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Why Allardyce is so wrong in Arsene argument

SAM ALLARDYCE on Arsene Wenger:

“In terms of saying people are trying to injure players he’s trying to influence, through the media, the referees and that’s something they shouldn’t get sucked in to.”

The major point that needs debunking is the idea that Arsene (or the vast majority of Arsenal fans for that matter) believe that Martin Taylor or Ryan Shawcross ever went out to break Eduardo or Aaron Ramsey’s legs.

Of course they didn’t go out to do that. If any of us believed they had, we’d have been calling for them to be arrested and charged with grevious bodily harm. There were no such calls.

This is a crucial point: the defence offered for so many bad tackles is that there was no attempt to injure.

What we and Arsene have always banged on about is whether a tackle is reckless, by which we mean whether the chances of serious injury will be significantly increased.

Allardyce is of the opinion:

“You have to try to win the ball at all costs and if someone doesn’t get it quite right people get injured.”

And it is here that the great dividing line is. Allardyce is of the opinion that so long as you don’t go in to intentionally injure a player, you are free to tackle as you like.

I am of the opinion that the sensible course of action is to give everything to win the ball up to the point of your behaviour becoming reckless and more likely to cause serious injury.

Of course, where the reckless line lies is a matter of opinion. But surely it is wrong to deny there is such a line at all?

The point that I think Arsene is making is that current evidence suggests that line is in the wrong place, that with encouragement from the likes of Allardyce, Arsenal players are ending up with broken legs that could have been avoided very easily.

That is not to say that every serious injury could have been avoided. You will always get freak ones where the same tackle 99,999 times out of 100,000 would have caused no harm at all.

On which note, the award for most absurd comment ever goes to Andy Townsend in tomorrow’s Mail. He says:

“Yes, Wenger’s had problems with players having horrible injuries, such as Eduardo, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby, but this week we have seen Bobby Zamora and Antonio Valencia suffering similar injuries and their managers haven’t moaned about it.”

It is simply preposterous to equate the Zamora and Valencia tackles with those on Eduardo, Ramsey and Diaby.

PS To those of you about to dredge up Diaby’s foul at Bolton or Eboue’s at Old Trafford I make no excuses for them and do not claim Arsenal are perfect by any means. That said, I would point out that in the 135 odd games since the Eduardo incident we have no had a single player shown a red card for serious foul play.

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