So, the biggest rivalry in the EPL had its latest installment on Sunday and to everyone's surprise (except some Liverpool supporters), it was a laugh for the hosts. The result itself has been written about extensively since then, so this piece won't go over that ground again.
What has come out in the aftermath of the game, however, has been two issues: first, the media blackout from Man. Utd. since then and secondly, should Jamie Carragher have gotten a red card for his tackle on Nani.
Regarding the total media silence from all persons with Man. Utd. (under instructions from Alex Ferguson); this is unprecedented and unwelcome. It may not be 'compulsory' for Managers or even their No. 2 to speak to the media, but this is standard practice in all Leagues of all major sports. The silence has only reinforced the opinion that Man. Utd. operate under preferential or dare we say, deferential rules, when compared to other clubs.
The fact that the electronic media rights-holders (BBC, Sky & Talksport) seem to all be afraid of officially complaining to the Premier League also makes them look as small-minded as Ferguson & Man. Utd. While its been speculated that this silence was in response to the charges Ferguson is facing from last week's tirade, I wonder if it's not also a bit of being a sore loser, after being easily and well beaten for the first time this season (as opposed to the close defeats before).
Don't the people who pay BBC or Sky have a right to hear from both teams? It's also a good guess that the Man. Utd. fans and even some players themselves would have liked club officials to say something...anything! From some reports, it seems that Nani may think so, which makes a convenient segue to the second point above.
I will say that Carragher's foul, when looked at in slow-mo, does seem to warrant a Red Card. However, at regular speed, and seeing a one-foot-up mistimed tackle, referee Phil Dowd was well within his rights to give a yellow.
At least he showed consistency in also giving Rafael a yellow for a foul that could have also warranted a Red. Incidentally, Rafael's tackle was of the same sort that Steven Gerrard was sent off for at Old Trafford in January, with the exception being that Gerrard actually got the ball and his feet were much lower down than Rafael's.
Now, two wrongs don't make a right, but looking at that January sending off, the non-penalty in the same game, Rooney's deliberate elbow last week and a multitude of other offences that Man. Utd. frequently get away with, it's a bit rich for them (of all clubs) to play the long-suffering victim. For David Gill to seek out the referees chief at half-time also smacks of the arrogance, indulgence and deference that Man. Utd. feel they're automatically entitled to.
To Nani himself, as stated above, it could have been a red for Carragher, but his history of diving and crying wolf does him no favors when it comes to Referees believing his antics. Also, while he may have been really hurt, getting up to run to the referee to complain, then falling down like he's been shot after Gerrard's hand just brushed him; well if you were a referee, what would you have made of that?
One more thing about Nani: what's with the crying? Soccer is a contact sport, and players get a lot more protection than in years gone by. A bad injury will obviously make a player cry out in agony, but to belatedly fall in a heap bawling your eyes out is just not done.
Also, when a model pro comes to the dressing room to make an apology for a badly mistimed tackle, you don't block him out and then walk straight past him later on like a jilted girlfriend. You take the apology for something that happened on the field and move on!
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