Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nani's 'seal act': Why both Wenger and Fergie are wrong ...

One of the most annoying talking points of United's FA Cup rout of Arsenal was the post-match verdicts of what has been described as Nani's 'Seal act', which was in relation to the Portuguese winger juggling the ball on his on is boot, head and thigh.

Arsene Wenger, no doubt looking for something to crib about following his own sides capitulation described the juggling as an attempt to 'humiliate' his players, then again he would say that wouldn't he, given Flamini tried to rearrange Nani's kneecaps?

When things go wrong, there's nothing better than an attention deflecting talking point or two. In fairness, the Arsenal manager does at least still speak to the BBC, unlike our own manager.

Somewhat surprisingly Fergie appeared to agree that his own player had done something wrong when saying 'there was no need for him to do that - I will have a word with him'. What utter nonsense. Nani wasn't showboating; he was trying to retain possession of the ball when facing the wrong way and heading into the United half of the pitch. The 'purists' would no doubt say that in such situations you should boot the ball into row Z, but Nani is a fancy Dan winger, he is not Gary Neville or Wes Brown, in true Basil Faulty style, "he is from Portugal, he doesn't know any better"...

If Nani had performed his seal act near one of the Arsenal corner flags when playing for time, then both Fergie and Wenger would have a point, but that was not the case. The fact is the Portuguese winger tried to retain the ball, which took courage because if he'd lost it in that area of the pitch then United could have been in trouble. It is to be hoped that is what Fergie meant when he said that he was going to have a word with his winger...

On-looking youngsters love to see good examples of top class players displaying their skills, you can guarantee the following day kids up and down the land will have been attempting to mimic Nani's skills, sadly some will also mimic the other side of the game such as Flamini's exocet like challenge and the Gallas kick on Nani.

Here's a question, what would Wenger have said if Patrice Evra had launched into Fabregas in similar circumstances? 'I did not see it' is a fair bet.

Arsenal could have ended that match with eight players on the pitch. Eboue was red carded, Gallas got away with it and Flamini's challenge on Nani wasn't far off a sending off. I don't know how many players have been red carded while Fergie has been in charge of United, but it's now 79 now for Wenger at Arsenal.

This current Arsenal team are are not a dirty side, but on Saturday one or two players came close to losing it, the Eboue challenge was rash, as was Flamini's challenge on Nani. What Gallas did, from what I've seen of him, was out of character and in that moment he lost the plot.


  1. what a very biased report....trying writing an objective one

  2. Agree with you James. He wasn't showing off in my opinion either. It always tastes like a sour grape, losing to Man Utd. :)

    - Gunner

  3. i am an arsenal fan and agree with what you say completely (i also think this was the least one sided view of every review by an arsenal or united fan i have read since our thrashing)...nothing wrong with what nani did, rooney took the piss a bit after a free kick to arsenal at one point which was really the only thing i was annoyed with united about in the whole game other than that you were just much better. I do think that with with clichey, sagna and rosicky back the result will be different (im not insinuating that arsenal will win but will play like we deserve to be anywhere near the top of the league)

  4. I agree with James,theres is absolutely nothing wrong with what Nani did.any arsenal player would do that if they had the skill.or would wenger say the same thing if it was arsenal vs sunderland?stop excuses and swallow the pill

  5. I am afraid your comments show that you have never played any form of competitive football.

    The only thing precariously allowing the English game to hold it's head above the level of sinicism and abuse that we see abroad, is the respect players have for eachother and for other clubs.

    Once that goes, anarchy will rule and our marvellous game will forever be a memory.

    Nani - goat - will learn and there is no-one better than old "red-nose" himself to teach him.


  6. Even though i am gooner i agree with what you say even though i feel you put it rather harshly... apart from flamini's tackle i do agree with you on most counts... But if fergie concurs then it does mean there is an unwritten rule we dont know about... But i do feel that every player has a right to play whichever way he wants to... nani didnt do anything wrong...

  7. I don't sympathise with your view. I think Nani is lucky that he didn't have a broken leg. He was not just simply retaining possession, he was bobbing the ball on your head and running away from goal. That doesn't impress me at all. You need to treat other players with respect to get respect back. The reaction from Arsenal players was expected. It would have been the same if one of the arsenal players had done this to united. I'm glad that for once Fergie did not just blindly stand up for his players. I've lost a lot of respect for Nani, and I'm looking forward to the next time Arsenal clash with united and we some hard challenges on seal boy.

  8. agree Nani did well, funny thing Alan Mullary(spelling) sed on Sky last night Gallas was within his right to kick Nani and to understand it you "must have competed at top level" with regard to your comment you could add his name to beeing wrong

  9. As an after thought your comment on people following flamini and gallas is very unfair... they were rarities and the team was already reeling in humiliation... it just came out... unacceptable by gallas nonetheless...
    But with the history of players in your side like Butt,keane and now brown it hardly gives you the right to brandish arsenal's players the way you did...

  10. Why shouldn't Nani show his skills off - after all, he's in the entertanment business?

    What is the difference between what Nani did and Wengers team passing and dancing around the opposition - ah la leeds vs Southampton circa '72 (still shown every now and again) without any real purpose?

    Last season, during the FA Cup 6th Round replay against Middlesborough, Morrison came on as a substitute and was almost immediately sent off for an outrageous lunge at Ronaldo who was "showboating" down the wing.

    Gareth Southgate went down in my estimation (as if it could get any lower) when he almost justified his players actions.

    I notice that the word "frustration" wasn't mentioned by Wenger.

  11. If I was a supporter of Man U - I'd cheer Nani's antics. However - Wengers and Fergie's comments are a reference to the unwritten rule between professionals that you don't showboat, show off or generally rub peoples nose it by doing tricks. It's why you so rarely see a player do it and it's why both managers agreed.

  12. FYI and for FWIW I have actually played competitive football and I wasn't a bad player.

    Wenger and Ferguson, fresh after the heat of battle got it wrong plain and simple.

    Nani did nothing wrong.

  13. Completely agree with you James. Nani was under close marking when the ball came to him in the air and used his head to good effect to evade the markers. As soon as he'd lost his markers, the ball came down and he tried to clear it.

    I'd call it showboating if it came to him on the ground, in the corner and he flicked it up onto his head and then juggled it across the pitch.

    Just because he had the skill to do it, it is called showboating by the jealous less talented.


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