The debate over Mohamed Salah’s fall to win a penalty against Crystal Palace on Monday night has been raging from the moment Michael Oliver pointed to the spot but yesterday evening, Daily Telegraph Football Correspondent Matt Law decided the time was right to drag Wilfried Zaha’s name into the conversation, despite the Eagles winger having absolutely no involvement.
Look forward to the Palace players informing the referee the next time Zaha takes a dive… https://t.co/CJKbhj5RNH
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) August 21, 2018
His justification (and I use that term through his warped view, not reality) came as a consequence of Palace captain Luka Milivojevic having told the press that he implored Salah to admit he’d gone down too easily in the wake of Oliver awarding the spot-kick. The statement was standard post-match stuff from the captain of a losing side not that Matt Law saw it that way, tweeting: “Look forward to the Palace players informing the referee the next time Zaha takes a dive.”
As you would expect, dozens of the club’s fans were quick to respond to Law, asking for video evidence to back up his claim, knowing full well that he’s incapable of producing any incriminating footage. As it stands at 7:06am on Wednesday morning, said tweet is still the most recent on Matt’s timeline, which says a great deal in the circumstances.
Palace fans the world over have grown used to bandwagon jumpers taking potshots at Zaha for being a “diver” but quite why professional journalists take it upon themselves to add fuel to the fire without any proof does make me wonder about their motives for doing so.
On numerous occasions, angry mobs have pleaded with the FA to retrospectively suspend Wilfried only for the game’s governing body to look at footage and conclude no wrongdoing on the 25-year-old’s part. Indeed, I got into a discussion with a neutral last night who referenced Zaha being booked away to Watford for “diving” last season as proof that he goes down too easily, even though Adrian Mariappa (the man responsible for fouling him that day) later admitted publicly that it should have been a penalty kick rather than a caution for the Palace man.
These things get lost in the sands of time for neutrals, allowing journalists like Law to continue peddling lies which unfairly damage the reputation of a stunningly talented footballer in the eyes of the masses. If there was actual proof, I and every other Palace fan would hold our hands up but to continue referring to Zaha as a “diver” whilst not being able to show actual footage of him doing so highlights a complete lack of journalistic principle from one of The Telegraph’s most high-profile names.