What a frustrating weekend. What a brilliant weekend. What a disappointing weekend. What were those refs doing at the weekend?!
The self-proclaimed Best League In The World certainly provided some half-decent entertainment this weekend but it was not all positive – certain referees didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory.
First of all, Mark Clattenburg. Hard to defend this bumbling idiot, isn’t it? I’m not going to bother trying.
I don’t think anyone can blame him for responding in the affirmative to his employer’s question of “did you get that decision right, Mark?” after the Rooney elbow last week. Which of us can honestly say that we wouldn’t do the same if our boss asked whether the obviously crass mistake we made was something they should consider a sackable offence?
“Simon, do you think you made the right decision when you punched that important customer in the face?”
Great psychology there from the FA.
Now, what’s the best thing to do when you make a mistake? Get right back into the game and, errrr, make another one. His decision to give a penalty to Fulham for a fairly standard, pre-corner wrestling match wouldn’t have been so bad had he not failed to give them a penalty in the very attack that led to the set piece in the first place. You’d be hard pressed to find a more blatant admission of a previous mistake than that one. At least give it a few minutes before you try and redress the balance, Mark!
Then there was Anthony Taylor. “Anthony who?”, I hear you say. That’s what we said before the game. By the end of the game, we all knew who he was. He insisted that we look at him and talk about him.
I don’t think you can really blame him for the goal that was given offside. It wasn’t his decision and even then, it was pretty close. The penalty one was wrong however, and just serves to demonstrate the unwritten rule that says you have to go down if you want a penalty. However, the reason many in the ground were screaming at the referee was not because of a difficult offside call and a missed penalty shout. For the entire second half, Taylor seemed desperate to get on TV, making poor decision after poor decision – ironic really because these antics didn’t make it into the Match Of The Day edit so his mission failed. Sort of.
Of course, the sad truth is that, despite the wrong decisions, we didn’t deserve to win the game anyway. Sunderland would have been understandably disappointed not to take anything out of the game if we’d won it – they played just like Birmingham did at Wembley, closing us down but also carrying a threat at the other end – and without Fabregas we didn’t have any idea how to beat them.
Strange really, you’d have thought that the cunning and wily ability of Denilson and Diaby would have been enough to undo a tight defence. When Denilson’s not slipping over just as he receives the ball, he’s passing it back towards his own goal, even in positions of real threat and Abou Diaby is the only man who could ever be booked for time-wasting whilst taking a penalty – the man has to think for such a long time when he gets the ball that only a new FA rule which says that all other players have to stand still for 10 seconds whenever he touches it can save him.
For the first 70 minutes the team was clueless and lethargic. Once the two spare parts in the middle went off, we began to come to life but 20 minutes of effort was not quite enough and we have now managed only 2 goals in our last 3 games (Leyton Orient aside).
Of course, the talk on the way out of the ground was that whenever United mess up, as they did at Chelsea in the week, we always fail to capitalise – so it was hard to believe that United did even worse on Sunday and lost to Liverpool. Bizarre.
So after all that, we’re still in it, Mark Clattenburg is still a Premier League referee and Abou Diaby is still an Arsenal midfielder. Not only that, but he’s going to play tonight in Barcelona as Song is injured. Forgive me but I can’t find the words to describe how this makes me feel.
No, hang on, I’ve got one … nervous. Goodbye.