Allowed tactics, or ruthless play?



Allowed tactics or ruthless play?

A personal observation from AKH

My observations of certain football matches in the UK, as seen from tv viewings, suggest that some teams seem to follow more robust tactics against certain opposition players, and such teams also instigate time wasting practices, in order to achieve positive outcomes such as winning or drawing matches.

My observations also suggest to me that such practices are viewed in a positive manner by the comments and analysis from so-called football journalists reporting on such matches.

Furthermore, I feel that there is also a suggestion that match-day officials are now allowing more robust practices to occur with little or no protection for those players receiving this robust practice, nor for time wasting to be sufficiently compensated for, by allowing for the correct extra minutes to be added on to the end of each half.

I make these observations after observing a number of Arsenal matches and reading the follow-up reports as issued on the internet by National media sources as well as social media sources.

Not for the first time in a match have certain teams attempted to physically intimidate the younger Arsenal players, as happened in the Everton away match for instance, and more recently in the away match at Newcastle.

Such practice being ignored by officialdom and post-journalistic reporting. Indeed, reports suggest that the Everton team and especially the then new Everton manager, Sean Dyche, were seen to have acted and used positive tactics which led to a positive outcome – a 1-0 win!

I remember a similar thing happening earlier this season when Arsenal played Newcastle. Reports suggested that the physical and time wasting tactics employed by the Newcastle manager and his team, were positive and were needed in order to stop Arsenal from winning. The latest match against Newcastle really showed up the way that certain referees are allowing robust (illegal?) challenges to become the norm.

The UA site has continually highlighted the research results emanating from various academic sources investigating referee bias, especially with regards to home crowd noise.

It has also analysed how the Arsenal tackling tactics have had to change in order for the team to be awarded fewer yellow and red cards. Yet I have a feeling that despite these pieces of evidence, robust tackling and time-wasting practices are being allowed and being seen as a positive development that is being reintroduced into the game in the UK.

UA has suggested the problems emanating through the FA, the Premier League and especially with FIFA.

Now, I remember what football in the UK was like in the past, as I have been watching it from 1957 onwards…..(and yes I can be called an old duffer, perhaps). But, I hate to think that teams are now once again being allowed to physically intimidate certain players in order to secure a more positive outcome, without any real protection of said players by the match officials. I hate to think that time-wasting is now on the increase again as a tactic with little or no monitoring occurring, as happened in the past.

I hate to think that football journalism is once again only interested in the result rather than the tactics and performance helping to yield a said result. However, football journalism and punditry is what it is. How serious is one expected to take it?

Arsenal have had a poor recent performance record according to national pundits. Yet only one game was lost, (away to Manchester City.) Drawing matches are not necessarily poor results even if point losses can count against the team.

We are all supposed to move on to the next match and be positive that such so-called poor performances are not repeated. However, if and when some teams realise that certain tactics are again being allowed for and accepted by officialdom and journalistic reporting, how many more so-called poor performances are the young Arsenal players expected to endure?

It is a little ironic that one observed that Arsenal utilised certain time-wasting tactics against Newcastle in this recent game, and that such tactics were then complained about by the Newcastle management team! (Evidence suggests that throughout the season Newcastle have utilised delaying tactics more so than any other premier team).

“This is English football! This is the Premier League! This is the football that fans want to see! This is why everybody watches the Premier League! “

If such statements from so-called journalists and pundits are true, then some young players will have a very early end to their careers, whilst others will take on the physical traits that appear to gain support from those that operate at the highest echelons of football within England.

I want Arsenal to win awards and to keep challenging for titles. Their recent performance against such ruthless opponents showed all football observers what can be achieved through playing superb football and not losing one’s composure.

However, once again, one observes the performance of a representative of the PGMOL in this recent game. It is not surprising that many PGMOL referees do indeed show home bias, especially when home fans welcome ruthless tackling and time-wasting………..

7 Replies to “Allowed tactics, or ruthless play?”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Some of the challenges on our players were ruthless on Sunday and often went totally unpunished. Having said that, the media will always find ways of defending their favourites teams whilst criticising others, so I don’t think we’ll ever win that argument.

    I thought on Sunday though that the likes of Saka and Odegaard were more likely to end up on stretchers than their assailants were to end up on yellow cards. Many on social media have argued that Newcastle were unlucky on Sunday. I vehemently believe they were very lucky not to have one or two players send off and subsequently suspended. Once they fell behind their tactics appeared to be to injure our players and thus weaken the team with illegal tactics since they could not beat us at the actual game of football.

    This idea of refs adopting a more positive stance by “letting the game flow” is not unreasonable if there are minor infringements which might otherwise just be an interruption to the flow of the game. Some refs, however, and Kavanagh for definite, allow bad fouls to go completely unpunished. (Having said that, I did see a couple of very minor infringements by Arsenal players, immediately given as fouls!) It seems that some refs will never overcome their own prejudices and have absolutely no incentive to do so when they remain unpunished and completely unaccountable.

  2. With reference to Sundays game away at Newcastle, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a team in the PL so intent on “leaving something on them” with their (Newcastle’s) “robust” challenging & the referees decision to ignore it rather than award a foul. Very poor officiating which encouraged this retrograde playing style through out the game.

  3. Mikey, I agree too.

    I have no problem about robust challenges if they are fair. Newcastle’s were frequently late and off-the-ball, so should have been penalised by yellow (at least) cards. The elbow-led charge into the face of Jesus should have been a straight red card. Even Gary Neville, who has usually been a member of the “Arsenal don’t like it up ’em school, was critical of it. Also, why no VAR check?

    It was notable also that Newcastle were verbally as well as physically aggressive, confronting our players in numbers throughout the game.

    Still, despite all that:

    “Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, Inspector George Gently, Marc Knopfler, Jimmy Nail, Ant and Dec, Sting, Eddie Howe, Bishop of Durham, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Vera, your boys took a hell of a beating!”

  4. AKH and Mikey,
    I agree on the physical challenges to Arsenal players and time wasting in general. Fortunately the players mostly remained calm and went about their business and closed out the match. Unfortunately as Arsenal beat teams using thuggery against them when they can’t compete with them in footballing, I fear the opponents will use even worse tackling, shoving, swinging elbows at heads, etc to try to gain some edge in the match, especially on their own grounds.
    This is the league and officialdom that brought us ” the 50th match”. Nothing’s changed in the treatment of AFC that I’m aware of.

  5. The best that I can think to say was that the ref was inert for the most of the game at Newcastle game. The next stand out point would be VAR overturning the handball decision against Kiwior which was amongst the very few decisions he seemed to make. With every illegal challenge you felt our players were getting closer to being carded rather than the other way round. The lack of intervention when needed just makes the pigmob look the weak and woeful organisation it is in my opinion.
    Do they not realise that when they allow players to be injured by such negligent actions will ruin the brand Premier League?

  6. It has been mentioned in other places that the “challenge” by Schar on Jesus with his elbow leading into the face would have been a red card in rugby and yet the referee and VAR totally ignored it! Deliberate contact to the head with no mitigation

  7. I thought that their Brazilian players were out to injure their compatriots in our team . So I was glad to see Joelinton linp off after his efforts !

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