Tag Archives: santi

Sergio Ramos to make 100th Spain cap in World Cup qualifier against Finland

There's a lot of love in the Spanish camp as Ramos prepares for 100th cap against Finland

), World Cup (2010)

Caps: 99

Goals: 8

Debut:Spain 3-0 China, 26 March 2005

In another photo tweeted by Arsenal's
Santi Cazorla, Ramos is shown to be particularly affectionate to
Chelsea's Juan Mata in rubbing his knee.

The reality could well be, however, that the defender is simply trying to ensure his team-mates are relaxed and happy so that they can secure victory on such a big personal occasion.

'I feel great pride and responsibility as it is difficult to achieve at my age but I made my debut when I was very young and have had coaches who have trusted in me,' Ramos told AS earlier this week.

'It's a record that I am proud of. I am 26 and am happy to have achieved so much so young.'

Pucker up: Ramos showed where his heart lies

Pucker up: Ramos showed where his heart lies

Close control: Ramos shows why he is so valued by the national team

Close control: Ramos shows why he is so valued by the national team

Kissing again Ramos really is a warm chap

Kissing again Ramos really is a warm chap

Competitive streak: The defender pursues the talented David Silva in training

Competitive streak: The defender pursues the talented David Silva in training

Arsenal"s Jack Wilshere was forced off with a thigh injury against Sunderland

Arsenal face anxious wait over Wilshere as England star hobbles off at Sunderland

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

16:42 GMT, 9 February 2013

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UPDATED:

09:54 GMT, 10 February 2013

Jack Wilshere was forced off during his Arsenal's 1-0 victory against Sunderland with a thigh injury after being bodychecked by Alfred N'Diaye.

There didn't seem to be a great deal
of contact from the new Sunderland signing, but it was enough for Wilshere to be replaced by Abou Diaby as Arsenal looked to keep hold of their lead.

Arsene Wenger was visibly furious with the physical nature of Sunderland's tackling, as his playmaker was left on the floor on more than one occasion.

After the match the Arsenal manager said that Wilshere 'can't walk properly now', but hopes he will only be out for around four or five days.

Down: Jack Wilshere was in distress when receiving treatment after the collision

Down: Jack Wilshere was in distress when receiving treatment after the collision

Furious: As Wilshere hobbled off, Arsene Wenger was irate with the referee

Furious: As Wilshere hobbled off, Arsene Wenger was irate with the referee

Laurent Koscielny, who was initially
named on the Arsenal teamsheet, had to be withdrawn just before kick-off
after limping out of the warm up with a calf injury.

He had passed a fitness test before
the game, but was unable to take to the pitch, meaning Bacary Sagna had
to play centre back and Carl Jenkinson came in at right back.

Arsenal were also made to play the last 30 minutes without Carl Jenkinson, who was sent off for two
yellow cards, the second being a silly lunge on Stephane Sessegnon.

He will be suspended for their FA Cup fifth-round clash against Blackburn on Saturday.

They
held on to pick up a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light after Santi
Cazorla had put the Gunners ahead in the first half with a low shot past
Simon Mignolet.

Fighting: Wilshere and N'Diaye go head to head for the ball

Fighting: Wilshere and N'Diaye go head to head for the ball

Smash: Bramble came in with a heavy tackle on the Arsenal midfielder

Smash: Titus Bramble came in with a heavy tackle on the Arsenal midfielder

Wilshere's injury comes the day after Wenger had said that the England star needed to be protected from burnout and future injuries.

He had played a leading role in their 2-1 win when Brazil visited Wembley, outshining the likes of Ronaldinho and Neymar.

However Wenger was more philosophical: 'It is not just the physical aspect, but the mental pressure every time he plays. We will have to manage him well physically to make sure he doesn't face that burnout.

'I had in fact expected Jack to play only a part of the game on
Wednesday, but it didn't happen and because of his quality he will be
exposed to that, the overuse of his quality, and you can understand that.

'He will have to be managed like everyone else.'

Competitive: Wilshere and Lee Cattermole getting to grips with each other in the middle of the park

Competitive: Wilshere and Lee Cattermole getting to grips with each other in the middle of the park

Winner: Santi Cazorla's strike was the only goal of the game

Winner: Santi Cazorla's strike was the only goal of the game

Adrian Durham: Arsenal"s Santi Cazorla cannot touch David Silva or Juan Mata… Lionel Messi is a bottler

Arsenal reality check: Even Peterborough have beaten Reading… Cazorla cannot touch Silva or Mata… And why Messi is a bottler

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 20 December 2012

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UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 20 December 2012

Arsenal won 5-2 at Reading. So what

The way Gooners are banging on about that result makes it sound like everything is OK at the Emirates. Breaking news – everything is not OK. Bradford knocked Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup. Arsenal are 15 points behind the Premier League leaders, and we’re not even halfway through the season.

More breaking news for Gooners – Theo Walcott is good, but he will never be at the same level the talismanic Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry achieved.

Good, but not stellar: Theo Walcott scores Arsenal's fifth goal under pressure from Adrian Mariappa at Reading on Monday

Good, but not stellar: Theo Walcott scores Arsenal's fifth goal under pressure from Adrian Mariappa at Reading on Monday

Follow Adrian Durham on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive

And Santi Cazorla is good, but over
the course of a season he’s not quite David Silva, or Juan Mata. Both
Walcott and Cazorla are players I rate highly, but both prove that
Arsenal on the field have been starved of success and stripped of
quality year after year.

The fans are desperate for a hero –
when Santi played well, he was the new hero. Then Wilshere came back,
and Santi’s form dipped and Jack was the man. Now it’s Theo. But the
fans can’t really get behind Theo because they know the chances are
he’ll be leaving.

On Monday night at Reading Arsenal
won the first half when Reading got their tactics completely wrong.
Brian McDermott changed things at half time and the 2nd half finished
2-2.

And at the end of it all it’s a great
night out when your team wins away but what does a 5-2 win at Reading
actually mean for a club like Arsenal Not a lot really. Arsenal used to
win big at Premier League cannon fodder on their way to the title or
the double. It was a means to an end. Now the odd decent win is all the
fans can look forward to.

A great club, with great fans who deserve better.

Arsene Wenger said that Monday’s win shows how strong Arsenal are.

The reality is that Arsenal beat Reading in the same calendar year Peterborough United beat Reading.

Santi Cazorla

David Silva

Juan Mata

Season's greetings: Cazorla (left) is decent but he's no David Silva (centre) nor Juan Mata of Chelsea (right)

HAMMERS GOING FOR GOLD

West Ham United's co-owner David Gold

In the summer West Ham co-owner David
Sullivan said the club were willing to 'blow the budget for several
years' by signing Andy Carroll for 17million and paying his 100,000 a
week wages. Carroll said no to a permanent move but a loan deal was
sorted out.

Fast forward to this week and West Ham
are among the clubs ready to agree to new cost controls in the Premier
League.

The other co-owner of the Hammers David Gold (above) said on Tuesday: 'It’s important to bring in governors to ensure the Premier League never
has to experience what happened when Portsmouth went into
administration. If you control costs you probably control wages, but the
driving force is for sustainability which is what we’re pursuing.'

West Ham fans better hope the club is run by Mr Gold’s philosophy.

OLD SCHOOL NO, BROWN
IS SIMPLY DIRTY

I’m neither a Leeds fan nor a Chelsea fan but here is one special reason why I’m glad Leeds didn’t make it to the semi finals of the Capital One Cup – Michael Brown.

As far as I could see he spent the whole game kicking and fouling opponents and playing very little football.

He seems to have built a career on nasty challenges.

Among those who have felt the full force of Brown’s brutality are Jacob Butterfield, Ashley Cole, Sean Davis, Jem Karacan, Theo Robinson, Jermaine Jenas and perhaps the worst foul I’ve ever seen – on Ryan Giggs in August 2006.

He launched a stamp on Giggs’ knee with the ball not even in the same postcode.

Amazingly he only saw yellow for it, so he’s lucky to have only received eight red cards in his career.

He’s been described as 'old school,' but he’s just dirty.

Tackle from behind: Leeds' Michael Brown puts in a trademark challenge on Chelsea's David Luiz at Elland Road last night

Tackle from behind: Leeds' Michael Brown puts in a trademark challenge on Chelsea's David Luiz at Elland Road last night

Seeing red: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United reacts after being fouled by Fulham's Michael Brown in 2006

Seeing red: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United reacts after being fouled by Fulham's Michael Brown in 2006

THE SECRET FOOTBALLER WHO JUST WANTS TO PLAY

Think all footballers are in it for the money Think again.

Quite by chance I happened to sit
opposite a professional footballer on a train recently. I didn’t
recognise him at first, and when I did realise who it was I couldn’t
introduce myself because he was listening to music. Then his phone rang
so I thought I’d take the chance at the end of the call to say hello.

This ceased to be an option once I
realised the nature of his conversation. He was telling his agent how
gutted he was that he wasn’t getting a game.

To fill you in, he wasn’t injured, and isn’t a bad player at all. His manager just isn’t selecting him.

At first I thought he was another
egotistical player who thought he had a divine right to be picked. But I
was wrong. He just wants to play football.

From what I picked up, money
was not an issue at all, he just wants to play football. The manager
who won’t pick him isn’t the manager who signed him, so the player is
now in a situation where he is getting paid but not playing.

From the
outside it looks like he is taking money for nothing, but in his own
words: 'I just want to play.' A decent young English player being held
back by a club that should do the decent thing and let him go.

MAGNIFICENT MESSI HAS BOTTLED OUT OF BIG TEST

Never thought I’d say it but I’m
disappointed in Lionel Messi. The best player on the planet, arguably
the best player of all time, I’d happily pay a small fortune to watch
him play.

But why sign again at Barcelona

Messi has won everything at Barcelona,
there’s nothing left to do there. So why not come to the Premier League
so we can find out if he can do it out of his comfort zone

Avoiding England: Lionel Messi beats Gorka Iraizoz of Athletic Bilbao to put Barca 2-0 up at the Nou Camp

Avoiding England: Lionel Messi beats Gorka Iraizoz of Athletic Bilbao to put Barca 2-0 up at the Nou Camp

His new contract takes him beyond the age of 30 so we will never see Messi at his peak playing anywhere else but Barcelona.

Scoring and winning has become easy at
Barcelona for Messi. I wish he had accepted the challenge of signing for
an English side. Is he scared of Stoke

Lionel Messi – bottler.

Follow Adrian on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive… Adrian hosts talkSPORT's Drivetime Show on weekdays between 4pm–7pm alongside former England cricketer Darren Gough

Theo Walcott is invaluable and Arsenal must keep him, says Thomas Vermaelen

Walcott is invaluable and dangerous… we must keep him at Arsenal, says Vermaelen

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UPDATED:

16:08 GMT, 18 December 2012

Thomas Vermaelen feels Theo Walcott is invaluable to Arsenal – but accepts there is little his team-mates can do to stop the England forward walking away at the end of the season.

Walcott was deployed in his preferred central striker's role at Reading, where he netted the final goal in a 5-2 win which lifted the Gunners back up to within two points of fourth place.

The 23-year-old is currently in negotiations over a contract extension with the club. However, as the January transfer window looms, there is little indication of a swift conclusion.

On target: Walcott scored in the win over Reading on Monday night

On target: Walcott scored in the win over Reading on Monday night

Having seen close friend and former skipper Robin van Persie leave last summer when he could not agree a new deal, Vermaelen admits no matter how key a player may be, the rest of the squad have to remain focused on the here and now.

'Of course we want him to stay, but that is something that is going on between the player and the club. I don't know what is going on behind the scenes – we don't talk about it, because that is going on in football all the time,' Vermaelen said.

'It happened last time with Robin in the summer. It's the job of the board and the club what they are going to do with it so we can't do anything about it.'

Centre-half Vermaelen added: 'Theo has been invaluable for us when he played this year. He is dangerous for us, can stretch a team with his pace and I hope he could stay this year.'

Theo Walcott

Main man: Walcott led the line for Arsenal in their win at the Madejski

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger felt his team answered their critics in the best way possible at the Madejski Stadium last night, where a hat-trick from Santi Cazorla saw them race into a 4-0 lead before any threat of a fightback was eventually extinguished by Walcott's late strike.

It was a missed penalty from Vermaelen which saw Arsenal lose their Capital One Cup shoot-out at Bradford.

The Belgian defender, however, maintains the squad were determined to put that bitter disappointment behind them as soon as possible.

'You can't stand still too long with a defeat like that – you just learn from it and move on,' he said.

In the spotlight: Walcott could yet leave the Emirates next month

In the spotlight: Walcott could yet leave the Emirates next month

'We had a lot to prove. A lot of people questioned us and maybe that's normal, but we wanted to perform against Reading and we did that.'

Despite all of the headlines of a club in crisis with broken cannon motifs on the back pages, all is not yet lost for the Gunners, who will discover their opponents in the last 16 of the Champions League on Thursday morning.

Indeed, should Arsenal win their lunchtime kick-off at struggling Wigan on Saturday, then they would, temporarily at least, leapfrog over Tottenham and back up into the top four.

'If you play for a team like Arsenal, there are always going to be people outside you who are going to question the manager and the team,' Vermaelen said.

'The thing is, you have to stay united and work hard on the training pitch because we are the only ones who know what's going on in the team. What people say outside is just part of the job.'

Theo Walcott coy on new Arsenal contract

Walcott coy on contract talks after sublime display in win over Reading… but Arsenal forward says 'something will happen soon'

PUBLISHED:

22:40 GMT, 17 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 17 December 2012

Theo Walcott would not be drawn when asked about his stuttering contract talks after a dazzling display for Arsenal this evening.

Walcott, who only has six months to run on his current deal at the Emirates, scored during the Gunners’ emphatic 5-2 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

But the England international would only say that talks over a deal to keep him at the Emirates are going to take time.

Shake on it Theo Walcott was in fine form as Arsenal beat Reading 5-2

Shake on it Theo Walcott was in fine form as Arsenal beat Reading 5-2

Good form: Theo Walcott was in fine form up front for the Gunners

Good form: Theo Walcott was in fine form up front for the Gunners

He said: ‘Talks are ongoing and it's
going to be a slow process. It's taking a long time but hopefully
something will happen soon.’

The 23-year-old’s team-mate Jack Wilshere urged Walcott to extend his stay at Arsenal.

Wilshere said: ‘I've been working all
year on him, but that's between Theo, his representatives and the boss
but hopefully we can sign him up.

‘He showed he can do it up front and hopefully he can play there in the future.’

Walcott, meanwhile, believes there
were glimpses of ‘the true Arsenal’ tonight as the Gunners atoned for
their Bradford disappointment with a convincing Barclays Premier League
victory over strugglers Reading.

He was given the opportunity to play
up front by Arsene Wenger and duly repaid his boss' faith by slotting in
the fifth goal of the night, following Lukas Podolski's strike and a
Santi Cazorla hat-trick.

When asked about recent criticism
following last week's shock exit from the Capital One Cup, he told Sky
Sports 1: ‘We showed people the true Arsenal.

All smiles: Walcott believes something will happen soon regarding a new deal at the Emirates

All smiles: Walcott believes something will happen soon regarding a new deal at the Emirates

Maestro: Santi Cazorla (right) scored a hat-trick for the visitors at the Madejski

Maestro: Santi Cazorla (right) scored a hat-trick for the visitors at the Madejski

‘We don't really take notice of the outside. We're a big family and we know our quality and that we're good enough.

‘I enjoyed playing up front and the
boss gave me that opportunity. I thought I did very well and the players
around me always make my job easier.’

Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe denied Arsenal a clean sheet but Wilshere was quick to echo his team-mate's sentiments.

He said: ‘I think we saw the old Arsenal in some patches tonight.

‘We need to tighten up defensively as we gave two sloppy goals away.’

Referring to the Bradford game, he
added: ‘As players we're disappointed, naturally. It's a natural feeling
of disappointment when you lose to a lower league team.

‘It's been a tough and disappointing week and we had to come here and be strong.

‘They're fighting relegation so we knew they would be up for it.

Stay with me: Jack Wilshere (left) has urged Walcott to remain at Arsenal and sign a new deal

Stay with me: Jack Wilshere (left) has urged Walcott to remain at Arsenal and sign a new deal

‘Theo and Santi were different class and the boys around them helped as well.’

Wenger felt Walcott's performance through the middle, where the England international wants to play, was 'encouraging'.

Asked what prompted him to select the 23-year-old as centre-forward tonight, Wenger said: 'Training sessions. He's shown ability to play in this position. I believe for his first game he's done very well in that position.

'There were very encouraging signs in there.'

Regarding his side's overall display, Wenger felt it was vital to show a good response following their recent setbacks and answer their critics on the pitch.

'Our target was to win in a convincing way and we did it,' he said.

'At 4-0 we had a little wobbling period, and at 4-2 of course with what happened last week we became a bit uncertain before the 5-2 killed the game, but overall it was important to go out and play and give the right answer on the football pitch.

'I said many times I believe in this team, the players want to do well, but again I don't want to talk too much. The only way we can show that is winning our games.

'We need now to go from strength to strength.'

Cool head: Adam Le Fondre gave Arsenal a scare in the second half

Cool head: Adam Le Fondre gave Arsenal a scare in the second half

On how the last week has been, the Frenchman said: 'Difficult, because of course you would prefer everything goes well. But it's interesting as well, you discover who is strong, you discover who can remain united and on that front, inside the club, we are very good.'

Reading boss Brian McDermott was prepared to take the defeat on the chin and move on with a busy festive schedule just around the corner.

The Royals will be bottom of the table and six points adrift of safety on Christmas Day, with McDermott hinting at a foray into the transfer market in the new year.

He told Sky Sports 1: 'That game won't shape our season. We've got a lot of home games to come which will be defining for us.

'We have to do better than we've done. We play Manchester City away, then we've got Swansea and West Ham at home, which we're looking forward to.

'But we can't look too far ahead, we've just got to keep going. We're doing everything in our power to make sure we're in this league next season.

'It's a strong possibility that we can get players in and we'll try to do that.

Standing tall: Arsenal ultimately were too much for Reading with their incisive forward play

Standing tall: Arsenal ultimately were too much for Reading with their incisive forward play

'We'll see what January brings. We all know it's a tough window but we've been planning for some time now and that's what we'll be looking to try and do.'

The former Arsenal player also paid tribute to Wenger's free-flowing side, who closed to within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham.

'They played really well in the first half and we couldn't get close to them,' McDermott added.

'Arsenal were at the top of their game tonight. The movement of their three midfield players was excellent and they played very well as a group.

'Once again the fans have seen seven goals at the Madejski Stadium. Obviously we want it to be more goals in our favour.

'But I thought our response in the second half was excellent and we gave something for our crowd to cheer about.'

Theo Walcott thrives at centre of attention – Sami Mokbel

Theo thrives as centre of attention after Arsenal dismantle Reading at Madejski

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UPDATED:

00:26 GMT, 18 December 2012

So, this was Theo Walcott's moment. His moment to prove to Arsene Wenger – and maybe even himself – that he can be the bona fide central striker he so desperately wants to be.

Having recovered from the calf injury that kept him out of Arsenal's previous three matches, Walcott was handed an instant return to the starting line-up.

His inclusion came as no surprise because Wenger had to make changes after last Tuesday's shameful Capital One Cup loss to League Two Bradford.

Thriving: Theo Walcott proved Arsene Wenger made a good call to start him up front

Thriving: Theo Walcott proved Arsene Wenger made a good call to start him up front

But where would he play With Olivier
Giroud on the bench, the role of the Gunners' lone striker was up for
grabs and Wenger gave Walcott his chance.

But for a curling free-kick he fired
comfortably wide, the 23-year-old started slowly as he struggled to get
to grips with his new role.

He cut a frustrated figure as his team-mates failed to provide the England international with suitable service.

It was not looking like the audition
Walcott had hoped for as he failed to beat Adam Federici when one on
one with the Australian keeper in the 20th minute.

Shake on it Walcott got off to a slow start against Reading but scored his side's fifth goal

Shake on it Walcott got off to a slow start against Reading but scored his side's fifth goal

Good form: Theo Walcott put on a fine display up front for the Gunners

Good form: Theo Walcott put on a fine display up front for the Gunners

All smiles: Walcott shares a moment with his manager

All smiles: Walcott shares a moment with his manager

Taking Santi Cazorla's pass, he
failed to show the deadly conviction needed from a top-level striker. To
be fair, his build-up play was neat and economical – his cross that led
to Cazorla's second of the night showed tremendous creative vision.

But his deficiencies in front of goal
were shown again early in the second half when he failed to convert
with just Federici to beat before firing a long-range effort just wide.

Thankfully his efforts in front of goal were finally rewarded in the final 10 minutes as he stroked home to seal victory.

There's no doubt Walcott offers a
threat as a striker, but he will know that goals will be handy to get
him a 100,000-per-week contract.

Gareth Bale talks about diving reputation with referee Andre Marriner

Bale dives into face-to-face talks with ref Marriner as Spurs ace tries to get rid of his reputation

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UPDATED:

15:03 GMT, 14 December 2012

Gareth Bale has taken part in face-to-face talks with Premier League referee Andre Marriner in a bid to understand why he keeps getting booked for diving.

The Tottenham winger was booked for simulation in consecutive games against Liverpool and Fulham and has received four yellow cards so far this season for the offence – the most of any player in the top flight.

Rough tumble: Gareth Bale has picked up four bookings for diving this year

Rough tumble: Gareth Bale has picked up four bookings for diving this year

Rough tumble: Gareth Bale has picked up four bookings for diving this year

The issue was raised when Marriner visited Spurs’ training ground this week as part of an annual visit by a Premier League referee, but Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas insisted Bale’s reputation for diving was unfair.

The boss said the player would keep trying to protect himself when running at players with his blistering pace and does not care he has been labelled as a ‘diver’.

Villas-Boas said: ‘We have received the visit of the referee this week. We have spoken, me and Gareth, with the referee about the situation.

‘He has had potentially-career threatening injuries and sometimes for the pace that he goes at it looks like a dive from the player when he is actually protecting himself. He told me that.

‘He avoids opponents' tackles (and with) the pace that he approaches challenges it's very difficult for referees to judge.

'It's a tag that if he has gained it is unfair. But it doesn't bother him in any way shape or form so we keep doing our job.'

Spotlight: High-profile incidents involving Santi Cazorla and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci have bought diving back into focus both in England and abroad

Spotlight: High-profile incidents involving Santi Cazorla and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci have bought diving back into focus both in England and abroad

Spotlight: High-profile incidents involving Santi Cazorla and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci have bought diving back into focus both in England and abroad

Leonardo Bonucci dive for Juventus v Palermo

Is this the most embarrassing dive ever Juventus cheat Bonucci leaves Cazorla and co in the shade

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UPDATED:

13:04 GMT, 11 December 2012

If you thought Santi Cazorla’s dive against West Brom on Saturday was disgraceful then just be thankful that Leonardo Bonucci isn’t also trying his simulation antics in the Premier League.

Cazorla won a highly controversial penalty for Arsenal, which played a big role in sealing a 2-0 win for the Gunners, after going to ground despite not being touched by Steven Reid’s attempted tackle for the Baggies.

Scroll down to watch the video…

Tumble: Bonucci is challenged by Samir Ujikani (above) and celebrates with his team-mates (bottom left) after the win at Palermo

Tumble: Bonucci is challenged by Samir Ujikani (above) and celebrates with his team-mates (bottom left) after the win at Palermo

Tumble: Bonucci is challenged by Samir Ujikani (above) and celebrates with his team-mates (bottom left) after the win at Palermo

But although the Spaniard managed to con
the referee, Bonucci was fooling nobody after the Juventus defender’s
antics in a Serie A match at Palermo on Sunday.

With the Bianconeri leading 1-0 and on the counter attack, the Italian ran the full length of the pitch to latch on to a pass inside the box, only to crumble in a heap when faced one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

After doing brilliantly to beat the offside trap, it all became so bad it’s laughable. Faced with the on-rushing Samir Ujkani, Bonucci dragged the ball back to nobody before flopping over a keeper who never even made a challenge while on the ground.

Not even the Palermo players could be
bothered to protest as the referee booked the Italian international
straight away, forcing him to miss the club’s next match.

Unlike Cazorla though, Bonucci admitted on Twitter he was wrong trying to win a penalty shortly after the Serie A leaders’ 1-0 win.

Shameful: Cazorla takes a tumble against West Brom

Shameful: Cazorla takes a tumble against West Brom

Shameful: Cazorla takes a tumble against West Brom

Bonucci said: ‘I had to shoot but I got stuck for ideas. I picked up a caution and set a bad example, I serve a lesson.’

But is it the worst dive ever There are a plethora of candidates so let us know yours by naming and shaming the worst offenders in the comments section below.

Santi Cazorla should face a three-match ban – Graham Poll

Diving Cazorla should be banned for three games, just like Wenger wanted

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UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 9 December 2012

‘If an obvious dive is punished by a three-match ban, players would not do it any more’

Arsene Wenger, April 2012

Santi Cazorla should face a three-match ban for perhaps the most blatant dive of the season.

In the 26th minute of a tight match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion, Cazorla ran into the West Brom penalty area and went to turn past Steven Reid.

To be fair to referee Mike Jones, from one angle it looked as though there might have been contact.

Blatant: Arsenal's Santi Cazorla dived at the feet of Steven Reid

Blatant: Arsenal's Santi Cazorla dived at the feet of Steven Reid

Blatant: Arsenal's Santi Cazorla dived at the feet of Steven Reid

However, you have to be 100 per cent
sure to award a penalty and Jones should have had doubts which, had he
waited for a second or two, would have been confirmed by the players’
reactions.

It may seem incongruous that players’ honesty should help determine what happened but at key moments their sense of fair play is easily detectable.

Video replays show that there was no contact, that Reid’s attempt to challenge did not cause the Spaniard to fall, and that Jones had been conned.

Arsene Wenger said he will have to look at the incident again before speaking to his player and the Frenchman may wish to remind himself of comments he made just a few months ago.

Lambasted: Reid makes sure Cazorla knows how he feels

Lambasted: Reid makes sure Cazorla knows how he feels

Back in April, after Manchester
United’s Ashley Young had come under fire, Wenger said: ‘If an obvious
dive is punished by a three-match ban, the players would not do it any
more. I would support it. It has to be obvious diving.’

Enter the custodians of the game, the Football Association. Why not introduce a retrospective ban when the act of simulation is so clear This is not a matter for FIFA, as the laws of the game are not affected. This is a disciplinary matter and I understand the German FA introduced a similar retrospective punishment for players who scored with illegal use of the arm — handball.

The result of the match would stand and there would be no condemnation of the referee for being duped. However, the player would be highlighted as one who dives and the ramifications of that are clear.

Steve Clarke fumes at Santi Cazorla dive

Clarke fumes at Cazorla penalty dive as West Brom fall to Arsenal

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UPDATED:

19:16 GMT, 8 December 2012

West Brom manager Steve Clarke hit out at referee Mike Jones after he failed to spot a dive by Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla as the Gunners recorded a 2-0 Barclays Premier League win at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal took the lead in controversial fashion midway through the first half as Spain midfielder Cazorla flung himself to the floor following a challenge by Steven Reid, with replays showing there was no contact.

Mikel Arteta converted the resulting penalty.

Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot

Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot

MATCH FACTS

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 77), Cazorla (Podolski 87), Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky 81)

Subs not used: Martinez, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Ramsey

Booked: Mertesacker, Giroud

Goals: Arteta 26 (pen), 64 (pen)

West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Ridgewell (Popov 6), McAuley, Morrison, Brunt, Mulumbu, Gera (Rosenberg 75), Long, Odemwingie (Lukaku 62),

Subs not used: Daniels, Tamas, Dorrans, Fortune

Booked: Olsson, Brunt, Reid

Referee: Mike Jones

Attendance: 60,083

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The Baggies, who lost twice last week
to halt their fine start to the season, never really recovered from the
sense of injustice and there was no way back once Arteta converted from
the spot again on 64 minutes after Chris Brunt had tripped Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain – which Clarke felt had come following a foul by the
midfielder on Goran Popov in the build-up.

'There was zero contact, it wasn't even close. I am not sure what the referee saw,' said the angry West Brom manager.

'It was a bad decision for us and obviously changed the shape of the afternoon.

'It could have been a nervous afternoon for Arsenal, at 0-0 they hadn't created too much.

'We knew the longer the game went the
more pressure would come on Arsenal and then we would have a chance.
That decision changed it.'

Clarke continued: 'The second was a
clear penalty, no complaints, Chris fouled Oxlade-Chamberlain – but
Goran Popov was fouled in the lead up to it and for some reason the
referee, who gave soft free-kicks all afternoon, decided not to give
that one.

Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net

Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net

Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty

Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty

Another poor decision for us, you
can add the [Per] Mertesacker handball in the first half – it was a
normal ball into the box and somehow the officials decide it was a
free-kick as it's the easy way out.

'They gave it for a free-kick on somebody but I've seen the replay and for the life of me cannot see a free-kick.'

Clarke stopped short of calling
Cazorla a cheat, though, adding: 'There is a share of culpability, but
on that one it is so clear there was no contact, the referee has to be
better with his decision..

Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid

Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

'I don't want a witch hunt on
referees, in his country we have fantastic referees and a fantastic
group that work hard to make the game the game it is.

'We have to try to work as hard as we
can with the referees, in this game unfortunately it was the poorest of
a really good group.

'We have a number of good referees, we have to find good more referees. that is the way forward.'

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had not reviewed the incident, but revealed Cazorla insisted there had been contact.

'I am sorry if it was not a penalty,
but I have spoken to Santi and he said he was touched, lost his balance.
Has he made a bit more of it I don't know,' Wenger said.

'When he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty.

Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

'Of course [I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched]. I will look at it, don't worry.'

Despite its controversial nature, it
was a much-needed first victory in four matches for the Gunners, who
have moved back up the Premier League table as a result.

'Overall we played well. We were
maybe a bit lucky on the first penalty, but we created chances and kept a
clean sheet,' Wenger said.

'We have shown a great spirit, which many people questioned after our last game, so we did our job very well.

'You could feel we were ready for a fight and that we absolutely had to win this game, which is what we did.'

England midfielder Jack Wilshere produced a composed display and was the heartbeat of the Arsenal side.

Wenger said: 'Jack is getting closer to the player we know he is and today I think he made a big step.

'You could see it already this week
in training, that he has gained a little burst again, a little zip in
the first three or four yards.

'In football, you have sometimes to
be patient. He can only gain it by playing but of course in the first
games you cannot be at that level.'

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

WENGER WATCH

Wenger watch: Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger went into today's match against West Brom under pressure following four matches without victory. Here, Nicholas McAvaney takes a look at how he performed.

BODY LANGUAGE Looking sharp in his suit, Wenger (right) lasted five minutes before donning his winter coat – not because of a frosty reception from the fans however.

Often out of his seat in the opening half, Wenger stormed to the bench on 22 minutes after venting his frustration on the turf following Gervinho's missed.

Even Mikel Arteta's goal three minutes later could not remove the Frenchman's scowl, which remained until the whistle. Arteta's second goal also failed to excite the manager, who was a touch more animated in the second half, mostly in the final 10 minutes when the victory was assured.

At full-time and following a quick handshake with Steve Clarke, he was off the pitch without hesitation.

TACTICS Opening with a 4-4-2 formation, Arsenal dominated possession and regularly peppered the opposition goal, albeit with little success.

Wenger resisted the urge to shake up his forward line soon after the break, much to the frustration of fans who grew tired of Gervinho's wasted opportunities 15 minutes into the second half and vehemently appealed to Wenger for an urgent substitution.

Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky helped strengthen his midfield with 10 minutes remaining at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho.

INTERACTION The Frenchman was unusually quiet with the officials across the first 45 minutes, only once questioning a call that saw Oliver Giroud writhing on the ground clutching his lower back just past the half hour.

He was quickly out of his seat in the second half, though, exchanging words with the fourth official to little effect.

He vented with greater aggression five minutes later after a questionable call against Arsenal, then spent the remainder of the half with his hands in his pockets, only occasionally commanding player movements in the final 10 minutes.

FANS The home fans reserved any stick for the manager for prior to kick off. An ironic cheer erupted on 10 minutes as the manager craftily flicked the ball back from the bench for a throw in, but few had anything to say to the Frenchman throughout the half.

Fans seemed happy with Arteta's brace all but assuring Arsenal of the three points, and dutifully applauded the boss for a job well done on 90 minutes.