Son Heung-min will miss Arsenal’s crunch Premier League tie against Tottenham that takes place later this month.
In news that will come as something of a relief to Arsenal fans, Son Heung-min will not be available for Arsenal’s game against Tottenham at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on 16 January, after the forward was ruled out with an injury that will sideline him into next month.
Speaking to the media, Antonio Conte said, “It was a strange situation. Because against Chelsea, I made two substitutions together. With Lucas Moura and then Son. But not for injury, the substitutions, but only to try to give them a bit of rest, 15 minutes of rest.
“Then the day after, he felt a bit of pain in his muscle, in his leg. He had a scan and now we have to make the right evaluation from the doctors.
“He has an injury. I don’t know, but probably he will stay without training sessions until the end of this cycle, for the international break.”
In addition to diving his way around the pitch, Son has scored four and assisted four against Arsenal in 15 games. In fact, since his arrival at Spurs, Son has lost just five of his games against the Gunners, winning five and drawing the remaining five.
He all those games, he has not so much as picked up a single yellow card.
From the archive: December 2018
Mark Clattenburg: Both Tottenham’s goals should not have been allowed
Mark Clattenburg must be just about the only person on the planet who isn’t an Arsenal fan that’s talking about Eric Dier’s goal.
All over Twitter Arsenal fans were calling for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Not only did it stand, Sky Sports never once even looked at the goal to see if there was a problem.
This is particularly odd because there is nothing Sky Sports love more than creating controversy around every goal.
Spurs’ second came, of course, by way of Son’s dive.
Pundits, especially Jamie Redknapp, tried desperately to legitimise Spurs’ cheating, even going so far as to gaslight Arsenal fans by telling them what they saw (no contact) was not what happened.
“Mike Dean should not have allowed either of Tottenham’s goals,” Clattenburg wrote in Monday’s Daily Mail.
“Eric Dier was just offside when Christian Eriksen whipped over the free-kick for 1-1.
All of Spurs players look offsides too in Dier's goal.
— invinciblog (@invinciblog) December 2, 2018
“And Son Heung-min dived for Spurs’ penalty.
Rob Holding lunged into a tackle but made no contact with Son.
"We've seen it five or six times and still can't see the contact."
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) December 2, 2018
“But Dean deserves credit for spotting Jan Vertonghen’s handball for Arsenal’s penalty — and rightly sent him off for a foul on Alexandre Lacazette.”
As usual, Dean will face no repercussions for another poor performance in which he got some major decisions wrong.
Thankfully, he’s now 50 and should be thinking about retiring in the next couple of seasons.
At present, he referees around one in five Arsenal v Spurs games.
Keith Hackett, meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said, “On first view, I thought it was a penalty, as did Mike. Holding slides in front of his opponent and appears to catch him. Mike was excellently positioned, took his time and pointed to the spot.
“However, television replays showed Holding did not touch Son, with the Tottenham forward going to ground far too easily.”
That all sounds perfectly reasonable.
Then he adds, and I swear I am not making this up, “But what makes this decision so difficult is that you could argue it is still a penalty, even though no contact has been made. Law 12 states that a direct free-kick is awarded if a player makes a challenge “considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force”.
Holding’s tackle was daft, but it was not careless, reckless nor using excessive force as they are meant in the rules of the game and Hackett knows it.
He tries to explain, “Holding’s challenge was desperate and, as a result, careless. He made no contact because Son took evasive action rather than because he took any care to avoid his opponent.”
But we all know this is total bull.
Son did not ‘take evasive action’.
He was not trying to avoid Holding, he WANTED to be caught by the Arsenal defender. Holding, therefore, did not ’cause’ Son to go down, he did that all by himself.
The definition of ‘careless’ in the rules is to protect players from dangerous tackles, not daft ones.
By Hackett’s logic, any player sliding in to block the ball that misses both ball and man is a free-kick.