Saturday, December 8, 2012

Arsenal 2 - West Brom 0

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying." Lance Armstrong took that old adage very much to heart, but it's also endemic in soccer, most notably in the form of diving for penalties. A textbook example occurred in  the first half of today's game, when the admirably gifted Santi Cazorla stole a penalty kick, which Mikel Arteta converted, via an obvious and shameful dive in the penalty box.

The second half saw one more goal, again on a penalty. This time, it was warranted, as Popov clearly took down Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain himself appeared to commit a foul before the penalty when he first acquired the ball. Once again, Arteta converted the penalty.

Arsenal deserved to win the match, dominating possession thoroughly and creating (and spurning) numerous chances some of which were clear-cut. West Brom, on the other hand, created very little; I'm not sure they had even one shot on goal. The sad fact remains, however, that both Arsenal goals were controversial, the first because it was a blatant dive, the second because it resulted after a foul was not given. But Gunners fans will take the win, which our team desperately needed. And we should celebrate a fairly strong team performance against a good side. But we should also deplore Cazorla's dive, which (though I hate to say it) deserves a ban.

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