimo Busacca: 3.

    Number of cards, of any color, given to Barcelona by Busacca: 0.

    Number of cards given to Arsenal by Busacca: 6, 2 of them equaling a red on Robin van Persie.

    I’ve heard of “new math,” but did Busacca check his eyes, his brain, or his integrity at Customs?

  40. @Mandy

    I’m aware of that incident. But I’m unclear as to what actually happened. Firstly, what was the basis of those ‘stories’ appearing in the first place. I’m guessing they hadn’t been printed, so what was the manner in which that ‘story’ broke according to the media? Then I believe wenger, despite advice to the contrary, faced the media outside the marble halls. What was said then? This is often touted as the basis of the English media’s hatred towards Wenger, and I’m doubtful about that. But since I don’t really know what went on I could be wrong.

  41. @leany

    Seems you are due an apology from me then.

    That opinion, in my albeit uneducated opinion, is utter nonsense. A choke hold is a red card offense. But lets say at most it is a yellow card offense. Did the referee dole out even that punishment? There wasn’t even a talking to as far as I could tell. And while Robin COULD have received a red for the push on Dani Alves, it most certainly wasn’t an elbow that he threw.

  42. And since he’s quite blatantly lying about that, I would wager that he’s lying about being a referee too. In fact, I hope he’s lying about it or we’d have kids choking each other on the play ground pretty soon.

  43. If we do not stop this now… it will keep happening.. lets stand up against it…
    last year an inter player was sent off against Barcelona, only the referee know why???….
    the year before that… referee was totally against chelsea (chelsea vs barcelona), we all know that, no matter how much we hate chelsea…..

  44. @mayur

    I wouldn’t straight away say that every year Barcelona have been favoured. Analyse the games in more detail . Because as I remember, in the first leg, it was Inter who had the benefit of some huge calls. I don’t remember what happened though. just that I felt that there was actually a 2 goal swing in Inter’s favour overall.

  45. @nicky

    That’s the nub of the matter. What can we do? I have asked people on here, and no one seems to know, what got the police in Italy moving in order to investigate the Calciopoli scandal? I know there were phone taps etc, but why were they set up in the first place?

    Another thing worth exploring is the judicial system. Does UK have a system of citizens petitioning cases solely in the larger public good, rather than seeking damages?

    Also, we should look at how some other countries act in regard to the refereeing decisions post game, such as Germany. Maybe some structural changes can be proposed to Parliament while their committee is still looking into it.

  46. I reckon that’s number 21 (Adriano Correia) who is grabbing Nasri by the throat.

  47. Shard, do not know where those stories came from – just trouble makers I guess. Quite often with the UK media, there is a lot of smoke without fire.
    Do not know the exact words but something along the lines of ..UK reported-would you like to comment on these stories going around…..Wenger – What stories – you tell me about them…or such the like

    According to myth and legend, the reporters shut up, nothing was printed after Wengers not too veiled threat of legal action against anyone propogating this stuff.
    I was not there but have read quite a lot about it, includng I think I remember in Kevin Whitchells excellent book on the club “Arsenal – the Making of a Modern Super Club
    There is one journalist who has apparently been frozen out of access to the club who runs a blog – which shall we say does not portray Wenger in the best light1

  48. @ Shard
    Thank you. I misunderstood the detail “elbow”. Sure, it was no elbow from Persie.
    Seeing the game made me so annoyed. Cannot stand the way we were treated. When can we rise above all the crazy things? Wish the players and AW all the best in the rest of the season and in future. They fully deserve it.

  49. @Shard,

    “No sooner had Wenger set foot in England than a grotesque rumour swiftly mushroomed on the internet that the new saviour of Islington had a highly deviant sex life involving not only women, not even just men, but also children. Without repeating the content of the rumour itself, newspapers passed on the fact that a rumour of a plainly damaging nature was in circulation.

    According to one eye-witness, Wenger was “incandescent with a white-hot rage” when he heard about it. But at least in France one of these rumours was in fact old hat. “During the seven years we were here we were always together, except at night, and people thought we were homosexuals!” says Jean Petit, his assistant coach at Monaco, and one of his closest friends.

    There was a home game for the reserve team that day. Fans were gathering outside the stadium, and they congregated around a group of press – some football writers, other news reporters, and a television news team – who were waiting outside the stadium for an official comment from within the club. Meanwhile, inside, it was made clear to a distraught Wenger that in England he could not simply sue the newspapers for libel unless they specifically published the charge made against him. He did, however, rapidly take on board, when it was explained to him, that he could sue for slander if any of the reporters outside could be persuaded to put a name to the rumour in front of witnesses. Against the advice of Dein, and to the alarm of the press officer Clare Tomlinson, whose own first day in the job this was, he went outside onto the steps of Highbury’s famous old marble hall and confronted them.

    This was an act of considerable bravery. According to Adams, Wenger “hates confrontation”, and here was a confrontation before he had taken charge of a single game. For all the press knew, he was about to resign. Instead, he asked them why they were there. When someone referred to unspecified rumours, Wenger said, “What rumours?” No one spoke. The journalists, feeling hampered by the presence of the fans, asked if they could come inside the stadium and have a private press conference. Tomlinson refused. Facing the realisation that they had nothing to go on, the press slunk away. Wenger had killed the story stone-dead.”


  50. it’s not really how many yellow cards or red cardes given to who during the game, it’s that one particular card which changed the whole dynamics of the teams involved. Everyone knows the referee system we’ve at FA FIFA UEFA is far from perfect. Trouble to us all is there’s no remedy to a wrong call right on the field.

  51. What would be fantastic is if the top clubs left UEFA and started their own league under their own governing body effectively making UEFA impotent. A revolution against the dictatorship.

  52. Interesting concept Charlie – maybe the threat of such a thing is why they go out of their way to keep the likes of Barca and probably Real onside? A breakaway would not work wthout such a thing

  53. Not a bad idea to respect (no, really, not just the FA guidelines on what ‘respect’ might mean in 2011) the officials, though, surely?
    Saw the Jamie Oliver ‘school’ thing on TV last night and one of the little darlings (see also premiership footballers) questioned the headmaster why he thought he should warrant respect!
    This country died a long time ago (40 years?)…..the premiership is merely the clearest example of it.
    I like Wenger.
    I wish he would rise above it.

  54. Thanks Wrenny, that was the incident in all its detail that I could not come up with.
    Shows Wenger will stand up to crap if he has to, as he is now

  55. Interesting how both Fergie and Arsene have become less concerned about what the FA and UEFA think of their comments. A league of the 10 best teams in Europe where every team plays every other 4 times would generate TV revenue on a scale never seen before and, with neither Real or Barcelona succeeding financially they might be tempted. Terrible news for the excluded teams though, obviously.

  56. @wrenny and Mandy Dodd

    Thank you for explaining that. How many of the journalists employed then are still there today would be an interesting question. Not that it matters really.


    the problem with that is that who would you appoint to oversee the new entity that’s created and how would you ensure fairness. A revolution very often only changes the power holders, not the power structures.

  57. very annoying staff isn’t it. in my country we would stage a protest and a sit down strike. why do refs have to fool people that we are in a fair play?

  58. Shard – cannot answer your question exactly, but UK journalists usually have long shelf lives and even longer memories.
    Just goes to show what Wenger has been up against from day 1 though. Sickening. He really must love this club to put up with such things.
    We are very lucky to have him – but some seem to forget that

  59. Arsenal – hated in the U.K. for being continental, hated on the continent for being British.

  60. What people also don’t realise is what high regard Wenger is held in throughout the world. At any point, he could have said f*** off to all of us and gone on to win trophies for himself with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and I’m sure others as well.

    If trophies are all a person is judged on then there may be others better than him. But what he has done for this club is simply immense. He made us a big club again. He’s changed our style of play into what we regard as the norm. And he’s won us trophies. All the while battling against huge wallets of competitors and the crass, filthy media. There is no one better than him for Arsenal Football Club. Sigh. At least we know he’s strong enough to not be hounded out. He loves this club for sure. Have you ever seen any other top level manager refer to himself as just an employee of the club? It is true in everyone’s case, but they all like to call themselves boss.

  61. Go to many parts of the world, Arsenal are held in high regard. Africa, SE Asia, USA, wherever – you will see Arsenal shirts.
    We are well respected in Japan, and will be even more so if Ryo takes off!
    Only in this country do we get such a hard time. Media, jealous rival fans and worried rival managers are in part to blame

  62. @leany Yeah sorry, I thought those were your words. But again, I’ve not read any account of what was being said by RvP, Abidal or any player during that scrum. I can imagine that it was probably pretty salty, confrontational and even abusive. Professional athletes in the heat of the competition probably would say things they might regret if they repeated it to politer company, much like myself really. Whatever was said cannot justify Abidal’s actions. As Walter points out, that’s a straight red. If Diaby’s hand to the back of Barton’s neck is a straight red, a choke hold is an even straighter, redder red card.

    RvP shoved Alves with his forearm, the elbow was not being used to strike at Alves although he certainly deserved worse. I think the number of ground revolutions is inversely proportional to the pain felt. No rolls means I’ve broken my leg. I mean really, if you’ve really hurt something badly, the first thing you’re going to do is try to keep still. One roll means that hurts a little. Two rolls means contact was felt but no actual pain. Three rolls means you felt the rush of air from a limb as it whizzed by. Four or more rolls means an opposition player invaded your personal space.

    Finally if jonzer1983 us indeed a ref, I fear for the standards of officiating in his country. It must almost be as bad as in England.

  63. Not being funny but I counted 4 different baca players inflicting choke holds on Nasri and RVP in that incident. Abidal closely followed by Busquets on Van Persie and Valdes followed by Adriano on Nasri. Call me a pessimist I’m not holding my breath, when it comes to seeing if any Baca players or the ref get called to account by UEFA on a charge of ‘improper conduct’. Very sad to say that footballs governing bodies are spineless at best and corrupt at worst. I’m proud to say, 11 vs 11 we beat a mighty good baca team 4-3 of aggregate. 12 vs 10 was unsurprisingly a different story…

  64. i dont think its about keeping the big clubs on top
    but rather stopping the english teams. uefa and fifa’s anti english bias is well documented in recent years, you only have to look how arsenal are made an example of for stealing 16 year old kids whilst nothing was said about 14 year old messi joining barca. look at the ludicrous reffing barca vs chelsea last year when chelsea should have won. uefa know without refs helping english teams have an excellent chance of winning the cl and if its humanely possible the refs will see to it that it doesnt happen

  65. and in fact there was the inter chelsea game last year i think where on one corner 7 inter players were clearly visible fouling chelsea players in the box and nothing was given. on every corner at least two shirt pulls or players had their arms around them it was an absolute disgrace

  66. Leany,
    If that Swedish ref is who he said he is I feel sorry for the players in his games.

    In the instructions they gave us in courses we talked about aggression and that aggression should be banned at all time.
    They told us that anything that is aimed at an opponent above his shoulders should be punished with a red card. You don’t touch another persons above his shoulders.

    They said to us that you had to look at the real life. What would you do if you walked on the street and someone spit you in the face? Would you just accept it? I don’t think so. And as this is a dispicable act outside the field and in normal life it should not be allowed on a football field.
    Elbow someone on the street? The same thing.

    Grabbing a person by his throat on the street? Does anyone think that is acceptable behaviour? What would happen if we both walk on the street, I suddenly grab you by the throat and a policeman is standing 1 feet besides us. What would he do? I think the one that grabbed the other by his throat will have to come down to the police station to give a bit of an explenation. Well I hope so as I find it unacceptable if someone would grab me by the throat. So why can we accept it on the football field? We just cant.

    And anyone who thinks different is someone who is a weak ref in my opinion. A ref that is letting such things go is heading for trouble.

    Then why would we not admit spitting at each other. No one ever got injured from a spit as far as I now. So why not accept it?
    So you can tell that Swedish ref (I almost wrote chef) that if he wants to start walking on a gliding slope, good luck to him. I will sent the players off my field who grab an opponent by the throat. And as far as I know our FA is punishen them with a ban.

  67. I don’t believe there’s any behind the door conspiracy against English teams which have lots of foreign players, but I do believe there’s a silent consensus among the very top few inside the bureaucracy which dictates the running of the games.

  68. Leany,
    When reading back it looked as if some things where written against you Leany.
    The day was too long, too much work… Just hope you understand that the answer was more intented against that Swedish ref?

    And in my ref report I also wrote that Van Persie should have had a red card for him waving his arm against Alves. But if the ref would have send the 3 barca players off I dont think Van Persie would have reacted in the way he did.

    I really think it was him feeling the injustice from the refs (for the who knows XXXth time) that made him react like that.

  69. To be honest about the above mentioned Chelsea game I really felt embaressed about that farce.

  70. Has anyone sent any of these pictures to UEFA – just to put this on record?

    While it might not make a difference in the committee decision (ie maybe UEFA could care less), it would remove any excuse from them saying “we did not see it” as the ‘offending’ pictures have been mailed to them.

  71. Here in USA, when you grab somebody by the throat, it is considered an assault and you can go to jail, for minimum 2 years. What Abidal did, and Adriano is assault, therefore it should have been punished by the law of the game, as Walter says.

  72. Wenger is my hero. Yes, agree w/ most of the above comments.

    Basically, he’s saying this:

    “Don’t mess with me. I will make a mockery of you because I am more intelligent than you, and because I am right.”

  73. It’s strange how none of the media touches the real stories, like the fact that Barcelona are chokers. It’s fascinating watching 21st century media in action. The old dinosaurs have embraced a sort of petulant narcissism eg some weird geyser in the daily telegraph calling cesc a butterfly. I guess the real winners here are web 2 generation, who know content is king

  74. I have a question on the PK, it really looked to me like both the messi pk shout the the first half and the actual pk given in the second half were both due to gamesmanship. I don’t fault the ref as it would be very difficult to see, but on the perdo pk, he is not tracking the ball with his run, he intentionally aims at koscielny.

  75. Arsenal has chance to win obviously,but the ref killed the game, i can’t belive it,how can a ref behave like that, it is an scandal, and the Uefa shoule be shame of its behaior not to apology for his ref’s biased act but punish the victim. i can say nothing but condemn it!

  76. @Dark Prince
    To get anything done you would need to get the media to run a story regarding the images of 3 cases of Barca players throttling an Arsenal player, that way UEFA may be embarrassed into acting on it.

    However since the English media would rather denigrate Arsenal than support its own team against obvious bias against them nothing will happen.

    Not that UEFA have the spine to do anything about it anyway when it is their precious favorite Barca in the wrong..

  77. C’monn guys you can see it so clearly, Abidal is a saint..It was Van Persie who grabbed his hand with his throat.

  78. The media and uefa are having the same interests. So highlighting the ref as biased is against both their interest. It could mean that people look at other things on TV and thus would reduce the money for all involved. So we brush it under the carpet is the word and we highlight about what a great side Barcelona is.
    Barcelona are a great side for 60 minutes. But after that they start to crumble. We know this. Most people involved in football know this. Uefa knows this. Refs know this….

    So at 1-1 after almost one hour with space opening up the ref did what he did. Sending off an Arsenal player.

    But for me the most important things happened in the first half when he didn’t punish the tackle on Nasri from behind and didn’t send 3 players off from Barcelona for grabbing players by the throat.

  79. Oh and another thing. In the first leg they send ref Rizollo to the Emirates. A ref that is known in Europe for being a very strong ref who can stand up against any stadium and manager. He has shown this in the past. Rizollo is not a home ref but one that does his games regardless of home or away team. A great ref to have away from home. So Uefa gave this ref for Arsenal – Barcelona and Barcelona had what could be considered the best away ref in Europe. And I am not saying he is an away ref, but just that he is not affraid to act against the home crowd.

    And for the away game Uefa choses Busacca. Well a ref that has brought a few lucky moments to Barcelona in the past. A ref that is open for influence from the crowd. Let us say the perfect ref to have in a home game. So again Barcelona got the advantage of a home ref. And not just a home ref, no a ref that has shown he likes Barcelona a bit. And a ref that likes Spain.

    So by appointing these refs Uefa gave already a signal to what they would like as outcome of the games: Barcelona going further.

    In fact when you look at it, it looks as if this could be a bit of CLpoli, or Corrupt League poli: we try to send the right(best) refs for the job and hope they get the job done.

  80. Dear Mr. Peter,

    I suggest you just read my refs report so you dont have to look like a fool for asking me to highlight some things which I did.
    I have covered those things in my ref reports.

    The reason I had to write another thing about this game is because at the moment I was writing the ref review I never knew that the Barcelona players had been throat grabbing at many occasions and right under the refs his nose. And the fact that I didn’t knew about it, is because of the TV company holding the images back.

    There was no need for a second yellow card for Koscielny. A player in a crowded penalty area goes down after a contact which doesn’t award a yellow card in in midfield. An ordinary foul, not dangerous. So why should the ref give a yellow card for that? There also was not a possible goal scoring chance as Pedro had pushed the ball out of his reach. So there was no need to show a yellow card against Koscielny.

    In my ref review I said that Van Persie should have had a red card for him hitting Alves. But do you think Van Persie would have taken justice in his own hands if the ref would have send the 3 Barca players off? No the dust would have settled and the Arsenal players would have known that the ref was fair.

    And for the rest I can only say that it looks as if there is a thin line between love and hate.

  81. Ugh.. I’m just sick of it all.. Time to go out and beat ManU, regardless of who tries what.. They aren’t as good as us. We just need to be at our best. In the absence of Cesc and Song, I’d like to see Ramsey start.

  82. Hey Walter I’ve got a question for you since you are a ref.

    If there is a brawl (or whatever you wanna call it) on the pitch as in the second picture, is the ref supposed to intervene and separate the players and diffuse the situation like he’s doing or is he supposed to stay back and observe the situation and brandish the cards?

    I’ve seen before some refs staying back and then showing the cards but in this game, he actively tries to hold off the players from one another. I’m not sure if that is part of the refs job.

  83. I do hope that UEFA follow up and take on Wenger – it will be to their peril. Let the Prof loose on them till they bloody well beg for mercy.Let the can of worms be opened !
    First the ancient kingdom of Egypt was rocked ,now for the blood letting of the dinosaurs of UEFA .
    In Arsene we trust.

  84. Jake,

    there are no real guidelines for this. When it is just two players who are fighting you can try to come between them and seperate them.
    But with a mass confrontation it can be better to step out and try to look at who does what. And then when the dust has settled you can red card the worst culprit.

    But sometimes getting a red card out in a brawl can calm things down.
    Let us take the Abidal throat grabbing: if I see this as a ref I will run to it and seperate both players and spread and put my arms around Abidal to make clear to the other players that he is mine and no one can come near or touch him. And then I give him the red card and then this will calm the Arsenal players down as they see I am a ref that will not allow such behaviour. If then the other team would come to me I will have my yellow card already in my hand and the one that comes first will get it.

    It all very much depends on the situation and your experience over the years. Do it get mixed and might miss a few things or do I stay outside and look at things…

    But doing nothting like Busacca did is just not acceptable. I mean handing out the cards.

  85. @DeeDee

    That Shevchenko disallowed goal was shocking. Any idea what minute of the match it was?

    The way Barca dive around the pitch, and have been doing for years is constantly overlooked. Spain’s World Cup victory too was full of such stuff.. I have no respect for any of Barcelona’s achievements now. They have proven themselves to be complete idiots who have no way how to conduct themselves both on and off the pitch. The success that they’ve had recently has just given them a completely misplaced sense of self importance and arrogance. Winning does not give anyone the moral right to behave in the fashion they have been doing for the past year at least.Anyone who is proud of their actions, even their fans are simply idiots, and aren’t really fans of anything that Barcelona claim to represent.

    Pride comes before the fall, and while there may not be justice in the real world, nothing lasts for ever. Irrespective of their ‘financial might’, their quality, their ‘dominance’, there will be a fall. I do not believe the Barcelona players and board, have the mentality to deal with that. Their small mindedness is apparent for all to see. Behind all their fluff about footballing principles, great traditions, and trophies garnered, they are just a club that is, even in their own mind inferior, and in desperate need of approval from others.

  86. It seems you all forgot another crucial mistake which started all the fuss on the pitch. nasri took the ball and alves tackled him. it seemed as a good tackle at first, but when you take a closer look, you seed alves’s left foot as it knocks down nasri. and this was not even a foul!!!

    here’s a video:

    that alves is one filthy hideous little troll (gremlin if you prefer). a good player, but too much dirty and foul play.

  87. Goood Morning Goons – I have just seen on some other forum some gunner fans giving Cesc the stick for Cesc in the tunnel before the game? Going round shaking hands and cuddling all the Barca players one by one

    Would you have have seen a real captain like Tony Adams doing all that shite? I think he realized he was playing for the wrong team on the night – maybe thats why he gifted barca the first goal. Your captain is a A Class disgrace

  88. At least our captain is not a proven drug cheat – now that really is a Class A disgrace

  89. oohhh Mandy did i touch a nerve or two there 😉
    Face up to the facts what you captain did was shameful – just imagine what the arsenal players must have been thinking when he was kissing his lovers xavi and co – even if we have druggies in our team – the question still stands – who wins the trophies??? Oh whats that I hear – Silence.

  90. @casual observer – is that your answer – Mate you gotta face up to the facts -Debate properly or accept defeat

  91. Honestly more I see the pictures more convinced I am that Barcelona won that match ONLY WITH HELP FROM REFEREE, nothing else. I mean Anyone telling me Barcelona could have won the match if 1-3 Barca players would have got red card in 44th minute when it was 0-0 has illusions. And those red cards NOT GIVEN were more important than ONE WRONGLY GIVEN.
    Even we now know that grabbing other player by throath is alowed (as EUFA has done nothing even they seem to allow it) we should not do that. Even if Fletcher and co would beg for it.

  92. Everyone just ignore terry

    ignore him completely

    He will soon go away and find somewhere else to try to give his life validity

    IGNORE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

  93. Ignoring me just like your manager has ignored your problems for the past 6 season now. haha Brilliant.

  94. ZemunGunner,

    I talked about that in my ref review. this was an obvious case of a tackle from behind where the player gets the ball but also crashes in to the player. This is a foul and by the way he closed his legs to make sure he clamped the legs of Nasri was worthy of a yellow card.

    this maybe was the moment that I said to myself: Oh my god, it’s one of those….

  95. The only thing that people remember is that the sending off killed the game.” I see our hot-headed manager has been busy rewriting history, just as some desperate AFC fans have been in recent days. If he really believes that the outcome would have been any different with RVP on the field he has truly lost it. How many shots on goal did our injury prone striker have before he smashed the ball away? Hell, forget a positive contribution, how many crunching tackles did he make to turn over possession? Yep, none. RVP’s sending off isn’t the thing I’ll remember about the game, Arsene. I’ll remember Barca handing us yet another footballing lesson, beating us with ease at our supposed beautiful game. As goonermadrid says, I’d respect AW more had he stood up and said we’d lost because we weren’t good enough and that the team that deserved to win, won. Instead all we get is a lot of sour nonsense and shambolic scenes on the touchline. I’ll admit watching your team being totally outplayed and out-thought is difficult to stomach but afterwards Wenger should be man enough to admit our squad ain’t good enough and then make sure he addresses it in the summer, so that next year the huge gulf has been narrowed. But AW doesn’t learn and won’t act by bringing in top-class experience. Therefore the same mistakes are repeated each season with the same outcome (strange, that).

  96. @terry -– There’s a reason why it was on another forum and not this one: a total waste of time.

    If people are going to criticise the attitude of the player that has given more than anyone else for this club over the past six years because he is greeting his friends before a game, they don’t deserve to be heard. That stuff happens all the time when a player meets their old team, it’s nothing new and has nothing to do with his performance on the pitch.

    You say we don’t need “his type” but if we had a team full of players of “his type” we’d be a lot better off. That you can even question his dedication to the team annoys me more than anything that has been said on this post. If anyone is a Class A disgrace it is you for not using your brain and simply rehashing the thoughtless, brainless comments of another person on another forum.

  97. Quite amusing Pires that any fans of the Mancs would call any Arsenal player a disgrace even in a trolling context. Quite apart from Rio’s little drug episode, Utd are bringing through a kid called Ravel Morrison.
    He was found guilty of witness intimidation, terrorsing the family of a kid who had been mugged to the point that the victims family had to leave the area, trying to make sure he did not give evidence.
    He already has a long charge list, hangs around with a bit of a crowd and by all accounts is constantly late for training. But he is suppsed to be good – so makes it all ok then! Utd tried to keep it quiet but the Guardian got hold of it – serious witness intimidation is a bit more than youthful excess and does not help the Utd brand
    Remember the name, he may make it at Utd but most likely HMP Strangeways.

  98. It’s all my fault.

    I wrote this skit called ‘Brian Clough’s European Team Talk’ the morning of the game.

    I think we all know what he thought about ‘fucking cheating Italian Bastards’……….

    Perhaps the distribution list from the point man included those who arrange these things????

  99. @Tery –
    Your well out of order kid, have you never listened to Cesc Fabregas speak about Arsenal or football? have you not witnessed his performances and celebrations when he scoresfor the team?
    Do you not think he is professional enough to greet his countrymen in the tunnel before going out and giving everything for the Arsenal cause, if you truly think otherwise you are a fool.
    The fault lies with Arsene Wenger for selecting him, he wasnt fit, he played on the fringe of our biggest game of the season and after putting in only a tiny portion of what he is capable, he is ruled out of the Utd game, also Van Persie was not near fit and this is a damning indictment of Wengers faith in the squad, hed rather play a half fit Van Persie and shell of Fabregas than use Bentdner, Chamakh, Arsha or any other of the subs you can name.
    Im no world class manager but Im pretty sure any fully fit player is better than a half fit one. Poor judgement by Le Boss but no-ones talking about that.
    As for the media, Im surprised any Arsenal fan reads or listens to their tripe anymore. They love trodding on us and the double standards are amazing but I think it reflects how we are perceived outside the club; as a soft touch.
    I mean the way some pundits speak of Arsene Wenger is sick, they wouldnt dare speak ill of Ferguson or Anchelotti in this way and I truly believe its caught on everywhere bar our own club, maybe it has even made its way into our psyche and this is why some blatant errors on the managers part are met with such staunch and rigid defense from ‘anti negative’ fans when brought up by the doom mongers, all fans have the right to challenge and question things as long as they are objective and not personal attacks and I think we really should be getting behind the Club as a whole now, if listening to those pundits doesnt make you wanna do that then your only as bad as them.

  100. It may be that Terry has a point though.

    In fact I agree with him.

    Fabregas made a mistake there I believe.
    If the Captain does that, then it sends a message to the other players to do the same.

    This is a competition, not a love-in.

    And as Terry says, Tony Adams would never have done that,
    even if his Granny was on the other side.

    Not good Cesc…

    Although it will hurt for us to lose a player of his immense quality,
    I think for focus, leadership, and unity, we are better off going forward with Jack, Aaron, and whoever else is 110% for the team.

    My own feeling is that Cesc is mentally back in Cataluyna.

    The trouble is Chokerlona can’t afford the 50-60 million he will cost…

    I hope we don’t end up in limbo with Cesc.

    Great player by the way … 🙂

  101. Cesc greeted Barcelona with respect. He got back an elbow to the face by Valdes and saw his fellow team mates scythed down and grabbed by their throats. He should really ask himself if he wants to respect those players and that team.

  102. I thought the Referee acted very agressively as well at the end of the match when Wenger was waiting for him.. He squared right up to Wenger and even made a motion like he was going to headbutt him.. He then pushed him away with his elbow down the steps.. I though at that stage that the Referee should be cautioned just for that incident, but what do we expect from Bent UEFA..

  103. I just have a bad feeling when summer comes, if Barca still wants Fab, then it’s crunch time for him to decide if he’s Arsenal through and through or the Barca DNA is a little too rich to say no thanks. If he goes, I’ll be feeling like being taking for a ride by Fab for the past years and got dump along the freeway with no end in sight. Cheated !!

  104. @marcus

    Cesc should definitely have been more aggressive at the Camp Nou. Especially when they were throat grabbing etc. I would have liked to see him stand up for the team more, challenge Barcelona to treat him the same as the rest of the team. Basically, say that we’re friends, but to reach my team you’ll have to go through me. Make them choose. I felt he wasn’t right in the way he behaved at that moment.

    But to say that he’s back in Catalunya mentally on the basis of one match, where he was back at his hometown club, for the first time in his career, is harsh. He let himself be overawed. Not good. But not indicative of much more, necessarily. And he deserves the benefit of any doubt.

    And Terry is a troll and nothing more. He doesn’t annoy me. He’s just..blah..

  105. Why let the facts ruin a good conspiracy, but the boring truth is, Cesc was injured from about 15mins.Wenher maybe should not have played him. Diaby was not match fit either, therefore a big problem for Jack and Rosicky – they became inundated in MF. Bad timing but just happens, especially to this team.

  106. We mustn’t forget that the refs denied barca two clear penalties over the two legs. Yes the van persie sending off was incredibly harsh, but given that they had 2 opportunities to give barca two legitimate penalties, and the fact no one would have blamed them for allowing the offside goal in the 1st leg, I think it’s a bit much to blame the refs to the extent of saying that they were paid off or cost us the tie.
    If you ignore the penalty calls and the offside goal, then I’d definitely be on your (mainly aimed at some comments) side on this, but to do that would be wrong.
    The pictures just add further proof the ref was harsh to us in the 2nd leg, as both were to barca at times over the 2 legs.

  107. The penalties that the referees missed were not as straight forward as you seem to think. Messi is a quality footballer and actor. He has good timing and dives when he loses the ball. The throat grabbing was obviously an inception type of incident – a dream within a dream.

    Football is corrupt and referees, FIFA, UEFA and the FA encompass the corruption. They miss the obvious and call themselves officials. The court for arbitration of sport is there to ensure sport is sporting……………..or perhaps to ensure sport pays.

  108. All this boll*cks about Cesc greeting his International team mates is exactly that – boll*cks!

    Do any you actually watch football? So when Gerrard shakes hands with Rooney at Anfield before the game he’s a wank*er is he.. Cesc won the World Cup with his spanish colleagues, as such it is perfectly acceptible that he has a strong relationship with them. Players always greet each other in the tunnel and shake hands and stuff.

    There are a lot of pathetic tribalist fans on here who obviously spend far too much time on the couch. If you played any sport you’d know that there are few things more challenging and guaranteed to raise the temperature than seeing your best mate in the opposing team, personally I’d be annoyed if I didn’t burn his arse on the pitch and then take the p*ss out of him for days / weeks / months afterwards.

    Oh and Terry, you are a proper mug mate, jog on back to Sh*te Hart Lane!

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