Bring on the Estraitjackets
EMPHASISING that this isn’t coloured in any way by my innate Spurs bias how’s this for a sequence of events in added time against Newcastle last Sunday; Newcastle player poleaxes Spurs defender and is somehow awarded the free kick. Free kick is taken and one arguably two Newcastle players are in an offside position. Offside player pushes Eric Dier as he is jumping causing his arms to be thrown out. Ball is headed into the back of his arm from a range of about two feet. VAR says penalty. Newcastle equalize with their first shot on target in the 97th minute. There are so many things wrong with that sequence that I can’t list them all, meanwhile at West Brom on Saturday again in time added on a Chelsea player clearly handles the ball, the referee waves play on, West Brom player attempts to clear the ball which is returned and Chelsea equalize, VAR is consulted and rules that the (deliberate) handball is not relevant as it occurred in a different passage of play despite the fact that had the player not handled it the ball would have gone out for a goal kick rather than in the back of the net seconds later. There were equally contentious decisions also at Selhurst Park, The Etihad, and following on from the level of ludicrousity the previous weekend it’s clear that neither the new handball rules nor VAR are fit for purpose. Combine these factors with the empty stadia and it’s getting to the stage where I’d rather do the Cyprus Today crossword than watch the Premier League. Suggestions to combat the above; forget playing at stadiums just play Subbuteo instead, teach your defenders to pogo or riverdance, or as featured just wear strait jackets, as I think amputation of the arms may just be a tad extreme. Failing that there’s always that favourite of nefarious abductors and the like, duct tape. Stop press; it was announced on Wednesday that following the controversy on penalties that Premier League referees will be instructed to be more lenient on penalties involving handball. Great news so does that mean Spurs get back the two points taken from them last Sunday? Apparently not.
Still not convinced?
The record for penalties in the Premier League over a season is 112, 11 years ago, the average since the Premier League started is in the mid-80’s, at the current rate which hopefully will level off though I wouldn’t bet on it we are heading for 292 pens. If that isn’t proof of how farcical the new laws are then I don’t know what is.
Why should they?
£200 million; that’s the amount the EFL expect to lose owing to the UK government’s overzealous and largely unnecessary covid restrictions. The government in its wisdom (Irony warning) have said that the EFL’s shortfall should be made up by the Premier League and I do have some sympathy with that stance but are they expected to just write a blank cheque? What measures are or will be put in place to ensure that unscrupulous owners don’t just use the cash to either feather their own nests or pay down recklessly incurred debts? It is almost inevitable that some clubs will go to the wall but that won’t just be the fault of the Premier League, the blame for that should also be apportioned to the FA, the PFA, and the government who’s sorry handling of the alleged epidemic has brought down the wrath of God upon all of us.
This season’s EFL Cup should never have started and should be cancelled forthwith; you cannot have a situation where multi-tested Premier League players are playing against untested football league players. Failing that any Premier League clubs drawn against football league clubs should pay for their opponents to be tested.
Riddle of the week
When does five minutes become ten? When Brighton equalize against United in the final minute of the five minutes added on at the end of the game. The Seagulls were excellent against United and should have won at a canter but profligacy in front of goal cost them and it didn’t help that they hit the woodwork five times, but that still doesn’t explain how United were able to convert a penalty awarded by VAR after the ref had blown for the final whistle after the eighth minute of added time. Say what you like about ’Fergie time’ but even the great man never managed to get the game extended after the final whistle.
This weekend fans of National League tier two and three clubs will be permitted to attend their clubs games but they will not be allowed to view the pitch. We’re all used to contradictory government advice but this may just be the most bonkers yet.
Team of the week
Karl Darlow Newcastle, Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool, Robin Koch Leeds, Caglar Soyuncu Leicester, Aaron Cresswell West Ham, Jack Grealish Villa, Neal Maupay Brighton, Marcus Rashford United, Callum Robinson West Brom, Harry Kane Spurs, Jamie Vardy Leicester. Manager Brendan Rogers Leicester.
This week’s games
Premier League today 2:30; Chelsea vs Palace. 5pm; Everton vs Brighton. 7:30; Leeds vs Citeh. 10pm; Newcastle vs Burnley. Tomorrow 2pm; Leicester vs West Ham, Southampton vs West Brom. 4pm; Arsenal vs Sheffield United, Wolves vs Fulham. 6:30 United vs Spurs. 9:15; Villa vs Liverpool. Selected Championship today 2:30; Norwich vs Derby. 5pm; Luton vs Wycombe, Middlesbrough vs Barnsley, Reading vs Watford. Friday 9:45; Derby vs Watford.
There’s no race this weekend which is probably a good thing for Lewis Hamilton as he busies himself in setting up the ‘Hamilton Commission’ which is charged with “identifying the key barriers to the recruitment and progression of black people in UK motorsport” Funny that as I can’t remember Hamilton having to overcome any barriers en-route to F1 dominance.
Last week’s question; Harry Kane did something no player had ever done in the Premier League when Spurs played Southampton last Sunday, what did he do? Basically two things the lesser of which being he became the first Englishman to have four assists in a game while in doing so he became the first ever to assist the same player (Son Heung-Min) four times in a single game. This week; who holds the English record for goals in a football league game?
I’m not saying that Brummie supreme Keith Gazey goes under the radar but it was telling that when he fell over leaving the tee at CMC recently his playing partners didn’t realise he was missing until they had completed the hole. In fairness they were probably just social distancing themselves from Keith which is quite understandable.