November 01, 2012

Horse 1393 - Farcenal 7-5

Arsenal's 12 goal "thriller" against Reading has been touted in the media as one of football's greatest comebacks. Actually I see that something in the world of football stinks.

Theo Walcott scored Arsenal's fourth and the equaliser in the 96th minute. What I find particularly interesting about this was that it was during four minutes of added time. As a result of my rudimentary education, I can tell you with reasonable certainty that 90 + 4 = 94 not 96. I don't mean to take anything away from Theo Walcott but he should never been allowed to score that goal because the match should have already have been ended.

However, McDermott was irked by Walcott's second goal, which came after the minimum four minutes of added time shown by the fourth official had expired.
"Obviously it doesn't help that the referee added two minutes on to the four minutes of injury time to make it six," he said. "You can't tell the time as wrong as that, but he did."

- BBC Sport, 31 Oct 2012

How do to a magic trick: Score in the 96th minute, when only four minutes were added on

Owing to the fact that the rules declare that the referee is the sole arbiter of time with respect to the football match, it seems to me that this result was engineered to produce a more desirable outcome.
It is worth more to the FA that Arsenal go through to the next round of the League Cup because they can get a higher cut from ticket sales if the match is played at The Emirates Stadium and not the Madejski. Sky Sports like the arrangement because they can sell more advert time on telly if Arsenal and not Reading is playing in the next round. Bookmakers probably like it because there is a lower payout rate if Arsenal win.
On that last note, of the twenty clubs on the Premier League, five are sponsored by betting companies. A further four are sponsored by finance companies which is kind of the same thing more or less but with the blessing of the state.
You can't honestly tell me that given the amount of money both in football and the many billions which are wagered on the results on a weekly basis, that it is beyond the FA to direct the man in the middle to do his part in fiddling the result.
What had happened before the match even started was that Arsenal underestimated Reading who lie a lowly nineteenth in the Premier League and selected a squad which wasn't even their third choice players: Arsenal fielded some players with kit numbers in the 50s and 60s. Quite frankly, when they went 4-0 down it would have been an embarrassment to the club and I bet that at half-time Arsène Wenger would have blown his stack. The second half saw Arsenal players play as though they were in serious trouble and possibly be fired if they lost.
Reading on the other hand who do not have anything approaching quite so deep a reserves list, had no choice but to play on and win. Financially they stand to suffer if they face the drop and the League Cup is sort of an insurance policy.

I suppose that you could go on and read the ins and outs of the match if that takes your fancy and there are news outlets who can do a far better job than I but this 7-5 result speaks more to me about what didn't happen on the pitch than what did.
What did happen in this 12 goal nonsense of a football match is in my opinion just the tip of a massive iceberg of endemic and pandemic corruption in the game. Although I can't prove my supposition from the other side of the world, the fact that this result happened in the way that it did, that Manchester City played a match against Swansea in which 12 minutes were added on, which is an English football record, or even that teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have won so many matches deep into injury time over the last five years especially, begins to suggest a trend.
I even note that this morning, Chelsea were handed a handed a 94th minute penalty, when only three minutes were going to be added. Perhaps Manchester United weren't following the script they'd been handed?

Football is a game and in this case, everyone's on it.

No comments: