06 March 2013

The Injustice Of It All...

Monday saw two miscarriages of justice serious enough to warrant an inquiry at the International Criminal Court. That they might both negatively impact Arsenal is completely, totally, and absolutely not my first concern regarding either case. Oh, wait. It is.

In the first, "striker" Nicklas Bendtner was caught in Copenhagen driving drunk and has been given a three-year driving ban, a six-month suspension from the Danish national team, and a fine of 113,000. Perhaps worst of all, Juventus are now apparently exploring their options as the weigh cancelling Bendtner's loan, meaning that we'd have to take him back. I wasn't even going to waste any time thinking about the issue until I learned of this consequence. Look--I'm sure Bendtner has his talents, but I'm not so sure that redirecting a ball into the net is one of them. He had done tolerably well for us when he was here, but I still don't see him as a better option than Walcott, Giroud, Podolski, or even Gervinho. Were he a fraction as good as he thinks he is, I'd reconsider. As it is, I'm left hoping that Juventus is just stuck with him, or maybe we were clever enough to insert a moral terpitude clause in his contract, but I doubt it, because this would have allowed us to dump him all the more promptly. In all seriouesness, though, I'm angry at Bendtner on two fronts, one admittedly trivial and selfish and the other just a touch more grave.

First, the first--now that he's even more damaged, we'll probably find it that much harder to get rid of him at a price we like. He's no longer quality-enough to attract top-dollar offers, even if he had been in form for Juventus, which he hasn't been. So it goes. Far more seriously, even if only hypothetically and after the fact, he drove drunk. Now, nothing happened, other than maybe a clipped rearview mirror, but the fact that a ridiculously overpaid athlete couldn't be bothered to hire a chaffeur to drive him or a lackey to run a rickshaw is absurd. So your career hasn't followed the trajectory you imagined? Tough muffins. You kick a ball around a few times a week. Some of us handle industrial-grade plutonium or (try to) educate equally toxic teenagers. Some of us have nothing to do but to scan the classifieds and hope.  You say that this is the worst day of your life? Try losing an actual job or looking at your kids knowing that there's not food enough to feed them. Try saying goodbye to a loved one for the last time. Before I say something more cutting that I might regret, it is worth remembering that there is something significant that he was trying to drown out. Until then, he's lucky that he emerges from this as merely a selfish twat.

In other news, we can now proudly claim, if only for a few hours, that we stand alone in the UCL after Man United was dumped by Real Madrid. Nani was sent off in the 56th for the kind of cleats-up challenge you might ordinarily associate with Eric Cantona. I kid, I kid. I'll agree that the red card was harsh, but there was little else for referee Cuneyt Cakir to do. Nani went in for the ball and stuck his cleats into Arbeloa's midsection. Could Cakir have given a yellow? Yeah, probably. You hate to see a ref alter the outcome of a game--Real went on to score twice in the next fifteen minutes. However, these things have a way of evening out, and (a) I think Ferguson has benefitted from a few questionable calls or--gasp--preferential treatment in the past, and (b) there were a few times when Man U might have earned another, more-legitimate red card anyway, such as when Rafael's arm managed to block a goal-bound header from Higuain. If Rafael's arm were at his side or across his torso, no problem. However, it was outstretched. This went uncalled, and Nani got booked instead. Karma can be unpleasant.

I guess the impact of this one is not all that bad for us, given Man U's insurmountable lead in the Prem. The fall-out is more incidental--they can now focus exclusively on Prem League games, reducing the likelihood that Van Prissy will get an ouchie and making our match with them perhaps a touch tighter. Meh. I'd already marked it as a long-shot, so ultimately, it's a wash. I'll admit that it does change my calculus regarding our match with Bayern. The spiteful gloating would be a little more barbed and delicious if we can advance further in the UCL than Van Persie's precious new club.