Arsenal came away from a very feisty game against Burnley yesterday, and the amount of obvious fouling by Burnley is emphasised from the evidence that the Clarets got 5 yellow cards to Arsenal’s 2, but Sean Dyche decided after the game to ignore his side’s blatant tactics and instead attack the Arsenal team as cheats and divers.
He pulled no punches after the game and ranted at the media. “We’re on about blatant, no touch, no contact; about phantom touches and people just jumping up in the air and going over,” Dyche said. “The absolute cheating, dives. No one seems to want to do anything about it, apart from me. If one of their players had been booked for it – he would have been off [Guendouzi was already on a yellow card].
“Even at the end, [Matej] Vydra goes through and touches Xhaka marginally on his shoulder and Xhaka goes down and gets a free-kick. It’s centre-halves now – going down after hardly anything. Incredible.
“Kids are watching and copying it. Millions of children. You wouldn’t ruffle your kids’ hair if they came home after school and cheated in a maths test. But they cheat at a game of football and it’s OK. The game needs to have a look at itself. It was incredibly bad in the World Cup.
“I want to see people banned because if they were, it would evaporate. I’m not talking about gamesmanship. You clip a centre-forward in the box and he goes down. End of story. I’m talking about blatant diving. Cheating.”
Dyche and Emery were seen gesticulating to each other after the game, and the Burnley boss was asked if Emery was upset about the ‘diving’ as well. “Of course he wasn’t – it was his players, not mine,” Dyche said. “He just said: ‘You are questioning the referee?’ And I said: ‘You’re absolutely right I was. All the best. Have a good Christmas.’”
I am surprised that Emery didn’t bother to mention the fouls that were aimed at Arsenal players all the way through the game, but I guess he doesn’t need to. We all saw it with our own eyes.
Merry Xmas to you too, Sean. I hope you don’t get relegated!