So, no surprises from the FA.|
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have been charged
with misconduct over the "brawl" towards the end of the superb
League Cup final on Sunday. The FA describe it as "an incident involving players and officials from both clubs" and
the charge is that the clubs failed to ensure that their "players and/or officials conducted
themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative and/or violent behaviour."
The clubs have till 14th March to respond, but no officials face individual charges. This rather begs the question, why does the charge mention officials at all? Jose Mourinho and
Arsene Wenger both came onto the pitch but neither got involved in any way that was
by any stretch of the imagination reprehensible.
Anyway both clubs will doubtless face a fine over this one, and it'll be the least of
either club's worries.
The other new charges, the individual ones, both relate only to Arsenal. And it is this
fact and this alone which we Gooners can rightly feel indignant about. Not the charges
faces a charge of violent conduct for "striking Wayne Bridge" and Emmanuel Adebayor one
of "reacting aggressively and failing to leave the field of play immediately after being sent off".
They both have till 6pm today to respond, and neither has a leg to stand on. Eboue's charge
will be heard by a disciplinary commission tomorrow and Adebayor's on Tuesday. The difference appears
to be that Adebayor's charge is outside the jurisdiction of the match officials and so he is
entitled to a personal hearing. There is also the fact that he is already suspended for the next
3 games so there's no hurry. Eboue has "been offered"
a 3 match ban, which is nice of them.
Also, both Adebayor and Jon Obi Mikel appealed the red cards shown to them on Sunday on the basis
of "wrongful dismissal" and both have had those appeals quickly rejected. It had been anticipated that
Adebayor would claim mistaken identity (the thinking being that the linesman mistook him for
Eboue) but he did not in fact make this claim in his appeal.
Quite right too. Adebayor waded in unnecessarily. He may have been trying to calm things down
but waving your arms about in an aggressive manner seldom has that effect and it was a
stupid thing to do. He may even have caught Frank Lampard with one of those flailing arms.
He was rightly sent off and should have gone quickly. We'll miss him for more games because of
that and it's his own fault.
The thing is, most players from both sides were behaving stupidly, and
the fact that only 2 players in addition to those involved in the original incident are going
to pick up bans, and both of them are Arsenal players, is a tad galling. It can hardly fail to
make us think that the FA is biased in this matter. It is however, no
Here's what happened as far as I saw it.
Mikel fouled Kolo Toure and the Arsenal captain over-reacted. He admitted as much, saying
that it was the opposition's time-wasting that had gotten his goat. Hmmm. They weren't being
that bad mate, and you're the skipper. Tell the ref, take the piss (like Thierry Henry
against Wigan), don't deal with it by pushing and shoving.
But that's all it was, a bit of rather light pushing and shoving between Toure and Mikel, and
I can't really see how either would have got more than a yellow until the whole thing got
blown out of proportion by a whole load of other players coming along and getting involved.
The worst offender seemed to be Frank Lampard. He came barging in first and went for Toure
for some reason, presumably to make Toure's actions look worse. Cesc tried to pull Lampard away,
Lampard hit Cesc, something which he's clearing getting away with scot free. But there were plenty of others getting involved
including Adebayor and Eboue.
Eboue was actually just standing there with the ball waiting for our free kick, when
Bridge came and knocked the ball out of his hands (a yellow card offence?). Eboue tapped
Bridge on the back of the head and Bridge went down like a sack of shit (no coincidence). The impending ban will be out of proportion to what Eboue actually did, but it's what you get when you raise your arms like that.
So, those charged have no defence. But it does seem that every possible charge has been
levelled at Arsenal while Chelsea have at the very least Lampard and Bridge getting away
I don't want to sound overly criticial of the Arsenal players involved and wouldn't want the
fact that I think they have no defence to make it sound like I don't like them or the attitude
they were showing. We have to be glad that they were up for the metaphorical fight, it's just a shame
that it helped it look like they were up for an actual one. Eboue's head is often not right,
with his diving and squirming on the ground, his asking for cards for opponents, and I've often
said he needs a talking-to. But none of that relates particularly to this incident.
What is galling is the way that the FA appear once again to have allowed an absurd over-reaction
from the media to force their hand in charging Eboue but not Lampard. One has to wonder, if Sky and the press had focussed on
on the actions of England's Frank Lampard and Wayne Bridge, would England's FA have done
something about the Chelsea players too?
Probably not. Perhaps if that had happened it'd have brought forth a
statement from the FA condemning the media's portrayal of the game in headlines like
"Snarling Cup Final" and all these articles focussing on the "bad image of the game". It's
the media who project that bad image. They could so easily instead have described the
incident as a fuss over nothing, which did nothing to detract from what was overall a superb
advertisement for the game, played in a fine spirit.
It turns out that both our Emmanuels have denied the new charges, which I guess should come as no surprise. They'll get nowhere though. Eboue did strike Bridge, even if Bridge's reaction was feigned. Adebayor did fail to leave the pitch immediately on being sent off. He'll presumably claim that he was just trying to get the ref to tell him why he'd been sent off, but that's never been a defence before so why he thinks it will be now is anyone's guess.