In the modern game tackling seems to be a dying art with referees distributing yellow cards for tackles that past generations would consider fair. People bemoan the decreasing amount of physicality in the game but some times footballers go far beyond the “firm but fair” guideline.
Here we look at the five worst tackles seen in Premier League history and, yes, Callum McManaman's recent tackle on Newcastle United's Massadio Haidara is included.
The only surprise is that the worst tackler in recent history, Paul Scholes, is not included but of course his ex-Manchester United team-mate Roy Keane does feature, which is no surprise.
1. Roy Keane on Alf Inge Haaland
Clearly a Manchester derby can bring out the worst in players but Roy Keane's pre-meditated tackle on Alf Inge Haaland was more in keeping with an assault rather than an actual tackle. Keane himself admitted afterwards that he planned the tackle after being injured during a previous tangle between himself and the City midfielder who was at Leeds at the time. If this had occurred outside a football ground then I am sure police would have been involved in the matter. Haaland’s career was never the same after this until injury forced him into eventual retirement.
2. Martin Taylor on Eduardo
The Birmingham City defender sparked outrage with this tackle that broke the leg of the Arsenal forward. Arsene Wenger was particularly critical of Taylor. The tackle itself was an accident but the severity of the injury and the setback that Eduardo suffered in his Arsenal career was enough for this tackle to make the top five.
3. Callum McManaman on Massadio Haidara
The Latics defenders knee high tackle on the Newcastle left-back enraged many onlookers, not least the Magpies bench. It was undoubtedly the worst tackle of the season so far and McManaman was lucky to escape any punishment from the FA afterwards. The talented Wigan player, who could well be an England player of the future, will need to curb his enthusiasm if this is how it comes out.
4. Michael Essien on Dietmar Hamann
Essien’s tackle on Liverpool and Germany midfielder Hamaan occurred during a Champions League semi-final tie in 2005. Essien is no stranger to controversial tackles and this tackle in particular was perhaps one of his most dangerous. Again this was another tackle that escaped major punishment both during and after the game.
5. Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes
Thatcher is another who was perceived as a dirty player. He had his fair share of run ins on the football pitch but this was something else. Elbowing someone is one of the worst incidents in football and one that can cause a lot of damaged to a player. In this instance Thatcher elbowed Mendes into the advertising hoardings leaving the Portsmouth player unconscious and in hospital. Again the referee was very lenient in only issuing a yellow card but later Thatcher was handed an eight game ban as punishment.
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