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Thursday, May 18, 2006

"(It was) one-nil to the Arsenal..."

Well, they said those UEFA Champions League final officials were from Norway, but they might as well have been from Mars! First off, clearly the ref should have played the advantage after Lehmann took Eto'o down just outside the box. Since he blew the whistle, though, he had no choice but to send Lehmann off and award a free kick. Even if he had played the advantage, though, and Giuly's goal had stood, he probably should have sent Lehmann off anyway - right?

Then there was the "foul" on Eboue, which led to the free kick and the Gooners' goal. Clearly there was barely any contact. And Van Bommel made several outrageous lunges without being penalized. Once, in fact, TH ended up with the foul instead. He was left spluttering in disbelief....

Almunia almost held the gates closed until the end, but TDH has to believe that Lehmann 1) wouldn't have been wrong-footed by Eto'o nor 2) would he have let Belletti - Belletti! - shoot through his legs.

That said, the real culprit was probably Ashley Cole, who had to mark Eto'o on the left. If he hadn't lost Samueleeto, Lehmann never would have had to spare the left-back's blushes with the red card. And perhaps Lehmann doesn't know just how much he's worth; had he simply conceded the goal to Eto'o, the score might have been 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes.

On the bright side, Big Sol was a monster in the biggest match of the season. He looked as good as in Euro 2004, for TDH's money. Sven must be smiling, somewhere. Meanwhile, La Pulga Bionica was nowhere to be seen - TDH couldn't even spot him in the celebrations after the game. Could you, loyal readers?

Overall, TDH is a bit saddened for The Goon Show, as they might not have another chance at the title. Barca clearly will, but TDH could hardly say they didn't deserve it this time, too.


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

no sympathy here. I was outraged at Eboue's dive; had Arsenal won, it would have been a bit of a hollow victory - European champions for a dive.

Lehmann deserved his red card, but I think if the advantage had been played, he'd not have to be sent off. As for the fouls, TH got the booking for a pretty agressive tackle that was a bordeline foul. But he'll be disappointed. He should have scored twice, and while he looked like a leader, he didn't rally his players after they wen't down - Barca kept the ball for about 3 minutes without Arsenal getting near them.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Palms said...

I agree that Lehmann deserved the red card. As TDH points out the referee probably should have played advantage, but he had already blown his whistle. Fair decision.

I think Mara's being a little harsh on Asenal though. Terry Henry's booking was outrageous. It was nowhere near a borderline foul. It was clean as you get. Any contact with the Braca player was totally secondary.

As for Henry not rallying his troops: a bit harsh I think. They were down to ten men and as a result were understandably lung burstingly knackered by the 80th minute. Playing 40 odd minutes without having any of the ball will do that to you. As for the 3 minute period where arsenal didn't get near the ball: Arsenal were a man down.

Also, I always find it hilarious when an Italian football fan takes issue with diving...

You know i loves ya' Mara!

11:00 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

a milan fan - the rest of them can go to f**k.

And pippo aside, we don't dive - and even he hasn't dived in any important games in the last couple of years.

ok, so arsenal were a man down, and knackered - but its the European cup final. where was the second wind?

one more thing - did anyone else think Rijkaard nearly lost the game for his side by idiotically playing Sammy Eto'o on the left for most of the game? what a fool. the two times he moved to the centre for any length of time, he moved to the centre he first hit a post and then scored.

12:43 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Yeah, that was totally wacky. Barcelona probably would have scored earlier had Samueleeto been fronting L'il Ron down the middle. But his goal did come from the left, so who are we to complain?

Also, did anyone notice Larsson's pivotal role in both goals? Nice little flick, clever little backpass. He may not have been as prolific as he was at Celtic (not by a mile), but he did show he could play in a top quality team without looking out of place.

Lastly, the commentators kept saying that Henry had been asking Wenger to take Hleb off - which he finally did - for most of the second half. Losing the final, disagreeing with the coach... sounds like he's on his way to the Camp Nou.

2:30 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

And welcome, Palms, thanks for the comment!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Eto'o on the left might have looked like a waste of a prodigious talent.. but I think David Pleat makes a good point in today's Guardian, that with Campbell and Toure shoring up the middle so effectively, the smart option was to exploit the spaces down Arsenal's flanks where the one-man advantage could really be made to tell.

And yes, Larsson's flick for the equaliser was just masterful. Carping about the possibility of offside (as Henry did) misses the point; the pace and timing of the move made for a such a hairline, split-second decision that the officials have no option but to give the attacking team the benefit of the doubt.

I also think Maradona makes a good point about tiredness not being a great excuse. Henry rather lamely tried to excuse his pivotal one-on-one miss by saying he had 'nothing left in the legs'. For God's sake man, you're clear through on goal in the seventieth minute of the Champions League final- find something from somewhere!

3:21 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

true about the flanks, but why not play ron there?
he's better at beating men and crossing than Samuel, and Sammy is a better finisher with feet and head.

I never rated Larsson, because I don't rate the SPL, and I don't think any player of ambition would spend their best years there unless they don't think they can cut it elsewhere.

Yesterday, with the UEFA cup final performance he put in 3 years ago is changing my mind about him. He was sheer class.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Palms said...

meh...Sure Larsson was good on wednesday. Again though he was playing against an opponent that was on its knees. Barcelona were pretty average quite frankly.

I am a Newcastle fan by the way, so I have no bias towards Arsenal. I do believe that holding out against probably the best club side in europe with only 10 men is pretty damn heroic. And tiredness is a valid excuse.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Palms said...

That should be holding out for 80 minutes by the way...

8:23 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

let me put it like this, palmy -can you imagine Shearer shooting straight at the keepet after 70 minutes, even if Given had been sent off 50 minutes before, and then spouting off about the ref being a donkey and saying, in essence, that he was 'too tired to score'?

It's not acceptable.

8:29 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Ah, playing the Shearer card, that's the killer....

11:08 PM  

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