By Avenell Dave
All this furore over a penalty that had little or no bearing on the result has hardly been the best preparation for Arsenal ahead of this evening's match against M*nure.
I don't know whether Eduardo will play or whether any tackles he succumbs to will now be treated with suspicion. I'm still fuming about all of this.
Eduardo is a world class player who has wrongfully been labelled a cheat and the 'witch hunt', as Arsene Wenger put it yesterday, is a shabby way to behave by all concerned.
As Le Boss so rightfully pointed out, if we are to retrospectively start punishing players for actions that referees have seen, we are undermining the officials and the whole situation will descent into farce.
In which case, football is going to start going the same way as American Football and other sports where the element of human error or controversy which makes the game so fascinating will eventually be wiped out.
How can what would be a yellow card offence, a dive if it was indeed one, now warrant a possible two match ban?
What the Scottish Football Association has to do sticking its oar in (I thought this was a UEFA competition??) is beyond me.
But most interesting is the fact that while pundits and anti-Arsenal media proclaim the match should be replayed because not giving a penalty might have made a difference to the result - yeah RIGHT!!! - one man has stood silent.
Step up, Celtic manager Tony Mowbray.
While his players moaned and the world went mad, Mowbray retained the dignity he has show throughout his career, refusing to condemn Eduardo and admitted that Arsenal were by far the better team.
If Celtic had made an official complaint, thereby ignoring the principles of match officials having the final say on which football is bound, I would have understood (but not agreed with) UEFA opening an investigation.
No one wants to see cheating in football. But Celtic never officially complained.
Mowbray is not just a wise and experienced football man.
He said yesterday: “I am wary of saying that I’m telling Eduardo ‘this or that’. Football is a professional sport and sometimes if you feel contact of any sort some people look to take advantage.
“I try to live my life with integrity and honesty and I’d like to think any penalties we are given are worthy penalties, and any that were given against us were honest decisions from an official. I’m sure the other night was an honest decision. We can all sit and watch television replays but he has to make a decision on the night that went against us.”
Mowbray was a defender, a man aware that his job was to stop players including kicking them when the opportunity arose.
He also knew that if he mis-timed or lunged into a tackle, forwards would take advantage of it. That is football.
Mowbray understands football.
It's a shame so many pundits, the media and administrators have shown themselves not to really understand the game and go after one of football's good guys when there are so many cheats tarnishing the sport.