Posted by Sonuvagun
It’s always hard to post after a disappointment like tonight. On the one hand we were a large part to blame for our own undoing, on the other hand one of the worse refereeing decisions I can remember robbed us of any chance to take something from the game. It makes you feel utterly violated… after all what is the point in investing so much energy and hopes into supporting a team, when so often the big matches – the ones that really matter – are ruined by calamitous officiating?
Robin himself was at a loss to explain the decision – a second yellow card for dissent – which he branded a joke; and, whilst Arsene kept his cool in the post match interview, Le Boss was also clearly incensed with the Swiss referee, Massimo Busacca, aka the world’s biggest wanker. Van Persie claimed he couldn’t hear the whistle, but even if he did hear it was it really a yellow card incident? The whole dissent rule is bullshit anyway, and thankfully most referees have the grey matter to apply a little common sense. Smashing the ball into the stands when the other team is trying to take a free kick, or playing on for several seconds after everyone else has stopped and then driving the ball down the goalkeeper’s throat might warrant a yellow, but to be sent off for taking a swipe at a ball which lands at your feet milliseconds after the whistle has blown is a complete joke. Especially if you consider that Robin was given his first yellow for no more than a bit of handbags with Alves it was piss poor officiating to deem the second a yellow too. It just beggars belief that a referee can have so little sense of occasion, and such a steadfast, robotic and small-minded desire to apply the rules to the letter, that he would make a decision so obviously to the detriment of the contest. Isn’t the whole point of having a referee on the field to interpret the rules, not apply them like a bitter consulate worker in the visa department of the Russian Embassy.
However unbelievable the ref’s decision was, and is, RVP picked up his second yellow and subsequent red card and the contest was effectively over. It’s hard to know just how aggrieved to feel. On the one hand we were one goal up on aggregate and had everything to play for, especially as history has taught us that we were likely to finish the stronger of the two teams. On the other hand we were playing like shit (apart from the back five, who deserve an amazing amount of kudos IMHO), we hadn’t had a single shot on goal (and never did), we got away with not having a penalty awarded against us, and had one of their defenders score on our behalf… you could say we were riding our luck a little bit.
Ironically before the game I’d actually predicted we would lose 3-2 but go through on away goals – with Bendtner scoring late in the game. When Wilshere and Arshavin harried a Barca player off the ball and Jack drove into the space behind him I thought maybe I did have a god given talent for anticipation… sadly though Bendtner didn’t. It was a golden opportunity to steal the game but the Dane’s first touch gave the defending player a chance to intervene. Somehow it would have been more than we deserved, as Barca had really run rampant. I’m not going to sit here and billow more wind up their already well-ventilated @ssholes, but they lived up to their billing in a way we definitely did not. Cesc was shoddy, even gifting Iniesta the ball with a backheel that set up Barca’s first. Rosicky was a complete waste of space, and AW’s confidence in him is seeming more and more displaced with every game the Czech plays in (is he the new Silvestre?). Diaby was Diaby. RVP couldn’t get in the game, and – however much we, and he, can rightly complain about the second yellow – he was a complete and utter tool for getting himself booked for the first yellow. It’s not exactly the first time he’s picked up a senseless booking and someone really ought to have a word.
On the plus side Nasri was excellent, Wilshere superb and, as I said earlier, the back four showed they really can defend. I really thought they were magnificent, and if they got a bit tired and scrappy in the last 25-30 mins no one can blame them. I’m pretty sure they’ve never had to work so hard in their lives!
I don’t this game really has any bearing on our chances in the Premier League and FA Cup… losing to Barcelona, esp. in these circumstances, shouldn’t dent our confidence. If anything we’ll have the benefit of hopefully staying fitter and fresher for both our remaining competitions. Can we win either of them? Of course. Will we win either of them? Much will depend on the fitness of the squad and AW’s selection. Let’s get Arshavin back in the fold and get whatever animal placentas we can lay our hands on to revive Song and Walcott. Rosicky in is the worst form of his life and Diaby and Denilson, and to a lesser extent Bendtner, are still too inconsistent – the more we have to rely on our disappointing stand-ins the worse chance we have of finally bringing home some silverware.