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It's time to start talking about tackling Mick

In acknowledging that Cesc had apologised for a poor tackle on Stephen Ward, for which he received a yellow card, Mick McCarthy said that he hasn't any problem with tackling and wishes everyone would stop talking about it. He's wrong because though no-one got injured in the game there were tackles that were careless or reckless which might have caused injury. Cesc's was one which in another game he might have received a red card for. Not because it was particularly dangerous as both players were moving in the same direction so any potential impact was limited. But it was careless and unnecessary in that area of the pitch. He couldn't have anticipated that he would have had much chance of winning the ball launching his tackle from where he did and shouldn`t have been encouraged to believe he could do so. But the tolerance level of the game is set by the match referee who had allowed a worse tackle to go unpunished where Arshavin and Henry were moving towards each other and the potential for serious damage much more likely. The tackle from Henry was over the ball but fortunately Arshavin reacted in time and pulled his leg back sharply to minimise the impact.

They'll be a temptation among some to see the mention of the Henry tackle in the same paragraph as the Fabregas tackle as an attempt to justify the latter. It doesn't at all but the significance is that they appear in the same game. It's also worth remembering that in this whole debate about tackling standards Wenger made it clear that sometimes his players tackle badly too. A point he made explicitly when responding to a reporter`s question on tackling earlier in the season saying at the time

"Don't take me wrong we make as well sometimes bad fouls and I have the same responsibility than you. What I mean, me alone, I've not enough power. It is the referees, the people who watch the games, the people who write about it have the same responsibility as I have."

Part of the problem is that as violence begets violence so bad tackles encourage other bad tackles. If the referees don't take a firm stand and only respond when serious injury has been the consequence then the problem will continue. If they allow the law to be disregarded then a form of lawlessness among players should be expected. In an excellent piece in the Independent last month James Lawton referred to just such a culture in the 60s and 70s when even a player who`s abilities where as skill based as George Best`s could break someone`s leg as a result of a bad tackle. Lawton wrote at the time "... back in the '60s and '70s the failure of the authorities to take proper action against the worst of the violence, and the sheer inefficiency of the leading referees, created a culture of self-help among the most creative of players." I'm not saying that Cesc's tackle was an act of retribution for other tackles in the same game but it's not hard to see how such a mindset can come about. It's for the referee's and others in the game to discourage the players from making tackles they can`t exercise enough control over.

I don't wish to paint Wolves or McCarthy as specific examples of teams that play rough. There are better examples. They play a pressing but intelligent game that is still grounded in a genuine endeavour to play football but now is not the time to stop talking about tackling. Wenger spoke to Cesc immediately after the game specifically about the tackle as his post match comments made apparent. Cesc also apologised to the player. So they are talking about it. Neither excuses the fact that Cesc was probably lucky to escape a red card given the desire to eliminate careless tackles as much as possible but it does show a level of responsibility for their actions. It's not clear whether McCarthy spoke to Henry and as it went unpunished neither did the media highlight his tackle. Rather than stop perhaps Mick needs to start talking about tackling and not just hope the issue will blow over. His first conversation needs to be with Karl Henry. Wenger has already spoken to Cesc.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 12 2010

Time: 9:45AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Frankly amazed the Henry tackle has been brushed under the carpet. It shows some appalling double standards in the game. MOTD analysed Cesc's tackle in minute detail but never mentionned what was a far worse challenge. For Lee Dixon to sit there and say nothing was very disappointing.
Wyn Mills
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12/11/2010 13:28:00

Having only seen the game on Match of the Day I wasn't even aware this tackle existed until today. Disgraceful and shameful piece of biased coverage.
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12/11/2010 13:34:00

Wyn, on twitter Lee Dixon apologized for not having enuf time to talk about the Henry tackle and said he personally apologized to AW for not getting to it. He did want to get to it. He said that the discussion continued after the cameras stopped and he did mention the Henry tackle in that ensuing conversation. It wasn't just Henry's tackle that was appalling. It was Mijias' (sp?) delilberate stamp on Song too. Neither was punished, both were ignored. Of course McCarthy was magnanimous--he knew his own players had gotten away with thuggery. AW didn't even bring up Henry and Mijias--yet he's still accused of whingeing. You could see throughout the game that Cesc was furious, getting angrier and angrier because the referee was allowing Wolves to kick and stamp him and his teammates at will - zero fouls called against Wolves, no free kicks given to Arsenal. Whereas every time a Wolves player went to ground a foul was called and fk given. It was a fkg joke. What's more, Wolves fans disgraced themselves by shouting "Dirty Spanish ********" to Cesc! All of this has been totally ignored by the media. You can be certain if gooners had shouted something similar it would be all over the news. The game was totally familiar to all gooners: opposition comes out to stop and kick and stamp and knock us down & allowed to do so at will, zero protection from the ref. Arsenal start to fight back and out come the cards. It's true Cesc needs to control his anger & sense of injustice at this but I do understand his fury. I have to wonder if a reason he may want to leave England is that he's sick and tired of this double standard from PL refs and the media. The debate in the media is now all about AW's so-called hypocrisy, that's it. There's no serious focus on the issue itself--just Arsenal & Wenger. Every sin we commit on the pitch will be hysterically highlighted while our opponents will be allowed to do just as they please, as usual. Cesc went into the Wolves dressing room to apologize. deJong, Henry, etc. never do that.
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12/11/2010 14:44:00

I’m not surprised really; it’s the usual media frenzy about all things Arsenal. I only saw the highlights on MOTD and I thought that the coverage of Cesc’s tackle was a little bit disproportionate. Yes it was a poor challenge, a lazy attempt from a frustrated player but the reaction from the media (listened on the radio too) suggested that it was something much more than it was. This insinuation is that it’s the same old “bitching” (McCarthy used the word to describe the current debate about tackling) Arsene showing shameful hypocrisy demonstrated by his players, Wilshere and Fabregas and his team touted recently in the Telegraph as being the “dirtiest” as we sit top of the disciplinarily table. As Amos rightly says, Wenger is not declaring his players as being above a bad tackle but he is opening up a debate about a malaise in the game that has witnessed some dreadful injuries. Wenger has every right to champion this cause because it is he who has watched three of his players suffer very badly from reckless challenges. Although McCarthy has the moral high ground at the moment, he mustn’t use it to end the debate. He should follow the example set by Wenger when he apologised for Cesc’s tackle by being magnanimous and let the debate go on.
Sir Henry
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12/11/2010 14:47:00

I'm in the same boat as Rocky, only saw the game on MOTD and didn't even know about a Henry tackle.
Arsenales F.C
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12/11/2010 16:33:00

Jaelle, didn't know about the Dixon explanation. Nice of him to apologise to AW, but how about saying something on his MOTD blog? The papers are full of how dirty a team Arsenal are at the moment, which is funny considering we we're supposed to be soft touches as well. I have no respect for managers like McCarthy, no matter how chummy and funny they think they are. If you say nothing to your player (or he says nothing to you) after a challenge like that then you are condoning that sort of play. McCarthy has obviously said nothing to Henry. None of these idiots are really talking about removing bad tackling from the game, they're just trying to score points against Wenger and Arsenal.
Wyn Mills
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12/11/2010 17:28:00

Funny thing is, everyone has branded Cesc's challenge has awful and deserving of a red card, but when Joe Cole was red carded for a similar challenge against Koscielny in our opening match of the season against Liverpool, the same pundits were saying it wasn't one and Joe was just going for the ball. The hypocrisy in this country at the moment is astonishing.
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12/11/2010 17:35:00

First it was "we're being targeted by a physical approach". Then it was "we need to stamp out bad tackling", after Arsenal players were exposed doing it as well. People have stopped listening to Wenger because he comes across as a hypocrite with a chipped-shoulder. Harry was spot on after Bale was targeted by Bolton. He's got to be able to take a tackle, hasn't he"?, he said. Personally, I think it's a good thing your players are finally putting themselves about, you never know you might win a trophy again some time before the next millenium. I'd like to start a campaign sorting out the behaviour of managers on the touchline. Wenger: confronation with pardew, confrontation with Jol, sent to stands at OT, refuses to shake Hughes's hand......
Tony Rocky Horror
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12/11/2010 18:08:00

The MOTD coverage was shocking. I watched the game live on TV and the to be fair the co-commentator acknowledged the Henry and Milijas challenge and specfically said that Henry deserved red. They also showed the Henry challenge a few times again to see it from different angles. But on MOTD they pretended as if the Henry challenge never happened, maybe it was because the referee had completely failed to see what happened. The Cesc challenge on the other hand was given a significant portion of the highlights with the camera panning to Wenger (look at that hypocrite type shot), and the pundits also gave their views on it. Here is the Henry tackle
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12/11/2010 21:28:00

Wenger is right to keep focussed on the real issues. Others will try to deflect onto irrelevances but tackling can be improved if we keep the issue going. McCarthy's desire to avoid the issue is to escape just the sort of analysis that's bound to come up if he were to condemn Cesc too vociferously. Football will be all the better for it and creative players will have more licence to play the game the way we all would really prefer to pay to watch. Provided that the game can be made to see that it's important enough. Sadly that only seems to be the case when a player is seriously injured.
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12/11/2010 22:40:00

Jesus Christ you start banning that Cesc tackle and you might aswell ban tackling. It wasnt even that bad, it wasnt over the ball Kevin Nolan/Martin Taylor style (Which does needs seriously banning) it was a late clumsy 1 footed tackle 1 in which Cesc was the most likely to get injured from. Cattermoles attempt at removing Modrics leg last tuesday is the kind of thing that needs focusing on, i guess they only choose to select Fabregas's because Wenger is such a hypocrite. To his credit he has a point but when he tries to philsophise in his way the whole matter so often yet pulls out the old "i did not see it" phrase in relation to that tackle then what did you expect pundits and footie fans to react like
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13/11/2010 04:50:00

There is far more hypocrisy in your post than there is in Wenger's philosophy HY. How should we expect pundits and footie fans to react? With honesty might be a good starting point. Where is the hypocrisy in Wengers position? It's been straight down the line on this issue all the way. The hypocrisy comes from the mealy mouthed apologists who can make an issue of the Cesc challenge and ignore Henry's in the same game simply because Wenger has had the audacity to say that the game ought to promote good tackling.
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13/11/2010 08:10:00

Lee Dixon's twitter apology is ********* frankly and he can shove it. One of the guys I go to home games with worked for the mirror for years and, as such, is good friends with John Cross (Mirror journo and Gooner) who has said many times that he is unable to write as he would like to on the subject in support of Wenger due to pressures from the editor to toe the party line. It's disappointing to see Dixon roll over and have his belly tickled in the same way. It's cowardly on his part and an apology via a social mnetworking site followed by a pathetic, lame excuse means nowt. He can shove it.
Little Dutch
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13/11/2010 09:26:00

Dixon did mention it unprompted on Football Focus just now. Fair enough.
Little Dutch
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13/11/2010 12:25:00

I hear what you're saying LD. But I'm trying to be fair to Dixon, who regardless of my Gooner bias I think is a respectable pundit, he's explained in his article in the Independent. 'The media does have some responsibility in this (hands up) because of the level of scrutiny. Of course I'm not suggesting anything is whitewashed, far from it. But we at MOTD should have shown and repeated and scrutinised Karl Henry's tackle on Andrei Arshavin in midweek, as we did Fabregas's. Technical issues with producing an eight-match show 35 minutes after the final whistle meant we didn't, but it highlights how whole stories often aren't told – meaning we have a selective debate.'
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13/11/2010 16:35:00

No one would make a big deal about Arsenal's bad tackles if Wenger didnt make a big deal about other teams' bad tackles. Like Wenger says, "..we make as well sometimes bad fouls and I have the same responsibily than you."
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13/11/2010 16:54:00

Doh!...that's the whole point ChelseaDC. You can't just seek to eliminate bad tackling by some teams but if you don't seek to remove them at all then you won't remove them from anyone. The whole issue is about encouraging better tackling by punishing bad tackles properly whoever makes them.
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13/11/2010 17:10:00

My word, that has to be thue stupidest point I've ever seen made on here ChelseaDC. You actually contradicted your entire point with a quote you chose!
Little Dutch
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13/11/2010 17:15:00

McCarthy isn't obliged to say ***** all about the incident. Why should he? He isn't the one who blew this all up in the first place. He does his job, end of. If Wenger wants to talk about it then fine. In case you hadn't noticed, Wenger has rubbed a few people up the wrong way over the years. They don't seem to want to have this conversation. I suggest Wenger picks up the phone to you and Danny Murphy. Has he got free call time at weekends?
Tony Rocky Horror
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14/11/2010 01:25:00

I shouldn't be bothered but Jaelle said it all already: 'Of course McCarthy was magnanimous--he knew his own players had gotten away with thuggery. AW didn't even bring up Henry and Mijias--yet he's still accused of whingeing.'
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14/11/2010 03:04:00

In fairness to Milijas, even though it was a bad tackle on Song, I certainly don't think it was deliberate and he immediately apologised and seemed genuinely concerned afterwards. As for Henry - how does he not yet know how to tackle properly? Or does he just not give a damn about anyone else's safety? I figure it's the latter.
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14/11/2010 08:26:00

McCarthy isn't obliged to say anything about the incident but he has - he just wants everyone else to stop talking about it. But they aren't under any obligation to do so anymore than he is. Who cares whether Wenger upsets anyone else in speaking out. At least its an issue that's in the open now.
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14/11/2010 08:32:00

Amos i don't think you would ever submit to the common knowledge that Arsene Wenger, inventor of the legendary "I did not see it" phrase - is a hypocrite so no suprises there. In my opinion its his own fault this negative publicity he gets every time he mentions bad tackling, which is a shame. Because he never saw a single Patrick Vieira off the ball incident between 1998 and 2004 yet now barks the loudest over bad tackling, detractors of yours are always gonna cast some serious doubt over the guy. He's also a terrible loser and thus people dont always give the guy the respect maybe he probably deserves.
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15/11/2010 00:38:00

Common knowledge where? Among tabloid writers? Hack TV pundits? The blind partisanship of some other supporters? Get a mind of your own HY. Wenger has openly admitted that he doesn't 'see' some things publicly to protect his players at times. There's no hypocrisy there just pragmatic man management. Any bad publicity he gets about tackling doesn't really matter a toss as long as bad tackling is an issue but in any event the Vieira myth (almost always about retaliating to bad tackles) along with our bad disciplinary record myth for the period you mention was just that - mythology. In fact in the worst of that time Harry Redknapp had a even worse disciplinary record than Wenger. By his own admission Wenger is a terrible loser - there's no hypocrisy there either. I hope he always takes any defeat badly.
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15/11/2010 01:38:00

People always wave the names "Vieira and Petit" under our noses, yet funnily enough, because the tabloid prompting begins and ends with the mention of the names and the names only,. nobody ever seems to be able to cite any specific examples.
Little Dutch
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15/11/2010 09:51:00

Oh, oh.. let me tell you, there are those that could rob you of a day and a night in regail about those two, particularily Viera!!
Tony Rocky Horror
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15/11/2010 20:18:00

Oh and P.S., Radio Five Live made a point of announcing over the airways that your club has the worst...yes that's right THE WORST disciplinary record in the prem this season!! I must admit I laughed my fecking tits off when I heard that!! And how do you explain that away Amos? Before you try on the bias angle the point they were making was backed up by hard facts. What is your response?
Tony Rocky Horror
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15/11/2010 20:32:00

A day and a night? Hardly. They'd be so short on facts that a debate about Vieira and/or Petit foul tackles wouldn't get past 15 minutes. As for our disciplinary record it's only the worst so far of season which still has two thirds of it to run - but on the broader measure of the fair play league we're mid table. On the other hand we're 2nd in the only league table that really matters which I suppose is response enough for now.
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15/11/2010 22:47:00

Yes indeed, it still has two thirds to run. I suppose you'd rather it ended at about 80% completed, in May, when the Arsenal wheels come off in the space of about a week in all competitions, for the upteenth time. I suppose that's response enough for now.
Tony Rocky Horror
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15/11/2010 22:58:00

Usual facile pointless post TRH. You must bore yourself at times too. But it is interesting that you acknowledge we usually compete through to May in most competitions - yours are usually over somewhere around February - though a little earlier in your competition of choice the CC this year. Now stay on topic. This is on the tackling debate - we don't want to get sidetracked onto Spuds 50 years of failure again.
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15/11/2010 23:10:00

Yes, we could rob you of a day and night talking about Totnum's Golden Jubilee of mediocrity and failure...........
Little Dutch
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16/11/2010 08:25:00

I love the way you have to delete my posts to make it look like you had the last word.....that's something I really enjoy.
Tony Rocky Horror
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16/11/2010 20:01:00

Yes all three of those Amos. Common Knowledge. The majority of people in this country im sure think Harry's a wheeler dealer and a bit of a dodgy guy. I dont have any stats but im pretty sure thats true as well. Wenger simply cannot do ANY wrong in your eyes. I offered an opinion on why everytime Wenger talks tackling in the media he gets hounded. You shunned this, denied everything and told me to get a mind of my own. Tell me then, why is it Wenger gets so much bad press on this whole tackling issue? Infact can somebody a little more open answer that one?
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16/11/2010 20:39:00

You're wasting your time HY, this is an ingroup of people who reinforce each others' own opinions that essentially mirror the last person who posted. I visit because I simply cannot allow that kind of person to write such drivel and leave it unchallenged. If you want to hear what real Arsenal fans think then visit some of their other forums; many welcome Spurs fans and can really banter, unlike this lot. As for Amos, in "Arsene He Trusts" and it really doesn't matter what the subject or topic he backs the manager. After not so subtly attempting to insult whoever disagrees with him.
Tony Rocky Horror
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16/11/2010 21:09:00

Stereo Spuds eh? One only slightly more sane than the other. I've pointed out why Wengers position isn't hypocritical HY. Read exactly what he has said about the issue of tackling, who it involves, who benefits from better tackling then consider that against the irrelevant harking back to a disciplinary record which when at it's worst was still only average and better than Redknapp's. You can see then that the greatest hypocrisy is very definitely from those criticising Wenger. Yet you still prefer to parrot the media tosh you're spoon fed with because your mind isn't open enough to do anything else. Your choice but do spare us your pious lecturing. No need for any subtlety in insulting you TRH you make far too good a job of insulting yourself. You visit because you feel a need to challenge opinions here???? That's a real joke. I don't think I've ever read anything of substance from you that would ever constitute anything as grand as challenging opinion. You're simply a yah-boo poster without a coherent thought or worthwhile opinion on anything. The reason posts are deleted are because they're off topic or are simply hostile and antagonistic and don't at the least constitute good natured banter. If it weren't for your obsessive need to keep coming here in the vain hope that you'll gain some acceptance from your far, far, far more successful neighbours you might find enough contentment to stay among your own deluded supporters - if they'll put up with you. But in the meantime if you don't like it here and you can't stay on topic then stay away. It's not that you have anything to contribute anyway.
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16/11/2010 21:38:00


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