We started brightly, but faded quickly, after referee Paul Tierney awarded Sp*rs a 22nd-minute penalty more undeserving than a Juventus Scudetto-win in the Noughties.
A spot-kick award so dodgy, results involving Antonio Conte’s Siena side during the 2010-11 Serie B season, are made to look stainless by comparison.
Having done nothing as an attacking force up until that point, T*ttenham’s on-loan Swede, Dejan Kulusevski, drifted a ball from midway inside his own half, towards the far post. Cedric Soares and Rob Holding saw off Son Heung-min, as defenders combine to routinely, and legally, do all the time, in seeing the ball safely behind for a goal kick.
Except, calorie-enthusiast Tierney, pointed to the spot. For handball apparently, as his gesture immediately after blowing his whistle, signaled.
But there was no handball, just the softest penalty award you’ll ever see, for a slight nudge, we were eventually told, by Cedric (or maybe it was Holding, someone in the box anyway, might have been the ghost of the family-sized pack of Krispy Kremes Tierney devoured for his pre-match snack) on the seemingly pole-axed South Korean.
A decision so atrociously harsh on the visitors, that any sane observer, or any sane observer without any semblance of a professional or personal stake in protecting the perception that top-flight football on these shores could ever be anything but holier-than-thou honest, would be conspiracy-theorising their b*llocks off.
Inevitably, Harry Kane dispatched the ball into the net from the spot and
drooled wheeled away in open-mouthed delight. One-nil Sp*rs.
But Tierney wasn’t done with his Toilet Bowl appeasement, and Son wasn’t done with his amateur dramatics.
When Holding blocked off the south Korean’s run, as he began to chase a ball so over-hit, Kylian Mbappe wouldn’t have reached it, Son went down clutching his face like he’d been on the receiving end of a sly elbow, a bit like the one he’d dished out to Holding minutes earlier.
There will never be a bigger c*nt with a choir-boy face, than Son Heung-min. Great player. Strikes a ball as cleanly as anyone in world football off either foot. But what a deplorable, play-acting, piece of sh*t he truly is.
Tottenham die-hard Tierney, couldn’t have produced a second yellow for Holding quick enough, as England captain Kane’s screams, jolted the unprofessionally-portly, gremlin-faced official into action.
With Arsenal still reeling from that Tierney-powered double whammy, Kane found himself free at the far post to head home his, and the hosts’, second from a Bentancur flick-on following a corner. Two goals down, a man light – game done.
We conceded the third moments after the break when Son poked home, a little surreally, with Mohamed Elneny appearing to shy away from committing to a block in our box.
Later in the half, Gabriel was substituted after suffering what looked like a hamstring strain, as a costly night saw us lose both starting centre-halves to injury and suspension, as well as the three points which would have secured Champions League qualification.
After the game, Mikel Arteta was visibly raging at the officiating but refused to elaborate when asked directly by Sky, saying only that he was unwilling to discuss the matter because he didn’t want to be banned for six months.
And he was right not to. What’s the point? Every single individual on the football gravy train, from ex-players, pundits and presenters, to radio hosts, journalists, bloggers and beyond, will publicly tow the party line – that Premier League football is irrefutably clean.
That it’s impervious to any semblance of corruption, despite the billions of pounds, euros and dollars at stake in the game, and related economies, like gambling and the various media outlets. Some will go a step further and contradict the undeniably obvious when analysing on-field incidents. Gaslighting at it’s most hideous.
Because if the English top-flight is somehow truly a bastion of integrity, as un-corroded by corruption as T*ttenham’s trophy cabinet is bereft of trophies, then refereeing standards in the Premier League have to improve dramatically. Or cynicism borne of inexplicable on-pitch injustices will only grow among the ultimate lifeblood of the sport. The fans.
On to Conte then, who in his post-match press conference, decided to urge his counterpart Arteta, to “complain less”.
Classic projection there from the Italian, clearly irked by the younger man’s immaculate, natural head of hair, while his own locks have been artificially induced like the results of too many Italian league fixtures over the last couple of decades.
Meanwhile, Sky rejoiced at the newly-prolonged race for top four, as Gary Neville reveled in Arsenal’s defeat. Probably because he’s still a little upset at how Arsenal, by the admission of Manchester United’s manager, ended his former side’s own top four hopes with a 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium a few weeks ago.
So Newcastle away next, and it’s a must-win game now. I can’t say I’m confident, but it’s still in our hands and this season has seen tangible progress for us as a team, and in terms of squad development, wherever we end up in the final table.
Thoughts on squad players Holding, Cedric and Elneny can wait for another day but in short, if we can upgrade them as squad options, we ought to as soon as possible.
Particularly Cedric, who seems to have to strain every sinew just to make a five-yard pass. Which he’d probably misplace. Before falling over.
Anyway, as always, f*ck T*ttenham and COYG.