1 down 4 to go

Hey!  Looky there, another studs up tackle! This time it was on a Man U player so, clearly it was a red card and clearly Pogatetz is a bad person and don’t forget that Arsenal whine when this happens to them but that Man U are correct to complain about this stuff.

Here’s a simple chart to help you remember the proper terminology when refering to a tackle on an Arsenal player versus a tackle on a Man U player

Man U                Arsenal

Over commited”                  stop whining
horrendous”                        it’s not basketball
lunge”                                 how else are they supposed to win the ball?

No one is calling for football to be contact free but at the same time, rugby tackles and studs-up lunges have no place in the game. It’s a pretty simple equation — any tackle that is over the ball, studs up, that uses your arms (Rugby style), or is from behind is a straight red. Coaches then can teach players the proper skill of tackling, how to move their feet, how to use positioning and how the team works together to defend. See? It’s simple.

You don’t need to remove all contact as the Slippery Sloper’s suggest but you neither need to allow over aggressive, studs-up lunges regardless of whether they “win the ball” or not. To paraphrase the late, great George Carlin: somewhere between Rugby and Basketball lies the truth.

I have said it before and I’ll repeat it here, the managers and captains need to be similarly held accountable. It’s rarely the case that a guy like Taylor is sent out to break an Eduardo’s leg but it’s often the case that they are told to “Give him a little kick and see if he comes back at you!” Intentionally trying to hurt a player to slow them down is disgraceful. Anyone caught telling another player to intentionally kick another player should be fined and/or suspended.

I like the physical aspect of football. My favorite players are the ones who will get in there and do the dirty work: Flamini, Vieira, Bergkamp, etc. Hard work and hard tackles are part of the game, studs-up, high, rugby tackles from behind are not the same thing and should be banished from the game.

End of story.

6-0 to the Arsenal

Yesterday, Arsenal fielded a team with an average age of 19, which included a burgeoning star who is just 16 in one of the most central roles and a 19 year old who the manager thinks highly of yet we have seen precious little from, against a team of seasoned veterans and mopped the floor with them. It’s a real shame that I couldn’t see this game because instead our local sports broadcasters felt that a scintillating Swansea and Cardiff 1-0 “cracker” would be a better match — I suspect that won’t be the case after this Arsenal performance.

I can’t give you a match recap, because (like Wenger) I didn’t see it, you can go here if you want a pretty good recap of the game. I’ll just say that I’m jealous of the 57,000 fans that got to see the game (for a cut rate price to boot!) in person. Given that the press is all a twitter about the rise of Jack Wilshere, going so far as to label him the new Liam Brady, I suspect that will be one of those games that people will remember for a long time.

Or at least until some 14 year old comes along and jars it from our memory.


  1. Every time I see tackles like that, no matter if it is a Man United player or a Spurs player or an Arsenal player on the receiving end: I think of Eduardo. And how the exact same tackle took the legs out from underneath one of the brightest young stars in the world.

    Eduardo was/is a beautiful footballer, and that idiot broke his leg – whether it is intentional or not does not matter – his leg is still broken because he does not how to properly defend in the modern game.

    Makes me angry, and sad, at the same time.

    The only way to combat these idiots is play the game the right way and, of course: WIN, WIN, WIN!!!!

    I love you, my Arsenal.

  2. Let’s forget the negatives of ugly tackles for a second and feel good about what just happened: 6-0 with a team that averaged 18+ years old. This is the biggest news for Arsenal this year despite the fact that it happened in a competition that nobody cares about. 3 goals for Vela, 1 for Wilshere, 2 for Bentner. Just perfect. I wish I could see this game…

  3. Alex is right, I just wanted some closure to the tackles story and since I didn’t see the 6-0 win, I can’t really report on it, which is lame because it really is a ground breaking story. Never fear, I will be reporting more on the impact that Arsenal’s youth system is having on world football in future posts.

    Hey, Alex, I lost my phone, do you still have my number? Call me and that way I can get your number in my phone.

    Also, no kick around for me tonight because I have to stay home with the kids. Any thoughts about moving the practice back to Thursdays?

  4. As far as showing Swansea-Cardiff over Arsenal goes (if I may interject on that for one second), that match was the only broadcast option for Setanta in the US because that was the only match of last night’s Carling Cup draw that was being broadcast live in England. So it was either that or show nothing.

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