In the least shocking news of the week, Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel picked up yet another red card for a shockingly bad tackle. This time it was a sliding tackle and though the challenge was one-footed, Mikel came in with his studs up (and nowhere near the ball) on Everton’s Phil Neville.
This was the fourth red card Mikel has received in about a season and a half of being a Chelsea player. Of course Avram Grant took his player’s side “I will not speak of the red card,” Grant spoke. “But if it was a red card, many players who were given yellow cards should have had a red card too. I will not speak about it. I don’t say that I have nothing to say about it. I have a lot of things to say about it.”
Grant should not be defending a player with a history of poor tackles. Instead, he should be working with him on the training ground or sending him down to the reserves for further work. I hate to single him out as he is far from being the only player to be guilty of these dangerous tackles but timing is everything in life, and in tackling too.
There is no question that Mikel is a phenomenal athlete and is a fine passer of the ball but his other skills are questionable. He does not seem to have a grasp of the fundamentals of tackling and marking (e.g. his recent hacking of Peter Crouch) or he has been trained using videos from the 70s when this sort of thing was tolerated and encouraged. In this era, where the players are supposed to be protected from dangerous tackles, he could be viewed as a liability to his team.
Steve Sidwell, brought on soon after Mikel’s dismissal, also deserves some scorn for what the Independent described as “an attempt at arthroscopic surgery” on Lee Carsley’s knee.
What do you think? Are the rules strict enough? Too harsh? To me want to see more of these bone-crunching tackles?