I know, I know: it was only the Copa. But if you are all anything like me, you still woke up on Wednesday morning with butterfies in your tummy. Not the giant cloud of insects that invades ahead of a CL final, but still a sizable showing. Some of my anxiety was connected simply to the occasion, but if I’m being honest I’ll admit that most of it was related to our opponents, the squad affectionately known in these parts as The Evil Empire.
Truth is that I don’t like them much, and I like their coach even less. And here we are 24 hours later and there are a few things that are still bugging me about the match. Not things like “we should have scored more goals.”That’s a given. I’m taking about the niggly little details that often provide the subtext for the bigger story, but that often stick with you the next day like a mild hangover.
Professional psychologists will tell you that it is unhealthy to keep intense emotions like this bottled up inside, so here’s a short list of things that I need to vent:
Cynical fouls. Watching Arbeloa deliberately step on Dani Alves’ achilles made me get up from my desk and yell. Alves and Alba were two players who seemed to be deliberately targeted in a fouling campaign that has become commonplace in Madrid under Mourinho. It beggars belief that you could spend 600 trillion euros on some of the world’s finest footballers and then instruct them to play like schoolboys. Or, if we’re being really honest: like thugs.
Lenient referees. Persistent fouling works because referees let them get away with it. Cristiano Ronaldo should be watching the return leg of this tie from his couch in Madrid. Neither Carvalho nor Essien nor Alonso should have been on the field in this match after 90 minutes. The calculated clamor from Mourinho and Karanka has obviously paid off; Carlos Clos Gómez is a disgrace [and I don't care what Graham Hunter says].
Poor linesmen. I know its an impossible job, and I have nothing but sympathy for linesmen when we’re talking about questions of inches. But there was a yawning chasm in between Messi and the last defender. A chasm I tell you! And don’t even get me started on the “corner” that lead to the Varane goal. If you really do need glasses, I can suggest an inexpensive optician.
The damn post. A tragic end for such a beautiful free-kick. I read this morning on Barcastuff that we’ve put 23 shots against the post so far this season. Every one of them a dagger in my heart.
Surely some of you have a few items to add to the list; I’m happy to say that all of us at tB are honored to be part of your therapy. Go!