Know your opponent

January 13, 2011

Football is a game that evolves. New rules are constantly considered as a way of improving the game. From the banning of hacking to the introduction of three points for a win, many of these new rules benefit the game. Arsenal’s defeat to Ipswich last night must surely have laid the basis for a new rule change so that Arsenal get to decide how the other team plays. This can only come about when FIFA introduces rules that allow Arsenal to choose the team and the tactics of their opposition.

 In the vanguard of the need for change is football visionary Cesc Fabregas. Speaking in the wake of the game he said:

”I don’t know if it is long ball or it is a rugby kick but it worked for them. In England, a lot of teams play like that and it works for them, they create chances like that and it is their football. We just have to put the ball on the floor and try to play football. Credit to them because they played well but Arsenal played the football, the other team refused to play football, they were lucky to score with a long ball.’

Well said Cesc. And just to prove the point above is another example to go with the others of how to play football the right way.

Arsenal are renowned all over the world for their ability to deal with setbacks with grace. So it was disappointing not only to see the ref completely misjudge Bacary Sagna’s attempts to congratulate Zabaleta on an evening of sterling defensive work but how the media have also misinterpreted Cesc Fabregas ‘accosting’ Roberto Mancini at the end of the game, much as they did when Fabregas had post match conversations with Alex Ferguson, Mark Hughes, Tony Pulis and Brian Horton.

PS No way did he spit at Horton. Or Michael Ballack. And no way did he encourage Gerard Pique to spit at one of Spain’s coaches on the victory bus after the World Cup.

A chip off the old block

January 6, 2011

Cesc Fabregas used his programme notes ahead of last night’s game against Manchester City to condemn Lee Bowyer for his challenge on Sagna in the Birmingham game. “It’s sometimes difficult to know whether a player goes in to hurt someone or goes for the ball,” said Fabregas calling the challenge by Bowyer inexcusable.

Using your skill and judgement, determine whether Cesc is going for the ball or trying to hurt the player in these instances.

Choose your battles

January 5, 2011

The great Chinese philosopher general Sun Tzu once said ‘He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight’.

Jack Wilshere may only be young but he is wise beyond his years. He picks his fights carefully, knowing not to fight back when headbutted by a grown man like Wigan’s Charles N’Zogbia. But not holding back when it comes to breaking the arm of a young woman in the street along with two friends.

Spot the difference

January 5, 2011

 

Following Lee Bowyer’s three match ban for stamping on Bacary Sagna, much has been made of Alex McLeish’s claims that the FA has an inconsistent approach to disciplinary matters for different clubs. It was disappointing to see the comparisons being made to a ‘stamp’ a year earlier by Samir Nasri on Hull’s Richard Garcia, which not only left the Hll player pretending he had been hurt when Nasri’s boot touched his heel while the ref wasn’t looking, but also led to the incredibly rare spectacle of Arsenal players involved in a brawl with the opposition. It was only right that the FA didn’t charge Nasri with violent conduct, not least because Hull are too small to bother with.