When Players Take the Dive

As described by Wikipedia, diving means:

In association football, diving is an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by falling to the ground and possibly feigning an injury, to give the impression that a foul has been committed. Dives are often used to exaggerate the amount of contact present in a challenge. Deciding on whether a player has dived is often very subjective, and one of the most controversial aspects of football discussion. Players do this so they can receive free kicks or penalty kicks, which can provide scoring opportunities, or so the opposing player receives a yellow or red card, giving their own team an advantage. Diving is also known as simulation (the term used by FIFA), Schwalbe (German for swallow), and, in the U.S., flopping.


I despise diving in the beautiful game. It’s too dramatic and too easy to do. As much as I believe VAR has generally been inappropriately implemented in the Premier League, there is another type of diving that I dislike even more.

Oops. You must be trippin’.

Have you noticed how quickly a team can turn around as soon as a new manager is brought in? Not to pick on Tottenham (ok, yes, we’re picking on Tottenham), the club’s free fall into the abyss has somehow be righted since Mourinho came onboard. And to be honest, there’s no way that Jose could have implemented a fully new set of attacking parameters to right the course this quickly, especially when he admitted they weren’t changing the way the Spurs play right away.

This, my friends, is the more erosive form of diving. The team turns on a manager, for whatever reason, begins sacrificing their performance and their own club, only to churn a manager and side-step any responsibility for their own performance. Sometimes, this can backfire or suggest there are deeper problems for a club than a player dive could impact, as can be seen with Manchester United over the past three years.

But one only needs to look at Tottenham’s performance over the past season.

  • Dial back to mid-July; Tottenham beat Juventus (2-3 at Juventus)
  • They’re then defeated by Manchester United at home on July 25th (remember, this is present-day, sliding ManUnited)
  • Tottenham beats Real Madrid and Bayern, but loses to Inter Milan
  • Then, the Premier League season begins
  • Tottenham beat Aston Villa
  • Tottenham draw against Man City
  • Tottenham LOSE to Newcastle
  • Tottenham draw against Arsenal
  • Tottenham beat Crystal Palace
  • Tottenham draw against Olympiacos (UEFA Champions League)
  • Tottenham LOSE to Leicester City
  • Tottenham draw with Colchester (a League Two team during the Football League Cup)
  • Tottenham beat Southampton
  • Tottenham LOSE to Bayern (UEFA Champions League – Lose is a kind word. Bayern racks up 7 goals against Tottenham)
  • Tottenham LOSE to Brighton
  • Tottenham draw against Watford
  • Tottenham beat Crvena Zvezda (UEFA Champions League)
  • Tottenham LOSE against Liverpool
  • Tottenham draw against Everton
  • Tottenham again beat Crvena Zvezda (UEFA Champions League)
  • Tottenham draw against Sheffield United
  • Then Pochettino is sacked and Mourinho steps in.
  • Tottenham beats West Ham
  • Tottenham beats Olympiacos

The last two games represent the longest winning streak for Tottenham since the Premier League season began. In the last two matches, Tottenham seemed to have returned to their quality form.

I mean, maybe a coincidence, but at the same time, did the players cut their arms to save the whole body? I can’t imagine that this was anything more than an internal coup against the former manager. But, even though Mourinho has a history of getting teams to perform, he’s also the strong and hard-to-take medicine that could have been avoided.

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