Exaggeration not simulation
Should Arsenal’s Robin van Persie be castigated for admitting that he frequently' exaggerates the impact of fouls at the hands of defenders? Probably not in my opinion. That is at least, not until Fifa changes the law or instructs their officials to make a clear distinction between the words ‘contact’ and ‘foul’.
As has been argued in this column before, all too often we see players going to ground and being rewarded for it after claiming contact. In many cases, these situations have been induced by the so-called wronged player who seems more than happy to leave a trailing leg behind as a target for a hapless defender of goalkeeper. So, if you are fouled, go ahead, make the most of it and hope that the referee sees it. If however, you happen to brush up against the ear-lobe of a member of the opposition, could I suggest you try and stay on your feet rather than going in search for the award of best actor in a non-supported position?
Injured my a**e
Would it be too much to ask for the game to put an end to the dreadfully annoying habit of players kicking the ball in to touch so a member of the opposition can get treatment? It should the job of the referee to stop the game, not a player who’s getting the bird from the crowd because one their favourites is on the turf after bashing his little toe against a surprisingly long tuft of grass. Perhaps football should learn from the England cricket captain Andrew Strauss.
Having seen the England man call back to the crease a Sri Lankan batsman on Friday, the South African skipper Graeme Smith, struggling with cramp, thought he’d have no problems when asking Strauss for a runner in the ICC Champions Trophy game on Sunday. Strauss refused quoting a line about preparation and conditioning. That’s cricket speak for ‘get fit lardy boy, get fit’. Brilliant.
Not so Keano
Any non Manchester United fans upset to see ex Old Trafford favourite Roy Keane struggling in the Championship with Ipswich? Probably not that many I would have thought. From the day Keane walked on to a pitch with the sole desire to injure another player, I’m afraid to say I have wanted him to have to pay for it (and yes, I know he was fined at the time but I’m not talking about money).
His amazing performances for United, tenacious captaincy and never say die attitude notwithstanding, I just can’t seem to get the memory of that day in 2001 out of my head (nor I would venture can Alf-Inge Haland). As Keane said at the time: ‘what goes round comes round’. Too true Roy, too true.
A quick note to all the doom mongers who raged against Barcelona’s decision to ditch Samuel Eto’o in favour of Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
He may have a name that’s worth 956 points in scrabble plus a hooter that comes second only to Concorde but this weekend Ibrahimovic became the first player in Barca’s history to score in each of his first 5 games. That Pep Guardiola may only be a young pup, but boy has he got an eye for a deal.