Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The consistently bad referees

Two great matches, with four great teams, and two consistently bad referees.
In the match between Manchester United and Arsenal, it didn't matter that much, because Manchester were truly the best team in their 3-1 victory, but Darren Fletcher's red card was only the major among many mistakes of the Italian referee.

In the Chelsea-Barcelona match the problem was bigger. Not that 1-1 is an unfair result overall (I was hoping and still happy that Barcelona progressed to the next round), but the problem is that any football fan is left with a bad taste when the referee in such a way takes all the headlines. And in spite of the penalties the Norwegian gentleman didn't call, the calls also went against Barcelona, as the red card to Abidal was totally out of place (here one must add that Drogba's and Anelka's diving and acting probably didn't help, although a good referee should manage to see through that). So the frustration of the Chelsea players and in particular the Chelsea fans is understandable: today they were the better team! They simply played excellently, disciplined and tactically great - the mistakes is that they should have scored on the chances they had, and when you don't, you lose.
But what an amazing srike by Michael Essien!
On a final note, I would also like to congratulate Barcelona. I have long admired how they have played this season, and in spite of the fact that Chelsea was the better team, Barcelona showed character today, as they kept fighting and playing even when all the odds seemed against them; I didn't think the Barcelona team would have such character (I thought they were a bunch of pretty boys playing on humour), but they did, and now we can really look forward to the final in Rome of the two best teams overall in this season's Champions League.


Anonymous said...

I disagree with you Erik. The blue men were not preforming well. Leading 1-0 at home ground, and playing 11 agains 10 for the last half hour, you should at least make an attempt to control the game, so the result doesnt come down to whether you get a penalty or not. After Barca got Abidal sent off their ball possesion even increased / sorry to say so, but to expect that you can give a team like Barcelona the ball basically for 2x90 minutes and they wont produce a goal is in my view a bit naive. Chelsea should have played the game to get a second regular goal instead of just defending. With the players they have it must be possible to play football //jim

El Erik said...

Hey Jim, yes, I agree with you: Chelsea should have sentenced the game before when they were playing better, and they should blame themselves more than the ref. Nevertheless, I do think they were the better team over the two games.
It is true that Barca played better after the show off, and I got to respect them for that; they are more than just a bunch of pretty-players, but also have fighting spirit, and therefore deserved the goal - and also to pass to the next round; seen overall, they are the better team than Chelsea!

But as you know, football is often a game of margins, and in this particular semifinal, I think the margins were not with Chelsea!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Jim and personally think the game was between defending, negative, calculating, italian football style and then... Barcelona. Do I need to say anymore? Barcelonas victory was a victory for football as we love it and Chelsea - and Drogba in particular - was the disgrace of that night. What a pathetic way of using such a talent. So sad that we'll see an amputated barcelona team (defence) in the final (perhaps they can rent agger :-). I look forward to it nevertheless! Els

El Erik said...

Hey Els. Interesting, but I disagree that Chelsea played Italian Catenaccio: they used their strengths, and were not defensive, but yes, calculating.
As to Drogba, I agree that he has too much temper and acting on the pitch; I don't like him although he is a great footballer. Amusingly though, I respect him: he is very similar to a Danish star player from the 1980s called Preben Elkjær, who is now a commentator on Danish TV3 and a completely unrepentant fan of Drogba, and I think it is because he reminds Elkjær of himself!