Yesterday night was UEFA’s worst nightmare wasn’t it. They wanted something so much that they’ll do anything to get it. Michel Platini has been dreaming for this scenario to happen but it didn’t. The governing body of European football eventually did not get what they wanted. Platini wasn’t able to fulfill a lifelong vendetta.
No, I’m not talking about the Champions League final. Not yet, any way. This is about Arsene Wenger and him accepting the 3 games ban imposed for his rant after the AC Milan game about the officials. Platini and UEFA would have wanted Wenger to challenge the decision so that they could further inflict another 10 games ban to our manager. Alas, Wenger did not bite the bait and UEFA’s plans were foiled. Seriously though, I’m sure the team at the club has assessed the situation and knows for certain that the decision will not be overturned and hence just didn’t want to waste any time on it.
That though did not stop Wenger from trying to push a rule change on UEFA and more specifically, FIFA. Introducing sin bins is our manager’s latest idea. One which has been seen used in other sports like rugby. Basically it means that players are sent to have a sit down for a certain period of time before allowing them to rejoin the field of play and thus reducing the team to 10 men temporarily. The rule covers players who are on the verge of doing something really wrong or fumed beyond control and thus needed a cooling off period for fear of getting sent off.
Frankly, I don’t think that will work in football. The rules are there. Yellow and red cards are to be dished out accordingly. How long would the cooling off period be sufficient? Because within the current laws, it means a sending off. That immediately gives an advantage to the other team. Would 10 minutes be sufficient an advantage to the other team? It’s a really subjective topic and one which could be debated to the death and still neither side could fully prove their case.
I do think there are rule tweak within the current game which are far more necessary than introducing a completely left field one. For instance the straight red card for last man foul when some has gotten off with just a yellow for dangerous play that doesn’t involve one team denying another a goal scoring opportunity by foul means. Or the fact that keepers cannot simply change when they want to take their goal kicks (provided both sides of the grass are in good condition). Or all the shirt pulling and hugging that goes on during every set piece.
It seems that not a day goes by without one member speaking about the quality we have and how we can challenge for trophies. Wojciech Szczesny is the latest one with his interview here. Sounds rehash from time to time. You just replace the name of the player involve and basically it’s the same quotes. More often than not, we also see players admitting to certain mistakes or psychological preparation that we didn’t do prior to a game. That is also on repetitive cycle which also means that we’re repeating the mistakes. Work it out in action rather than empty words.
Finally the Champions League permutations has been cleared up. There were fears before (fears that were less prior to Tuesday night) that even if we end up in 3rd, we’ll still have to go through the qualifiers if Chelsea finished as champions. Now it’s clear that we don’t, provided we finished 3rd. That much is clear. I don’t see why we should look at 4th place for that is not the aim now and we have it all within ourselves to secure the 3rd spot.
Now, coming back to UEFA’s disappointment, they must be losing it today. A Barcelona – Real Madrid final replaced by Chelsea – Bayern Munich final. They must be seething to see that. Sponsors would be up in arms over this fix. Questions will be asked of the officials of how they allowed this to happen. Why wasn’t more red cards given to Chelsea or Bayern and why wasn’t more penalties given to Barcelona or Madrid.
I caught the game last night and Bayern deserved to be the final. They came out with more attacking intent than Chelsea did the night before. In the end, they were stronger when the Madrid legs were tiring. Manuel Neuer was impressive in saving those two penalties while Iker Casillas’ saves were less so and more due to Bayern players shooting straight at him. I would have put Bayern as automatic favourite seeing that they will play in their home ground but suspension to Alaba and Badstuber will hit the Germans hard. But Chelsea has their own suspension issues, so it might not be an open ended question it should be.
All the more important that we secure the third place now.