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Wednesday Tit-Bits: Wenger versus The World

In the wake of Aaron Ramsey’s broken leg at Stoke on Saturday, the media seems to have covered the story form multiple different angles. Yet in true journalistic style the only thing that anyone seemed to care about were that: -

  • Ryan Shawcross didn’t MEAN to break anyone’s leg
  • There was no malice or intent behind the challenge
  • Arsenal’s style of midfield passing football means they’re far more likely to be on the end of such tackles
  • Arsene defended similar style of hard tackling play when he had players such as Vieira and Adams in his side 7 years ago

It’s obvious that Wenger has changed his views and approach in the same way that the style of his squad has changed.  Any coach worth his salt should be able to adapt style and philosophies based on the players he has at his disposal. The passion fuelled debates between Arseblog, ArsenalInsider and a good deal of journalists such as Robert Dineen and Matt Dickinson.

I think it does the game a bit of a disservice to continue any debate in the same vein. What is really needed is some way to stop such events ever happening again. Other than perhaps the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast everywhere else the football world has focused on the actors of this story.

The words malice or intent should never be a part of any discussion on the matter, the cases where a player has intentionally committed a career threatening act are so obvious that it need not be considered.

I would rather hear a discussion on what constitutes a good tackle rather than a bludgeon or scything challenge. There is something to be said for good positioning and ball control, had Shawcross not had such a poor, heavy touch in the first place he would not have been in a position to make the challenge. No other country likes a good hard tackle like the they do in England, but if people don’t want to see these sorts of incidents again there will have to be a greater shift toward technique and control.

The rest of the Arsenal players must also be applauded for carrying on with the match in question. They didn’t self destruct as they had done against Birmingham 2 seasons ago. The team seemed to pick up their tempo again after 5-10 minutes, though they were handed a penalty that could have gone either way, and the 3rd goal seemed to matter little other than to add an flattering gloss to what had been a tight game. Stoke did very well to defend their goal up until the 90th minute but rarely threatened after the first half.

Blatter considers doing away with offside

It seems Sepp Blatter wants to take a leaf out of Hockey’s book and rather than investigate the possibility of video technology, something that wouldn’t require any sort of rule change, just the odd minute of consultation with an official who has a TV. The FIFA president has been pondering the idea of doing away with the offside law altogether (Article here from The Times).

As far as I understand the change, it would apply the offside law to say the final third of the pitch, or the 18 yard box, but elsewhere the law doesn’t apply. This would mean teams having to sit very deep to not allow attackers such a great advantage leaving vast spaces in the midfield for passing play to occur. In one sense it could kill the long ball game, given the depth at which the defenders will have to sit they will be able to easily deal with any howitzers fed from back to front. On the other hand I think this will take away a certain level of tactical nous and strategy from the game.

First bans handed out for blasphemy crackdown in Italy

The FIGC in Italy have finally started handing out bans for swearing, blasphemy and the display of motifs, logos or controversial messages on players shirts during goal celebrations. The first two culprits are the Chievo coach Domenico Di Carlo and Parma striker Davide Lanzafame. Referees have been instructed to red card any players they hear blaspheming during games and the authorities will also be enforcing bans retrospectively using the powers of TV evidence. More here at FourFourTwo.

I wonder how such a policy would go down in the English leagues. Perhaps it would foster a little more respect for referees, not that the premier league is any less respectful than any other major European league. I would like to see how many players are sent during the first few weeks of the policy’s introduction.

England climb above Argentina in FIFA rankings

In a world not quite as unfathomable as the magical UEFA coefficients, England have moved up a place to 8th in the FIFA world rankings. They knock Argentina down one, while Germany have also moved up into 5th place. England’s opponents tonight, Egypt, have moved down a whopping 7 places to 17th. I suspect this is due to their failure to qualify for the world cup later this year. More here and here.

  • Chopper86

    I don't know if Blatter was actually thinking about getting rid of offside, i think he just asked the guy how it was going. I don't think we will see that anytime soon.

    I agree it would take something tactical away from the game, which is why i would oppose it.


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