Mar 132010

Hull 1 (Bullard pen 28) Arsenal 2 (Arshavin 14, Bendtner 90)

When you play a side as dislikable as Hull, with a manager like Phil Brown, the default position is to wish for an absolute hammering, to send them back with their tails between their legs. But sometimes, it is equally satisfying to see them denied a point at the last, after a display littered with cynical, cheap and sometimes nasty fouls.

The game was almost up – Hull had defended a succession of corners with relative ease before, in an apparent act of desperation, Denilson lined one up from 35 yards. When we saw it arrowing straight at the keeper, our heads collectively dropped. But Myhill, usually so impressive, inexplicably parried it straight back into play, and Bendtner gratefully tucked away the winner. It was a gift, and rarely has one been more important.

We had looked in complete control in the early stages, Arshavin finishing coolly after dancing past two non-challenges, but with Hull completely deflated they were awarded an undeserved lifeline when Vennegoor of Hesselink was bundled over by Campbell in the box. The only reason Sol had allowed the Dutchman goalside of him was that he was playing him comfortably offside. But the linesman, who was in the perfect position, inexplicably failed to flag, and Bullard slammed home the penalty. Hull’s spirits were raised, and they reverted to type – rotational fouling in the centre of the park and a series of ugly lunges.

That they were allowed to play that ‘style’ was entirely the fault of Andre Marriner, who failed to retain any semblance of control on the game, and whose persistent lack of action against the Hull players encouraged them into ever more dangerous challenges.

In a way, I don’t blame the players. If you knew a referee wouldn’t penalise you for handling on your own goal line, you’d be tempted to stretch that arm out to block a goalbound shot. Similarly, if the referee is unwilling to punish a sequence of repeated fouls, then you will continue to commit them in comfort.

And it transpired that way. In one first half incident, Fagan had Sagna in a headlock, off the ball, and dragged him to the ground, a stupid and intentional foul that should have resulted in a yellow card. He was warned. In the five minutes that followed, he was given another two ‘final warnings’, and ended the match without a card to his name.

But the incompetence did not stop there. Aside from his complete inability to apply the advantage rule, Marriner was seen time and time again letting players off with poor challenges. Dawson was the first to be booked and could have been sent off for a wild two-footed lunge, while in the same moments, Boateng was first poking Bendtner in the eye and then slapping him. Boateng was only booked for what is a mandatory sending off, and strangely, the Dane picked up the same punishment, despite doing absolutely nothing.

By half time, Boateng had helped eradicate Marriner’s mistake by putting his studs through Sagna’s knee and picking up a second yellow card – a shocking challenge that should have resulted in a straight red.

The mood was dark at the break, not helped by the snide and frankly unprofessional coverage dealt out by ESPN. I had only previously heard talk about the depths of punditry they plumb, but I have a free month of the channel and was finally directly exposed. Suffice to say that when the trial period is over, I won’t be subscribing.

Jon Champion is an awful commentator. There, I said it. He spent a full ten minutes after the penalty trying to get anyone who would listen to agree with him that Campbell should have been sent off, blissfully ignoring the fact that the penalty should not have been awarded in the first place. His co-commentator, and the panel of Keegan and Leboeuf all disagreed, but it didn’t stop him.

In the second half, Campbell put in a terrific tackle on Zayatte, a powerful but safe (legs were on the ground) challenge which won the ball. Again, Champion started a one-man campaign that Sol should have been dismissed. Again, Leboeuf and Keegan pointed out the obvious – it was a fair challenge, and you don’t tend to get in trouble for those. Undeterred, he continued, frantically insisting that Wenger would not be jumping up and down about that particular tackle, unlike the Shawcross equivalent.

Of course he wouldn’t, Jon, because it was legal, fair and safe. No comparisons can be made, and if you think they can, you are in the wrong profession. You moron.

At that point, I muted the television, and despite our struggles as time ticked away, I found it far more relaxing that listening to a wind-up merchant promoting his own slanted agenda.

No matter. Thanks to Denilson’s speculation, Myhill’s blunder, and Bendtner’s persistence, we took home the points. When you consider that we are missing a host of players (some who will return soon), Hull did not play a game midweek, and we have a completely useless referee, you realise that the manner of the points matters little. This was one of our big tests, and we’ve passed it.

United are likely to breeze past Fulham tomorrow, so it will be as you were at the top. But next weekend, we have West Ham at home, Chelsea travel to Blackburn just days after their Champions League encounter with Mourinho’s Inter, and United face Liverpool.

It was important not to lose ground today, so that we can capitalise if our rivals slip up next week.

Mission accomplished. Oh, and enjoy the Championship, Hull.

  49 Responses to “Marriner and ESPN fail to ruin a sweet victory”

  1. Not much to say after that but amen. Well, I will add this: I was stunned that at least one of the commentators kept pointing out that the man was offside. I’m so used to both commentators beating up on the Arsenal throughout an entire game that I thought that they weren’t so bad today by comparison.

  2. Good report. I totally agree with the incompetence of Mariner, made the game more dangerous. After we scored he stopped giving us any decisions, like he felt sorry for Hull. Then Hull scored and he started blowing up for the little niggly fouls they constantly give away. That was until Fagan (who is a massive cheat) took the piss out of him and rather than booking Fagan he promptly stopped giving fouls against Hull. Too big a game for him, he could do with some time in the lower leagues.


  4. Dead right mate! Mariners incompetence gave Hull license to kick and cheat their was through the game. At least the bbc pundits were honest enough to admit that the goal came from an offside position and that Sol’s tackle was fair.

  5. that was crazy shit from espn
    do pundits and sky/espn/setanta get a bonus for not arsenal bashing
    its crazy
    even our ex players are wankers
    merson arhhh

  6. When Kevin Keegan of all fucking people is the voice of reason then you know the world has gone mad. Who the fuck in Jon Champion anyway?

  7. Best comment and review of the game I’ve read so far, Pete!
    Will be following your blog more closely.

    As for Arsenal. Just brilliant!!!!

  8. Great article my friend.

    Spot on with your views on the ref.

  9. sadly, but with no choice, i have subscribed to sky, satan-ta, e-piss-ends and pay the extortion fee to those wankers otherwise known as the bbc. so i say this: they are all a bunch of class one #unts. jon chump-ion is a nounce straight from the itv brand of tired and archaic sports commentators. it’s bad enough having our ears assulted by his shrill of a voice but when it is combined with having to look at this pig headed troll on tv too then it is too much. not only have espn inflicted that moron on us but they have even taken the lovely blonde girl from setanta and turned her into a sex-less baggy-clothed eunuch with only one coat. ffs espn, buy her another coat and let her wear a skirt again you tosser! ;-)

    fulham will take a point from manure.

  10. Sky gave me a free month of ESPN over Christmas and then wanted me to take it up permanently. When I said no they asked why so I told them it was the 70’s style of their coverage with Keegan and Royle and the ludicrous anti-Arsenal stance of Jon Champion. I told them that the Arsenal games were the jewel in their crown as they play the best football, yet the commentary was constantly undermining the club. They were aghast at my complaints. I thought Champion’s commentary tonight and constant carping at Arsenal and Wenger was just pathetic and his crack comparing Sol’s tackle with Shawcross’s assault was offensive. Le Boeuf seemed to be the only one with any sense whatsoever and quite what game Royle was watching, I don’t know.

  11. I told u lot to stop chatting crap about me and keep the faith. As u can see, I have done it once again. haha. BUY MY SHIRT BUY MY SHIRT! B52 baby!!!

  12. Brilliant article. While I agree the ref was poor I do not think he was not as bad as the likes of Mike Dean. Seriously Dean would have red carded Sol Campbell for the penalty incident as he was the last man. Mike Dean would probably have given an extra time of only three minutes.

    On the question of ESPN commentary I am not suprised. Although I live in Kenya in Africa I have litsened to ESPN commentary especially on UEFA Champion’s league and believe me when I say it ESPN international commentators are very Pro-Man U especially that guy Tommy Smith.

  13. I couldn’t believe what the ref did after Hull scored. He was completely at fault for encouraging Hull players to kick our players. He should be investigated and penalised. It was far worse than Mike Deans demolition job back in October 2004/2005 season when he gave Man Utd a license to kick our Ivincibles Team off the pitch. Paul Marriner, the Hull squad and management are a disgrace to the game. We won a massive game today, mentally and physically. Well done The Arsenal…

  14. I couldn’t believe what the ref did after Hull scored. He was completely at fault for encouraging Hull players to kick our players. He should be investigated and penalised. It was far worse than Mike Deans demolition job back in October 2004/2005 season when he gave Man Utd a license to kick our Ivincibles Team off the pitch. Paul Marriner, the Hull squad and management are a disgrace to the game. ESPN’s coverage style is sh*te,John Champion is clearly a deluded drunken f*ckwit. We won a massive game today, mentally and physically. Well done The Arsenal..Good blog too, will definately read more often!!

  15. I work alot of weekends, like today. So I just avoided the score and watched it on Arsenal TV Online when I got home at midnight for just £3.99 a month. It’s how I watch most the games to be honest. And I love it. Well worth the fee. P.S Good blog by the way :)

  16. Clear that Hull were playing to orders to kick us out of it. Stupid because in Bullard they had the best midfielder on the field. Wasn’t refs fault that the linesman did not flag a blatant offside for their goal.

    Sol proved his worth yet again-anyone notice Clichys improvement?

  17. Very good blog. Totally agree with all the points you’ve raised. The cu*t fagen is a disgrace he should have been sent off in the first half with his constent fouling! Champions win games like this and we can look back at the end of the season and laugh at these sh*t footballers that don’t know the difference between the ball and the oppositions leg when were champions and they are playing championship football. Also how can any premiership football team share a pitch with a rugby league side, what a joke

  18. I give a shit about so-called pundits or commentators. We just have to focus & win the next match and see in the end of season. They are the same pundits and bloggers who said Arsenal couldn’t even make the top four with this team. Fuck all, we are the mighty Arsenal.

  19. Considering the ref and his assistants, they were shocking. The FA has to do something with the standard of the British referring.

  20. this is all true, hull players have no discipline what so ever an ref allows this sort of play against arsenal. great result arsenal 3 points in the bad. thats for the haters

  21. Well written, mate.

  22. I think that earpiece that phil brown was wearing and talking into had the linesman on the other end and phil was whispering him fresh bribes for more onside calls that were blatent offsides like the first one.

  23. Glad to know I am not the only one who wanted to put my fist through the ref’s head in the first half.

    Arsene, please win the title, and shove it down the idiot brigade’s collective throats.

  24. Is Denilson our best long range shooter? The ball always seem to swerve in a way very difficult for the keeper to catch when he hits it.

    Great result today, and Bendtner’s playing really well lately.

  25. The important thing is if we win our remaining 8 fixtures we win the league period and its doable!!

    One draw and we can miss out on goal difference.

    Infact I see us topping the league if we win our next 4 games

  26. Well,if u watch la liga,u will see far worse officiating when the big clubs are for andre mirinda,he should be crying in his bath tub now for a bad outing. Lets just say God has given us the three points against their(espn,bbc,sky) wish. Relax guys, d title is coming home

  27. good article! i listened on radio 5 which seemed quite neutral. it was as if hull were using fouling as a time wasting tactic, and so the comentary was devoid of hardly any matchplay due to stoppages. they said that clichy dived and although sol’s tackle was fair the ref could easily have got it wrong and sent him off – so we got away with a few things aswell.
    hull got sweet fa which is exactly what they deserved.

  28. I have been used to some moronic arsenal bashing by the commies on sky sports but today i watched it on Fox soccer and they were pretty decent.. I was actually quite surprised… I dont think the mancs can “breeze” past fulham today.. its going to be a tough game.. both teams have had midweek games but Man u has a distinct advantage of having played at home while Fulham have played away.. but I expect Fulham to put up a great fight nevertheless.. I was really disappointed with West Ham’s show today.. they have the squad to escape midtable misery but have the heart the size of a pea… If they get relegated they thoroughly deserve it cos they dont have the right to play!

  29. Great article! A very strange comment champion had about Sol’s tackle. If you watch Zayatte, he has a straight leg with his studs up going into that tackle. Shouldn’t it be him who got the red?

  30. Anti-Arsenal commentators see nothing good in Arsenal. All they do is to paint a bad picture of Arsenal. However, as gooners, we will not fall for their ploy. Keep believing the league is ours for the taking. ARSENAL FOREVER!!

  31. i dont know the name of the ESPN commentator but i do agree he is downright stupid.
    he kept arguing that if the ref had awarded a free kick for the Campbell challenge, he should have shown a second yellow.
    You f**king moron, the free kick was awarded for another challenge few moments later by some other player.
    Tequila shots is not something you should do right before doing commentary.

  32. the players should win the league for us and Arsene he gets slatted by all, disrepectful bunch of wankers,we will be stronger now song fab will be back next week and vp is in training HAPPY DAYS love The Arsenal spirit we shall not we shall not be moved

  33. i doubt loserfool can win against utd or even draw. They are just woeful. Che game wil be interesting due to cl midweek.I have a feeling utd will drop pts against fulham.

  34. The officials were truly woefull although i am not sure that they were mistakes they were making…….if you know what i mean!

  35. […] Marriner and ESPN fail to ruin a sweet victory | The Beautiful Groan […]

  36. English refs are fool of shit little wonder one of them gave 3 yellow cards to a particular player in one match at the last world cup. Everybody dislikes arsenal just becos they play breathtaking football. Imagine arsenal appeals constantly fallng on refs f***n ears. Most of his calls were gibbrish. Anyway i am happy the so called espn f*****n commentors did not laugh last yesterday. Good job arsenal keep the flag flying. Is it true that VP is back in training? Goodbye hull. Goodbye.

  37. Well said, Vaibhav!

    The ref didn’t think the Sol tackle was a foul.
    The other guy Gary Reilly, I think, was fair. Even pro Arsenal.

  38. jon champion(espn) clearly has an anti-arsenal agenda-he was so full of biased shit it was unreal-as bad as iv’e heard in a long time-he was almost praying campbell should have been sent off for either the non penalty(was offside first)or his tackle on zayetta-you could tell he was gutted despite 3 fellow commentators contradicting him-prob a MANURE loving c**t!!!

  39. Good stuff couldn’t agree more. BOOKMARKED

  40. I’m sorry to say that teams like Hull are the reason the top sides would like to break away into a euro league. They are not prem standard and are the reasons that the playoffs from lower leagues do not work. as they could be a team that finishes almost mid table after a long season and ends up promoted, with the team that has worked and played for the right to be there might go off the boil after a long season and fail to make the promotion on a knock out cup like game. This team look right from the start to push the boundry’s of legal tackles. It comes to point when they say that they don’t have squads big enough or money to compete. But if you look at the money we spend each year we are not different in our spending. So it all comes down to good running and good scouting of young talent. Then allowing these players playing time to get their own potential up. Wenger is not scared to throw these players into big games but knows that in games involving weaker sides they will get beaten up. These games should be monitored more and punishment given. Physical is fine abuse is not acceptable in the Prem league if we want top players to stay here.

  41. Thanks for your comments everyone, I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one getting irritated at ESPN and infuriated with Marriner.

    Fabgooner, Denilson does seem to get extraordinary bend on his long range hits, makes me wonder why he doesn’t try them more often.

    Matlee, next week (Arsenal-West Ham is also on ESPN), I will be watching on mute, while listening to Radio Five. Even Alan Green is better than that bunch.

    As for Hull, the played good football when they joined the Premiership last year. But I would dearly love for them to get relegated this season.

  42. ESPN service now cancelled because of the commentary yesterday. Not happy with any of my hard earned money finding it’s way through to that wally. At least Shearer / Hanson stuck up for us on match of the day!

  43. what a fantastic description of yesterdays event, come on gooners,

  44. I know this comment is a bit late in the day – but great write up – big up to your blog. We sing from the same hymn sheet as when I was watching it on ESPN I had to mute the sound as the commentators were winding me write up – Jon Champion is a first prize c*nt! I couldn’t believe some of the stuff he was coming out with – he’s a joke commentator. Also the whole way ESPN were handling the game suggesting Arsenal vs Hull games had ‘history’ and were always fesity was bordering on inane and just bullshit reporting. Well done to the boys – cmon let’s do it for Aaron!!

  45. brilliant article, everything you said was spot on.I have not been able to get to many away games this season so have had to watch it on espn but jon champion just spoils it with his completely unqualified comments about our boys in red.Feels like the 91 season all over again with Arsenal against the world,lets hope we get the same outcome !!!!! champions 2010….

  46. i’m glad it wasnt just me that oticed the espn fellw carping on and on about getting our players booked etc. very decent of him to point out what the litle red square was under hulls name on the screen. i love my dreambox, its even better than streaming.

  47. Great blog! Read and agreed with everything. John Champion is a total clown! The ESPN director was not much better they showed the Campbell foul about 9 times each time Champion making claims Sol should be off! He was on Sol’s back all game. As you’ve already said venegoor bloody stupid name was a yard offside but Champion giving it Campbell’s been caught out what a twat I’m so glad I’ll be at the game weekend as I won’t have to put up with his shit

  48. Such a good article. Only thing missing is that we should have had a penalty when Clichy was fouled. Didn’t help our cause though as Gael got up very quickly. Appalled with the ESPN commentary myself and will be cancelling my subscription when my offer is up. Jon Champion really is a C*NT.

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