Tonight's match between Everton and Spurs saw a horrific injury sustained by Toffees midfielder Andre Gomes who looks almost certain to have sustained a leg break that will at the very least put his career on hold for a significant period of time.
The injury came about as Gomes looked to break down the Everton left and was clipped by Heung Min Son. The foul resulted in Gomes falling forward into Spurs right-back Serge Aurier with his ankle getting caught under the weight of his own body and Aurier's challenge.
Initially, the referee produced a yellow card for Son but upon seeing the extent of the injury decided it was a straight red. Both Son and Aurier were visibly upset by the incident with the later immediately substituted as it became apparent he was in no fit state to continue playing.
For me, it was a very harsh decision to send off Son. It was definitely a foul but it is the type of clip around the ankles that you'll have seen a dozen times in the Premier League this weekend and it is the unfortunate coming together with Aurier that actually looks to have caused the injury. The fact that the referee initially brandishes a yellow card is testament to the fact that he didn't initially think it was dangerous play to the level that warranted a red but he's changed his mind when he sees the player lying on the floor. While I hope for the speedy recovery of the player involved it has been another game that has been overshadowed by some poor refereeing and use of VAR.
Here are a few other horror injuries that I can remember from the past - warning if you get a bit squeamish then I wouldn't read on...
Eduardo - Broken Leg
Not only a horrific injury but one that arguably cost Arsenal the title in 2008. The Gunners went into their game against Birmingham 5 points clear at the top of the EPL and were the bookie's favourites to win their first title since 2004. However, 3 minutes into the match star striker Eduardo was left in a crumpled heap by Martin Taylor. You can see on the video above that the forward's left foot is essentially pointing the wrong direction as he roles over with scans later showing he had fractured both his tibia and fibula.
A 95th minute Birmingham penalty to level the scores added insult to serious injury and Arsenal never recovered as they managed just 19 points from the last 11 games of the season allowing Manchester United and Chelsea to storm past them. In fact, since the 2007/08 season Arsenal have not passed the 80 point mark (they won 83 points that year) in a Premier League campaign.
Alf-Inge Håland - Knee Damage
This saga almost turned into a legal case by the player and club effected but to understand the full extent of the story you have to go back to 1997 and a match between Leeds and Manchester United during which legendary United hardman Roy Keane suffered an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament that left him out of action for a year. Upon falling to the ground in the opposition penalty area Leeds midfielder Alf-Inge Håland rushed over to Keane and told him in no uncertain terms to stop faking it. Keane obviously spent a large portion of his time on the sidelines plotting his revenge and in 2001he got the chance...
Håland who had already made several public statements about his dislike for Keane and United, in general, had by this point decided to move to arch-rivals Man City and it was in a blood and thunder Manchester Derby that Keane finally got even. He received a straight red for a kick that was so high it wouldn't be out of place in a Bruce Lee movie. It is a popular belief that the injury ended Håland's career and while it is true that the Norweigan never completed a full 90mins of football again the story that it was Keane's tackle that was the sole reason is overblown. In fact, Håland had been suffering with problems to his left-knee (Keane fouled him on his right) for some time.
What didn't help the situation was Roy Keane's autobiography released in 2002 that stated
"I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you cunt.
And don’t ever stand over me again sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal [David] Wetherall there’s some for him as well. I didn’t wait for Mr Elleray to show the red card. I turned and walked to the dressing room.”
City and Håland initially sort to claim compensation from Keane who was very quick to try and row back from the above comments - turns out even hardmen shit themselves over a multi-million-pound lawsuit. Ultimately Håland didn't have the medical evidence to pursue the claim and the whole story drifted into Premier League folklore.
Patrick Battison - Broken Neck, Ribs and Teeth
This is arguably the most infamous foul in World Cup history and it occurred in the 1982 Semi-Final between Germany and France. With the score at 1-1, France threw on Battison as a 2nd half substitute and he made an almost instant impression when French Captain Michel Platini played him through on goal. Battison, a defender by trade, reached the ball comfortably ahead of the onrushing German goalkeeper, Toni Schumacher but could only steer his shot wide. Schumacher, however, continued on his course and only had eyes for Battison as he lept full speed into a shoulder charge that left Battison unconscious. Later at hospital it was discovered that the Frenchman had broken several vertebrae as well as ribs and teeth and to this day he still bears the injuries to his neck and mouth.
To make matters worse Schumacher got away with the assault scotfree and Germany went on to win the game on penalties. Not only was Schumacher being allowed to stay on the pitch a massive blow to the French but equally was the fact that in those days only 2 substitutes were allowed and France had to make their 2nd by substituting the injured substitute, leaving them to play the remainder of the 2nd half and all of extra-time without being able to bring on fresh legs. After the match, the foul and resulting injury threatened to cause a diplomatic incident with German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, and French President François Mitterrand forced into releasing a joint press release to ease tensions between the 2 nations.