Divers and Whiners Reign in Emirates Stadium: Arsenal’s 2-0 Victory against West Bromwich
The Arsenal-West Bromwich match was more important to the former than the latter: Arsenal had been floundering for most of the season; they had won one of their last six matches – three of their last ten. West Bromwich, on the other hand, had done unexpectedly well for themselves: eight wins, five losses, and two draws for a total of twenty-six points and a fourth place position in the league table. Their last two matches were losses; their last four were wins. After today’s game, however, they have lost their last three matches: Arsenal defeated them 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Unfortunately, Arsenal needed a couple of dives, penalty kicks, and a whole lot of whining to secure a win even though they were dominating throughout the match.
The first goal began with West Bromwich’s Steven Reid fouling Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla: the former’s toe scratched the latter’s sock; it was far too forceful for Cazorla and he fell over with dry eyes and a smirk. The Arsenal players feigned shock and flailed their arms like they were synchronized swimmers; their supporters shouted for the referee to score Cazorla and the rest of their team perfect on both artistic impression and technical merit. The referee was awed by the crowd and team and even though he only witnessed Cazorla wiping his face on the ground, he felt that a penalty against West Bromwich was absolutely deserved; Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta scores it and the referee cheers with Arsenal and their supporters.
In all seriousness, diving is a disgusting, underhanded tactic that should be regulated rather than accepted. There is no reason for any player to fall to the ground like a cannonball has just blown through his legs when it was only the gentlest of winds. Unfortunately, managers and players alike promote diving because it benefits their team more often than not; the team that does not dive will be at a disadvantage.
However, the regulators of football matches are not supposed to be managers, players or supporters: they are supposed to be referees. Referees are responsible for regulating fair play – and that means ensuring that dives result in the penalization of the diver instead of the player closest to the diver. They should expect the diver’s teammates and management and supporters to moan, but they should not blow their whistle to give the diver and his team a free kick or penalty kick; they should treat dives like they treat fouls – with a warning or a yellow card depending on the frequency of a player’s diving and the location of the dive itself in any given match.
By doing so, the rampant diving that has tainted football for years upon years would decrease; there would be constant play instead of stopping and starting, and the frustration of seeing your team being conned by a striker whose hair is more stable than his legs.
But I digress; Arsenal’s 1-0 lead was increased in the 64th minute: Arteta scored another penalty kick with the help of his teammate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chamberlain shoved a West Bromwich player out of the way to get into the away team’s box, but since no one fell to the ground, the whistle was not blown for a foul. However, West Bromwich’s Chris Brunt fouled Chamberlain in the box and as the latter fell to the ground, he had enough awareness to turn to the referee with his hand raised in the air and his mouth open in a whimper of objection; the referee blew his whistle and gave Arsenal the penalty kick they had requested to score their second and final goal of the match. Well done, Arsenal.