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- Ratings: Cech shines but Ozil fails to spark as Arsenal held
- Video: Arsenal 0-0 Boro: Lackluster Gunners drop valuable points
- Teams: Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Cazorla out, Elneny in
- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
Phil Dowd Is Spineless
I should begin by saying that I was forced to watch the match late last evening rather than live and fell asleep not long after it was over. Having awoken this morning still feeling ill when thinking about the match, I begin my reflections on our trip to Sunderland.
First, I have to say that a subpar performance was always likely to be in the offing following our midweek Champions League match. But I never, for a moment, expected a performance like that. Sunderland dominated us for at least the first hour. The goal was a fluke but it was solely down to the level of commitment and desire on the part of Fabregas to close down Ferdinand in a situation many other players would not have even bothered.
Also, on a positive note, Almunia looked solid and both Koscielny and Squillaci turned in proper performances at a tough away ground under significant amounts of sustained pressure. If any doubts remained that Koscielny is the real deal, they should be gone after yesterday’s match. The same can be said of Chamakh.
But now let me get down to the real reason I’m writing today’s piece. Phil Dowd’s performance yesterday was disgraceful. For the last week or two we have been treated to a concerted effort on the part of almost half a dozen of the Premier League’s managers to influence referees in matches other than their own. Phil Dowd came out onto the pitch determined not to give Arsenal anything. How else to explain all the fouls which Dowd ridiculously waved away including a blatant handball in the box? By the hour mark, Arsenal had been whistled for a dozen fouls while Sunderland had only one. ONE!!!
This kind of treatment by referees, especially based on what’s going on in the media, is nothing new. After Eduardo’s penalty against Celtic, Arsenal went most of the season without being given one penalty. But this is even more egregious because it’s not just the media, but the other managers in the league making a concerted effort to see that referees allow them to get away with things Arsenal cannot. This was all blatantly obvious and sickening as the match progressed. It’s one thing for an official to try to “even things out,” but Sunderland were allowed to get away with fouls, handballs in the box, etc… while Arsenal were penalized so often you would think they were the thugs.
Arsenal were the victims of a referee influenced by a full-out media attack by a bunch of two-bit hack managers of two-bit clubs. Dowd could have shown some spine and not bowed to the “Arsenal hate campaign” being waged by managers of clubs who get down on their knees and give thanks simply for avoiding relegation. Teams not even their own supporters care to pay to watch.
Now, I am not blaming the result on the referee. Obviously, the goal is our own fault (though we had played two attacks beyond the announced stoppage time) and Rosicky’s penalty miss was especially at fault for the result. Song’s two yellow cards were also legitimate. Nevertheless, during the regular run of play, Dowd was determined to show he was not influenced by the comments made by Wenger, but in the end he showed he was influenced by the comments made by Big Sam, Tony Pulis, ‘Arry, and David Moyes.