Kenny Dalglish was very critical of the referees in Liverpool’s recent games against Sunderland, Stoke City and Spurs. He complained to the media that Liverpool were not receiving fair treatment from the match officials and that the big calls were going against his team. King Kenny was upset when the first question asked of him, after the Merseyside derby against Everton, pertained to referee Martin Atkinson’s decision, to incorrectly send off Jack Rodwell. Kenny, you can’t have it both ways.
Wenger and many Arsenal fans bemoaned the number of players missing or unavailable for Sunday’s game and how it contributed to Arsenal’s loss. William Gallas, Tom Huddlestone, Steven Pienaar, Niko Kranjcar, Aaron Lennon, Danny Rose and Michael Dawson were all missing from the Spurs line up while Sandro and van der Vaart both played despite not being 100% fit. Spurs did well considering they were missing four definite starters.
I endured the trip from hell on Sunday morning. I drove back from visiting the in-laws in Vermont. That wasn’t it. I was driving a minivan with my four screaming kids in the back. That wasn’t it either. I had the misfortune to listen to Sirius radio’s live commentary of the Spurs-Arsenal game in which they used the feed from the official Arsenal web site. It was hell on wheels. It is bad enough that Sirius is one long Chelsea FC ’03 infomercial without now having to endure biased Arsenal commentators too. Unfortunately I did not get to hear the disappointment in their voices as the final whistle blew because Sirius for some unknown reason cut to a NFL game.
There is so much money in the modern game that incorrect referee decisions can cost teams millions in lost revenue or the chance to win a trophy, manager’s their job and players the chance to play in major finals. It won’t be long until a club, manager or a player sues a referee and by extension the league in which they are playing for loss of earnings attributed to a poor decision in a game. It will be a sad day for football when it happens, but like with the Bosman and Charleroi cases, football will have to respect the power of the courts.
Luis Suarez is fast becoming one of the most disliked players in English football. He has a habit of diving and been over dramatic when trying to win calls for his team. He was at it again this weekend. His overreaction to Jack Rodwell’s tackle saw the Everton player sent off while his theatrics when being fouled by Phil Jagielka helped convince the referee to award Liverpool a penalty.
Neil Lennon is under increasing pressure at his beloved Celtic as the Hoops fell 10 points behind bitter rivals Rangers following Sunday’s loss at Hearts. Lennon’s side have played well in many games, but as soon as St. Johnstone, FC Sion, Rangers and Hearts took the lead the Celts imploded. They lack a leader on the field, are a team devoid of ideas when behind, and in Lennon have a tinkerer for a manager who still does not know his best side. If Celtic are not within striking distance of Rangers by the turn of the year Celtic will have no choice but to part company with Lennon.
Juventus, La Vecchia Signora of Italian Football scored two late goals courtesy of Claudio Marchisio to beat AC Milan and go joint top of Serie A with Udinese. The game with Milan was one of the first high profile games played in front of a full house at the new Juventus Stadium. Juve and Serie A have been on a downward spiral in recent years and have lost ground to oligarch clubs like Chelsea ’03 and Man City ’08 who have nothing of the history and the tradition of their Italian counterparts. The new stadium and the return to form of Italy’s leading club may just be the start of a turnaround in Serie A’s fortunes.