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A few thoughts on the Arsenal 2-0 West Brom league match. The Santi Witch Hunt .

December 8, 2012

Saturday!!!  Arsenal the team with more tests than any other faced a West Brom team that has an excellent start to the 2012-13 season. The sort of game where if West Brom win or draw it would be seen as part of their excellent start to season. If Arsenal win then it’ll be “it’s only WBA” or they played poorly, sort of no win for Arsenal really.

A defeat in this match and the gloves really would be off for many Gooners. Earlier in the week I heard that Steve Bould had brought a new hairdryer for work purposes only :-). This accompanied by some china crockery Steve was said to have blasted the players about their recent form. Later Arsene refuted the allegations and said that actually Steve had visited Aldi (not Harrods) to buy a feather duster for a £1 and ticked the players under their armpits and feet, the poor little beggars. A counsellor was on hand just in case any of the players felt traumatized by these actions.

This week the players have mentioned they want extra training, my giddy Aunt, they’re looking like they want to put things right.

Arsene’s team for the match was :  Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs,  Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 77), Cazorla (Podolski 87), Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky 81)

I could not attend the Emirates, family business. but from what I read Arsenal were in complete control of the match. Gervinho had a few chances and wasted them, and from my twitter time line, Gervinho was good and poor. Good in some of his approach work but poor with his finishing. Jack missed a sitter set up by Gervinho and later on Podolski also missed a sitter putting over from six yards. In fact if I was complaining a report from twitter, I’d say we were rubbish, not bad and yet excellent.

The team played with more tempo and looked like they wanted the win, which was not the case last week against Swansea.  Jack got better as the game went on and had a great game. Arteta did well and played more like his earlier season form. The defence kept a clean sheet, which is also good.

Arsenal first goal came on 26 mins. My twitter time line suddenly popped up with about 100 tweets in seconds PENALTY!!! Quite a few saying nailed on. Suddenly it changed, after seeing a replay it became clear that Santi had dived to win the penalty and we were lucky. Arteta stayed calm, stepped up and blasted the ball down the middle to make it 1-0.

Then in one of Albion’s few forays forward The BFG handballed in the area and the ref was once again kind to Arsenal and waving any WBA protests away. They say you need a bit of luck when things are not going your way, or you’re not playing well and looking for a lift and Arsenal were getting theirs.

Then in the second half the ref awarded Arsenal another penalty. Nailed on!! Without doubt. However, it’s questioned as apparently Oxo was said to have fouled Popov in the lead up to the penalty. It was clear Brunt had brought down Oxo, but it looks as if after the first one was given albeit fortunate, the media maybe want to make the win, look positively lucky.

Arteta still calm stepped up, straight down the middle 2-0. Podolski missed a sitter and then the final whistle a 2-0 win for Arsenal. Much better performance and from what I have read a well deserved victory. Were WBA poor or were they just were not allowed to play?? Happy days and three points.

Right the first PENALTY. Santi dived that much is sure. However, did he dive or was he just avoiding injury? I saw this from Arsenal’s biggest fan Steven Howard in his match report in The Sun…

“The game was 26 minutes old when Carzorla turned Steven Reid in the box” “The Spaniard knew what was coming next” — a crunching tackle from the West Brom full-back to try to retrieve the situation.”Cazorla was already on his way down when in it came. Except Reid MISSED”

So maybe Santi was just looking to avoid injury, the usual stock defence held up by many other football experts when it comes to Gareth Bale, Wayne Rooney or Mr. Starfish himself Stevie Me.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not condoning what Santi did, I’d much rather it had  not happened as Arsenal get enough negative press as it is. The English Football Media do tend to stick the knife in just a little harder and give it a twist when controversy involves Arsenal. Back on 26 August 2009 the media were not slow in coming forward, wanting Eduardo Banned, hanged and shot with a double tap in the head just to be sure for his dive against Celtic.

Diving against poor old Celtic is something not allowed by the law of the land. Arsenal were already 2-0 up from first leg and I don’t think Celtic had had a shot on target in the first leg, or up to the 28th minute of the second leg when Eduardo was deemed to have dived and won Arsenal a penalty.

It’s not like we were drawing 1-1 with a minute to go and needed another goal to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League and our player dived, is it Mr. Samaras of Celtic FC? The Media, Celtic, their fans, their chairman, Scottish FA Chief Executive Gordon Smith and the Loch Ness Monster called for him to be banned. Something that you and I know if Wayne, Stevie or Gareth had done it, the carpet would have been lifted and the mess swept underneath.

I know we won 5-2 at the Emirates against the team that keeps on giving, but Bales dive for their second from the penalty spot? Come on.

At least UEFA were sensible enough to overturn their own decision to ban Eduardo for two matches.

I reckon the only reason that Steve Clarke did not mention Santi’s name when interviewed was because he would look pretty damn silly as his player Ridgewell had dived at Sunderland a few weeks back to earn a penalty, when he is not wiping his arse with £20 notes. This from match report:

“However, Baggies substitute Lukaku appeared to have made the points safe, calmly sending a left-footed penalty into the bottom corner after Liam Ridgewell fell under a lunging slide from Adam Johnson, although replays suggested little contact had been made

No Clarke laid blame at the referee’s door for Santi’s dive. Though to be fair to Clarke he did also say

“I’ve spoken to Liam on a number of  occasions this season. ‘We spoke about a number of different  incidents. He (Cazorla) is not one of my players and I don’t speak about players from other clubs”

Enough already with the likes of John Cross tweeting during the match trying to dig Arsenal and Santi out. S**t happens, it’s not good, granted. I’ve seen it so many times where Arsenal should have had penalties for fouls or handball and not given, yet very little is said. Also seen other decisions that should have been given against us and we’re not. For me Arsene should simply say when interviewed on this subject and others like it, the following.

Geoff, we live in a world that has referee’s. And decisions have to be made by men with whistles. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Geoff Shreeves? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for WBA and you curse the Arsenal. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santi’s dive, while tragic, earned us points. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, helps Arsenal…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at Sky TV, you want to interview me. You need to interview me. I use words like “I didn’t see it”, “Yeeeesss”, loyalty…I use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending my players. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who interviews me and sleeps under the blanket of the very interviews I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide them! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a whistle or become a manager. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

Last season not one penalty given to us at the Emirates.

Had WBA been handed those penalties, walked away 2-o victors and Arsene had been interviewed – it would have been all about Arsene was bad loser, he can’t take defeat. How WBA got the luck going their way. The BFG’s handball if done by a WBA player would have been one of those things and then the worse dive of the match by the WBA player Rosenberg was overlooked as to add that incident alongside those that went for Arsenal would not look good or even things out.

I suppose my point is, while players dive we are always going to have a problem with what is the morality of the situation. However, why does it always seem to be when an Arsenal player does it, it suddenly becomes a huge story.

I’m happy for the powers that be to somehow try to stamp this part of the game. I’m happy for players to be banned for three games or whatever punishment is seen fit, inc Arsenal players. What I’m not happy about is contoversy always being laid on Arsenal’s doorstep, when I see other players like Young of United and Bale doing it for fun (already booked three times this season) and the media just glossing over what they do.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. EducatedGooner permalink
    December 10, 2012 17:31

    A fantastic read! I must say, I love your style of writing, such character and verve! To an extent, in some of my pieces I try and emulate those qualities too!

    Wholeheartedly agree with your viewpoint on the dive: that it was unacceptable, yet blown out of proportion and over-highlited by the media. They make it out like it’s ‘Satin’ Cazorla, rather than ‘Santi’!

    P.S. I also loved the rant at Geoff Shreeves! About time.

    Really enjoyed that, well done!

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