Arsene Wenger has said that English players may now be the masters of diving now, and that strikers leave a leg in to win penalties off goalkeepers.
Diving was one of the key talking points following Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool last weekend.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane both tried to win penalties with a dive. Alli was booked, but Kane’s attempt was successful.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino defended his team, claiming that diving was just another form of trickery and something players used to celebrate.
Asked about those comments, Wenger said that he doesn’t think Pochettino is defending diving, but did say that English players may be the masters of it now.
“Was it an apology for diving? I’m not sure at all,” he said in his pre-Tottenham press conference.
“We have to get the diving out of the game. I remember there were tremendous cases when the foreign players did it but I must say that the English players have learned very quickly and may be the masters now.”
Wenger went on to discuss one particular form of diving.
We often see strikers make the most of contact with goalkeepers in one-on-one situations.
Kane did exactly did against Liverpool to win a penalty, which he subsequently missed.
Wenger has sympathy with the referees in those situations, and believes that most of the time it’s not a penalty.
“They play a little bit with the rules. They make more of it on penalties. Every striker will do that,” he said.
“How far can you go? That’s down to the referees.
“At normal speed, it’s very difficult to determine. On that front, as much as I can be harsh with the referees, I’m quite tolerant.
“It’s difficult at 100% pace to distinguish if it was a dive or not.
“Most of the time, when players go into the goalkeeper they push the ball away from goal.
“They had a good rule in England when I arrived here. When a striker went into the goalkeeper and pushed the ball away, they didn’t give penalties. Because the only resource the player has after [pushing the ball away from goal] is a penalty.
“In many cases, it’s like that. The guy leaves a leg as long as he can to make sure the keeper touches him, but it’s not really a penalty.”
Arsenal will be hoping that the referee on Saturday has a strong game and doesn’t fall for any diving, as difficult as that can be.
No player has received more bookings for simulation than Dele Alli this season while only Bournemouth won more Premier League penalties than Spurs last season.
Harry Kane has scored 20 goals from the spot throughout his career, missing six.