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Monday, February 7, 2011

Arsenal suffer at the hands of Dowd

Arsenal were involved in one of the greatest games ever in the Premier League at the weekend – but that will be of no comfort for Arsene Wenger and his side after they threw away a 4 goal lead against Newcastle.

Having been 4-0 up inside the first half, Alan Pardew’s side showed spirit to make a sensational comeback, with a little help from referee Phil Dowd.

Dowd was involved in more than a few controversial moments on which the game hinged; most of which he got wrong. The Staffordshire official went relatively unnoticed as Arsenal cruised ahead after just a minute as Theo Walcott fired home. A third minute strike from Johan Djourou before a Robin Van Perise double looked to have out the game away for Arsenal after just 26 minutes.

Newcastle fans jeered and some walked out hurling insults at their side; little did they know of what was to come.

The first incident came after a strong tackle from Joey Barton sparked a reaction from Abou Diaby. The Frenchman’s reaction was admittedly excessive but the tackle from Barton was just the same and deserved at least a yellow card. Diaby’s second shove on Kevin Nolan proved to be the final nail in his coffin as he was ordered off the pitch.

The red card proved to be the turning point of the game as Newcastle grew in confidence. They were gifted a lifeline when Dowd then awarded a penalty to the home side after Laurent Koscielny bought down Leon Best clumsily. Although a penalty was the right decision, ugly scenes ensued when Nolan was involved again, attempting to wrestle the ball off Wojciech Szczesny, who had gone to retrieve the ball from the net.

If the sending off of Diaby was correct then Nolan should have suffered the same fate after laying his hands aggressively on the Polish shot-stopper. In a game which will rightly remembered for all that is good about the Premier League, the inconsistency Dowd showed will leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

To add insult to injury, the award of a second penalty was a terrible decision. Koscielny was involved again, this time challenging Mike Williamson for an aerial ball, and while the contact was limited Dowd and his assistant referee saw fit to award Newcastle a second penalty, which Barton tucked away again.

The game was spectacular, of that there is no doubt. But it was only allowed to be through referring inconsistencies. Newcastle’s comeback should have been shackled and wouldn’t have been able to build a head of steam if a series of decisions didn’t go their way.

Arsenal have themselves to blame as well; Dowd may well have enabled Newcastle to get a foot in the door but the lapse in concentration displayed from the entire Arsenal side flung the door open and invited a rampant Newcastle side in. Having done so well to silence the notoriously boisterous Newcastle supporters, the way in which they were allowed to build up a head of steam by an Arsenal side looking to close the gap at the top of the Premier League was criminal.

In a week where refereeing has been at the forefront of the Arsenal agenda, Dowd will have done little to endear himself to Wenger and the Arsenal faithful. The game will be remembered long after the season is over, but if, come the end of the season, Arsenal were to miss out narrowly on the Premier League title, Mr Dowd may find himself on the receiving end of a few harsh words.

Elsewhere, it might be a good time to check out Scratch Cards Online. Let’s face it, if Newcastle can come back from 4-0 down against Arsenal – anything can happen! It could be your lucky day!

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