By Bulldog Drummond
A look at the Uefa group A table shows a rather interesting point…
A draw will be enough to secure Arsenal the all-important top position in the group, meaning the first knockout round of the competition will be avoided. Indeed even if Arsenal were to lose (which of course none of us wants) that would still mean that PSV would have to win their final game and Arsenal would need to fail to win their last match against pointless FC Zurich.
But a win on Thursday would mean nothing else matters, and a number of backup players and indeed youngsters (all of whom, with the exception of those out on loan, are registered for the competition) could play out that last game against FC Zurich.
Obviously, we’ll take the FC Zurich game when it comes along, but for now let’s consider PSV Eindhoven. The PSV stands for Philips Sport Vereniging (Philips Sports Association) and the name derives from its foundation in 1913 as a team for the company’s workforce.
Since Arsenal beat PSV at the Arsenal Stadium, PSV have played FC Groningen away and lost 4-2. That was their second league defeat in October having also lost 3-0 away to Cambuur.
And these results become even more interesting when one takes a look at where Cambuur and Groningen are in the Dutch league. Here’s the table – and we’ve selected a version contrasting home and away results – and you’ll appreciate why…
|15||Go Ahead Eagles||6||1||2||3||5||1||2||2||15||20||-5||10|
What we can see here is that PSV are indeed a home team – five games played and all five won. Their problems come away from home where it is three wins and three defeats. And this is despite the fact that Groningen and Cambuur are both in the lower reaches of the league. Indeed for Groningen, the win over PSV was one of just two home wins, while for Cambuur it was their ONLY home win of the season.
Now from what we understand UEFA has levelled four charges against PSV Eindhoven over the atrocious behaviour of their fans as they destroyed seats and launched flares at Arsenal supporters in the game at the Arsenal stadium. Clearly, security once again broke down in terms of vetting who was carrying such items as flares into the ground, and it must be pointed out that these activities put Arsenal fans sitting either side of the away section at risk. However, only two arrests were made according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police.
Ruud van Nistelrooy, the PSV manager, does not seem to have made a comment concerning whether the club will take action against these supporters. But it is possible that it was just made to the Dutch media and we’ve missed it.
Of course, what should happen is that fans that do commit criminal acts should not only suffer the penalties of such events but also their behaviour should have a consequence on the club, such as the banning of its supporters from all its away matches. And then if that doesn’t work, points deductions from the club. Then most certainly the clubs in question would start taking appropriate action.
Although of course, such a suggestion does raise the difficult issue of whether a club is responsible for the behaviour of its supporters. I would always argue yes, because once the club sees itself being punished with points deductions and home games behind closed doors, the club will take action to sort out its fans and keep those who go to games to watch the match rather than cause mayhem, safe.
But that’s just my thought.
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