Calculated Violence – The Latest Trick In Anti-Football?

Over the last few years we have seen quite a few new tricks evolved by the exponents of anti-football. Rotational fouling and rotational time-wasting are two of the most commonly seen ones. After watching the last game against Stoke I have a feeling we are going to see another trick join the list – ‘World’s most successful anti-football tactics’.

I would like to call this ‘Calculated Violence’ or ‘Measured Assault’

Let me illustrate this by analyzing the attack on Djourou by John Carew.

As we can see from that image, when the Swiss defender plays the ball the Norwegian is more than two yards away. It wasn’t a 50-50 tackle it was a 100-0 by anyone’s honest reckoning.

No surprise then that the ball is over five yards away when Carew clatters into Arsenal’s centre-back.

There are two aspects to this attack – what Carew could have done if he actually wanted to play football? And What Carew actually did.

If the Stoke striker had any intention of playing the ball he could have easily done so.

In the above close up we can see that Djourou has already played the ball as Carew is charging at him. Not only has the defender played the ball he has also pulled his leg out for fear of receiving an ugly stomp from the big man.

If Carew wanted to, he could have landed on his right leg, dropped his left shoulder and changed direction towards the ball. If you look back to the other images above, there is a big gap between Djourou and Clichy and the defender didn’t get enough power on the ball as he was looking to pull his foot out. Carew could actually have won the ball and charged into the box.

I have played a lot of sports at amateur/college levels and can say with confidence that changing direction is not that big a deal, certainly shouldn’t be for professional footballers. If he had any positive intentions he would also have been anticipating such a touch by Djourou and actively seeking to exploit it.

We have seen enough examples of quality football from the striker prior to his Stoke days to know that he can do it if he wants to. That leads me to believe that he had no intention of playing the ball.

This brings me to the second part. What was John Carew trying to do?

I was a sports nut while growing up and one of the sports (although now I don’t consider it a sport) that I followed was WWE (WWF as it was known in those days). Carew’s charge reminded me of the term Clothesline that was quite common in that. I just Googled it and found this description of how to perform a clothesline attack.

  • Face your opponent, about five feet away from them. A good clothesline has a lot of power so get some momentum going.
  • Bend your knees and be ready for action. Charge at your opponent as quickly as you can. The faster you go, the more force there will be in your clothesline.
  • Put your dominant arm out to the side of your body. If you are right handed, then stay about a foot to the left of your opponent. Swing your arm and try to hit your opponent in the chest with your forearm. Jump to get more power and knock them over.

Read that description, look at the earlier images in the article, and the final image above. I believe John Carew gave us the perfect tutorial on how to deliver a clothesline.

The purpose of this was two-fold. Early on in the second half it tested the resolve of the ref. Once it was clear the ref is allowing such an assault to go unpunished Stoke were motivated to go at the Gunners in every manner possible.

The second point to this is to rattle the individual. No matter how strong Djourou is, such a blow to the diaphragm would leave him winded. He would continue to feel the effects of the hit for the next few minutes and there is a chance that he could lose concentration. Another advantage for Stoke would be that the defender would be hurt and wary of going into another such challenge knowing fully well that he won’t be protected by the ref.

Spread this around i.e. different players assaulting different opponents, and you’d undoubtedly make an impact on the other team’s ability to play football.

Make no mistake about it, Arsenal are going to face more and more of this ‘Calculated Violence’ till the end of the season.

On a related side note I also wanted to discuss some of the lies spewed by Tony Pulis.

Let’s not worry about his attempts of trivializing the discussion by talking about the card counts of the two teams. This game itself was a good example of how Stoke get away with shocking challenges that renders any discussion based on the number of cards received meaningless. It’s a shame that no one in the media has the guts to question Pulis about this.

But this is something we have heard often enough and isn’t worth dwelling on. More interesting was the Stoke manager’s comment about his team’s honesty.

We are a very honest team. Jermaine Pennant showed that second half when he was tackled and he got straight up. We do that at this football club. We don’t like people rolling around or seeing people trying to get players booked or sent off. It’s traditional but it’s the way we like to do things at this club.

In the first half Bendtner attempted a sliding tackle that was deemed to be a foul by the ref. I thought the Dane got the ball but since it was a little bit from behind it could have been considered a foul.

If we look at the details it’s a very decent attempt. Bendtner ensures his laces were facing the opponent and not his studs. He also had his other leg tucked in below him to cut out any chances of a scissor action. Even his leg movement was going across him and not in the direction of his body weight/momentum. Unfortunately, these are the kind of technical details that no one in the media seems to focus on when discussing good or bad tackles.

Pennant, for his part, went to ground far too easily, rolled on the pitch twice, and was holding his shin as if it had been hacked off.

Even in the second half, Clichy actually won the ball and Pennant went down far too easily, that is if we apply the same standards that people impose on Arsenal.

An honest and traditional club indeed. They seem to have a tradition of violence and cheating and seem to follow it honestly, nay, religiously.

Well, at least they can consider themselves the world’s best at something. I don’t know who pioneered this art of ‘Calculated Violence’ but Stoke have perfected it.

35 Responses to Calculated Violence – The Latest Trick In Anti-Football?

  1. Parag says:

    awesome analysis/article
    really love the stuff you write!

    If only anyone did something about this.
    I also think the refs seem to have become more of such incidents pass after the fabregas vs. moyes everton fiasco about what fabregas may or may not have said to the refs. sad 😦

  2. Osi says:

    Desigunner you’re spot on there. You’re a very critical writer and give attentions to very important things in the game that are considered insignificant details by other critics and pundits.

    Now that you cleverly analysed and illustrated the ‘calculated violence’ in football, it is important to talk also about a ‘Calculated Media Perception against the Beautiful game’


  3. Readings says:

    Football in this country will always second class in world status while we tolerate non players and absolute classless managers.
    Fans are being taken for complete mugs,they pay small fortunes to watch their team,only tofind out that players who really can play, injured by a
    nonsense of a player,and lays on the treatment table for sometimes whole seasons.
    What mugs we are!.

    • Claver says:


      It isn’t an entirely hopeless situation.

      As much as I find Tiny Tots repugnant, I have to say Redknapp has done a decent job in terms of building a team that can play football.

      I don’t like the money-method because it is unsustainable, but Harry has built a team of football players.

      Redknapp has always had a knack for building teams but just not the finesse, I think.

      How about Blackpool’s Holloway? What a time to be a Blackpool fan eh?

      There are English managers out there who do a proper job.

      It’s the Ferguson boot-lickers who have a dominant voice amongst English managers though. Pulis, Allardyce, Pardew etc This drowns out other more competent British managers.

      After all, how many World Cup winners has Ferguson ever trained?

  4. Claver says:


    Do you mean to say Desi is paranoid, that if he speaks of a ‘Calculated Media Perception’ he shows himself ‘cracked’?

    I don’t get you. Please explain, maybe your message got lost in translation.

    Do you think that Desi is trying to say that there is a conspiracy against the Arsenal?

    If Desi said there IS such a conspiracy, does it make him mad and you sane?

    Do you need Desi to appear insane to prove your sanity?

    What do you mean by saying Desi is a very ‘critical’ writer? Do you mean analytical?

    What you have said is highly ambiguous, please clarify…otherwise it’s nonsensical.

  5. Claver says:


    Perhaps, your idea of calculated violence may not be off the mark.

    It seems even the fans came prepared for violence, either to induce it or to partake in it. See this report;

    Obviously, these guys from Stoke know exactly what they are trying to achieve. There was some thought put into aggravation on the pitch, and off the pitch as well.

    Tragic losers.

    • desigunner says:

      That’s an interesting report. I’m not sure we can judge all Stoke fans with the same yardstick but there must be a fair number who actually enjoy their style and are happy with the pain and injuries they inflict on others.

  6. Claver says:

    Leeching clubs like Stoke, which show zero desire nor willingness to change their ways must be compelled to.

    Arsenal FC work extremely hard to be good ambassadors of the EPL, both locally and internationally.

    Clubs like Stoke work extremely hard to benefit from that hardwork by crying for TV money.

    Do you think most people across the globe pay money to watch Stoke?

    Where do these Stoke FC guys think that money comes from? From ManU? How retarded.

    Without the likes of Wenger the EPL would be back in the ’80’s. Public schoolboys who grew up on rugby dominating the football pitch.

    Pulis is a short-sighted man it would seem. A simple, timely apology to the fans, firm handshake with Wenger and a proper football match being all that’s required. Instead his pride and arrogance overfloweth.

    Pathetic. I detest Stoke FC.

  7. Osi says:

    Hi Cleveryly, when I say ‘Calculated Media Perception Against beautiful game’ I mean it. I am not trying to suggest that Desi is paranoid. In the contrary, I think that there’s a real bias against teams playing beautiful game in the PL, and that bias is well calculated.

    There’s an obvious dismissal of any reasonable debate around the topic of harmful tackling, and inconsistency in delivering yellow and red cards.

    So what I want is our critical writers such Desi to highlight the inconsistencies in delivering the cards, and especially analyse the fact that Arsenal (a team known for their beautiful game)appear in the top of the discipline table above Stoke (a team known for the harsh talking, and anti-football antics).


    • desigunner says:

      Not sure if you follow Untold Arsenal or not but Walter has been doing excellent work regarding the performances of referees. At the end of the season we should have some interesting insights about the refereeing bias against Arsenal.

  8. Claver says:

    ‘It’s traditional but it’s the way we like to do things at this club.’

    There are lots of things that are ‘traditional’ but are no longer allowed e.g the goalie picking up the ball after a back pass.

    It seems to me an admission that he knows he is breaking the laws of the game. Because he knows that the laws of the game have changed. The game is no longer traditional but modern.

    • Osi says:

      What do you mean by saying Desi is a very ‘critical’ writer? Do you mean analytical?

      ‘Critical’ means that the writer questions the established ways of analysing things and offer new insights into the topic. It’s different than being analytical. You can be analytical and critical at the same time but you can also be analytical and be conservative in the way you analyse things.

  9. Claver says:


    That tackle from Bendtner was awful, I think. I wouldn’t want it on an Arsenal player, it’s too risky.

    What if Pennant had suddenly stopped? Bendtner’s weight would have travelled through Pennant’s legs. Not good.

  10. Arsenal4 says:

    The sad thing is many people accept this as the reason to survive in premier league, playing to their strength or a so called English spirit non-sense. I think it’s up to FA on how they tackle this – they have the campaign of RESPECT – why not at least do a similar thing with ‘brute force’ to player?

  11. sameep says:

    I remember a situation in India Australia Cricket test series, I think it was 2004(the year could be wrong!). The Australian players started walking (without waiting for umpires’ decision) while they were caught behind (when it was crystal clear) or when they edged one on to the pads and to the silly midoff/short leg fielder. It started to look like the Australian players are honest. Then as they got confidence of the umpires, during the Indian innings they started appealing strongly even for those wickets which were clearly not out. I remember Sehwag edged a McGrath ball onto his pads and whole Australian team went on to appeal for an LBW (when it was clear that the ball had hit hit bat). And guess what, he was given out by the HONEST appeals of the HONEST Australian players!
    This continued throughout the match till Gavaskar, while commentating, pointed out this thing that how Australians have found a new trick to deceive the Umpires!

  12. zong says:

    Thanks Desi, excellent as usual. It’s fat easier to cheat to gain any sort of edge in a game than to actually try to play football. What really rankles is the hypocrisy afterwards. How I would love to see this joke of a team relegated to the lower divisions where they belong.

    • desigunner says:

      Stoke are top of my list of teams I’d love to see relegated. Birmingham are second. Have taken Blackburn off that list since Fat Sam was sacked and the new manager has been trying to change their style.

  13. sam says:

    Keep up the good work Desi, but it’s a bit of no brainer this one. It’s been in the game for years and I don’t mind it up to a point. Where I turn negative is on the referees. They really should man up and blow for the excessive nastiness like Carew. Yet sometimes Song gets a yellow in the first 10 minutes.

  14. Arsenal says:

    The Good Lord must punish the corrupted severely and put all this to a full stop. Amen

  15. andy p says:

    Thanks desi g, glad you highlighted the article. I have idiots on Facebook telling me how dirty arsenal are!

  16. amband says:


    ” Make no mistake about it, Arsenal are going to face more and more of this ‘Calculated Violence’ till the end of the season.”

    Well they better shut up stop moaning and handle it

  17. What has happened to the creativity

  18. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by check out and we are, EpiKnightz. EpiKnightz said: DesiGunner: Calculated Violence – The Latest Trick In Anti-Football?: Over the last few years we have s… #Arsenal […]

  19. critic says:

    england will never win world cup due to such thuggery. PPl call arsenal fans paranoid just ridiculous.

    very nice article.

  20. Greencard USA says:

    This is excellent work Desi. I wonder if a web site can be created that deals only with referee performance in the Premier League. If the FA, media, and Referees Association wont do anything about it, perhaps they can be shamed publically.

    • desigunner says:

      Walter is doing that for Arsenal games on Untold Arsenal. Not sure if there is one for all Premier League games but it would be worth having for sure.

  21. cbinlondon says:

    I’m an Arsenal fan and can see both sides of the argument to a certain extent. While I can’t stand excessive violence in football, I don’t blame sides like Stoke for adopting a more physical approach. I would love all the smaller sides to play like Blackpool, but it is understandable for clubs with a meagre budget and limited skills to try to maximise their results by making it a more physical contest. I think the source of the problem is that the FA are inconsistent, so players, managers, fans and referees don’t know (or certainly don’t agree) on where the line is.

    I’m from Australia and Aussie rules football, which has considerably more contact than football, used to have a similar problem. The association realised that the umpires could not possibly make the correct decision in every situation (or even have a good view of every incident) so each match is reviewed by a tribunal and if anything illegal is seen, the player is reported and has to answer for their conduct. There is also a grading system so each incident is judged on intent, amount of force used, what part of the body is contacted and the previous conduct of the person is considered. This helps to provide some consistency and helps everyone to know what punishment is likely.

    Many contact sports are now using technology so the governing body can retrospectively punish illegal actions and I can’t understand why the FA don’t have a similar policy. They claim it is to protect the integrity of the game (and the referees) but I would argue that the game would be greatly improved if players knew that footage of the game will be analysed and they are unlikely to get away with indiscretions. This would certainly reduce the likelihood of reckless tackles and also reduce diving and other unsportsmanlike behaviour.

    In sport and in life, if there is the possibility of gaining an advantage illegally (especially with the potential for not being adequately punished), there will always be people who cross the line. I would liken the FA’s attitude towards violence to a police force that will only arrest criminals if they are caught in the act – pretty stupid if you ask me.

    • desigunner says:

      Agree with you about the need for retrospective action. It might result in some tough punishments initially and might bring bad publicity but over time it will really improve the game. Thanks for sharing the Aussie Rules experience, I was not aware of that.

  22. […] Calculated Violence – The Latest Trick In Anti-Football? Over the last few years we have seen quite a few new tricks evolved by the exponents of anti-football. Rotational […] […]

  23. […] the following year I found “Calculated Violence – The Latest Trick In Anti-Football? which says, “Over the last few years we have seen quite a few new tricks evolved by the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s