Marouane Fellaini continues to provoke controversy

Marouane Fellaini continues to provoke controversy

Marouane Fellaini went down in pain during United’s 2-1 win over Stoke because he twisted his neck in an incident with Oussama Assaidi and not because he was play-acting to gain a free-kick, or at least that is what he would like us to believe.

The bizarre incident happened in the lead up to Stoke’s goal where Assaidi’s outstretched leg seemed to catch the midfielder on the hand, just, but the Belgian fell to the ground in pain holding his neck. Thankfully, no-one in Stoke’s team fell for this poor attempt at play-acting and went on to equalise through Steven N’Zonzi. What would a world-class tipster say to my placing a bet on something similar happening to him again?

Fellaini had scored United’s first goal with a strong header and declared at the end of the match: “We won and it’s an important win. Today we didn’t play well but we won the game, that’s the most important thing. We will stay focussed and take it game by game and we will see what will have happened at the end of the season.” Answering questions about the incident with Assaidi the Belgian replied: “I felt my neck twist a little bit, I stayed down because I felt pain and they scored so, unlucky as well.”

This is suspect behaviour to say the least especially considering it comes from a player with a very controversial history of controversy, with a very recent episode where he struck Joe Allen in the match between Belgium and Wales. It is not the first time Fellaini has been involved in an incident of this nature this season, in March, he was criticised for an elbow on Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta which resulted in a yellow card, and on the first day of the season, Fellaini appeared to land a blow to the face of Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng.

In the not so distant past, during Manchester United’s 4-0 win at Newcastle last season, Marouane Fellaini was throwing his elbows around. In that match, Fellaini, was warned by referee Kevin Friend after two elbowing incidents during the first half of the game. Fellaini, who is gaining a reputation for being careless with his arms, appeared to catch Dan Gosling in the face as they jumped for the ball, then he cuffed Luke de Jong across the back of the neck before bending down to accuse his felled opponent of play acting.

As an Everton player, the Belgian escaped with just a three-match ban for a head butt controversy that shocked football after being caught on camera lashing out at Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross three times during the draw at the Britannia Stadium.Fellaini even took a sneaky look to see if the referee Mark Halsey was looking before planting a blatant headbutt that floored the centre half. He wasn’t finished there, as he swung an elbow and flicked his head when backing into Shawcross to flatten the Stoke man once again.

In the light of these episodes there seems to be little doubt that on Tuesday night it was more of a case of play-acting in an attempt to stop Stoke’s attacking move with a free-kick than a real injury, but who am I to say that right? Wrong, we all saw what it was and it didn’t work. We are getting ever closer to day when no-one will stop play for a fake, or even real, injury unless the referee decide to intervene, hopefully ending the “acting” careers of  many.