Diving hypocrisy should be used to Arsenal's advantage

By Avenell Dave

"Same old Arsenal - always cheating!"

Since the beginning of time, Arsenal seem to have got a hard time when it comes to media criticism.

There have been times when condemning misbehaviour would be justified, such as when Paddy Vieira spat at Neil Ruddock at Upton Park a few years ago.

I was there and much as 'Razor' deserved some sort of retribution for the abuse he was dishing out - both verbal and physical - that was a step too far.

And yet when Arsene Wenger's team was wowing the world with its football, we always seemed to be condemned for yellow and red cards.

A ruck at Old Trafford ended with us getting docked points for the sort of thing taht would warrant nothing more than a fine these days.

We fielded an international line up without an Englishman and were roundly criticised.

The media loves to bash us.

And so to Santi Cazorla. 

Replays showed that he dived, pure and simple, for the penalty that gave us the lead on Saturday and for that, just as with Manu Eboue in the past, he deserves to be privately chastised by his manager.

We hate it when Luis Suarez does it and we despise it when Gareth Bale does it, but only one of them gets a media kicking. Why?

I can accept that we were lucky on both goals, got the rub of the green and that with our finishing otherwise suspect on the day, we may not have come away with the win our overall performance deserved.

But the headline on the S*n's website used a starred-out expletive in reference to Santi, which is poor journalism at any time.

No West Brom player, coach of even fan was quoted as saying it, so it was simply the S*n's way of judging a player who simulated a foul.

The Sunday Times was little better with a reference to cheats and yet I don't see local players getting anything like the same sort of criticism.

It was the same with Eduardo against Celtic a couple of years ago, if you recall.

Why should Gareth Bale or Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen or even Steven Gerrard for that matter get away with diving just because they're from the UK?

Kanu made a mistake against Sheffield United and we, sportingly, decided to replay the game. But fans up and down the country still accuse us of cheating. It is, frankly, bollocks.

If I was Wenger, I'd take Santi to one side, explain that he shouldn't dive so blatantly - while not telling him to stay on his feet at all costs which he's also done in the past when lesser players would give up after being felled.

And I'd show the headlines to the team and show them that this is what it means to play for The Arsenal.

That at all times, but now as much as ever with the team still struggling for consistency, the predisposition to attack us at all times has to become an incentive to prove to themselves, the fans and the media that this team can be winners, will not succumb to criticism and will carry on regardless.

It's the only way because the alternative to wither away or cower in the face of criticism is just not worth thinking about.