Archive for March 24th, 2010

Arsene gambles and doesn’t lose. Or win.

Add comment March 24th, 2010

When Arsene Wenger feels he’s been wronged he can be like a dog with a bone.  His decision to appeal the red card against Thomas Vermaelen will have been his and his alone.  After the counter-claim was swiftly dismissed by the FA it’s easy to say no harm was done.  Hindsight is now our friend, but at the time the appeal was announced I was very, very worried.

First of all because whilst the decision to send Vermaelen off was undoubtedly harsh, in the letter of the law it wasn’t wrong.  I feared that the FA might extend his ban on the basis of a frivolous appeal, just as they did with Rio Ferdinand a few weeks back.

Secondly I felt it showed a clear lack of faith in the remaining centre-backs Arsene has available.  Having lost the appeal, will it give Birmingham strikers Benitez and Jerome a fillip to know they’ll be up against players Arsene was so keen not to have to field?  In the interests of transparency: I’m talking about Mikael Silvestre.

Arsene had to weigh up the gamble.  If the FA were sufficiently annoyed by the appeal, they could have ruled Vermaelen out of the home game against Wolves a week later too.  The manager obviously felt that wasn’t a sufficient deterrent to stop him trying to win back Vermaelen’s availability.  24 hours later, it’s simply a case of as you were.  I think we would have been naive to hope for any better.

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