St James' Park, Newcastle

Next Game

Newcastle v Liverpool

Saturday, 01 November 2014, 12:45

Barclays Prem

Anfield

Last Game

Liverpool 2 - 1 Swansea

Tuesday, 28 October 2014, 20:00

Capital One Cup Fourth Round

Monday Moan: Feigning injury a City tactic

Mark Holmes was glad to see Liverpool benefit from Manchester City gamesmanship, and does not want to see an extended ban for Goran Popov.

Last Updated: 05/02/13 at 07:43 Post Comment

Edin Dzeko: Stayed down to gain an advantage

Edin Dzeko: Stayed down to gain an advantage

More of the games that matter

Watch Manchester City v Manchester United live only on Sky Sports this Super Sunday. Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Manchester City get their comeuppance

Liverpool's first goal at Manchester City on Sunday really didn't sit well with me.

As Edin Dzeko lay on the floor clutching his legs following a strong tackle from Daniel Agger, Liverpool refused to kick the ball out of play despite boos ringing around the Etihad Stadium and the protestations of some City players. Eventually, the ball fell to Daniel Sturridge, who superbly fired home.

Dzeko got booked for his protests and City boss Roberto Mancini was adamant after the game that Dzeko was fouled, also saying the visitors should "probably" have kicked the ball out of play.

I can certainly understand City's frustration at no foul being awarded - I'm undecided on it, but City know better than most that winning the ball does not always matter - but enough time had elapsed after Dzeko going down that Mancini's men cannot possibly blame anyone but themselves for conceding.

You may be wondering, then, why the goal did not sit well with me.

Well, every Manchester City fan will disagree, but I believe it is a tactic of their players to feign injury when the opposition has the ball, making them kick it out of play to bring an end to their attack and allow City's players to regroup.

I'm not offended by any of the dark arts in football, but this is certainly one of the more cynical ones. It's a tactic Neil Warnock has used for as long as I can remember, yet it goes largely unnoticed.

Had City won the ball back against Liverpool and gone on the attack themselves, Dzeko would have jumped to his feet. Even if he hadn't, City would have played on if they felt there was a chance to score. Yet we are supposed to believe Liverpool should have kicked the ball out?

It would have been very sportsmanlike of a Liverpool player to have done so, and any act of sportsmanship deserves praise. But in direct response to blatant gamesmanship by Dzeko, I'm delighted Liverpool played on and scored.

Spitting not the worst thing in football

Not for the first time, a spit in football has caused outrage.

To me, spitting at another player falls somewhere between calling an opponent a rude word and deliberately setting out to hurt someone. Spitting at someone is disgusting, but it's certainly not the worst thing that can happen on a football pitch.

According to football's apparent moral guardians, though, spitting is just about the lowest thing a player can do.

In the space of a few seconds on Sunday evening Alan Shearer described Goran Popov's spit at Kyle Walker as disgusting, vile horrible, disgusting (again), horrible (again), insisting there is "no place for it" in football and calling for a six-match ban.

To put that in perspective, a six-game ban is double what players usually receive for violent conduct and two games more than John Terry got for racially insulting an opponent.

Yet Shearer's suggestion is not as outrageous as it might appear as, in 1999, Patrick Vieira was banned for six games for spitting at Neil Ruddock. More recently, Fenerbahce midfielder Raul Meireles was handed an 11-game ban for spitting at a referee.

Spitting is not a nice thing to do, but dare I say it is another thing that Britons are more offended by than most other nationalities. After all, even a certain Lionel Messi has been caught spitting at opponents in Spain.

I don't want to downplay spitting as it is not a nice thing to do, but Popov spat towards Walker rather than on him or in his face, and I would lose faith in the Football Association altogether if they handed Popov an added charge in the way they recently did Chelsea's Eden Hazard before eventually seeing sense.

Odemwingie farce sums up player power

Unlike many, I do have some sympathy for players like Peter Odemwingie who want to move clubs. After all, if I received a better offer from a rival employer I could simply hand in my notice to take the new job.

Also, I refuse to believe Odemwingie and his advisers had not been given assurances by West Brom that he would be allowed to join QPR on transfer deadline day should an acceptable offer be made and a replacement secured. It just seems too far-fetched that Odemwingie would travel down to Loftus Road completely against his club's wishes, blindly hoping they would change their mind once he was there.

No, I'm certain West Brom would have happily sold Odemwingie, a player who they knew full well did not want to stay at The Hawthorns, under different circumstances.

Odemwingie made himself to look a fool by agreeing to talk to reporters in London, speaking with absolute confidence that a deal would be struck, but the only criticism I have of him was his initial reaction, particularly on Twitter, to West Brom's insistence that they did not want to sell him.

That he believed the club should grant him his wish regardless of their own needs sums up the attitude of many footballers, who believe it is the club that should be grateful for them rather than them be grateful for the club that pays them extortionate amounts of money each week.

West Brom's refusal to sell Odemwingie was one in the eye for all those players that think they can get what they want, no matter who they upset along the way.

You can follow me on Twitter @Homzy for more of my moaning. I'll also be hosting a live chat on TEAMtalk at 2pm to discuss my latest blog and any other thoughts from the weekend you may have.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

an we release him in January?

dhirt11
Gerrard: I would leave Anfield

E

xcellent! Not sure if he is any good as a manager (never thought about it) but the 'headbutt in the technical area' and what he said to Pelligrini were just brilliant, it was as if he was trying to recreate the end of the Alan Partridge Xmas special when Alan punched a man in a wheelchair and verbally abused Tony Heirs.

beachend
Football Managers On TV: Alan Pardew

I

think you spelt Inter Milan wrong in your headline.

quoasis
Ince joins Forest on loan

Footer 365

Arsene Wenger: Jack Wilshere doubtful for Arsenal v Burnley

Arsene Wenger admits that Jack Wilshere remains a doubt for Saturday’s visit of Burnley to the Emirates Stadium.

Steven Gerrard says Daniel Sturridge is the best English striker

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Daniel Sturridge is the best English striker he has played alongside.

Manchester derby: David Silva ruled out with knee ligament injury

David Silva has been ruled out of Sunday's Manchester derby after injuring his knee against Newcastle.

Mail Box

Is Ancelotti A Better Boss Than Mourinho?

That's one shout in the mailbox, although not as controversial as the mail imploring Jose Mourinho to sign Steven Gerrard in January so he can win the title he deserves...

'Pride' Didn't Stop Wenger Signing Flamini

Arsene Wenger's 'pride' in signings is quite rightly pulled apart. We also have a stupidly long email on going back, and one Mailboxer whooping about the FA Cup first round...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property