Should Arsenal play like the Cheating Barcelona? …. your vote counts

Today we continue with our new regular feature ‘Your Vote Counts’ which gives you the opportunity to see if your opinion is in line with the majority.

Following the defeat against Barcelona, consider this …..

On Tuesday, in addition to playing some magnificent football, Barca gave a master class in cynical fouling (otherwise known as professional fouling) and simulation with the intention of getting an opposition player carded/sent off.

We seek to emulate the Catalans in their brilliant style of play, but should we also follow their lead in the mastery of the less virtuous dark arts?

Arsenal generally try to play fair; to play the game in the correct spirit …. and that may have cost us the game on Tuesday.

Once Mertesacker went to ground and missed the tackle, our remaining 3 defenders had to deal with the forward movement of the most potent front 3 in the history of club football.

Bellerin, Monreal and Koscielny all had the opportunity to bring down the player with the ball before play entered our box. But they didn’t. The good guys stayed true to type, Barca scored and with it our chances of progressing in the Champions League evaporated.

Earlier in the game, I can think of at least 2 occasions when The Ox was dumped on his backside when a quick break was on. We got a free kick, the player who fouled wasn’t carded and our advantage was lost – Barca had successfully dealt with our threat.

There are 2 polls today, the first relates specifically to the passage of play leading up to the first goal …..

The second poll is more general. Many of us will have seen incidents in recent games when our players have had contact in the box and stayed on their feet, whereas a ‘Suarez’ would have gone to ground and won a penalty. Are we just too nice as a team? Would we win more games if we played the continental style of gaining any advantage we can even if it contravenes the spirit of the game?


77 Responses to Should Arsenal play like the Cheating Barcelona? …. your vote counts

  1. Rasp says:

    These comments left on the polls by Hlanganani

    Poll 1 …. It’s called taking one for the team and is part and parcel of football.
    Poll 2 …. Taking one for the team YES but being an outright cheat No !

  2. Big Raddy says:

    It infuriates me when opposing fans sing “Same old Arsenal, Always cheating” when we are probably the cleanest team in the PL.

  3. Rasp says:

    Comment left on the poll by ambrose ….. you need to take a risk at times not to concede a goal.

  4. Shard says:

    The idea that fouls are a resource is something I learned while playing college basketball. It’s a bit more tricky in football because there are no set number of fouls you are allowed to commit, but surely if you need to stop a player from getting to your goal, you stop him even if it means committing a foul (unless you are on yellow like Monreal, excepting certain circumstances like it being the last minute of a cup final where you are leading)

    I wouldn’t class this as cheating. You aren’t attempting to con the referee. You are just doing what the game requires and you accept the punishment that follows according to the rules.

    Diving for a penalty is a different thing. You aren’t doing what the game requires you to do. You are looking to cheat an opponent to gain an unfair advantage.

    In one you’re looking to foul and get away with it. In the other you are pretending that you were fouled.

    I accept it’s a matter of degrees though.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Vote 1. is easy when made in hindsight

  6. Rasp says:

    Thanks Shard, I put 2 polls on precisely for the reasons you give. The first vote for the professional foul is a resounding yes – the second poll is splitting opinion as I would have expected.

  7. Sid says:

    Nice idea for a post, thanks.
    I would like to see our players see the antics the likes of Alves and Neymar got up to and just take the piss out of them.
    Call them cheats, wind them up., go down screaming in pain. Point everthing out to the ref like Man U and Rooney do.
    All within the rules of course. 😉
    It is all too accepted as part of the game BT sport didn’t show the Alves Giroud incident after the game. Just bummed up Barca.
    How things have changed.

  8. Shard says:


    The tougher question for me is whether Giroud should have gone down when Alba decided to stick his noodle in Giroud’s face. It wasn’t anything that would hurt Giroud, but if Giroud had gone down, that would likely be considered a red card offense, with commentators saying ‘you can’t do that’ about Alba, even if they acknowledge that Giroud went down when he didn’t have to. It shouldn’t matter though. Giroud’s reaction should have nothing to do with the acceptability of Alba’s actions.

    Considering it’s Barcelona, and the stuff they get up to, I am leaning towards the ‘cheating’ and think Giroud should have gone down.

    The real fault lies in football and the disinterest in outlining properly what constitutes a foul and its punishment. In this, football does punish the ‘good’ guys, so I suppose we do need to learn some of the ‘dark arts’ if we really want to win. All the same, I am proud we generally don’t do this.

  9. Rasp says:

    I am also proud Shard, but I’d love to win the champions league – almost at any cost 🙂

  10. Shard says:

    If I thought that was the only thing stopping us from winning it, I would probably demand we do it 🙂

    But it’s not.

    So, do you think Giroud should have fallen over in that situation?

  11. Rasp says:

    After what Alves had been up to …. definitely

    Someone (chas I think) put up a clip yesterday from near the end of the game where Ozil just kicked Alves to the ground, and Alves being the playacting coward he is cried like a baby. It was obvious that Ozil new the game was lost at this point and just wanted to give Alves some of his own treatment …bravo Ozil.

    If anyone can find that vid, please put it up again.

  12. geezy says:

    cheating barcelona???? whoever wrote this can’t be serious

  13. Rasp says:

    Here’s a short version but it doesn’t show the foul

  14. Rasp says:

    geezy … do actually watch Barcelona … ever?

    Are you seriously claiming that Alves isn’t a cheat?

    You should blog on Barca sites … but maybe even on those they’d at least acknowledge how cynical they can be

  15. Shard says:

    Cut and paste this link into the address bar …

    [video src="" /]

  16. Shard says:

    Oops..Let’s try that again

    Alves is one of those players that always deserves a kicking 🙂

  17. Big Raddy says:

    This was less than 3 weeks ago

  18. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy,

    I take it you have heard that The Ox is probably out for the rest of the season following his injury on Tuesday.

    I was amazed he carried on after the tackle and even more surprised he came out for the second half.

    You have to question how much more damage was created by keeping him on the pitch … a strange decision, particularly when it was obvious that he wasn’t able to perform at his previous level.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    No Rasp, I hadn’t read that 😦

    I guess it makes selection decisions easier for AW (Always Look on the Bright Side of Life)

  20. Rasp says:

    I hope to see Danny play some part in every game for the rest of the season. He looked sharp against Barca and maybe losing the Ox will make it easier for Arsene to select him as you say.

  21. chas says:

  22. chas says:

    Sorry that didn’t come out inline as I was hoping, here’s the first again.

  23. chas says:

    Excellent stuff, Rasp.

    Unsurprisingly a definite ‘no’ from me for the second poll. The first is a bit harder; still undecided.

    I agree that Alves deserves a good kicking.

    If you don’t like a player, just take him out. 🙂

  24. chas says:

    Ralphie telling it like it is. 🙂

  25. Le Coq Monster says:

    Thanks Rasp !.

    Yes on both accounts for me, nice guys always come second and that`s only good if you make love !. Win at all costs for me, I`d sell my Grannie to Islamic State if it meant we won !…….. I`d sell my Grannie if it meant Totnumb not winning the league !…….I`m a winner and that`s commitment to the Arsenal cause .
    Right !………..I`m off with a spade to dig up my Grannie !…………you just never know who reads this blog !.

  26. Red Arnie says:

    Brilliant stuff, Rasp. 🙂 I think we, I mean AAers, are getting brilliant at this poll thing. 🙂

    OK, so, I am currently on the losing side on both polls. 😛

  27. Red Arnie says:

    On poll 1, I voted NO. Why?

    No because of any moral purity or altruistic reasons. But because I think we are poor in defending setpieces. If we wish to commit a professional foul, it has to be closer to the half-line than the box.

    This is exactly what we tried to do. We challenged every ball in a pack, and it was such a pleasant surprise to see that. If a defender found himself alone, we also did the right and honourable thing. Unfortunately, tehre were bookings as a result.

    However, close to teh box, if a defender has cover, there is no reason not to go into a tackle. A fair tackle, rather than waiting for the player to enter the box.

  28. geezy says:

    being smart doesn’t make you a cheat.
    i guess that’s the difference between barca and arsenal players…barca is smart

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    Brilliant idea for a post, I voted yes and no. As Shard says you can take one for the team and its fine, it’s just a sensible foul to make. I do believe that not enough yellows are handed out for those kind of break stopping fouls deep in own half.

    As for playing like Alves or Giroud taking a tumble, no it’s not for me.

    But you can see why so many players do it, some refs will only give a foul if they can see you’ve been impeded, let the ref know you’ve been fouled, some will couple of with an almighty scream but actually nothing is wrong with them.

    Why Alves annoys is he makes all these agonising faces and rolls around but rarely does the physio walk on the pitch. Maybe we need a new rule that every time you go down for longer than five seconds you have to leave the pitch, after all you are either in need of treatment or not.

  30. Rasp says:

    geezy, pretending to have been punched in the face when there has been no contact is not smart, it is cheating … I suggest you get yourself a new dictionary

  31. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I agree.

    The whole Maureen/team doc/Hazard thing was really about Maureen saying to the doctor “of course he doesn’t need medical attention, he’s just rolling around to make it look bad on the opposition’s player”

  32. Red Arnie says:

    On poll 2, I voted YES. Why?

    Because I think trying to stay on the feet inside the box or nearby statistically gives us less of a chance in scoring rather than inviting a challenge. Yes, it is cheating, sort of, but heh: when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

    In both cases, however, this is the realist in me voting. I would love us to uphold the finest traditions in the game. But, teh world does not believe we do so. Evidence? Our record of collecting cards.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    Geezy Alba going to ground after suffering a wicked blow from Girouds finger nail is not smart, Alves making a meal of every tackle is not smart. They are trying to con the ref, that’s cheating if ref takes action.

    The difference seems to be that in Spain it’s acceptable to ask the ref to make the decision and the players don’t seem to offend each other by doing so. In the Premier League whilst there is a fair amount of diving the finger pointing is done at the players not the ref.

  34. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie I think there’s a difference between buying a foul and diving. If a defender is stupid enough to make a lunging tackle you have every right to make the most of it, ie toe the ball past and wait for contact. But that’s difference to going down at the slightest touch in the box.

  35. Red Arnie says:

    Top comment, GiE. But if a player is really injured, would that not be penalising the team? Sorry, NO, we need better standards of refereeing. In Europe, yes, but more importantly in the EPL. I think the standards are really bad in England.

  36. Red Arnie says:

    Agreed GiE. I just wonder whether we have smart enough refs that can spot the difference. That is where the problem lies. IMO. It creates adverse incentives for cheating. Which of course the fans realise, so thay are forgiving of cheaters. Its a negative spiral.

  37. Rasp says:

    I can see the reason in both Arnie and GiE’s points. Surely if there was retrospective punishment dished out to divers/cheats in the form of match bans, based on video review after the game, it would largely stop it happening. The ref is never going to get every decision right and serial offenders like Alba and Alves are experts at cheating – so why not ban them for 1 or 2 games when they succeed in conning the ref.

  38. Le Coq Monster says:

    I know when I accidently reversed into my mother in law she did a synchronised double back flip and then layed there holding her face !…..I didn`t touch her face, I crushed her pelvis !………..f##king cheat !

  39. GoonerB says:

    Le Coq 🙂

    I have to say that the disruption of play professional foul is here to stay so we may as well adopt it. That little innocuous shirt tug or slight body check that normally results in a foul but no card but allows you to regroup defensively and spoils a quick attack. For me the Italians invented it with their Catenaccio. Once ahead they will disrupt play as often as possible to upset the flow of the team trying to get back in it.

    I would definitely say no to anyone doing the Alves / Alba stuff. That is cheating in anyone’s book apart from Geezy who has obviously been at the magic mushrooms.

    I am a bit split in the penalty area decisions and this is where it is a bit more subjective. I think if a defender is not getting to the ball but impedes you and your shot on goal by coming across you then get the penalty. If there never was or was never likely to be any contact and that player goes down in a non clear cut goal-scoring situation then that is cheating.

    Take the Hull game. Their lad looked for a pen with no contact and no obvious contact coming and was not in a clear shooting position. That is cheating. Welbeck’s one had imminent contact that was coming his way. he started to go down too quickly so he was looking for it, but he was going to be genuinely blocked off illegally anyway having cleverly slipped the ball past them. That is making the most of it but he just made it a bit too obvious that this was what he was looking for rather than wait till the contact actually occurred.

  40. LB says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the idea of a retrospective punishment for divers/cheats, I also agree that it would stop it almost immediately.

  41. Le Coq Monster says:

    Spot on LB !………..I expect my mother in law to feel the fulll force of the FA`s diciplinary committee !

  42. Le Coq Monster says:

    This gives us more of a rest before our toughest most important game of the season !.

  43. Eddie says:

    The Catalans should read about Harry Kane – played with broken nose and said he didn’t realise it was broken. Proper man, respect.

  44. chas says:


  45. Red Arnie says:

    Thumbs up to retrospective punishment from me as well. Who will bell the cat, though! 🙂

  46. Big Raddy says:

    There should be retrospective punishment for a whole gamut of crimes:

    Diving, time wasting, feigning injury, surrounding the referee, playing in a team with Joey Barton, wearing a shirt with a cock on a ball, being hideously ugly (I am looking at you Rooney) etc

  47. LB says:

    As I was watching the game on Tuesday I realised that Busquets is the only player who makes Joey Barton seem like a decent, honourable chap.

  48. Rasp says:

    So now we can see that at least 60% of Barcelona’s outfield players are diving cheats = Neymar, Suarez, Busquets, Alba, Mascherano and Alves …. how can any manager or supporter be proud of a team that has a culture of cheating?

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    The biggest annoyance is that they don’t need to do it.

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    Just imagine how long this video would be if he played in the modern era……given the brutality not too much rolling about:

  51. Does anyone have a rant for tomorrow?

  52. Big Raddy says:

    MU playing some lovely football with a team full of kids though it has to be said that the Danish team is very poor – make that very very poor.

    Good to see Spurs winning

  53. fatgingergooner says:

    Martial limped out of the United warm up tonight. Hopefully that means he and Rooney out aswell as countless other United players. Every little helps.

  54. Eddie says:

    David Sharpe – this is the best video I have EVER seen 🙂 🙂

  55. chas says:

    Flying Scotsman going past THOF.

  56. chas says:

    Damned fine looking filly.

  57. Eddie says:

    wow! great photo

    Sepp Blatter wrote an autobiography :):) Who on earth would want to buy it and then read ?? His arrogance is unparalleled

  58. chas says:

    I presume it’s what’s not in the book that everyone would like to read.

  59. Eddie says:

    ugly puglet 🙂

    Blatter won’t disclose anything interesting, just brag about himself

  60. Rasp says:

    Morning folks, we need a rant for today, there must be something you want to get off your chests 🙂

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Love that Flying Scotsman pic (and of course the babe below)

    I don’t understand the attraction of pugs. Looks like a dog that has run face first into a wall very fast

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Top work chas. 😀 😀

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry Lads. Putting on a very poor show this week. Should be back on track by Sunday

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Hope it isn’t work

  65. Eddie says:

    raddy – pugs have incredible personalities and huge egos. Once you have a pug, you cannot be without 🙂

    When I brought my puglet home the tenant refused to take him out for walks, because he was ashamed of the ugly thing. Now they are inseparable, the tenant begs me to sell the dog to him so he feels the pug is really his 🙂

  66. kelsey says:


    I rant every day yesterday was a good one (so I was told)

    Now United have a new wonder local kid who was only onthe bench as there were no other options and LVG said his players were horny so thay must read NB’s site.

    I am dreading Sunday as each week I hope we may at least get back to goal scoring form which might just help. Five 0’s IN 8 is not title winning form.

  67. Rasp says:

    Hi Kelsey, yes your rants are always epic 😆

    If you’d like to distill one down to a single point we could use it today ….. I’m not sure ‘we aren’t scoring enough goals’ qualifies as a rant – more a statement of fact 🙂

  68. Red Arnie says:

    I am sending one as well. But it is not time sensitive,

  69. Red Arnie says:

    Motning all.

  70. Red Arnie says:


  71. Rasp says:

    Thanks Arnie …..

    …. New post ……

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