Arsenal midfielder Cazorla's tumble sparks diving debate

LONDON Sun Dec 9, 2012 9:46am IST

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (bottom) reacts after winning a penalty following a challenge by West Bromwich Albion's Steven Reid during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates stadium in London December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (bottom) reacts after winning a penalty following a challenge by West Bromwich Albion's Steven Reid during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates stadium in London December 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) - Santi Cazorla became the latest player embroiled in a diving row when the Spaniard's tumble earned Arsenal the first of their two penalties in a 2-0 Premier League win home over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

There seemed to be no contact when Steven Reid attempted to stop Cazorla after 25 minutes but a theatrical fall to the turf persuaded referee Mike Jones that he had been fouled.

Mikel Arteta converted the spot kick and another much more blatant penalty, also converted by Cazorla's fellow Spanish midfielder, helped Arsenal arrest their slide down the table.

Cazorla's contribution drew criticism, however, with former Arsenal defender Martin Keown suggesting the referee had been hoodwinked into pointing to the penalty spot.

"When you see the Arsenal penalty decision from the side, there is no way it is a penalty. But, when you see it from the angle the referee saw it, you can see why the referee gave it against West Brom," Keown told the BBC.

"Cazorla did make the most of Reid's challenge, it is not good to see. He has conned the referee and has gotten away with it."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he would "speak" to Cazorla about the incident once he had watched replays of the penalty decision.

"I haven't reviewed it. I am sorry if it was not a penalty but I have spoken to Santi and he said he has been touched and lost his balance," Wenger told the BBC.

"Maybe he made more of it, I don't know. It's a difficult decision, it can go against you, it went for us today. That's what it is.

"What I mean is, when he (a player) is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty. Of course I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched. I will look at it, don't worry."

Liverpool's Luis Suarez, Chelsea's Fernando Torres and Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale have all come under fire for apparent simulation this season.

Arsenal have been awarded more penalties at home in the last 10 years than any other Premier League team with Saturday's pair taking the total to 47, four more than Manchester United.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris)

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