Does anyone actually believe the ever changing story of the FA with regard to Adebayor’s red card last weekend? First he is sent off for a punch the linesman saw, except for the fact that the linesman was looking at Eboue (who tapped Bridge in the back of the head, causing him to hold his head, hunt around for the ref, and then throw himself on the ground), and the ref was watching at the central scuffle, where Adebayor was.
Howard Webb had the perfect view of Adebayor, and saw nothing untoward. The linesman watched Eboue act like a prat, and told the ref to send Adebayor off. A fairly clear case of mistaken identity.
Except that would mean the FA admitting that a mistake was made. Sure, they’ve banned Eboue (who deserves it, incidentally, and really needs to grow up), yet refused to rescind Adebayor’s punishment. The extra game he will get for refusing to leave the field will feel like salt rubbed in a painful wound.
More and more, the FA seem to protect their own, refusing to allow the slightest critical word to come out about a referee, and now changing the story of this linesman to ‘he aimed a punch as Lampard’, which is a futile attempt given how much video evidence there is to the contrary. Even Lampard has backed Ade.
My summing up would be as follows – Toure deserves his ban, and has accepted so, Mikel deserves his, Eboue deserves his. Adebayor should have one game for refusing to leave the field but will have four because the FA have no guts, and Drogba’s slap on Fabregas is being ignored, because the media, who have a surprising amount of power in twisting the FA’s arm, haven’t been showing it. Compare that to a couple of seasons ago, when Reyes did the same thing in a cup game, and got three matches for it, because Sky played it over and over and ranted about how much of a disgrace it was.
Which brings me to my actual point. The media. It seems more and more that the FA act based upon what Sky in particular are kicking up a fuss about. This isn’t a biased comment as it affects all teams – if they make a big deal about what they perceive as misbehaviour on the field, you can be sure charges will follow. If they don’t (as with Drogba on Sunday), the FA will merrily ignore the incident.
So while I think Wenger’s comments this week appear to be misjudged (he isn’t going to prevent his players being banned, and with the Pardew incident riling the FA, he might pick up a touchline ban himself), I imagine it likely that his words were for the benefit of the media, attempting to get them to focus their attention on perceived injustices. And you know what, it might just work.
Imagine the situation – Sky start showing the Drogba slap repeatedly, and compare it directly to Ade’s behaviour. What would the FA do? They’d have to act, but it’d make them seem mighty foolish bearing in mind they’ve apparently been examining the evidence to this point.
In other news, it’s Reading tomorrow, and unless Baptista and Aliadiere realise that the thing with the net in is what they’re aiming at, it could be another frustrating afternoon at the Emirates.