Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

Is tackling now being tackled at last?

Is tackling now being tackled at last?

Having been dismissed as a whinger and a moaner it seems that Wengers long standing criticism of poor tackling skills might be coming of age.

A number of injuries in the Premier League this season including broken limbs for Zamora and Ben Arfa has strengthened a debate that had already benefited from a wider criticism of the tactics employed by the Dutch, notably van Bommel, in the last World Cup. Perhaps it is this criticism that led the Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk to drop Nigel de Jong from the current Euro qualifiers with the comment that "I have a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit. I am going to speak to him."

It was a stance cautiously applauded by Fifa executive committee member Dr Michel D`Hooghe. "I have made a compilation of brutality over the last two or three years in the main competitions in the world and it is amazing," said D`Hooghe. "On the one hand I am happy that some leaders take responsibility - on the other hand I am very sad that he did not do the same at the final of the World Cup."

When Wenger responded with more than a little scepticism, a few weeks back, to an invitation to comment on Robinson`s unpunished tackle on Diaby after the recent home game against Bolton he was, as he predicted, dismissed as a moaner and whinger. The media were only too keen to seek the equally predictable scorn of perpetrators of footballs shameful defenders of bad tackles with Pulis and Allardyce providing the ammunition to further the claim that Arsene was just seeking special treatment for his own players. That it was like asking Josef Fritzl for his views on parenting didn`t matter to those who wanted soundbites more than they really wanted a considered view.

It seems now though others are beginning to wake up to the realisation that if we encourage such play, or even if we just fail to condemn it robustly enough, it isn`t just Arsenal players who get hurt. Fulham's midfielder Danny Murphy has specifically criticised the managers of Stoke, Blackburn and Wolves for encouraging bad tackles. "The pace some of the players are going into tackles at is ridiculous," said Murphy. "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.

"If you`re going in at a certain pace and don`t get it right you are going to hurt someone. Players need to be more intelligent, especially the ones who are doing it repeatedly. They are culpable in that. You get managers sending teams out to stop other sides from playing, which is happening more and more," he said. "Stoke, Blackburn and Wolves — you can say they`re doing what they can to win the game — but the fact is that the managers are sending the players out so pumped up that inevitably there are going to be problems."

At least Wenger isn`t a lone voice for the time being. His resignation a few weeks back to the fact that nothing would change unless others in the media were prompted to look at the benefits of encouraging good tackling as opposed to defending bad tackles may have found support quicker than he might have believed at the time. There is a debate underway at last. Whether it can be sustained unless some other poor soul gets clogged remains to be seen.

Join Vital Arsenal

Want to comment on this article? It's easy to register , simply click the link and enjoy getting involved (you can even win prizes!)

Message Board To visit the message board, click here. Get involved

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Friday October 8 2010
Time: 11:08AM


Isn't it funny how this only became a broader incident once de Jong's tackle came into focus? You know, de Jong not being English and all. Or is that just me? It's a simple point that I fear people are refusing to process, tackling is fine but charging in at someone at 1,000mph isn't an asset to the game and I wonder why people are looking to protect is so fervently. If you had a player incapable of controlling the ball, who whacked it out of play every time he got it, wouldn't you implore the coach to teach him touch and distribution? Why isn't it the same for tackling? Had to laugh that the two people to come to de Jong's defence have been van Bommel and Shawcross. That's like Fred and Rose West being called as character witnesses for Harold Shipman.
Little Dutch
08/10/2010 11:21:00
De Jong was dropped from the Dutch squad after his tackle on Ben Arfa, Dribbling Moron Shawcross was called up by England for the 1st time after stealing a year of Aaron Ramseys career. Glad an English player has been brave enough to make these comments had enough of brain dead soundbites from the likes of Arry "you shud av seen tackling in the 60's" Redknapp and that c0ck Pulis.
08/10/2010 11:44:00
Unbelievable that it has taken two and half years after the injury to Eduardo and an addition of Ramsey, Zamora and Ben Arfa being maimed for the issue of reckless tackling to be back in focus. The rising voice will unfortunately become a scream only when more players are injured. How hard is it for the majority of the clubs to understand that they are all together on the same side on the issue. Wenger was not asking for football to be non contact sport with no tackling but simply for reckless tackles to be punished so severely that players think twice before maiming a fellow professional. Richard Scudamore also has a responsibility here - a continuation of leg breaking tackles are going to damage his "product", i.e. the Premier League and he for atleast his own self interest should look to gently intervene.
08/10/2010 12:51:00
"we'll end up getting to a point where football's purely about technique!!!!!!"
08/10/2010 12:52:00
Tackling is bad now? I invite you to watch old footage of George Best riding viscious tackle after viscious tackle on dreadful pitches. Or Maradona being hacked out of games every week. What about the Italian hatchet men of yore? What about the thuggish Brazilian team of '74 who tried to kick Holland (there's an irony) out of the World Cup. We do have a problem with poor tackling but we also have a problem with diving and feigning injury, paradoxically. We have problems with cheating. I can understand your feelings about this topic but unfortunately players have always induced injuries. What about our captain of the sixites, the legendary Dave Mackay? Broke his leg twice in the space of a year. Besides, think about it: if you slide in recklessly, you have as much chance of doing yourself as you have your opponent.
Tony Rocky Horror
08/10/2010 13:18:00
Oh and shewore, that is precisely what your manager wants. It's the agenda that goes to the very heart of his project.
Tony Rocky Horror
08/10/2010 13:20:00
Typically blind post TRH. Disagreeing just because you think you should rather than any serious attempt to consider whether what went on 40 or 50 years ago is appropriate in the modern game. Perhaps modern cars should be equipped with the same safety standards of the 60's too. No seatbelts, ABS airbags - they weren't needed 50 years ago either. The game has changed. It's played at a faster pace. Players are more athletic and require a higher level of fitness and physical condition. Tackling doesn't have to end it just has to adapt to the way the game is now played. Tackling skills should need to be improved just as much as other ball skills. It's better, more intelligent tackling we need not no tackling.
08/10/2010 13:27:00
TRH, your spud mates are calling you back to their site knowing that you add zero value here and are an embarassment to them. Yet your disease stops you from going back to where you belong. The kind of Spurs fan who registers himself as a member of the vital Arsenal forum is probably a highly disturbed individual.
08/10/2010 13:30:00
Tackling probably isn't as brutal as it used to be (though that's a moot point really, a lot of ***** happened in the 60s and 70s that isn't accepted anymore), but the game has changed to the effect that players are much quicker, the game is played at a higher pace. Launching your whole bodyweight at someone's leg risks snapping them in two more than ever. Just beause it used to be worse than it is now, doesn't mean we shouldn't try and eradicate it as much as possible.
Little Dutch
08/10/2010 13:33:00
It hasn't even occurred to poor, slow thinking TRH that tackling is a 'technique' too. Part of the project is to get Luddites like him to realise it.
08/10/2010 13:34:00
Page 1/8
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

Vital Pre-Match - Premier League, 22nd-23rd Oct

The 2016-17 season continues with the latest round of matches this weekend, which will see us among those having a match in this upcoming schedule with three-points the aim of course.

Match Day Officials v Middlesbrough (22/10/16)

The Premier League have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Middlesbrough this Saturday.

Arsenal 6-0 Ludogorets - Highlights

Arsenal secured a win over Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Mustafi Hails Hat-Trick Hero Ozil

Mustafi has only been a teammate of Ozil's for a short while at Arsenal but the defender, like everyone else, knows what quality he has. He's obviously seen this with Germany.

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email
no email
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Arsenal v Middlesbrough
Suggested By:
Arsenal win67%
Middlesbrough win33%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Man City 8 6 1 1 19 11
2 Arsenal 8 6 1 1 19 10
3 Spurs 8 5 3 0 18 9
4 Liverpool 8 5 2 1 17 8
5 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 6
6 Everton 8 4 3 1 15 6
7 Man Utd 8 4 2 2 14 5
8 Southampton 8 3 3 2 12 3
9 Crystal Palace 8 3 2 3 11 2
10 Watford 8 3 2 3 11 0
11 AFC Bournemouth 8 3 2 3 11 0
12 WBA 8 2 4 2 10 1
13 Leicester City 8 2 2 4 8 -6
14 Burnley 8 2 1 5 7 -6
15 West Ham 8 2 1 5 7 -8
16 Hull City 8 2 1 5 7 -12
17 Middlesbrough 8 1 3 4 6 -4
18 Stoke 8 1 3 4 6 -9
19 Swansea 8 1 1 6 4 -7
20 Sunderland 8 0 2 6 2 -9
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

Oct 22 2016 3:00PM : Middlesbrough (H)
Barclays Premier League
Oct 25 2016 7:45PM : Reading (H)
Capital One Cup
Oct 29 2016 12:30PM : Sunderland (a)
Barclays Premier League
Nov 6 2016 12:00PM : Tottenham Hotspur (H)
Barclays Premier League
Nov 19 2016 12:30PM : Manchester United (a)
Barclays Premier League
Nov 27 2016 2:15PM : AFC Bournemouth (H)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

3.Galway Gooner2
5.mar 121
The Vital Football Members League