Football Comment: No sympathy for reckless Matic

Trevor Steven
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FIRST and foremost, Nemanja Matic will have been one of the first names on the Chelsea team sheet this season along with Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas and will be sorely missed in next Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Tottenham at Wembley.

He is very much a launchpad for what Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea do and when a team plays together on such a regular basis, it becomes hard to imagine how that team will function without such an important cog. That is how significant he has become.

In terms of his red card against Burnley on Saturday, however, I don’t really have any sympathy for him. The tackle from Ashley Barnes was horrific, there’s no doubt about it, but you cannot react like he did.

If you raise your hands to anyone then it’s a red card. But to run five metres and then retaliate is absolutely crazy. It’s not as if Barnes was right next to him at the time – he had time to think about his actions.

I’m sure it will have gone through Matic’s head that the tackle was a potentially career-damaging one. But he lost his cool completely. It was not a knee-jerk reaction, it was pure anger. He had time to calm himself down and it was silly.

When you have time to think about it, you should show restraint.

QPR captain Joey Barton is another one. He has a flash of madness in him anyway and it’s not the first time, he is a repeat offender.

The Hoops are in a relegation battle and striking out at Hull’s Tom Huddlestone put his side in jeopardy, both in the match itself and in the longer term. I have no sympathy for either him or Matic.

With regard to yesterday’s match at White Hart Lane and West Ham boss Sam Allardyce claiming free-kicks should be given when players remain on their feet, I’m a bit cloudy on what he means.

In terms of the last-gasp penalty, you’ve always got to be wary as a defender when you’re behind a player and wary not to touch that attacker in the penalty area.

The defender has no right to touch an opponent in that situation because they are on the wrong side and that is their own fault. You cannot impede that player from behind, it is just one of the rules of the game.

Alex Song has got himself in a bit of a fluster and leant on Kane, who has felt a bit of body contact and gone down. Strikers know that when a defender is behind them, that individual is no longer in the game and Song was not in the game in that instance.

I think Kane probably made a lot of the contact but Song has been around a long time and he should have known better.

Trevor Steven is a former England international who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. He now works as a media commentator.

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