Monday 25th October 2010
Looking at the household names gracing Man City's bench yesterday was almost frightening! Sometimes we forget, however, no matter how well known our opponents are or the pricetags they have demanded, we are a match for anyone on our day, even in their own backyard.
I am not a fan of football phone-ins as most of you well know, mainly because it is only a very small minority of calls that include a valid and relevant point. Virtually every call as we travelled home with that warm glow that only a fine away victory can bring, consisted of a disgruntled City fan complaining about the referee's performance.
On the day, the big decisions went our way of course but I am also glad that TV evidence has comfortably proved that the officials got every single one spot on.
The sending off was a hugely influential moment but when the last man quite clearly hauls down the attacker when beaten, what choice does the referee have under the laws of the game?! Frustrating as it is when it goes against you, if anything surely the City fans' dissatisfaction should be aimed in the direction of the defender's choice of tackle than the referee.
The penalty was another stonewaller and unlike at Sunderland our miss wasn't to prove costly on the day. Let's all hope the three we have already missed this season get them out of our system!
As far as other incidents are concerned there were no more than a few trips here and there, nothing malicious or dangerous, and in my opinion the referee handed out one or two unnecessary yellow cards to both sides in order to keep control of a game where our hosts were quite clearly frustrated, both on and off the pitch.
Overall, doing my utmost to be totally impartial I actually thought the referee did well in a potentially difficult situation and feel City's frustration, certainly on the phone-in we listened to, was simply down to the fact their multi-million pound side had been well beaten on the day.
Every player did his bit I feel and the fact all three goals were of high quality was a bonus for the thousands of travelling Gooners.
No travel problems, good company, fine and plentiful pre-match refreshment and the three massive points we craved to keep us in the title hunt made it a highly successful and entertaining day all round.
A competition change once again comes next as we face a tough Carling Cup encounter up at St. James Park in Newcastle on Wednesday night. Once again our every move can be examined and scrutinised live on the TV and as a result there will be yet more to debate I'm sure.
If the big decisions go our way we will be delighted of course, like all fans however, all we really hope is like in Manchester yesterday, the officials get them right.
Make some noise in the North East!
FrankCopyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Oct 2010