Get well soon, Eduardo
Matters concerning Arsenal are usually left to one who knows them deeply, in T. On this occasion I wish to make an exception. The subject is connected but concerns the game in general.
Most football fans are aware this morning of the terrible injury that occurred to Eduardo da Silva's left ankle. Sky Sports refrained from repeating replays of the incident due to the graphic nature of it but Match Of The Day showed the moment from two angles and there is no doubt of the severity of Birmingham's Martin Taylor's tackle. I recalled a similar injury with Abou Diaby's dislocated ankle at the lunge of Sunderland's Dan Smith in May 2006, and if you remember that injury, Eduardo was far more extreme.
Arsene Wenger said this after the Diaby injury: "Diaby looks to have a very serious injury, and that is in my opinion a shame because it was a bad kick and an unnecessary one.....It's a big blow to lose a player like that. It's one thing to lose the player, but the other thing is I believe the spirit of the way he has been kicked....is just not acceptable.
"When you play football and you play against people who do not try to play, it's very difficult to take. An accident can happen and you will accept that, but the way this happened is not acceptable."
Yesterday, Wenger said after the game: "The tackle was horrendous and this guy should never play football again. Many people have got away with too many bad tackles. We've escaped a few times but it's just not acceptable. If that is football it's better to stop it.
"The worst thing you hear after is that 'he's not the kind of guy who usually does that', but you need to only kill one person one time - it's enough."
A retraction from that post-match interview was issued saying: "I feel that my comments about Martin Taylor were excessive. I said what I did in the heat of the moment. It was a highly emotional afternoon and we were all shocked by the injury."
Well, when you see one of your own injured like that, the emotion will overflow. When I see anyone on the pitch injured like that, I certainly feel for that player. We have had players passing away after collapsing, young players, professionals. We have had terrible injuries in recent seasons yet I felt we had had a bad-injury free season so far up until yesterday. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish and former boss Steve Bruce advocate for Taylor's character, and I have no reason to question that.
But in the MOTD replays Taylor's tackle was over the top, it had nothing to do with getting the ball, little to do with being late or slower than Eduardo's movement. His right boot makes contact with Eduardo's shin centre and as a result of Taylor's force and Eduardo's strength behind his leg, Taylor's boot drags down to the weakest point of Eduardo's ankle. I would say Taylor's tackle was not malicious but reckless and I wonder if he was even aware of the enormity of his tackle when he received the red card.
Wenger has spoken out about tackles threatening one's career, leading to serious injury, and I also recall how Mathieu Flamini lunged in himself on Man Utd's Nani after Nani was being pursued and petulantly kicked at by Justin Hoyte. I didn't like it and felt Flamini was over the top, though he got the ball. Yet what if he didn't and caught Nani badly? It is an overall concern when players overdo a tackle and while they are professional enough to be expected to make the tackle right so that they do get the majority of it onto the ball, in times when there is a lack of thought that leads to a reckless challenge, it is that challenge that has to be reduced to a controlled level or penalise it altogether.
Look at me as being pedantic but being a player at the end of such a tackle like Taylor's yesterday and you wouldn't think twice about curbing them. Being a manager like Wenger is today, not to mention the superb response from the medical personnel, you wouldn't think twice about it. Something has to be addressed to reduce the danger to a player.