Joey Barton seems to have revolutionised his methods. While it must be noted that he has gained small intelligence in understanding that he cannot punch anyone directly on the pitch (see videos of his clash with Gamst-Pedersen), he has now decided that the only way he can release his hate for the rest of the world that has wronged him all his life is to take it out on “tackles”.
Needless to say, it is clear to see which of the journalists reporting on the game was actually at St. James’ Park and the ones that watched the 15 minute highlights and wrote in depth criticism of Arsenal to focus away from their lack of professionalism.
It was a long trip up to St. James’ Park for us travelling fans and fantastic to witness such a game (note: the word ‘fantastic’ was inserted after we got confirmation of Man Utd’s result against Wolves on the train).
Throughout the game, there were several incidents that took place off the ball, which the Match of the day crew would cut out. Joey Barton had spent most of the first half chasing Arshavin’s shadow and trying to work out if Clichy was a left back or a left winger. His frustration was evident on several occasions where tried to either stick a leg or kick out to bring down Arshavin and we’ve all seen ‘that’ challenge towards the end of the first half when he eventually got him.
Referee Phil Dowd however has had a selective vision for a while now. Or perhaps his eyes can only calculate what happens in a red shirt. It may be worth for Vic Akers to note that the Gunners may have some luck wearing the yellow kit next time Mr. Dowd is refereeing. There wasn’t a booking of any sorts and Barton felt like it must be Christmas already, getting away un-cautioned time after time.
So at 4-0 down, for everyone it seemed the game was over. Atleast it was for those great Newcastle fans that left after 10 minutes.
Let’s now get on to the sending off incident. Firstly, there is never any excuse for Diaby to react that way. Yes, we know he has gotten injured before but the least he should have done is learnt from the incident with Paul Robinson in the Bolton game earlier in the season. It was a very bad challenge on Diaby and Robinson escaped without warning that day. Luckily at the time, there were players close to Abou to stop him from getting to Robinson. HE SHOULD HAVE LEARNT FROM THAT EXPERIENCE! Unfortunately he didn’t and it seems no one had a word in his ear about it either.
There is an illness/mental disorder among certain sections of the media that it is ok to break a leg and call it unfortunate just as long as you get the ball…eventually. Yes, Barton got the ball but he followed through on Diaby. Those sections of the media standing up for Barton’s action - saying what a fair tackler he is have clearly been watching Match of the Day and therefore did not see the evidence from the first half Barton has been looking to start some trouble.
I need not mention that Kevin Nolan got away with the same offence as Diaby. You all know everything that happened after and there is no need for me to go into detail on that.
Let’s look at this seasons refereeing situation. For a long time now many Gooners have accepted a certain degree of bias against Arsenal. Those of you now a face towards the screen like you smelt something nasty might as well close this window now and start looking at something else. I go to just about every home and away game and I have witnessed the amongst fellow Gooners the “let’s get on with it” attitude. I applaud the fact that for a while now, we have focused on backing the team rather than curse and abuse the referee...atleast up until the Everton game.
However, it seems the referee’s are taking advantage of the “get on with it” attitude from fans and players recently. It has resulted in our captain eventually hitting out at the refs – “Oh such sickening crime; dirty Cesc Fabregas must be banned from playing football forever for his disgustingly vile assault on Lee Mason” – give me a break! In recent days the decision making has become nothing short of being abysmal and something has to be done about it.
Lee Mason was an absolute joke and those who think he is beyond any conspiracy, take some time to look at this excellent analysis WRITTEN BEFORE THE EVERTON match.
Just off the top of my head I can think of several decisions JUST THIS SEASON that have been nothing short of a joke.
Sunderland v Arsenal – Mysterious length of injury time together with EXTRA injury time till Sunderland scored an equaliser.
Fabregas’ handball against Spuds that gave them a penalty from…wait for it…Mr. Phil Dowd.
SAME incident happens in the match between Wigan and Arsenal at the DW Stadium, this time by a Wigan player and nothing is given to Arsenal. Justice?
Spuds managed to take a free kick 10 yards from where the incident occurred gaining a “fair” bit of advantage from which they scored the winner. Take a bow again Mr. Dowd.
Paul Robinson’s “tackle” on Diaby went unpunished.
Joke of a penalty given to Manchester United from Howard Webb when Gael Clichy used his arm as support to get up from the ground and Nani kicked the ball against his hand.
Rio Ferdinand’s karate kick on Bacary Sagna completely ignored by Howard Webb.
Clattenberg booking Fabregas against Huddersfield in the FA Cup after Cesc was wrestled to the floor by a Huddersfield player when he tried to return the ball to them for a throw in.
Wilshere booked within 4 minutes of Everton match by Lee Mason and yet most Everton fouls which were FAR worse went unpunished.
Lee Mason’s insistence on not playing advantage or booking the constant cynical fouls on Walcott every time Arsenal were on the counter attack.
Louis Saha’s offside goal that every man and his dog could’ve spotted bar Lee Mason and his assistant.
Mikel Arteta’s challenge on Fabregas which the media ignored and decided to look at Cesc’s retaliated challenge.
Phil Dowd – Joey Barton “challenges”.
Phil Dowd – Kevin Nolan on Szczesny
Phil Dowd – Newcastle Penalty
Phil Dowd – Newcastle Free kick before the equaliser.
NOTE: THE ABOVE LIST COVERS HALF A SEASON!
Can you honestly say that the referees have been fair to us when I can draw up a list like the above off the top of my head covering only half a season?
Despite all that, we are in the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, 2nd in the League and in knock out stages of Champions League.
Tuesday night, the atmosphere at the Emirates was one to remember. The disgusting low level of refereeing brought the Gooners together and gave the side a lift. They can try all they want but we can remain confident of some success this season.