Hello? Is anyone home? Is anyone listening?
As we continue to progress through the Premier League season – almost a third of the way through now – all we get is more of the same.
With today’s action, we were subjected to two more instances of head injuries on the pitch as well as one more instance of Andre Villas-Boas’s foolishness as it becomes more and more obvious a protocol regarding head injuries is needed in the Premier League.
Arsenal traveled to Manchester United in the headliner match of the day, and the game quickly proved to be a physical battle with little offered on goal. In the first half, we saw a player on each team go down with a nasty blow to the head, although the two sides handled it differently.
The Gunners proved no better than Tottenham with their handling of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who was very clearly knocked out when he collided heads with Phil Jones challenging in the box.
Szczesny was soon up on his feet and appeared fine, but not before NBC cameras showed him squinting and cringing in pain as he laid on his back, a bit fuzzy as he came to. Have a watch:
And apparently, that was that. Szczesny played the rest of the match, with not even a sniff towards backup goalkeeper Lukaz Fabianski on the bench.
Manchester United gets a gold star for their performance, however, with how they handled Nemanja Vidic, although the outcome to his injury was a bit more obvious.
The United captain and central defender went in hard to his own box defending an Arsenal attacker and smacked his head against teammate David De Gea’s hip bone. Vidic, like Szczesny, crumpled immediately into a heap, appearing to be knocked unconscious.
However, the Serbian defender fared much worse than his opponent did, coming up both bloody and woozy. He came off immediately, with United seeing out the half before replacing him after the break. Vidic wobbled his way down the tunnel, blood visible from his lip and spitting from his mouth.
With such inconsistencies in how the situations are handled, even within the same game, how does the Premier League expect to protect its players on a regular basis?
To cap it all off, Andre Villas-Boas continued to make himself look nothing more than a bumbling fool when approached by reporters on Hugo Lloris’s situation.
Lloris, who remained on the pitch after a blow to the head despite a lengthy argument from his medical staff, was deemed unfit to play in today’s loss to Sunderland and was replaced in the lineup by American Brad Friedel.
Villas-Boas was heavily challenged by reporters on the situation, but remained fixed on supporting his decision to leave Lloris in last weekend. “The medical staff determined it was a bit too soon for him today” he declared.
Oh really, Andre? It’s too soon 7 days later, but not 5 minutes after? That makes a whole lot of sense.
Someone needs to put an end to these shenanigans before a player ends up seriously crippled, or worse. And that’s not an exaggeration.