From roughly late August to mid May, segregation in the family home is quite commonplace of a Saturday night for UK and Ireland residents. The return of ITV’s The X Factor coincides with the return of Premier League football to the TV screens, which more often than not can cause a succinct divide in communication between members of the household, torn apart by Simon Cowell’s sob-story fueled, music-battering beast and none other than the beautiful game.
Easy choice. Well, it is for me, and two weeks ago, I was sat in my usual Saturday night spot, watching Match of the Day, laughing along with former Republic of Ireland midfielder turned pundit Mark Lawrenson, who had just let out a slight giggle watching Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic take a tumble inside the penalty area. “Ivanovic goes down like Jimmy Krankie and threw in a bit of a twist,” said the former Liverpool star who looked gleefully at the show’s presenter, Gary Lineker, as if to say, ‘Is he serious?’ This wasn’t the only diving incident in Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Stoke, as we also saw Brazilian international Oscar demonstrate to the punters why he should be considered the favorite for Olympic Gold in the Diving category when the games take place in his home country in 2016. Lawro said; “They are both dives. Oscar should have had an Oscar the way he went over.”
Following the defeat at Stamford Bridge, a frustrated Tony Pulis called for the FA to consider the punishment currently in place with regards to ‘simulation.’ Pulis said: “The FA should pull people up for diving and give them a three-game ban straight away.” The Stoke boss continued: “Ivanovic would be looking at three games, Chelsea wouldn’t be too happy with him and I don’t think he would be diving around anymore.” The events at Stamford Bridge have sparked up controversy as well as general banter about an all too familiar aspect of the modern game. Llast weekend marked the sixth week of Premier League soccer as one or two shock results occurred as well as an all new debate in regards to the subject of diving.
The champions, Manchester City, struggled to a victory over ninth-placed Fulham at Craven Cottage, bailed out by an 87th-minute winner from substitute Edin Dzeko, much to the relief of Argentine striker Sergio Aguero, who netted the equaliser in Saturday’s clash. When questioned after the game about Man City’s recent fortunes with regards decisions, the Argentina international remained quiet on the subject saying: “I try not to get involved with problems involving referees.” However, Aguero admitted his frustration at what he feels is an inherent bias present in the English game. Asked if foreign players have a tougher time from officials than English players, Aguero replied: “Yes. Always. It happens everywhere.” The former Atletico Madrid man’s comments came in wake of decisions going against international teammates Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Tevez for separate penalty appeals. “Here in England, there are almost as many foreign players as English players and it’s not right that some have a privilege that others don’t,” said Aguero, who famously fired home the winner against QPR last season, on the final day of the season, which assured City the League title for the first time in 44 years.