Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool: Howard Webb Is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Martin BentleyCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2008

Referee Howard Webb grabbed all the headlines at the Emirates Stadium tonight as he gave Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor two yellow cards and sent him off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with league leaders Liverpool.

Webb booked the Arsenal striker on 38 minutes for a foul on Emiliano Insua that seemed innocent enough, and would get away with a telling off in most circumstances. Adebayor was then shown a second yellow on 62 minutes for raising his foot at Alvaro Arbeloa, which was a definite bookable offence, and as a result of the double yellow, Adebayor was sent off, and now misses Arsenal's crucial game at Aston Villa on Boxing Day (Dec. 26).

Despite being a highly charged game, it wasn't a dirty one, and Webb's harsh officiating completely ruined what could have been one of the most important games of the season. Arsenal fans booed Webb non-stop for the rest of the game after the sending off, and then booed every Liverpool touch of the ball.

Robbie Keane was the villain of the day for Arsenal fans, with the former Tottenham Hotspur striker not helping matters by taking out Gael Clichy and earning a booking on 20 minutes, with Arsenal fans convinced he should have been sent off, which would make the Adebayor dismissal all the most heartbreaking later on.

Arsenal took the lead on 24 minutes as the excellent Samir Nasri lobbed the ball from his own half and set up Robin van Persie for another brilliant finish to score his 10th goal of the season.

Liverpool would answer back on 42 minutes, as Keane sliced the Arsenal defense apart and lobbed the ball past Manuel Almunia to score his fifth goal of the season, and one that extended Liverpool's lead over Chelsea to two points.

If there was one failing for Liverpool, it would be their inability to make Arsenal pay for Adebayor's sending off, as Arsenal played better with increased support, but the quality of the game petered out after the red card—and for that, we can only blame Howard Webb, who like Dr. Seuss' creation The Grinch, stole Christmas, or in this case, the prospect of an amazing finish.