Arsenal Fans Can Have No Excuses
Emmanuel Adebayor is Public Enemy Number One at the moment, partly for his stamp on Robin Van Persie, and mostly because of his goal celebration in front of the Arsenal fans. “Inciting a riot”. Of course it was ill-advised – he must have Ashley Cole’s Public Relations officer – but it still should not defend the embarrassing actions of the Arsenal fans present, causing unnecessary injury to a steward.
That’s wrong. That is indefensible – I don’t care how much you hate Emmanuel Adebayor – for his “obvious desire to go to Italy”; for his lack of a clear “for the shirt” spirit that most fans bizarrely crave; for being “a classless money grabber”, for whatever – that is no excuse to charge down a flight of chairs and put your fellow supporters (as if you can now call yourself that) at risk. I don’t care how passionate you find your hatred of that man, there is no need to put lives at risk.
Adebayor has accepted the blame for this, many pundits have rushed to blame him for it, the FA are investigating his actions, he seems to be the scapegoat: But what if someone had died? Would Adebayor have blood on his hands if someone had been crushed to death because of the rush to swear at him? No. Is it his fault that some “fans” were willing to put other people’s lives at risk? No. Frustration at an unfortunate two goal deficit, a former player scoring, and the fact that you don’t like him are possible causes but not excuses. The public focus should not be on Adebayor’s pretty brainless behaviour, but on the infinitely more distasteful scenes that followed.
For the record, it was an extremely exciting second half and a game of sometimes breathtaking quality – one which neither side deserved to lose – but it, and the incredible performances of Craig Bellamy and Adebayor have been overshadowed by a piece of rash, brash celebrating and a horribly dangerous reaction.
Scholes’ Indian Summers
Rather like having glitter on your hands and herpes, Paul Scholes never seems to go away. After his 2005 eye injury, and a poor subsequent season, the general consensus was that it was time to usher him quietly out of the door – we don’t want to see a great player reduced to a pale shadow of his greatness (i.e. we don’t want a Rivaldo situation). Then came the 2006-07 season: A miraculous season season as he reinvented himself to suit the team’s need – all but gone were the surging runs from deep; in came the spraying the ball out wide, the simple sideways ball, in essence a deep lying playmaker.
After a decent season in 07-08, and a rather stop-start one in 08-09, his position in the squad was under threat again. Even this blogger thought it was time to hand Scholes his gold watch, listen to his farewell speech and book him a taxi to the Pantheon of United Greats to grow old. Once again, this season he proved us all wrong.
In three starts, he has attempted 190 passes to teammates… misplacing 6. Out of 190. He is still a truly staggering footballer, still United’s best passer, still pathetic at tackling, but still able to control a game like no-one else in his team. In the 1-0 victory over Birmingham, he attempted precisely 100 passes, and all but three found their target. He’s playing in a pretty poor midfield compared to some of the others he’s played in, but he’s still there, calm but confident, with control of the match in the palm of his hand. Proving us all wrong. Again.