The ‘Top 5 Premier League Con-men’ seems a bit harsh.
For a start, there are some bad tackles that fly in regularly in the Premier League and the skilful, continental types have been kicked all their life. They need to go down (sometimes easily) in order to make sure they get a free-kick, or ride a challenge, or save themselves a broken leg.
But let’s face it, some players do go down too easily, especially when in good positions. So here are my Top 5 Premier League ‘Con Men’:
Didier Drogba is probably the League’s worst offender. After a couple of years eradicating his play-acting antics and being the best striker in the world, Drogba returned to his original ways.
Against Napoli in the Champions League recently, he was shameful. What makes it worse is that his is as strong as any player in the league and there is no need for going down easily. Drogba has also scored with his hand in the past, and had more than his fair share of offside goals.
Luis Nani on this list. Although I must say, he has improved that side of his game in recent years and as I mentioned before, players like Nani have been kicked by defenders all their lives – they need to get retribution somehow?
Saying that, the Portuguese did like to take the fall-to-the-floor option more often than not, early in his Old Trafford career. He was brought up in a different culture, where conning the referee is seen as a skill. To his credit he has learned more about the English game during his time here.
Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has increasingly become a target for the ‘rough stuff’ during his ascent to one of the World’s top wingers.
Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that he has started to go down more and more easily as well. I was watching Tottenham a few weeks ago and Bale was brought down by a cynical challenge as he raced past about 4 players on the halfway line. His reaction was to get up and remonstrate angrily with both offender and the referee.
This made me think. Growing up Bale played as a left-back, meaning that although he would face his fair share of kicks, he wouldn’t be getting them all his life like Nani might have. Therefore he has no real right to react like that.
Of course, he is angry at the challenge, and rightly so, but he has to realise that players will foul him now. It is just the way football is, managers will tell their players – “stop him by any means necessary.”
Bale will have to get used to getting kicked but going down easily is not the answer.
The Liverpool forward, for all his talent, loves to moan to to referees immediately after throwing himself to the ground from the slightest shove.
The strange thing is Suarez often shows good strength and spins defenders with ease, but at others he simply falls to the ground demanding an unlikely free-kick.
Steven Gerrard also has to be in this list somewhere. Gerrard, and to a lesser extent Wayne Rooney, among others have proved that diving and feigning injury is not confined to overseas players only.
There have been countless occasions where Gerrard has gone down easily, usually in and around the box, in a (I must admit) clever attempt to win a penalty. The Liverpool captain has learnt the art of conning a referee and is very good at it.
His reputation as an English stalwart also helps when he roars at referees to give him decision he wants.
As I have said previously, in many instances these players are clever or just trying to protect themselves. That said, this kind of thing infuriates us all!
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