As Untold Arsenal has already reported, someone who calls himself a journalist actually gave advice to a football team to use violence as a legitimate way to win the game over their rivals.
Just like many people who use their own brain-cells to make conclusions on what the hell is going on with the world we live in, I couldn’t believe that someone would publish that sort of an article without a tongue-in-cheek moment. I mean, I would understand if someone wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece in the mould of Jonathan Swift’s advice for poor people to sell their children to the rich people as food. Of course, Swift didn’t actually advise his readers to either sell their children or to buy the babies from the poor people, but made his proposal to condemn what he thought was wrong with the world he lived in.
The problem with the football world we all participate in (as fans, supporters, haters, ultras, players, managers, tea-ladies, blog-readers, blog-writers, blog-commentators), the Telegraph’s advice was neither anomaly nor a tongue-in-cheek moment. We know why the latter couldn’t be the case – that would require a humorous nerve that the Telegraph keeps out of sight of his readership.
But why that’s not an anomaly?
Let’s check the facts:
Tottenham Hotspur made 451 fouls last season or 11.86 fouls per game. They got 0 (zero) red cards
Some would just wave their hand and say: “Nah, not all fouls are the same!” and I would agree with that. But this season Tottenham are joint second on the list of fouls committed as they have committed 149 fouls or 13.54 per game. As you have already figured out, their number of fouls per game has risen up. Number of red cards so far? 0 (zero).
In 49 games since the beginning of 2015-16 Tottenham have committed no fewer than 600 fouls without receiving a single red card. In the same period Arsenal have committed 453 fouls in 49 games or just two fouls more than Tottenham had committed in 38 games last season. Arsenal have received 5 (five) red cards. Yes, I agree, four of those five red cards were correctly given (Cazorla against Chelsea, Mertesacker against Chelsea, Coquelin against Tottenham and Xhaka against Swansea) but the fifth card was Gabriel’s against Chelsea and that one was overturned by FA which leads me to my point.
I don’t have a crystal ball but it’s very unlikely Arsenal would have lost the game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season if Mike Dean wasn’t Mike Dean but a referee without bias against Arsenal. That hypothetical referee with integrity would have sent off Diego Costa and Chelsea, not Arsenal, would have played 45 minutes with ten men. Given the form of Arsenal and Chelsea at that time, it’s reasonable to assume Arsenal would have won the game.
What happened after that game that made me hate English football for a while? Well, the FA charged Diego Costa for his foul play on Koscielny and the Spanish striker got three-match ban. Gabriel’s red card was overturned but he got a one-game ban for protesting against the decision that was proven wrong
In South-Slavic languages, there is a phrase: “A wolf ate a donkey.” It’s used when some big crime is revealed but due to power/position of those involved in it, nothing happens. And that’s exactly how the whole Costa-Gabriel incident panned out. Costa may have been suspended for three games but Chelsea didn’t lose three points gained thanks to the numerical advantage given by Dean’s wrong decisions and Arsenal got no satisfaction apart from shallow and literally pointless “moral victory”…and even that victory was flawed with Gabriel’s subsequent suspension.
Now, you might have asked yourself: what does that have to do with Tottenham?
Well, Tottenham Hotspur, those knights in white shining armour who haven’t deserved a red card in the last 49 games (actually, 51 league games as the last red carded Tottenham player was Vlad Chiriches against Stoke City in 36th match of their 2014-15 campaign), have had 3 (three) subsequent suspensions for the offences the referees “didn’t see” in the real time.
Dele Alli was suspended for his conduct against Claudio Yacob from West Brom Albion in the first half of the game which means Tottenham would have played with ten men for over 45 minutes if the referee Mike Jones had seen the incident.
Mousa Dembele was suspended for his eye-gauge on Diego Costa that Mark Clattenburg didn’t see. Again, Spurs would have played with ten men for over a half-time as the incident occured at the end of the first half.
Finally, Moussa Sissoko used an elbow on Harry Arter of Bournemouth that Craig Pawson didn’t see as a red card offence. He was given a three-match suspension. Bournemouth would have had an extra man on the pitch for over 12 minutes if the referee had done his job properly.
A wolf ate a donkey again.
So, here is a modest proposal part deux:
Let’s change the rules of football in England. Let’s allow all players a freedom to express themselves with elbows and eye-gauges. Let’s shred all those pesky yellow and red cards into pieces and allow players to beat their opponents – literally – on the pitch. I don’t know if England will win the international tournament after that change of rules but Tottenham might finally win the league.
After all, it’s not like FA cares about the young people who play football in England.