The hottest news today is the vilification of one Eduardo Da Silva for his part in the simulation which thought to have deceived the referee into giving Arsenal a penalty in the 2nd leg of the Champs League Qualifier. I will say this again, yes it was a dive. Was there any contact from Boruc? Maybe. Enough to go down? Maybe not so. But is this the first time we’ve seen of such act? Why is it that when it concerns Arsenal, the press seems to be happier than usual to play the whole thing up. Is Arsenal so hated by the media that every thing to taken under special scrutiny and everything other teams make are turned a blind eye to.
Few names comes to mind immediately when the topic of simulation is raised; Ronaldo (the biggest of all), Robinho, Drogba, Gerrard, Owen, Rooney and Babel. But there was never this much controversy when they did it. What Wenger commented during his pre-United game press conference was absolutely right. If UEFA were to punish Eduardo with this then the same form of punishment must be meted out to every other player and team who does the same. This cannot be a one-time occurence. Then how will the process go about? Does it need the respective clubs to raise a complaint or will there be an arbitrary panel which scrutinize every detail of a game? So many question and as Wenger puts it, “UEFA has opened a whole dimension of doors with this precedence”
Now there is a matter of Premier League clash at Old Trafford. Totally beaten over the 2 legs of the Champions League semifinal, Arsenal did well to hold the champions to a scoreless draw immediately after the loss. Hopefully the team will view the current witch-hunt of one of their own as additional motivation to strut their stuffs on the pitch. There will be no Fabregas in the team. He has failed to recover from his injury sufficiently to feature. I think Wenger is looking at this in the longer view. Already called up to the Spanish national squad, should Fabregas played in this match then he will definitely have to play for Spain as well. Coming back from an injury like his, the chances of the injury to get worse is high. Missing 1 match is better than a few months. Well played Wenger.
I believe the squad is strong enough to cope without the captain’s presence. Sure, we will miss his incisive passing in a game as tight as this but having Arshavin in the squad might have tilted Wenger towards bubble-wrapping his captain. I expect Fletcher, Carrick and even Anderson to start this game to counter the influence of the 3 midfielders in Arsenal’s formation. Those 3 might not look like a fearsome attacking unit but they will have a little of a bite in tackling. Denilson’s role will be crucial as he needs to discipline to support Song in the defensive duties. Song earlier reminded the whole team that they haven’t forgotten what Evra said in the aftermath of the semifinal. This will serve as motivation #2.
Attacking-wise, we looked quite solid. Without Ferdinand, United have no one to command their defence. Evans is prone to mistakes and if he plays, Vidic will be short on match fitness. From the 4 matches that we have played, Arshavin and Van Persie have not clicked as a duo yet but big players always rise for the big games. In matches as tight as this, the 2 of them is vital to the Arsenal cause as their close control and intelligence is second to none. I’m looking for a big performance from them tonight.
That’s it. Let’s march to Old Trafford and show the world that you cannot simply come at our own and think that we will not respond. Here’s to a good victory and a smashed Evra head.