Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday September 23 2009
Arsenal were awarded 18 free kicks in Saturdays game at the Emirates to the Latics meagre 6 and after the match Arsene Wenger had his usual moan to the press about how his players are subject to awful challenges, give it a break.
The reason why they got so many free kicks is because they con the referee, the Arsenal play acting on Saturday was quite literally a joke, each time an Arsenal player lost possession of the ball they went to ground, arms flaying in the air and a screech like they`d been shot in the arse by some sniper in the crowd.
Before Monsieur Wenger starts to have a go about the number of free-kicks his team gets awarded he should have words with his own players about their play acting, Eduardo got reprimanded for diving, though the toothless organisation who did hand out the punishment have since retracted it for fear of having to punish every cheat
Eduardo`s actions aren`t isolated and the going to ground and looking at the ref with pleading eyes is symptomatic of lots of Premier League players and indeed we do have one or two at our club, quite frankly it is embarrassing.
Managers, instead of moaning in the media, to guarantee future free-kicks, about the treatment their players receive, should enforce to the players that if they stay on their feet and display passion with the undoubted ability that they possess then maybe they could perhaps create a chance or two for their team.
This is an area that needs to be cleaned up and UEFA were to be applauded on making a stand with the Eduardo case and this should have been followed up with various other sanctions against football`s divers, but no they pulled back and so the triple summersaults and half pikes will continue and the free-kicks in favour of the big clubs will also continue
In reference to Wengers statement, Latics boss Roberto Martinez commented that although he does not want to criticise referees he feels that the big clubs get far too many decisions, Martinez says: 'When you get a manager saying something like that, the easiest thing then is to analyse every single free-kick.
'I felt we were not too aggressive, and that probably the first three free-kicks were just us settling into a game being played at a fast pace.
'We were late into a few challenges but, of the first seven free-kicks, I would say three were fouls and four were not.
'I never go into the referee's performance.
'But overall there is a big difference when you play a top-four team in terms of what sort of decisions you will get.'
With Chelsea visiting at the weekend and that slip of a lad Didier Drogba playing it will be interesting to see how many free-kicks he receives for innocuous challenges and falls to the floor.
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Date:Wednesday September 23 2009
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