Monday, April 24, 2006

Upon further review...

...that Spurs goal might be more controversial than I originally thought, and their manager Martin Jol is definitely a disingenuous dick.

After seeing several replays of the goal, three things are worth noting. Click here to see also the Lehmann/Davids confrontation, Wenger/Jol confrontation, and Henry's brilliant equaliser.

1) First, after the collision between the two Arsenal players trying to tackle Carrick, Carrick goes over to the touchline, holds the ball, and waits to see if the referee is going to stop play. The referree cannot stop play because no foul has occurred, so it is up to Carrick to either honor the unwritten gentlemen's agreement and put the ball out of play or play on. He plays on and they score the goal.

2) Sky Sports did a great job in their coverage of this to show that Manager Martin Jol, standing by the sideline and very close to where Carrick was waiting, is heard very clearly shouting to Carrick "Play! Play! Play!". Right after Jol says this Carrick passes to Davids who crosses for Keane, who scores. It is pretty clear that Carrick played on because his manager was screaming in his ear to do so. What makes Jol a dick is that after the match when asked about it, he claimed that he didn't see the incident at all, and that he was yelling "play!" to Davids not Carrick, which makes him a lying asshole based on the video/audio evidence available.

Jol explaining and pointing at what he didn't see

3) Immediately after the goal Mats, who of course lost his mind, ran over to Davids, got all up in his grill yelling at him and even pushing him about his apparent unsporting behavior (I love Jens but he should have been yellow carded for this in my opinion). The telling thing is Davids' reaction to the confrontation. He is known far and wide as a 'bulldog' type who never backs down from a confrontation, but that is exactly what he did here. He meekly walked away as Lehmann harrassed him, like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar who knows that he did something wrong. Not the reaction that you would expect from Davids if he didn't feel like he had gotten away with one.

The goal definitely falls into a morally ambiguous area, and I am not saying that it is beyond argument that they goal was unfair. I am saying that it defintiely falls squarely into the gray area between fair play and taking advantage of the rules in an unsporting way. Ultimately Arsenal should have 1)played to the whistle 2)started their strongest team Saturday and again tomorrow, since the next match after that isn't until next Monday, so they should have ridden their best horses in the 2 biggest matches of the season and then let them rest for 6 days.

More on the moral ambiguity of the situation here and here, but Arseblogger says it best:

"What I should probably mention is that although we 'dropped' a point yesterday it's not Robbie Keane's goal that will dictate where we finish. It was miserable away days at West Brom, Everton, Boro, Portsmouth and Blackburn and horrible nights like West Ham at home that made yesterday's three points so vital. So we can rage all we like but at the end of the day we put ourselves in this position. Which is a pain in the arse but that's just the way it is."


OMAA said...

Saw the replays and I agree that they took advantage. It appeared that when the Spurs guy stopped, everyone else stopped and then they just started up again. However, you always have to play to the whistle. If you don't, you are likely to get burned.

Terry Henry's goal sure was sweet, though. Almost makes me want to get up a 6Am for the next match. Almost.

Kanu said...


No worries, dude - the next match is TODAY at a comfortable 2.45 p.m. EST on ESPN2.

I'm sure that you have some cell phone now where you can RDP into your Tivo (and/or launch the Space Shuttle) or something, so you should be able to sort it out with no trouble.

OMAA said...

Can't get the duece and launch at the same time!