So after a long, hard, frustrating season our fate will be decided on Tuesday night in Spain.
With West Ham winning today against Middlesboro, they are sure to field the standard “we’re in the cup final next week” team when Tottenham go there on the last day. Which means we must beat Villareal to keep our season alive.
I was forced to miss the game yesterday due to a friend’s wedding, so I had to make do with listening on the radio. As usual, listening to us play Tottenham on the radio was a painful experience (bizarrely, I listened to the corresponding away fixture on the radio, also due to a wedding) but I’m sure it was more painful for those unfortunate souls who were there.
We just hardly seem to get a touch of the ball in these types of games. When the opposition score, it feels like the inevitable result of the football that preceded it, rather than a crushing blow which comes out of nowhere. From the sound of it, we were lucky to come away with a draw, even if their goal was an absolute disgrace.
A lot of comments I have heard about the Tottenham goal have focused on one thing.
“Arsene Wenger ALWAYS says he didn’t see it, so what the hell is HE complaining about?”
Well, as far as I am concerned this completely misses the point. I fail to see what relevance that statement has here at all. Tottenham were unsporting. It’s as simple as that. What anyone has ever said before or since is of no significance. They were unsporting.
The point is that there is such a thing as sportsmanship in sport. Or there should be. When teams kick the ball out of play to enable an injured opposing player to receive treatment for an injury, the fans applaud. This is because we appreciate the generous nature of this gesture. So when a team sees the situation, assesses it and decides that continuing, and taking advantage is a preferrable choice, I think we, as fans (of either club) have a right to be angry.
This is not to say that I think that teams should HAVE to put the ball out of play in these situations. If they choose to continue, then it is obviously up to the defending team to play to the whistle and deal with the issue later. We failed to do this, and I think the whole Arsenal team should be criticised. But, once a team has done this, and scored as a result, then NO-ONE has the right to criticise the team against whom the indiscretion has taken place.
When I heard the commentators on Radio 5 describing the incidents that led to the goal, I was furious with Arsenal, for obviously feeling that the game should have been stopped, and letting Tottenham score. But I have just seen it on TV tonight, and I’m afraid Arsene Wenger is right, it was a disgrace. Michael Carrick clearly stopped, looked for a long time at the prone players, thought about it, and chose to ignore them, before playing the ball to Davids.
And yet, by being accused of a lack of sportsmanship, it is apparently Tottenham that have been wronged, not Arsenal!!
How can a situation where one team has scored a crucial goal by virtue of having been unsporting, end up with the team who conceded it being vilified? It just smacks slightly of media bias, and I for one, am sick of it.
Has anyone else noticed how, when we play live on TV or on the radio, the pundits are ALWAYS ex-Spurs players? Teddy Sheringham, Chris Waddle and the worst of the lot, David “Liz Azaroo” Pleat. This pathetically biased tosser, who struggles with saying even the simplest of players names (Djourou is NOT pronounced “Do Roy”, David), managed to provide us with several occurrences of the word “we” during the game yesterday, when describing Tottenham players and football. Why the hell do we have to put up with this for EVERY SINGLE game? I appreciate that there aren’t many ex-Arsenal players willing to embellish the game with their views, but surely it isn’t much to ask for these people to be neutral?!
None of this takes away from the fact that we sounded poor yesterday and possibly didn’t even deserve a point. We have made life hard for ourselves this season, and now we are paying the price. If we fail to negotiate our way past Villareal in 2 nights time, then our season is over.
I just wanted to make the point that, if pathetic scum like this can not only be allowed to profit from unsportsmanlike behaviour but actually end up being the victims, not the villains, then we will all suffer in the end.