The Red Card was Right. Kompany Tackle was Reckless


Manchester City have announced their intention to appeal against Vincent Kompany’s red card sustained at the Emirates against Arsenal on Sunday.

Kompany's Appeal Rejected

Kompany’s Appeal Rejected

The Manchester City captain lunged at young Arsenal forward Jack Wilshere in the 75th minute of their EPL clash on Sunday.

City were 0-2 up at the time and cruising home in  match where Arsenal had played all but the first nine minutes with ten men.

Referee Mike Dean reached for his red card for a second time and ordered the experienced Belgian international off the field

There is little doubt Kompany’s first leg made a good and solid contact with the ball. However, in an attempt to lessen career threatening injuries, the powers that be were forced to create wording for regulations that would allow defenders a clear view of what rule they had to abide by. They chose that a straight red card would apply for a two footed tackle, that is when both feet leave the ground and both sets of studs are outstretched.

Kompany may have had the sense to begin the crooking of his following leg to evade that rule, but it was too late.  They were up, when he went in. His tackle met the definition of the wording laid out but he played the ball and Wilshere was able to carry on.

This morning prominent BBC analyst and former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen defended the tackle:

He told the Daily Telegraph:

“If Manchester City fail to get Vincent Kompany’s red card against Arsenal rescinded it will send out the message that tackling has gone forever. In my opinion, there is absolutely no doubt that, not only did Kompany win the ball, it was just about the perfect tackle.

I will be flabbergasted and astonished if referee Mike Dean decides to stand by his decision to dismiss the Manchester City captain following Kompany’s challenge on Jack Wilshere. I believe that it is an absolute certainty that Kompany will be cleared by the FA, though.

His challenge was not two-footed and the ball was won cleanly, so I do not understand how the referee could even contemplate issuing a red card. It would have been strange to see a yellow card brandished, never mind a red.”

He received support from Robbie Savage who added:

“If you start sending people off for challenges like that, then the game is gone. I would never have been able to have had a career.”

We disagree on several key points, except the one that Robbie Savage might not have had a career.

Firstly we agree with Hansen on this point. Kompany’s tackle was well timed and a two footed tackle can be very effective if you time it right. But the law was introduced to dissuade players from entering into such tackles entirely, not to give them a pass to attempt them and hope for the best.

The law and furthermore the intent of the law is clear. Keep your feet on the ground in the tackle and if you must raise a foot, raise just the one. No single moment of possession is worth the risks inherent to the opposing player of the two footed variety of the sliding lunge.

Kompany is a great player and would probably stand a better chance of timing such a tackle correctly than players in lower divisions. But that fact that he can time this kind of dangerous tackle correctly is not a justification for altering the laws of the game, introduced to protect players at all levels. Give him a pass and you set a precedent where star players can expect more liberal laws to be applied. People who are better drivers have to deal with the same speeding laws as lesser ones.

That one man can drive safely at 45mph in a school zone and did so without injuring someone is not an excuse for either waiving or changing the law.

Kompany himself took to twitter to defend himself, tweeting:

“If the ball is overrun by the opponent and a 50/50 challenge occurs, [a]collision is inevitable.”

He is being disingenuous in his use of language. The challenge didn’t just ‘occur’. He made it.  He also chose to make it with neither foot on the ground. His tweet was intended to imply that he is a helpless bystander in the challenge, someone innocently effected by external events.

He may just be covering up for his own stupidity. City were two goals up and cruising. Arsenal had only made any impact in the game because City took their foot of the pedal having led 0-2 early against the ten men. There was no points to be gained or lost by winning that ball from Wilshere.

Finally, with the home side already aggrieved by losing a man to a red card early, there was never much chance Dean would give him the benefit of the doubt. Every professional on the planet knows that you act with a certain restraint once the other side has had a man sent off.

In the context of the match, Kompany’s tackle was just plain dumb. In the context of the intent of laws designed to protect skilful players, it was reckless.

So is City’s appeal.


About Author

Steve is the founder and owner of Prost Amerika. He covered the expansion of MLS soccer in Cascadia at first hand. As Editor in Chief of, he was accredited at the 2014 World Cup Final. He is the former President of the North American Soccer Reporters Association/ Originally from Glasgow, he is a supporter of the Great Glasgow Alternative, Partick Thistle.


  1. A small point, a tackle which is reckless is punished with a yellow card and not a red card. In order for the tackle to be considered serious foul play it’s usually because of excessive force. That’s more of a semantic argument within the laws of the game but it’s worth pointing out.

    I’ll say this about the Kompany tackle as I see it from my comfy chair thousands of miles away. I think Mike Dean had a terrible angle from which to see the play, it is almost impossible to see it clearly from where he was with the back of Wilshere in front of him. The best place from which to see this tackle would be from the side, I can’t fault him from being there because being out of position happens occasionally, you cannot always predict how things will play out. So with no replay seeing it from the angle which he did, it certainly looked like a red card offense.

    People saying this is a disgrace and that the decision on this tackle will make or break the game are of course being silly. It’s a decision made by a referee in a split second who didn’t have a good view, in a game where he had already given a red card to the opponents. People would like to believe referees aren’t human but they are, Mike Dean surely remembers sending off Wilshere for a similar looking tackle at speed, and Arsenal had been playing with 10 since early in the first half.

  2. He made it occur. He made it succesfull. At the moment he plays the ball, his other foot is on the ground.
    Covering up for stupidity? Kompany?
    If Arsenal is 2:0 down, and Wilshere pusches the ball a little to far… Be intelligent and stop defending. Is that what you’re saying?