Two of the Premier League's most infamous practitioners in the art of simulation were missing this past weekend.
Luis Suarez (suspension) and Gareth Bale (hamstring injury) ceded the spotlight to Arsenal's Santi Cazorla who shamelessly and shamefully conned referee Mike Jones into awarding a penalty for a non-existent foul from West Bromwich Albion's Steven Reid.
Quotes from an interview Cazorla gave to the Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter in October have been cited in various media outlets in the aftermath of the incident—and with good reason.
“It shouldn’t be a blame game", the Spaniard told Winter, adding further:
"It’s a moment when you get hot-headed, sometimes you’re not thinking about what happens, sometimes you dive and yet it’s not something that should be a big controversy.
“It’s something that happens in football. Sometimes you’re thinking: Will they touch me or won’t they touch me?’ You go over and then realize they haven’t touched you. It just happens so maybe there shouldn’t be this controversy".
This kind of attitude is becoming increasingly prevalent among a modern breed of players in the England game who do not view it as conning their fellow professionals, officials, clubs and supporters.
A win-at-all-costs attitude is prevailing, and the extent to which it is being accepted by so many is highlighted by how Cazorla's quotes went under the radar for so long.
Bale, as a young British player, is a particularly apt case study for the thinking that goes into the decision to dive or not.
Here first, are the arguments made defending him...