Interlull: Mannone + FIFA and Murphy on bad tackling

Warm Friday greetings to you all. Hope this finds you in good spirits and not as grumpy as an Arsenal goalkeeper.

They’re a moody lot, aren’t they? Vito Mannone is the latest to let the world know how far from gruntled he is with his lot, following in the footsteps of Wojscez©® last week. The Italian says:

Last year I played nine games and with me, Arsenal never lost. They brought Almunia back and then Fabianski started in the game at Chelsea.

I get annoyed when I don’t play, it’s not as if the other two do that well.

So, Mannone doesn’t like Almunia or Fabianski, Wojscez©® doesn’t like Almunia but won’t say he doesn’t like Fabianski because they’re both Polish, Almunia has the look of a man haunted by younger goalkeepers who probably leave things in his shoes after training, and Fabianski reminds me of the dog from Up, blissfully unaware that he’s really annoying but just so eager to please.

To be fair to Mannone it’s easy to understand his frustration. He played in Europe and the league last season, thus far he hasn’t got a sniff of first team action and looks to have been overtaken in the pecking order by Wojscez©®. Last year we had three keepers, meaning there was at least a chance of a game if there were an injury or two, this time around we have four so the path to the first team is much more difficult.

He says he wants to go on loan to play for six months, and in fairness to him he does say that the club must value him if they’ve given him a contract till 2014, but it might just be that the long contract means we’d get a few shillings for him if we decide to sell. Bottom line is that he’s not going to get any better not playing, the same as Wojscez©®, so we really ought to let him go somewhere where he can play.

Otherwise Don Vito might make it so the other keepers sleep with the fishes. Don’t think he wouldn’t.

The bad tackling issue is back on the agenda with some really interesting stuff. Firstly, Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, says he put together a compendium of ‘brutal’ tackles which ‘would take away your appetite’. He’s also suggested that lengthier bans are required, saying:

If you permit yourself to end the career of your colleague in the other shirt, why should I say that you should come back after 14 days? I think you should sanction these things very severely, that means a long, long expulsion from the game.

The legalities of such a system would probably be enormously difficult but at last somebody with some standing in the game is saying things need to change.

And even more interestingly Fulham’s Danny Murphy has pointed fingers directly at the managers of teams who have, through their actions on the pitch and not because of some media bias, gained a reputation for overly physical play. He says:

The thing I think people miss, is that it’s the managers who dictate what the players do and how they behave. Look at Stoke, Blackburn and Wolves. You can look at the players and blame them. But every team has a captain and a manager who is in charge

And players don’t get away with it either, Murphy continues:

The pace some of the players are going into tackles is ridiculous. There are no brains in the players doing that. I don’t believe they are going out to break the legs of their opponents but there’s no logic or intelligence in what they are doing.

All credit to him, I have to say. Given the fact he’s saying this while still playing the game, and not spouting from the comfort of his armchair of retirement, these are very brave comments. He’s made himself a target for the teams he’s mentioned, for the players he’s implied are thicker than sludge and for every idiot, halfwit pundit who still thinks the good old fashioned reducer has a place in the game.

He’s absolutely right as well. The managers have to take some responsibility for the way they send their teams out to play. When Shawcross broke Ramsey’s leg someone at Stoke could have had a word with him and advised him that the way he plays is dangerous and he should change. It wasn’t the first time he’d seriously injured somebody with his mindless tackling. Instead they defended him and trotted out the NTKOP player nonsense despite all the evidence which shows he clearly is. Yesterday, he showed what an utter cretin he is by ‘leaping to the defence‘ of players like De Jong and Karl Henry. One can only assume that even metaphorically he leaps in two-footed.

Mick McCarthy’s continued defence of Karl Henry has seen the Wolves man get worse and worse by the week. No matter that Tomas Rosicky’s leg was dripping blood after Henry came through the back of him, the Arsenal man made a meal of it apparently. Forget the fact Henry is a stamper. When they condone bad behaviour they make it worse and Murphy is spot on. His comments are sensible and courageous and I hope he’s prepared for the inevitable backlash.

I wonder will Stoke get onto their letting writing department to see if the FA will do something about him. Remember they took such umbrage, despite not knowing what umbrage means, to AW’s comments about Shawcross that they got their crayons out and coloured in a picture of disgust. Having been named and shamed by a current player you can only imagine their ire, even they don’t know what ire means.

He will be a marked man when Fulham play these teams. There is absolutely no chance of the likes of Stoke actually taking stock of what’s being said here. Murphy can expect some treatment from the stormtroopers of Pulis and his ilk but then I’m sure he knew that when he said what he did. Again, fair play to him.

One interesting thing to note – I went looking around YouTube for the Karl Henry tackle on Rosicky. Nowhere to be found. Isn’t it curious that the FA are more than happy for people to make their fancy compilation videos about players. You know the kind, 5 minutes long, showing every pass from a particular game, a nice piece of dramatic music (YouTube has moved on from using Scooter for every clip), and which paints the game in a good light.

Yet any clip of a bad tackle or a contentious incident is nearly always taken down because of a ‘copyright claim from the FA’. It happened the other week when Paul Robinson tackled Abou Diaby’s shin. It was gone within hours. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems as if they’re more concerned with protecting the image of the game than the game itself.

Anyway, that’s really about that for today. Due to the Interlull there’s no Arsecast. I mean, we could have gone back over the Chelsea game again but I don’t think anybody needs that. Normal service will resume next week.

And I’ll be back tomorrow with a thorough round-up of nothing at all. Until then.


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