Come to think of it, how did Mike Riley come to be appointed top banana, remembering what an inept job he made of handling the Old Trafford game when Manchester United put an end to Arsenal’s 49 match unbeaten run. Which oddly enough – not least to be remembered at the time Harry Redknapp is on trial for alleged income tax evasion – his Portsmouth team deserved to beat the Gunners early in that long run at Highbury. Only a blatant dive by Roberto Pires got Arsenal a phoney penalty from which to Harry’s justifiable fury, they contrived to save the match.
In the recent Manchester City-Spurs match Howard Webb, as pointed out pungently by Graham (3 card) Poll was walking away from the shocking incident when the ineffable Mario Balotelli stamped on the head of Spurs’ Parker. TV evidence has caught up with the incorrigible Balotelli, over whom suspension looms; but what of the elbow in the face of Lescott which followed and was similarly ignored; and now seemingly not deemed worthy of punishment at all?
I am I think not alone in still believing Webb made a dog’s dinner of the 2010 World Cup Final, when he should surely have expelled Holland’s De Jong for a shocking first half foul on Alonso.
Good to note, meanwhile, that Newcastle’s Ben Arfa who scored a fine though unavailing goal against Fulham last weekend, is back at last in action having been put out of the game for many months by a crippling foul, by the same De Jong.
And Arsene Wenger? I was among those at The Emirates to witness his perverse and ultimately fatal substitution of the hugely promising teenaged Oxlade-Chamberlain, just after he had skilfully made the equaliser for Robin Van Persie, with Andrei Arshavin, who proceeded to tee up the winning United goal for Danny Welbeck. What you might call a suicidal substitution.
But what of the decision, despite all the worrying evidence to keep Switzerland’s Johan Djourou out of position at right back where he was duly and predictably tormented by the elusive Nani? True, the Gunners have been beset by endless injuries but Wenger can hardly be said to have the made the best of a bad job.
One sensible and productive thing Mark Hughes has already done in his new role at Queens Park Rangers: he has brought the Hungarian international Akos Buzsaky back into the team.
Last Saturday, I watched Buzsaky excel, with dynamic right footed shooting which brought a spectacular free kick goal and a general all round display of skill and intelligence. That Neil Warnock made so scant use of him remains a mystery and some reason to take Warnock’s howls of fury at his dismissal with a certain reservation.
Talking of desperados, how can Jose Mourinho countenance the thuggery of his Brazilian defender Pepe; who recently stamped on peerless Messi?
By Brian Glanville