Eduardo hysteria overshadows comfortable Celtic win

Eduardo’s controversially won penalty helped set Arsenal on the way to their Champions League Group Stage with a convincing win over Celtic.

Arsenal 3-1 Celtic (5-1 agg)

The beauty of football is that it is a game that is spoken in one universal; a shot, a header, a chess trap or a save can be watched and easily understood by everyone but a dive? No, no no.

From where Eduardo was born, Brazil, the dive is more widely accepted as part of the game, where it may be seen to be clever to win one while it is usually up to the referee to try and make sure they are not fooled. So when Eduardo fell over the challenge of Artur Boruc he may have been perplexed by the reaction of the Celtic players. His dive had cost the Hoops the one real chance of getting something out of the game while the penalty had effectively put Arsenal through.

That is not to excuse Eduardo from the dive because it was but it is also not to say that he is a cheat. The football authorities must clamp down on simulation and Arsena Wenger may have a talk with his striker but even if they did, the flaw in humans would not stop this from happening again. Replay that challenge 100 more times and replacing Eduardo with another player will not guarantee a different outcome.

However it was a silky move to get to the penalty as Eduardo fantastically knocked the ball past the defender before his quickness of feet lured Boruc to lunge at the ball. The Polish keeper pulled out but Eduardo, already knowing that the ball was getting away from him, fell to the ground. The Croatian picked himself up and brushed away any guilty conscience he may have had before sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.

It was a fairly even match before then and that goal notched Arsenal up another gear while Celtic remained deflated. Eboue and Arshavin both expertly finished off two flowing Arsenal moves but it was Massimo Donati who scored the goal of the game as he plucked a volley up from the sky which arrowed into Almunia’s bottom corner.

Wenger’s side were not the most fluent against a well oiled Celtic side but their superiority shone through. The new system has worked wonders for the players’ morale and the win over Celtic has so far shown to be well structured and organised to cope with even the most arduous of opposition.

Man of the Match: Denilson – Grew in stature as the game wore on, motoring up and down the pitch all game and at the heart of most Arsenal attacks.

ARSENAL (4-3-3): Almunia (7); Sagna (7), Vermaelen (8), Gallas (8), Clichy (7); Eboué (8) (Wilshere, 72), Song (6), Denilson (8)*; Bendtner (7), Eduardo (7) (Arshavin, 72), Diaby (6) (Ramsey, 61).
Subs not used: Mannone (gk), van Persie, Silvestre, Traoré.

CELTIC (4-4-2): Boruc; Hinkel, Caldwell (O’Dea, 45), Loovens, Fox; McGeady, Brown, Donati, Maloney (Flood, 61); Fortune, McDonald.
Subs not used: Zaluska (gk), Naylor, Samaras, McCourt, Killen.

Goals: Eduardo pen 28, Eboue 53, Arshavin74,  Donati 92
Booked: Caldwell 33, Eboue 54, McGeady 56.
Referee: M Gonzalez (Spain)

Arsenal Team Statistics Celtic
3 Goals 1
1 1st Half Goals 0
6 Shots on Target 1
7 Shots off Target 6
1 Blocked Shots 2
4 Corners 1
12 Fouls 13
3 Offsides 4
2 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
83.2 Passing Success 80.3
28 Tackles 24
67.9 Tackles Success 66.7
53.1 Possession 46.9
51.7 Territorial Advantage 48.3

10 thoughts on “Eduardo hysteria overshadows comfortable Celtic win

  1. I cannot understand all this nonsense about whether Eduardo dived or not. How can you prove whether a player genuinely falls deliberately or not. Players are falling off balance all over the field with or without contact from anyone else. The referee is the sole arbiter so why all this kerfuffle. Eduardo didn’t appeal and merely accepted what was a fortuitous gift. The days when, Corinthian-like, a player would refuse to accept the unfair advantage have long gone…..mores the pity.

  2. The dive issue has been blown way way way over the top. Even Kaka took a dive in the Confederations Cup and there was no noise made, Pedersen had a dive vs Arsenal and little noise was made. Sometimes you wonder if there is an anti-Arsenal agenda, many of the England players have simulated in bigger matches and little is said.

    On the performance, it was a bit worrying we never had a lead player to conduct the attacks, we never had good attacking organization, no one to orchestrate like Fabregas does. Maybe Ramsey should be fast tracked in this role, we need a leader there until Nasri and Rosicky return.

    Also the loss of concentration, 1 clean sheet in 4 games, not that the goals were consequential, but we should be ruthless and not complacent, or chase more goals when we don’t have to. The game was over at 65mins, we play Utd a few days later, yet we kept pushing on, we need to change this mindset and conserve energy.

  3. okay, Eduardo dives, and Europe comes to a standstill. However, the goal was inconsequential – Arsenal would’ve won anways as we were leading 2-0 and creating plenty of chances.

    My question is, what about Babel diving against us in the semi-finals two years ago. That goals cost us the chance to progress to semi-finals. Why didn’t the pundits came out crying then? Only cos it was their favourite Liverpool.

    Arsenal has the best philosophy amonst English clubs – to develop young players (not mercenaries) and to play beautiful attractive football (not the shirt pulling and bullying tactics adopted by atleast half the PL teams). Yet Arsenal is meted out the worst treatment by the media and the FA. This country doesn’t deserve a club like Arsenal!

  4. the reason arsenal get singled out when a player dives is because we are one of the most fair-playing teams in the league. the announcers understand that and commented that “arsene would have a word with eduardo” at the end of the half. remember the free kick that ronaldo made against us in the second leg of the champions league last season? that was the product of an ugly and blatant dive – yet noone cared. all everyone talked about was the goal.
    the thing about a dive is that some teams are expected to dive, while other teams are expected to play fairly.
    on the other hand, we must also realize that scoring first was celtic’s only chance back into the game. the shock realization of giving up a penalty – on a dive no less – left celtic fans fuming.
    i know i would be pissed . . .

  5. There can only be one reason why Arsenal are treated so harshly by everyone and its simply because we have set puritanical standards. The rest will try to crucify us on trivialties but the fact remains that ours is the best soccer to watch. What about Celtic shouting themselves hoarse that they were out to kick The Arsenal! Nofu****gbody commented on it. I am convinced they (Celtic) set themselves up for the harsh treatment from the ref by making such stupid and irresponsible statements.

  6. Eduardo was holding the ball much better than Van Persie. He was masterful when he had his back to goal and a defender was on his heels. Almost everytime I have seen Van Persie in such a situation, he loses the ball…

    Eboue was also a class act. I am glad he is staying and his dedication to the Arsenal showed in his performance. He exploited gaps well. And his unpredictable movement was a real pain for Celtic. I hope to see more of him .

  7. I have posted the following comment at Untold Arsenal, a blog by Tony Attwood. I don’t have any direct response there so I try to repost it here. I do believe that I have a genuine point to share with you all. Thanks for reading.

    I don’t know if Dudu “dived” or not because diving is NOT the act of falling, it’s the intention. Even there was no contact, there is not enough evidence for me to be convinced that his intention was to earn a spot kick by simulating a foul. Only Dudu knows what he tried to do there.

    The thing about diving in Britain is that it’s nothing more than a cultural taboo. The Times came out yesterday and said as much – this is a part of public expectation of players’ behavior, not a technical issue. In the moralist eyes of the paper, Eduardo has committed a sin. Period.

    Technically, most players at the top level these days are educated to control their fall to protect their body, with or without contact from opponents – do you ever wonder how Ronaldo stayed fit for so long despite being the most fouled player in the league? I don’t like his style, but it worked. Tactically, your willingness to be “feather light” adds a dose of uncertainty into tacklers’ mind. This too increases your protection.

    The line between controlled falling and simulating a foul is sometimes thin. Like the one we saw last night. Dudu might have fallen because he expected contact. When he realized non was there it was already too late; he already lost his footing while momentum was pushing him forward. He might have said to himself “So what? A yellow is all it’ll take.” (People only remember successful diving leading to unfair goals, we all forget the yellow cards doled out for failed efforts)

    In fact, when a diver gets what he wants, the only sin committed is one by the referee – he fails to do what he’s there to do. When more and more players think it’s a good idea to foul, the sin is on the regulating body – they fail to construct reasonable rules and reinforcing rules (by technology or more referees) to deter players.

    I’m not amoral, I think rules should be set up to prevent diving efficiently. They should do so by punishing the diver properly. But they should also punish diving players to free them from fans’ judgment, which are very often inflated by emotion and unjust.

    Going back to our players, I must say I feel very unjust for Eboue. One fall and he earned the title diver forever – the one at the CL final game and it wasn’t even for a penalty. No-one ever wants to hear the man defend himself. We all are so sure of our moral authority that none was necessary.

    1. Great comment, it’s impossible to know if the player was actually going for a free kick/penalty unless he actually stands up and complains/appeals for it, which Eduardo didn’t, hence it can’t be proven that he was diving even if there’s a 99% chance that he was.

      In addition to this, let’s not forget that players are diving all over the pitch, successfully and unsuccessfully, but because Eduardo happened to dive successfully in the penalty area, more is made of it than if it were a player receiving a yellow card for an unsuccessful dive or a player who dived to earn a free kick in his own half.

      The article under which Eduardo is being charged states “Players may be suspended for two competition matches, or for a specified period, for acting with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision or supporting his error of judgment and thereby causing him to make an incorrect decision.” However, this happens so many times that we’ll never see it totally eradicated. When players surround the referee, isn’t that that with ‘the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision’, do they get two match bans? Didn’t think so.

      Steven Gerrard dived in the Champions League final against AC Milan and it was hailed as ‘the greatest comeback ever’…

  8. It was a bad dive but no worse than Hibbert’s ‘penalty’ in the game vs Burnley which Saha went on to miss. Don’t condone either – simulation needs to be clamped down on in all football matches. Policing it accurately is the hard thing without replays or extra officials.

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