Overplaying players ? Really? Or is it over kicking?

By Walter Broeckx

Wenger is a useless prick who overplays Alexis and this is the ultimate proof that he is no good, is past it, and should be sacked. This is a bit of a simplification of what the aaa is saying at the moment.

Alexis is out and its all Wenger’s fault. Period. FACT!

That is the story that goes round. But let us take a look if this really is how it is. I already did this in the past by comparing the matches played by Arsenal players with the matches played of Chelsea players. And the conclusion was: if Wenger overplays his players, then Mourinho does even more to overplay his players.

Now you know my view is that possible injuries are not just about playing much but have a lot to do with the treatment you get on the pitch. A player that is kicked more will have more injuries after a while.

And let me also state once again that muscular injuries can also be the result of being kicked.  In Dutch it is called the “horse bite” and it is for example when an opponent hits you with his knee on your upper leg and bruises the muscle. It is immediately painful but you usually can continue to play. But you can have a bruise and if you don’t take care it can turn in to a more serious muscular injury.

As we know Fabregas has got an injury recently. A muscular injury. Sustained from a kick. A kick from his own teammate even. It just shows that not all muscular injuries are down to overplaying, overtraining or whatever you want to call it. And such bruising of muscles can of course also occur in training without us knowing it and then become visible in a match when another small contact is made at the same place.

But back to the “overplaying of Alexis Sanchez” as is being claimed. They say Wenger overplays him. I say the refs in the PL should do more to protect Alexis so he will get lesser kicks.

Now let us compare Alexis with the players he should be compared with. The absolute world class players. And what better way to do this than to compare his stats with Messi, Suarez, Ronaldo, Bale and to throw in another name in the PL with Fabregas.

So we will give you a table in which we compare the appearances of these players with Alexis.

Name Season League Matches Total
Alexis 2014/2015 21 32
Messi 2014/2015 22 31
Suarez (1) 2014/2015 13 20
Ronaldo (2) 2014/2015 19 32
Bale 2014/2015 19 31
Fabregas 2014/2015 22 32


  1. Suarez played fewer games because he was suspended till the end of October after his biting incident.
  2. Ronaldo has been suffering from patellar tendinitis for a while

So if we compare him with these players Alexis has played most matches but has the same number of matches as Ronaldo and Fabregas. And has one more match than Messi and Bale.

Is anyone saying that all these other players are being overplayed?  And knowing that Ronaldo has a tendinitis problem and that to cure this patellar tendinitis problem the first cure is: rest!

So in fact it is nothing special to see the best players play so many matches. But what is most different to the treatment of Messi, Ronaldo and others with the treatment of Alexis? It is the treatment by the referees.

Referees in Spain have in the years I’ve followed the Spanish league made it sure that players who came on the field to just try to kick Messi or Ronaldo off the field were sent off before they knew what happened. I have seen a few players being sent off for committing one serious foul on Messi. And after a while they stopped trying to kick him off the field.

But in England we have seen terrible attacks on all body parts from Alexis. And if at all the refs calls the foul we already feel happy. Dishing out yellow cards is rare and red cards… hell even when Adams tried to decapitate his head he was only awarded a yellow card. So Alexis is like a rabbit in a hunt party. You can do as you like and even kill him without any problem at all.

Look at this clip against Brighton and how he gets kicked after some 24-30 seconds.  That is kick to injure from several players.  And we all can remember other assaults on his legs and body in other matches.

My conclusion is that Alexis just plays the same number of top matches like other top players do.  As that is what makes them top players. The main problem is not the number of matches but the numbers of assaults and kicks he gets and the lack of protection he gets from referees in the PL. And I don’t hear anyone saying that the managers of Barcelona and Real Madrid are running their top stars in the ground.

In Spain the league and the referees know that to keep the league to a high standard you need top players. And you need those top players on the field. You don’t need them in the stands on crutches.  Nobody will turn on his TV to see Messi or Ronaldo sitting in the stadium unable to play. No people turn on their TV to see them do their tricks on the field. And so the league and referees make sure that such players get the protection that is needed and that is their god damn duty to give to these players so they can play as many matches as possible.

In the PL the referees let the kicking and assaulting go unpunished. In the PL the pundits scream to the opponents of Arsenal to kick us to pieces and to kick Alexis off the field because he has too much skill. This is completely disgraceful. Do we really have to see another leg hanging in a terrible unnatural angle before the screaming to kick us stops? Haven’t we seen enough of those images of Arsenal players lying on the floor like that?

We enter the period of the year where it usually ends with Arsenal players in that position. Eduardo, Ramsey, Debuchy, Sagna, … you know the list and it is far too long to be good.

Mr. Riley start doing what you should do and tell your refs to protect the skillful players. Pundits why don’t you use that one brain cell you have and think before you urge players to injure other players.   If not I will hold you responsible when the next victim is on the floor. I hope and pray I will be wrong on this but I fear that it is about to happen soon.

The books



47 Replies to “Overplaying players ? Really? Or is it over kicking?”

  1. Factual write-up Walter. It was ridiculous to see how many times Sanchez was fouled at Brighton with the ref just watching. In fact, I think he was the player that got fouled most in the entire match, despite coming on around the 70 min mark (he managed to get kicked more than players who were on the pitch the whole 90 minutes). I wouldn’t be surprised if some player from these kicking teams took Phil Neville’s words literally (which was how he came across anyway) and kicks Rosicky to pieces, than have someone here blaming it on Wenger. The only offence that I think our players and manager are guilty of is playing attractive and skillful football.

  2. Simple…..and perfectly accurate.

    Walter, I think you already know that probably the AAA’s know it too. This is just another excuse to bash Wenger. And at the end of the day, the Wenger bashing is all because the AAA’s haven’t been able to associate themselves with glory as much as they would have liked irrespective of the illogical nature of their personal needs/desires.

  3. Slightly off-topic and apologies for copying and pasting, but the below is a comment by Menace burried in another thread which is four or so articles from the current one. But I think it reflects what we have been seeing very much this season sand in a way it’s relevant to this discussion;

    “The current batch of PGMO opponent midfielders do a simple job. They ‘weaken’ opposition by awarding yellow cards early in the match. They then go on to ‘balance’ the cards by late cards to their own side. The effect is the favoured team has the advantage of a team afraid of being reduced by second yellows. The favoured team can also then go on to kick seven bells out of their opponent without any more than a conversation.

    How the EPL is run.”

  4. Honestly, you cant blame our ever persisting injury crisis on knocks and kicks.

    If it was an isolated problem, yes, it would be a possible cause but this has been a problem for some years now and it seems isolated to our club.

  5. Great piece. I think the standard was set in the Chelsea match in October, when Gary Cahill launched a two-footed tackle that launched Alexis off the pitch in front of the 4th official.
    No action was taken by the ref, and this led to Wenger pushing Mourinho, because Arsene was trying to get to Alexis, but the “Grumpy” one blocked his way.

    This was also the game that led to your article on rotational fouling by Chelsea designed to break up Arsenal’s counter-attacking rhythm.

    The quality of EPL refs seems to be declining with bad or serial fouls on players going unpunished in many games this season.

  6. Barton

    ‘Honestly, you cant blame our ever persisting injury crisis on knocks and kicks.’
    Simple question. Why can you not blame injuries on knocks and kicks?
    If you know they are not caused by knocks, you presumably have some idea of what they are caused by. So tell us.

  7. But Barton – while not denying that their may be other factors involved – our players have also been getting kicked for years! I think that point was made quite clearly in the article…?

    Our big increase in injuries started around the time Riley took over at the PGMO. At the same time other metrics dramatically moved against us:

    – Fewer penalties awarded/more conceded.
    – Fewer fouls per yellow card on average.
    – An increase in fouls awarded against Arsenal compared to fouls awarded for.

  8. Great article Walter.

    Again, apologies for cutting and pasting but I wrote this yesterday and feel it is pretty relevant to what Walter has to say regarding the Alexis/Sanchez situation. I hope you agree.

    “To my mind, the concerted, premeditated assault upon Sanchez is one of the most overtly orchestrated acts of thuggery I have had the misfortune to witness.

    There was a similar campaign waged against Reyes, and we all witnessed how that ended.

    I must admit I was a bit disappointed that Reyes didn’t handle it a little better, but lets be honest, why should he have to? His treatment, and lack of protection from Referees was a disgrace, as is what is happening to Sanchez.

    Luckily for us it seems that Sanchez is made of tougher stuff than Reyes, well lets hope so anyway, but again I say, why?

    Why should he have to put up with this constant physical assault upon his person?

    Why should he risk a career threatening injury every time he enters a football field?

    Disgraceful. Shameful. Just 2 of the more printable words to describe what’s going on.”

    And that’s what it seems to be to me. A concerted, co ordinated and officially ratified campaign to allow Alexis to be kicked, either into touch, or into submission, whatever comes first. To be honest I don’t think they care which as long as they get him off the pitch.

    And the saddest, most shameful part of this is that some of our own fans use this scandalous situation as just another stick with which to beat Wenger, rather than highlight the scandal of what’s really going on.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t blame Alexis if he was thinking, ‘Fuck this, I don’t need this, I’m off’

    He could go anywhere he wanted. Why stay here and have your legs broken !!!!

  9. My, what an impressive list of well researched incidents you have there Barton. Aston Villa is looking for a manager, maybe you should apply there?

    One of those medical papers I referenced here yesterday, was talking about eccentric contraction injuries (with respect to hamstring, or posterior thigh in general). They went to great pains to show that when running, the best chance for sustaining an injury in eccentric contraction was about the time when the foot is contacting the ground. From just before to just after ground contact.

    What the heck is eccentric contraction?

    Muscles are composed of muscle cells, and I am glossing over a bunch of detail. A very simple model of a muscle cell, is that a muscle cell has 2 lengths: elongated and retracted. Muscles cells only generate force by moving into the retracted length state. More force by the muscle is the result of more muscle cells trying to move into the retracted length state. If the overall length of the muscle is reducing with time, this is referred to as concentric contraction. If the overall length of the muscle is increasing with time, any force generated is the result of eccentric contraction.

    In order for the global length of the muscle to be increasing, the body has to be stopping nerve stimulus to nerve cells in general. But in order to be generating force, some muscle cells need to be stimulated into contracting.

    In the context of the player, they are just about to make foot contact while running, and the length of the hamstring is close to its maximum length in running. If they are very flexible, this may not be close to the maximum length the muscle can attain. And then their foot starts to get pushed further forward by a player tackling them. If their foot gets too far forward at the moment of ground contact, and the leg is nearly straight, the immediately tendency will be too arrest all forward motion, and probably trip over their own leg. What the athlete has to do, is to immediately start applying a large force with the hamstring, to flex the knee, so that ground contact isn’t made with a nearly straight leg.

    Not necessarily enough contact to bruise the heel/calf from impact, but possibly enough to locally overload the hamstring and cause a strain. The brain is still trying to cause the hamstring to lengthen, and the “gentle” push may result in a non-optimal distribution of muscles cells suddenly switching from relax to pull.

  10. Pete

    – Fewer penalties awarded/more conceded.
    – Fewer fouls per yellow card on average.
    – An increase in fouls awarded against Arsenal compared to fouls awarded for.

    Whenever a detective is looking to solve a crime one of the first things they look for is a ‘pattern’ and I definitely see a ‘pattern’ emerging there !!!!

    It cannot be a coincidence.

  11. Pete/Jambug

    A person may be able to go back a bit into the past with football commentaries, but I wonder if the data can go back far enough? I’ve run into dead ends trying to research stuff at newspapers.

    But, if a person noted at what minute, each player that committed a foul did so, and did the same for cards, you could come up with a starting point. It is likely you would need to track down many different commentaries, because it isn’t unusual for commentaries to not say who committed the foul, or even that there was one. Does a person need to note who is offside and who kicks the ball out of bounds? Just about anything can go into persistent infringement.

    But then you can look at games where Arsenal is playing. Player A on Arsenal gets a yellow card with his first foul of the game at the 10 minute mark, player Z playing against Arsenal gets the first opposition card with 10 minutes left in the game, having committed 38 fouls by that point.

    A problem with this might be, is that level of detail is not in the game now. Back when I was a referee, that level of detail was far beyond wht was in a referee’s report. If a referee carried on their person, a recorder and had a microphone attached to their throat, they could talk to themselves during the game and have it recorded. Player 13 on Arsenal fouled at the 2 minute mark, advantage played. And so on. By running a stopwatch while playing back the recording, all the detail could be recovered. Today, there probably are more automated ways to do this, I have no idea if any are using it.

  12. The FA responds to poor quality of officiating by PGMO with this:

    ‘We are sorry to hear of your views. Whilst understanding any frustrations as a football fan, every supporter will have an opinion on the game’s major talking points and we’re always interested to hear them. The Football Association receives frequent correspondence on individual refereeing decisions across all levels of football as well as on the performance of referees in general. It is important to understand that without a referee there is no game and as a result the long-term health of football relies on recruiting, retaining and developing referees. Whilst 100% consistency is impossible when human judgment is introduced into a situation, referees get the overwhelmingly majority of decisions right. In fact they are arguably the most consistent people in the game making split-second decisions that will be analysed repeatedly by slow motion cameras and panels of football experts.

    There is a system in place for monitoring the performance of referees and referee’s assistants. This involves referees assessors and reports from club managers. All assessors come from a footballing background and the majority are fully qualified referees themselves. The performances of referees over a season are then taken into consideration when the leagues appoint their referees for the following season.

    The Select Group officiates in the Premier League and is the responsibility of Mike Riley, General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). Premier League refereeing enquiries should be addressed to Mike Riley, The Premier League, 30 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8PL or via info@premierleague.com.

    We do appreciate all of the feedback we receive from supporters. This feedback is collated and used to build a picture of public opinion and is subsequently fed back internally within the organisation. Please rest assured your comments will form part of this feedback process.’

    Makes one wonder how season after season the same PGMO is awarded the officiating.

  13. I pose this question to Tony, Walter, your esteemed readers and the PGMO. Put Shawcross, Cahill, et al in an Arsenal shirt and how long would they be on the pitch before a straight red? Five minutes? Ten? Maybe.

  14. Its nothing not only the refs to be blamed. We need to look at the managers as well. Is little example, last week my sons team had a match now they play U8’s and our team was leading by 3 goals. Mind u, this is U8’s, the opponents manager started to tell his GK to hoof the ball in to our half, now none of the kids could head the ball and u could se the ducking away and 2 bounces the ball is with our GK. Thus they tried til the end without any result. Another incident, we have kid who intentionally tripped the opponent in the box. It was a clear case penalty but the ref decided to pull the bal out of the box for a FK. Even our GK told him that its a pen. If you have this level of coaches and refs for U8″s, what hope is there?

  15. Arsenal players injured this season by targeted fouls that were not even called by the respective officials let alone carded:

    The leader who turned around the dressing room and the entire squad upon arrival after the F Word had chosen to F off. The captain who baptised the new Arsenal stadium. Stomped on by a (former) Gazprom employee Ba. Not called. Managed to return but as explained by the medical staff it’s the ankle stomp that has caused ongoing problems. One error in the Utd Home game doesn’t disguise the quality of his display on the day or his importance to the club. Those in doubt of that should watch footage of the FA Cup final again. The squad leader. Fair to say he’s missed.

    Scissored from behind (twice) in the City Home game. Flamini was sent off for one of those. Le Coq nearly was. In these instances a card would’ve given some protection, it is why they were invented, why referees are on the field.
    Clear foul and push not called recently.
    Hard to argue that such an experienced player who had started so well after moving to the club is not missed.

    Mike Dean. Can’t see fouls in some instances. Selective vision? Memory problems (in relation to the easy to understand rules written, oh, around about C1850). If he can’t see fouls he’s in the wrong job? I don’t care about cards but not even a foul? Seriously? Is he really telling us or his colleagues that he tried to play ‘advantage’? That would be risible if it is the case. And it probably is.

    Cahill challenge not called.
    Stomped during Brighton game etc.
    No protection – please refer to Rooneh, any Ferguson squad, Hazard, Costa, Ivanovic etc. for easy to make comparisons.

    Please bear in mind that this is for this season only. There are other notable and infamous examples.

    Transparent cheating.

  16. I agree Walter, it’s amazing that Sanchez has been able to continue playing with the amount of diabolical tackles he faces practically every single match.

    I begin to wonder if the only reason these “journalists” started using the term bionic to describe him was because he continues to survive all of these attacks (I mean good old English tackles) and it’s calling for harder tackles since apparently he can handle it. I hope our players start to get protected soon, but unfortunately I don’t see any changes occurring until Riley is gone from PGMOL.

  17. Schezzer was also injured in the Utd Home game but as he wasn’t taken out for months and months by his uncalled foul I almost forgot!

    Are there any more…? Probably, if not what are the odds that there will be more? Shall i take a punt down the bookies?

    Given the record* and with reasonable consideration should AFC therefore be allowed a 35+ player squad under the PGMO Rules Football (Est. C2006?) variant that we are witnessing?

    *Not an opinion! I wish it was. But it’s not.

  18. @finsbury

    Some very good points there.

    It is interesting looking back – I remember Sagna having his leg broken twice in one season (2 seasons ago?) once by the Spuds and once by Norwich – at the time he must have been nearly the best right back in the league. Additionally Sagna suffered a deliberate stamp – so obvious that retrospective action was I think taken against the offender – but “not seen” by the ref or his assistants.

    His replacement, Debuchy, was really targeted by City – especially by Milner who was in thug mode that day – should have been off.

    Against the Spuds Giroud suffered a deliberate and unpunished stamp and at least two deliberate kicks to the ankle – I suspect he did not start against Leicester because he was still carrying the effect of those assaults.

    It does appear that certain opposition teams have a thug plan which is put into operation when a compliant ref oversees the match. In such circumstances the media fall over themselves to cover up/excuse the ref errors – for whatever reason – and thus become equally guilty in facilitating cheating.

  19. Up to now, no-one has come up with an explanation why certain match officials allow the most appalling GBH to be applied to Arsenal players, without any real form of punishment.
    Do they receive monetary gain and if so from whom?
    Do they favour our opponents or are they simply anti-Arsenal for some reason?
    Could it be that PGMO Ltd are retaliating against the findings of Untold in the only way they can, i.e. to punish Arsenal on the field of play?
    Whatever the reason, the outright corruption cannot be allowed to continue. The Arsenal Board has sufficient clout to submit proof on video to the FA and if possible to a court of law.
    Those in doubt need only view the recording of the Neville brothers thuggery in the infamous Man Utd / Arsenal encounter a few years ago.

  20. To the PGMO and their supporters there is clearly a higher priority than ensuring that viewers of Premiership football see the most skilful players playing the most attractive football, as they are allowed to do in Spain.

    Yet the latest TV rights sale shows the Premiership to be the most valuable league in the world. What is it valued for then? Its ability to present the equivalent of war on the pitch?

  21. @nicky

    I think there are a number of interests at work, some of which have a common agenda.

    The initial problems with Riley date from the Invincible’s 50 match. Riley was the ref and the Nevilles were a disgrace, closely followed by the rest of the team – obviously under orders from Red Nose. This predates Untold. My view on this was that there was some sort of understanding between Riley and Red Nose which has continued possibly until this day.

    There is some form of tie up between the media and the PGMO. Whatever blatant errors are made by the refs they are excused/hidden. This arrangement has gradually crept in and will as you point out destroy skill development.

    International betting is probably also a variable factor, it should be a random factor, but I suspect it works particularly against Arsenal.

    We then have the misguided thought by some in positions of power within the national game that certain brand names should be the flagship(s) for the EPL. The influence of this thought process on the PGMO and media can only be speculated – but can’t be good.

    Finally (I’m sure I’ve missed someone) we have the campaigners who want Arsenal to change owner. This group seems to have ties with the media and with the despicable (small) section of our support rejoicing under the aaaa banner. This group deliberately use every method to undermine AW, his removal is seen by them as a first step in changing the owner.

    There seems to be some sort of lose co-operation between many of these interests – and all this when Arsenal has to compete with the newly rich – some of whom appear to have strangely good relations with the media.

    Sorry for the long post.

  22. @bjtgooner

    That’s a long post? I can imagine what you think of some of mine. 🙂

    I think for some people, the reason is money. I don’t know if anyone is getting paid directly, nor of any way to find out. Journalists might know how to investigate that, but I don’t think Journalists do sports any more. Gambling makes some sense, but it would have to be someone supposedly beyond arms reach doing the betting. Another idea is that someone “trustworthy” is either receiving money directly, or gambling, and building up resources. And then when a referee retires, he suddenly finds he is getting a steady stream of highly paid consulting work to do (which is one way I think politicians get their share of campaign donations).

  23. The video case is easy to make. So where is the law suit then, which challenges deliberate intent to damage the team’s commercial assets/property (i.e., contracted players)? Well, methinks that to launch a law suit is to invite serious (pgMOB) retaliation on the pitch and massive ridicule in the medja; and so, it is probably seen as commercial suicide by our suits and ownership, however provable the case. If this is even half-right, it is sooo dismal in its implication about the real state of affairs in the EPL. I do think that it’s one reason that Cesc opted out and said so here at the time of his homesick departure. (Cesc was right there when Eduardo was mangled.) I can only think that Alexis knows this by now and he is weighing his future and (I predict) will make the same calculation. Plus those in high places know this as well. The one chance to break through in my view is that fans bring their red cards to the Ems and highlight every such non-carded attack. The refshite needs public shaming. However, I don’t see fans doing this until someone like Alexis is hard done by a la Eduardo. If the fans won’t do it, then we get what we get. Will AFC fans take the finger out?

  24. Bob, I’ve seen security reports here and there which mention wordpress in the last few days. Your problems with posting could be related to that. Hopefully it is temporary.

  25. IMHO there are quite a few factors contributing to the constant and recurring injuries to AFC every season:

    1)the manager, the physios, the medical team are faultless…..they monitor the players carefully and have NEVER been known to tackle or two foot them!

    2)the British public have the myths of ” British steel,ie: brutal aggression” and the ” stiff upper lip, ie: those whimpy Gunners are pansies who moan all the time” rattling around in their brittle heads and this is aided and abetted by the pundits and media.

    3)the refs are at best incompetent and at worst willingly complicit in allowing these murderous attacks to be done without consequences but if there is a reprisal from a Gunner, then there ARE consequences.

    4)the players play in subconscious fear of being scythed down by Neville-like cretins posing as Footballers, making it very hard for them to play freely and confidently. This leads to a certain hesitancy in tackling and in 50/50 situations as they know they’ll not be protected by the officials. thus injury is more likely to happen than if they don’t have this subconscious fear.

  26. Why? It is not the answer to this question that gets solutions to the problem.

    The problem is clearly visible and needs to be addressed head on with just as much corrupt blatant bile to publicise the issues. This floodlight of visibility will embarrass aspects of cheating & force some change. One kick less on a talent is in itself a victory.

    The initial place to start is the FA. They need to be bombarded with complaints of corrupt practice by awarding PGMOL unfettered monopoly of officiating of Football in England. The PGMOL & its chief of cheats Mike Riley need to be bombarded with requests to abdicate or be prosecuted. It is the Untolders that need to start the process with copies to the clubs, the press & to an untold records address (evidence).

    The appointment of chosen officials for matches is a corrupt practice (bias & prejudice) & needs to be replaced by public transparent draws from a pool of officials, so that each official has a similar number of matches to officiate & rarely gets to officiate the same team more than 3 times a season. If the argument that some matches need higher standard officiating is made, it needs to be shot down by ‘your officials are not of standard?’ It is obvious that the standard is poor. Officials that need to explain to a highly paid professional what was wrong in a challenge or deed on the field of play must think they are officiating under 12s. At the EPL level there is no room for explanation to players. If the players (most earn obscene amounts of money) are not aware of their responsibilities, & the Laws of the Game, they should suffer the consequences. The players do not have the benefit of a whistle to stop play & think before making a pass or a tackle. The officials have more than a split second to make decisions. There is no excuse for todays officials to make incorrect decisions, 4 sets of eyes & radio communication to assist with decisions. The Referee can stop a game, consult with his assistants and make a call without having to discuss the incident with the players. The players generally show dissent on a regular basis & get away with the officials bias. The corrupt issuance of cards for celebratory shirt removal, kicking the ball away etc where as kicks to players knees, heels & calves are ignored. Kicks to the chest of a player with stud cuts to the skin & torn shirt must have a red card (but not from PGMO officials). Knees deliberately dug into thigh muscles to injure an opponent – ignored by PGMO officials.

    First steps to Transparency.

    Appointment of officials by public draw from the current pool.

    Within 7 days of each match, the reports from the match officials & from the clubs need to be published for the supporters to be able to assess the value of the FA’s officials. The radio communication between officials must be available to the spectator as in Rugby.

  27. Sadly for Alexis, he is getting the brunt of it being the best player at the moment.
    Don’t think he would be getting as much attacks if he was at another club. I do think all players get targeted, especially the good players, players who make a difference, but on top of that Arsenal players also get targeted, so there is a double effect here.
    I wonder why the tv studios have all this gear to analyse and take apart video, hell they can calculate the speed of ball, angles of bounce and many other things that would make the game more transparent to us all. I remember when EVERY foul was shown a replay, every tackle from different angles, and i used to think, well it’s all been recorded, the silly tackles, the deliberate ones, the accidents, but nothing is ever used to stop the players and let them know all is seen.

    Those who like playing with video, should cut out these clips from PL games, and make a hall of shame webpage for the tackles and behaviour on field. Lot of work i know, and one will have to be completely interested in doing that.

  28. Arsenal seem to have their own cameras at Home ground.
    I wonder though if they get a full unedited copy from the TV studio(i mean with all the different camera streams before they are edited to become what we see on screen live) of the match after the game, or are we tied to the same copy as broadcast?

  29. para with today’s technology several angles of footage is captured but only selected edit is broadcast by Producer of the match show. The FA have access to it all but rarely let on that they have seen poor officiating.

    Compiling a set of nasty challenges is not impossible nor unusual. There are sites that actually do it. Only consistent emails to the FA copied to foreign media will draw response. Only concience or fear of prosecution will bring change.

  30. @bjtgooner,
    Your 11.54pm last night is a terrible indictment of the corruption displayed by clubs like Manchester United, thuggish players like Keane and the Neville brothers and managers like Ferguson. Referees like Riley and Dean have a lot to answer for and until there is a clean sweep of the PGMO, a return to honesty and integrity, video assistance and an appeals system, I fear for the safety of many of our great Club’s ballplayers, the latest of whom to “receive the treatment” is Alexis. When will it end?

  31. omgarsenal,

    “1)the manager, the physios, the medical team are faultless…..they monitor the players carefully and have NEVER been known to tackle or two foot them!”


  32. Btj & 10.47

    In the interests of brevity I tried to ignore te knocks picked up by both Giroud and Cazorla in the last two games as a result of uncalled hacking but to be fair when the athletes are limping whilst trying to admirably carry on it is hard to ignore.

    Fouls happen. Injuries happen. But the constant hacking and the lack of any calls the likes of which we see being made to protect the players in almost every other game (save when Gazprom are the ones fouling or grappling or doing the kind of thing that would see a Diaby or Gervais or any AFC player sent off…)in the PL does make one reflect on the variation in the rules being applied by the PGMO representatives. I guess this must be what the PGMO mean when they refer to “Game Mangament”.

  33. @nicky

    The removal of Riley would improve the situation, always provided his replacement is clean. But, there is more to it than that.

    Riley, based on his refereeing performance should never have been promoted to his present position, but he was. This suggests that the PGMO part of the problem lies at a level above Riley – he was appointed because he had shown that he was malleable.

    When it comes to replacing Riley the powers that be will try very hard to ensure there are no unfortunate leaks. Interestingly, when Red Nose retired it looked as if a couple of ex refs might become whistle blowers – in the wider sense of the word. But, it would seem that they have since been silenced.

    I suspect the ultimate source of the problem (equally the ultimate source of protection for the PGMO) is at quite a high level. But, that does not mean those involved in whatever is going on are totally invulnerable – there is a weakness!

  34. Walter

    Let me begin with what we agree on – Arsenal players get no protection from referees , and players like Sanchez get targeted by opposing managers .

    Also I’m fairly certain that the tackle by Cahill on Sanchez was a direct consequence of Mourinho’s instructions, something I can’t prove of course.

    Here’s where I disagree with you;
    Comparing Alexis , in his first season at the new club in a new system, in a new more physical league, to all those other players you have listed is misguided.

    Also , when comparing players’ physical exploits, you need to go beyond the number of matches and analyze the total distance covered, the number of starts – stops, sprints and days between matches.

    Players like Messi for example spend more time walking around than any other player I have ever seen. He only gets a pass because what he can do once Barca have the ball. When he plays the foulse nine, he usually hangs around the area between the mid circle and oponents pen box slightly right off center, and when on defence he rarely part takes the way Sanchez does.

    I have no doubt Arsenal physios monitor each and every player for minutes played , muscle fatigue and others , but we also have Arsen Wenger on the record admitting in the past that some players needed rest but for whatever reason weren’t given one.

    Best example of that was Ramsey last season playing in 32 matches by December 26th and injuring his hamstring, when other players in similar position only logged 24 matches by the same time period.

    Also , when you make sweeping statements like the one , and I’m paraphrasing here ” players get muscle injuries during practices that only show up later on in matches”( I don’t know what you based this on) , you appear to make up facts to fit the narrative.

    When a player gets a knock or a muscle tweak, they know about straight

  35. bjtgooner @2:09 – spot on, mate!
    all too true to be good.

    para @6:06
    “I do think all players get targeted, especially the good players, players who make a difference”
    Do you really think that no one is protected from this targeting? Wayne Rooney, for one glaring example, getting targeted in the way that Alexis, Eduardo, Sagna, Ramsey, etc. have been blatantly targeted in open attacks. And Debuchy – have we forgotten that piece of unpunished thuggery against him?
    Are we somehow flattered that we’re important enough to be so targeted? Red-carding (by waving red-cards at the Ems) the pgMOB’s hireling is one untried tactic. If we don’t care enough to do this, then we are going to get this continually. And it will make it hard to ever avoid the annul tsunami of injuries and (who knows) invite the reluctance of other high-quality players from coming here and risk the probability of career shortening injuries. pgMOB is a symptom of a root and branch rot that delivers World Federation Wrestling matches instead of beautiful games. And the sad part it, we have come to know this and don’t take the finger out. Or will we?

  36. diaby, eduardo, sagna, ramsey, debuchy… alexis? or ozil?
    Are fans waiting for this to happen?
    Anticipating the train wreck on its way? Is AW really having to SEARCH for the underlying reasons for: Aaron’s chronic injuries? or Jack’s ankles? or Diaby’s inability to last more than 20 minutes in x years without succumbing? What is the statistical probability of so many injuries as we have suffered last season? this season? are we uniquely able to have found the mysterious gene for crockery and have managed to scan for, then develop, recruit, purchase, top-XI only those players with that gene? (I think its identifier is pgMOB.) It may take a memoir from one of these players once they retire to find out what we already can see is standard operating procedure here. Unlike the pgMOB referees, I don’t think that players have to sign non-disclosure agreements (in return for a nice envelope) in their contracts upon retiring from the game.

    Perhaps someone will be brave enough to do this. Or to join one of the older retired referees and perhaps some fans (who are old enough and wise enough to know the difference between the current spectacle and the beautiful game) to write a joint memoir and spill the beans.

    The silence on this is deafening and the reasons for such silence do not augur well for the integrity or imo future of the game. It is becoming Roman Circuses; and, as we confer and acknowledge that Alexis (and I’d add Ozil) are on an endangered species list at EPL (ooo, the world’s most physical league, gentlemen), are we fans not wittingly or unwittingly enabling the corrosion of our emerging great team and this once great game to occur before our very eyes?

    Why not agree on a call to bring red-cards to the the Ems (and away) to wave at the Atkinson’s and Taylor’s and Dean’s and….the rest of the complicit Riley-ites at every and any non-call that inflicts injury (now or deferred) on our players? and/or at the public meetings with Gazidis and AW at the apparent (repeat, apparent) lack of protest as his organization’s contracted (and highest priced) assets are being systematically turned into non-performing assets?!

    Insofar as fans usually go unheeded, is it not then a breach of one (if not any number of commercial statutes) to ruin a competitor’s assets? I can answer this question as well as anyone, but do we need to expect (and yes, bet on if you must) the next Eduardo? Surely, somewhere, someone has already placed a massive bet on this very outcome.

  37. Brilliant posts, except from Barton of course (no real surprise, given the name). I particularly agree with bjt’s views, just how I saw things too.

  38. You are comparing alexis apps against players from a less physical league. It is none of their first seasons going from a weaker league to a tougher one..

    Sanchez has played more football at arsenal than ever before , more minutes , more intensity….

    i was never saying the sanchez thing was all wengers fault its just we see this happen a lot with players… Ramsey last season for example. Over used without a single shadow if doubt

  39. in our game against leicester Alexis got injured on minute 30 and got replaced on minute 60 (give or take 5 minutes)
    does that count as overplaying or overkicking?

  40. MadeRoLoveMagic
    When you always have lots of injuries it obviously means more playing pressure on those who are fit. Resting and rotation is difficult when the other options are in the medical room. If we had less injuries we would see more rotation and resting of players. Or do you have an alternative solution.

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