Tag Archives: collision

David De Gea and Patrice Evra taken out by Andy Carroll in Manchester United match at West Ham

Carroll's hit parade: De Gea and Evra feel the full force of striker in collisions that left Fergie furious (and Vidic got a crack, too)

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

20:11 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:10 GMT, 17 April 2013

After some lightweight performances earlier in the season, Manchester United have slowly been toughening up young goalkeeper David de Gea to cope with the rigours of the English game.

But no amount of steak and shoulder presses could prepare Spaniard for an Andy Carroll special.

The England striker clattered into De Gea shortly before half-time in this evening's match between West Ham and United at Upton Park, also taking down Patrice Evra in the process.

Collision course: David de Gea manages to punch the ball clear, but Andy Carroll (right) is already in full flight

Collision course: David de Gea manages to punch the ball clear, but Andy Carroll (right) is already in full flight

Face-to-face: There's no going back as the Spanish keeper and the England striker hurtle towards each other

Face-to-face: There's no going back as the Spanish keeper and the England striker hurtle towards each other

Smack! De Gea comes off far worse as Carroll smashes into him, with Patrice Evra sandwiched underneath

Smack! De Gea comes off far worse as Carroll smashes into him, with Patrice Evra sandwiched underneath

Both United players were left nursing bruises on the ground following the forceful barge from behind, which left Sir Alex Ferguson furious on the sidelines as referee Lee Probert declined to show Carroll a yellow.

In a sign that his 'bulking-up' programme is working, 22-year-old De Gea had come through a cluster of bodies to commandingly punch clear a corner before Carrol knocked him down.

It was very different earlier in the
season when opponents would target the keeper as a weak link and
occasionally benefit – notably when a last minute blunder cost United
three points at Spurs back in January.

Ferguson
remonstrated with the fourth official over the incident as the two
teams left the field at half-time and no doubt would have been satisfied
when Carroll was booked early in the second period for another tangle
with De Gea.

But the England striker was not finished there, appearing to catch United defender Nemanja Vidic with his elbow, leaving the Serb furious.

Grounded: Phil Jones, Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand appeal as those involved crash to the pitch

Grounded: Phil Jones, Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand appeal as those involved crash to the pitch

Furious: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with officials after referee Lee Probert failed to show a yellow card

Furious: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with officials after referee Lee Probert failed to show a yellow card

Round two! Carroll was booked for this collision with De Gea early in the second half

Round two! Carroll was booked for this collision with De Gea early in the second half

Given the elbow Carroll and Vidic go up for the ball and the West Ham striker appears to catch his opponent

Given the elbow Carroll and Vidic go up for the ball and the West Ham striker appears to catch his opponent

Carroll and Vidic

NextGen Series: Arsenal and Chelsea on course to meet in semi-finals, while Aston Villa play Sporting Lisbon

Arsenal and Chelsea on collision course in NextGen semi-finals as Villa face Sporting

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

Arsenal and Chelsea are on a collision course in the semi-finals of the NextGen Series.

If the young Gunners side can beat CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night, they will face their London rivals in the last four.

Aston Villa, who beat Olympiakos 1-0 last night to progress, will play Sporting Lisbon, who beat Tottenham 5-3, in the other semi-final.

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

NextGen Series

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

(click for match report)

Chelsea 4 Juventus 1
Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Sporting Lisbon 5 (aet)

REMAINING QUARTER-FINAL
Arsenal v CSKA Moscow – Monday March 25, 7pm (Emirates Stadium)

SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Chelsea v Arsenal/CSKA Moscow – Friday March 29, 3pm local time

Aston Villa v Sporting Lisbon – Friday March 29, 8pm local time

Both at Stadio G. Sinigaglia, Como, Italy

Both semis, as well as the final and third place play-off, will be played at Como FC in Italy over the Easter weekend.

Chelsea booked their place in the last four with a 4-1 win over Juventus last Sunday, thanks to goals from Lewis Baker, Alex Kiwomya and Islam Feruz.

Villa got through last night thanks to a first half strike from Graham Burke.

Sporting beat Spurs in a rollercoaster
match played at Leyton Orient – trailing 3-1 with minutes to spare,
they forced extra time thanks to a Laste Dombaxe penalty and Roman
Michael-Percil's last gasp equaliser.

However,
the Portuguese side proved stronger in extra time, with further strikes
from Alexandre Guedes and a 45-yard volley by defender Atud Fokobo
ending hopes of an all-English final four.

Arsenal will hope to join Chelsea and Villa when they host CSKA on Monday evening.

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna set to miss Arsenal game at Bayern Munich through injury

EXCLUSIVE: Wilshere in race to be fit for England after being ruled out of Arsenal's showdown with Bayern

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:25 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 12 March 2013

Jack Wilshere could miss England’s crucial World Cup qualifying double header against San Marino and Montenegro.

Arsenal’s brilliant midfielder is out of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Bayern Munich after failing to recover from the ankle injury he collected in the 2-1 defeat by Spurs nine days ago.

He will be left behind when the team flies to Bavaria today, and is not expected to recover in time for Saturday’s vital trip to Swansea.

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Injury doubt: Jack Wilshere is in a race to be fit for England's trips to San Marino and Montenegro

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich

Blow: Jack Wilshere is set to miss Arsenal's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich through injury

That puts England boss Roy Hodgson on a collision course with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger yet again over picking the 21-year-old for his country.

Hodgson names his squad on Thursday, and will want Wilshere in his side after his talismanic performance in last month’s friendly against Brazil – especially for the must-win trip to face Group H leaders Montenegro.

But Wenger, who sent the player on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery, will fear that he could break down on international duty and miss his club’s critical fight to retain their Champions League status for another season.

The Arsenal manager was angry last month that his star player was on the field for the full 90 minutes against Brazil at Wembley, when he believed he had an agreement that he would not play the entire game.

He also clashed with Hodgson in November over his selection for the squad for a friendly against Sweden when he had only just recovered from an injury sustained on Arsenal’s pre-season trip to America.

And England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce also bowed to pressure from the Gunners to leave him out of his squad for last summer’s tournament.

Wenger has other injury problems as his side got to Munich searching for a way to overturn their 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

Bacary Sagna is out after failing to recover from a knee problem and is also a major doubt for Saturday’s trip to The Liberty Stadium.

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

Setback: Wilshere could be out for a few weeks

It will leave the Gunners being forced to rush back Kieran Gibbs who has missed six weeks with a thigh injury.

With Nacho Monreal cup tied, Sagna's injury leaves Wenger short of defensive options for the clash against Jupp Heynckes men.

If the Gunners decide not to risk Gibbs, they are likely to line-up with a back-four of Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, the club's only available recognised defenders for the clash at the Allianz Arena.

However, the Gunners have been boosted by news that Bayern forward Franck Ribery will miss the second leg with an ankle injury.

Influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng are suspended.

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash against Bayern Munich through injury

Crisis: Bacary Sagna is set to miss the last-16 clash after failing to recover from a knee problem

Daniel Potts in hospital after Bacary Sagna collision in West Ham v Arsenal match

Potts kept in hospital overnight as West Ham defender is left unconscious following nasty head collision

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

22:41 GMT, 23 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:05 GMT, 24 January 2013

West Ham youngster Dan Potts is in hospital under observation after being knocked unconscious through a nasty clash with Bacary Sagna.

The 18-year-old lay motionless on the Emirates turf for 10 minutes as medical staff attempted to revive him, before taking him from the field on a stretcher.

Potts, son of former West Ham captain and current under-18 manager Steve, had only come off the substitutes' bench 11 minutes before banging his head into the Sagna's shoulder off the ball in the 73rd minute.

Flat out: Daniel Potts was knocked unconcious following a clash of heads with Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna

Flat out: Daniel Potts was knocked unconcious following a clash of heads with Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna

The left-back then fell awkwardly on the floor and was reportedly not making sense when speaking to those nearby.

The crowd watched silently as left-back Potts was strapped in a neck brace and applauded as he went down the tunnel. Sagna checked on him to offer warm words as he left the pitch.

West Ham club doctor Richard Weiler
went to the hospital with Potts, who starred in both FA Cup matches
against Manchester United, and manager Sam Allardyce said his defender
had at least recovered his senses.

Unconscious: There were 12 minutes of injury time at the Emirates after a collision involving Danny Potts

Unconscious: There were 12 minutes of injury time at the Emirates after a collision involving Dan Potts

Danny Potts

Allardyce said: 'Potts has gone
straight to hospital with concussion, he was unable to give the correct
answers to the questions. When you hit the floor like that it might be a
problem, he hit the floor as a dead weight.

'They have protected his neck. He was
out for a few seconds. He was not fully conscious when he came off. We
were concerned at how long it took.

On his side: Potts has gone straight to hospital with concussion, Sam Allardyce confirmed after the game

On his side: Potts has gone straight to hospital with concussion, Sam Allardyce confirmed after the game

'They have to make sure they protect
the spine the right way getting them on the stretcher; that's why it
took the time it did. Hopefully he will make a speedy recovery.'

Jack Collison, who scored his first
goal at the Emirates since returning from lengthy injury, said losing
Potts would be a big blow.

'It's disappointing,' the midfielder
said. 'He's been magnificent for us these past few weeks. To get a
chance tonight at a place like this is what he's worked so hard for.

'We wish him a speedy recovery. I
think there was a clash, these things happen. You've got to say well
done to the medical team, they got in there and he's in the best hands.'

Stoke City players play Premier League fantasy football game

REVEALED: The fascinating insight into who the Premier League players rate as Peter Crouch and co pick their fantasy football team at Stoke… but who has splashed the cash on points king Van Persie

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:17 GMT, 8 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:02 GMT, 8 January 2013

It's the time of year when the 20 Barclays Premier League managers start to think about tinkering with their teams in the transfer window.

And around the world, millions of fans with fantasy football teams will log on to do the same.

These two parallel worlds have collided this season after 18 members of the Stoke City squad entered their dream teams in the official Premier League fantasy football game.

Enlarge

Dream teams: The Stoke City squad have their own mini-league on the official Barclays Premier League fantasy football game

Dream teams: The Stoke City squad have their own mini-league on the official Barclays Premier League fantasy football game

Now see fantasy football at Stoke…

Click HERE to view the stars' mini league

Peter Crouch, Asmir Begovic, Jermaine Pennant and Kenwyne Jones are among the Potters stars who have put their judgement and reputations on the line in the club mini-league.

And it's Crouch who has stormed clear at the top of the table, albeit only after he made the heartbreaking decision to drop himself from his 'Longpins Longballers' XI.

The switch came at the end of November, after the lanky striker lost two teeth in a mid-air collision with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini.

The former England frontman clearly didn't have much faith in his powers of recovery and hauled himself out of his fantasy team.

But the tough decision has paid off, as his introduction of Demba Ba and Jermain Defoe to accompany Robin van Persie in a three-pronged attack has enabled him to surge to the top of the 'SCFC Fantasy League' in recent weeks.

Good move: When Peter Crouch (above) suffered a mouth injury in November, he removed himself from his fantasy football team and installed the more prolific Demba Ba (below left) and Jermain Defoe

Good move: When Peter Crouch (above) suffered a mouth injury in November, he removed himself from his fantasy football team and installed the more prolific Demba Ba (below left) and Jermain Defoe

Demba Ba of Chelsea

Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur

He currently enjoys a healthy 54 point advantage over Ryan Shotton and his 'FC Shottinho' side.

Shotton has been rewarded by his faith in teammate Jones, who scored three goals over the Christmas period to help Stoke into the top half of the real-life standings.

The free-scoring Van Persie is a staple in all the Stoke players' teams – as he is in thousands up and down the country after his phenomenal start to life at Manchester United.

There is also extraordinary loyalty towards teammate Asmir Begovic and this is well placed as he's won each of them 93 points so far this season on the game.

Points mean prizes: The Stoke squad's faith in their own keeper Asmir Begovic has earned them plenty of points in the fantasy game

Points mean prizes: The Stoke squad's faith in their own keeper Asmir Begovic has earned them plenty of points in the fantasy game

Languishing in the wooden spoon position at the moment is Dean Whitehead, his last place making a mockery of his 'no.1 seed' team name.

And this despite his XI currently featuring Van Persie, Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata, some of the Premier League's most in-form players.

His biggest mistake came, perhaps, in removing Liverpool red hot striker Luis Suarez just before a spell in which he has scored five goals in three league games.

Basement battle: Dean Whitehead is currently bottom of the Stoke mini-league

Basement battle: Dean Whitehead is currently bottom of the Stoke mini-league

Astonishingly, out-on-loan Pennant, who opted for a rude name for his team, hasn't cashed in on the lottery of points Van Persie offers, refusing to bring the Dutchman in at any point so far this season.

Roberto Mancini tension with new executives from Barcelona

Mancini and the boys from Barcelona at loggerheads over the way forward

|

UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 15 December 2012

Tension is already growing between Roberto Mancini and Manchester City's new executives from Barcelona over their vision for the club.

Chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain, who held similar posts at the Nou Camp before moving to England this season, have prioritised building up City's academy to try to emulate Barcelona's famous La Masia.

Tension: Roberto Mancini on collision course

Tension: Roberto Mancini on collision course

It was there that Lionel Messi was recruited as a 13-year-old and developed into the best player in the world.

But Mancini is fuming because he
feels the benefits will not be seen during his five-year contract. He
believes signing players in their early teens is a wasted investment
because the quality of City's junior coaching is inferior to that of
Barcelona.

He fears the financial outlay on the
academy will stop him signing up Europe's best teenagers who he can push
into the first team within two seasons.

Building a foundation: Ferran Soriano

Building a foundation: Ferran Soriano

The difference in strategy is causing
friction, with Mancini aware Begiristain wants all City teams
eventually to play the tiki-taka style favoured by Barcelona. Mancini
prefers to play a 4-2-3-1 and is sticking to his guns.

City's financial results last week
showed a annual loss of 97million and, while that is a big improvement
on the previous year, the club know they have to fit in with UEFA
financial fairplay regulations.

The stand-off is unlikely to lead to a
major bust-up in January and Mancini respects Begiristain's ability to
recruit firstteam players more highly than his predecessor, Brian
Marwood, who oversaw the signings of Javi Garcia, Scott Sinclair and
Jack Rodwell in the last window.

But their relationship is a ticking
timebomb, with Mancini believing the 37m contract he signed in the
summer would lead to greater control.

However, the Abu Dhabi owners have not brought in Soriano and Begiristain to be dictated to by the manager.

As a sop to Mancini, he is likely to get the topclass midfielder he has asked for in the new year.

Italy's Daniele de Rossi and
Corinthians' Paulinho, in action today against Chelsea in the Club World
Cup final, are under consideration, with Yaya Toure missing much of
January playing for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Other buys will have to be
self-financed by sales of squad players such as Joleon Lescott, Sinclair
or Edin Dzeko.

Mancini has made it clear he is unhappy with some of
Begiristain's plans and has shown less interest in City's elite
development squad, who are bottom of their Barclays Under-21 Premier
League group.

Pep Guardiola prepared for challenge at Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City – Neil Ashton

Guardiola will arrive in England ready for business, regardless of whether it is Chelsea, Man City or United who come knocking

|

UPDATED:

00:29 GMT, 12 December 2012

The popular theory is that Pep Guardiola couldn't handle working for Roman Abramovich.

Too much interference. Too much pressure. Too many demands.

It's interesting, particularly in light of Guardiola's reaction on March 7 when he was asked about the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas from Chelsea a few days earlier: 'I think he is a fantastic coach but we all know in this business that everything depends on results and not on our own capacity as a coach.

No pressure! Guardiola undertands the demands made of modern managers

No pressure! Guardiola undertands the demands made of modern managers

More from Neil Ashton…

Ash Wednesday: A head-on collision is like running into a 600kg polar bear… so, do you still think it's wrong for Bale to dive for cover
04/12/12

Ash Wednesday: Rafa the gaffer is here to stay… so it's time for Chelsea fans to forget feeble protests and stand by their manager
27/11/12

Ash Wednesday: Faced with Ronaldo and co, now is the time for Hart to remind us why he's No 1
20/11/12

Ash Wednesday: AVB's battle to emerge from Redknapp's shadow at Spurs
13/11/12

ASH WEDNESDAY: Cash a goner if you're a Gooner as Arsenal continue to short-change their fans
06/11/12

Ash Wednesday: Crystal clear why Arsenal have joined hunt for Palace superstar Zaha
30/10/12

Ash Wednesday: A warning to Blackburn's new boss… careful who you trust at the top
23/10/12

Ash Wednesday: Mourinho's pupil Rodgers needs to reel in the soundbites in bid to steady Liverpool
16/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

'Time is not something you get when you come into this job – you know that is not the case.'

It was an unexpected answer, the sort of response that raised eyebrows considering Chelsea's record of firing managers.

/12/11/article-2246719-15483255000005DC-569_468x337.jpg” width=”468″ height=”337″ alt=”Family man: Guardiola is on a sabbatical in New York with his wife and kids” class=”blkBorder” />

Family man: Guardiola is on a sabbatical in New York with his wife and kids

Family man: Guardiola is on a sabbatical in New York with his wife and kids

He famously lost his first game in
charge, away to Numancia in 2008, and then drew with Racing Santander in
his opening game at the Nou Camp. The pressure was building.

When they finally got their season underway, with a 6-1 victory at Sporting Gijon, the team never looked back.

They won the Champions League in his
first season when they beat Manchester United in Rome and he is now the
most successful manager in Barcelona history.

It is too simplistic to say that he could not fail with a team that boasted Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.

Guardiola still had to motivate them,
to keep them interested after the glory years under Rijkaard. The team
responded and that is good management.

When he left Barcelona at the end of
last season, he gave an interesting insight into the challenges he faced
at the Nou Camp towards the end.

There was huge internal conflict when
he spoke so warmly about his remarkable Barcelona team and, in the next
breath, admitted that changes would need to be made in the next few
years.

Carles Puyol (34) and Xavi Hernandez
(32) remain a class act at Barcelona, but the constant evolution of the
team will demand changes.

When he arrives in England next summer, he will be under enormous pressure to succeed.

It is conceivable that his first game in charge of his new club will be the Community Shield at Wembley in August next year.

Like all great managers he would
expect to get off to a good start and win his first trophy at the very
first attempt. Top four clubs, with the exception of Arsenal, demand
silverware every season.

Shake on it: Pep could renew hostilities with his old foe Mourinho

Shake on it: Pep could renew hostilities with his old foe Mourinho

Shake on it: Pep could renew hostilities with his old foe Mourinho

Chelsea won the FA Cup and European
Cup under Roberto Di Matteo and yet he was fired the night they were
beaten 3-0 in Turin by Juventus in this season's Champions League.

Sir Alex Ferguson is, quite rightly,
ring-fenced after 12 Premier League titles and two European Cups, but he
still places enormous pressure on himself to finish first.

Roberto Mancini, who won Manchester
City's first league title since 1968 last season, is under threat just
months after signing a fat new contract at the Etihad.

They are all emerging as options as the season progresses, but Guardiola is smart to know that the expectations will be huge.

There will be even greater emphasis with the probable return of Jose Mourinho at the end of the season.

As managers of the two biggest teams
in Spain, arguably the world, they frequently collided when Mourinho was
appointed by Real Madrid in 2010.

They clashed ahead of the Champions
League semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu in April 2011 after Mourinho
criticised Guardiola.

The Barca coach reacted by admitting the Special One was 'the f****** boss' in the press conference ahead of their 2-0 win.

They are sure to renew hostilities when the shakedown takes place at the Premier League's top teams in May.

/12/12/article-2246719-0C521A4C00000578-59_468x330.jpg” width=”468″ height=”330″ alt=”Leap of faith: Guardiola knows he would have to make winning start in England” class=”blkBorder” />

Leap of faith: Guardiola knows he would have to make winning start in England

Gareth Bale is right to dive from tackles – Neil Ashton

A head-on collision is like running into a 600kg polar bear… so, do you still think it's wrong for Bale to dive for cover

|

UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 5 December 2012

Good on Gareth Bale for trying get out of Steven Sidwell’s way at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

It’s not cheating, it’s sensible.

At full pelt the Tottenham flyer, who weighs 74kg, bears down on opposition defenders at around 23mph.

Target: Gareth Bale terrorises defences at home and beyond

Target: Gareth Bale terrorises defences at home and beyond

More from Neil Ashton…

Ash Wednesday: Rafa the gaffer is here to stay… so it's time for Chelsea fans to forget feeble protests and stand by their manager
27/11/12

Ash Wednesday: Faced with Ronaldo and co, now is the time for Hart to remind us why he's No 1
20/11/12

Ash Wednesday: AVB's battle to emerge from Redknapp's shadow at Spurs
13/11/12

ASH WEDNESDAY: Cash a goner if you're a Gooner as Arsenal continue to short-change their fans
06/11/12

Ash Wednesday: Crystal clear why Arsenal have joined hunt for Palace superstar Zaha
30/10/12

Ash Wednesday: A warning to Blackburn's new boss… careful who you trust at the top
23/10/12

Ash Wednesday: Mourinho's pupil Rodgers needs to reel in the soundbites in bid to steady Liverpool
16/10/12

Ash Wednesday: Amnesty on football's ills Now that would be a good idea… until the next whistle blows
09/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

If he acts the big brave British boy as everyone is screaming out for him to do, then a head-on collision is the equivalent of running into a polar bear weighing 600kg.

No-one is stupid enough to do that.

Why would a player of Bale’s talent put himself at risk of serious injury simply to man-up in front of the opposition and their fans

He did that before, remember, when Charlie Adam nailed him in 2011 and he spent three months on the sidelines with an ankle ligament injury.

Bale remembers and quite right too. The following summer he was forced off in Tottenham’s pre-season friendly when Adam gave him another nasty reminder following his transfer to Liverpool.

There is bad blood between them and Bale wants to protect his ankles from further punishment.

That is the reason given by Tottenham’s manager Andre Villas-Boas after television replays proved conclusively that Sidwell clipped his winger last weekend.

Bale has become a moving target for the tough-guys ever since his memorable hat-trick against Inter Milan at the San Siro in October 2010.

The Wales midfielder came of age that night and he has been singled out for special treatment ever since.

This is one of the most precocious talents in world football and his breathtaking runs down Tottenham’s left wing should be respected by referees.

Bale’s not a fraud, but no-one can
stay on their feet when they believe they are about to be taken out by
Brad Guzan, Daniel Agger or Sidwell.

He is establishing a reputation for
going to ground too easily, but that’s unfair on a player who is the
main attacking thrust in this evolving Tottenham team.

Going down: Bale was booked for going down from this challenge from Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell

Going down: Bale was booked for going down from this challenge from Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell

Against Aston Villa last month he felt he had little choice but to take action when he spotted Guzan storming out of the Villa goal in the corner of his left eye.

Sure it looked clumsy, even stupid, but the alternative was to be taken out by a man at full flight weighing 95kg.

Somehow he avoided a caution at White Hart Lane that night, but he hasn’t been so fortunate in his last two games.

Against Liverpool last Wednesday, when Tottenham won 2-1, Bale was cautioned after a collision with Daniel Agger.

Why would he cheat He set up one and scored a beaut that night, confirming his class in this improving Tottenham team.

He was given another yellow card at Craven Cottage after 23 minutes and yet his team still recorded an impressive 3-0 victory over Fulham.

The sarcastic applause for referee Chris Foy did not help, but his reputation is becoming an increasing source of frustration. He has denied, on several occasions, that he dives deliberately.

Surely he is entitled to take evasive action when he believes he is about to be taken out by the opposition.

The thunderous challenges come thick and fast for players like Bale and over the years he has a developed a physique to deal with most of them.

He would much prefer to side-step them with a dip of the shoulder and sharp acceleration, but it’s not always possible.

You've got to be kidding me! Bale can't believe his caution

You've got to be kidding me! Bale can't believe his caution

The basic premise that this is the Barclays Premier League and that things are differently over here cannot always apply.

Certainly there was no criticism for former England striker Michael Owen when he was asked whether he would dive to win a penalty in the last minute of a World Cup final. He replied ‘yes’ and yet no-one had a problem with that at the time.

There were certainly no complaints when the country went potty after Owen came into contact with Argentina defender Robert Ayala in the penalty area at France 1998.

Perhaps the difference is the blatant attempts to win free-kicks or penalties, the kind of behaviour that appeared to be in Didier Drogba’s blood during his early years in English football. He admitted he ‘dived’ on television, later retracted, but the damage was done.

Team-mates, particularly Chelsea captain John Terry, promised to ‘have a word’ when it had become endemic in his game.

Others, such as Everton skipper Phil Neville, admitted he was ‘stupid’ after he took evasive action when he believed Agger was about to take him out in the Merseyside derby.

When Bale returns from the hamstring injury he picked up during the victory against Fulham, he will be under the microscope more than ever before.

He has been booked six times already this season and two of them have been for simulation. With six goals and one assist for Spurs, it is little wonder people are getting in his way.

Jose Mourinho sarcastic after not receiving UEFA 100 games plaque

Mourinho: Thanks for nothing, UEFA! You gave Fergie a plaque for 100 Champions League games… so where's mine

|

UPDATED:

18:03 GMT, 23 November 2012

Jose Mourinho is on collision course with UEFA again after the ‘thanks for nothing’ message he sent them after the midweek draw with Manchester City.

The Real Madrid coach is understood to have been told by Sir Alex Ferguson in the build up to the game that when reaching his century of Champions League matches he received a commemorative plaque from UEFA.

What about me Jose Mourinho was already annoyed at the refereeing display and not getting the same memento as Sir Alex Ferguson (below, left) was the final straw

What about me Jose Mourinho was already annoyed at the refereeing display and not getting the same memento as Sir Alex Ferguson (below, left) was the final straw

I want one too!

There was no such award for Jose at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday and as he tried to refrain from criticizing referee Gianluca Rocchi he said after the game: 'I have to stay calm I still have a UEFA suspension hanging over me so I only want to thank them for the very nice plaque they gave me as a gift for my 100 games.'

Mourinho ducked out of the pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Betis sending number two Aitor Karanka who was asked if Mourinho’s thanks to UEFA had been ironic.

He said: 'There is no irony. The day before the game he received a call from a coach to congratulate him for the 100 games and this same coach told him that UEFA had given him a plaque when he reached the 100 games.'

Shhhh… Don't tell Jose but Sir Alex has a statue now (click here for full story)

Another plaque: Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford on Friday

Another plaque: Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford on Friday

And another... Ferguson holds up a plaque given to him as he received the freedom of the City of Glasgow after his 1999 Champions League triumph

And another… Ferguson holds up a plaque given to him as he received the freedom of the City of Glasgow after his 1999 Champions League triumph

One more for luck: Ferguson holds a plaque presented to him from supporters in the southern port city of Limassol, in 2007 during a celebration of 20-years since the formation of the Manchester United Supporters Club of Cyprus

One more for luck: Ferguson holds a plaque presented to him from supporters in the southern port city of Limassol, in 2007 during a celebration of 20-years since the formation of the Manchester United Supporters Club of Cyprus

England v San Marino – match report

England 5 San Marino 0: Rooney and Welbeck at the double while Oxlade-Chamberlain completes rout

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UPDATED:

20:56 GMT, 12 October 2012

England were slow out the blocks at Wembley on Friday night before eventually hitting five – probably half their target – past the planet's worst football team.

San Marino managed to keep Roy Hodgson's side quiet until just after the half-hour mark, when Danny Welbeck was sent crashing to the ground in the area, allowing Wayne Rooney to score from the spot.

Welbeck himself then got in on the act, while the two first-half scorers added one more each after the break.

The final goal of the night came from Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, his first for his country.

More to follow…

Lions roar: England were slow to get going against San Marino before over-running their lowly opponents

Lions roar: England were slow to get going against San Marino before over-running their lowly opponents

MATCH FACTS

ENGLAND: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Walcott (Lennon 10), Carrick (Shelvey 66), Cleverley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Rooney (Carroll 73). Subs not used: Ruddy, Cole, Lescott, Shawcross, Milner, Adam Johnson, Defoe, Forster.

Goals: Rooney 35pen, Welbeck 37, Rooney 70, Welbeck 72, Oxlade-Chamberlain 77.

SAN MARINO: Aldo Simoncini, Fabio Vitaioli (Bacciocchi 84), Davide Simoncini, Brolli, Palazzi, Cibelli, Coppini (Buscarini 76), Rinaldi (Selva 79), Della Valle, Gasperoni, Cervellini. Subs not used: Valentini, Bollini, Marani, Mazza, Vannucci, Matteo Vitaioli.

Referee: Gediminas Mazeika (Lithuania)

Click here for all the latest scores from Europe's World Cup 2014 qualifiers


Crash: Theo Walcott was forced off early on after a high-speed collision with goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini

Crash: Theo Walcott was forced off early on after a high-speed collision with goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini

Crash: Theo Walcott was forced off early on after a high-speed collision with goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini

On the spot: Simoncini handed England a chance to gain the advantage when he sent Danny Welbeck to the turf

On the spot: Simoncini handed England a chance to gain the advantage when he sent Danny Welbeck to the turf

No mistake: From the resulting spot kick, Wayne Rooney blasted England into the lead

No mistake: From the resulting spot kick, Wayne Rooney blasted England into the lead

No mistake: From the resulting spot kick, Wayne Rooney blasted England into the lead

Bit of magic: Welbeck doubled the lead, replicating his goal against Sweden from Euro 2012

Bit of magic: Welbeck doubled the lead, replicating his goal against Sweden from Euro 2012

Bit of magic: Welbeck doubled the lead, replicating his goal against Sweden from Euro 2012

Bit of magic: Welbeck doubled the lead, replicating his goal against Sweden from Euro 2012

Double trouble: It took until the second half for the Manchester United duo grab one more each

Double trouble: It took until the second half for the Manchester United duo grab one more each

Double trouble: It took until the second half for the Manchester United duo grab one more each

Top Gunner: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got in on the act late on for his first England goal

Top Gunner: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got in on the act late on for his first England goal

Top Gunner: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got in on the act late on for his first England goal