Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughDown in the trenches - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Down in the trenches - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Down in the trenches

Arsenal travel to the North East today to take on Sunderland and this is one of the few Premier League fixtures in which the state of the pitch could be more of a talking point as opposed to the two teams on it.

In the same fixture last season Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker injured himself whilst running in the muddy trenches of the Stadium of Light. He was lost for the remainder of the season and it is something of a miracle that more players aren’t seriously injured on poorly kept pitches. 

In Mertesacker’s case he quite literally got stuck in the mud and his ankle bent in a way it shouldn’t have. How dangerous is that? 

And look this isn’t just a dig at Sunderland’s ground staff, I have seen the pitches at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford resemble a World War One trench instead of a football playing surface.

I understand that some teams have less money and perhaps cannot afford the equipment and staff needed to maintain a decent playing surface. For example, Wigan share their picture with a rugby team which makes it difficult to keep the quality of the pitch up to a good standard.

These are professional football players, however, and if teams in the top flight of one of Europe’s premier leagues are unable to provide a pitch on which you can play football on than something needs to be done.

Some managers consider it an advantage, a way to enhance the ‘long ball’ game because there is absolutely no way the ball can be passed along the ground. Does that excuse a dangerous pitch, though? 

It is only a matter of time before another player gets injured due to a poorly kept pitch and can you imagine the uproar if it is a national treasure like Jack Wilshere or Wayne Rooney?

The League should enforce penalties on clubs whose home pitches are not maintained to a certain standard or deduct points until a pitch is deemed playable. Football is already an extremely physical game and with focus being on dangerous tackles recently players do not need to contend with the pitch that they play on either.