Aug 272009

Arsenal 3 (Eduardo pen 28, Eboue 53, Arshavin 74) Celtic 1 (Donati 90)
(Champions League qualifier, 5-1 agg)

Another win and three more goals takes the tally to fifteen in just four games, but rather than focus on that, there is only one talking point for everyone this morning – Eduardo’s dive to win the penalty.

Let’s get one thing cleared up straight away – it was a dive. Yes, there was slight contact, but if we had been the defending team, we would have no hesitation in condemning the opposition player. It looked like a dive at full speed, and was proven so in the replay.

I’m not looking to condone it in any way – not only was it a bit unseemly, it was also completely pointless – Celtic never looked like threatening, so for Eduardo to throw himself to the ground in that situation really does the player no favours.

That said, the outrage it has sparked has been frankly ridiculous. You would’ve thought Eduardo had broken someone’s leg by the reaction of the Celtic players and the press. In fact, come to think of it, the coverage is almost as complete as when Eduardo did have his leg shattered.

Players win penalties with dives all the time. I’m not saying I like it, quite the contrary, but it seems the media do seem to latch on to the occasional one and make an enormous fuss. It reminds me of the infamous Pires dive against Portsmouth in the Invincibles season – no worse than a thousand other instances in the same season, yet the player was vilified, and suffered with referees from that moment on.

Consider this – when Gerrard won a crucial penalty in the group stages (against Atletico, if my memory serves) last season, was he condemned? Of course not. In fact, he was practically praised for his professionalism, the word the commentators use when the penalty is one they were hoping for. Gerrard is my example simply because he dives on a regular basis and is never brought to task. Eduardo dives once, and is now public enemy number one.

Of course, Gerrard is English, but we’ve had plenty of examples of foreign players hurling themselves to the floor without this kind of hysterical reaction. More likely is the fact that the media want to avoid praising us for an excellent start to the season and an incredibly comfortable sweeping aside of Celtic, given that they wrote us off so completely just two weeks ago.

Personally, I’d rather concentrate on the performance, which was excellent. After restricting Celtic to one tame shot on goal in the first leg, Almunia was again untested until Donati’s stunner in injury time, by which time they were five goals down.

After Eduardo’s penalty, there were two wonderfully worked goals – Eboue finishing the first after a sweeping move, and Arshavin making a fool of his defender before doing the same.

There were terrific performances all over the park – Gallas was again excellent at the back, and still found time to surge down the right wing in a moment that summed up our superiority, Vermaelen was a rock, Song and Denilson stopped everything Celtic tried to create, and what can I say about Eboue? He was excellent last night, and fully deserved his goal. Hungry and committed, he moved with purpose, and although his final pass is still sometimes careless, his improvement is remarkable. Long may it continue.

So we move into this afternoon’s draw in the pot of top seeds. I have a sneaky suspicion that after a couple of years of easy groups, we’re going to get a brute this time. There is plenty of scope for it – Lyon, Inter, Juventus and Real lurking in Pot 2, Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid in Pot 3.

But in the meantime, just enjoy last night’s performance. The dive was a sour point, but don’t let it detract from the complete dominance we showed throughout the two legs. If that’s the best Scotland can offer, let’s hope for Rangers in the next round.

  15 Responses to “Arsenal 3-1 Celtic: Eduardo dive wasn’t nice but why the furore?”

  1. just let those who cant help talking say what they wanna but as gooners we promise em another season of invicibles.

  2. All the fuss you’d think that we’d only beaten them by that one goal & that they’d been cheated out of a victory.

  3. All the big noise is because England is due to play Croatia soon, so if the lad has this dive incident on his mind his performance may suffer. The last game he played in against England he was sensational. Personally I don’t care about what he did, because when Ryan Babel dived to kick us out of the cup some years back no one said anything. This is part of the game nowadays and goalkeepers know this will happen if they charge the player in that manner.

  4. My only disappointment was the goal that Celtic scored in the last minute. It proves the point that our defence is still a bit shaky and they lost their concentration in the last minute. I must add the defence has improved a lots since last season but we will see how they fare against ManU, Liverpool and Chelsea. That will be the real test.

  5. The first goal was crucial and ended the game as a sporting contest.

  6. I disagree about that it proves that our defence is still shaky. It was a brilliant goal which happens 1 in 50. Are team was tired, we did the job and the game was basically over…wouldn’t put to much emphasis on it.

  7. Fair enough Arsenal deserved to go through but why all the talk about diving? Lets say what we mean – Eduardo never dived – he cheated and that is the bottom line. The guy is a cheat that cheated against his fellow professionals – end of!!

    Start banning these cheats for 4 or 5 games and it will soon end the problem!!

  8. hope he doesnt do it again.. I always tell ppl how my club dont have divers.. hope this will be his last one..

    but I wudnt mind if he can get a penalty like this in the wknd or against the scum

  9. We do not need to cheat to win.

    Eduardo should apologies to the fans, it is not the Arsenal way, we can play tough but fair.

  10. Great article. Spot on.
    Sadly I feel this incident will not die in the media, for days they will interview everyone in the game north and south with the aim of getting all people to condemn it. Expect Eduardo to be booed at Old Trafford and elsewhere in the premiership. Arsenal are one of the cleanest teams in the premiership, always high up in the fair play league but should one guy of ours get sent off then the media dig up records from 10 years ago and say we have problems in discipline. Eduardo has just given the media the perfect ammo to attack us with. I’d rather he never done just detracts from another excellent performance. Celtic were never in danger of going through, and credit to their manager for being so honest in his reflections over the two games.

    @Vernon…ur right mate. The english players get away with it all the time…I remember when the invincibles finally lost at Old Trafford when Rooney blatantly dived over Sol Campbells leg.. absolutely f*cking nothing was said about it!!

  11. I agree that diving should earn a retrospective ban.

    But it seems the media want bans for dives they take offence to, rather than all.

    It has to be all or nothing.

  12. Quite happy to see him banned for 2 games (gotta start somewhere) but the media coverage is OTT.

    Dirk..Celtic were never in the game. A sporting contest LOL…Arsenal were so comfortable it was embarassing.

  13. I am a Scot who grew up supporting Celtic who then moved to London and I am a season ticket holder at the Emirates.

    Celtic where never going to go through, at some point every team has gained through cheating, even Celtic.

    However Eduardo should be banned from every European game this season not by EUFA but by his team mates and his manager as he is now a liability. Every referee will scrutinise his every move and no doubt one will be looking to give him what he deserves. He is a cheat and at present an embarrassment but every team has faced this and lets hope action is taken that can reduce this in the great game in every game

  14. He is a cheating so and so as is your little cesc. Without extreme luck home and away and without cheats in your team the game would have been a contest. Both the opening goal at Celtic Park and the opening goal at the Emirates dictated how the contest was played out. 2-0 of a start is a hard task for any team so don’t get too carried away with what’s on offer at Arsenal.

    There is no doubt your team is fitter and more athletic than Celtic but we play an honest style of football, that’s why all the furore. What happened to fair play?

  15. can Platini this ‘noble’ footballer watch carefully the match and judge it properly ??? i am speechless about UEFA and FIFA way of judging the match… really speechless….. sigh….. If Eduardo is charged diving, can Rooney this pig be charged the same as well???!!!!! wth

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