Nigel de Jong has gone and done it again. In the third minute (third minute, really?) of yesterday’s match between Manchester City and Newcastle, de Jong went in hard and with both legs on Hatem Ben Arfa.
The result was a double leg fracture for Ben Arfa. And for de Jong? Nothing. No card, no censure. I mean, it was the third minute. What was Martin Atkinson suppposed to do? It was the THIRD minute. You can’t card a guy that early, much less send him off. It ruins the whole game when the referee inserts himself in the match like that.
Thankfully, there is one guy with sense out there. Bert van Marwijk, the guy that saw first hand de Jong doing this to Stuart Holden
and this to Xabi Alonso
while on international duty for The Netherlands in the last seven months (both only worth a yellow card, by the way) has dropped the dirty midfielder from the Dutch squad for the next two Euro qualifiers. Quoth van Marwijk: “I’ve seen the pictures back. It was a wild and unnecessary offence. He went in much too hard. It is unfortunate, especially since he does not need to do it. The funny thing is that the referee did not even show a yellow card for it. Apparently, there are other standards. But I have a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit. I am going to speak to him.”
Good on van Marwijk, I say. Although it may be an empty gesture in the end, de Jong can easily be put back on the team in the future, at least it’s a gesture. A starting point of saying “this guy is dirty”. Now if only we could get Capello to say he’s never picking Karl Henry for the team
What remains to be seen is if there is any sanction from the league or the club (HA HA HA HA. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. Clubs don’t care as long as it doesn’t impact their money). Theoretically, since the foul was not carded–or, for that matter, even whistled for–it’s safe to say that Atkinson “missed” it. That would seem to leave the door open for a video review of the tackle, and possibly a retroactive red card. (UPDATE: No action to be taken. Atkinson says he saw it and saw nothing in it)
But don’t hold your breath. That would be much too proactive for a backwater league like the EPL. Let’s leave that kind of video review to top-notch league like Australia instead. To do otherwise would ruin the integrity of the game, right?