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Ref shocker sees Barca through

I haven’t yet penned my thoughts on the United game, thanks to a crazy week. I don’t think I can find time yet to write a proper post on this because I will be busy till the end of the week. So apologies.

I decided however, for the benefit of commenters on the previous post, that I must have a new thread here to prevent that page from crashing.

But let me just say this on yesterday’s match: the referee was a disgrace, and he deserves to get clobbered by Ballack, Drogba et al. That fantasy has now been immortalised in the form of these gifs. Hopefully they’ll lighten up your mood too. [via the ever excellent Dirty Tackle]

Ballack chases ref

Smiley chases smiley

Drogba raps



  1. Stephen

    8 May 2009 at 11:09

    I really don’t know where this Chelsea love has come from but let me put things accross as I see them.
    Chelsea are a nothing club owned by a corrupt Russian, Roman Abramovich should be in jail for making his billions on the back of millions of ordinary Russians, deliberately scared into giving away at a fraction of their true value coupons/shares in the huge oil/steel/ aluminium companies that these 2 gangster capitalists bought !
    Also their club is captained by a cry baby thug who is so self indulgent that he makes Victoria Beckham look humble. The big England captain who was injured for a vital qualifying match against Croatia when his country desperatly needed him, then was fit three days later to play a full 90 minutes for Chelsea, remarkable.
    They also have the racist steward who abused Evra last season, Chelsea supported the thug and Evra was banned for 4 games.
    They have no tradition after the Champions league win last season you are asked for a dignatry to represent your team in collecting the medals we had Bobby Charlton CBE, capped 106 times for England and 606 times for United, er Chelsea had “United fan” Peter Kenyon.
    They have Ashley Cole playing for them.
    Their club is built on the back of money, not success like ours and I for one have no love for the Rent Boyz and Drogba’s behaviour sums them up, THEY HAVE NO CLASS.

  2. Craig Mc

    8 May 2009 at 11:31

    @Stephen: I agree Bro that Chelsea have no class, and I don’t think anyone on here has mentioned that they have mate 😆 .

    It is a shame they have Ashley A.hole Cole playing for them, his wife Cheryl should play instead, because NOW she would be a threat, stopping all opposing attackers dead in their tracks 😉 😆 . If Kimba Walsh played for them too, then I would have to DEFECT to them mate 😉 😆 , just joking Stephen.

    In fairness they were denied at least 2 penalties, which would have got them to Rome. Am I glad they are not going to be in Rome, hell yes I am! Was I glad to see John Terry crying again at the end – yes.

    Do I agree with their OOC behaviour and ref hassling at the end – NO I feckin don’t.

    However, I can understand why after putting in so much effort all the games to the semi, that to go down like they did, by poor refereeing decisions, I would be raging if it was our club that happened too. That’s just being honest.

    Do I personally believe that Chelsea were the better team, NO I don’t, and that is just being honest. But then every pair of eyes sees something different, so we do not all agree on that.

    If all the above constitutes Chelski love, then I scratch my head in amazement Bro. 😆

  3. Stephen

    8 May 2009 at 11:37

    @Craig Mc: 😆 😉

  4. Karl

    8 May 2009 at 11:55

    @Grognard: Sorry my man, I’m not with you on Ballack. I cannot see how you can condone his behaviour with “Anger and frustration is not illegal” BUT yet, when I tried to defend Rooney over the ball-throwing incident, you totally opposed the “Anger and frustration is not illegal” principle. If you watch the incident in real-time (without the benefit of hindsight), you will see that he almost clobbered the referee. At least that was what it looked like to me at the time (without the benefit of hindsight in knowing afterwards that he did not hit out at the ref). As good a player as what he is, he should have displayed the type of grace that Fletcher showed for his injustice. During that act, he portrayed the same amount of class as a certain Mr. Drogba. (I’m sorry if he is one of your favourite players…Rooney is one of mine, yet I got lambasted for defending him over far less attrocious behaviour).

  5. Eric the Red

    8 May 2009 at 12:05

    @Vivek: One thing I don’t get in this whole Chelsea/Barca debate (and I’m only asking you because I’ve noticed you express it,) is this idea that the better team won.

    First, it seems as though ‘the better team’ is simply code for ‘the more aesthetically pleasing team.’ That doesn’t necessarily mean better. Us versus Arsenal is a case in point. Moreover, what is pleasing is just so subjective. I do find Barca breathtaking at times. But so too is a lightening paced counter such as our 3rd on Tuesday. So too is the pure power with which Ronaldo’s strike against Porto was taken. But really none of this is my main point.

    What I really don’t get is what the big deal is about the better team winning. The fact is that on any given day an inferior team can beat a superior one. Isn’t it precisely this that makes cup football so interesting? We have the leagues to suss out who are the better teams. You need to be consistently strong over such a long period that the cream invariably rises to the top. That’s why we value the league title so much. But in cup ties anything can happen, and surely that is half of the fun.

    Finally, whether or not Barca are the better team, does not lessen the fact that the Russian mob have a right to feel cheated. The referee was so poor in that game that it likely cost them a trip to the final. That being said, over the 2 legs I do think that Barca were superior and they too were denied a penalty in the first leg. However, having the first tie done and dusted, Chelski outplayed Barca at home (6 or 7 scoring chances to 1), had at least 1 stonewall penalty ignored, and rightfully are pissed about it. Lord knows if that had happened to United I’d have have lost the plot!!!

  6. Craig Mc

    8 May 2009 at 12:14

    @Eric the Red: I don’t think most people are saying that the better team won on the night Eric, I think what I see most people are trying to say is that the best footballing team won out – i.e. Barca. Yet still that is open to debate, and will no doubt have the shit debated out of it til the cows come home. Fans will always have differing opinions on things, even fans of supporters of the same football team. Fandom eh? 😉 😆

  7. Craig Mc

    8 May 2009 at 12:17

    Tell you what though Ericthe Red, what pleases me tremendously about all this, is that while the media are discussing and harrassing the Chelski and their players, United have not been subjected to all the usual MEDIA HYPED up tension of the Manchester Derby, so our lads have been able to quietly prepare in PEACE and QUIET for what is a very important, and MUST WIN Derby game for us 🙂 .

  8. Vivek

    8 May 2009 at 12:32

    @Eric the Red:

    I had promised that I would drop this, and I will. To answer your question on why I think the better team won, I would point you to my post earlier (post #8). Perhaps it is just the difference in looking at a game from a different perspective, but I firmly belive that a Barca-United final will be a much better spectacle than a United-Chelski final. I am not denying the fact that Chelsea have a right to feel aggrieved. (Although its hard to sympathise with their antics at the end). But I certainly dont believe for one moment that it is some kind of conspiracy, the ref was just poor, not biased.

    In any case, we should simply drop the matter and concentrate on the Derby and the final in rome, which is sure to be a classic

  9. Craig Mc

    8 May 2009 at 12:38

    @Red Ranter: Awwww REALLY RR? I don’t want Lil Man Nani lambasted, can’t you just put a BAN on that pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese 😉 😆 😆 .

  10. Craig Mc

    8 May 2009 at 12:40

    @Vivek: Consider it DROPPED then Vivek 😉 😆 . By the way guys, if I overuse the smileys, it is just because I can’t stop smiling NOW!

  11. Craig Mc

    8 May 2009 at 12:43

    Okay, gotta get back to my deadline project 🙄 , which I will be hard at until about midnight now I think, considering I dilly dallied about this morning. One of the advantages of being self employed m’thinks 🙂 . By then and PLAY NICE everyone 😆 .

  12. Eric the Red

    8 May 2009 at 12:50

    @Craig Mc: Ya, but it is precisely everyone saying ‘that the best football team won out’ that is starting to piss me off. It’s cup football and sometime the best team doesn’t win. That’s life.

    I think really I’m just getting pissed at people (e.g., the Spanish media) wanking all over Barca. All this ‘God loves football’ and ‘justice was done’ and ‘greatest team in the world’ bullshit. It’s the attitude that they have some sort of divine right to win because they play beautiful football that gets me. But I guess that on the positive side, everyone can write us off and it will be all the sweeter if we spank the shit out of them

  13. Eric the Red

    8 May 2009 at 13:05

    @Vivek: I agree that Barca-United is a more interesting final and that it was poor officating and not some conspiracy.

    I also hate the way the Chavs play and would prefer to watch Barca anyday of the week. But what really has me annoyed is the ‘Barca deserved to and had the divine right to win simply because they play beautiful football’ that is coming from the Barca players and Spanish media.

    Am I glad Barca won? Yes. Do i think Chelsea were robbed? Yes. Do I care? Hell no. I hate that Russian mob so much that I laughed my ass off when Iniesta scored. Cheated or not, my only thought was ‘It couldn’t have happened to a nicer lot.’ And you’re spot on: their antics did them no favours in the sympathy department.

    But since you feel the need to drop this for some reason, let’s do so. Cheers mate!

  14. Stephen

    8 May 2009 at 13:06

    @Eric the Red: Spot on mate, we hardly played the beautiful game when we played them last season, it has to be horses for courses, do what you have to do to get through.
    We all want to play great attacking football but a great side knows when to change their style and adapt to the opponent.

  15. Jon

    8 May 2009 at 13:08

    @Wakey: Grognard may come across as being the way you imply him to be, simply because he has a very good knowledge of the sport, and can present his case clearly. However, he is not a bully, and does not gangpress ranters into agreeing with him, nor does he impose his views forcefully onto everyone who does not agree. As demonstrated by him and Vivek, just because a debate is heated, it can still end in a truce, and not require anybody to be bashing individuals on the blog.

    You have come back out of nowhere, and started off your first post by labelling someone’s view as ‘idiotic’, which I might add is extremely rude. I’m sorry, but none of here really want you around, as you can’t seem to get along with anybody. Please leave.

  16. Eric the Red

    8 May 2009 at 13:38

    @Stephen: Agreed. This is what puts us a cut above the rest. Barca play beautifully, but that is the only way they play and if that isn’t working they’re done. We can play possession football and we can pass and play incisive through balls just as Barca can. But we can also absorb pressure and counter with blsitering pass if the situation warrants it. That too can be beautiful football. The 3rd against Arsenal was breathtaking to watch. And when everything else goes tits up we can simply grind out a result and win with one peice of magic such as Ronaldo’s wonder strike against Porto (which again was a a beautful thing to behold, I was awestruck for 15 minutes).

    Having said all that, I was annoyed as shit with that string of 1-0’s and want beautiful footie!! 😆 I’m with Grog, I want my cake and to eat it too!!

  17. Eric the Red

    8 May 2009 at 13:42

    @Stephen: Adding to the above: I’d have no problem if we catenaccio’d the shit out of them and won 1-nil just so I could laugh at all of the ensuing whinging about the injustice of it all.

  18. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 17:31

    @Stephen: We aren’t arguing for Chelsea mate, we’re arguing for the good and the integrity of the game. Injustice is injustice. It makes no difference who it is against and so allowing bias, rivalry and hatred to cloud ones mind and heart over what is just, is incredibly wrong.

  19. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 17:38

    @Karl: I was upset with Rooney because his antics were born out of childishness and because they were hurting his team, Our team. He wasn’t mad about such an incredible injustice as two hand balls not being called, and 3 fouls in the box not being called as well as one being in the box but but being placed outside of the box. Ballack’s frustration and reason for going berserk was completely justified and like I said before, if that was me, I would have done worse. I also know that all of us would condone what he did a hell of a lot more if it was our team that got burned and frankly, with some of you, it would be different if it just wasn’t Ballack who did it. Ballack hatred amongst United fans is very high so the last group I would expect any understanding from is a bitter group like that who hate his guts. All I am asking is for you and others to be truly honest with yourselves and ask yourselves what you would have done if that were you, or if that was Man Utd get screwed over? 😕 😕

  20. Stephen

    8 May 2009 at 17:39

    @Grognard: What Chelsea and integrity on the same sentance? 😆

  21. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 17:48

    @Craig Mc: The best philosophy of football won out. Chelsea for my books is the better team. Overall their lineup for me is better than Barca’s and they have a lot more of the main ingredients for success at that level than Barca have. Barca is small and soft and they are not that strong defensively or in terms of power and height. Yes they have Messi and Xavi and the overrated Dani Alves but everybody else is not up to par with what Chelsea has. I would never take Eto’o over Dorgba (and I despise Drogba), I am not a big fan of Iniesta and I would take Lampard over him and Xavi, I’d take Ballack over those two also but I am also showing bias their, and Micahel Essien is the best footballer who showed up on that pitch period. Yes, if I had the money I would buy Essien over Messi. I love Messi but he is small, injury prone and easy to mark out of a game if your team is physical and tactically smart. And Chelsea are both.

    Frankly, I was terrified of having to face Chelsea in the final. Under Hiddink they are far superior to the way AV Grant was playing them. Barcelona, fine attractive football and great team, but they as well as their league is a cut below the English League in overall quality as well as not possessing the necessary physical components to play teams like the top 3 from England due to a lack of height, physicality, grit and guile. Sure they may play the more attractive football, but the best in the game are not measured by cosmetics, but by results and how they produce at crunch time. And lets face it, they lucked out against Chelsea. That game should have been put away a half dozen times before Iniesta took his wild crack that was guided in by the footballing Gods who clearly wanted a more attractive final.

  22. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 17:49

    @Craig Mc: That will come mate, just you wait and see. Three weeks to go and a lot can be said before then. 😀

  23. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 18:00

    @Vivek: Whether the ref was poor or bias, I find it really cold mate that you cannot sympathize with what happened to them and be a little more understanding over why they lost it. You also have to remember that Chelsea were totally gutted by the Iniesta goal only to have a shot of still winning when Ballack struck the ball with seconds left and Eto’o blatantly raised his arm and blocked it with his arm. That happening so near the end escalated emotions to a fever pitch because there was no time for players to settle down and cool off and get on with the game. The ref ignored the plea and then the game was over. Now you come on here and tell me that you in the same position would have done nothing? I don’t believe it one bit. I give you more credit for having a heart and a soul to accept that you would have quietly walked to the dressing room. In fact when interviewed, Hiddink and other footballers and managers past and present also understood and condoned the actions as being the heat of the moment and being instigated by great injustices. Try playing a sport for a year where you bust your ass every day in training and where you leave everything on the pitch on game day and go on until you have almost reached the promised land only to have it taken from you by thieves.

    It’s your prerogative as to who you cheer for and what you want from the game, but fairness to both yourself, your team as well as the enemy is vital if we are to enjoy a competitive sport. For you to not be sympathetic just tells me you hate Chelsea so much and love Barcelona so much that you don’t care. And for me mate, thats sad but above all, it’s bloody well cold. 🙄

  24. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 18:11

    @Eric the Red: If Barcelona played Chelsea 100 times without draws, Chelsea would win way more than they would lose. Barcelona is just physically over matched against them. Tactically and physically Chelsea are the better team because in two matches they were able to halt Barca’s big players and never gave up many scoring chances while creating many themselves and also creating many opportunities for penalties in the box.

    No Chelsea does not play better football or more attractive football than Barcelona, but that isn’t the question. The question is who is the better team,not who looks better playing thew game. Frankly Barcelona did not look better playing Chelsea. Their one dimensional Arsenal-like thinking threw them in a corner that frankly they were lucky to extricate themselves from. For 90 minutes they were devoid of ideas on how to break down the Chelsea team and get their short passing and fast flowing game going. But Guardiola being the wet behind the ears rookie that he is at this level, had no ideas. They did very little to change their approach and attack after attack bogged down in midfield because all the passing lanes were blocked and because Chelsea hounded their stars who were clearly not used to that kind of attention and close marking back in Spain.

    Nope, Chelsea was by far the superior team and I am just overjoyed they lost because it guarantees United (barring a rash of injuries) their second straight Champions league trophy. Why? Because we are just as talented as Barcelona, we have more quality in depth and because we can play the tactical defensive style that beat Arsenal and that Chelsea used to perfection and neutralize Barca just like we did last year. Except this year, I expect more from us offensively. Could I be wrong? Sure, but I seriously doubt it. Only time will tell. 😀

  25. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 18:13

    @Jon: Thanks for that mate. Greatly appreciated. 🙂

  26. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 18:27

    @Eric the Red: And really though, when we look back at the game we must ask ourselves what was beautiful about the football Barcelona played? Their continual breakdowns in passing and complete confusion and frustration in not getting their plays, give and go’s and crosses to their targets? The plain fact is that Barcelona inability to adapt and their continual attempt to bash through the Maginot Line without any backup plan or contingency was ugly to watch. Their was nothing remotely beautiful about their football. Their football is beautiful if inferior clubs let them do their thing. That’s hardly the MO for a fantastic and unbeatable team.

    I am convinced that if Barcelona played in the EPL they would be fighting it out with Villa and Everton to see who can catch Arsenal. They would be left in tatters every week trying to match up physically with teams as well as having to figure out how to break through big physical teams that are adept at parking the bus and defending. United has the quality and the balance in both attack and defense to succeed in that league even if it occasionally forces us to change our style. And that ability to change and adapt is why we are the best team in the world and a cut above the Barcelona’s who only play their dressed up and cute one trick pony show style. Too bad Chelsea and united aren’t another Real Madrid. We will beat them because we are superior in quality and tactics but we will also beat them because in fairness, they will be in big trouble without both of their starting fullbacks. Defensively that will hurt them but Alves and Abidal mean so much to their attack and so much to Henry and Messi. It could end up being a 3-0 4-1 type game for us. But lets face it, Fergie never wins a trophy with ease, especially in Europe. He likes to put us through the emotional ringer before we prevail. 😀

  27. Grognard

    8 May 2009 at 18:30

    @Stephen: OK, it was a stretch. 😉 😀

  28. Jcaber76

    10 May 2009 at 03:58

    Just a couple of points for careful consideration.

    – Chelsea did not get the big decisions, but they still created enough cahnces to score more than 1 goal, but didn’t take them and that is the reason that they are not in the final. Lots of teams have games where they don’t get the decisions, but they still have the courage to overcome this and close out games. So well done to Barca for playing until the final whistle – Chelsea knew they were playing roulette if they defended the 1 goal lead!!!! Just like Bayern Munich did in 1999, you cannot shut up shop and invite pressure, esp with a team that boasts the attacking flare Barcelona has.
    – In the final of any cup competition, any result can happen. Liverpool were losing 3-0 at half time against a Milan team that did not concede goals, we all know what happened there – they were not the better side but they had the most courage. Barca have got a better chance of beating us than they did Chelsea, because as ‘Eric the Red’ points out Chelsea are a defensive team with big bruisers who make it difficult to play. United will be attacking from the off so this will give Barca more space in our half as the game goes from end to end. On paper we have a better defence, but look how Liverpool destroyed us, we cannot start to assume that we have got the trophy in the bag!
    – Fergie will have to get the tactics just right because Barca can hurt is through playing football or resort to the tactics Liverpool seemingly are happy to employ – the long ball and we know how devastating Henry can be, he would love to get on over on us after what we did to Arsenal too!
    Might only be the odd goal in it, so we need to be at our very. I think that we will win, but it is not as cut and dry as some of the other comments would suggest.
    -Midfield will be the key and I hope Fletcher gets

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