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All Things Footie | Sunday, March 23 | Jordan

Reds and Whites

I don’t mean to sound bitter here — and I’m certainly not trying to take anything away from Ruud Van Nistelrooij’s magnificent second goal yesterday — but I think that the elbow that the big Dutchman planted squarely on Sylvain Legwinski’s nose was a wee bit out of order. United deserved a win and Van Nistelrooij deserved his hat-trick, but it’s got to leave a sour taste in the mouths of Arsenal fans who’ve just seen Dennis Bergkamp fined £7,500 and warned by the FA for a very similar incident involving Lee Bowyer (except that Bergkamp ‘hit’ Bowyer with the palm of his hand).

Following the West Ham game, Robbie Earle couldn’t stop chastising Bergkamp on The Premiership. On Saturday night, he brushed off Van Nistelrooij’s elbow as ‘a bit of rough and tumble’. It’s not United’s fault that the media, the FA and Referee’s (the ‘penalty’ Solskjær won in the first half was an atrocious dive) are on their side — it’s just that incidents like this may help United fans realise why so many people loathe the former Premiership Champions.

Just to make it worse, the papers this morning are calling for video evidence to be used against Bergkamp (again) for a wholly innocuous challenge on Alan Stubbs. Van Nistelrooy’s elbow was (surprisingly) ignored because Jean Tigana didn’t complain about it:

‘Van Nistelrooy was accused of using his elbow to evade [I can think of another word for it] Legwinski, who had been fouling him [better not forget that, it wasn’t Van Nistelrooy’s fault remember], and even though the Fulham physio was called on to patch up the Frenchman like a prizefighter’s cuts man, there was no complaint from Jean Tigana over the defeat.’ — Sam Wallace The Daily Telegraph

‘Bergkamp was involved in another controversial challenge when he caught Stubbs on the calf [lucky he didn’t elbow him in the face then]. Referee Alan Wiley took no action but play restarted with a throw in which leaves the door open for the Football Association to have a closer look.’ — Christopher Davies, The Daily telegraph

With England’s game against Liechtenstein coming up, I was giving the team selection a bit of thought the other day. I was listening to an interview with Kieran Dyer — a revelation for Newcastle this season domestically and against Europe’s finest — when the subject turned to England’s problematic left side. Dyer looked a bit distraught when talking about his preferred role in the middle of the park, though he’d be happy to play out left. Every time I’ve seen Dyer play for England stuck out of position he’s looked lightweight and lost.

Solving the left sided berth is simple as far as I’m concerned. Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole, Gareth Barry and Graeme Le Saux are all just as comfortable in defence as midfield; the question is, are Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard really that indispensable that considering someone else in the central role is heresy? As for Wayne Rooney, the boy’s class, full stop, and makes the idea of selecting Emile Heskey even more ridiculous than it already is.

A quick word for John Terry too, best centre half in the Premiership since Christmas and this chance to shine on the international stage is long overdue. If he wasn’t such a complete muppet in his spare time I’m certain he would have played far more games for his country.

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