I am aware of our game against Sunderland today, but the Evra ban had me seething. It’s not that I’m a fan of conspiracy theories (for the record, I am not), but a four match ban for the player was very confusing to say the least. Let my first quote the FA’s statement from the website: [you could read the whole statement — including the reasons for slapping the ban on Evra — but I’ll quote the part of most interest]
The Commission considered this was an incident of violent behaviour by Mr Evra which was therefore punished by a suspension for four first team matches as from Monday 22 December 2008 and imposed a fine of £15,000 on Mr Evra.
The Regulatory Commission found two charges against Chelsea FC both proved. On the first charge the Commission found that during the course of the same incidents connected with the warm down by Manchester United FC players, Chelsea FC’s employee, Mr Sam Bethell, had conducted himself in a disorderly fashion and that his conduct and language had been abusive and provocative.
An allegation that Mr Bethell had engaged in racist conduct or language was not proved. Accordingly, so far as the charge against Chelsea FC was based on its alleged responsibility for such racist conduct and language by Mr Bethell, the charge against the club was not proved.
Now quite how the FA could prove that Bethell acted in an abusive manner that was not racist in nature is beyond me. If they could prove for sure that his manner and language was abusive, then they would surely know what the contents of his abusive remarks might have been. And if so, then it would have been fairly straightforward to conclusively determine if said abusive remarks were racist or not. However, they could determine that Bethell abused Evra but weren’t sure if the abuse constituted anything racist.
I don’t buy it.
And a four game ban? Just when an entire club (Liverpool), fans and players are showing solidarity towards Mark Shields, a Liverpool fan, who is currently in an English prison after being convicted by Bulgarian courts for cracking a Bulgarian waiter’s skull. He is awaiting trial after having appealed, and he may for all purposes be innocent — reports indicate that he may be. But when Tim Cahill showed solidarity to his imprisoned brother he was forced to apologise. I can rattle off other instances of inconsistency but I wouldn’t want to waste my time, and Scott has done a better job of it anyway.
Right. Back to the small matter of a game today. Sunderland at home, it is. It’s likely that Scholes will sit out this one and it could likely mean the form midfielders — Carrick and Fletcher — will be paired in midfield. At least that’s what I would do. But with Fergie these days, you never know. Up front is more interesting, but I think Berbatov will start, leaving either of Rooney or Tevez to partner him. Ronaldo and Nani would be on the wings.
With Evra’s suspension O’Shea would get a run out in left back. EDIT: Evra should play because the ban takes effect from 22nd December. Familiar faces, in EVDS, Rio and Vida will be in front of goal, while right back will be a toss up. I’d want Rafael with it being a home game against a seemingly rudderless Sunderland. But, as I said, with Fergie these days…
The Evra suspension has still got me agitated, so I’ll keep the preview short. Predictions: 2-0 to United.
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