ARSENAL 1 CITY 0
FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
22nd October 2005
scorer Pires(61 pen)
City James, Mills, Sommeil, Distin, Jordan, Barton, Ireland, Reyna, Musampa, Sibierski, Vassell – subs Richards(85), Croft(73), Sun(85), Hussein(unused), de Vlieger(unused)
Arsenal Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Cygan, Clichy, Fabregas, Gilberto, Flamini, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry – subs van Persie(unused), Senderos(unused), Almunia(unused), Owusu-Abeyie(unused), Eboue(unused)
Micah Richards make his first team debut
The controversial penalty incident
The big talking point after our 1-0 defeat against Arsenal at Highbury was the debacle of their second penalty kick of the game. Even some of my best pals argue that Arsenal were not trying to ‘take the mickey’ out of City but I’m not having that.
You all must have seen by now how Robert Pires, having scored from the spot earlier, tried to roll the ball forward for Thierry Henry to add to his record haul only to make a complete pig’s ear of it. The ball has to roll at least one full circumference but Pires only managed to graze the top of it with his studs and then panicked when two City defenders reacted quickly and challenged him. As a result, he touched the ball twice and the referee awarded City a free kick. It made Pires and Henry look a pair of idiots and their ‘Fancy Dan’ antics were insulting and belittling to their opponents.
What went on was unprofessional, unacceptable and ungentlemanly in my book. Sylvain Distin called it ‘disrespectful’ and l agree with him. Arsenal were only winning 1-0 at the time and, in my opinion, they are not good enough this season to resort to show-boating against any other side in the Premiership if they are going to have any chance of catching Chelsea. ln fact, the penalty debacle could have put an end to their latest championship bid.
I saw the Iegendary Johan Cruyff do something similar years ago but his team were leading 4-0 at the time.
It would have served Arsenal right if the penalty nonsense had cost them a couple of points and it could have done. City seemed to be ignited by the penalty miss and Darius Vassell was only denied an equaliser by a linesman’s flag.
GARY OWEN WRITING IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 31ST OCTOBER 2005