Wayne ‘I have never intentionally dived’ Rooney – The Video Evidence

Wayne Rooney has been giving his take on the Eduardo incident and the penalty at Old Trafford:

“I have never intentionally dived. There have been times when I have tried to stay on my feet and tried to get the shot off rather than going down. I don’t think it is fair for players to dive and cheat the other team.”

This video tells a different story, maybe UEFA would like to take retrospective action on some of this evidence?

Yet the media still like to portray English players as hard-working and honest, while the ‘foreign’ clubs like Arsenal bring in these horrible cheating tactics from Europe.

Take John Terry today quoted as saying:

“I can speak about the England lads and I think it is something we don’t do, I think we’re too honest, sometimes even in the Premier League you see the English lads get a bit of contact and stay on their feet and try and score from the chance they have been given.”

Somehow I don’t think that is quite true.

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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?

A bad week ends, the Eduardo affair and Old Trafford

The dust is settling on what was a bad week for Arsenal Football Club. Firstly Eduardo was singled out for very harsh treatment by UEFA after a dive against Celtic. Then we go to Old Trafford, take the lead and outplay United, only to concede a silly penalty and score an own goal.

Eduardo has now been labelled as a diver and the way Man Utd fans treated him at OT was testimony to Wenger’s description of events as a ‘witch hunt’. Eduardo was booed as he warmed up and the fans made diving gestures to the player. God forbid he ever goes down in the box again, because the reaction will not be friendly and the pressure will be on the referee.

The United game was unlucky, we played well, Arshavin scored a cracker, but the team looked nervous. That nervousness led to Almunia conceding a needless penalty, where Rooney was already nearly grounded before Almunia touched him, and then led to Diaby’s crazy own goal. I thought Diaby was good for the most part of the game, so hopefully he can get over it.

I have to admit I was going crazy when we scored in the 95th minute, just like Wenger, and I felt the same frustration when I finally saw the offside flag below. The sending off of Wenger was farcical and he handled it impeccably. He deserves his apology. See the highlights of the game at Arsenalist.com

The game itself gives me hope, as we are still missing so many attacking players, and the team still played better than Utd. I think we can continue our good form in the coming games.

In terms of Eduardo Arsenal have submitted a 19 page document to UEFA in defence of the player. It seems though that UEFA already see him as guilty and he is going to get a two match ban no matter what. This is a dangerous precendent to set, and if they are to be fair then UEFA must take retrospective action on events in every game – something which they cannot physically do. Sam Wallace puts it nicely in this article in the Independent.

Finally today is transfer deadline day, and suprisingly there is nothing to report on the Arsenal front. I don’t think we’ll see any signings for the top four, but I wouldn’t mind Arsenal snapping up one or two last minute bargains.

What are your thoughts on the way Arsenal have been treated by officials in the last week?

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 4 – 0 Cardiff Highlights. A great night, and the new Arsenal Nike advert

Arsenal 4 – 0 Cardiff City: Eduardo 20, Bendtner 34, Eduardo 60 pen, Van Persie 89. Goal highlights.

After a short hiatus Arsenal were back in form last night at the Emirates, against a poor Cardiff side. It was the first game in ages that I haven’t seen, I was travelling, but reports, highlights and the word on the street all point to it being a pleasurable game to watch.

I can’t say that much about the game obviously, you can find extended ITV highlights here though. I would like to congratulate Eduardo on a fantastic return game, two goals is a great start and it will lessen the pressure on him considerably, we won’t be waiting for his first goal after a lengthy injury spell!

Wenger on Eduardo:

“He had a good game for his first game back. When you have such a long time out, it’s difficult to be patient, to come in every day and see everyone else play. He had to deal with a lot of frustrations.

“I believe – as any striker – he can contribute and help us to win games. He has the perfect spirit, he is talented and is intelligent.”

Well said Mr. Wenger.

I don’t know when our game against Burnley in the 5th Round is scheduled, but hopefully we can get it out of the way as soon as possible, avoiding any fixture pile ups, what with the Champions League games coming up.

So a good night for Arsenal, bring on Sunderland this Saturday, and hopefully a glimpse of Arshavin!

Here’s the new Nike advert, Arsenal vs. Mancs. I think you will agree it is pretty good, but what happens next??

Don’t expect signings this window from Arsenal

Every Arsenal fan is expectant of transfer signings this window, Arshavin is the favourite to sign on, and we might get him, but Wenger is keeping a lid on things at the moment, just in case we can’t negotiate a price for him. He commented today:

“We are nowhere at the moment…That means we are not close to signing anybody. We know what we want to do, we are not close to signing today. We are in negotiations, yes, but we want to respect our principles.
“I am very hopeful that something can be done in a few days because we are half-way to the end. So it will be days, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

This basically means don’t get your hopes up because Wenger will happily stick with our current squad if he can’t get the right price. Zenit have been overpricing him, in the summer Barca weren’t able to sign him, and moneybags Tottenham weren’t either, due to Zenit’s overzealous pricing regime. The fact that he is going on strike, and can buy himself out of his contract pretty soon could make the difference this time around, but don’t count on it.

“We want to concentrate on what we are doing and what we have here and how we can improve with the players we have.

“I am not a big fan of the window. I feel one of the aspects to judge a manager is to let him start with a team and let him see how far he goes with that team – or you open completely for the whole season.

“England had the right system because it was open till April and that was quite good. Now it’s cut in two and I’m not a big fan of it.

“We have a few options available, but we are no closer. But I believe we have a strong team and we want to do the maximum with the team we have.

Emphasis is on the “we are no closer” here. Negotiations for Arshavin are stalling at the moment as everyone knows, and Wenger doesn’t like the January window at all, so I wouldn’t be suprised if we don’t sign anyone. Wenger goes on to make a good point:

“We are open and don’t forget we have Rosicky, Fabregas, Walcott, all creative and offensive players who will come back at some stage, and that will be like being in the transfer market.

“Eduardo has recovered very well as well, and like a new signing. He is two to three weeks away.”

So we may see a new face at Arsenal by the 2nd of Feb, but if not we have great players returning from injury. I think if all of them come back earlier than expected then we will have a storng side, but I’m still hoping that we will find a way to sign Arshavin to add some strength to the midfield.

More likely the only new face we will see is DB10 as a coach. He got his qualifications for coaching and he has said that he won’t rule out a return to Arsenal as he ‘loves the club’.

Note: If this post makes you angry you may also enjoy this post.

Eduardo close to return as Arsenal prepare to host Wigan

This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Eduardo could soon be back in first-team action after making a full recovery from the broken leg he suffered in February. The Croatian endured the horrific injury after being challenged by Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor.

However, ten months after the incident, it is thought that Eduardo is closing in on a competitive return. Wenger has said that the striker is ‘joining in full training matches’ and that he will make his first-team return ‘as soon as possible’.

The Arsenal boss wasn’t putting a time frame on when Eduardo will play again, but I imagine that as long as he comes through a couple of reserve team games – we could see him before 2008 is out and that would be a great boost.

During his 31 appearances for Arsenal to date, the Croatian found the back of the net on 12 occasions. There was no doubt that he showed his fantastic finishing ability and the Arsenal fans really began to warm to him before the injury. I just hope he can come back as the same player because ten months out is a long time.

Eduardo will get a heroes reception when he returns though and this should give him a huge confidence lift. He should know that no Arsenal fans expect him to be back to his best straight away. As long as he can start producing some of the quality he showed before the season is out – that would be excellent.

The former Dynamo Zagreb man won’t be involved in tomorrow’s clash against Wigan the Emirates though. The Gunners take on Steve Bruce’s men looking to follow up their previous Premier League victory against Chelsea last weekend. As we all know, it is vital that Arsenal pick up the three points and start to string some results together.

We have said all this before, but this time it is an absolute necessity. The result against Chelsea is worth nothing if the Gunners don’t brush aside Wigan. Even though winning the title is still unlikely, for the sake of the season – in terms of momentum for the FA Cup and the Champions League – Arsenal need to hit some form now.

Wenger agrees with these sentiments by saying that the team ‘cannot afford to drop any more points’ and that they must ‘go for it’ in the coming weeks.

In terms of the team news ahead of this one, the senior players are likely to return to the starting line-up after the midweek Carling Cup defeat at Burnley. Injured duo Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure should be amongst the squad as well.

However, William Gallas will miss out because of a calf injury as Arsenal look to record their first home win in the league since the Manchester United game back in early November.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about football betting

Arsenal Injury Update: Rosicky, Eduardo plus Nasri, Diaby, Silvestre

Here’s the latest injury news at the Arse:

Tomas Rosicky may be playing matches by Christmas says Wenger.

Tomas has been out with hamstring problems since January, and had surgery in May. He was training and expected to return sooner, but according to the Czech international coach he had suffered some ‘set-backs’.

Wenger told the press:

“The recovery process is slower than we expected at the start. It doesn’t look worrying but the delay is longer than expected.

“He had a re-attached tendon that was loose in his hamstring, and that demands a lot of time to re-coordinate the movements of the hamstring. That makes it very difficult to predict exactly one week more or less how much time it will take.

“But I am optimistic that before Christmas you will see him in a good shape.”

Rosicky said:

“Everything went well, according to the schedule. When I was running long distances, it [the hamstring] gave me no problems at all.

“But when I started on the ball and tried to change directions of running and changed pace, the knee reacted badly. So far it does not allow me to go on in the recovery so it has stopped my training for some time. I am not resting completely, though.

“I can lift weights and do other exercises. The knee simply must get down. It does not mean at all though that I have to end my career.

“Every such treatment can bring unexpected problems with it. That is what has happened now so my return will be delayed.”

So it sounds like there are still problems, but nothing which can’t be fixed. It would be great to see Rosicky get a good run of games and come into some form. He really adds a different dimesion to our game when he’s on the pitch.

Also Wenger says Eduardo is a little ahead of schedule in his recovery, he sounded optimistic, so we may see Eddy back sooner than was expected!

Nasri, Diaby and Silvestre are all still out too, but we have no new injuries, Wenger commented:

“For Diaby, I would say two more weeks [until he is fit], Silvestre and Nasri should be available for Hull [at Emirates Stadium on September 27].”

So if all goes to plan we should have something resembling a full squad in within the next week. But no-one will be back for Bolton away tomorrow, expect a few players to be rested for that game.

News: Bischoff, Eduardo, Adebayor and Petit’s regret about Arsenal

We start today with the story that Amaury Bischoff is looking to make an impact for Arsenal when he returns from injury, and prove Wenger was right to gamble on his purchase.

Bischoff has had a groin injury since his time at Werder Bremen and still hasn’t recovered fully.

“Arsenal have shown faith in me and are building me up with a daily fitness programme.

“I know about the competition for places here – nobody can take their place for granted – but I am working hard and there is no reason why it should not work out for me.”

Young Guns has an article on how Bischoff was forced to play through pain at Bremen, which may have contributed to his injury.

Another player who expected to return for injury is striker Eduardo – he should be back around Christmas according to latest estimates.

Emmanuel Adebayor has refused to fly to Zambia with the Togo national team for their 2010 World Cup Qualifier. The players demanded that Tata Avlessi Adaglo (Togo Football Federation President) travelled with them. He declined because he was preparing for his mother’s funeral. The team went ahead, but Ade stayed in Lome.

A very random incident, but something which is to be expected when Togo are involved, they always seem to have rows between players and governing bodies, remember the 2006 World Cup bonus saga? Very odd. At least Ade won’t be playing now!

Also Emmanuel Petit has revealed his regrets about leaving Arsenal in 2000 for Barcelona in his autobiography. The player had a formidible partnership with Vieira at Arsenal, but never recreated his success later in his career.

I don’t believe a ‘curse’ exists, but is is true that many players who leave Arsenal are never as good at other clubs. maybe this has something to do with Wenger getting the best out of players and creating a team greater than the sum of its parts?

What do you think? Join the debate and leave a comment below!

Wenger on Rosicky and Eduardo

According to Arsene Tomas Rosicky should be back in September and Eduardo in November. Tomas has struggled with injuries since joining Arsenal and I feel his creativity was sorely missed last season. Meanwhile, Eduardo was unlucky to get the nasty injury at Birmingham, just as he was starting to score goals reguarly.

Rosicky has been out of action since Jan 26, and has been reguarly injured while Eduardo got a fractured leg and open dislocation to his ankle in late February.

They took part in Members’ Day yesterday and afterwards Wenger commented:

“The situation is positive for both players,”

“We believe Tomas could be available in September and Eduardo maybe in November.

“Also it was good for them to be back in this kind of atmosphere. The players enjoy a day like that.”

Both of these players are crucial to Wenger’s squad and the plan for the season ahead. If they and Robin Van Persie had been available last season then we would have had a much better chance of silverware.

Remember that we spent many games watching Eboue on the wing and Ade up front on his own. With Rosicky, Eduardo and RVP in the line up the team looks very balanced. You can see how Wenger has built a great team, but it cannot perform when key parts are missing.

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