By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger wants to see longer suspensions for players who commit dangerous tackles.

The Premier League has been tainted in recent weeks by a string of X-rated challenges with Newcastle's Kevin Nolan sent off for his foul on Everton striker Victor Anichebe while the midweek game between Wigan and West Ham was marred by wild tackles.

Arsenal have been on the receiving end of two high-profile incidents in the past three years. Abou Diaby suffered a serious ankle injury following a two-footed challenge by Sunderland's Dan Smith in May 2006 and Eduardo's leg was broken by Martin Taylor of Birmingham City last year.

Wenger does not believe that a three-match ban is sufficient in those cases and has long advocated stiffer punishments. The Arsenal manager explained how he would address the situation when the topic cropped up at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

"They [the Football Association] could create a special committee to analyse if a three-game suspension is enough or not," said Wenger. "But I feel that 10 matches is not enough for some of the tackles we have seen.

"I have seen some horrible tackles this season and I don't think the punishment is sufficient. Kevin Nolan's tackle on Victor Anichebe the other week was horrendous. An accident can happen when two people go for the ball but it is very rare. What I see is that guys go into the tackle to hurt the player. There is not sufficient punishment.

"Maybe we need to be stronger with our own players but sometimes you see the players make horrendous tackles and then say to the referee, 'What's wrong there?' You think, 'my friend, touch your head because you have completely lost touch with reality'. It is unbelievable but they know what they have done.

"It concerns me when I see someone jumping in like a mad guy as we have some players who weigh 90 kilos and can run the 100 metres in 11 seconds. If they jump in they completely destroy an opponent.

"I like tackling because it’s a fantastic technique. What I don’t like is when the referees punish all the tackles without distinction and I’m scared that might force the good tackles out of the game.

"A good tackle is beautiful to watch; you see the guy sliding in, and trying to play the ball. But when you see the guy go in with two feet – one level with the knee and one above the ball – you say ‘bye, bye, go home, what are you doing on a football pitch?’

"The danger is of the people just going in blindly. When you do a good tackle you are relaxed, completely relaxed and you master every movement you do. You know your target is to get the ball from the opponent without hurting him. But I don't see many good tacklers now."

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6 Mar 2009