Arsenal-Manchester United: Get Over It, Sir Alex

Simon MartinSenior Writer INovember 3, 2007

Icon Sir Alex Ferguson accused referee Howard Webb of favouring Arsenal today in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

How quickly the Manchester United manager forgets the past.

I'd like to remind Sir Alex that for 13 of his years with United (1993-2005), a penalty against the Red Devils at Old Trafford was as rare as snow in the Sahara.

It's a crying shame Ferguson had to go public with these comments, as they don't reflect Webb's levelheaded, unbiased officiating in a meeting between two fiery sides.

"I think Howard Webb has a great chance to be the top referee but today was a big game for him and, at times, he favoured Arsenal," Ferguson said after the match. "Their second goal came from him not giving a free-kick for a foul on Louis Saha on the far side. It should've been a foul for us."

Ferguson's comments, aired on MUTV, seemed to derive from bitterness. And who could blame him?

Up 2-1 with only stoppage time remaining, Manchester United should have battened down the hatches. Instead, William Gallas fired home an equaliser—given only when the linesman indicated that the ball had indeed crossed the line.

TV replays showed that he was right.

As a writer who has spent two weeks cutting certain referees to pieces, I was encouraged by Webb's well-balanced performance. As Ferguson himself pointed out, the Arsenal crowd were ruthlessly vocal—but Webb never wavered in his work.

All told, it was a great match, with a 2-2 scoreline correctly predicted by yours truly. We learned that decent refereeing isn't quite dead yet—and while the result may be a bitter pill to swallow for Devils fans, it was no less than the hardworking Gooners deserved.