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By Fab4.

It’s difficult to know where to start. But i will get all the ref/manager/player bashing out the way first then end on a positive note. A match report is fairly pointless, there were only really four incidents in the game worth talking about.

Porto open the scoring after 11 minutes

Or should i say Fabianski opened the scoring. This goal was an absolute shocker and to see it in a Champions League last 16 match from a team with supposed aspirations of winning the tournament is laughable.

Clichy was skinned by the lively Porto winger Varela who sent in a low cross, Fabianski had stepped off his line early correctly anticipating the cross but the ball ended up goal-side of the keeper and as he tried to recover he failed to gather the cross spilling the ball over his own line. Don’t expect to see a worse piece of goalkeeping anywhere in the country this weekend.

Big Sol Campbell equalizes for Arsenal

Arsenal grabbed a priceless away goal within 7 minutes of going behind. Niklas Bendtner had a long range effort deflected wide for a corner. Fabregas sent in a dangerous cross which ended up at the far post where Rosicky headed back across the face of goal where Sol Campbell was waiting to nod home from 2 yards. Two in two for the big man in the Champions League! (His last appearance was in the 2006 Final when he opened the scoring)

The goal settled Arsenal down and we were in total control. We still had a few dodgy moments at the back, but when don’t we? A few half-chances were squandered but Porto never really looked like seriously testing us.

Arsenal penalty appeal turned down

Early in the second half Rosicky jinked his way into the box from the right, clearly had his foot clipped as he shaped to cross but the ref waived play on. Linesman was looking straight at it, ref had a good view but somehow neither of them awarded a penalty? Not the first time Arsenal have had a stone-wall penalty turned down since the Eduardo affair. A very strange decision that may be explained by the referee’s next act of kindness towards Porto.

Porto take the lead in controversial circumstances

Campbell was seeing a Porto long ball back to Fabianski, the young Pole hesitated in coming to collect, Campbell got a slight touch on the ball and Fabianski picked it up inside the area.

Ok, we have seen this many times before all over Europe. Goalkeeper handles a back-pass, indirect free-kick. But what i have NEVER seen before is a referee go out of his way to ensure a quick free-kick is taken.

Now let me get one thing straight. I fully agree that it was inept defending on our part, we should have been alert to the danger and re-organised quicker than we did. The three players nearest the incident, Fabianski, Campbell and Vermaelen should all have got goal-side of the incident straight away instead of disputing the decision. I don’t buy that it was a complete accident by Campbell, i think he felt he had to get a touch due to Fabianski’s hesitation  to collect.

But, how can the referee justify his decision to go after Fabianski like he did demanding the ball from him, then dropping it on the floor and wave for play to resume without letting the Arsenal players know a quick free-kick was on the cards? He literally assisted Porto in scoring the goal. To make things worse the referee then stands in Sol Campbell’s way stopping him from getting back to defend.

If ever there has been a case of the referee giving an unfair advantage to a team this has got to be it. What could Fabianski do? The referee demanded the ball from him, if he refuses he gets booked. In hindsight, yes of course he should take a booking, but in the moment he was adhering to the law of the game. He would be well within his rights to assume once the ref has possession of the ball he will give both teams a fair chance.

The mistake Fabianski made is once he gave the Porto player, i mean ref the ball, he turned to moan at the linesman leaving his goal open for Porto to score. So for that he must shoulder the blame.

But i would like someone to demand an explanation from the referee as to why he felt the need to grab the ball from our goalkeeper, drop it on the floor in front of the Porto player, make no attempt to get out of Sol Campbell’s way, make no attempt to indicate to the Arsenal players that a quick free-kick was on and to let play resume 10 yards from our un-guarded net.

Watch the goal again carefully.

The ref runs at Fabianski demanding the ball, once he has it he simply drops it to the feet of the Porto player. Why would he do that if he didn’t want the game to be re-started quickly? He didn’t blow his whistle or say anything to indicate the imminent indirect free-kick. As Micael takes the kick he turns his back on the ball and walks straight into Sol making no attempt to move, he actually bumps into him! Why would he not jump out of his way to let him get back to defend? Surely that would be the natural reaction of an impartial person?

He also never saw Micael take the quick kick, for all the ref knew Micael could have rolled the ball to Falcao with his hands! We see ref’s every game make players re-take free-kicks because they took them too quickly while they weren’t looking. Why not this time?

The referee had a moral and ethical obligation to allow Arsenal time to defend the indirect free-kick. This is what qualified referee’s are saying on the incident so i want to know why this wasn’t applied.

I don’t want to start any conspiracy theories here. But the fact that this is the ref who got hammered by the world for allowing France’s famous ‘handball’ goal against Ireland does make you wonder. Was this his chance to even the score? Get one back at France through an Arsenal team with a heavy French influence? Very doubtful, but im not that only one to point it out and you just never know these days.

For those out there that compare this incident to the quick free-kicks Thierry Henry used to take, this can not be compared. Henry, and others i may add, have in the past scored from quickly taken free-kicks that were at least 25 yards from goal, while the opposition had a wall in place. The opposing team had time to organise a wall and get players back. This goal took place 10 yards from goal, no players were goal-side and the net was un-guarded.

Player and Wenger bashing

There is no point talking about Fabianski’s errors. I don’t have time. But it’s safe to say he has blown his chance at Arsenal. I like many have wanted him to be given a chance as our No.1 Almunia has proven to be unreliable this season, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say when someone isn’t good enough. Fabianski, my hands are held up high mate, your not good enough.

Denilson…what can i say. He even surprised me last night with his total disregard to take any sort of responsibility. He joggs around the pitch in 1st gear showing no signs of the grit and determination that a player in his position needs. The minute i saw he was playing i knew Porto had a chance.

Arsene, if the display last night showed you anything i hope it was that we need a goalkeeper. But just as important i hope you take on board just how poor a player Denilson is and he is simply not Arsenal standard. Ramsey may be younger but has more talent in his left nipple than Denilson has in his entire body.


Porto are crap. We should still beat them at home by at least two goals and qualify for the quarters. Sol Campbell played well and can be relied upon as a back up to Gallas and Vermaelen.

That’s it. Sorry but they are the only positives to take.

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