Sunday 20 November 2011

Arsenal's football-crime fighters win, but Batman still needs to sharpen up

Steve Morison's undetected push on Per Mertesacke that led to the opening goal of the game at Carrow Road summed up English football: honest endeavour plus cynical professionalism.

This unlikely combination works in this country primarily because referees like to allow the game to be physical. A small shove in the back might be a foul elsewhere but in England it's unlikely to be noticed. Here we'd say Morison was just going for a 50/50 ball probably and pretend not to see the infringement.

I wonder if Mertesacke is used to that kind of foul? I suspect not, so let's hope he learns that all's fair in love, war and football, especially when you're up against a workaholic centre forward who will use any ruse at his disposal to make you look stupid and dispossess you.

Mertesacke's mistake been likened to all sorts of things by journalists, but it looked to me like the Joker or a new nemesis, a British GI Joe or Action Man, had stepped on Batman's cape and stolen the ball.

Boss Arsene Wenger is right to say the critics have been harsh on our caped crusader, Mertesacke. I'm sure our football-crime fighter will adjust in time to the idiosyncrasies of the Premier League.

Thankfully, Mertesacke's mistake came early, leaving the now-mature Boy Wonder, Robin van Persie, long enough to rescue the points.

Even Batman makes mistakes in the TV series and feature films, but in the football world Robin is much more than just a sidekick. He's the superhero and Batman is still learning the ropes.

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