Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal – 23/02/08 – (Premier League) 24 February, 2008Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
In the second minute of the game, that happened. The horrific, idiotic, reckless challenge by Martin Taylor on Eduardo da Silva. For the few seconds in which the incident took place, I wasn’t actually looking at the TV, so I missed it, however it was clear that something really quite bad had taken place. The players around him urgently called Gary Lewin on, the sheer panic on everyone’s faces really hit me.
Everyone had a look on their face saying, ‘Woah, this is bad.’ Eduardo was on the pitch for 10 minutes receive urgent treatment. A lot of people were watching this thinking, when are they going to show the replay? Sky said they wouldn’t show the images as they were too sickening for general viewing. When I got home I found these images and this video (Warning: These are not for the faint hearted). Horrible.
Look at that second picture at the top of this article, Eduardo’s face. He didn’t deserve that. Taylor has gone in, clearly not for the ball but to “let him know he was there”. I don’t for one minute suggest that he’s intentionally broken his leg but I’m 100% positive that he meant to miss the ball. That’s why he’s a fucking imbecile who shouldn’t be playing football. After the game Arsene said he should be banned from playing for the rest of his career, comments which he later retracted saying it was all in the heat of the moment. I agreed with him at the time but it shows our class he so quickly, publicly apologised for what he said.
However, it raises the issue that such a terrible ‘tackle’ if you want to call it that, will only result in a three-match ban. Arseblogger (in a great post this morning) talks about this saying that it’s a shame that we had to wait until somebody got really hurt until maybe the FA do something about it. This season there has been some horrendous fouls, a lot of them seemed to come around the same time, towards the end of 2007, and I remember everyone saying that very soon somebody is going to be on the wrong end of something disgusting. Yet I never thought it might happen to us.
Obviously Taylor was red-carded immediately. However there are some stupid pricks out there. Birmingham players surrounded the ref debating his decision, pundits dismissed it as ‘harsh’ and TalkSport radio spoke about ‘typical diving Arsenal’ and how we just can’t take an ‘English Tackle’. Fuck off you stupid cunts, I’d love to see you be on the other end of that tackle you deluded-United-loving-wankers.
You might think that I’m spending a bit long talking about just one challenge in the game, however it completely overshadowed anything else that happened yesterday. When Da Silva was receiving treatment the camera panned around our players who were all abject, some with their heads in their hands. It was horrible to watch and all the fans at home and in the ground felt the same too.
When play finally continued you could blatantly see that it this had affected our play, and it was no surprise when we went one-nil down. They won a dubious penalty outside the area and James McFadden took a good free kick curling into the top corner that Almunia couldn’t quite get enough on.
At half time Arsene Wenger said what needed to be said, and it got through to the players. Within 10 minutes of the second half we were 2-1 up from two Theo Walcott goals. The first was a cross which Adebayor tried to get a head to but the ball fell in the area which Walcott reacted quickest to make it 1-1. The second was a more individual goal, with the confidence of his first Premiership goal five minutes earlier Theo cut in from the right and shot from just outside the area back across goal. A great finish and we were all smiling again.
The first half was a bit depressing with everything that happened but it least it looked like we were going to win. We were on top for the rest of the game, Adebayor had loads of chances, many of which were headers but there was one that is haunting me today. Ade broke clean through and charged towards goal with just the ‘keeper to beat.
He was sort of coming in from the left but Bendtner had followed the play and was making a free, unmarked run down the middle. All it needed was a nice ball squared and it was 3-1. Open goal, simple. However Adebayor was incredibly selfish which had me fuming, he wanted to continue his goal scoring run, not help the team. He missed at that was the end of a fantastic chance. At the time we were wining 2-1 so it didn’t bother me greatly but after game I was livid with him. I do hope Wenger had a go at him because I wish I could.
So it looked like we were going to win this one, until extra time. It was in the 94th minute that Gael Clichy costs us the game. A stray ball went over the box and out to the left, now for some reason Clichy paid no attention to it. He must have either thought it was comfortably going out or maybe he didn’t see Parnaby lurking. Once Gael noticed the danger we were in he tried to get the ball off him but wrapped his foot around him from behind and a penalty was given.
I’ve been told today it wasn’t a penalty but at the time it looked like it was. Usually I record Match of the Day and watch it the following morning for the match report but I didn’t feel like it yesterday. I was furious. And so was Gallas, he was so pissed off he had to remove himself from the situation and walk up the other end of the field. McFadden stepped up and put it away and it finished 2-2. Gallas sat on the pitch whilst everyone went back to the dressing rooms until Wenger came and got him.
A lot of people were angry with our captain’s actions but I would have done exactly the same thing and I do not blame him one single bit. That is my opinion. I know what he’s done wrong here so don’t try and tell me.
Yesterday was a very bad day for Arsenal. It’s the worst I’ve felt since possibly the 2006 Champions League Final. I said to myself, “Oi, we’ve only fucking drawn with Birmingham. It isn’t the end of the world. We’re still three points clear.” It was just the manner of dropping those two points, plus Adebayor’s selfishness and mainly due to the sickening injury to Eduardo.
At the time I thought this could be a career threatening injury, at least two years out, if he came back at all. He spent the night in a Birmingham hospital last night and has moved down to London today. I’ve heard from Croatian sources that the injury could not bad as bad as first thought and he could be back in 6 months. Think back to Alan Smith’s injury whilst playing for Man Utd, his bone was ticking out of his leg too and he was back in 7 months. I’m sure we’ll here all about it this week.
We have to believe now. We have to win the league for Eduardo. He was becoming a bit of a fans favourite, a fantastic finisher and a great guy. He was going to be one of the most exciting players of Euro 2008 and it’s his fucking birthday tomorrow!
All I want to see now is Eduardo Da Silva, on crutches, lifting the title at Ashburton Grove with everyone cheering his name. Make it happen Arsenal. Thanks for reading.