UEFA Rescinds Diving Penalty for Eduardo

UEFA has rescinded Eduardo’s two match diving ban, clearing him Arsenal’s first group stage match against Standard Liege.

Eduardo sparked the controversy against Celtic during qualification, falling before anticipated contact from Celtic keeper Artur Boruc. The contact never came, but the referee awarded Arsenal a penalty.

UEFA’s decision was correct.

Eduardo anticipated the situation incorrectly. He made a mistake. We should distinguish between that and a lame attempt to deceive the referee.

Had he been caught by the referee, Eduardo would have received a yellow-card for simulation, not a two-match ban. UEFA was not punishing him for the crime, but for the effect it had.

The precedent would be ludicrous as well. Diving, however odious, is ever-present. Two-match bans for each instance would be ubiquitous. Players would still dive, and there would be far fewer great ones to watch.

Diving is natural. It won’t be eradicated by no-nonsense enforcement. The solution should allow referees to decide correctly. That may mean extra officials on the goal-line.


Emmanuel Adebayor Lectures Arsenal Fans on Loyalty

Before playing Arsenal, former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor said Arsenal supporters are “not real fans.”

Continued at EPL Talk

In Soccer, Size is Not Everything

Alexi Lalas told The Big Lead yesterday, he believed Landon Donovan was “one of the Top 20 players in the world.”  That’s nutty.  But, so were comments he made on The B.S. Report.  Lalas told Simmons “height” was becoming a more prevalent issue in soccer and that diminutive talents like Leo Messi were “a dying breed.”

Soccer players, as with all athletes, are becoming bigger, faster and stronger than before (through unnatural means?), but that does not give a team a decisive advantage.

Continue reading “In Soccer, Size is Not Everything”

Arsenal Beat Celtic 2-0, All But Assure Champions League Qualification

Arsenal beat Celtic 2-0 at Celtic Park, all but assuring their qualification for the Champions League group stages, with two away goals.  It was not the presiding effort of their 6-1 away win at Everton, but the two deflected goals – from Gallas and Gary Caldwell’s foot – fulfilled the requirement in what was arguably the most important match of the season.

Continued at EPL Talk

Onion Bag: Arsenal, Beckham’s Red, Bad Refereeing

2008-07-11_223952-1Arsenal Statement: Arsenal’s new 4-3-3 formation eviscerated Everton’s defense for a 6-1 away win.  Cesc Fabregas, finally healthy, erupted with two goals and two assists reasserting his claim to be considered one of world’s best.  Van Persie, Arshavin and Denilson, the most underrated player in the EPL, were fantastic.  Vermaelen and Gallas were solid in central defense.  Even Nicklas Bendtner got a bit frisky in a new position on the right.  Arsene Wenger’s squad can beat anyone, when healthy.  It has been true the past few seasons.  The issue is depth.

Continued at The Big Lead

What Will Arsenal Do With the Transfer Money from Manchester City?

Manchester City are spending their way into the Premier League top four.  Paradoxically, the club most amenable to their ambition is Arsenal, whom they wish to supplant.  The Gunners sold City striker Emmanuel Adebayor for £25m.  Less than two weeks later, they are prepared to sell them defender Kolo Toure for another £14m, as the 28-year-old Ivorian has been turned by the £100,000 per week wage offer.

Continued at EPL Talk

UEFA to Fine Arsenal and Manchester United £5,000, Why Bother?

nemanja_vidicUEFA will fine both Arsenal and Manchester United £5,000 respectively for fan incidents during last years Champions League semifinals.  An Arsenal fan hit Nemanja Vidic with a plastic bottle.  A Manchester United supporter hurled a smoke bomb onto the pitch.    The actions were potentially serious.  The fines are not.

UEFA functions like all bureaucracies.  It continues actions without a hint of rational analysis, solely because it was policy beforehand.  Has no one questioned the purpose of these penalties?

Continued at EPL Talk