It’s been a debate that has been going on long before Guardiola came to England. I remember Arsene Wenger, among others, talking about a lack of protection for his players. That came on the back of some really poor tackles, which broke legs and put his players on the treatment table.
A young Aaron Ramsey suffered a double fracture at the hands (or boot) of Ryan Shawcross. A few years prior to that we all remember the Eduardo leg break while playing against Birmingham in 2008. Two years before that was Abou Diaby, who was left with a fractured ankle.
The difference is that two of the aggressors received red cards, while the other got a yellow. They happened over the space of four years, and although the injuries were more severe, the actual tackles were just as bad as the ones City have faced.
That and they happened over four seasons, the ones Pep is pointing too have happened in little over the space of four weeks. With not a single perpetrator getting a straight red. The wild lunge on Brahim Diaz in the game against West Brom, and McLean on KDB in the same game both got yellows, but no red.
The FA Cup lunge by Cardiff City player Joe Bennett saw Sane injured, but again, no red card. Joe Bennett would, eventually, get that red card but not until the final few minutes. He got another bite at the cherry as he flew in against the substitute Brahim Diaz. You would think that it is the sort of crunching tackles you expect to be on the other end of when playing ‘lesser’ sides. However, when Tottenham came to the Etihad, they were lucky to finish with the full complement of players.
Both Dele Alli and Harry Kane went in high and reckless on City players. Again, yellows were the punishment for tackles which can only be described as leg breakers, including the ones on Gundogan against Newcastle and an earlier meeting with West Brom.
Puncheon injured himself while attempting to stop a City counter attack in the 94th minute! Again it was Kevin DeBruyne targeted, and it’s a wonder City haven’t been impacted more. While the officials fail to send off players, and therefore ban players from playing, it will continue.