Post-dive pre-match Friday round-up

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Champions League draw – Olympiakos, Standard Liege, AZ Alkmaar

I was going to header this morning’s post with a suitably daft play on words such as Eduardo the Confessor or Much Edu About Nothing, but seeing as we’ve yet to hear a peep from our number nine and the issue of diving is not really trivial, I didn’t.

But pah – what a storm. Eduardo deserves opprobrium for his ‘deception’, pretty much all Arsenal fans accept that it was wrong, but judging by the reaction in the press – and Uefa have had a say too – you’d think he was the first footballer ever to dive.

Doesn’t make it right, of course, and I’d support retrospective punishment for diving should it be introduced across the board, and for every blatant tumble, but would it? Interestingly, there is Uefa precedence for punishing divers after the event, following a dive by a Lithuanian in a European Championship qualifying game, and the SFA too have punished a player for diving in recent times.

So I think the chief executive of the SFA is right to ask for a decent discussion about diving to take place. I’d support a European-wide ruling on this, I tentatively support more referees (Platini’s grand plan) and I think video technology should be looked at too.

But quite why Eduardo is the player to have triggered this reaction, not all those who have gone before him, well who knows. I’ll leave the last word(s) to the Telegraph’s Rob Kelly, one of the few in the press to have sniffed the hypocrisy of slamming down Eduardo and ignoring the lightness of foot of some English players.

Onto tomorrow, and Utd away is undoubtedly the sternest test of any season. This year, with our new formation, early season form and the usual batch of injured absentees forcing player shuffling, it’s going to be a particularly interesting game.

Can we persuade Fabregas’s hamstring to take part? Is Rosicky really fit? And what news of Walcott, Ramsey, Diaby. Wenger should reveal all later.

Right, I must away. More from me on the Eduardo issue and more in this morning’s Arsecast. I have a feeling I almost certainly talk as little sense on it as I usually do.

And hopefully, more still over the weekend from me. For all of those of you lucky enough to be celebrating the fact that banks require holidays, have a nice long weekend. For the rest of you – well you’re probably already all lucky enough to be living in hot countries with palm trees and blue skies and things.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.