by Steven S

What can we say about another week that passes by full of racial accusations not involving John Terry? From the hectic nature of last weekends 3-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester United, we have been left with yet another back page frenzy of insults and backroom investigations.

A fantastic footballer, yes, but Juan Mata is a ‘Spanish t**t’. Why not? He’ll only end up playing for Barca one day and then we’ll all think it anyway. There’s no real offence in that, we do it every other day with the Irish, Scottish and chavs – not so bad then is it? So let’s not worry about that.

The apparent use of ‘monkey’ toward a black player is a different ball game all together. It shows a staggering level of real numbskull ignorance to dig that old chestnut out and the even more so to come from a referee. So the question is, would or did Mark Clattenburg say such a thing? Is it possible? Yes of course. Could a man in such a position be so stupid? Just look at John Terry. The problem is, football has pretty much decided that Chelsea have got this completely wrong, which is a dangerous position to take so quickly after the event. There are a myriad of reasons as to why Chelsea may have invented the accusation, or it may simply have been miscommunication (Ramires says he heard Clattenburg but he doesn’t speak English. So he asked David Luiz to translate what he heard the referee, speaking with a Geordie accent, say to Mikel). Things are already convoluted enough without the two most senior managers in the league – Ferguson and Wenger – using this to their advantage and poking a stick at Chelsea

This is the last thing needed in the game and it has hardly brought about a universal reaction, instead stoking club rivalry and pettiness. After the Terry incident Chelsea are in a no-win situation; if they had kept this news in-house after the game and it leaked to the press, it would look like they were attempting to cover up racism once again, which would not look too clever. So Chelsea become embroiled in yet another messy situation and despite Di Matteo’s claims it would not serve to distract the players, it certainly cannot be helping.

Yet thankfully the footballing Gods gave us some much needed scraps to feed on to forget all this drama and remind us exactly why we watch the game. 21 beautiful little sexy goals in two live games midweek worked everyone into a frenzy asking if the COCup was fast becoming the most exciting to watch. In all honesty? No. But we’ll take those two games for a distraction. As an Arsenal fan myself I had turned my back on the game at 4-0, trying to distract myself on the computer (no, not like that) telling myself that it is a stupid cup, no-one cares and we’ll win the treble anyway. Then 75 minutes, 8 goals and an away draw to Bradford later I was on the phone to Club Wembley. Barmy doesn’t even cover it, as I sat there laughing manically trying to get my head around what just happened. And before we could catch our breath, it was Chelsea v United once again, except this time the talk was about the football, rather than anything else. Referee Lee Mason deserves special praise for keeping the game flowing nicely, avoiding handing out more red cards and ensuring that it was the 9 goals to be remembered more than anything else. We head off into the quarter finals early December time, with Chelsea and Gooners the last remaining ‘big guns’ in the competition, likely to be kept apart for the final.

Hero of that 12 goal nutball game at the Madejski stadium was of course Theo Walcott, scoring a hat-trick to make it seven for the season, also providing two of the other goals from corners. The story goes that until Theo signs a new deal he will not be used as a starting player for the Gunners, which was the case at Old Trafford on Saturday. He wants to be a central striker with a deadline of Christmas being set by Arsenal, so he will either sign or be sold come the next window. Arsenal cannot afford to lose yet another regular contributor to their scorelines with so many problems facing their attack so far this season and this tough stance seems like too little too late after years of losing their best players.

Former Barcelona Technical Director Txiki Begiristain was confirmed as Manchester City’s new Director of Football, a role that will work alongside former Barcelona Financial Vice President Ferran Soriano, now CEO of City. So the suggestions are that everything is being put in place to nab Pep Guardiola should he decide to return to football management anytime soon. Roberto Mancini is nobodies fool and was telling the world of his contact with Monaco last season along with several other clubs sniffing around the Italian, like some sort of collective dogs on heat. With their Champions League adventures on the brink of a premature collapse again this season, the owners will look at his history in European competition and perhaps feel he will not be able to take them on in the years ahead. There has been criticism of their league performances so far, which whilst more subdued than last seasons all out blitz, have still kept them just two points off the top. So just imagine where they could be when Mancini finally settles on a striker and central defensive partnership.

It was a tough draw down in the East End Saturday evening as the home side felt hard done by for an offside decision that went against them early in the game. It was the first time since April that City have failed to score in a game and their first goalless draw since 26th December last year. Three City players were included in the short list for the Ballon D’or earlier in the week, Sergio Agüero, Yaya Touré and Mario Balotelli all padding out the numbers to make it seem like a competitive award never destined just to go to either Messi or Ronaldo. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie completed the players from the Premier League to make it onto the list.

It was another disappointing result for Liverpool at home to Newcastle yesterday, only adding to the concerns of lack of firepower, seeming to leave it to Luis Suarez every single time. Since the start of 2012 there have been 24 games covering FA, Premier and Europa Cup games, resulting in 9 wins, 8 draws and 8 defeats which marks a huge shift from a ground once considered as a threat to visiting teams. It is clear to everyone in and outside of the club there has and continues to be a drop in standards yet there doesn’t seem to be anything that can be done to prevent it. Arsenal beware.

For years now Sky TV harp back to years gone by, where Fergie v Wenger was THE duel of the season. Two clubs forever battling out for first and second producing some memorable goals and games. It feels more reminiscent than relevant when there is any talk of a rivalry between the two clubs, reflected in the rather limp atmosphere at Old Trafford Saturday lunch time, where the Devils should have walloped their old adversaries once again. A missed penalty and several skewed shots kept the scoreline to a respectable level for Arsenal, who managed one shot on target the whole game – which produced a lovely goal from Cazorla in the last minute of extra time. At one point in time United would start the game hoping to win and expecting their biggest battle on the domestic front; now they kick off expecting the three points.

If someone were to ask you which nation has produced the most scorers in the Premier league, apart from the UK, would be first off your tongue? Italy, Spain or Portugal? 20,185 goals have been nestled into the net since the inception of the new brand in 1992, with 9,299 of them coming from English players. Thanks in the main to the thousands of players sent through the Arsenal system, France take second place with 1,153 goals, ahead of Ireland (826), Wales (784) and Scotland (764) who complete the top five. The Netherlands take sixth place with 758 and then little old Norway steal a Europa qualifying spot in seventh, 478 goals from their shores. Italy, Nigera and Spain complete the top ten.

I could go into more detail on the Serbian police charging Steven Caulker and Tom Lees, along with U-21 coach Steve Wigley but I won’t because nothing will happen. The Government have done the correct thing in opening communications but outside of following initial protocol it should be laughed out of not only England, or Serbia but Europe. Ironically the Serb’s are showing exactly the sort of proactive action that should be taken across the board by governing bodies when it comes to this sort of thing, regardless if it is in their own interests first. Given how the players and fans behave at a sporting event, we dread to think what their version of justice would be. Apologies from the England squad for daring to be black in public, shamelessly wearing their skin for everyone to see? If only Serbia was considered a country, we might even take this seriously.

Back to Champions League and Europa ties this week, big matches on the horizon for Man City who must put Ajax away to at least hang on into the competition. Arsenal face a tough match away in Germany against Schalke who fully deserved the points in their last meeting and will start as favourites this time. Chelsea host Shakhtar Donetsk also needing to get their campaign back on track before they have to head over to Juventus needing a win. The Italian giants finally lost their unbeaten run to Inter Milan on the weekend, after 49 games unbeaten. How quickly they can recover will either make life easier or harder for Chelsea.

And there we have it again. More shenanigans due for next week but until then you little bleeders, take care.