Whenever I want to feel dumb I seek out the cartoons of the New Yorker. I fully understand a cartoon at an average that would embarrass even Alphonso Soriano. The mind games are rampant as well. "Oh that's funny, I get that one... ...wait, do I get it? That seemed too easy... I probably don't get it - let me read this a few more times to see if there is something more clever."
Whenever I want to feel smart, I check out the recaps at Soccernet of games I watched . They did not let me down:
The headline would be brilliant in it's sarcasm if only the story beneath it was in any way concordant. But this is football in England and complaints of physical play is the worst kind of faux pas.
I am of course referring to two of the most obvious fouls witnessed in recent memory. This was more egregious than when Fletcher slid into Arshavin and cradled the ball in his arms in the box and far more obvious than the Henry double tap-that. The first foul was Thiago Motta on Ivanovic and the second was Walter Samuel on Didier Drogba. Both were in the box.
If a director were to recreate the scene, the conversation would go something like this:
OK. Ivanovic stole the purse of an old lady, you, Thiago, can only use his arm to get him to the ground. Go! [Thiago proceeds with both of his hands to grab Ivanovic's arm and after some pulling and yanking, eventually gets Ivanovic to the turf] [End scene].
The second foul, with Samuel neutralizing Drogs, looked something like this.
It is quite obvious that Inter sought to ruffle a few feathers on the Chelsea side and the result was a first half that looked like Terry Tate vs. Chelsea Office Workers - with Mourinho playing the role of Ron Felcher.
There is no doubt that if this were Arsenal and fouls like that went uncalled I would be beside myself. And the replay of the Samuel's form tackle on Drogba even had the commentators blushing. But there is also no doubt that Arsene would mention both incidents in a condescending way in the post-game conference, so while I'm not blaming Carlo Ancelotti for his lack of complaints, no comment is the same as no concern.
The only one who seems to be outraged is Drogba. This is the same person who was punished for calling the officials a disgrace when very few had done so last year and it's the same striker who again let his emotions get the better of him. He decided he had been run into enough, elbowed enough, clawed enough and kicked too many times and with no referee protection, can you really blame him for standing up for himself? I don't. At least not this time.
And so the Chelsea Champions League Curse continues.