Manchester City defender Vincent KompanyIn a bygone era, Vincent Kompany would have received praise and admiration for his well-timed, ball-winning tackle, which helped avert the danger posed by Jack Wilshere’s probing run.

Escaping punishment would have been the least of the Manchester City captain’s worries in an age when the likes of Ron “Chopper” Harris and Norman “Bites Yer Legs” Hunter may even have criticised him for leaving the Arsenal midfielder unscathed.

Kompany’s tackle in his side’s 2-0 Premier League victory at the Emirates was inch-perfect. A combination of competence and bravery to skilfully dispossess Wilshere, whose close control would normally have seen him knock the ball to the side, drawing in the foul.

The margin for error was high, but Kompany showed great technique to execute his challenge, just one of many reasons why the Belgian international is regarded as a natural leader and worthy of his captain’s armband at Eastlands.

The red card he received as a result of what Alan Hansen quite rightly labelled “just about the perfect tackle” was a worrying refereeing decision, which thankfully was overturned by the FA.

Nevertheless, the original judgement from Mike Dean to dismiss Kompany is undoubtedly a product of the modern-day climate, in which tackling is punished to the extreme.

The FA rules state that for a player to be guilty of serious foul play (a sending off offence), he must use excessive force or brutality. It further states that any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball should be handed the red card.

Yes, the challenge was a firm one, as was necessary for Kompany to dispossess Wilshere effectively. But it was certainly not excessive or brutal.

Furthermore, he does not lunge towards the onrushing Wilshere, but essentially stands his ground, lifting up his back foot in the process.

To agree with former Manchester City and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann, Kompany did not intend to harm Wilshere by lifting up his back foot, as would have been the case if the front foot were raised, but instead to avoid being harmed.

Players run the risk of sustaining horrific injuries, when their feet are planted in the ground. A most noticeable case was that of Eduardo da Silva. The former Arsenal striker suffered a broken left fibula and open dislocation of his left ankle, as his leg gave way under the pressure of Martin Taylor’s bruising challenge in a match against Birmingham.

Kompany’s tackle was far better timed than Taylor’s, but the red card was brandished all the same.

Wilshere too has been a victim of this unfortunate trend to punish tackling excessively. The yellow card he harshly received for a well-executed tackle at Wigan in December was similarly disappointing.

In essence, the game’s most skilful tacklers are being punished for their ability to perform the sorts of interventions referees consider dangerous if they go wrong.

The FA needs to tell referees not to be thinking cautiously “What if?”, but rather give credit where credit is due. The former approach can only give rise to a low-risk and less competitive way of playing football, making fundamental changes (for the worse) to the game we grew up knowing and loving.

In reaction to his sending off, Kompany tweeted:

“Ultimately I’m a defender: Appeal may work or not. I will never pull out of a challenge, as much as I will never intend to injury a player.”

Admirable words from a player committed to his principles of playing tough but fair, but he should not have to run the risk of a three-match suspension for doing so.

The game needs to show greater respect to players of Kompany’s ilk to help restore the competitive nature of football. Indeed, the way it is officiated at present, one could be forgiven for questioning its status as a limited-contact sport.

Their constant punishment, however, will only exacerbate the issue of a game continuing to lose touch with itself.

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
WIN THE NEW ENGLAND KIT

Terms and Conditions

Why?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall

Login

Comment without logging in

You will need to fill this out each time to comment so why not quickly login with Facebook!

*

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
WIN THE NEW ENGLAND KIT

Terms and Conditions

Why login with Facebook?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall


  • Harry
    1 year ago

    I’d argue that people need to cut the flack for Mike Dean here… From his angle, it was a lunge, and a red card. Refereeing is all about angles, so though review of footage has proven the decision to be incorrect, Mike had to show a red card at the time.

    Reply
    • Harry
      1 year ago

      Why I had to get Dirk Kuyt, or whichever ugly bugger is attached to this post, I do not know.

      Reply
    • Dan
      1 year ago

      Strange that refs never get this view when it comes to United players.

      Since 2011/12 to date;

      City 8 red cards

      United 1

      Reply
  • Darren
    1 year ago

    Just leaving a comment to see who I get as a profile pic….Peter Beardsley? Luke Chadwick? John Wark? lets fins out.
    Should also add that I agree with Harry on that red although the assistants need to help out far more than what they do. COYS!!!

    Reply
    • Darren
      1 year ago

      errrr someone help me out – who is this?

      Reply
      • Darren
        1 year ago

        It changes every time – quality ;-) well funny

        Reply
      • Jeremy Poynton
        1 year ago

        Steve Bruce!

        Reply
  • Eric
    1 year ago

    The game has changed since the days of yore, just as every major sport has changed. The reason is that there is so much money involved in the game that protections must be made for the major investments of the owner. Back when players had a maximum wage and could be replaced easily it was of less concern. Now losing a player who makes 100k a week is devastating for a club. You can’t reward players who make dangerous tackles but happened to time them perfectly. Next time it won’t be perfect and someone will end up with a broken leg. The rules and directives are written so that these tackle attempts are taken out of the game, not just so the mistimed ones are. Kompany had made a dangerous tackle in the way he went about it. The timing was perfect, but it won’t be everytime, and that is why this tackling style is being eliminated from the game.

    Reply
  • Towson Tom
    1 year ago

    The game has changed over the last 30-40 years, Safety is a big factor due to the ambulance chasing lawyers etc… But not always for the better, These days instead of Norman Hunter/Tommy smith type tackles its all about shirt pulling, arms wrapped around your opponent elbows everywhere etc… certainly no better to watch and who is to blame? The powers running the game who have let it develop slowly over many years.

    Reply
  • Adam
    1 year ago

    Not the old “chopper ” Harris argument again please.

    Reply
  • Odu
    1 year ago

    Mistakes like this can be corrected like the overturning of the ban. How about mistakes that result into goals? Arsenal was punished for this mistake with the two chelsea goals- one from a tackle that has seen the victim not playing for over a week, the second from a dive, then a penalty. May I ask, would the an have been reserved if it was a lesser team? maybe not

    Reply
    • Joe
      1 year ago

      Agree … I believe the failure to punish Ramires’ tackle on Coquelin was a direct result of Kompany’s card being overturned.

      Reply
  • Harry
    1 year ago

    @Odu, hard as it may sound, sometimes refereeing mistakes are as much a part of football as mistakes by players. It sounds odd, but that’s what they tell young refs (like myself).

    I’d argue that the penalty was another incident which was dependant on angles, and the ref’s angle showed a foul. Ref also correctly didn’t show red card for that one.

    I’d argue that referees never make a decision based on who the team is, but crowd pressure and abuse from the touchline can influence you to make decisions.

    Reply
  • Frederick
    1 year ago

    The problem nowadays is that cheating is part of the game. Referees have no chance and unless the FA remind clubs that unlike Rugby, players should hold opponents shirts – anyone the referee sees acting in this way should be booked immediately. The assistant referees have a major part to play in eradicationg this habit. The FA should examine all the video tapes after games and if a player thinks they have got away with this action or any other form of cheating they should be given hefty bans immediately.
    So many things are wrong with the game and when matches are sought to be refereed by managers, again the FA should intervene.
    I find it totally ironical that last weekend Fergie sought to challenge the decisions of the officials. As a result of that outburst, MOTD spent most of it’s analysis deciding whether or nor it was a penalty. What they should have examined was the new tactic introduced to nullify the speed of forwards running for space being blocked out by defenders. Again it is mot American Rules Football where such measures are permitted.
    Fergie should always remember the goal not allowed by Mark Clattenberg where the MUFC goalkeeper Carroll retrieved a shot from Mendes where the ball was a metre over the line. Wouldn’t it have been sporting if he had admitted the goal but we all know what his manager would have said.
    So managers – just keep quiet and remember that football is a game.

    Reply
  • davi
    1 year ago

    I’m an arsenal fan, but when I saw the red card come out I was angry for him. Twice now he’s been treated incredibly harshly for making a pretty straightforward tackle, and it’s hard to understand why. Sometimes refs get it wrong but he couldn’t have been so sure that he had to remove k from the pitch?! A yellow would have been wrong but at least understandable.
    The thing I find strange however is how ask the press is so in k’s favour this time when at least he made contact with the player. when it happened against utd, they were actually split between ‘perfectly good challenge’ and ‘most dangerous thing i’ve ever seen’! Why is that? The challenge on nani was more an interception than a tackle and no one would have said a thing had the ref not sent him off. Just goes to show how much the media is in the pocket of Manchester united.
    Anyway, good to see that kompany isn’t letting it affect him. He’s a great defender and one of the few clean ones from what i’ve seen.

    Reply
  • gardiancho
    1 year ago

    What perfect tackle ? He had to be ban for long time why did they deny the ban show how are tritted big clubs in Premier League. No one can explain why did he did this tackle, look the video there were no reason to do this tackle??? He throw his legs in the ear and went to the tackle. So we need to injury a player and then to punish him, disgrace.

    Reply
    • My Heart Is White
      1 year ago

      Jesus, that must have been painful? How did he get both legs in his ear?

      Reply

Related Articles:

Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal: Half-time Twitter report
SIX youngsters that are 'the next big thing' at Celtic
Manchester United ace ‘desperate’ to leave
Barca's loss is Man United's gain… SIX players that could be heading to Old Trafford
Liverpool plot summer move for Belgian ace