Ashley Young became embroiled in a simulation backlash on social media after he, in the words of ITV pundit and former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, 'conned the referee' after 'playing' for a penalty against Real Sociedad in a Champions League group match on Tuesday, November 6.
The game was precariously tied at 0-0 when Young was adjudged by many apart from the referee to have gone to ground too easily, however, Nicola Rizzoli awarded a penalty but justice prevailed as Robin van Persie struck the post and the match finished goal-less with the points shared.
Regardless of the end result, social media was abound with messages heavily criticising the Englishman for his behaviour, the football industry was polarised but the commercial media - while acknowledging the incident - appeared more refrained than when they were attacking former Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva for a similar incident many years ago.
The only difference was that, in da Silva's case, it was a solitary occurrence whereas Young appears to have forged a career out of it.
'I have seen it and the boy certainly tugs him in the box,' said Moyes, defending his player in The Express. 'If you look the referee is two yards away from it and decided to give it. All I know is he got a penalty kick from a decision, I don't know anything about reputations or anything. The referee was there. He made quite a lot of decisions tonight and that one he gave a penalty kick.'
Ray Wilkins was infuriated on Sky Sports: 'This [dive] is pathetic. This is as bad for me as all these over the top tackles we're getting at the moment because that is a conning of the referee.'
While Young is a repeat offender, the storm kicked up from da Silva's 2009 penalty-claim against Celtic in the Champions League was initiated by the British media, perpetuated by UEFA and then reported on across the Atlantic as The New York Times labeled it 'The splash heard around the world'.
Celtic, the aggrieved, called for a retrospective two-game ban and their voices were so loud that a UEFA spokesperson was quoted by Bloomberg to have said that the continent's governing body would investigate the dive claim. When the ban was announced (which was later overturned due to it's inconclusive status), Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lashed out at the Scottish conspirators - led by SFA chief executive Gordon Smith - and claimed it was a 'witch hunt'.
While managers defending their players despite implicating evidence is no modern phenomenon, there has to be a consistency when it comes to the reporting of the events but, far more importantly, the disciplinary measures involved.
Eduardo da Silva was sold the following summer by Arsenal to Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. From the moment of the dive incident to his 2010 transfer, he was hounded by accusations.
Why have the press soothed on this matter? Where is the furore that would have been kicked up had it been a foreigner doing the same thing to a British club? And, what I really want to know, where is Young's two-game retrospective ban?
United host table-topping Arsenal on Sunday and, because any prospective ban would not extend to domestic competition as it is not under UEFA jurisdiction, Gunners supporters remain concerned at the possibility the player may do the same thing at the weekend. After all, who is there to stop him?
Eduardo one dive in his Arsenal Career Labeled a 'CHEAT' Ashley Young 50+ Dives ? Media he's english their was clear contact #Bias— Marcö Leönardi (@Polo91_AFC) November 5, 2013
Don't know what's less surprising an Ashley Young booking for a dive or a penalty at Old Trafford.— ❤ ARSENAL BABE ❤ (@arsenal_f1_babe) September 14, 2013