Adnan Januzaj now has as many yellow cards for diving as he does goals in his Manchester United career

Januzaj picked up the fourth booking of his career in Arsenal loss

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Adnan Januzaj is a diver.

Last season, then-Manchester United manager David Moyes tried to defend the young Belgian as being harshly treated by referees, who argued that because he was fouled so often he was expecting contact and going to ground more easily than other players.

Moyes also said that Januzaj was unlucky to be called up on his antics, whereas other players known for diving weren't always caught.

But it's hard to defend a player who was last night booked for diving for a fourth time in his young Manchester United career - that's as many goals as he's scored since breaking into the first-team last season.

Last night in the defeat to Arsenal, Januzaj burst beyond Nacho Monreal and surged into the box; the Spaniard made a light connection with the winger just outside the area but Januzaj carried on for a couple of steps before tumbling to the ground in search of a penalty.

Referee Michael Oliver - who was superb in the game - rightly booked Januzaj, who surely would have created a scoring opportunity for one of his team-mates if he had stayed on his feet.


Moyes' argument about Januzaj being fouled more than others doesn't hold water in comparison to some of his peers. Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, the two most fouled players in the Premier League, have never been booked for diving during their careers in England.

Of course that doesn't mean Hazard and Sterling haven't been accused of the dark art - both have faced cries from opponents this season - but for Januzaj to be booked four times is proof enough.

Since 'simulation' became a bookable offence six years ago, only former Tottenham star Gareth Bale (seven) has been shown a yellow card more than Januzaj (three, all last season) in the Premier League; he was booked against West Ham, Tottenham and Sunderland last season.

Januzaj has failed to score or create an assist this season

After a promising debut campaign, the 20-year-old has regressed this season, starting just eight of Manchester United's 34 matches in all competitions this season, failing to produce a goal or an assist as he has struggled to break into Louis van Gaal's starting line-up. Statistics show that he is also producing less chances and is less successful with his dribbiling than he was last season.

With rumours in January that he wanted to leave the club on loan, Januzaj could be facing a bleak future at Old Trafford. He badly needs to improve if he is to stay in Van Gaal's future plans.

His first step should be to eradicate diving from his game.