Premiership 2005-2006 – The End of an Era

The last Sunday of the Premiership was, with due respect to RVN, all about Highbury and Arsenal’s tussle with the Spurs for 4th place. Arsenal got there in style, Henry fittingly getting a hattrick. With Spurs losing to West Ham (and to food poisoning), Arsenal fans had much to cheer about.

But for me (I was watching the United-Charlton game on the tele and could only switch to Arsenal-Wigan and Newcastle-Chelsea now and then), the other two games were reminiscent for all that is wrong with the Premiership – playacting, bullying the refs and, well, bad refs.

Sol Campbell escaped with a vicious tackle in the penalty area, and then later on in the match a very harsh penalty was giving against Wigan. If both decisions had gone Wigan’s way, the result would have been much different.

Over at Tyneside Stephen Carr was given a straight red for appearing to stamp on Lassana Diarra. It was purely accidental, and even Chelsea players could have seen that as the two had been tussling for the ball and Diarra had tumbled and fallen down in Carr’s way. It was, at worst, a free kick – no card necessary. But the speed with which the Chelsea mob had descended on the ref all through the match before that incident, it was no surprise that the ref made a bad decision under extreme pressure.

But the drama was reserved for Highbury. In the 26th minute, Reyes, under pressure from Chimbonda, tumbled at the slightest of touches from the Wigan defender who was coming in from behind. I would never accuse such an honest team playing at such a momentous occasion for diving, so my best guess is that Reyes, like Robben, felt threatened by the impending tackle and decided to fall and then wave his arms around asking for help.

For the life of me (and I saw that tackle in several replays), I cannot figure out how Chimbonda was threatening Reyes from behind, unless the Spaniard is true to his roots and has some…issues, or maybe bad memories. Come on man, if you tumble, get the hell up like a man; don’t roll around for nothing.

And speaking of tumbling, the ArseBlog thinks that Ronaldinho would tumble far too easily under tackles. This about a man who was able to push Terry and Carvalho aside like straw men? I somehow doubt that, but maybe, like Wenger, it’s time the Arsenal fans started playing mind games.

But full credit to Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal team for ending up fourth, when Henry says they deserved it, well…yes, the Gunners did deserve to come in at fourth place, 22 points off the chase.

Tottenham will have to contend with a Uefa Cup spot, where they will be joined by Blackburn Rovers, who have capped a fantastic season by winning the last European spot. Actually, correction – Newcastle, by defeating Chelsea (and with Bolton losing) enter the InterToto cup. Joy.

That’s it for now. Here’s to hoping that Henry stays, and so does RVN.


Highbury Magic

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