It’s mid-way through the second half, and Lee Bowyer, the thug and unsightly reptile that he is comes careering through Theo Walcott with an intention only to wipe aside the Arsenal winger and teach him a lesson. Over comes the treacherous Howard Webb, whistle in his slimy mouth awarding the free-kick but with no purpose to claw into his pocket and produce the yellow Bowyer deserved. No, no card but just a pathetic warning. It came as a harsh confirmation that Webb was out to stop Arsenal while protecting his friends in blue.
Gael Clichy had been sentenced earlier for what was actually a limp dive on him. Alex Song had felt the wrath of dirt-bag Webb for what was nothing more than a mistimed trip. These robot referees who the FA produce on mass were once again out throwing cards at Arsenal and treating the opposition’s malignity as good old ruff-and-tumble. Webb’s stern face and proud chest was the character symbol of the official English absolutist, who laps up the limelight like a filthy excited dog and refuses to do his discharge of a job that his days of playground neglect has led to.
And if we needed more confirmation than the murdering of Abou Diaby’s goal. In the opening minutes Walcott was turned by the shoulder of a blue shirt just as Diaby had done to set himself up. Only Diaby would be punished though. The torturing sound of Webb’s whistle came early and Diaby was stripped of his footballing rights, because of course it wouldn’t have suited the ego of Webb to have the home fans plague him for the remainder of the game. Again, Webb was soaking up being the home team’s tin god and depressing champion.
Only when Arsenal had taken the lead could Webb punish his team of choice, Birmingham, regrettably so of course. Stephen Carr pulled back Andrey Arshavin and then Craig Gardner was also branded yellow for unsporting behaviour, Gardner, who had taken as much of the ball as he had Cesc Fabregas (a massive chunk) which left the prize Spaniard twisted for the second half. Birmingham had played for every little foul to deliver deathly balls into the box from set-pieces. St Andrews was a circus of nasty beasts free to run wild by Webb’s sick fancy for some action to be a part of.
It smelt of bias and the age old doctrine that Alex Ferguson must be helped to his title at all costs. In the three o’clock kick off at Stamford Bridge Yuri Zhirkov took a dive. It was outrageously clear to see in real time on the screen in a tense north London pub, made easier by Zhirkov’s bashful glance back at the referee. Quite laughably though the penalty was given. Back in the Midlands, Chelsea were being helped even more by Webb’s sinister theatre of shit officiating, all the while the innocent Thomas Vermaelen had to watch on as men, guilty of uselessness, stole the stage.
The fear was always Webb’s incompetent role. The loathsome performance was the shameful Manuel Almunia, plucked from the Spanish second division to play in the greatest league worldwide. And that is where he belongs, down in a dark pit of mediocrity, along with Webb. Almunia had sat relatively idle behind a hardworking makeshift defence. When called upon, his soulless body was dead and his limp wrists could do nothing to clean up the situation. The talentless lummox had once again let Arsenal down. How much longer will this nightmare go on for?
Nearly as loathsome was Arsene Wenger’s choice to leave Samir Nasri and Arshavin on the bench. Then it took a love-in with Gardner to realise that Denilson was in action. It was despondent too, that Nasri overcooked the passing ethic of Arsenal when he refused to shoot and kill of the game, instead looking to square a good opportunity to his Russian team-mate. In the end it came back to haunt Arsenal when the mad monstrosity of Kevin Philips’ goal made a bitter draw extremely hard to digest, horrid enough to almost make you vomit.
The atmosphere around north London was like a funeral. Should Emmanuel Eboue have played? Why did Walcott turn back into his amateur ghost and where was Nicklas Bendtner of the last few weeks? These were the questions being asked as I walked miserably in the spitting rain to the place where I would begin drowning my sorrows. That the rain was only a light drizzle symbolised how the season stands, and how it isn’t pouring just yet. The tragedy though, was having to embrace it all with that rat Howard Webb.

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