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The Perils of Keeping Contact

In the 1968 League Cup final between Arsenal and Leeds Jackie Charlton stood just off the goal line at a corner and as the ball came in jumped into the Arsenal keeper Jim Furnell and physically prevented him from getting the ball without seeking to play the ball himself. Leeds full back Terry Cooper scored from the resulting loose ball. There was a fair amount of controversy about it at the time though in truth it was such a dour game that any neutral still watching might have been relieved with anything that brought about a conclusion. It doesn`t pass uncommented in many of the autobiographies of the players of the time with most accepting that it was a foul. Charlton was pulled up on it pretty much any time he attempted the same tactic afterwards.

Now over 40 years later the distinction between creating a physical presence to inhibit the keepers ability to defend his goal and physically preventing a keeper from defending his goal seems equally blurred. It`s an issue highlighted in the Stoke v Spurs game last weekend with one or two incidences in which physical contact was substituted for the legally permissible physical presence. Wenger has drawn attention to this probably with the upcoming Blackburn game in mind and the troubles that Fabianski had there last season. In reality that game owed as much to Fabianski`s failings as it did to any over robust application of Allardyce`s skill set. Still it`s also true that Blackburn were encouraged to test the boundaries every bit as much as Stoke were last weekend.

In a typically confused piece in todays Mail Graham Poll first directs an assertion at Arsene that there is nothing wrong with the use of physical presence before concluding that Arsene has a point. Referees should be free to determine the legality of a physical challenge says Poll after first telling us that Chris Foy wasn`t apparently able to do so correctly.

Likening the tactic to Rugby more than football as Wenger did was bound to create the usual storm of pious protest about the virtues of the English game and the inability of non-English to play a proper man`s game. But sometimes the game has to be reminded that boundaries are always there to be tested and the further you allow them to be pushed back the further you move away from the principles of the sport. That Wenger chose to highlight the issue at this time is understandable and eminently sensible but whatever cynical motives might be attributed to him shouldn`t detract from the validity. Bad practice can creep in anywhere it fails to be identified and referees need to be refocused regularly as part of any process of ensuring best practice.

Above all though likening Stoke to a Rugby team no matter how obliquely has the benefit of being able to picture Tony Pulis in indignant, tight lipped rage adorned with baseball cap desperately defending his right to make as much physical contact with the opposition as he can get away with on the basis that none of his players have a bad bone in their body, are loved by their mothers and are kind to children and small animals. It`s proper football innit!

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 27 2010

Time: 10:36AM

Your Comments

Arsene loves to winge... he should just get on with it!
Vanilla Ice
And people just love to whinge about Arsene .... they should just get on with it too.
I never winge about him. He's a great manager but enough is enough. Blackburn kick everyone off the pitch but arsene is the only one who comes out and has a moan about it. maybe he's managing in the wrong league... And lets not forget when his old boys (Vieira, Petit, etc.) use to kick people!
Vanilla Ice
If Blackburn kick everyone off the pitch then maybe they're the ones in the wrong league. If you are free to moan about Wenger moaning then he is also free to moan about whatever he wishes.
Great..Wenger never ever mention Blackburn in the interview..yet people with the smallest brain dare to say he moan, whinge and etc2.. See this..another ultimate lazy and unethical journalism at its best:
He loves to moan about others but wouldn't say a bad word about his own and turns a blind eye to everything they do! Typical arsenal fans to try defend him when he is in the wrong. The PL is a tough physical league and if Arsene can't deal with that then it's his problem yet he tries to make it everyone elses. The only reason people moan about him is because he moans about everyone else! If he just got on with his job then people would respect him!
Vanilla Ice
Malaysian_GunnerZ - Your an idiot! All he does is moan and if your denying that then you know nothing about football or Wenger!
Vanilla Ice
Football is a contact sport but there has to be limits at to what is allowed otherwise the game become ugly, unfair and not entertaing to watch. AW is entitled to his opinion and I'm interested in hearing his opinion as he is intelligent and very knowledgable about the game. If you don't agree with his opinion, that's fine but don't say that he shouldn't be allowed to speak.
Last year we conceded 2 goals at Ewood. 1 was a foul, 1 was our players not 'manning up'(and by that I don't marking I mean having bo**ox). Seeing B'burn so far this year doesn't boad too well for us tomorrow as they seem to be out Stoking Stoke! Hopefully football will prevail. If it doesn't and the GK is at fault, then Wenger has only got himself to blame for not addressing the situation earlier.
I never said he shouldn't be allowed speak and I do agree that there should be limits as to what is allowed but it just seems like everytime someone is complaining it's him! Complaining never got anyone anywhere. He should spend that time doing something more productive.
Vanilla Ice
navydave - At least you understand that moaning gets you nowhere. Last week Everton should have had a free but instead the ref played on and Wolves scored... and he denied us a clear peno but did Moyes come out and moan... NO. He got on with his job!
Vanilla Ice
I think that you've already shown us just how much you know about football Vanilla Ice. Wenger is perfectly entitled to draw attention to a breach of football rules which is precisely what he is doing. How much or how little he criticises players of his own team and whether he does that privately or publically isn't really relevant. He can comment on issues that affect the game as much as he wants - whether others choose to respect him or not is entirely up to them but usually depends on their partisanship. Similarly others will decide whether your moaning warrants any respect either depending on yours.
Nice piece once again Amos. It is a rather ugly side to the game that seems to occur more regularly now unfortunately. I've also noticed that shirt pulling by defenders at corners goes largely unpunished, particularly if you are Vidic or Carragher. It's one of things that when it happens to other teams, fans are quick to shrug their shoulders and say " He's just competing for the ball, he's entitled to do it ". When the same or similar incident happens to their own side, they are the first to scream " Foul ! Come on ref for ***** sake he pushed him ! ". AW is right to speak out about it because it is a concern. Graham Poll criticised Foy last week at Stoke, so when the referees can't even agree, what chance have we got of addressing the problem ?
Cockney Rich
Where's the article about our new signing Squillaci? Is he the missing piece of our defensive jigsaw?
Wyn Mills
The problem is vanilla ice is that you are a white so called rapper with camp dance moves and appeared in a video with jedward. How can we take you seriously?
I agree AW is biased and he is probably trying to make things easier for Arsenal but that's his job. All top managers do this. I remember Benitez criticising Blackburn's style of play last year with some sarcastic comments. Ancelloti and the Chelsea players also complaining (justifiably) about Inter's tactics after their Champions League exit last year. AW isn't the only one complaining to he media about such things.
"Your an idiot" - Always makes me chuckle that.
Whilst I don't particularly disagree with Wenger's comments, it's an unusual step for him to say this before a game and pressure the referee. I am uncomfortable with that; it's a trick Allardyce pulls all the time and I complain when he does it. Arsene himself has complained bitterly when Allardyce used that tactic. I don't expect Almunia to be bullied as easily as Fabianski was. Almunia is a brave keeper and his handling is pretty good too.
Little Dutch
Maybe Wenger is just responding to those urging him to play the game 'our way' then LD? Damned when he does and damned when he doesn't. I reckon Almunia will be ok with that tactic which was something that Lehmann never totally got to grips with either.
In a strange way it might be an idea to turn things around tomorrow and gang up on Robinson. Blackburn are fully expecting us to spend the entire game ' moaning ', so I wonder what their reaction would be, or indeed how they would cope, if we were to employ similar tactics ?
Cockney Rich
Everyone has their styles of football if Stoke and Blackburn like to a play a real physical game then as a manager Wenger has to try and find a way around it. Also, can you blame physical teams for playing a physical game? They're playing to their strengths and it works, if it works why change it?
Law 12 of the Laws of the Game states that "It is an offence to restrict the movement of the goalkeeper by unfairly impeding him, e.g. at the taking of a corner kick" All Wenger is doing is pointing out that the law exists and that referees are there to uphold them. Nothing wrong with playing a physical game as Wenger said provided that it is within the laws of the game.
TFNo7, if you read AW's interview fully instead of judging him based on your past prejudices, you will see that he fully accepts the physical side of the EPL. He also talks about understanding the concept of a side doing what they can do to win but the kind of playing style of two of the clogger sides in the EPL is so mind boggling in its contact level that it does not even remotely resemble football.
Lol @ paul_ownz.
I hope the ref is strong enough to see through Wengers sneaky ways. I hope he is strong enough to allow fair physical contact.
Clive 49
Clive 49 - I also hope the ref tomorrow is " strong enough to allow fair physical contact ". By the same token, I hope that he's strong enough to give decisions against the home side when the ' contact ' becomes unfair.
Cockney Rich
"I hope he is strong enough to allow fair physical contact." - then you are in agreement with Wenger, Clive, since that is exactly what he is calling for. Did you read his entire comments or are you just being another lazy AW-hating reader who pays attention ONLY to what the media chooses to sensationalize?
Of course Cockney Rich, I don't want anybody hurt, just fairly roughed up!
Clive 49
No Jaelle, I just know Wenger that's all.
Clive 49
No, you don't know Wenger. But you know to roll over like a good puppy when the press want to give your belly a little tickle. There's a good pup.
Little Dutch
I don't deny Wenger is making a valid and very good point. However, blocking the goalkeeper is just a part of football, the same way diving is and controversial goals are, you accept it and move on. Though it's great that Wenger has reminded the ref's they can say 'no' and has brought attention to it it is still always going to happen.
The incidents Wenger said were unfair were fouls commited against Spud players last weekend, the same incidents 'Arry' the press arse licker remarked about after the game. You should be thanking him Arsenal reject 49.
Vanilla Ice
It's unfair to block the keeper but it will always happen and it is hard for the ref to see everyone in the box at all times. What about Eduardo's dive last year... wenger had no problems and that was worse than blocking a keeper!
Vanilla Ice
But the point is vanilla ice, we don't ritualistically do it.
Little Dutch
I think if Arsenal want to grab 3pts at Blackburn they should have to go through the wringer and earn it, like Spurs did at Stoke. Not try to sneakily influence the referee like Wenger is attempting to do.
Clive 49
Diving is much more common than blatant obstruction on a GK though. Diving happens multiple times in every single game of football, true contact obstruction of a 'keeper happens about as often as a handball like Defoe's
Ozi Gooner
What does that have to do with anything? Is that how desperate your argument is, that you have to dredge up the wrongdoing of an Arsenal player 12 months ago in an incident that bears 0% relation to the topic whatsoever. Yes, diving is worse than blocking a keeper. But you know what, rape is worse than burglary and I hope you remember not to get annoyed as a result the next time some crackhead breaks into your gaff.
Little Dutch
You earned those 3 points at Stoke hey Clive? With a clear goal that wasn't called? Suppose Man Utd earned those 3 points at Old Trafford a couple of seasons back you're all still bitching about then?
Ozi Gooner
Little Dutch - Just giving an example of Arsenal players breaking the rules... seeing as Wenger is so fond of the rules! He can't give out about one thing and accept another thing. I'm sure you'll see Robinson obstructed a few times tomorrow!
Vanilla Ice
F you, vanilla ice.. Admit it, you're wasted, its over.. So kindly take your wannabe fake rapper ass from our site, please?
shady gunna
Anyway I'm not gonna argue anymore... I love Arsenal and the football they play. I cheer them on every season (except when they play Everton). Hopefully the players they brought in this year will add strength to the team and maybe they can push for the title!
Vanilla Ice
shady gunna - Had I seen that retarded comment you left I wouldn't have posted the above comment. COME ON BLACKBURN... KICK THEM OFF THE PARK!
Vanilla Ice
Now on to better things - who should be our first choice to partner Vermaelen for this season? Squillachi or Koscielny? I guess we havent seen enough of both, eh?
shady gunna
If you're relying on the Eduardo incident as evidence of breaching the rules then you've lost the argument vanilla. That was probably the most tightly scrutinised diving incident in recent football history and despite all the video evidence together with that of the officials at the time Uefa had ultimately to admit that the referee had made the right decision. But even if it had been upheld then it is no more relevant than pointing out that Moyes has been charged by the FA more than once for complaining about referees not interpreting the rules in the same way as he did.
Yes Ozi Gooner, Spurs earned those 3pts. The keeper was clearly fouled before Stoke's "goal." Absolutely no proof it crossed the line anyway. Good battling performance. Arsenal should have to show the same bottle to earn the points.
Clive 49
Vanilla, strawberry, chocolate.. hell even cofee flavoured ice would do.. You're not needed here, geddit? Two faced liverpudlian *****..
shady gunna
LOL @ no evidence the ball crossed the line, was pretty clear video evidence actually
Ozi Gooner
Actually I'll think you'll find that a few years back Keith Hackett watched over 10 incidents in one season were Everton were denied clear penalties and he agreed with every one and apologised to Moyes. And I'm sure if you go through the Arsenal tapes you'll find numerous examples of Arsenal players fouling the keeper. It's all part of the game and AW should address it instead of complaining!
Vanilla Ice
I think Chamakh's prowess in the air might come in handy at ewood park tomorrow.. And we should start with Song in the middle
shady gunna
shady gunna - who said I was a liverpudlian? At least the other gooners on here are actually debating the article where as you are just abusing people. Maybe you're not needed here!
Vanilla Ice
Address it how? Possibly by bringing it to people's attention as an offence? Clive, you earned those three points because you complain your keeper wasn't protected (just as Wenger did), which begs the question, do you even know what point you are trying to make?
Little Dutch
Clive what about the clear handball Defoe administered to get you through to the CL? I am pretty sure you came here with your disgust at Henry, but its ok because Defoe is english.
Ok, vanilla, if thats a constructive criticism of AFC, we say thank you.. But if you're trying to take a dig at us by bringing up entirely unrelated incidents.. we say FECK OFF and maybe go practice accurate shooting with Yakubu..
shady gunna
If you read my comments you'll see that I have never had a dig at AFC. I even said that I liked Arsenal and Wenger but you don't even bother to read the comments do you? Just throw out insults that have nothing to do with anything!
Vanilla Ice
Why did Moyes get Hackett to review dismissed penalties afer the event (I'm pretty sure we'd score well on that score too!)? Shouldn't he just have accepted that's part of the game, based on your logic, and just got on with it instead of complaining? Or perhaps he was trying to influence future penalty decisions in his favour?
Good one Paul. Actually surprised nothing's been made of the Defoe handball.. not sure if its due to the quality of the opponents(no disrespect to Young Boys FC) but I can't help but think if that was, say Nasri, all hell would've been let loose and its quite fair to say we'd be discussing a different topic now
shady gunna
What are you on about LD? The only thing I'm complaining about is Wenger's blatant attempt to influence the referee of a forthcoming game in which his team are involved. The keeper debate is a smokescreen. Wenger is clearly saying "protect Arsenal from those dirty cheating B*******s Blackburn."
Clive 49
I see a picture of your awful keeper on this post. We have Hilario for u, a gift from 1 team to another.
Kick my ball
Amos - I'm not saying that when a team has been wronged that the manager can't come out and speak about it. I'm Irish so I know about being wronged! If Arsenal were denied a clear peno tomorrow then I'd expect Wenger to come out and complain (just like any manager would) and I'd support him if he was right. I just don't think he does himself or Arsenal any favours by coming out and talking about decisions that could go against them tomorrow. Imagine if you scored because Robinson was obstructed tomorrow and the goal was disallowed. You'd have to blame Wenger for his comments!
Vanilla Ice
Because the referee taking charge of the Blackburn game is Chris Foy. The same referee that demonstrated a lack of competence in judging what constitutes a fair challenge (and when a ball has crossed the line) on the 'keeper. If there is a right time to bring it to a ref's attention its when he has shown there is doubt about his ability to make a proper judgement.
We won't need to obstruct Robinson tomorrow vanilla - we'll just give him all the room he needs to work his own magic.
We don't obstruct goalkeepers at arsenal, we pass the ball into the net or shoot at sight. Blackburn and stoke only score goals from corner kick or long throws by obstructing opponents. Bolton these days have abandoned that tactics since Doyle took over.
Massive difference in a handball that knocked a country out of potentially being in the World Cup and one that led to a low-quality team not qualifying for the Champions League which was improbable anyway.
VI: "AND IF AN ARSENAL PLAYER DID IT WOULD WENGER COMPLAIN... COMPUTER SAYS NO!" AW on Eboue: "I condemn and regret the attitude of Eboue. I have always risen up against cheating. Eboue cheated by simulating the foul. I detest simulation"
VI, DON'T YOU DARE EVEN MENTION EDUARDO'S DIVE! Not after Handball Defoe's deliberate and blatant handball v. YB two nights ago (Defoe's a persistent handball cheater - 19 of them in the 09-10 season yet he never ever gets called on it because he's a nice English lad).
Improbable? They were 3-0 up in the tie at 1 stage.
@famous7 -- 'Massive difference in a handball that knocked a country out of potentially being in the World Cup and one that led to a low-quality team not qualifying for the Champions League which was improbable anyway' -- So why make such a big deal about Eduardo's 'dive' last year in the exact same situation except we were up by even more than spuds were against YB?...
TheFamousNo7, that's a hugely pathetic, desperate and NONEXISTENT distinction. The CL--maybe you don't know this--just happens to be the most prestigious club competition in the sport. That's all. And Defoe's deliberate handball changed the game, since at that point you were tied 3-3. Last season in our CL qualifier, you'd have thought that Eduardo's dive change the entire course of the game. In that game too we were dominating, leading by 2 goals in the 1st leg - and it was highly unlikely Celtic would win. But Eduardo was villified up and down the country (and beyond) and from that point on, Arsenal were denied several clear penalties throughout the season. Had Defoe been a foreign (and Arsenal) player committing a handball against a British team, the media would've been all over it.
YB came to WHL with serious hopes of progressing, FamousNo7, btw. You destroyed their hopes with the help of Defoe's handball. He's a cheat, he does it repeatedly - 19 of them last season alone. And his repeated cheating handball tactic has at time benefitted your results. VanillaIce, last season Arsenal were denied many legitimate penalties because of the villification of Eduardo.
Jermain DeFoe and the Great English Hypocrisy // Why isn't Tottenham's Jermain Defoe suffering the Thierry Henry treatment? // Where is the uproar over Jermain Defoe's handball?
Firstly yes it was improbable that Young Boys would go to White Hart Lane and get the result they wanted especially after going 1-0 and were looking like they were going out via the away goals rule. Secondly I dont deny the CL being a prestigous tournament but to compare a qualifier for a the CL to the WC is stupid there's a gulf of difference between the two! Thirdly, I think i have been confused with a Tottenham supporter but im not, i'm a United fan. Fourthly, I have never criticised Henry for what he has done I am infact one of the few who said: "I would do the same if I was put in the same predicament". And finally, the reason Defoe wasn't rediculed in the manner Eduardo was is because Defoe is English (we all know English players get special treatment by the media) and everyone was rooting for them to win. Also, Arsenal aren't the most liked English team and therefore are a scapegoat for the media and other fans, not to also mention the fact that Celtic are British and would expect a 'clean' match between each other.
He he , this lot see "Spuds" everywhere.
Clive 49
Thanks for your company tiny tots. Now please get off our site, you are reducing the average IQ here severely with your presence.
We only see the spuds that infest us here rather too frequently Clive. We wouldn't see many at all unless we've looked below us in the table over the last 20 years or more. Or those that helped us celebrate winning the title at WHL a couple of times.
FamousNo7, apologies for confusing you for one of the many spud trolls infesting this blog. They spend more time here than they do on VS. Most of the non-Arsenal posters here are spuddies desperate for our attention. Second, the rest of your post is spot-on (except I do think the world's biggest club tournament and the world's biggest country tournament are comparable) and apologies again for the wrong assumptions in my post.
I don't think I have ever read a good point made against Wenger from rival fans on this front page forum, ever. Now I know there are points to be made against him, he's not perfect, but how can the same Spurs fans totally miss the point time and time again? He talks about a rule which clearly exists, so they talk about "Your players have kicked and dived, You've got to earn the right" ... and all the other recycled memes. Even if those were valid points what the ***** have they got to do with what he said? Do they know how to stay on topic? Do they even know what the topic is?
Professor Calculus
Dont worry jaelle we've all got our noisy neighbours.
Wy spurs fans need to shut up:
Back to tomorrow's game - I expect a starting IX of Alumnia, Sagna, Koscienly, TV5, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Cesc, Arshavin, Chamack, RVP. My question is who starts on the right. RVP or Chamack?...I hope they can play together and with Theo, Rosicky, Denilson, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs and Szczesny on Bench.
But us Toffees can talk all we want???
Vanilla Ice
And hopefully bring in Theo for RVP or Chamack, Rosicky for Diaby. I hope for the 3points ultimately
VI - far as I'm concerned, go right ahead! Anyone's better than the spud praga.
@amos...everyone was talking about ball crossing the line in spurs v stoke...even majority arsenal one said stokes 1st goal was a foul on the one spoke about the foul again before the so called ball crossing the one spoke about the same defender grabbing lennon back or kicking his feet from under him each time he beat him and not getting a card....stoke got what they deserved....and i hope these same fans dont complain with stoke or blackburn......AND YES WENGER DOES CRY A LOT......BUT SOMETIMES HE HAS ALL RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.....kicking people and not trying for the ball is anti footy....stoke everton blackburn...i hate listening to big sam after a game...pure crap
"Massive difference in a handball that knocked a country out of potentially being in the World Cup and one that led to a low-quality team not qualifying for the Champions League which was improbable anyway." ~ No there's not, there is a difference in the context, there is no difference at all in the offence.
Ozi Gooner
rovinella62spurs - Everton just kick people??? You clearly haven't seen an Everton game in a very long time!
Vanilla Ice intense this discussions.. @Vanilla Ice - Thank You for reminding me that I'm an idiot. I'll learn more. But somehow I feel you're worse.. If you got a brain, you'll know Wenger is replying to the questions asked in the interview right? If you want to moan, no one need to ask just you (yes you VanillaIce) one asked you to come here, yet suddenly you moaned about Wenger..why don't you moan about Moyes? Boring Club? AFC more interesting then?
@Malaysian_GunnerZ - Why would I moan at Moyes... he's a God! If you watched any Everton games you'd know we are not a boring club.
Vanilla Ice

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