Can VAR stop Spurs Cheating?

February 5, 2018

An exciting game at Anfield left Mr. Klopp fuming and a few million viewers shaking their heads at another example of the lack of moral fibre in the Spurs Miscreants. Which , to be candid, comes as no real surprise.What is surprising is that following at least a dozen slo-mo replays there was disagreement about both penalty decisions.

So how will VAR improve matters?

Let us look at both decisions.

Penalty 1. Kane is offside when the ball is played. It hits Lovren and thus Kane is adjudged onside (according to the TV referee Dermot Gallagher who has, at best, a loose knowledge of the game). Kane then sees the GK come towards him and dives, trailing his leg which brushes the GK’s arm. It is a clear dive. The man was falling before being minimally touched.

Much discussion followed. Penalty given.

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Penalty 2. Lamela gets into front of Van Dijk. Backs into him as Van Dijk attempts to clear the ball and hits the deck mortally wounded. No way a penalty – it was another example of crafty cheating.

Yet … penalty given and despite replays many would agree that it was a penalty.

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Would VAR have corrected either decision?

Alli got booked for an obvious dive earlier in the game, Lamela and Kane were simply better cheats.

We saw a similar act in our game vs Everton, when some no-mark got in front of the defender running at speed into the penalty area  -I think it was Calvert-Lewin – then halted abruptly causing the defender to run into him. The inevitable dive followed but the Everton miscreant was not booked, hence his cheating went unpunished.

Many say VAR would slow the game down whilst the decision is being made and that the fans would see less football. Given that the ball is in play for less than 45 of the 90 minutes, something could be done to correct this i.e. stop the clock when the ball is out of play at throw-ins, free-kicks and goal-kicks. It is an easy solution. What isn’t easy is finding a unbiased panel of referees to act as VAR officials.

In my opinion anything which stops a player cheating is beneficial, whether it is 100% accurate or not. There are players and managers who use diving and foul play as a tactic, VAR can help with this.

It is not perfect but IF, the replays are shown to the fans it can add to the excitement, as it has in rugby; unfortunately I doubt very much whether the replays will be shown to the attending fans. Which raises another point – VAR is for the home viewer, the billions who watch the PL around the world, not the tens of thousands who attend the game. And it is their dollar which counts.

Do you think VAR will make professional players stop cheating?

p.s. If you did not see the Anfield game, you will just have to take my  judgement as fact – after all, I am completely unbiased 😀 😀

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To Ozil or not to Ozil? That is the Question.

March 4, 2017

Hard to predict this one; we could win handsomely or get tanked. Neither team is playing well and yet both are capable of pulling out enough moments of quality to win the game. Should be interesting.

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We lost at home on the opening day of the season in a strange game – we dominated for 70 minutes – Liverpool had 5 shots all game yet we conceded 4.

Good news: No Henderson, no Sturridge. Bad news: Mane, Firmino and Coutinho are back and playing well.

Good news: Liverpool are struggling at the centre of defence. Bad news: We do not have a centre forward in form.

Good news: We play better away from home. Bad news: Liverpool are very good at home and just beat Spurs.

Good news:We have few injuries, OG, Ramsey and Koscielny are available. Bad News: Ozil has been off sick and is a doubt.

Once again, Mr Wenger has to find the midfield key. With Ramsey, Xhaka, Ox, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi and Ozil to choose from he has yet to find a combination that delivers security and creativity. I don’t know either!

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin      Mustafi      Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey     Xhaka     Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez

Theo gets an hour to prove he is still an important player at Arsenal. Seems unfair to drop Oxlade-Chamberlain as he has been playing well but IMO Ramsey is a more adaptable player.

There have been calls to rest Ozil as his performances in recent weeks have not reached his usual excellent standards, I tend to agree. Even Dennis got rested when he was out of form. We have so many attacking MF options that giving Ozil a reminder that every player has to fight for his place will do no harm. On the other hand it may convince the German Genius that his future lies away from the Emirates!

We have been crap away to the big clubs this season and Liverpool have been very good at home, the portents are not good, but if Arsenal are to stay in the Top 4 they cannot afford to keep losing against direct rivals, as such this is a huge game for us, and let’s be honest, we haven’t played well since before Xmas.

I would take a draw though a repeat of 26/6/1989 would be preferable.

COYRRG


A Last Minute Goal at Anfield!

April 15, 2016

Last night’s events at Anfield had me reminiscing about those glorious moments in football when everything falls into place for an almighty crescendo.

Kanu 1999 v Chelsea at the bridge.

Two nil down with 15 minutes to go, Nwankwo wrote his name into the Arsenal legends book with a hat trick to die for including one of the best goals you’ll ever see. Take it away Martin Tyler….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyjeVOTzRbA

Welbeck v Leicester 2016

It was Danny’s comeback game and what a way to crown it. Definitely one of my home highlights of the season…..

Gary lineker quote

danny

Alan Sunderland v Man U FA cup final 1979

I can remember sinking to my knees on the Wembley terraces after Manyoo’s spawny equaliser only to stand up just in time to witness one of the those ‘hair standing up on the back of your neck’ moments never to be forgotten……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZMErRVRf8

Henry v Sunderland 2012

We were at Lingfield racecourse for my nephew’s stag do and were suitably miffed when news came through of Mclean’s goal in the 70th minute. We were hopeful when Rambo scored off both posts to equalise and positively ecstatic as Thierry rose like a kung fu master to stab the ball home in injury time…….

Thierry+Henry+Sunderland

Kennedy v spuds 1971

50,000 in the ground, 50,000 left outside, Shite Hart Lane was red and white for the night in May 1971. My old man and older bro tried to take my younger brother and me to the Lane that night. We only got to the end of the Paxton Road before they decided it was too dangerous to continue. This would definitely be my older brother’s main Arsenal regret, as it was such a terrible disappointment to miss the first time we would win the League at SHL. At least it wasn’t the last…….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdALY2fLvq4

Vermaelen v Newcastle 2012                             

The poetic justice of this goal being scored near the end of the time added on for Tim Krul’s persistent time-wasting makes this my favourite last minute goal of recent times……..

tommy v

(photo courtesy of Stuart MacFarlane)

 

Henry v Man U 2007

To my mind this goal was the first big moment to happen at the Emirates. A goal of such beauty and Ferguson’s reaction to the goal at the end of this makes me laugh every time I see it….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIKL2yJ_Nx8

Thomas v Liverpool 1989

A last minute goal at Anfield – who would have thought?

Presumably this would be most Gunners’ favourite last-minute, spine-tingling goal because there was so much riding on it………..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFo1eyWbTtc

What’s your favourite last-minute Arsenal goal?

Written by chas


A very happy 26th May Gooners

May 26, 2014

1989. I was at my peak. A season ticket holder on The North Bank, and I hadn’t missed a home game. Two more left at Highbury to Derby and Wimbledon, and we can wrap it up. We blew it, then watched in horror on the Tuesday as Liverpool put five past West Ham, leaving us having to win by two clear goals at Anfield.

“I remember I was at the Football Writers’ dinner when Liverpool played West Ham,” recalls Smith. “They kept scoring, two, three, four… and we kept saying, ‘How many have we got to beat them by now?’”

Michael Thomas was equally confused. “Then George came over, messing around, punching me in the arm, saying, ‘Two-nil? Not a problem!’”

Over the past four years we’ve had great posts celebrating this anniversary, we have two bloggers – MickyDidIt89 and 26may1989 – that remind us every day that when it was up for grabs, the Arsenal team of 1989 grabbed it.

This is Big Raddy’s story of arguably the Greatest Day in Arsenal’s history.

May 26 1989, a day never to be forgotten in Gooner history, but also a preface to the modern Arsenal. Here is my story of the evening and why I think it changed the face of our fabulous club.

The run up to the game is embedded in the history books, but no-one can effectively describe the disbelief and despair that echoed around Highbury following the 2-2 home draw to Wimbledon. We had a 12 point lead over Liverpool at Xmas and had seen it whittled away to being 3 points behind. We had thrown away 5 home points in two games against poor opposition. We had choked. Goodness knows the furore had there been blogs in those days – Samaritans would have been busy!

The drudge home after the Dons game was very long. I gave little hope for our chances at Anfield and didn’t even try to get a ticket, but approaching the game I dug deep, sought some “mental strength,” found some fighting spirit.

It should be noted that the game was on a Friday night…. unheard of in those days and rare now.

My wife, thinking that football was a Saturday sport, had booked us to go to a dinner party at her new Boss´s (let’s call him Rupert) flat in the centre of Hampstead. She worked in the media business, and all the guests were from Saatchi & Saatchi.  I told her that I couldn’t attend unless I could watch the game through dinner, her response was to tell me to call Rupert. And here we come to the huge social change that came about that night, and in my opinion changed the face of football forever.

This was the season of Hillsborough, the reputation of English football fans was at an all-time low. If you liked football you were either violent or ignorant and uncultured. Football was for Yobs. Rupert, being cultured and polite, was delighted to hear from me and said that as a guest of course I could watch the game, but ….. I would have to sit at the table with the sound off and participate in the conversation.

We arrived and were shown into a beautiful dining room with a long table and I was sat at the end with a separate table for my 14″ TV. I felt humiliated and less-than, however my addiction came first and I was satisfied. The host had caterers to do the food and serve the wine allowing him to concentrate on his guests. Needless to say., I was at the opposite end of the table to him, due to his assumption that my passion must mean I was incapable of enriching any intelligent conversation.

Seriously, to those youngsters who read this, football fans were viewed as stupid. There were no University courses in Sports Management, no Soccer Academies etc et

So, the first half comes and goes and I am getting tense. At half time people were very “nice” to me, commiserating as though I had lost a pet. Champagne was flowing around the table, some guests went to the toilet to “powder their nose” and I sat there non-communicative, wishing I could find somewhere dark to be alone.

Second half kicked off. Smudger scores. I jump up shouting; they look at me as though I have escaped from a Psychiatric Unit, BUT and here is the start of the change – they got caught up in my passion. Rupert asked me to turn the TV so he could see it. Questions were asked “Who is the tall bloke who keeps raising his arm?”, Why don’t they shoot more? ( 😉 )”, “Why , when Arsenal play in red & white are they playing in yellow and blue?” Needless to say, I was incapable of speech.

The Mickey T moment. Never ever to be forgotten. It replays in my mind in slow motion (as I am sure it does for you). The whole table went mental. Jumping in the air, hugging, back-slapping and shouting. My main recollection was thinking “Where is my coat, I have to get to Highbury…”. but Rupert and his friends were high on the game. They had really enjoyed watching a half of football. They connected! If Big Raddy  – a less thuggish man you could never meet – was a football fanatic, it couldn’t be just razorblade toting thugs that went to Highbury.

I am ashamed to say that I “liberated” a couple of bottles of bubbly, grabbed the wife, and scedaddled as fast as I could to N5. I was dropped off outside the Gunners Pub carrying the champagne which lasted about 4 minutes.  The Fever Pitch film got it right, there was an enormous street party, a feeling of camaraderie never repeated. The noise was deafening and I stood on the Marble steps until around 3 a.m. Even at that time the Holloway Road was awash with jubilant Gooners , sharing laughter and booze. Fantastic.

I met Rupert and a number of the fellow guests over the following seasons. All had bought season tickets at Highbury and were as knowledgeable and connected to the Arsenal as any Gooner. Football had become the Cocaine of the Masses!

This is what the Guardian write of the game and the social effect….

“Many cite the match as a pivotal turning point in English football. Writing in The Guardian, Jason Cowley notes how instead of rioting, as had occurred at Heysel with fatal consequences, Liverpool fans stayed on after the game and applauded Arsenal “as if they understood that we were at the start of something new; that there would be no returning to the ways of old”. Cowley describes the match as “the night football was reborn” and that the event “repaired the reputation of football”.

The match is not only seen as the starting point of a renaissance in English football, but also the moment where people started to see the untapped commercial potential of live football on television.”

“Good Old Arsenal We are proud to say that name”

Big Raddy’s story.


Regrets? Just the one.

July 3, 2012

It’s the 88-89 Season, and I’ve been to every home game. One game left, away at Anfield, and our first title in eighteen years is at stake. It’s the most mustest of “must go to” games since ‘71. One problem. I have also attended almost every home game for many seasons with three very good mates. Two of us have season tickets, and two do not. Liverpool have allocated about 3,000 away tickets, and the chances of both of us going look remote, and what about our other two mates?

We decided to put Matedom and Friendship first and stick together. One for all, and stay in North London we did.

Twenty three years later, and I regret that decision more than any in my life. It may only be once or twice in a Gunner’s life that these games come along, but I urge you all, never never let family or friends come first. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen while you’re at the game? They may have died, but would that have been worth missing the game for. Of course not. Not a game like that.

This wee post was prompted because last night I went to a Parents BBQ at my childrens’ school. My son has a new best mate, and my heart kinda sank as this boys’ Dad made his way over to do the exchanging phone number thing ahead of the summer sleep-overs. He looked a bit wet to me and his opening gambit of “I hear you are an Arsenal Man as well” did little to arrest my interest. After learning that he had earned his colours by doing the every home and away game in a season thing, as well as the 100 consecutive home games honour, I was still only partially moved. Then he dropped the bomb. He was at Anfield.

He joins an elite group of seven Gunners I know who were at Anfield. I am not jealous of these men. I genuinely see them as superior human beings. They have been to a place I can only dream of, and I know that wrong on my cv can ever be righted.

It is impossible that your stories can be as epically tragic and pathetic as mine, so let’s hear your tales of sacrifice or regret.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Let’s Stay Together: Match Preview

March 3, 2012

Following on from Rocky’s finely researched post about the curse of the Carling Cup:

Another lunch time fixture, another outing for our dreadful blue away kit and a tough fixture.

I am from the generation which remembers Anfield as the toughest fixture of the season. Win up there and you were a quality team, you had to be because for many, many years Liverpool were supreme: The Liverpool side of the late 80’s was the best team ever seen on British soil until the arrival of  The Invincibles.

However, times move on and this Liverpool side despite having been expensively assembled is nowhere near good enough to win the PL (not that we are!), they are as unpredictable as a Nik Bendnter finish. Scraping past a very average Cardiff is proof of their weaknesses.

The hugely expensive purchases of recent years have shown that money cannot buy success – our record signing is Wiltord at £16m approx; in the last few seasons the Scouse have bought Aquillani, Torres, Downing, Saurez, Mascherano, Carroll, Henderon, Johnson and Keane, all of whom cost more than Wiltord. And what have they won? The CC. How many times have the been in the CL? Not enough for the investment.

Still swallowing the King Kenny Dream

However, they remain a potent force at Anfield and it must be remembered they beat us at THOF. They are unbeaten this season at home and yet have won only 4 out of 12.

Liverpool have some injury problems with Agger out but Stevie Me is likely to have recovered from his half hour for England.  Carroll may be a laughing stock but we are prone to concede goals from players of his stature. Had Mr Wenger had his way Reina would be playing for the good guys, he remains the best GK in the Prem (IMO). Their defence is shaky without Agger. Midfield will be where the game is won and lost. The impression I get from L’pool blogs is that Adam has not been a success, nor has Henderson and the loss of Lucas has been costly. Which brings us to Liverpools’s most potent weapon, Suarez.

Is there a less popular player in English football? It cannot be denied Suarez is blessed with huge talent but his cheating and demeanor are appalling – he is the new El Hadj Diouf. As to the racial abuse case: Dalgleish’s stand and the general support from the fans was shameful, in particular at a club with the proud heritage of LFC. There is no possibility Mr Wenger and The Arsenal would have supported the player in this case. It has harmed the standing of a great club. Will Liverpool sell Suarez in summer as I hope would be the case at Arsenal – probably not, just look at the way MC have handled Tevez. One insincere apology from the media dept and all is well  …. shame on them.

Arsenal have the usual injury problems. There are doubts about key players: Vermaelen, Rosicky and RvP, without whom we will struggle. Diaby is back in the squad but is unlikely to play.

My team:

Benayoun played very well last weekend and it is hard to drop him but I believe Gervinho’s pace will cause the Scouse problems. Mozart is on his best run of form in his Arsenal career and will surely start ahead of the fit again Ramsey.

Inventor from Liverpool: Mr Frank Hornby. Inventor of Boys Toys Extraordinaire. Not just the Hornby train sets but also Meccano and my personal favorite, Dinky toys. At one time Meccano was the most popular toy in the world.

Calm Down now

March is Mr. Wenger’s most successful  month with a Pl 52. W36 D10 L6 record. A win today could knock one of the 3 challengers for a CL place out of contention.

Beating the Miscreants was a result of team play and pressing all over the pitch, if we can reproduce this team ethic we can win …. Let’s Stay Together!

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy


Pool – Arsenal in at the Deep End – written by BigRaddy

August 15, 2010

Written by Big Raddy

First game of a new season, new players, an opportunity to wear our new kit, ….. what is there not to get excited about?

Well, shame on me but I am approaching a trip to Anfield with some trepidation. I am normally confident every time we travel to Liverpool and I am reminded that we opened with a 6-1 victory up there last season (Everton is in Liverpool). But this time there are significant differences, and we all know what they are.

Firstly, Liverpool have finally signed a decent manager. Benitez was quite frankly one of the luckiest men on the planet. Without exception, their Cup victories were fortunate in the extreme (who has ever seen a less deserved CL victory than 2005, exciting though it was). That Benitez spent a King’s ransom and has taken the club backwards is a better indicator of his years as manager than Stevie G beating West Ham. Hodgson on the other hand is (in my opinion) one of the best managers in Europe and will make the Scousers a decent side.

Hodgson has in Reina, Agger, Johnson, Carragher and Aurelio, the personel to create a really solid defence. The signing of Poulsen (whom we should have signed) is inspired. He is a DM who can pass out of defence, is good in the air and above all can be a really dirty b*stard in the Roy Keane mould – expect to see a flurry of cards! With Gerrard in form, Aquilani bedding in, and Cole desperate to show he is worth his wages, they will present a formidable midfield. Thankfully Torres is unlikely to play and N’gog/Babel and Kuyt are hardly clinical finishers.

Secondly, we are not in great shape. Injuries, lack of form, severe defensive frailties and the lack of a reliable goalkeeper are likely to cause  sleepless nights for Mr. Wenger. The injuries are frustrating; when will we start a season with our full squad fit and ready? Song is at best 50/50 to play, and to rely on Denilson again is an indication of a poor summer’s work by our manager (who I am delighted to read is about to sign a new contract). We have been lacking a quality partner to Song for too long, and the possibility of having to start Frimpong is madness, however much of a prospect he is. Should Song be out, we will struggle to win the physical battle in midfield, as we will against any of the top 6 clubs…… we must buy an experienced CB/ DM to have a chance of winning the PL. Hopefully Sunday afternoon will not be a pre-cursor of difficulties to come

Much has been written about Fabregas this summer and I can’t wait to see him play for us this season – I expect him to confirm that he is the best in the World, bar none. He has to play at Anfield for us to win.

My team would be, (though I must point out that I have an unblemished record in this department – never having been right!!) :-

Mr. Wenger usually goes with a defensive team away from home and much as I would like to see Theo get a game, I doubt he will. The questions about RvP’s fitness must preclude him from what will be a tough fixture.

I will be satisfied with a point.

Regular readers of AA will know that I like to give some background about the towns we play in, and this season will be no different. Liverpool was founded by King John in 1207 and he personally designed the street layout (though only for 500 inhabitants). And, this is a brilliant and hard to believe fact….. over 40% of the entire World’s trade went through Liverpool at the start of the 19th Century!! There are many famous Liverpudlians amongst whom are; Rick Astley, the famous Youtube star and Keith Chegwin (Janice Long’s brother), both of whom are Gooners.

Most famous Scousers get out fast and move to Kent/Surrey – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Cilla Black, Jimmy Tarbuck, Freddie Starr, Anne Robinson, Paul O’Grady etc etc ……. I wonder why??