In the 16th minute of West Ham's visit to Arsenal on Tuesday evening, Matt Jarvis was clearly fouled in the area by Bacary Sagna. But, instead of going to ground like 99.9% of Premier League players would, the Hammers winger stayed on his feet and attempted to chase the ball down.
For the heroic act of not diving, Jarvis was praised by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"I am grateful for that," Wenger said on Jarvis' decision not to go down. "I don't think it was a penalty, but he touched him yes. Can you be too honest? I leave you that judgment.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, however, didn't feel the same way. When the host of Sky's post-match coverage suggested that Jarvis deserved credit for staying up, the former Manchester Utd star sarcastically responded:
"Well done, your team haven't won a game! You can either be an angel and do what Matt Jarvis did and get a pat on the back off his Nan when he goes home tonight, or he can win his team a penalty."
Diving and unnecessarily going to ground is generally viewed as a scourge on the game, so it is surprising for someone of Neville's stature — a former defender, no less — to lambast a player for staying on his feet. Yet this isn't the first time G-Nev has taken a pro-diving stance: in the past, he has defended flops by Adnan Januzaj and Luis Suarez, neither of whom would have earned a pat on the back from their Nans when they got home.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Matt Jarvis
- Gary Neville
- Bacary Sagna