Premier League talking points

By John Keane
(Photo: Dan Goddard)

(Photo: Dan Goddard)

The last fourteen days in the Premier League have raised eyebrows, studs, emotions and most importantly, conversation.

For all Emmanuel Adebayor’s antics which we feel we must condemn, Eduardo’s rescinded ban, Diouf’s ‘urgency’ and Craig Bellamy taking a leaf out of the Brian Clough book of fan discipline, we must also remember that it would be a boring old game without it.

Adebayor was suspended for the highly contentious, high octane Manchester derby on Sunday. And while he was widely vilified last week, I feel it was a loss for football. We must ask ourselves why we rushed to come down on the Togo striker like a tonne of bricks.

We questioned his passion and commitment last year, yet when it is there in abundance we don’t want to see it.

With what happened last week, how can you feel anything but empathy towards him in this situation?

Adebayor ran up to the crowd and celebrated in front of the fans that had been giving him stick all day. But does that give Arsenal fans a licence to throw a barrage of missiles at him which included coins and a steward’s chair? No.

And I’m sure the Arsenal supporters at the match will say that their anti-Adebayor chants were just a bit of banter aimed at the player.

If so, it would be wrong to ban the City player in this instance. And it is strange that there was little retrospective action taken on the ardent minority of Arsenal fans.

The other inexcusable acts were his stamps on Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. The latter was not without a heavy tackle preceding it by the victim, but both were inexcusable.

A disappointed van Persie remarked after the game that Adebayor had shown ‘a real lack of class to me and the fans’.

Very little however has been said about the attempt by Bacary Sagna and old foe Nicklas Bendtner to take out Adebayor as he went on a great run, simply skipping over the challenges.

Both sides should be able to take a bit and get a bit back but needless to say neither party is innocent here.

I feel it was a shame that we did not get to see Adebayor in the derby as I’m sure his presence would have raised the raucous atmosphere by a few decibels. Settling for Tevez as pantomime villain wasn’t bad either though.

There is no need for a seismic shift in views towards perceived passion, or towards diving. If change is to occur UEFA and FIFA must outline a policy to deal with cases instead of singling out the high-profile case of Eduardo and thus opening the can-of-worms which will inevitably ensue.

By current definitions Eduardo was touched so no dive. Boruc was ill-advised and the Croat expected contact. Penalty given.

Staying with Celtic, it was interesting to see that at their latest ‘European’ adventure in Israel, there were seven officials involved in arbitrating the match. Yet they failed point out all off-the-ball instances to the referee.

In GAA in Ireland, players like Ryan McMenamin are masters at their craft and are not spotted by the four umpires so one question remains: Will this experiment actually benefit the game at all?

El Hadji Diouf has hit the headlines again this weekend. The man made famous for performances in Japan and Korea, 2002 and spitting, is in the news again; this time because of an altercation with a crowd member.

‘F*** off, white boy’ were the alleged comments of the 28-year-old directed towards the child in the stands who did not return the ball quickly enough.

Another man with a bad-boy reputation also in the news is Craig Bellamy. And we are not talking about his fabulous two-goal salvo including a real contender for goal of the season but rather the police investigation into an incident with a fan.

That of course is nothing new and neither is the upkeep of the Clough tradition of dealing with a jolly fan. Expect to see Craig Bellamy picking up trash and all manner of missiles off the pitch soon.


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