The Eduardo Affair: Botched and inconsistent

The Eduardo Affair has been grabbing all the headlines recently, and now that the striker has been charged with a two game ban it looks like Arsenal are going to appeal against what the club calls an ‘arbitrary decision’. This is the best course of action in a totally unjust situation.

UEFA have set a precedent in doing this, that is that they will now have to take retrospective action on all such incidents, and punish them in a similar way. If this does not happen, then it will mean that Eduardo has been singled out for special treatment, in a totally unfair way.

So I would like Ryan Babel prosecuted for his dive in the 2008 Champions League QF at Anfield, which knocked us out of the competition, and Rooney prosecuted for that dive with at Old Trafford in 2005. Last year Ronaldo dived to get the freekick at Emirates in the Champions League Semi, which he then scored to put the game beyond hope of a come back.

At Old Trafford on Saturday we saw the sort of problems this decision causes, when Arshavin was denied one of the most blatant penalties I’ve seen in years.

In the second half Wayne Rooney was looking to go down over Almunia as the ball headed out of play. In principle there is no difference between what Rooney and Eduardo did, they were both looking to go down over the keeper. Rooney ran towards Alumnia and was already down on one knee before he touched Almunia.

UEFA have overturned a referee’s decision, and now they must be prepared to do that for every game. The referee didn’t see it as a dive, he saw a foul, and gave a penalty. He then stood by his decision after the game. UEFA looked at video evidence (which they refuse to use during games) and retrospectively said that he dived, and decieved the referee.

For deciving the ref Eduardo has been given a 2 match suspension, an offence which would have earned him only a yellow in the game. This doesn’t make sense and I hope that Arsenal pursue all options and take a stand over this.

UEFA refuse video evidence during games, there’s the whole 5 ref crap on trial in the Europa League this season instead, but they are happy to use it after the match to prosecute someone. Eduardo isn’t even a serial offender, I’ve never seen him dive before, unlike C.Ronaldo or Drogba.

Le Grove have started up ‘dive watch’ keeping track of all the dives which UEFA should be prosecuting players for over the next few months, have a look and add to the list, because it only helps our argument.

Tony Attwood also discusses the possibility making UEFA look stupid with their overreaction to the situation, in a nicely written piece.

What do you think about Eduardo’s treatment, are UEFA right to take a stand, or complete imbeciles?

Arsenal 3 – 1 Celtic: Highlights, talking point Eduardo

Arsenal dominated Celtic yesterday to reach the finals of the Champions League, with a good display of passing football. Sadly the headlines today focus solely on the dubious penalty Eduardo won for the first goal.

Highlights from the excellent Arsenalist.com:

There was little or no contact, and if it had been given against us I would be upset about it. The fact is though that this happens in football. As Wenger said Babel blatently dived in the CL QF at Anfield 2 years ago which knocked us out of the competition. I have no idea why Eduardo went down like that, but he isn’t the sort of player you expect that of, and it seems to be a one off.

The press seem to be having a field day over Eduardo’s actions, in a qualifier where we were always going to go through. Players like Drogba have a reputation for diving and never seem to get this sort of reaction. That is what I don’t understand. Eduardo wasn’t right, but there are much worse offenders in English football.

Aside from that the game was a straightforward affair, we passed the ball around neatly, and Eboue’s performance was a highlight! He made several nice turns and passes, and his goal topped it off. He was playing in the front three and often was playing as centre forward which was interesting.

Arshavin, Ramsey and Wilshere came on in the second half and all looked impressive. Arshavin showed why he is one of the best players in Europe at the moment, scoring a goal and making an impact within minutes of coming on. Denilson also performed well.

Most pleasingly the central defensive partnership of Vermaelen and Gallas was again solid last night. Vermaelen didn’t miss a header, and made several interceptions as did Gallas, and both made excellent forays going forward.

A good performance, now we need to see the draw this afternoon for the group stages. As well as that we have the small matter of a league tie at Old Trafford on saturday afternoon.

Arsenal vs. Celtic Second Leg: Fabregas out, expect rotation – Ramsey?

Fabregas is out for the CL Second Leg Qualifier tonight against Celtic with a hamstring problem. The injury is not serious according to Wenger though.

Fabregas was taken off at half time against Portsmouth, and went for a scan afterwards which showed that the muscle was not strained. I expect he will be back for the game at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, but if he needs more time then the club should allow him to recover.

Wenger said that he will be rotating the squad, as we saw in the Portsmouth game with several changes in defence and midfield. The players who need a rest will be rested but Wenger insisted that his selections will not be influenced by the Man Utd tie on Saturday.

“I will rest the players who need to rest. “Some players have played many, many games; if I feel they need to rest, I will do it. It is not as a result of that game [against Manchester United on Saturday], it’s just if you have a player tired, you play the player who is fresh. I will play the team who I think is most efficient to win the game considering the level of some players.”

Expect a 4-3-3 formation yet again, with Ramsey stepping up to replace Fabregas. He already has the passing quality to fit into the first team, and his goal on Saturday was well taken. What Ramsey lacks is experience so tonight will be a big test if he gets the chance.

Wenger knows that we will have to be on our game tonight, Celtic have spirit, but their awful European away record, and our 2 – 0 lead away from home definitely give Arsenal the advantage.

“I thought Celtic did well in Moscow, it makes us more on alert, we know they had a very good away performance. To be strong at the Emirates is vital for our season. Any time you show weakness at home can have consequences for the game and also your season.”

Highlights on Arsespeak after the game!

4-3-3 is the way forward, plus another Gooner signs for Citeh

The aftermath of the first home game of the season seems to be positive. A 4-1 victory over Portsmouth highlighted the flexibility of the 4-3-3 formation, which has brought us 12 goals in 3 games so far.

The goals are coming from all over the park which is good, as in the past we have suffered from a lack of goals from midfield. Our top scorers in all competitions are now Gallas – 3, Cesc – 2, and Diaby – 2. The strikers we have are proven goalscorers too, the likes of RvP and Eduardo for example.

Defence also seems strong, with new signing Vermaelen looking particuarly solid in the air and on the ground on Saturday.

The 4-3-3 formation looks solid, allowing midfielders to get forward, and the likes of Eduardo and Arshavin to be creative in attack.

Song, Cesc, Arshavin and Wenger all discussed the new system in the Portsmouth matchday programme, and emphasized the redefined roles they will play. They also pointed out that we can switch back to a 4-4-2 when needed.

I think the formation also suits our players, as we have many attack minded midfielders, and a fluid style of passing and movement. The new formation allows us to keep balance in the team, not too defensive, but not leaving the defence exposed either.

On the transfer front things are still pretty quite for Arsenal, but I expect we might see one more face come in the next week or so.

City have signed Silvinho from Barca, increasing their numbers of ex-Arsenal men. I don’t blame him for taking the opportunity, his playing days are nearing an end and he will most likely be on generous wages.

Joleon Lecott is also set to sign for City today, becoming the 3rd most expensive defender on record. I wouldn’t say he was worth £20m plus, but if they have the money then why not.

Thats all for today, should have more stories and a Celtic preview tomorrow. check out Untold Arsenal for a great review of Premier League club debt, makes interesting reading as always.