Thursday, February 20, 2014

Empty Cup and Baby Steps: Arsenal 2 - Liverpool 1

photo by Etolanevia PhotoRee

It's fair to say Scott didn't send Howard Webb a card on Valentine's Day, but he's got a more realistic view than most of his compatriots:

The shame of it is that they played well enough to win at the Emirates.  The shame of it is that it wasn't quite enough.  And, yes, Howard Webb should be ashamed for not giving a clear second penalty.  But rarely is a game lost because of one no-call.  As any player will tell you, there is always a series of missed opportunities or bungled plays both before and after a referee makes a critical, incorrect decision.  On Sunday, there was an incomplete clearance and loose defending, not to mention poor finishing.

But, you know, while I really do believe everything in that first paragraph, it still doesn't feel good.  Especially when that second penalty was even more obvious than the first (which was also a penalty).  Especially when Mr. Howard Webb was in a perfect position to make the call.  And especially because you could see Mr. Webb digging in his mental heels as he sanctimoniously wagged his finger in denial.  The only possible explanation for not making that obvious call (just look at it again on youtube and you will see what an incredible mistake it was) is that the combination of Luis Suarez' outrageously theatrical tumble and a previous penalty conspired to block Mr. Webb's better judgment.

I suppose Suarez must take his rehabilitation now another step.  Having refrained from dining on the opposition for several games and recently limited his diving to bodies of water, man-made or otherwise, it makes sense for him to now tone down the Sally Field reactions when fouled.  It was nothing short of comical to see the Uruguayan perform an inverted pirouette which must have taken substantially more energy and effort than merely crumpling to the ground after being bulldozed by Oxlade-Chamberlain.  Baby steps.

So while Liverpool's FA Cup is now empty, their opportunity in the league is at least half-full, being a mere 4 points from the top.  Although, some would say it is more like half-empty in that they are only 3 points ahead of a surging Tottenham team.  Either way, there are a twelve-pack of games left to play.  So whether half-full (Agger returning and Lucas, Johnson and Enrique soon to return) or half-empty (when was the last time Suarez scored?), I'll be enjoying each beer along the way, almost as much as this never-ending libation metaphor.

This is farlieonfootie for February 20.

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