A PREMIER LEAGUE REFLECTION 10.09.2017

Well if your a Liverpool fan it was another one of “those” weekends. First thirty minutes of the game was pretty even. Both Manchester City and Liverpool had chances, albeit City controlling the tempo and Liverpool looking to strike with force on the counter attack. It was hotting up to be an outstanding game when…. BOOM, once more the referee took the limelight, deciding the game by sending off Sadio Mane for a full throttle clash with City goalkeeper Ederson. Now let’s look at that crucial moment for a minute. Liverpool’s Joel Matip sent over a beautifully lofted through ball for Mane to chase, the player is running at full speed (which in his case is pretty f***ing quick), it looks like he will get the ball first, but City goalkeeper Ederson is running full speed in the other direction to make a headed clearance. I could tell we were set for a disaster immediately. They clashed heavily, Mane’s boot was high and slammed straight into Ederson’s face. I will admit, it looked horrible when it happened and the keeper was down for treatment for all of eight minutes before being removed on a stretcher. Within seconds of the incident referee John Moss decided to brandish the red card, sending Mane for an early shower (or whatever the hell they do once they head down that tunnel). Now I would like to look at this pragmatically. By the letter of the law I would have to say that a red card was justified. The law clearly states the following..

“Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury”

…so you would have to say that the ref had no option but to send off the player in this instance. BUT, there is a part of me that really thinks that Mane was hard done by for the simple reason that I am confident there was no intent from the player, so in essence it was just a horrible accident. For the player to be sent off, the club he represents to lose the match and three points and then for the team to be missing the player for a minimum three matches, which is the mandatory suspension for a sending off, seems pretty harsh for what was ultimately just a horrible accident. In my opinion this is where the inevitable introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) will help. Expecting the referee to make an on the spot decision, in a high octane arena where emotions are high and the action is going at a thousand miles an hour is just not realistic. If there was VAR in this instance where the referee could quickly review the footage and the circumstances in relation to the laws of the game I think we are likely more often than not have a “just” outcome. As it stands, the player was sent off, Liverpool had to play the last two thirds of the game a man down and ultimately got bloody hammered by one of the best teams in the premier league if not world football. Final score was 5-0 and likely hood of myself living to 90 years old was reduced by a whopping 4%. Time for a check up.

Before the weekend I predicted a win for West Brom against newly promoted Brighton based on the simple fact that Brighton couldn’t score in a convent full of rehabilitated nuns. At the same time West Brom have looked extremely organised defensively so far this season, so the result came as a bit of a shock to be honest. Statistically speaking the game was pretty even however the final score is a result of Brighton’s fantastic attacking display coupled with a poor defensive display from West Brom. Totally out of character for a Tony Pulis side. The game finished 3-1 and looking ahead it seems things are definitely looking up for Brighton. I do see problems ahead for West Brom though. They are a tough defensive team (normally), but they really do struggle to both create and score goals, and in the toughest league in the world that is a recipe for disaster and failure. I will be keeping a close eye on West Brom in the coming weeks to see how the react.

Arsenal fans can now finally climb back out of the pits of hell where they have resided the past 3 weeks or so. After being hammered by Liverpool at Anfield and having what was judged by most fans to be a poor end to the transfer window, many Arsenal fans seemed to be on the verge of “storming the castle”. Thankfully a return to football this weekend has seen some reality flow back into the situation. Against Bournemouth, Arsenal were clinical, dominant and looked great going forward. Special praise for Danny Welbeck who was outstanding in attack. If he can finally keep injury free he will have a great season in my opinion, and one would say it’s about bloody time. I also think that Alexandre Lacazette is going to turn out to be a great signing for the Gunners. I’ll admit, I almost choked when I heard that Arsenal had paid some £50 million for Lacazette as from what I had seen from him in the French league he looked talented but lightweight and lazy. However from everything I have seem from him so far in an Arsenal shirt he looks top notch and he scored a wonderful goal yesterday. Final score was 3-0. Let’s not even bother talking about Bournemouth. They were awful and haven’t earned a single point so far this season. If they don’t sort themselves out immediately they will find themselves in a deep fresh steaming pile of elephant dung. Quick word on Arsene Wenger, I feel sorry for the guy. He has been a fantastic servant for Arsenal over the years, but it is clear that he has lost the confidence of everyone except the board. Gunners fans, he will be at the club for the remainder of the season that is for certain, so just get behind the guy and the club and save your grievances for season end. Or don’t and you will be sure to finish outside the top four once more.

Now, this next segment will give me great satisfaction to write considering my allegiances. Everton is a perfect example of how money doesn’t always buy you success. They spent over £140 million on players this summer, but so far there is no evidence of any improvements on the pitch. In fairness it will probably take some time for everything to gel together but Everton were pretty poor yesterday. On the other side Tottenham were almost back to their best. I have to be honest, my favorite player in the Premier League (outside of Liverpool) is without a doubt Harry Kane. Ok he looks a little like one of the famous Easter Island heads but otherwise he is just brilliant. Super talented, intelligent, has great movement, good in the air, good on the ground and hard working. Everything the modern player needs. He is outstanding. This particular fixture earmarked a milestone for the young Englishman scoring his 100th and 101st goals for Spurs and I have no doubt he will score many more considering his meager years. The final score was 3-0 for Spurs, but it could have been a far bigger margin. Two thing we learnt from this game are that if Spurs can stay injury free they will make a challenge for the title again, and Everton still have a load of work to do before breaking into the top 6.

Another good weekend for Chelsea as they got themselves back into the top four after a decent win over a very tough Leicester side. After an initial week one cluster f***, Chelsea are well back on track with three wins in a row and again are looking really solid. They controlled this game from beginning to end and were cruising to victory before a 62nd minute penalty gave Leicester a sniff of hope, but that didn’t develop into anything. What was most interesting about this game was the different receptions given to ex Leicester players Ngolo Kante and Danny Drinkwater. Whilst Kante received a warm reception from the fans it wasn’t the case at all for Drinkwater who got a somewhat frostier reception. I guess that is what happens when you put in a transfer request in a desperate attempt to leave. Final score at the King Power Stadium 1-2. Oh and Eden Hazard is back, damn it.

As I am sure you can all imagine I was absolutely delighted to see Manchester United drop points against Stoke City yesterday. After their very impressive start to the season I was afraid they would run away with things early on, but thankfully this week for United was a perfect reminder of what the Premier League is all about, no easy games. On the whole United probably should have won. They had the lion share of possession and should have scored a couple more goals, but at the same time De Gea made a couple of sharp saves also so perhaps a draw was the fair result. Well not if you ask Moaninho. In his usual post match drivel he claimed that only one team tried to win the match, but I am sorry to say Jose that any neutral observer of the game would disagree with you. Stoke were in the game throughout and had one or two chances to snatch an unlikely victory as well, so there. Is it me, or is there anybody else out there who every time they see a Moaninho post game interview they have fantasies of taking to his legs with a baseball bat? His arrogance infuriates me and he is totally disrespectful to both the league and his fellow professionals. It was fun to begin with, but since his return to England it has just been annoying and boring. The game finished 2-2. Well done Stoke, good result.

Not sure many reading this will give a damn but poor, poor Crystal Palace. Another weekend and another confidence sapping defeat. This time they had a lion share of the possession (67% to be exact) and the majority of the chances (23 shots at goal) but still managed to find a way to lose the match. Burnley the home side only had 4 shots in total in the whole of the match and only 2 of them were on target, but they got the goal they needed to take all 3 points thanks to new signing Chris Wood. One wonders at this rate whether Frank de Boer will be the first manager to get the chop, I hope not. You can’t expect a new manager to change things in 4 games. But football is a fickle game so you never know. Time will tell.

In other news Watford won which I predicted they would and Newcastle won on their travels to Wales against Swansea which I didn’t predict. It’s not an exact science ok. Watford look very impressive so far this season and I love Rafa Benitez.

Finito.

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Discussion

  1. Rachel Williams

    Great analysis with a touch of humour. Re Liverpool even Neville is saying it shouldn’t have been a red and since I like giving a fella a chance I think I’ll side with him for once.

    1. davidoziborg

      Gary says no red. Phil says red. I will go with Gary because Phil comes off as “not too bright” lol.

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