We salute you Danny Murphy & Arsene Wenger

by Keith O'Connell

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Early morning odds on a broken leg low only due to the bravery of Murphy and Wenger.

Blood and Thunder. Pride and Passion. Commitment. Reducer, let him know you are there early doors. He’s not that kind of player.

These platitudes and their ilk, spouted by the supporters of the perpetrators of some of the nastiest and horrific injury causing tackles seen in recent years, have gone a long way towards the recent stream of mangled limbs that have littered this wonderful new Premiership season.

Once upon a time it seemed that only Arsenal’s delicate artisans were the most likely victims of this most brutal form of negative play, but with the increase in the number of teams employing this physical and negative style of play, the list of stricken players now left out of the game for a minimum of half a year is spread across a wide range of Premiership teams.

Most recently Hatem Ben Arfa at the hands of the thuggish Nigel de Jong, Bobby Zamora to Karl Henry, and Moussa Dembele of Fulham have all been kicked out of the game this season, with their assailants only penalised with a three match ban.

I could rant on and on but this is ground that has been gone over ad infinitum, and it will do no one any good to keep going over it now.

On a positive note, I feel that a line has been drawn in the sand. Arsene Wenger has been a constant campaigner for fair(er) play, after he has lost player after promising player to these underhand tactics, but it is with the lone voice in the wind of Danny Murphy, putting himself on the line by stepping away from the closeted, self serving ranks of Premier League players, to name and lambast the chief culprits and call for a change.

And what happened? The rest closed ranks, and poured scorn on his assertions, questioning his integrity and professional pride.

I for one can only applaud the man, and in the past week or two I have started to notice that it may have actually done some good. Aside from the flurry of red cards for potentially dangerous tackles, the Premier League table this morning paints a very interesting picture. Again, it would be facetious of me to name and shame managers and their teams who regularly and deliberately reduce their oppositions most talented players to rubble on a regular basis, and of course their reputations precede them anyway.

The bottom half relegation candidates point to a major shift in the wind, as fear ridden cloggers try to adapt and relearn how to play the game of football.

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  • Gossip Gordon

    I’ve a lot of respect for Danny Murphy, but not for Wenger. I seem to recall Gallas almost breaking Mark Davies (Bolton) earlier this year. At the time, Wenger just said that it was ‘mistimed’. He only raises these debates when it suits him.

  • Gossip Gordon

    * That should be almost breaking Mark Davies’ ankle!

  • Keith O’Connell

    Glad you clarified that Gordon. For a second it brought up all sorts of unpleasant images. Ahem.

    I understand what you are saying, but then there have been plenty of occasions (such as Jack Wilshere’s recent sending off) when he has held his hands up and not tried to justify it, accepting the punishment.

    Of course, the team he inherited could certainly dish it out too, with the likes of Keown, Adams, Vieira, Grimandi, Bould, and Bergkamp more than capable of taking care of themselves, and as a result clocking up a rake of disciplinary points. I would point to the lack of these sort of players being the reason for Arsenal’s recent lack of success.

    However, (and I include the Gallas tackle in this), aside from Wrighty trying to do Shmiechel in 1997, I challenge you to show me where an Arsenal player has set out to deliberately injure an opponent. The tackles I talk of in the above blog are not mistimed, unfortunate over-exuberance, they are for the most part malicious and calculated acts of violence, and (again for the most part) committed by the same sorts of player, from the smae sorts of team, and instructed by the same sorts of manager.

    And now that this sort of play has been highlighted, there has been a recent dirth of it (crazy De Jong aside) and these sorts of teams are starting to languish.

    And I love it!

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