Friday, August 28, 2009

Clueless - Thy Name is Arsene Wenger

So, after UEFA does the right thing and charges Arsenal forward Eduardo with 'deceiving the referee', his manager, Arsene Wenger, decides that it's in his best interests to call the charge a 'witch hunt' and 'not an objective judgment of a case.'

Wenger goes on to say that the "charge implies there was intent and a desire to cheat the referee. Having watched the pictures again there was nothing conclusive. It singles out a player in Europe to be a cheat and that is not acceptable. UEFA has taken action that is not defendable."

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by these quotes from Wenger since he's the guy that never sees anything controversial when it's done by his team but by golly, he sees everything done by every opposition player. In this case, it's pretty obvious that Eduardo dove to win the penalty. Now, I'm sure he didn't enter the penalty box intending to dive but when the challenge came in, he sure as hell intended to dive and see if he could con the ref. The video is pretty damning but you make the call.

I can understand that Wenger is protecting his player because Eduardo will now be labelled a diver and a cheat and every referee in every match he plays will be on the lookout. But Eduardo only has himself to blame. Arsenal already led Celtic by 2 aggregate goals from the first leg so it seems odd that he would choose to dive in a game that Arsenal were pretty sure to wrap up anyway. I figure if you're gonna dive, make it count in a game that really matters. Now, whenever he gets in the box, every ref will have their eyes on him and if he does earn a penalty, odds are it won't be given. That's what cheating gets you, especially when you get caught. It goes for Ronaldo, Rooney, Diego, Henry and many others.

And that seems to be the point that Wenger is missing. If a player cheats, he should be singled out and have refs show more discretion when that player goes to ground to win a penalty or even just a free kick. It's a harsh lesson to learn but the game overall needs this type of lesson. To many potential soccer fans are turned off by this crap. I just hope that this isn't a one off and that UEFA decides to really take a stand this season. But it is UEFA and Michel Plantini so I'm not holding my breath.


  1. I do understand Wenger's point. His job is to protect his own players. Many players dove in the Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday. Just in the two games I watched a Debrecan and an APOEL player got booked for diving. With those yellow cards wiped out before the Group Stage they'll get off with no further punishment. So why is it that Eduardo will get punished because the ref is blind?

    Refs should be the ones who are punished for missing such obvious calls. Referee Manuel Gonzales of Spain should be the one suspended for the first two matchdays.

  2. No argument that refs should shoulder some of the blame but not all of it. A ref can't be in perfect position all the time to make every call correct. If you watch the video of the incident, you can hear the commentators saying that Eduardo knows that if he just nicks the ball and falls over, he has a great chance of getting the call. That's what he does. The ref was conned; he did not make a horrible call.