Gael Clichy had a fantastic game for Arsenal last night and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. The Arsenal left-back has also been a breath of fresh air with his post-match comments in the London Evening Standard, refusing to blame the award of the penalty as the reason why the Gunners bowed out of the competition, instead accusing the team of letting themselves down.
Clichy said: “We did well to score the first goal and to come back and get the game to 2-2. And at that point we were through. But what happened after that was really disappointing.
“To concede a goal like this, whether it is a penalty or not a penalty, may be disappointing but it is not unlucky.
“It is unreal to have had a chance like this, to score the equaliser and get to 2-2 and then to concede a goal only a few seconds after kick off. I can’t find the words for it. It is just ridiculous.”
However, not only do his Arsenal team-mates disagree with Clichy, they also find an unlikely ally in the form of Gerard Houllier, former manager of Liverpool. He claims that it could have been the Gunners facing Chelsea in the semi-final if the officials had been more consistent. Ireland On-Line reports the Frenchman’s lamenting:
“From a personal point of view I was happy Liverpool won but I also felt for my friend Arsene because over the two legs he deserved at least as much to win as Liverpool.
“To me it was a clear-cut penalty in the first leg and then one was given against them in the second leg. That’s why he was not happy.
“At the top level a decision like that can make you or break you.”
It’s always a shame when major matches hinge on a key refereeing decision, especially as people say things like these even themselves out. Try telling that to Arsene Wenger without having an angry Frenchman on your hands!