Premier League - Did Johnson dive for penalties?

Mon, 06 Feb 12:35:00 2012

Adam Johnson insists he did not take a dive to set up Manchester City's latest Premier League triumph.

Is Adam Johnson a diver?

The Manchester City winger went to ground under the lightest of touches by Fulham defender Chris Baird to win a penalty in the ninth minute of City's 3-0 win.

Johnson then tried to claim a penalty later in the match when he went down, again under a challenge from Baird, while trying to run up the byline. This time referee Mike Dean was having none of his appeal and awarded only a goal kick.

Fans and pundits queued up to condemn Johnson for going down so easily, but others came out in support of the England star. Among those was Cottagers boss Martin Jol, who admitted he might have done exactly the same thing himself.

"I was surprised at the penalty but if you look at it again, maybe Johnson did well," said Jol.

"I had a few players in the past who did that. We all tried it when we were younger. The referee has to make a decision but I still think it was a soft one."

Yet Johnson himself denied that he had tried to hoodwink the referee.

"I felt the contact," he said. "Sometimes in normal time, when you are in the moment, you anticipate contact. There is a fine line between diving and anticipating contact but I felt it and went down. These things happen."

City had good reason to be thankful for Johnson's actions. With just three wins in their last nine games, facing opposition that had lost just once in eight visits to the Etihad Stadium and in conditions so bad Dean had to stop the game twice after half-time so the lines could be cleared of snow, the Blues might have been ripe for a shock.

Instead, they strolled to a 17th consecutive Premier League home win, just two behind the record held by Manchester United.

Did Johnson take a dive? Watch the video in the box above (UK users only, then look at the complete match highlights below and have your say in the comments section at the bottom.

Man City 3 Fulham 0

PA Sport / Eurosport

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