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Wenger chants smear everything United say they stand for: report and player ratings

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1

I’M going to start this blog in a calm and rational way. The first thing to say is that we gifted Manchester United two of the cheapest goals you will see.

On top and ahead, we committed suicide. For their penalty, Wayne Rooney was going absolutely nowhere, except perhaps to retrieve the ball from the crowd after his heavy touch that was taking it out of play. Manuel Almunia, a little rusty this season, had no need to really come in the first place and no need to give Rooney the chance to go down.

For the second, Ryan Giggs put in a frankly nothingish free-kick, Abou Diaby simply had to head it out and instead he smacked it past Almunia. Ignore SKY praising the quality of the ball. Just before it came to Diaby nobody thought for a second he would do anything other than clear it – in contrast to our so called “lucky” second goal at Celtic Park, where the defender was genuinely pressured to put through his own net.

Other than a Patrice Evra shot (not dissimilar to the only Celtic chance at Parkhead), they created absolutely nothing until William Gallas and the midfield threw themselves up front in search of an equaliser in stoppage time.

Before I conclude the calm and rational bit, I was very disappointed to see Eboue’s dive too. To do it in this week of all weeks showed great stupidity, it made us look unnecessarily desperate and it was a crap dive anyway. We Arsenal fans all know Eboue is a diver and nobody disputes it.

Right, that is the calm and the rational bit dealt with. Now the rest. I have three points to make.

1) We were denied the most blatant of blatant penalties in the history of Association Football in the first half. Arshavin was not so much tackled as ploughed. That Fletcher touched the ball was irrelevant. That he then felt the need to scoop it up with his hand before clearing added to the outrageousness of it all.

But, you say, it didn’t matter because Arshavin scored 30 seconds later… You what? It was a separate passage of play and by that logic you may as well say had he given the penalty everything in the future would have been different.

Andrei Arshavin had one surprise 30 yard screamer where he would go for the near post rather than the far to deliver yesterday and there is absolutely nothing to say he wouldn’t have simply done it five minutes later had we got the spot-kick.

Equally, look at this way: there was a penalty for both sides in yesterday’s game (saying nothing for the ignored RVP incident). We didn’t get ours (incredibly blatant) where as they got their one, which was a penalty but with issues around it.

2). Wayne Rooney threw himself to the ground before any contact from Manuel Almunia yesterday. It is a fact, simple as that. Watch the replay and see his legs go from under him.

There was no difference between what he and Eduardo did – only between the Celtic keeper who completely pulled away and Manuel Almunia, who didn’t.

And yet it being Rooney and he being English, the incident is brushed under the carpet, which is particularly astonishing given his well known propensity for diving in this very encounter. Why weren’t SKY replaying the 2004 incident after the game?

The excuse Andy Gray seemed to have for him is that there is nothing in the rules that says you have to hurdle a goalkeeper. Fine, but that doesn’t explain why Rooney’s legs go from under him before Almunia even arrives.

I’m not saying Almunia didn’t then make it a penalty, but at least have the balls to admit the truth.

3) 95 minutes into yesterday’s game an Arsenal equaliser was correctly ruled offside. Arsene Wenger celebrated, realised what had happened and kicked an empty water bottle into the air, nowhere near anybody.

It was a solitary act of frustration. He was not out of control, he was not bemoaning the decision.

And then two jumped up little idiots behaved disgracefully just 20 seconds from the end of the contest, sending Arsene off.

As Mike Dean and his assistant will well know, for 13 years Arsene Wenger has had to endure thousands upon thousands of people sing at him “sit down you paedophile” every time he stands up at Old Trafford.

Presumably even the majority of Spurs and Chelsea fans think it beyond the pale because despite the tune being around for years, the only place you ever heard it song with any great gusto is Old Trafford.

And we’re not talking about a small minority of the fans. We’re not even talking about only United’s vocal away following. It is thousands upon thousands of them.

It is a vile, inhumnan chant when aimed at anyone. When aimed at a man with a daughter now just old enough to understand what it means, it beggars all belief.

Not only were the officials giving a man who has had to endure all that not even the tiniest bit of leeway, but they were sending him to the stands to be surrounded by the vile mob who abuse him every year (including last season, when Dean was also in charge).

I honestly believe nothing less than a public apology from both Dean and the fourth official will do and a suspension for both. It’s an appalling way to treat a man, who let it be said, with enormous dignity, still refuses to even mention the treatment he receives. Contrast that to Fergie who literally kicked the bottle when on the end of sporadic abuse from a handful of fans sat around him at the Emirates.

And what of Manchester United? Frankly in my eyes it besmirches their entire existence. If I’m blunt every time I see those thousands of faces fall silent to commemorate their club’s glorious dead I remember how many of them will be the same faces who a few weeks later will think nothing of plumbing such vile depths.

At the crux of it is the point that it is not the mindless few. Every club has those and there is only so much you can do. But at United it is endemic and it has been going on for years.

And of course United could do so much to stop it. On the street, that kind of abuse could put you in court and with their CCTV cameras that cover every part of the ground, United could very easily vow to ban perpetrators next time it happens and then make examples of a few to deter the masses.

But they don’t.

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