One of the clichés often used by pundits who are ex-players is that tackles which deserve yellow and red cards are ‘not malicious’.

This implies the tacklers do not know what they are doing, of course they do.

They are setting out to hurt and intimidate their opponent to gain unfair advantage.

It is the retired players who utter this hypocritical nonsense.

There are numerous examples of players kicked out of games, for example Pele, Van Basten and I suspect George Best, who was always a target for the game’s assassins.

It is not yet clear if Ben Arfa has fully recovered, physically and mentally, from his awful injury caused by De Jong.

Perhaps the other side of the coin is whether football is becoming a non-contact sport, with the rules being tightened on dangerous tackling.

Again, it is the ex-players who regret the shackles imposed on the ‘hard’ men.

It doesn’t help when fans encourage players to ‘..get stuck in’, players would undoubtedly benefit if they ‘got stuck in’ to enhancing skills.

Our best clubs have not consistently succeeded at the highest level, despite claims that the Premiership is the best in the world.

The question is, best at what?