Arsenal Ride Their Luck, Chelsea Lose At Home And Football Is Just Not Cricket!

Posted: April 2, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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In the early game, Stubborn Old Man sent his Arsenal team out to face Stoke City knowing that a win was the only acceptable result. Three points would move them to within five of Chelsea in fifth and ten of Tottenham in fourth. It wouldn’t disguise what a terrible season The Gunners are experiencing but it would give a little cheer to the few fans expected to turn up at The Emirates for this one.

Stoke City, on the other hand, needed the points for different reasons.

Paul Lambert has done a reasonable job since arriving and the team were unbeaten during his short reign. Unfortunately, they have drawn far too many games through a mixture of bad luck and bad finishing and are still in grave danger of relegation. So anything gained from this game would be welcome.

The first half came and went with nothing happening of any note. Arsenal, as the home team, were awful and Arséne Wenger who recently lost his voice is managing the team like a man who actually lost his voice years ago. The interest for the second half was now whether Stoke could go on and win the game!

They couldn’t because Arsenal were awarded a dubious and totally undeserved penalty from which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored. This goal, instead of igniting a response from Stoke seemd to remind Arsenal of their home responsibilites and Aubameyang soon had his second.

The Gunners were then awarded another penalty, this time not dubious in the least, and Alexandre Lacazette scored.

So a game which, until the 75th minute was heading for a 0-0 draw, actually ended up 3-0!

Still in London…..

Chelsea met Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in the later game in the knowledge that a win for them would reduce the gap between them and fourth down to two points, whereas a loss would increase it to eight. A draw was only advantageous to Tottenham as it would maintain their lead of five points over The Blues.

With Harry Kane only fit enough to sit on the bench Chelsea will have been delighted to face the team minus their top scorer.


They were even more delighted when Álvaro Morata gave them the lead but Christian Eriksen equalised before half time and the second half saw a brace from Dele Alli secure the points for Tottenham and give them a first win at Stamford Bridge since February 1990.

Spurs now sit in fourth spot, eight points ahead of Chelsea and thirteen points ahead of Arsenal, who can now only qualify for the Champion’s League by winning the Europa League. At least they can still qualify, Chelsea can’t.

And finally…..

Cricket is a gentleman’s game. Rules are rules and shouldn’t be broken. Australians are winners and sometimes, unfortunately, their will to win exceeds their desire to play within the rules.

The punishment, however, should fit the crime, so here’s the question: What’s the difference between ball-tampering in a professional cricket match and diving in a professional football match?

In football, a player seeks to gain his team an advantage, usually a penalty, by conning the referee into thinking he has been fouled.

In cricket, a player or two or three, seek to gain their team an advantage by ensuring that the ball swings, seams or spins to greater effect thanks to their subtle manipulations of it.

If the crime of ball-tampering is worthy of players being sent home in disgrace, fined and banned from the game for a year then how come a footballer, for trying to influence the game in a similar fashion, only gets a yellow card?

South Africa Australia Cricket

The surprise wasn’t that they were cheating, but that they admitted it!

In both cases the perpetrators are guilty of cheating. In both cases the perpetrators are attempting to ensure a favourable result for their team. In both cases the perpetrators are abusing their positions in a professional game. So why, in both cases, is the punishment so different?

The fact of the matter is that football needs to look at it’s pathetic excuses for punishment and tailor them to more suitably fit the crime. Players who dive should be banned for the next game in whichever competition the offence is committed.

Retrospective punishment is a step in the right direction but doesn’t compensate the team which has lost through an opponent’s cheating, so points need to be docked when a winning goal is deemed to have been scored illegally.

In other words, and in light of cricket’s far stricter ways of dealing with “misdemeanours”, football needs to totally overhaul it’s punishment procedures.

  1. Bernard says:

    Couldn’t agree more about cheating aka diving in football. It’s blatant and prolific and condoned by the authorities due to the fact that the offence is largely overlooked. Also, feigning a head injury in order to gain a strategic advantage or to get another player sent off is nothing short of disgraceful behaviour, also condoned. The fact that the pre meditated ball tampering by the Australians was so harshly dealt with by the ACA is due to the widespread coverage in the media and condemnation by every man and his dog.
    Maybe a similar response from the media regarding cheating in football would produce a similar result.


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