Posts Tagged ‘Martin Taylor tackle on Eduardo



Thierry Henry, Super Hero

The only people who hate the French more than Americans are the English. It’s funny too, because, well, I’m not giving a history lesson here: suffice it to say that the French, both for the good and bad have been one of the key ingredients in forming both countries.

I’m not a Francophile, far from it, if anything I’m an Anglophile. I cook some French traditional meals (the Julia Child stuff) but my GF’s 10 year old daughter pretty much hates French food so I haven’t done it much lately. But, I don’t speak French, don’t have a thing for French chicks, in fact I really don’t know much about France except they seem to annoy conservatives in America and the English can’t stand them. So, whenever these international tournaments take place I feel this sense of dread because I always have to explain why I support the French national team.

It’s not my fault!

How could a person new to the game NOT support France after watching them win the World Cup? Zidane! Oh my god. I’d never seen anyone play like that. Anyway…

I support France and hopefully this year it will pay off too. I have $5 in a pool and the payout is 70%, split among owners. There are only two French supporters, me and a French guy on our pub football team. The other people are splitting teams among dozens of owners. We’re the only two supporting France. At last count after the two way split, we’re getting 70-1 odds! Heheehe: Allez Les Blues!

Arsenal News

I don’t think Peter Hill-Wood has suddenly seen the error of his xenophobic ways but he has decided that Stan Kroenke would make a valuable member of the board. From “we don’t need his sort” to “he seems to have been very sensible” PHW’s view of Kroenke has changed drastically and rapidly. I guess that can happen when you have a convicted criminal trying to buy the team and turn it into his personal piggy bank: sometimes you have to reach out and form new friendships when you’re under siege.

It’s understandable that PHW was reactionary about Kroenke, but there was and always has been this tinge of xenophobia about the whole thing, and as a foreigner that’s a very sad thing to see. Oh well, maybe an American on the board would be just the kind of interaction with “our sort” that will soften the hard heart of Mr. Hill-Wood.

Another thing that I’d like to see Arsenal try is to reach out to Americans a little more by putting together some package deals to bring us over there to watch a match at Emirates. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to be part of a group of, say, 20 Arsenal supporters that all fly in together, stay in the same hotel, and so on? I think it would be a blast.

Especially if we could get tickets to a big game like Tottenham.

Maybe having Stan on the board will help push some ideas like that through. Let me give him a call…


The papers are reporting that AC Milan is going to put forward a £32m bid for Adebayor. Dude, you can have him for that price and that’s not a knock on Ade. Is Adebayor worth three Eduardos? Two Henrys? I don’t think so and I like the guy. Sorry, but at that price Arsenal would be foolish not to take that bid.

Which is why it’s probably never going to happen.

Eduardo may be healed but Birmingham is still broken

And finally, the story that just refuses to die has reared it’s ugly head again. That’s right, we’re being reminded that when Eduardo broke his leg on Taylor’s studs it ruined Taylor’s career and Birmingham’s season. Pardon me while I grab a tissue, I have to dab away my tears after reading Alex McLeish talk about how much his team struggled after that incident and how Taylor was never the same again.

How about next time, Allie, you teach your players how to play the game and maybe some man marking instead of just telling them to go out and “get stuck in?” See, for me, it was Allie McLeish who ruined Birmingham and Taylor’s career. He’s the one who told the team to go out and “put a physical stamp” on the match. He’s the one who took Taylor aside and told him to go out and give Arsenal a good lump right from the start. He’s the one who failed to teach his players how to play the game. So, no matter how much he wants to blame Eduardo, Alex McLeish is the reason that Birmingham was relegated. And judging by the supporter’s display at the end of the season, they deserve each other.

I hope they make the drop again.

I’m going to stop there, because like Peter Hill-Wood, I get irrationally angry when I go over that whole incident.

Until tomorrow.


Furious backpedaling

Blatter Channels Someone With a Brain

Just about the moment the ink had dried on published reports that FIFA had passed the 6+5 rule the backpedaling began. First, it was revealed that that the FA, who had previously said they wouldn’t support the quotas rule, had actually voted for the rule. Or had they? It turns out that what FIFA really passed was just an agreement to look into the 6+5 rule because everyone knows that hard caps or quotas are against the law.

Well, everyone except Sepp Blatter.

Speaking about it is illegal? For whom? For when? If there is a law, a law can be amended. I have already a meeting planned with the speaker of the European Parliament on 5 June in Brussels, as he said, to explore now the ways [forward]

What he’s revealing here is that he knows it’s illegal but what he wants to do is change the EU labor law to exclude football and football players. That’s the only way his plan would be legal. What’s interesting is that the UEFA plan to force teams to have more “homegrown” players — the rule is currently that you must have at least two young men who came through your academy e.g. Fabregas — looks like it has legs. We’ll have to see.

For now, I think the whole affair is kind of comical. From the idea that Man U’s Champions League team fit the bill to the whole “we’re just examining this!!!” backpedaling, I can’t help but laugh. Just think about the idea that Man U fielded “6” Englishmen. Blatter has stated that Welsh, Scottish, and N. Irish players WOULDN’T count because they have their own leagues but a Canadian like Hargreaves counts because Canada doesn’t have a league? It’s just one of many many funny questions that need to be answered.

I love this article about how Man U’s 1994 Champions League final was ruined by the old quota system. Imagine if Cantona had not been suspended. I guess they would have had to put another second-string Englishman in. Even funnier, to me, is that there was a hard quota system in place and if you remember, England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Clearly what they needed was more Englishmen in the top flight.

Robin van Persie is doing some backpedaling of his own. After he made a remark about how Arsenal need to open the coffers to keep their best players, it’s now been revealed that Mr. 55 (that’s how many games he’s started in 4 years at Arsenal) is renegotiating his contract. Now that it’s been revealed he’s in negotiations he says his remarks were “not about the money” he says, he just “wants to keep the team together.” Whatever Robin. I just hope Arsenal include an injury clause in any contact with him.

And finally, on the injury front, Eduardo’s leg that broke itself is healing itself extra fast and he might even be available for training in late July. Good for him, I’m sure Wenger will bring him along at exactly the right pace. No word on whether Martin Taylor has recovered from his horrific psychic injuries but I trust ESPN Soccernet is on the case, after all they broke the story that Taylor was backed to recover from the Eduardo Tackle.

That’s it for today… unless you want to know what kind of quota system is in place for Netball. Personally, I’m going to start checking passports at the local pickleball tournament. We can’t have any of those Norwegians taking over our beloved pickleball!


Down goes Murty!

Alex Hleb has admitted to the charge of violent conduct on Graeme Murty and will now serve a three match ban. Since there’s only three matches left in the season, this sad incident ends what had been a very good year from Hleb and may even be his last act in the Red and White.

OK, so you get a three match ban for slapping someone in the face and having them pretend that they have been struck down like Sonny Liston. OK, I accept that.

My only question though, isn’t what Murty did the essence of diving? Feel a little contact, go down, and feign the need for treatment in order to try to trick the referee into giving a card. If so, then, isn’t Murty equally guilty in some respect?  I remember when Cesc went down after a slight elbow to the face from Arteta and everyone cried foul (on Cesc).  Why isn’t anyone crying foul on Murty right now?

Now, before everyone gets in a tizzy over my last comment, let me clarify: Alex Hleb was guilty. 3 Matches is the exact kind of penalty one should receive for this kind of stupidity. Intentionally slap someone in the face, get a 3 match penalty. That seems fair to me.  End of question.

Moreover, intentionally punch someone in the face and break their jaw: 9 match ban? Heck that might even be too lenient. All of this is to say: I am not condoning the actions of Alex Hleb in any way, shape or form.

For me, the fact that Murty “made a meal of it” is the crux of the problem with modern football.  Can you imagine Tony Adams writhing around on the ground and then going off to get treatment after 9 stone Hleb slapped him like that? Roy Keane? Vieira? Flamini? No.  The problem is that the FA can’t really do anything about that kind of dive; someone got hit and went to ground. But think about it, it’s these “justified” dives that lead to the worst examples of diving.

It’s like those infamous “four squares” that supposedly can explain everything in life (I disagree). When two players come together in a clash you have contact/dive, contact/no dive, no contact/dive, and no contact/no dive.

Everyone can agree on the third square there (no contact/dive): when we see a player go down and there’s no contact it’s a dive. That one should be punished straight away with a yellow card and some of us even argue that those should be reviewed after the match just like the Hleb incident.

Everyone can also agree on the fourth square (no contact/no dive), because really that’s just a guy dribbling and falls over for some reason.  He doesn’t look at the ref, throw a tantrum, roll around on the ground needlessly, just picks himself up and continues playing football.

Also, I’m pretty sure everyone can agree on the second square (contact/no dive): it’s refreshing to see a player take a healthy knock in the box and stay on his feet.  It’s refreshing because it’s rare, but it is refreshing none the less.

What we can’t agree on is the first square (contact/dive). Is it acceptable for a player to go to ground when there’s ANY contact, no matter how slight? I would suggest that there’s a range of fan reactions here, depending on who’s team the diving player is on, how much that team’s supporters are used to their players diving, how desperate the team’s situation is, or even some specific team’s supporters and their inbred venom against another team (such as the bizarre reaction that Arsenal generates from Bolton supporters, etc.)

That first square there is what I’d like to call the Murty square. Was he justified in his reaction? I say no and here’s why: those types of dives lead to the more serious and pernicious types of simulation that we have seen invading the game of late. That type of reaction leads, inevitably, to Ronaldo’s famous words “I feel contact? I go down.” It’s the logical outcome isn’t it? But isn’t that kind of dive just as bad if not a worse form of simulation? And when we talk about getting rid of diving, isn’t this the kind of diving that we all really want to see stamped out? The no-contact dive is easy and I’ve actually seen a yellow for that. But the some contact/all dive is almost never awarded a card and I think it’s time to stamp that out too.

The reason Hleb gets a three match ban is because he violated our shared rules of sportsmanship. In the four square of sportsmanship everyone agrees that slapping your opponent in the mouth is a three match ban. But I think it’s almost just as unsporting to play act after getting slapped.

And don’t get me started on how the hell Hleb gets the same ban Taylor got for breaking Eduardo’s leg…

In Arsenal news, the Hleb ban will probably mean that Diaby will get the nod on the left wing. If he’s not fit (he picked up a bit of a knock for the reserves last weekend) then expect to see ye olde 4-5-1 with van Persie slotted on the left. Of course Wenger could bring up a young winger that I haven’t heard of and get him some experience in the last three games. I haven’t seen any news reports so I’m just speculating my ass off here.

Either way, the last three games only matter as far as positioning on the league table. Yes, I’d like to see Arsenal finish 2nd, so fielding a strong side against the final three teams is imperative. That said, the worst that could happen would be to lose all three games and slip to 4th place. In order to get into second we have to root for Chelsea to lose or draw against Man U and then get a draw against Newcastle or Bolton. Hmmm. It all depends. Chelsea could implode here at the end of the season. There’s a lot of tension in their dressing room. A bad loss to Man U and Liverpool at Stamford bridge could be the catalyst that actually destroys the team but they have such talented and experienced players that I just can’t see them going down without a fight. I don’t know, it will be interesting to watch the title race and possibly report on someone else choking for once!

You are also, no doubt, seeing a ton of negative reports about the Flamini deal. As per my new policy I am not giving rumors and innuendo any press here. I will just say this: agents, players, and clubs often try to use the press to their advantage spreading rumor and even lies to change a player’s price, so you all would be wise to ignore any of that stuff. The only press reports about personnel that should be trusted are the ones from that say “such and such a player has signed for so and so.” Anything else is just a rumor so ignore it.

Speaking of “reported on The Dot Com:” 17 year old Norwegian Captain of the Arsenal Reserve team, Havard Nordtveit, feels like Wenger should choose him instead of dipping into the transfer market. I love the balls on this kid and the balls of the club. First, the kid is 17 and already feels ready to be selected for Arsenal’s first team. And second, this is a club generated story, folks. In my mind that means only one thing: they are preparing us for the fact that the boss is not going to buy a whole pack of established players,  Hell, he might not buy anyone!  Here:

Earlier this season Wenger admitted he had “rarely seen a boy of his age so mature”. If Nordtveit continues on his upward curve, the Frenchman may not have to look far when he hunts for reinforcements this summer.

Uhhh, yeah, I fully expect to see “Nordveit is like a whole new signing” stories this summer. Which is fine with me, I think the team could stand pat and win a trophy, but I just want you all to be prepared for a dearth of signings this summer.

And that’s it for today, see you tomorrow.


I’ll be praying for Martin Taylor on Sunday against Chelsea

Before I start, I ask that all my readers pray for me and Martin Taylor during this holy week. For me because I had to go to the doctor yesterday because my Achilles was killing me and I found out that I have a “partial tear” of the Achilles tendon. I guess it’s extremely rare to partially tear the tendon, but hey, I guess I’m just a special guy… This means 6 weeks in a brace before I can even start to rehab my left leg. The doctor said that 95% of the time, if I don’t heal it properly, I’ll fully tear the tendon. Which he described as “excruciating” and “like being hit in the heel with a 4 wood.” So, pray for me to heal.

Excruciating is also the word to describe the psychic pain that Martin Taylor is feeling right now. At least that’s what Birmingham’s chairman is saying. He then goes on to try to disparage Cesc Fabregas for his emotional comments about the Taylor tackle. Let me remind everyone of exactly what Cesc said:

Taylor did it and he knows why he did it. Of course he is not going to say he did it on purpose. A good player gets injured for a year and the player who makes the free-kick gets suspended for three little games. It is very unfair. This type of tackle shouldn’t be allowed. It doesn’t help football.

Honestly, there’s not much wrong with this statement. I think that chairman Gold is overreacting in order to “protect” Taylor. Which is fine. But let’s not pretend for a second that Gold is being objective or fair. Because if he was being fair, he’d put Alex McLeish up on the podium and have him clear the air. Did McLeish tell the players to “get stuck in right away?” Did McLeish tell the players that they needed to put a “physical stamp on the match right off?” Because for me, that’s the only issue here. And that’s how I interpret Cesc’s remark about how only Taylor “knows why he did it.”

Taylor too could come out and admit that the manager told the team to rough Arsenal up and that his tackle was meant to do that. Of course I don’t think Taylor went in to break Eduardo’s leg, but I do think Taylor was following orders. That tackle, at that time in the match, only has one purpose: send a message to the opposing team that says “if you try to dribble around us, we’re going to tackle you… hard.”

Teams who come out to “put a physical stamp” on matches are a problem. Those teams and their managers should be punished. That’s the whole issue for me: I want to know what Allie McLeish told the Birmingham players in the locker room before the match. Until we have a statement about that, then the rest of this is just handbags.

So shut the fuck up, Gold.

Sunday at Chelsea is a huge match. A season defining match, in fact. On Wednesday, Man U plays Bolton and Chelsea plays Tottenham which means that Arsenal supporters have to be rooting for Tottenham for one day. I don’t have any hangup about doing that. Let’s go you Spurs! You can certainly be bigger cunts than Chelsea! And you notloB cunts! Come on! “Put a physical stamp on the match” like you do against Arsenal.  That should make SA’s head assplode!
On Sunday, Arsenal could drop as far as 3rd place, but we have to wait and see what happens on Wednesday. There are too many points at stake and the race is too close to get too excited about Arsenal dropping to 3rd just yet.

Make no mistake, Sunday is the big showdown — Chelsea will be looking for revenge for what they perceived as an overly physical match that Arsenal took 1-0 back in December. Everyone expects this to be a very tense and physical encounter between two teams who have a history of tense, physical encounters.

Chelsea tend to get away with being a pack of cheating cunts like they did at the League Cup final where Mikel (one of the worst offenders on a team of criminals) started the whole thing with a dangerous tackle on Toure, who took exception, and then Lampard decided to ramp up the bullshit by attacking Toure.

Wait… I meant to say: “Lampard was protecting his teammate.”

Fights like that are more of a probability than a rarity on Sunday, sadly. Chelsea are like the Detroit Pistons of the EPL: they are a dirty team who knows full well that the instigator is rarely blamed. So, they like to come out and push Arsenal around hoping to get a reaction.  At the very least, pushing Arsenal’s buttons will make them lose concentration on their game.  At the very best (for Chelsea) Arsenal will have two main players sent off for one role player.

In a situation like that the Referee’s Association would want to put their best ref on the job.

You would think.

But NO!

In a shock move, Mark Clattenburg has been put in charge.

…This should end well.

What I find truly mind boggling is that referees’ chief Keith Hackett, who has TWICE punished Clattenburg this season for his poor handling of the Liverpool/Everton match and then for the Blackburn/Wigan debacle, is calling on Clattenburg for the one match this season which will probably be the most tense. I’m all for giving a guy a second or third chance, but I just don’t think this is the match to let him shine through. I would love to hear what special instructions they give him: like “whatever you do, don’t give too many cards.”


I have a bad feeling about Sunday.

And that’s going to have to do for today.  Until tomorrow.


sick… and tired

Late blog today, I know. Well I didn’t get up until 10am and then I had actual work to do. If any of you care; I feel slightly better. I think my fever broke last night because today I can read articles and actually make sense of them.

Like this one, where Taylor says one good thing and follows it up with one bad thing. I know that footballers aren’t always the brightest guys in the world, but I’m really, really struggling to understand a man who claims that Wenger’s call for a lifetime ban caused people to send him death threats. Further, he goes on to talk about how hard this has been for him and his family. Dude. DOOOOOD. You broke Eduardo’s leg. Fine, you say there was no malice. Sure, people make illegal tackles like that all the time (people drive drunk all the time too). Sure, your family might be traumatized. But you whining to the press about how traumatized you are makes you look foolish. And you blaming Wenger for the death threats makes you look like an asshole. Up until this point you were doing all the right things; apologizing in person to the player and to the manager and keeping your mouth shut about all the stupid shit the press was saying about how you are the victim.

Let me make this exceptionally clear to you because you seem a little dense: YOU ARE NOT THE VICTIM. You broke Eduardo’s leg. Your illegal, overly physical, studs-up, knee high tackle resulted in the permanent injury of a fellow professional. Eduardo’s leg was not broken; you broke it. Your family is probably traumatized but they are traumatized BY YOUR ACTIONS.

Can anyone imagine for 5 seconds if a drunk driver had broken Taylor’s leg the press reaction being “oh that poor drunk driver, he didn’t mean it, he just didn’t have money for cab fare, people drink and drive all the time, it was an accident, look at how much the drunk driver has been traumatized by this…” Fuck no. So quit scapegoating, shut your mouth and show some actual contrition. You broke Eduardo’s leg.

Wenger addresses parts of the whole controversy here hitting on everything from the FA’s responsibility in this matter to the press’ responsibility. I have to agree with the boss. It is very odd to me that so many players like Micah Richards are defending this as a normal tackle. And there you have it. This is a cultural problem. And honestly it explains why England couldn’t qualify for Euro 2008: that type of tackle is the resort of someone who cannot actually play the ball and instead lazily goes for the man. But even if you are to allow those types of tackles at the very least, the studs-up part of the equation ought to earn an instant red. And that’s where the FA can play their part.

The press, at the same token, need to deal with how they encourage violence also as Wenger points out:

Journalists with smiles on their faces ask me, ‘they got in your face today and you didn’t have the answer’. That is encouraging violence

I would add to that this pernicious habit the press has of using the passive voice just look at this passage:

The Birmingham City defender said that it was never his intention to hurt Eduardo, who fractured his left fibula and dislocated his left ankle, and that that it was his greatest hope that he will see the Brazilian Croatia international play again.

Who fractured Eduardo’s leg? Did he do it to himself as many suggested because he was simply too quick? Or did Taylor fracture Eduardo’s leg? Or how about the cunts in the press who hide behind anonymity and do things like list all 72 red cards Arsene Wenger’s team has seen in 12 years off football. Why not look at Wenger’s teams in terms of the fair play index? Oh that’s right, because you have an agenda. I knew there was a reason I stopped getting your RSS feed, cunt.

There is some team news to report ahead of tomorrow’s home match against Aston Villa, who just so happen to have the dirtiest player in the EPL; Nigel Reo-Coker. First, let’s hope that Diaby doesn’t have his ankle broken again by Reo-Coker because the boss says Diaby is ready to play. Notice how just by leaving out a word I can make it look like Nigel Reo-Coker broke Diaby’s ankle! English is such a fun language.

Van Persie is fast getting healthy but I doubt the boss will play him tomorrow. Look instead for a freshly minted Theo Walcott playing down the right wing. I hope Theo scores 8 goals tomorrow, so we don’t have to see Eboue over there any more.

Finally, Wenger addresses all the hand wringing in the press and amongst detractors about William Gallas’ display at the end of the Birmingham match. Gallas is just committed and sometimes, this commitment boils over. I’m exactly the same way so I totally understand Gallas’ reaction. If I had seen a team mate injured in that way and then watched the referee consistently screw the team over which culminated in a ridiculous penalty decision in the last minute of the match. I can honestly say I would have lost it too. Thankfully, the team is dealing with it internally and Gallas will not be stripped of his captain’s duties.

Finally, I might warn Villa, who is right up there with other dirty teams like Birmingham, and specifically Nigel Reo-Coker not to try to overpower Arsenal with hard tackles and studs up challenges. Cesc is explicitly stating that Arsenal aren’t going to lie down and let you tickle their tummies. It could be an ugly match.

That’s it, I’ll do a post match update tomorrow.

Until then.

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