Soccer mirrors life in so many ways. For example, in both, things are happening. Many things, in fact. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those things are awful. We’re here to explore those things. Welcome to the Hump Day Dumpster Dive.
The English FA is a Joke
The English Football Association decided to rescind the red card and suspension for Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista yesterday. Gabriel received the red card in Saturday’s annual loss against Chelsea, when he kicked out at notorious wind-up merchant Diego Costa. Referee Mike Dean — a man who never saw a piece of attention that he didn’t desperately crave — saw the incident and sent Gabriel off, while taking no action against Diego Costa for generally being an annoying dick. The FA, in a bizarre twist from its usual stupidly strict interpretation of the rules, decided to let Gabriel off and ban Diego Costa for three games.
To be fair, Gabriel did not actually harm Diego Costa in the slightest (not even emotionally), but he did technically commit a violent act, so it makes little sense that his red card was rescinded, especially since the FA is usually so loathe to undermine the decisions of referees. The worst part of this entire fiasco is that Gabriel should have given the referee a real reason to send him off. Arsenal — spineless also-rans that they are — could use a bit of useful violence in its team. And if there’s one man in the Premier League that deserves getting raked painfully down the shins, it’s Diego Costa. But of course Arsenal couldn’t even manage to get that right. Somehow, both teams and the FA all come out of this as losers.
José Mourinho’s Petulance Over Eva Carneiro is Going to Cost Him His Job
José Mourinho is, unquestionably, one of the greatest managers in the history of the game. He is also, unquestionably, an insufferable dickhead. These two facts are in no way mutually exclusive, and both have been readily apparent for quite some time. In Chelsea’s opening game of the season against Swansea City, Mourinho got himself out-coached by Steve the Pirate. Mourinho being Mourinho, needed a scapegoat, and the chosen sacrificial lamb was team doctor Eva Carneiro. Mourinho blamed Carneiro for leaving the team exposed after she ran onto the field to treat an injured player, despite the fact that she was waved on repeatedly by the referee. In an embarrassing act of petulance, he then demoted her for the cardinal sin of, err, doing her job.
Carneiro has now left Chelsea, and is expected to take legal action. To cause even further embarrassment, the FA is also probing into a complaint that Mourinho used abusive language towards her. So not only will this unsavory incident lead to some ugly media stories for Chelsea, it will likely also cost the club money. Given that Mourinho doesn’t even currently have the luxury of a winning record to excuse his cringeworthy behavior, we may be seeing the beginning of the end of The Artist Formerly Known As The Special One at Stamford Bridge (again).
Between the inevitable questions coming his way about Dr. Carneiro, the aforementioned ban for his only useful striker (RIP Falcao), and the little matter of his team’s form being a flaming dumpster of dicks, there’s a good chance we see Mourinho lose it completely in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed.
Sir Alex Ferguson Looks Bad in His Own Book
Legendary former Manchester United manager and current full-time book peddler Sir Alex Ferguson has yet another book coming out this month. In one excerpt he calls the owners of United (the dearly departed Malcolm Glazer and family) “very good owners.” That’s either laughable or insulting, or both, for obvious reasons. In another he talks about how the owners agreed with him that he shouldn’t be paid less than any player, and quickly made him the highest paid employee of the club. I bet there’s no correlation there at all.
In another slightly ignominious admission, Ferguson concedes that Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba could’ve been kept at United, if not for him and Pogba’s agent getting into an argument at a meeting. That’s the same 22-year-old Paul Pogba who is already one of the best players in the world and who will potentially become the best midfielder of his generation. That’s the player that was allowed to leave Manchester United for nothing, partly because Sir Alex — a man with decades of experience dealing with (sometimes very difficult) agents — couldn’t be bothered to hold his temper.
Just Look at the Massive Pair on Barcelona
Barcelona has asked the Spanish football federation for permission to play new signing Arda Turan as soon as possible. Midfielder Rafinha suffered a long-term injury last weekend, and now the Blaugrana find themselves particularly short on numbers. The problem for the club is that even though it signed Turan over the summer, he is not allowed to play until Barcelona’s transfer embargo — an embargo it earned by illegally signing under-age players — is lifted. You have to hand it to them — this takes cojones.
Barcelona scoffed at transfer regulations for years, got punished, still managed to sign one of the best players in La Liga, and now want to play him before the ban is up because *boo hoo* a player got injured? Més que arrogant bullshit. But given that this is the same club that is currently under investigation for a very shady high-profile transfer, and whose star player allegedly tried to defraud the government on taxes, is it any surprise that it believes itself above the rules?