Manchester 2 – 1 Arsenal: Rooney’s Dive & Mike Dean’s Love For United.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, August 29, 2009, 17:15

I wrote that title as the game finished on Saturday and I’ve kept it because it’s an accurate description of the game. At the moment, football is very confusing. As a team, Arsenal have always tried to do things the right way. The proper way. We’ve concentrated our efforts on making our club a pure club. The football way. In return for our efforts, it seems that the officials, the FA and UEFA are all anti-Arsenal. I’ve got a lot to say on this whole subject and some of the points I’ll make today and some I’ll make a little later this week, but for the moment I’ll concentrate on the game.

We started with our new formation, the 4-4-3, but it was a slightly more defensive set of players – with Eduardo and Bendtner on the bench and Eboue starting ahead of them.


Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Denilson – Song

Eboue – Diaby – Arshavin

Van Persie

From an Arsenal point of view, the game was very interesting – we were clearly the better team. We dominated posession and put United to shame. The game was run by controlled by one person only and that was Mike Dean. Despite the constant fouling by Carrick and Fletcher, he allowed these fouls to go unpunished as well as without carding the United players. He was very quick to book Arsenal players and it really seemed that every decision was in United’s favour.

We had a stone-wall penalty when Fletcher took out Arshavin in the box. I have no idea what possesed the referee not to give the penalty. A clear case of inexcusable refereeing – there was no dispute. Arshavin did put us ahead from the resulting play with a sensational goal, shot from outside the area, a pinpoint shot. Arshavin brings us that type of play, he’s got a brilliant world class ability to score from outside of the area – and he seems to score in big games too. The highlight of game.

The commentators and MOTD pundits say, it should have been a penalty, but “it’s okay because he scored anyway” – that is absolute nonsense. The penalty should have been and the goal was.

The second half got worse in terms of refereeing decisions as Wayne Rooney clearly dived – clearly dived – to win a penalty. Video replays show there was no contact whatsoever. A penalty was given and that decision single handily was the most absurd decision of the game. Will UEFA ban Wayne Rooney for two games for diving. Never in a million years.

Double standards.

Inexcusable decisions.

I’ll cut it short there and talk more on his later.

The penalty decision took the winds out of our game, and before we knew it, we were 2-1 down as Diaby scored an own goal. At that point, the own goal and the penalty were Man United’s only two shots on target. Ouch.

After the own goal, we went forward and tried to get the winner, Eduardo and Bendtner coming on for Eboue and Denilson. It was to no avail. United defended well. There was a controversial moment at the end of the game, when a shot from Van Persie went in for the equaliser. Gallas was offside in the build up to the game, the goal ruled out. Wenger kicked a bottle in frustration and was sent to the stands. You’ve got to watch the highlight – it’s absurd – Wenger had nowhere to go and had to stand in front of the United fans on the roof of seated area.

This is possibly the worst match report I’ve ever written – but the game for me was outside of our control. Arsene had this to say about the penalty decision:

“It will be a big difference tomorrow in the newspapers. I don’t know…I have not seen it, I do not want especially to see it. He kicked the ball to the corner flag, Rooney, and after  – was he touched or not, was it a penalty or not – leave these decisions to the referee.”

And that statement shows exactly the differences between the treatment of United and Arsenal.

On the game, the gaffer said:

“I think what is the most difficult to take is that we were the better team and we lost the game. We were in front and had a chance to score the second goal and got punished on two goals. It is beyond belief. So overall I would like to keep the positives of this game because I believe that we can deal well with the disappointment of losing the game today. We have a great future and we can be a real force. But of course, it’s difficult to sort out tonight and we go home without any points.”

For reaction to this game, check out the comments on Match Day live – some very passionate and heart felt comments about the game – Fabrez summing up the game nicely in  more positive manner:

Personally, I find it very hard to get over defeats like this but just judging on performance rather than result, we did well in midfield with no Cesc. We held our own so credit to the lads. It wasn’t always perfect but we played a very positive brand… and we did so at Old Trafford. Not many teams dare do that. Not many teams r that confident or even capable. Ferguson playing a lone striker at HOME shows that he knows how dangerous we can be. RvP and Arsh tried…a very spirited performance from all.

Time to compose my thoughts and think about what’s going on at the moment. I’m not a happy Gunner.

Til later.

  • AJ

    I agree the game was fixed, I was sitting in a pub in central london and there were 3 united fans, them and their smart ass comments did no favours in helping my mood. Rooney dived and you are right, UEFA won’t do anything, the FA won’t do anything and we were cheated. You also forgot Valencias dirty tackles in the players who should of been booked early on. To behonest, I have two cousins who are united fans and they both admitted to me, rooney dived, they didn’t deserve to win and that if Eduardo gets banned, then so should Rooney. They have never ever said that or even admitted one of their players has cheated before, lets just hope by some miracle, karma comes back around at some point and screws united over like they did to us. However one thing I didn’t like, was Eboue’s dive, completely stupid and after all the Eduardo stuff in the papers, it won’t of done the clubs image any good.

  • Pete

    Performance-wise, even with key first-team players missing in Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott, we showed up United big time, and other teams watching that game would now fancy their chances a bit more against them. I could see teams like Chelsea, Liverpool, Villa, and Man City causing them a lot of problems this season.

    Arshavins goal was utter quality. If he can do that carrying an injury, then I cant wait to see him fully fit again.

    Despite the result, I felt reassured that we’ll probably end up doing better this season, a top 2 position isn’t unrealistic. From what I’ve seen so far, Chelsea are the only other top 4 team I’d be worried about, and even then I feel we could beat them if we play to our best ability. Liverpool, similar to United, rely too much on just a few of their players for winning games, and with 4 cometitions to play in, I feel they’re bound for a few big disappointments.

    Despite the referees ineptitude, whether or not the penalty should have been awarded etc, which I all agree on, I still feel that what lost us the 3 points was mistakes on our part, mistakes that were preventable. Almunia, who I felt had a decent game otherwise, could have stayed on his line instead of going in on Rooney. He made some great saves towards the end of the game. And I got to feel for Diaby, who I also felt had an ok game otherwise, and I hope he can pick himself up quickly from this and make up for the own goal in the rest of our games. By the end of the game, you could see on the faces of the United players that they couldn’t believe their luck by the time the final whistle blew.

    As for the treatment of Le Boss, absolutely disgusting. No other manager would have been treated that way if all they did was kick a plastic bottle in frustration. Mike Dean and his officials were a disgrace on Saturday, pure and simple.

    Cant wait for the next game to be honest. We should have one or two players back in Cesc and Rosicky, and Arshavin should be fully fit by then too. In the mean time, lets hope the international break is kind to us.

  • Fabrez

    Agree with u all the way there Pete. Well said!

  • Marc Callan

    I totally agree with the blog, Rooney is a diver!!! My father said he dived before the goalkeeper touched him and I totally agreed…after the weekends game I still believe Almunia should have claimed both balls, well the 1st he should have stayed…All we can do now is move on and take down Man City

  • joel sequeira

    Any one has an idea when our real mid flield is going to be up and running? i hear no updateds on any come back dates for fab, ros , nasri , or theo !!! Worries me to know if we suffer another injury in mid field we got no one . Ramsey i hear is out to , and young Wilshier is the only one we’v got.
    He is out ov the world but physically he is still a kid we cant let him crush his bones football before they form .

    All in all i want to forget what happend this week end , i believe the lads will kick Man C where it hurts the most .
    Its time we should the devil in us too. For us fans , it worked for me to just smirk at fool hardy united fans , they just knew that we are going to fuck the upside down when they step into the emirates…. their momentry monkey faces hooting and all that they do when they win is going to stop when they will realise is the up coming games that they are a pale shadow of themselves frm last year . Their new signing wont even get place in the 1st team fr even the Neplaese national team ( If there is any thing as such as that ) …
    Lets get our beers and our smiles ready fr the week end , ware that jersy with pride … A great season awaits us! Cheers!

  • joel sequeira

    Forgive me the typos gentalmen ! Cheers any ways ! haha

  • Debs

    To be honest, I wouldn’t say Rooney dived. He was already going to ground, granted, but Almunia definitely caught him enough for him to fall under the challenge. It wasn’t simply Almunia’s arms brushing him, but there was proper contact, that’s for sure. But if Almunia had pulled away quickly enough, like Boruc did, then it would have been a dive. I’m not too bothered about whether Rooney dived or what not, but it’s the sheer hypocrisy of the Celtic players that riles me! How ironic that TWO of their players were ‘guilty’ of diving during their SPL match over the weekend! I don’t hear the SPL crying out for bans for the 2 players!

  • Berth

    Debs I think you do have a point.

  • Fabrez

    Wow…Celtic are pretty pathetic then! I heard McGeady took a dive, didn’t know it was 2 of them! Why isn’t it in the papers? Bans in order? Surely the SFA are going to kick up a fuss right?!?! Surely! The hypocrisy is disturbing. And Rooney was entitled to the penalty if I try not to be biased. He was diving initially as Debs said, but Almunia hitting him made it legit for the penalty claim. Then again, 1 can argue…if a player starts to go down before he’s touched, isn’t he initially trying 2 deceive the ref? So many technicalities!

    Just on another note… I know each n every1 of us are hurting from the loss but for some unknown reason I’m not upset with Diaby. He’s not may favourite admittedly, but I can see that he’s trying so much harder this season. I think Arsene could be right. Maybe he will finally step up after his injury woes of the past. I hope so. I just ask for consistency from him in particular as well as the entire team.

    And just read of Ade hitting us Arsenal fans below the belt about him being loved at Man City. I’m amazed at the fact that he doesn’t get that talking about going to Barca pretty much got on our nerves! Silly fellow! Can’t even understand how he was disrepecting us! With that said, he’ll be fired up as he said, “I’ll do anything for the 3 points” against us. International break, u pain in the rear!

  • locks

    There were so many so called dives this last weekend since Eduardo’s was highlighted that it is starting to raise one major questions in my mind. Do all players dive?? In my mind i think they do, kind of. I think they all without exception go down at the sight of an advancing goalkeeper or defender with the expectation that a penalty/free kick will follow. Sometimes when the impact is not as great as expected or when it does not come it then looks like they have tried to deceive the referee. Ask yourself how many penalties are awarded because the attacker was literally knocked off his feet? Not many!

    So penalties inparticular are awarded on the slightest of contacts wher the defender does not touch the ball. Attackers all know this and play for it whenever they can. Its not cheating, its knowing the rules and playing to the rule.

    Attackers are not actually trying to deceive anyone. I think they practise taking the ball past the keeper/defender and once contact is made falling in a particular manner to ensure the Referee sees that they have been fouled. Of course if the defender/keeper changes his direction of movement etc, then we have a problem.

    Unless the rules are changed forcing players to stay on their feet unless there is sufficient impact to bring them down, then trying to prove that a player tried to deceive the referee is incredibly hard.

  • Kicker

    Well, all divers are either British or Scot (member of UK)…. pray England & Scotland will lost their int’l game this week as a karma

  • Roachy

    Two points

    Ashavin’s penalty claim was far more obvious than Rooney’s yet Dean paid Rooneys and ignored Ashavin. Not even a yellow card for Fletcher.

    English Refs favour English clubs that have British Coaches and buy predominately British players. Arsenal dont so they will punish us against the MANU everytime. I also think that refs are scared of giving decisions agaisnt English coaches like Alex (blue-nose) Ferguson for fear of his wrath. (by the way: making him “sir” is a disgrace to the title)

    Dean is also nutorious for being card happy. Why would the FA give the ref with the worst red/yellow card handing record in such a big game? Anyone tell me?

    I am so over this rigged comp…!

  • zohaib

    Debs – I’d have to say Rooney was on his way down before there was any contact from Almunia. Yes there was minor contact but only after Rooney starts to go down. So I’d call it a dive, and cheating and deceiving the referee.

    And I’ve seen other videos of him diving. He’s a complete disgrace. Against Blackburn, against Chelsea, against Arsenal before, against Villareal and numerous other times.

  • Onam

    Rooney dived and I was sooo peed off he did before to end our unbeaten run and he did it again. He ain’t going to be punished simply because his english and so called god to english football. WHAT A JOKE!

  • kenneth

    What is Arsene Wenger doing in the transfer market.
    No one yet and no news either…
    This is frustrating….

  • fansub

    wat baffles me is, why isnt any1..FA,UEFA,FIFA talking bout fletcher wacking arshavin and arsenal not getting a penalty?
    Sometimes,i feel these football bodies HATE Arsenal…

  • Berth

    Very frustrating, Ken.

  • karl

    The press are having a field day. Arsene Wenger ‘has’ labelled Manchester United anti-football. Now I don’t for a second agree with that and I certainly do not believe that Wenger is having a direct pop at United. His frustration is more than likely being aimed at the referee and I make him right.

    United fouled Arsenal plenty of times in the match and that is something I expected to happen anyway. It is a fierce match. But to be honest I reckon Arsenal gave United as good as they got. We wasn’t bullied off the park, in fact we more than held our own. I think the main problem was the inconsistency of the ref, Mike Dean.

    That game on Saturday needed a strong ref and lets be honest here, Mike Dean isn’t a strong ref. In fact he is a pretty shit ref. More shit than shite itself. And I’m surprised to be honest that he didn’t lean towards Arsenal. He is from Wirral and apparently is a Liverpool fan!

    Perhaps all the shenanigans of the press calling Arsenal cheats was playing on his mind and subconsciously he felt that he needed to back that up by booking more Arsenal players than necessary. I’m not being biased here but if Arsenal deserved having six players booked then so did United. In fact, Darren Fletcher could have been booked more than those six players all together!

    Football is a physical game but ref’s need to be consistent with their whistle blowing antics. They can’t book one player for something and then not book another for the same thing. I saw plenty of incidents on Saturday where United were given the decision and Arsenal wasn’t. It’s hard to stomach but ref’s always lean towards the home side. Especially if its United.

    Despite the defeat I was impressed by Arsenal. We dominated for large periods of the game at the champions home and that is no mean feat. I always felt that to beat United you have to go at them. We did that and were unlucky not to win.

    I don’t want to put the entire blame of the defeat of the ref’s shoulders but he did contribute to it. I’d still argue now that Rooney dived for that penalty but if it happened at the other end would the ref have been strong enough to give it? The answer is obviously no because Arshavin was a denied a clear cut penalty and he didn’t certainly didn’t dive.

    There is no doubt about it that this campaign is going to be be exciting one. It’s shaping up to be a difficult season and I honestly believe, from what I’ve seen so far, that Arsenal can mix it up and challenge for the title this season. Some believe that we need to sign a couple more players and I would like that to happen. It adds more depth.

    It’s a shame we wasn’t playing Manchester City this week. I really feel that we would batter them despite their good form. The players would be eager to shake this defeat out of their systems and what better way is there than to get back on the pitch together and do that? Instead we have internationals and to be honest I probably won’t even watch. Fingers crossed we don’t get any injuries!

  • Francis

    Guys one way to put pressure on the FA is to continue bringing to the fore the fact the man utd are always favoured at Old Trafford. Rafa Benitez made that point last season and because l’pool played badly after that no one took notice. Now is the time to state the facts and hope that this nonsense stops. I remember the ridiculous penalty that was awarded Man Utd against Bolton last season, when Ronaldo fell over a clean tackle by JLloyd Samuel. I believe Man Utd get at least 6-12 “free” points per season because of “favourable” yet bad decisions by referees. Zohaib, Debs, Berth, Dev back me up with the stas…..

  • Fabrez

    Here the stats are guys courtesy Sky Sports… ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! (And not the good kind of ‘amazing’!)

    “Manchester United managed their 1000th top-flight home victory by defeating Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday, but the match is likely to be remembered more for disciplinary reasons.

    Referee Mike Dean’s performance has been put under scrutiny, having booked six Arsenal players and only three for United – this despite the Red Devils committing six more fouls.

    The Gunners have now been given 17 cautions in their last three visits to Old Trafford, despite making only 44 fouls – a card for every 2.5 fouls. Interestingly, United have been given only five yellow cards in the same period, despite making 48 fouls.

    Dean also awarded United a penalty following a foul on Wayne Rooney by Manuel Almunia; their fourth on the last seven occasions on which they have hosted the Gunners.

    Another statistic of note from this game was that Arsenal lost their first Premier League game that they had been leading at half-time in since February 2005 – against Manchester United.”

    Maybe I shud send the FA the link to this article…

  • Fabrez

    This also shows that it is not passion that makes us fans and Wenger upset…the facts do!

  • Debs

    Wow, that’s very interesting, Fabrez. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will ever change, except maybe when they eventually get a new manager. I guess the only thing we can do in the interim is turn The Emirates into a ‘fortress’, like OT. But I guess it’s easier said than done!

  • Mokeejoe

    heres a comment i found from someone and its so true “When you play Manu you play the ref too”

    SAF and fletcher are liars.
    fletcher said on his foul on arshavin ” i got a bit of the man and a bit of the player”
    Wheras Fergy said “Theres no way it was a penalty” LOL
    anyway on the game we deserved to win but we gifted them the points. and even tho manure threw in an extra midfeilder to stop us running the midfield we ran it anyway with both fabregas and nasri out. promising.
    My only worry is that fabregas and nasris injurys will ruin us. cus by the time we have our full starting 11 fit we might not be in form anymore = /

  • kicker

    All the FA & UEFA members belong to a club call “fixed club”. they fixed every game according to their favour team, so is their ref (good example is fucking Mike Dean – a true mother fucker…watch your back when you walk on the street)

  • congeb

    united is totaly a loser…when there coming loss a game there will make so much dirty tactycal…its make EPL like’s MPL(manchester premier league)…
    very frustrating..

  • StormIsland


  • mike

    I’m a gooner but blimey this sounds like an old folks convention chatting about your ailments.

    Move on people we got beat by 2 stupid mistakes that WE made
    . It was a penalty and it was an own goal.

    But. Yes we totally outplayed the Mank for 75 of the 90 minutes.

    ps. The players may be getting 50k+ per week for kicking a pigskin but YOU ARE NOT so stop getting so stressed about a game that is only interested in either your TV Subscription or your Beer money down the pub.

  • areyoumental

    Reading this article makes me genuinly worried about the state of your mental health. I like Arsenal, I really do. But the way you are talking about them, it sounds like you are mental. All of UEFA and the FA are against arsenal? What are you basing this on?? Arsenal were unlucky in that game, and Rooney should be punished for diving. But it is absolutely no reason to spout the paranoid, delusional drivel shown in this article. The comments aren’t much better; claims that the game was fixed are laughable. Arsenal players dive, arsenal have decisions go there way etc. the same as everyone else.