Has the art of tackling disappeared?

by Tony Alvarez

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Following a week in which many members of the media have scrutinized tackles made by many players such as Michael Essien, Cesc Fabregas and Karl Henry it made me think, is tackling becoming extinct in the modern game.

I write this article as I strongly disagree with a lot of the bad press such tackles are receiving. Now I am not saying I wish to see broken legs every week or similar injuries.

It truly disappoints me that despite only being 22 years old I have seen the game I love change so much in such a short amount of time.

Now I am not defending the leg breaking tackle’s of the sort that were made on individual occasions by players such as Ryan Shawcross and Martin Taylor. However, I feel the slightly mistimed tackles are being punished much more harshly than they realistically should be.

No one would expect a striker to score every time he has a shot or a midfielder to complete his pass every time he has the ball at his feet, yet it appears that every time a player miss times a tackle people are calling for their head.

Ill use the three most current examples that I mentioned above. Lets start off with the one that was punished Michael Essien, Now even from my position as a hugely biased Arsenal fan I can see this was never a red card.

Essien simply jumped in front of the ball with no intention of touching the player and he succeeded in not touching the player, I believe his aim was simply to cover as much space as he could to make less distance for the ball to go through.

Next onto Cesc Fabregas. As I mentioned before I may be highly biased but again for me this was never a red card. In my eyes there was no intention of him to make contact with Stephen Ward, he simply slid across from an angle hoping to take the ball and at worse stop the ball from going up the pitch. It was a mistimed tackle and I feel in that occasion a yellow card was the correct decision.

Now finally Karl Henry, for me this was more a red card than both Essien and Fabregas but again I wouldn’t say it was 100% a red card. The tackle was poorly timed and a little high was it intention…..No. Again I think a yellow card would have been the right decision.

Just to show I am not a completely biased fan with an Arsenal are great point of view. Jack Wilshere has received one of the most justified red cards this season for what was a very poor tackle on Nikola Zigic.

So what do you think? Am I being too nostalgic? Were in fact all of these tackles worthy of a red card in the interests of player safety?

Leave a comment and let me and other football lovers know what you think.

Please read the comments from other fans and see if you agree with their points.

Also to read more from me visit my blog www.shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Alan

    You’re just plain wrong, I’m afraid. There are laws governing the game of football. Have a look at them.
    [1] Player ‘intent’ is irrelevant in deciding whether or not a tackle is dangerous.
    [2] ‘Playing the ball’ is also irrelevant.
    The only decision a ref has to make is whether a player was put at risk by the action of another. Contrary to popular belief (including so-called pundits) football is NOT a contact sport (Laws of the Game again) it is a sport in which contact is inevitable and allowable but will be punished with a red card if it involves excessive force or dangerous execution. It’s that simple.

  • Ibukun

    I think u’re spot on tony.Fifa is slowly eroding the beauty of these lovely game wit so much law,if we are not so careful in the no distant we’ll be seeing players walk the ball into d net without any obstructn.it shld be noted that in any contact sport their are certain degree of risk and this is what makes them beautiful to watch,u remove it,u remove the beauty of d game.

  • Bob

    Correct, Alan.

    There is really nothing more to say.

  • Bayo

    I do agree wit wat u said,cos fifa&uefa av give the refrees of nowadays inches and they’ve been taken miles.cos they take decision the way they like,which is really affectin the so called beautiful game that the refrees av turn to ugly games.

  • http://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/ Tony Alvarez

    What I am trying to say is the rules have severely stiffened over the last few years if Roy Keane played in the current game he would be sent off every week.
    Alan I strongly disagree with you if it is not a contact sport just a sport where contact is inevitable every bit of contact that is not inevitable would be punished no matter how light.
    All football fans know this is not the case, I am not saying that the rules don’t say this but it is not how the game is run. For example for years the rules said there had to be daylight for a player to be offside, how often did you see that happen.

  • Alan

    Tony, you’re not disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with the Laws of the Game – read them and you’ll understand things better.
    And the game IS run according to the Laws, just not all that well some times.
    As for ‘the fans know’, I doubt it judging from what I hear at games and in the pub afterwards. They have opinions, sure, but that is all they are, ‘opinions’ (there’s a couple of prize examples in the posts above).

  • ryan

    I am disagreeing with both. If thats what the laws say and i take your word for it then they are wrong.
    But you can surely see that the rules (if they are them) are not implemented a free kick or penalty is not given everytime contact that is not inevitable is made a la basketball.

  • http://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/ Tony Alvarez

    The above comment was me i was logged in on my friends computer didnt realise i hadn’t signed in as myself.

  • Alan

    I know where you’re coming from, Tony. I get your argument. But the football world we’re in is not like it used to be. The game has evolved and is governed by Laws of the game that recognise this. The Laws have it about right. Today’s game is faster, defensive players are bigger and harder, the pitches are slicker and also harder. Charging in two footed studs up or sliding in scissors style are dangerous actions, end of. If we want a super skilful fast flowing game (and I do) then steps have to be taken to protect those with talent from reckless hard-man tackles designed to take them out. Defensive holding players have to develop skills the are relevant to the modern game not persist with physicality. More than this, the acceptance of the over physical aspect of our game can destroy talent in young footballers who get battered when they try to be skilful and creative. English football will never make it to the big stage whist views condoning hard-man tactics persist.

  • http://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/ Tony Alvarez

    I am an Arsenal fan I completely agree that we don’t need these two footed lunging or scissor tackles. The problem I have is that almost every challenge that is slightly mistimed is deemed dangerous these days.
    If you look on the comments on this same article on my blog http://www.shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com you can see many agree with me.
    I will use the Fabregas challenge as an example it was a yellow and nothing more it was slightly late Ward was quicker to the ball.
    I am not saying allow these challenges and just carry on with the game, I just think the media need to stop thinking every tackle which doesn’t win the ball warrants a red card.

  • Alan

    Yeah, I know, it’s difficult. I’d rather protect skilful players than debate what is or is not dodgy I guess. Tough on the honest attempts to win the ball but so be it – you know what you’re doing so don’t do it is what I say. If you have to dive in then you put yourself in the wrong.
    The Fab one is odd – why would he do this? Do you think he was letting the Wolves know that he could play dirty too? I’d bet if he played in Spain he wouldn’t make that sort of challenge.

  • http://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/ Tony Alvarez

    I dont know if you watched the game but he put in a poor performance by his standards, missed a couple of chances and recieved a few kicks himself. It all built up and the tackle was made out of frustration. I think he went to the ball but because he had recieved some hard(legal) tackles he went to go in a bit harder himself but this is not something he is skilled at as he never does it hence the mis-timing. However, thats just my opinion.

Previous post:

Next post: