ADL Daily: Managers rally to the defence of tackling

With Arsene Wenger’s latest diatribe against what he perceives to be foul play against his skilful side still fresh in his mind, Sam Allardyce has spoken out against the French tactician, accusing him of “influencing referees, officials and everybody in football.” Wenger had claimed that the FA should consider retrospectively banning a player following a tackle on Abou Diaby by Bolton defender Paul Robinson. Wenger and Allardyce are no strangers, the Blackburn manager earned Wenger’s vitriol following his side’s 2-1 defeat of the Gunners at the end of last season for apparently singling out ‘keeper Fabianski for harsh treatment from set pieces. Allardyce was incensed then, and his most recent comments suggest that his ire has yet to subside. “Wenger is deflecting attention from the situation which says the game of football is a contact sport,” he claimed yesterday, “you have to try to win the ball at all costs and if someone doesn’t get it quite right people get injured.”

The subject of hard tackling is one that is one that has lately come under intense media spotlight. Mick McCarthy’s Wolves, and in particular Captain Karl Henry, attracted a lot of unwelcome attention after a feisty performance against Newcastle, before their latest outing against Fulham saw a Karl Henry challenge result in Bobby Zamora breaking his leg. The challenge itself was clean – Henry took the ball – but the unfortunate combination of player and time – directly after the Newcastle encounter – has resulted in both Henry and Wolves being branded “anti-football” by some pundits. McCarthy has been quick to leap to the defence of his charges, claiming that the anti-football tag is “a whole pile of nonsense actually” and that there wasn’t “a bad, malicious tackle” in their game against Fulham. McCarthy remains pragmatic about the situation and remains convinced that the “media frenzy will go somewhere else soon.”

As for Zamora, he faces up to five months out after Mark Hughes revealed that the England striker has suffered ligament damage in addition to the broken leg, slightly lengthening the recovery time. The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for the Zamora, his impressive 2009 campaign saw him finally rewarded with a full England cap last month, and the Fulham marksman would have been confident of making himself a mainstay in the national squad. Hughes has understandably labelled Zamora a “big loss”, revealing that he was the main focus of Fulham’s attacking play. With their star man sidelined, Fulham will be desperate to get record signing Andy Johnson back into first team training. The injury plagued striker is said to be three to four weeks away from a return from his latest injury setback, fans of the London team will be hoping he displays the form that persuaded Roy Hodgson to spend £10.5 million in bringing him to Craven Cottage and thus offset the huge Zamora loss.

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