Are English players the new masters of diving?
In a recent interview, Arsene Wenger voiced his opinion that English football players are the new masters in the art of diving.
What prompted him to share his view? Nothing specifically; apart from the fact that he was asked the question by the press before the London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. This was a game that was due to end in a 2-2 draw. It was a game that swung on the referee`s decision to award Spurs two penalties; at least one of which was arguably the result of a dive.
Pochettino commends tricking players
A little while ago Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, made a claim that what he referred to as “tricking players” was a legitimate part of playing soccer. He made this statement in response to an allegation that Spurs players had dived during their recent game with Liverpool.
Arsene Wenger said that he would never suggest that his players should dive in the opponent`s penalty area. He went on to say that British home-grown players are now just as guilty of diving as their foreign counterparts.
When asked to comment on what Pochettino had said about tricking players, Wenger appeared to give the Tottenham manager the benefit of the doubt, saying that he thought Pochettino meant that you have to be a clever player if you want to trick an opposing player.
Spurs singled out for criticism against Liverpool
Tottenham`s game against Liverpool at Anfield remains controversial – or at least the result does as far as Liverpool fans are concerned. As well as Kane being accused of diving and getting away with it (if he did indeed dive) Deli Ali was actually booked for simulating being fouled for the third time in his Premier League career.
It goes to show what Darren Anderton meant about Ali having “a little edge” to his game that gets him into bother. He needs to address this if he wants to be recognised for the talented player he really is.
The world’s best players are guilty too
Illegal trickery in football damages the game. What England supporter will ever forget the “hand of God” incident perpetrated by Diego Maradona against England in the world cup back in 1986? Unfortunately, all players do it, including the best ones in the world.
We have mentioned the Maradona incident, but Ronaldo has played some fine tricks too, like the time he pretended an AC Roma player had struck him in the face. The replay clearly showed there was no facial contact and that the ruse was played out simply to get the player sent off.
One of the most classic attempts to fool the referee into thinking a foul has been committed was by Rivaldo in the game when Brazil played Turkey in the World Cup in 2002. Although the Turkish player kicked the ball at Rivaldo, it clearly struck his legs. However, the Brazilian went down clutching his face.
The German international Jurgen Klinsmann also earned himself a widespread reputation for diving. However, when he joined Spurs in his reputation was quickly forgotten when he scored a number of brilliant goals for the Lilywhites.
He won the heart of Spurs fans after scoring a goal against Sheffield in his debut match against Sheffield Wednesday and celebrating with a full-length mock dive.
Is it time the VAR became mandatory?
Diving and feigning injury is becoming a significant problem in the EPL. With the stakes getting higher with each game, thanks to the enormous amount of money being ploughed into top class soccer, something needs to be done about it.
Perhaps it`s time that VAR (Video Assistant Referee) was made a mandatory part of EPL football. It is currently under trial, so we will have to wait and see. But when push comes to shove, it`s the only real way of getting to the truth of the matter in deciding if a foul really was committed. If it is introduced, not only will it bring clarity; it will also reduce the number of players trying it on.