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A View From Oz: AC & Eboue

Last night we didn`t quite get the result we wanted, but in my opinion we definitely got the response we wanted after the train wreck at Old Trafford. Not everyone will agree but I thought we were fantastic and even though the shots were too often straight at the keeper, or just wide of the post we played an experienced and decorated AC Milan side off the park. I have read some people that said that they defended excellently, and although Nesta and Oddo in particular were solid for them, I think that is giving them a little to much credit. For one Nesta, indisputably Milan`s best defender was man-marking Adebayor and I feel that the 0-0 score line owed as much to his inconsistent performance as it did to Nesta`s quality. Eboue killed Kaladze so badly that he had to be shifted to the centre after 25 minutes and then even the evergreen Maldini still could not effectively contain him.

In the midfield Fabregas and Hleb dictated the game for the most part, spraying the ball about and passing players with ease, at times it appeared that Gattuso and Ambrossini were simply witches hats positioned as obstacles to avoid in training. Flamini was particularly impressive, the fact that neither Kaka`s, nor Pirlo`s or Seedorf`s presence was noticed is about the greatest compliment you can give a holding midfielder. Senderos and Gallas didn`t put a foot wrong and made Pato look more like a player of his age than his reputation. Lehmann although rarely called upon to make a save did exactly what was required of him on the two occasions necessary, his kicking was much improved from the weekend and his throwing, the one part of 'keeping I doubt if Almunia will ever be able to equal the German at, was excellent, setting up a number of counter attacks. As always, Clichy and Sagna were rock solid in both there contributions to defence and the attack.

The player I want to focus on though is Eboue. I thought his response to both an idiotic and invisible display at the weekend was exceptional, that is right up until Jankulovski made contact with him in the box. He had gone a long way to changing my opinion of whether or not he could effectively function on the right wing with probably his best performance of the season, and then with one moment of stupidity he undid half his good work by flinging himself theatrically to the floor to alter the referee`s perception of what should have been a nailed on penalty. He is such a frustrating player. 80 minutes of incident free, classy, skillful, technical, powerful and penetrating football and he goes and over exaggerates a penalty claim that never needed exaggerating. The sad thing is that this is what people will remember of his game. People want look back on his performance and compliment him on how he repetitively skinned possibly the best left back in the history of the game or how he performed trickery and close control in the box that most Arsenal fans thought only Hleb and Robin Van Persie were capable of in this side. They will remember yet another moment of bad sportsmanship. If he could get his attitude together, on the basis of that performance and his game against Villa, he could be some player for us but whether or not he will be able to sort himself out is incredibly hard to gauge, especially considering his behaviour has actually deteriorated as he got older.

In 2005/06 he was a relatively problem free player (the only incident I can remember was the dive in the CL final, we took the lead from the resulting free kick) and probably the best attacking full back in the Champions League. In 2006/07 the petulance and cheating became more common, the Wayne Bridge handbags incident the most memorable of a few, he also became a much more suspect right back than he had been the previous year. This season, every game he seems to make a rash, cowardly tackle, take a ridiculously over the top dive or spend minutes arguing with referee`s and opposition players, but to make matters worse he has been an inconsistent right winger. Watching the replay of his dive last night was so disappointing as an Arsenal fan as up until that point I had been so impressed with his display and then, in an instant, the embarrassment came straight back.

In two weeks time we will need a very impressive display in the San Siro too progress to the next round, but I think it is possible. Commentators read to much into a 0-0 draw. Yes, a win would`ve been nice. Yes, Milan are one of the best sides at defending 1-0 leads in the world, but as we saw tonight they will tire late in the game and, especially if the game goes to extra time. A score draw is far from beyond this side and although not overly optimistic about our chances it is not the mission impossible that the commentators had made it out to be. More on that clash in two weeks, Cheers, boys!




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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 21 2008

Time: 8:28AM

Your Comments

that was NOT a dive. his knee hit the Milan defender's knee and Eboue fell to the ground to take advantage of the impact. it was definitely NOT a dive. we were disappointed not to get the result we deserved, but dun try to channel our frustration on him. see the replay. i have seen it 3 times, their knees DID touch each other's and that's why Eboue fell and tried to take advantage.
fcdematthew
having said that, i have seen him dive before, but not on that occasion. there was definitely contact.
fcdematthew
there was contact but he made the very msot of it by throwing his arms into the air and well, diving. the ref would not have booked him it wasn't for the theatrics. but its unlikey he would have given a penalty because from the angle the ref was at, the contact was very slight. as you say, its the regularity that he dives that is really annoying.
gazzap
No matter how annoying you may find Eboue, that was no dive yesterday. There was a firm/unfair enough contact to get that kind of reaction from him. He may not have been at his best so far this season but he may still come good. Theatrics and all, I like his power/strength and determination. We definitely need some players like him.
Warri Gooner
I think he didn't get the penalty because of his reputation. We've heard of ref's discussing individual players prior to games and getting instructions from authorities to "pay attention" on this and that player. I believe that this is what Eboue is going through atm. Although there was contact in the box, Eboue fell victim to his own antics, committed numerous times before. He was booked because while falling, he flops his arms in the air instead of trying to absorbing his fall. Had that been Kaka, Gerrard, Shrek and other con artists etc. the ref would have thought twice before not giving it.
G4L
*refs
G4L
*absorb _____feck me, it's the lager from last night!
G4L
Eboue should not to be criticised for this - it was the ref's mistake as there was definitely some contact and should have been a penalty. This seems to his style of falling - foul or dive, and his reputation seems to have caught up with him in this case.
prits
First of all, well done on the writing Ozi, which is becoming pretty good. Onto Eboue, it was a nothing incident - maybe slightly exaggerated but within his rights to go down. Of more concern is the strong cynicism I now have when it comes to Eboue - a cross between not believing him and not giving 2 sh-its!
Andy-bayor
I didn't find Eboue partucularly impressive last night. There were times when I thought he should track back to help Sagna a bit. I think he looked better because Flamini & Sagna covered a lot of ground for him. If only his work ethnic improves, he should be much much better because he is technically gifted. On Flamini, I agree on his claim that he is not like Gattuso. He is by miles better! Well done...
Joe_@**
fcde matt, what G4L says is exactly the point I was making. As I said it was a penalty, I dont doubt that, but the way Eboue falls to try and take advantage of the situtation lacks any subtlety. He could have just fallen to the floor, but instead he throws himself forward, hands held outward, theatrically trying to get the ref's attention.
Ozi Gooner
Ozi Gooner, exactly my point too. there was contact (meaning that was NOT a dive), and he tried to take advantage of that. :) this kinda thing happens at times especially in games where you r desperate to score. we have seen Rooney, J Carragher and Stevie G dive. English dive as well. maybe we will have a better luck next time.
fcdematthew
Maybe my expectations are low (well, Eboue has ensured that they are) but I'm defending Eboue on this coz he didnt dive. We slate Eboue when he dives, and now we're slating him (a little less, but still slating) when he is fouled. I saw an improvement in Eboue this game, he contributed something positive to our overall build up play all game and no theatrics.
prits
We'll I disagree with you about Milan's defending there Ozi. To be honest, they we're almost flawless. Oddo, Nesta and Maldini in particular. It's really easy to know why Maldini is probably one of the greatest of all time. However, I do believe our missed chances did make Milan look as if they were better than they actually were. Kaladze wasn't too bad either. As for Eboue's "dive", I actually believe that how much ever contact there was, that was in no way a penalty. Shame on him, how can a man so athletic and well built fall off when some one just touched him (that goes out to all players).
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
WYBI, any player on the planet would try to take an advantage of that situation - and there is overwhelming proof for that. People go down without contact and get the pens and their teams win - does anyone care after? Hell no. If we won 1-0 and that was the goal that got us through - would you care? The point is, there was contact between the 2 players and our player went down (in a dramatic fashion). The fact that it was Eboue, a man with a reputation of the occasional diver, and the fact that he exaggerated his fall, meant there was no chance for him. And he was decent throughout the game compared to the crap performance and dismissal against Manure.
G4L
as for Milan's defending, what did you expect? The lot of them have no pace to keep up with our strikers, midfielders, and fullbacks so they use any means necessary to stop us - and they are bloody brilliant at it. Maldini is as fast as a snail, but no one really outpaced him yesterday. His and Nesta's positioning, use of the body strength and every other sneaky trick in the book (tugs, holds, pushes) are master-class!
G4L
"that was NOT a dive. his knee hit the Milan defender's knee and Eboue fell to the ground to take advantage of the impact. it was definitely NOT a dive" LMFAO best post ive ever read in my life. It wasnt a dive but instead he ran into the milan defender and fell down arms in the air and as fcdematthew put it "tried to take advantage of the impact" So how is that not a dive??? At least some of you gooners are now starting to debate the problem and are treating diving with contempt.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Hudyid - perhaps you have not read any previous articles / comments where everyone here has slated Eboue for his diving / theatrics. Somehow, I think you have, yet you continue to make stupid comments.
prits
Barbie or the Pikey king would never dive would they?
Ozi Gooner
Eboue didn't dive, he was trying a new Anti-Gravity dribble, but stupid gravitational rules brought him down.
k_chelski
Gravity tackled him down hard, he wanted to stand still in the air.lol.
k_chelski
lol k_chelski
HuddersfieldYiddo
HuddersfieldYiddo, u r again sounding stupid. if u dunno what a dive is like, go ask zokora. for reference, see these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBooGt2qtjw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmxm0ArnCLg
fcdematthew
Matthew it's a waste of your time to educate him. They have a different sense of humour.
Lou the Gunneress
 

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