/ Soccer

Eamon Dunphy plays down Foxes chances

Updated: Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 10:24 | Comments

Leicester face Newcastle in their next Premier League encounter
Leicester face Newcastle in their next Premier League encounter

Eamon Dunphy rates Arsenal’s Premier League title chances above those of leaders Leicester, despite the Foxes holding an eight-point lead over Arsene Wenger’s side with just nine matches remaining in the campaign.

Dunphy believes Alexis Sanchez’s 76th-minute equaliser in the north London derby with Tottenham at White Hart Lane could yet prove to be a crucial goal in the Gunners’ season.   

“I think it’s a big moment in their season,” the RTÉ pundit told 2FM’s Game On listeners.

“They got a point and I still think Arsenal have a chance.

“I don’t think Leicester can do it, that’s my own opinion.

“They’re journeymen. I watched them against Watford. I was a journeyman myself. But I don’t think they’ll be good enough, and I’ve looked at their problem and it’s not hard - Newcastle at home is their next game - but they’re not good enough.

“I mean they would be the worst team to win it since Ipswich in 1962.”

Expanding on his critique of Leicester, Dunphy said: “The previous week they drew at home with West Brom, and before that, I think they beat Norwich 1-0. They’re going to have to do better than that.

“The question arises about the other teams. I mean, how are the big clubs not able to compete with a group of journeymen?

“Journeymen are admirable and they are in essence what sport is about - guys who give it their best shot every week.

“But if they win the Premier League, we are in la la land.”

On another weekend of controversial decisions in the Premier League, the former Millwall man again called for the use of video technology in aiding referees.

“For years I’ve been advocating for video analysis and it looks like they might bring it in now to stop cheating.

“And they’re so good at cheating now.”

Dunphy also weighed in on the troubling scenes in Sligo this weekend, as Shamrock Rovers made a winning start to their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season against the Bit O’Red.  

A Sligo flag was set on fire during the game, while a small section of travelling fans chanted: “We’re Shamrock Rovers, we’re burning your flag.”

There were also reports of advertising hoarding having been damaged and skirmishes in the away end.

“I think zero tolerance is what you have to have,” Dunphy said.

“I was at Millwall in the mid-60s when this football hooliganism, as they called it, started, and the police were very tolerant and civilised with the people responsible, and it grew and it grew.

“You’ve got to crack down on it from the beginning and have no tolerance for it whatsoever, no matter what you have to do; close grounds, prosecute people.

“Once you let it grow and show the slightest bit of tolerance, then it becomes a fetish.

“Guys who wanted to cause trouble - no interest in football - they turn up at the match, there’s a prospect of a fight or trouble and they love that.

“You’ve got to be very, very tough.”

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