Arsene Wenger cut an unusually angry figure in his weekly press conference on Friday as he described Uefa’s decision to charge Eduardo with 'intent to deceive the referee' as "a complete disgrace". For a man more prone to the diplomatic approach it was a very forceful reaction and, it must be said, a wholly understandable one.
His complaint that Eduardo has been made a scapegoat and that the focus on the Croatia striker has reached the levels of a witch-hunt is not hyperbole. When was the last time that a simple dive provoked such a hysterical reaction?
Uefa's decision to single out Eduardo is a strange one indeed. This was a moment that, in the context of the tie and with Arsenal leading 2-0 from the first leg, was fairly incidental. But the media reaction and focus has elevated this event, the kind of which occurs in any number of games on a given weekend, almost to the level of a diplomatic incident.
SFA chief executive Gordon Smith led the calls for retrospective punishment and, indeed, he has form in this regard having also lambasted Lithuania’s Salius Mikoliunas for a blatant dive against Scotland in a Euro 2008 qualifier at Hampden, with the player subsequently receiving a ban.
Such is his apparent distaste for divers it is tempting to speculate that Tom Daley must have grievously wronged him in some way in the past. Playing his iPod too loudly on the bus perhaps?
This is not to say that leading a campaign to eradicate simulation is not a worthy cause, of course it is. But Wenger will be acutely aware that without the furore generated from North of the Border, and had Eduardo taken a tumble against Fiorentina or Lyon, then there would have been nothing like the public outcry we have seen.
Players dive. Didier Drogba has admitted as much, Cristiano Ronaldo has a taste of the theatrical about him, Steven Gerrard has been known to throw himself to the ground and Arsenal fans should know better than most that had Robert Pires not dropped to the turf against Portsmouth in 2003-2004 then they may not have gone the season unbeaten.
None of these are excusable, but why single out Eduardo for special treatment? He doesn't even have a notable track record of simulation.
Wenger is right when he says that Uefa have opened a door that they now may struggle to close. If Eduardo is punished for 'intent to deceive the referee' then are we to demand retrospective bans for players who claim a corner when they know full well that the ball came off their opponent?
What about players who feign injury only to enjoy a miraculous recovery, or those who keep quiet when such offences occur? After all, Uefa’s law states that: "Players may be suspended for two competition matches, or for a specified period, for acting with the obvious intent to cause any match official to make an incorrect decision or supporting his error of judgement and thereby causing him to make an incorrect decision."
Presumably, Uefa are currently on the phone to Bristol City to ensure that the entire team that witnessed Freddie Sears' 'goal' for Crystal Palace are on the receiving end of a two-game ban.
Their law, which they so infrequently choose to invoke, demands a level of honesty and fair play that, sadly, just does not exist in the modern game and probably never will.
Back to the Eduardo case and, furthermore, why is the spectre of a suspension hanging over the striker when, if spotted by the referee at the time, this is an offence that commands a yellow card at the very most? The possible punishment does not fit the crime, and Eduardo is not deserving of the public lynching he is receiving at the moment.
This should not be construed as a defence of simulation, more a recognition that one player has been singled out for extreme and unusual punishment for an offence that occurs on a weekly basis. It shouldn’t, but it does.
If the laws of the game are changed and a blatant dive incurs a red card then so be it. That may be the way forward. All players will be similarly affected and, presumably, similarly dissuaded from indulging in a dramatic flourish.
But Uefa have undermined the authority of their referee and called on video replays when usually they shun them. Will every diver in the Champions League this season be banned for two games? As Wenger says, the lack of consistency and logic is bemusing.
Eduardo is far from being an angel in this whole controversy, and it is stretching credulity to suggest that there was decisive contact from Artur Boruc, but that does not mean that he should be treated like he has committed a cardinal sin.
The judgement cast down from the media and Uefa has been out of all proportion in this case.