What the Europa draw means for Arsenal: a battle and racism perhaps

by Tony Attwood; picture by Krzysiu Szymański

It is Slavia Prague in the quarter finals with us at home in the first match.  After that, if we get through, it is Dinamo Zagreb or Villareal in the semi final, with our home game as the second match.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 23 19 4 0 66 15 +51 61
2 21 15 2 4 47 24 +23 47
3 23 12 6 5 36 20 +16 42
4 22 13 3 6 38 26 +12 42
5 21 12 4 5 41 21 +20 40

Among the highlights of their season we have the little matter of a 2-6 away win to Zlin, and a cup victory over third division Slavia Karlovy Vary by 10 goals to 3.

As for the Europa League thus far, no one can argue that they have been having an easy ride.  In the first of the knock out rounds they played Leicester, drew at home and with Leicester full of their own approach to playing football, were rather taken aback to be beaten 0-2.

18/02/21 Europa Slavia Praha 0 – 0 Leicester City
25/02/21 Europa Leicester City 0 – 2 Slavia Praha
11/03/21 Europa Slavia Praha 1 – 1 Rangers
18/03/21 Europa Rangers 0 – 2 Slavia Praha

Leicester dominated possession in the second game at home to Slavia Prague, although for all the excitement that Leicester always generates in the media we ought to remember that Brendan Rodgers never got past the first knockout round of the Europa with either Liverpool or Celtic either.

Their excuse was they had a match against Arsenal coming up on the following Sunday, but the reality was that the tackling style that has suited them so well for most of  the time in the last couple of seasons suddenly let them down; a different level of referee acceptance perhaps.   Three days later they lost 3-1 at home to Arsenal.

Then, just as Slavia Prague drew the first leg at home only to beat Leicester away in the second leg of their match in February, so in March they did the same, drawing at home to Rangers, and allowing Rangers an away goal only to win in Glasgow.

But this is a match we should note even more than the Leicester debacle.

The reports suggest that Slavia Prague’s victory was comprehensive.  It is also clear that Rangers ended with just nine men on the pitch at Ibrox, which is careless to say the least.

But we must also note that Steven Gerrard alleged that Ondrej Kudela had made a racist or religious comment – seemingly whispered in the ear of Glen Kamara.

There was then what is known in the trade as a “heated discussion” between Gerrard and the Slavia Prague manager Jindrich Trpisovsky.

After that Gerrard said to the media, “Glen Kamara to me is one of my own. I 100% believe what he is saying in terms of the accusation. Other players around him heard it so I will stand toe to toe with Glen Kamara and I’ll deal with this however Glen wants to deal with it. I am proud of all my players showing solidarity and from the top of this club to the bottom we stand with the players. This situation is over to Uefa now. I just hope it doesn’t get brushed under the carpet.

“I feel angry. It’s difficult to describe how I feel now because I know Glen and I trust him 100%. It’s extremely disappointing.”

Prague’s manager then did not appear for post‑match interviews, leaving Gerrard free to make further complaints saying that during the game he was so worried about his player that he asked him if he wanted to come off.  He added

“This will be taken out of my hands now and dealt with by Uefa. I just hope with all my heart that people deal with it because that situation was not normal. If I wanted to say something to you on a football pitch why do I need to cover my mouth and go to the ear? The game’s done in terms of the result at the time – we have nine men, they are 2-0 up, there is absolutely no need for it. The disappointing thing for me is there is people trying to defend the opposition player.”

Those people, he said, were “Their people, trying to defend it, trying to defend him, calling us liars. That’s for other people to deal with – all I say now is that I stand by Glen Kamara 100%.”

Slavia’s president, Jaroslav Tvrdik, then issued a statement that said, “Slavia categorically opposes the fact that Ondrej Kudela racistly insulted the players’ opponents in any way. It tells us that our player was physically attacked after the match. At the request of Slavia, the case was resolved by the local police. We would like to see a detailed investigation of the whole situation by Uefa.”

Earlier Kemar Roofe of Rangers was sent off for putting his boot into the face of Ondrej Kolar the Slavia goalkeeper, who as a result was unable to continue.

Later Leon Balogun of Rangers got a second yellow after fouling Lukas Masopust, and Prague scored as a result.  Later still Gerard said, “We can’t just let incidents like this be forgotten and wait for the next one to happen. There is too much hard work and too many people trying to do everything they can to eradicate it from the game. The only people who can eradicate it from the game are the ones way above me in high places who have the power to change situations like this. It just doesn’t make sense for someone to accuse someone of something like that if it wasn’t true.”

So now we know what to expect.

The Arsenal video collection: free

111 historic Arsenal videos with more being added each day

How referees influence games 


20 Replies to “What the Europa draw means for Arsenal: a battle and racism perhaps”

  1. Off topic – a reminder that our Women are in action this evening in a season defining encounter with Manchester United.

    Currently Chelsea and Mac City look unassailable in the top two positions in the league. United sit third and we are fourth. The top three earn Champions League places for next year. United are six points ahead of us but we have a game in hand and have a far better goal difference. A win this evening is therefore essential. Both teams will be favourites to beat every team outside the top four which comprise the opposition for both teams for the rest of the season.

    Anything other than a win this evening means that a top three finish is out of our control and will effectively end our season.

    The game kicks off at 18:30 this evening and is on BT Sport 2


  2. The womens possy that Riley has coached are worse than the men. This canary whistles for the north without a foul.!!

  3. The cards stay in her pocket despite the nasty personal kicks that should draw red cards.

  4. Midway through the first half and we are one nil up, a deflected shot from Jill Roord.

    We are being fouled all over the pitch with the referee swing nothing – no change there

  5. This officiating is absolutely crooked. The assistant gives a foul and the canary gets a card out – two absolute reds to United were ignored.

  6. @Andrew hats off to you mate for being so calm (at least thats what it seems like on here) with the witch pretending to be a canary!! I cannot believe that the authoritiers and the media allow such biased officiating in the womens game. Manchester United should be ashamed of the advantage they are being given in what was a great sport.

  7. Yes 2 – 0

    At HT the United manager reproached the referee because as she saw it we were the ones getting away with rotational fouling on one of their players.

    And guess what the 2 summarisers agree we were, and not only that but she had every right to do so.

    1 – How come she wasn’t booked ?

    2 – Right or wrong how can they think it’s okay to hound the ref.

    Now the ref has booked another Arsenal player and the commentator says “Maybe those words at HT have had an effect”

    How is that ok in anyone’s book ?

  8. Menace,

    Trust me, my neighbour would attest that I am anything but calm but our second goal has helped a bit.

    Mead gets a yellow card from the canary for next to nothing, two more serious fouls on our players and no cards for the United cheats

  9. Arsenal get a second to start and immediatelt get a yellow card. Now Mead is sent off with a second yellow.

  10. The canary takes the first opportunity to issue a red card and we have thirty minutes to play with ten players. Commentators saying that the first yellow was harsh

  11. Surprise surprise.

    That was always going to happen.

    Even the commentators agree the first wasn’t a yellow and ask if it was due to the influence the Utd managers verbal’s had.

  12. Blimmey.

    It comes to something when even the commentators questioning the lack of bookings for Utd.

  13. United players still immune from cards, even being noted by the commentators noting it some of the time

  14. Now MU get a foul for playing the ball!!

    Truly amazing how this canary officiates. The two on the microphones probably are sitting on the amplifier. Their backsides being warmed for praise.

  15. Well done Arsenal !!! Despite the bent officiating and crooked commentators, beating the cheats 2 – 0.

  16. Phew! It’s difficult enough playing against a team who foul you the whole time, that is made more difficult with a typical one eyed referee who even allowed fergie time with an inexplicable 5 minutes of extra time. Still the route to Europe next year is now back in our own hands.

    Well done Arsenal !!!

  17. To be honest, even down to 10 and lopsided refereeing we never looked in trouble.

    Very well played ladies.

  18. @Nitram – you are right about Casey Stoney getting away with talking to the referee and then criticising the officiating on TV.

    Should be a ban & fine and probably a points deduction to teach these coaches not to criticise God.

    Nothing will happen to her. She is an angel from MU.

  19. Menace

    But what game was she watching?

    Any bias there was, was clearly in Man Utds favour and to suggest there was a bias in our favour is simply ridiculous.

Comments are closed.