Home > Football > Would it be wrong to punish De Jong ?

Would it be wrong to punish De Jong ?

A few days on since the weekend matches and the bandwagon which everybody is getting on is the De Jong tackle on Ben Arfa which resulted in a double break.

I must admit that, at first glance, the challenge did not seem to be one of great malice and I am certain that De Jong did not go in with the intention of breaking bones. So I cannot blame the referee too much for not getting involved. But as I see it more and more you have to say that it was a bad challenge with both feet and you can see how such a bad injury has resulted from this challenge.

Let us go back to The World Cup final though. His neck high challenge that has led to criticism of Howard Webb for not sending him off was a far worse looking tackle with far more intent in my opinion. He got away with that, and similar challenges, during the course of The World Cup. So what you end up with is a player who feels like he can get away with anything. If referees are not going to take action then he is going to keep on doing it. That is one of the reasons I assume Man City bought him, to add some balance and steel amongst their ball playing stars. So in effect he is doing his job.

Which, brings me on to a similar situation developing with Karl Henryof Wolves. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that he has publicly apologised to all for his grossly mis-timed tackle at the weekend. Now here is a player who has quickly built up a reputation as a modern ‘hard man’. With the potential punishment of De Jong it is a smart move for Henry to show some remorse as he could be next in the dock.

Again, we can go back in time to find that some illegal tackles were not actioned by referees. I talk about the treatment he gave to Joey Barton during the Wolves v Newcastle match a few weeks ago.

It was abundantly obvious that Henry’s game plan was to ‘unsettle’ Joey Barton from the off. Was there an element of us all feeling that Joey Barton somehow was deserving of this treatment ? Given his past history on and off the field I think that this allowed for a certain tolerance towards the treatment received from Henry. There may even be some history between the two going back in time.

I must admit that the first few were on the border of ‘good strong, aggressive midfield play’ and ‘every time you get the ball I am going to nail you’. The referee did not clamp down early on the developing situation and, again, as with De Jong, Henry feels like he can get away with it. The end result, a disgraceful challenge seeing Jordi Gomez lucky to be in one piece.

But do we want to see a game of no risky tackles? No, of course not. A well-timed tackle is an art, something I have never managed to master for those of you that saw me play !

So lets keep this real. Yes, a bad tackle deserves to be punished, so referees need to be aware of what is-and isn’t a bad tackle (but that is another blog altogether !), but we also must realise that injuries will also be a part of the game too.

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Categories: Football
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  1. October 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

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