Arsenal - Are we using enough Protection?
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Are we using enough Protection?

In the wake of the Stoke game and pointing to the broken limbs that Arsenal has suffered over 4 seasons both Fabregas and Wenger voiced the opinion that Arsenal players aren`t protected enough.

Courtesy of the Vital Arsenal forums support for their view comes in the form of a remarkable disparity between the numbers of cards issued in the EPL last season compared to those in the major competitor leagues in Europe:

La Liga: 2160 cards (2017 yellow - 78 yellow/red - 65 red)

Serie A: 1805 cards (1686 yellow - 71 yellow/red - 48 red)

EPL: 1244 cards (1181 yellow - 26 yellow/red - 37 red)

The Bundesliga with 1214 cards overall seems lower but adjusting for the lower number of games played and even the Germans with their reputation for discipline had generated the equivalent of 1507 cards last season.

The pattern for this season is much the same with both La Liga and Serie A issuing almost half as many cards again as those issued in the Premier League so far.

Does this point to a greater lack of protection for EPL players than is available to those in La Liga or Serie A teams? Given the propensity for yellow cards in the PL to be dished out for fairly minor offences it is not hard to imagine that it might. If it does it suggests that Arsenal, along with others as one of the most fouled against teams, aren`t being offered the same degree of protection as their European counterparts.

What is clear is that, with a few honourable exceptions, the scornful, dismissal of Wenger`s protestations by unthinking, disinterested observers isn`t serving English football and its participants any good in ignoring the evidence available to them.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday March 2 2010

Time: 2:45PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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hear hear
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02/03/2010 15:00:00

it was a tackle with no intention, a horror one, and the guy got a red card for that, but to say that refs. should give out more card is utter nonsense. For one, you guys would get as many as pool. You have a lot of dirty players that tend to push when running. that is a foul that will get you a yellow card in Spain/Italy, but not here. Plus giving out more cards will affect the game, which is bad in my opinion.
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02/03/2010 15:10:00

How badly has it affected the game in Spain? Not enough to prevent Barca from gaining almost universal praise for their style of play - or enough to prevent the Spanish national side from developing players capable of winning the Euro tournament. I'd take our chances as a team as to whether we'd got more or less cards if the game here were officiated in the same way as it is in Spain.
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02/03/2010 15:14:00 MIGHT want to check the fair play leagues before speaking...
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02/03/2010 15:24:00

Brilliantly put Amos, I think it's a debate that is worth having at the very top level of English football. As I said in the forums, the fact that last year only 1 English referee made it in to the top 10 of the world referee rankings, and then only in 10th place, is just another example of poor officiating in the Premier League.
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02/03/2010 15:27:00

Harumph-I'd like to know the name of that Referee that made it into the top 10 because I have yet to see a EPL referee that has the wit or ability to officiate a kickabout in my garden! The catalogue of wrong decisions is appalling. Rely on EPL officials for protection? We'd be better off sending our players onto the field of play wearing a suit of armour!
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02/03/2010 15:37:00

That would be our friend Mr Howard "the coward" Webb. Which if you think about it makes, sense - he's got to be the best of a pretty poor bunch - regardless, it's a ***** poor showing from a league that markets itself as the best. Although if you look at the general quality of football in comparison to other top leagues, it certainly ain't.
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02/03/2010 15:40:00

Why don't they start docking points off teams who finish bottom of the fair play table? If that was done at season's end, you'd soon see "the usual suspects" cleaning up their act.
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02/03/2010 15:45:00

You could Julie, and it is feasible, but personally, I'd rather better refereeing and officiating dragging the english game kicking and screaming up to date and in line with the technical quality of la liga. Might take a while, but it'd be worth the wait. Maybe do both?
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02/03/2010 15:47:00

Excellent stats! Boggles the mind that FIFA continually call up Coward Webb for the world cup -- the only English ref they keep recognizing for such big tournaments.
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02/03/2010 16:47:00

Crystal clear isn't it!
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02/03/2010 18:07:00

On the body armour thing, did anyone else think a few Man U players had done just that at the CC final?
No 10
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02/03/2010 23:01:00

Doesn’t it depend on what the cards were given for? Whenever I watch a Spanish side (or Portuguese side for that matter) they seem to go over at the slightest touch and then start brandishing “air cards”. Football is, and should remain, a contact sport and I think La Liga gas gone too far the other way in terms of the number of cards to the extent that players feel more inclined to con the referee. The EPL needs better refereeing by applying the current rules correctly. Shawcross was reckless in his challenge and he was rightly sent off but was this only because he broke someone’s leg? Had he not badly injured Ramsey would he have still been sent off (or even booked)? Refs need to be more savvy by targeting recklessness and by recognising rotational fouling. More importantly, the general English ethos of “going in hard” needs to change.
Sir Henry
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03/03/2010 18:12:00

I can see the point you're trying to make, Amos, and its a good one. However, I'm not sure that these stats tell the whole story. I dont watch much of La Liga or Serie A, but for someone to properly interpret these stats, they'd have to watch all the European leagues week in week out (or atleast a large portion of it), and its impossible to do that.
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03/03/2010 20:22:00

I wrote the piece from just that perspective prits. The stats won't tell you the whole story but then you don't hear too many complaints from Spain, Italy or Germany complaining about over officious refereeing even though the card count is dramatically higher in some places. Importantly the cards are across the board and red cards would only be given for serious offences surely. Add that to the knowledge that cards are dished out here for pretty minor offences more readily than they seem to be for foul play and it's fair to say that whatever they are telling us they are telling us something. I guess the officials would have the data behind the stats and could find out what offences are being carded where. It would just take a small degree of will in the FA/PL and the referee's authorities to be able to draw some genuine conclusions about different refereeing priorities in different leagues.
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03/03/2010 20:34:00


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