Thursday, May 18, 2006

Arsene Whinger

Is Arsene Whinger trying to win the coveted 2006 “sorest loser” title? Jose Mourinho will be getting worried.

Following his ill-judged and bad-tempered verbal assault on Tottenham’s Martin Jol, Whinger’s post-match comments after defeat by Barcelona last night have earned him bonus points which may well clinch the title.

Not for him a gracious acceptance of the outcome, but rather an accusation that Barcelona had the added assistance of the referee in achieving their victory. His main complaint against the referee was that Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o was offside when he scored the equaliser.

Let’s examine the main turning points in the game and assess who was the main beneficiary of material refereeing decisions (trivial mistakes like wrongly booking Thierry Henry for a perfectly legitimate tackle may be irritating, but it had no real impact on the outcome of the match).
(1) Jens Lehmann was correctly sent off for tripping Eto‘o in the 17th minute, but the goal scored by Giuly for Barcelona was disallowed and a free-kick outside the box awarded. The sending off was correct but the referee should have allowed the goal to stand.

(2) Puyol was incorrectly penalised for an Eboue dive and, from the resulting free kick by Henry, Cambpbell scored for Arsenal.

(3) Larsson deflected the ball into the path of Eto’o who scored the equaliser for Barcelona in the 77th minute. TV replays showed that Eto’o might have been very marginally offside. Opinion was divided on this, but all commentator’s agreed that no-one would blame the linesman for making such a marginal call.
Except, of course, Arsene Whinger.

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