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Poll: Do Arsenal Fans Overreact Regarding Tough Tackling?

Andrey arshavin goes down in the box under a tackle from bolton's gretar steinsson but the ref stuart atwell waves play on FA Barclays Premiership. Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers. 11.09.10 Photo By Karl Winter Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

It seems to be the story that won’t go away. The question is whether Arsenal supporters overreact regarding the way other teams tackle their players? Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, there are convincing arguments either way.

But what do you think? Do they feel that Arsenal supporters (and their manager Arsene Wenger) have a victimization complex, or are their arguments solid?

Vote in the poll below, and share your opinions in the comments section underneath.

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  1. Sonny

    September 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Well if you would have had 3 of your top players having their legs broken in 3 seasons you would react the same way. Seriously though is this a pole? It’s pathetic. Why not ask is it ok to break Arsenal players’ legs?

  2. lowdown

    September 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    “But when you write about bad tackles, the first teams that come to mind are Bolton and Stoke and the like”.

    I think Kevin Davies might have something to do with that. 😉

    • DC

      September 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      Ha probably true, but it’s worth noting Davies has been sent off only twice in the last ten years in the league – and it’s not because referees love him (most fouls committed in PL six out of seven years).

  3. Go gunners!

    September 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Really looking fw to catching the match this afternoon on – performance yesterday on the site was pretty good.

  4. DC

    September 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I posted about this yesterday and, somewhat understandably, got a fair amount of flack for it.

    Do Arsenal fans overreact about bad tackles? Probably. Do all fans overreact about bad tackles against their team? Almost certainly. Like I said, I’m a Bolton supporter. Of course I reacted negatively, since the first things that immediately popped into my head were 1)Diaby breaking Ivan Campo’s foot in ’06, 2) Diaby getting a straight red for an awful challenge on Steinsson in ’08, and 3) Gallas going in late on Mark Davies last year, with no foul and a goal ten seconds later.

    This doesn’t excuse bad tackles by Bolton or Arsenal or any other side; a bad tackle is a bad tackle. But when you write about bad tackles, the first teams that come to mind are Bolton and Stoke and the like, when in reality every team is guilty at one point or another. As a journalist, I feel like itwould seem reasonable to mention the Robinson tackle and the incidents in this game as another in a long line of somewhat distasteful physical play by both Bolton and Arsenal in this fixture over the years; instead, all we hear about is Arsenal being the victim of Bolton thuggery, which I truly don’t believe is the case – especially after looking at the number of fouls called on each team in the fixtures of the past few years.

    So no, I don’t hold anything against Arsenal fans for complaining about bad tackles. And yes, I do think bad tackles should be punished at least with a fine from the FA, particularly when the player has a history of such tackles. But I do think the high-profile injuries to Arsenal players combined with the stereotyping of team behavior by the media has resulted us reaching this point.

    • Akshai

      September 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      From a gunners fan: spot on.

  5. lowdown

    September 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

    So, what did we learn today class? Let’s see, Arsenal fans think their team is subjected to more rough treatment from less skillfull teams than others. Anti Arsenal fans think they are not. Brilliant!

    This is lazy tabloid journalism at its worst. Next we’ll be getting stories such as: Wolfboy emerges from Ukrainian forest claiming Sir Alex is his father!

    • Sir Guy

      September 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

      “Wolfboy emerges from Ukrainian forest claiming Sir Alex is his father!”

      Don’t do that, lowdown! You know the Mail is going to put it on the front page.

  6. Sir Guy

    September 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

    A couple more breaks/bad tackles on Fulham and I’ll be going ballistic!

    All depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn’t it.

    • Akshai

      September 15, 2010 at 11:50 am


  7. David

    September 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

    While Arsenal fans may care more than others about the roughness of the EPL, can you blame them? They’ve lost some of their best and more up-and-coming players to horrific tackle-related injuries. Look outside of Arsenal this season, Zamora, Valencia and I know I’m missing another at least. The treatment that Henry gave Barton was shocking as well. I’m growing less and less happy with the EPL because it’s slowly becoming a league of great players playing against inferior ones that make up for it by being thugs.

    Clint Dempsey had a point beyond being pissed at Henry if you ask me. He wasn’t mad about the “fair tackle”. More so that his team made up for their short-comings by being unfairly and overly rough.

    • Akshai

      September 15, 2010 at 11:49 am

      Arsenal fans would do well to bring up the Zamora case. If we really feel like the issue is that we are the continental or the foreign team and we aren’t getting attention, then this is a good time to speak up.

      I think the issue may be more thickheaded than that. EPL does not properly deter the roughest of tackles. Forget if anybody is “that type of player.” Rough football needs to be deterred, and players protected.

  8. redditchpotter

    September 15, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I think that most Arsenal players are skillful and quick,but they do not know how to react in the tackle.
    Everyone who has played the game knows that you have to be fully committed to the tackle,if you pull out,then the problems start.
    Accidents are always going to happen,but to say that “everyone has got it in for Arsenal” is ludicrous.

    • Phenoum

      September 15, 2010 at 11:14 am

      Yeah, Diaby shouldnt have tried to play that ball on Saturday with a good first touch, he should’ve swung through it and blasted it to the second deck because that’s “committing to the tackle” against Robinson.

      Wait what?

  9. Evan

    September 15, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Yes, they do overreact. They think the whole world is against them.

  10. Akshai

    September 15, 2010 at 9:46 am

    @The Gaffer:

    Please don’t continue with this CNN-type style. I look to EPL Talk for great content, which also means analysis. There is a legitimate question to be asked with Abou Diaby now out for more than two games after a dangerous potential leg-breaking tackle.

    Paul Robinson came in quite high- yes, dangerously- and was unpunished. The straight red that went to his teammate, absolutely only a yellow, and the player should not have been sent off. We want our players protected with the proper deterrents for this kind of play. I certainly wasn’t celebrating to see a fine player, Bobby Zamora, chopped down in another game.

    You don’t have to be “that kind of player” to break a leg. You just have to be careless enough in one single tackle and the system just has to be lenient enough. Players careers aren’t worth putting on the line for the sake of more players pulling out of careless tackles.

    You have to protect players, just like in the NFL with concussions. We don’t have a system that does that adequately.

    • Roger

      September 15, 2010 at 11:09 am

      stick to American sports then mate

  11. premierleaguered

    September 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Nonsense ,they have their players horribly injured as they aren’t physically on par with the premier league,but sometimes Arsenal fans overreact for a simple challenge on their players.They Overreact when Rooney is Awarded a penalty ,but if Eduadro is rightly punished for great pool dive ,they say it is harsh. I wonder where Arsenal fans brain go in these kind of situations.

    • Simon Burke

      September 15, 2010 at 9:48 am

      You are spot on with Eduardo , that was a dive all week.
      I think people were more complaining that UEFA took that as their one example they were going to punish and then punish anyone else after.

      I have no problem with retrospectively punishing players and would welcome it but it has to be universal.

      • Thomas

        September 15, 2010 at 11:50 am

        If they would punish every dive after that but they never do. We’ve seen so many dives against our team (as does almost every team) but whenever an Arsenal player dives he gets ridiculed or unfairly prosecuted.

        Eduardo’s dive against Celtic didn’t change the game or anything. No offense but Celtic was never going to be the winner over two games. But when Rooney dives to end our unbeaten run nobody says a word.

        And fast forward a couple of years, we hardly get any penalty’s anymore.

  12. john

    September 15, 2010 at 9:19 am

    In my opinion its wenger who believes that if he complains enough (which he does) his team will be over protected and the result is often red cards for the opposition. They should remember they are an english club (with barely any english players!) playing in the english league whose supporters appreciate the physical side of the game. ( the skillful too ).
    If arsenal , wenger and their fans feel that the english game is’nt for them can they please apply to play somewhere else ? I for one would not miss Wenger ( anyone for bringing back the old Arsenal – the physical and some would say over physical one ? )

    • Simon Burke

      September 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

      Yes lets have a go at those Johnny Foreigners. Walcott, Wilshere, Gibbs, Frimpong, Eastmond. All beginning to come through.

      I love how you say the English support the physical before the skillful.

      You think Wenger complains to get people sent off ahead of time – you dont think he complains because Arsenal receive a fair amount of bad tackles? Nothing to do with that then?

      • Roger

        September 15, 2010 at 11:06 am

        we dont think Wenger complains to get players sent off, we know he does. Understand the game Simon or go away please

        • Simon Burke

          September 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm

          So again the broken legs? He doesnt complain about them? Answer the question Rog.

          • Jay - Stoke

            September 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm

            No he doesn’t he accepts that they are an aspect of the game. Eduardo, Wilshere ( any more? not sure) have had bad injuries, but the tackles could easily have gone in with the exact same level of intensity and not even bruised, for this see Abou Diaby’s challenge on Steinsson last season. Or Cesc Fabregas’ on Danny Pugh at Stoke. It happens, and most people just get on with it. Wenger seems to think that people want to hear his whining narrative on events, however.

  13. jm

    September 15, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I’m rather disappointed that you’ve put the debate back on Arsenal supporters, and not the merits of the tackles and the arguments Arsenal supporters have been offering. Both of my last couple posts have been defending the authors here against charges of bias on the grounds that it is totally irrelevant what side a poster supports. The authors of this site certainly must know how quickly their posts get turned into those debates! Yet, this post simply gives in to that, making the issue about the fans and not about whether the tackles really were that bad and whether the FA should do something about it. This post is just fuel for the fire of a heated, pointless and irrelevant debate.

    • Akshai

      September 15, 2010 at 9:37 am

      well said.

    • Q

      September 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

      Hear hear!

  14. Rob

    September 15, 2010 at 7:32 am

    i think the comments by Arsenal’s plastics on here show that the answer is clearly YES. How about another poll – do Arsenal plastics overreact to articles questioning their little darlings?

  15. patrick

    September 15, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I’m a West Ham fan, so there is no love by towards the Arsenal. But, it is clear to me watching the last few seasons, that lower level clubs are attacking Le Arse physically. Arsenal play an open game and live to move the ball on the floor, unlike many PL teams. More of a continental style of football. You see it over and over opponents get frustrated and foul.

    Hell yes Arsenal is targeted. Clubs like Bolton have been living on this sort of football for years.

    • Jay

      September 15, 2010 at 7:27 am

      patrick: lower level clubs, like West Ham? I think your team could do with a bit of steel to be fair. Arsenal aren’t unjustly targetted, they just get dealt with in that way because technically they are better than most and so to close space down and contain the fast players is the only way to stop them. It’s a results based game, so teams aren’t going to roll over, the sooner Arsene Whinger learns this the sooner he can stop making our ears bleed with his drivel.

      • Simon Burke

        September 15, 2010 at 9:43 am

        This typifies the problem in England.

        “Arsenal aren’t unjustly targeted, they just get dealt with in that way because technically they are better than most and so to close space down and contain the fast players is the only way to stop them”

        The only way to stop them is kick lumps out of them. Then the problem lies with 2 groups – the teams that do this and the refs that don’t stop it. I don’t want to see this in football, I want to see 22 men stay on the pitch, i want to see good attacking football. Not all clubs do this. West Brom and Fulham are a credit to the game, West ham too (at least they were). Too many people still like this style of hard tackling and grit.
        If Arsenal aren’t on telly I would far sooner watch a game between Fulham and West Brom than I ever would between say Stoke and Blackburn. I don’t want to watch crap.

        • Roger

          September 15, 2010 at 11:01 am

          and here is the problem with football today. People like you Simon. You belive football exisits for your entertainment, to watch on tv, you are not a supporter and you do not understand the game Simon. I don’t really blame you, after all gullible people like yourself believe the lies you are being fed by Sky and the rest of the money men. Hard tackling and grit are a part of football, the game hasn’t changed despite what the media have told you, sorry if you dont like it maybe you should find a sport more suited to you.
          To call West Brom a credit to the game shows you for what you really are Simon. You think a club who are happy to keep moving through the divisions just to make money are a credit to the game when football is a competitive sport consisting of much more than you see on tv. Teams like, say, Stoke and Blackburn are a credit to the game because they want to compete, they cannot spend the kind of money Arsenal can so they have to level the field any way they can. Sorry if you dont like this, maybe you could find something else to watch on tv whilst real supporters at the matches.

          • Simon Burke

            September 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

            THanks Rog – I have now turned to my true calling of ice skating.
            Sorry if I prefer to watch something entertaining. I’ll always support Arsenal, they are my team and I was a ball boy there for 3 years 89-92 which werent bad years. I have been to more games than you and i attend games here in the US now.
            If i am not following Arsenal, I’ll take Fulham v Sunderland over Blackburn v Stoke every single day. Fulham have shown clubs that you dont have to batter sides to beat them – you may have forgotten the UEFA Cup final. Cheers for playing though.

          • Roger

            September 16, 2010 at 3:14 am

            not sure why im replying, i shouldnt really be sinking to the level of a glory hunter, im interested to know how you know you have been to more games than me? could you explain please?
            You may of noticed i didn’t say Fulham are not a credit to the game, their supporters are certainly not a credit but i have respect for what Mohammed Al Fayed has achieved there with his considerable investments.
            Interesting that you will take Sunderland over Stoke or Blackburn, you are really showing your knowledge now. Perhaps you didnt know Sunderland had the worst disciplinary record in the premier league (its not called the EPL), they are also Arsenal’s next opponents, im sure you know that and already have your ticket, you have been to more games than me after all

          • England

            September 16, 2010 at 3:29 am

            oh dear, another Arsenal fan who must remember Keown, Adams, Bould, Viera, Petit, Winterburn etc etc but must of suffered memory loss! You must of also forgotten the beautiful, non contact, free flowing, short passing, total football of George Graham and all those exciting 1-0 wins. Or didn’t they show English football in the USA then?

  16. Anonymous

    September 15, 2010 at 3:39 am



    • Thomas

      September 15, 2010 at 5:12 am

      Not to mention that horrible tackle on Diaby. Completely overlooked and any video’s of the tackle were removed after one hour from youtube. It’s blatantly obvious Arsenal are being targetted by these thugs.

      • Rich

        September 15, 2010 at 8:43 am

        no mention of Diaby’s horrible foul on Steinsson a couple of years back, or Gallas on Mark Davies last season. It’s blatantly obvious Bolton are being targeted by these thugs

      • Akshai

        September 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

        For a really legitimate pro-Arsenal assessment, consider Arseblog.

        While fully acknowledging Arsenal’s tackles that have been less than fair, he also mentions the fact that Diaby’s tackle was punished. In this last Bolton game, we saw a potential leg-breaker that was entirely overlooked.

  17. sachin

    September 15, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Very few teams have the proper way of playing & beating arsenal…..Some teams invented the only way is to ruffle the gunners & in such situations the refs are not able to control the things the players are about to get injured….Even the PL refs tend to support english players when a rough tackle is made on foreigners……….The main part is arsenal does not give them back what they get…..the unbeatable team of 2003-04 has both the qualities they can play football & at the same time will be ready for war if opposition wants to………I desperately feel gunners should learn to take care of themselves on the field, Bcoz refs are not going to control anything………hoping to win this year………And most importantly for the reaction of arsenal fans on the physicality just hope we dont bring out the dark side else all PL teams will start saying arsenal is playing too physically

  18. SeminoleGunner

    September 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I think Arsenal supporters react much like any other group of supporters would if they had seen three of their players suffer broken legs in the previous four seasons.

  19. Shashi

    September 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    No, they don’t react, Arsenal’s players are clearly targeted the most compared to other teams. You have players like Karl Henry who is being cheered on by his club’s supporters as he breaks leg after leg.

    • Jamo

      September 15, 2010 at 7:32 am

      “breaks leg after leg.”

      And there in a nutshell tells you everything you need to know about the “new age” of Arsenal fans. The lack of footballing knowledge is laughable really.

      Why let the facts get in the way of a good old bleat though eh?

      Looks like you’ve been taking “Jackanory” lessons from your manager.

      • dexter97

        September 15, 2010 at 7:57 am

        Spot-on, Jamo. Facts have been a rare and precious commodity in this protracted “debate”.

        I suppose we should congratulate Mr Wenger and his propaganda machine on a job very well done. Joseph Goebbels couldn’t have done it any better.

    • Rob

      September 15, 2010 at 7:35 am

      how many legs? leg after leg would suggest several, could you learn to count please? Did you hear the Wolves fans cheering from your sofa? While im on the subject, do Arsenal fans realise that Ryan Shawcross has actually broken the same number of Arsenal players’ legs as Diaby?

  20. dlink09

    September 14, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    gaffer give it a rest.. stop this nonsense about Arsenal..

  21. Nick

    September 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Arsenal is always at the top of the fair play league, so yes, I feel that generally the fans have a right to feel upset. Certainly one could argue that an injury-free Arsenal would have won the Premiership last year.

    On the other hand, I don’t think teams are out to purposely hurt Arsenal. I think it’s Arsenal’s style of play and probably a bit of bad luck (or a curse!)

  22. Jean-Christian

    September 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Poll: Does this site beat this “story” to death?

    • The Gaffer

      September 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

      Jean-Christian, it’s obviously of interest to the readers, otherwise we wouldn’t post it. I’m guessing you’re an Arsenal supporter?

      The Gaffer

      • Jean-Christian

        September 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm

        I happen to support Arsenal, yes, but I find that irrelevant in this circumstance. I like this website very much, but I’ve grown rather tired of what seems like repeated attempts to capitalize on divisiveness. I would never begrudge you (or anyone) an opinion, nor curiosity as to someone else’s opinion, but I can’t say I’ve found new content in each successive article / link / poll / etc. regarding this topic; it just seems like the same take on the same set of facts each time.

        • Robert

          September 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm

          I concur; this headline’s wording is predisposed toward a certain answer. Of course, this website isn’t in the business of producing scientifically verifiable polls, but from a very common sense perspective, it will probably find what it seeks. The idea that this issue is “important to readers” should be evidence enough of the general feelings of the readership. There’s a selection bias here–it’s not as if this site is polling all Prem fans worldwide. Further, publishing several articles on the issue could lead to a conditioning bias–evidence of people writing about the effect could affect readers’ perceptions of a phenomenon occurring.

          • LP

            September 15, 2010 at 6:59 am

            Here’s some ideas for more polls to drive up reader participation:

            Poll: Do Liverpool Fans Love Losing Too Much?

            Poll: Do Manchester United Fans Love Their American Owners Too Much?

            Poll: Do Chelsea Fans Have As Much Trouble in Their Marriages as Chelsea Players Do, Or is That Even Possible?

            Poll: Do Manchester City Fans Want Divas More Than They Want Winners?

            Poll: Do Portsmouth Fans Look Back at Relegation with Too Much Fondness?

            Poll: Who Are Better People: Cat Haters or Dog Haters?

            Godwin Poll: Do Nazis Get a Bum Rap?

          • Sir Guy

            September 15, 2010 at 8:23 am

            Priceless, LP. 😀

          • Akshai

            September 15, 2010 at 9:32 am


          • Dave C

            September 15, 2010 at 10:16 am

            I love how the website essentially creates several sh*t-stirring debates on Arsenal, and then posts a follow-up poll asking whether Arsenal fans were a bit irrational in said sh*t stirring debates. It seems very re-iterative/derivative.

            I expect a follow up poll:
            Did people over-react to our last poll?

            And then another one:
            Did people over-react to that poll we had about people over reacting to a previous poll?

      • Q

        September 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

        Gotta agree with Jean-Christian and his well worded comment,

        “I like this website very much, but I’ve grown rather tired of what seems like repeated attempts to capitalize on divisiveness.”

        • The Gaffer

          September 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

          Q and Jean-Christian, I apologize if you don’t like the articles that appear to divisive, but I would argue that the vast majority of articles are non-divisive.

          The Gaffer

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