Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arca's Premier Protection Plan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arca's Premier Protection Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

Julio Arca has an added incentive to guide Sunderland back into the Premiership next season, writes Stuart Rayner.

England's top flight offers more glamour, money and a better standard of football than the Championship ( but Arca also believes Premiership referees will afford him better protection than he currently receives in the more physical environment of the Football League. Widely acknowledged as one of the Championship's top players and playing for one of its biggest clubs, the left-sided Argentinian has been singled out for special treatment by defenders keen to test out a temperament that has seen Arca booked eight times this season.

"Some of them have been stupid yellow cards, that's why I have to keep control and not lose my head doing stupid things," Arca admits. "I must not react, the manager tells me that.

"But sometimes the referees make me feel angry and I lose my head for a few seconds and get stupid yellow cards.

"You sometimes can see tackles that are just red cards and they never even give a yellow card. I'm not talking about all the referees but you have to look properly at the tackles because some days it's obvious players go to tackle you with bad intentions and referees never do anything.

"They make mistakes, like everyone, but referees sometimes can change games."

And, having played Premiership football during his first three season at the Stadium of Light, Arca is convinced the problem is much worse outside of the top flight.

"The Championship is more physical," he argues. "I think the Premiership is still physical but you have more time to play, it's not really close. It's quicker maybe but you can't see the same tackles."

He feels the problem is exacerbated by the fact that Sunderland's is one of the most prized scalps in the division.

"It's always that everyone wants to win against Sunderland, Wigan and Ipswich ( the biggest teams," Arca points out. "When you are at the top everyone wants to send you down. But that's the pressure when you play for a big team and you expect that every game. …

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