Top 5: Player v Manager spats to rival Pearson v McArthur

Leicester City

Nigel Pearson’s touchline tiff with Crystal Palace’s James McArthur is just the latest clash between a player and manager in the Premier League.

As we have learned, time and time again, there’s a fine line between friendly banter and tense, spiteful, confrontation in the Premier League.

What is maybe a friendly hold of the shirt to one man can represent a major affront to another, and so it was the case with Nigel Pearson and James McArthur.

Clashing on the touchline during Leicester City’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, the incident is just the latest chapter in the big book of showdowns between opposing players and managers in the Premier League.

Here are five of our favourites from over the years.

5. Ryan Bertrand v Garry Monk

Proof that Pearson’s altercation is not the only news-worthy clash of player and manager in recent times, earlier this month the normally affable Bertrand got involved in a spat of sorts with Swansea City manager Monk.

With the Swans 1-0 up through a Jonjo Shelvey wonder goal (more on him later), the ex-Chelsea full-back quite literally saw red for a hefty challenge on Modou Barrow that left the recipient dazed to say the least.

Monk took exception to this, seeking out the defender on his way off the pitch for a heated exchange of words punctuated only by Bertand’s amusing “What? Say something!” pose of defiance in the picture above.

4. Robert Pires v David O’Leary

An often forgotten classic from back in 2000, in truth, then Leeds United manager O’Leary must take a large portion of the blame for this one, which all stemmed from the Irishman’s eagerness to wind-up Arsenal star Pires during a 1-0 win for the Whites at Elland Road.

With the Leeds manager taking umbrage to one particular challenge involving the Frenchman and one of his beloved Elland Road "babies" Lee Bowyer, O’Leary reacted in the way any self-respecting Premier League manager would: by spending the rest of the game blowing kisses in Pires’ direction.

The Frenchman soon took the bait, seeking out the future Aston Villa manager in the tunnel after the game and even in the changing rooms and as Arsenal prepared to depart for London. O’Leary was nowhere to be found, however, with the likes of Thierry Henry ultimately having to forcibly restrain Pires.

3. Luis Suarez v David Moyes

Arguably the most fun of all the selections in this list, though Luis Suarez is best remembered as the player who likes to play rush goalkeeper in World Cup quarter finals, and bite people at any opportunity, he also used his time at Liverpool to get involved in a practical joke or too.

The most joyous came during a Merseyside derby against their old foe and the artist formerly known as David Moyes. With the Scot taking time out to criticise Suarez and his penchant for going to ground easily in the press, the Uruguayan knew exactly what to do after scoring against Everton.

Dashing over to the Toffees bench, the South American unleashed a mock dive of such ferocity at the feet of Moyes that we dare say the fall left the poor lad feeling a little winded.

Not that he was going to show it though.

2. Jonjo Shelvey v Sir Alex Ferguson

He may be the flavour of the month at Swansea but there was a time when Shelvey’s career was in danger of going off the rails at Liverpool, not least when the midfield maestro attempted to go toe-to-toe with the true Godfather of the Premier League Sir Alex Ferguson.

Sent off for a tasty challenge on Jonny Evans, the Reds player was far from happy, claiming that Fergie had influenced the decision and letting his feelings be known to the Scot as he trudged down the tunnel, pointing and jabbering all the way.

He went on to issue arguably the weakest apology by any player in Premier League history: "I’m sorry. I have also apologised to Sir Alex, just where I come from people don’t grass people up to get someone sent off."

1. David Meyler v Alan Pardew

The ultimate in player v manager clashes came last season and in truly bizarre circumstances. At the time of the incident Newcastle United were 3-1 up away at Hull City and cruising to victory, so Pardew’s behaviour remains something of a mystery.

With the Tigers chasing the game and Meyler keen to take a quick throw-in, the ball rolled to the feet of Pards in the Newcastle dugout.

The Hull star pushed the Toon boss out of the way without thinking, but this seemingly innocuous action soon resulted in what can only be described as a coming together of heads between the pair.

Never before seen in the Premier League, the incident resulted in a total of £160,000 in fines, a three-game stadium ban and a four-game touchline ban.

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