Arsenal and Everton Feud: No Shortage Of a Lack of Integrity

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIFebruary 4, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01:  Jack Wilshere of Arsenal appeals to referee Lee Mason as Mikel Arteta (2L) and John Heitinga of Everton (R) look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium on February 1, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The word integrity has been thrown around a lot in reaction to the recent Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton FC.

For those of us who watched the match between the two old rivals on Tuesday, it would be hard to recall a lot of integrity in the match at all; from anyone.

Cesc Fabergas of Arsenal  has questioned Everton's integrity. Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal, has questioned Everton's manager David Moyes' integrity. David Moyes has questioned both Fabergas' and Wenger's integrity. And anyone who watched the match would question the integrity of several other players, like Mikel Arteta and, especially, Robin Van Persie, who both flopped to the pitch so many times during the match that they started sprouting seedlings out of their shorts.

Integrity was lacking on both sides, and anyone who thinks they are above it and can point fingers at others should take a good hard look in the mirror.

My favorite recollection of the match is Van Persie, the Dutch international, trying to pull Mikel Arteta off the pitch after Arteta dove.

Really? Van Persie trying to pull up another player for diving? This is like Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson getting upset because an opposing player celebrated in the end zone. Van Persie is  the biggest diver in the Premier League, and him calling out another player on it is utterly ridiculous.

The integrity issue was first brought up by Fabergas, who allegedly approached the fourth official at half time of the game to complain about the Everton first half goal (which should have been called off-sides), and also to suggest Everton wasn't entirely innocent in why the goal was allowed.

Everton skipper David Moyes then made comments after the game, saying that he heard the "disgusting comments" by Fabergas in the tunnel at half-time.

Arsenal manager, Wenger, later attacked Moyes, insinuating that Moyes didn't hear anything in the tunnel and made it all up.

Moyes then came forward again, defending himself from Wenger's accusations.

"I have to defend the integrity of Everton and David Moyes as well," Moyes said. "I think it has been said I didn't see it or I didn't hear it. Well, I was there and I saw it and I heard it. Cesc questioned Everton's integrity by suggesting we possibly had given money to the referee. In doing that he also questioned the integrity of the refs."

Integrity. Don't you just get the feeling that everyone who failed to show any of it during this match should just keep their mouth shut about it?

Anyone who watched this game knows a mistake was made in allowing the goal. But so what? Mistakes are made in this league on a weekly basis. Referees are human, and humans make mistakes. For Fabergas to suggest any other force was at work here is ludicrous, and Wegner, instead of calling out Moyes, should maybe exert his efforts telling his player to keep their mouths shut.

For me, the lack of integrity in this game had nothing to do with the allowing of the goal. The lack of integrity has come in the way it has been handled in the aftermath, and, more-so, in how many players spent the majority of this match lying on the field in make-believe pain.

That is the true lack of integrity.