By Tony Attwood
After about ten minutes of this game the question arose – can the ref do anything about a playing who feigns injury, and then, when the other team pause to see if he is ok, leaps up uninjured and tries to get the ball back.
We debated it, because that’s what we saw very early on in the game – not that you would know from most of the commentaries around.
Anyway, the considered view in block 99 row 10 was no, the ref could do nothing, because lying on the ground is not actually an offence in football.
Nor come to that is serial time-wasting anymore, although I am sure there is something somewhere in the rules about it. But again that’s what we saw. 10 seconds holding the ball by the keeper, 30 seconds or more to retrieve the ball and take a goal kick, the keeper rushing the full length of the pitch to remonstrate and argue. It is, it seems the modern game.
But, to be fair, at least Birmingham City don’t do 50 second throw ins with assisted towel, nor multiple physios on the pitch as we saw against East Grinstead Britain or whoever it was for the last home game.
Against the bluenoses we had 13 goal attempts to their six, eight on target against three. Fabianski and Wilshere had good games I thought, and indeed just how good Wilshere is, is revealed in the programme for the game, which shows the phenomenally high number of passes of his that actually make it. As the great Lord Wenger said, at least according to press reports, “Wilshere is a complete player. He played defensively well, offensively well, and overall he had a very influential game.” How true that was both of this game, and all the recent games.
So he is out for three league games, but I guess not for Euro matches, and anyway fortunately El Cesc might pop up at some time soon. How lovely to have choice in the squad.
But to return to Fabianski – I really thought he was extremely competent, if not outstanding on a couple of occasions. Being at the game of course is always different from watching it with replays on TV, but from where I sit, to the right of the goal Arsenal were attacking in the first half, it looked to me like he made a number of good saves, and had a few excellent punches out too. The clearances with his fist were determined, sure, and not something you would want to get your jaw in the way of. Finally it seems he can go into a match certain there isn’t going to be a problem.
(Incidentally I am not sure what has happened to Mannone but Szczesny was the sub keeper, which maybe keeps him a little happier if the press reports are to be believed – which normally they are not).
Bendtner came on for a while, Theo ran up and down the line a lot, Denilson and Vela were there if required, and for once we have the chance to change the team around a bit for the midweek game before playing the arabs next week. It wasn’t a great game, but the prognostications are not as awful as the usual disaster-movie watchers like to make out.
Moving on: here’s a funny thing – and maybe someone can help me out here. In the middle of the Birmingham supporters (an area directly across the diagonal of the pitch from where I am) there was a bunch of people all wearing yellow (at least I think it was yellow – my colour memory is not very good). Were they just people all wearing one colour, or were they people who had messages on or what? If you know, do tell.
A final thought. Birmingham City FC are certainly not aware that anything was wrong with the Taylor tackle on Eduardo – even now after all this time. Here’s what their manager said after the game…
“We’ve had to put up with the ‘Eduardo stuff’ for the last couple of years every time we play Arsenal. Even in the programme today, the interviewer says he’s going to interview Eduardo ‘about that tackle’. It’s scandalous. Martin Taylor is not a dirty player.”
So, let’s get this right. Arsenal talking about Eduardo when Eduardo comes back to the Ems for the Champs League game, is “scandalous.” Exactly what planet in the Insanity Nebula is Mr McLeish on?
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