Your verdict: Arsenal v Man United

April 5, 2004
By Dale Johnson
(Archive)

Saturday's pulsating encounter between Arsenal and Manchester United in the semi-finals of the FA Cup provided plenty of talking points.

Referee Graham Barber has been roundly criticised for his handling of matters, while Paul Scholes and Roy Keane have been singled out for their approach to the game.

Manchester United won the game 1-0, but also left Jose Antionio Reyes and Freddie Ljungberg on the treatment table. Plus, Arsenal had two penalty appeals turned down after Mikael Silvestre appeared to handle the ball in the box.

Here are your views on the match, and Arsenal's punishing fixture schedule. There's not much support for the Red Devils.


I think Paul Scholes was fortunate just to get a yellow card. Reyes was the one Arsenal player causing problems for the United defence, and Scholes simply took him out. Clinical and effective, but way too cynical for my liking.

As a Man Utd supporter, I'm afraid Reyes' injury takes the shine off the victory in what was otherwise an excellent performance. There's nothing wrong with playing hard, and United's in-your-face commitment was perhaps the main difference between the sides, but grievous bodily harm deliberately inflicted has no place on the football field.
Disappointed United supporter, Finland

May I just say that the referee played a bliner! Shame Man Utd weren't wearing black cause then they would have been wearing the same clothes.

The decisions by the ref were very one sided, take for example the fact that whenever Arsenal had the ball and a Man Utd player came in and put himself in between the Arsenal player and the ball, no foul, but when an Arsenal player does it to a Man Utd player, the ref blows it.

And what about the tackle on Pires by Keane in the first half? Let alone the two handballs by Silvestre in the box! He may not have motioned his arm towards the ball, but he did tense him arm up and he made no attempt to move it!

We have now lost two very influential players in Reyes and Ljungberg, as well as the FA Cup, all because the referee decided not to be fair. I accept the decisions, but i just wish refs could be consistent, it would make a game more enjoyable to watch as well.
Ciaran Spelling, Australia

All the way from the land of Oz we continually hear the whining and moaning of Wenger, Henry etc whenever they don't get their way.

I'm no Man Utd fan, but the live broadcast over here was a great way to sit down with a couple of beers and cheer them on against those from North London.

If Arsenal were bottom of the table, staring relegation in the face rather than being a certainty to win the league, if they had been knocked out of the Champions League early on (it definitely looked promising for a while), if they hadn't even made the fourth round of the Cup instead of making the semi-finals for who knows how many times in the last 10 years - well maybe you could understand the constant whining from the 'manager of never smiles', or the 'striker who also whinges'.

In Australia, the locals call the English "whinging Poms", which just maybe is a trait that snuck in via the Channel Tunnel.

Oh well, only a few more weeks to put up with them. I guess a monimental slip up in the League is too much to ask for but please, if there is a God, Chelsea will win on Tuesday. The only problem will be putting up with Henry and his band on whining sooks again....
Keith Robinson, South Australia

I must hand it to Fergie. From the moment he took Gary Neville aside at four minutes gone with the frame still wobbling from the Gooners' attack, it was all skull and thuggery from the Red Devils.

Keane-o's clear retaliatory tackle on Pires, Scholes' horrendously late challenge on Reyes resulting in injury, and Neville looking like a typical English pub brawler with his midfield shameful jersey grabbing - all of which resulted in one pathetic yellow card - means the beautiful game descends another notch on UK soil.

So much for all of the boorish comments on Arsenal's heavy handiness. If Vieira had done Giggs like Roy did Bob it would have been straight red believe me. The true colors of the Premiership were shown today.


Tim, USA

And once again "Fergie" shows what a real fool he is when it comes to discussing other people's business.

Not only were his overrated Man Utd football thugs second-best to a slick Arsenal side for the whole FA Cup game (having created virtually nothing and hellbent on destroying the flow of the game, having been lucky not to go 3-0 down in the first five minutes of the match, and having injured with malicious tackles two of Arsenal's best midfielders), but he actually had the audacity of commenting on Arsenal's still-very-much-alive (unlike Man Utd's) Champions League season.

One would never in a million years imagine Claudio Ranieri make an appalling comment such as this, right? But then again, it's things like these that separates a truly great manager and gentleman such as Claudio (gracious in both lucky wins and unlucky defeats).
Ivan Ivanov, New York

I'm not an Arsenal fan, but I would say that the Scholes foul on Reyes was of the worst I've ever seen. The ball long gone, it was designed to do just what it achieved. Take a danger man out of the game. It was football at it's most cynical and I feel depressed when thinking that the great game has come to this.

Win at all costs has long since become more important than sportsmanship and the pure enjoyment of playing and winning fairly. Man Utd may go on to all sorts of FA Cup records, but this single foul demeans anything they may go on to do in this campaign.

Without that foul Arsenal may well have gone on to draw/win the tie. Do Man Utd / Ferguson really want to win this way by out-and-out cheating ?
Riquet

Why is it that Man Utd players can tackle other players on the knee, stamp on the hand, elbow on the throat, and the most they will get is one yellow card for every 20 attempts, and one red every 100? I am sick and tired of people saying that Scholes is not a dirty tackler, but just "clumsy" and is often "badly timed".

Oh, excuse me! If after so many years he still has no idea how to time a tackle maybe he shouldn't. And regardless, even if the ref believes it is just "badly timed", if it smashed someone right on the knee and has the potential to end someone's season if not career, then a red card is warranted.

Otherwise, any team could just sign a "clumsy tackler" who is always "badly timed" to take out the best player on another team.

Stop making excuses for Scholes. He is a thug of the worst kind. Keane plays hard and sometimes loses his head, but he does show respect to his opponent, which Scholes has never done in his life.
Paul Yin

Arsenal's failure was more a case of not playing Henry with Pires. This is because there is a telepathic understanding between these two players. Arsenal's success hinges on their fitness and how inform these two players are. Failing which then the season could end in a disaster. Also, they need to consolidate on their defence ie. Sol Campbell has to speed up his defensive and reaction abilities.


Paul Musinguzi Kadoma

I cant believe some of the comments being peddled by Arsenal fans - Scholes' tackle was bad, for sure, but similar to Vieira's on Ruud last week. They seem to conveniently forget the number of things they got away with - Pires hitting Neville in the face, Bergkamp & Vieira diving for example.

And if thuggish behviour is the question here, theres the little matter of Old Trafford earlier this season. Arsenal's fans are seriously sore losers - and where were their voices when we outsang them on Saturday?


A Dee

I can't believe what Wenger said: '"The decision to accommodate Newcastle moved our game to Friday, just to get them one more day rest to play in the UEFA Cup, which is a lesser tournament, so I can't understand the logic of that."

Wenger is full of nonsense. What did you mean 'lesser tournament'? You are not giving any respect to Newcastle. This is arrogant.

'It is a lack of respect for people to pay to watch these games. They pay £40 to watch a match and they want to watch teams who are at the top of their game.' No way, Newcastle fans do need to pay for their ticket, too.

Don't complain and mourn every the situation or decision is not in your favour. Prove yourself. No one is against you or the Gunners
Chris Choi, Hong Kong

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