Thursday, 5 November 2015

More than talent and skill may be needed to win a particular match. But talent and skill are certainly needed to win a competition over a series of matches such as the 38 in the Premier League. In any one match, of course, Chance can thwart the effects of talent and skill. And Chance can also favour them.

Frank Lampard's shot at the Spurs goal on Saturday which Gomes allowed to pass under his body and almost over the line was judged to be a goal by the officials. Credited to Lampard, that goal was scored by Chance. The referee had to make a judgement and he may have made the wrong one. But as Lampard said later, there was a corresponding situation against Germany in the World Cup competition when England should have been credited with a goal from a shot by the same man. Both of these incidences of Chance favoured the stronger team.

But what about Sandro's shot earlier in the same match which seemed to glance slightly off Modric's  head and sail past Cech into the Chelsea goal? This was Spurs one and only goal of the game for then Chelsea went on to score two 'dodgy' (thanks to Nick for the perfect adjective) goals to win (and keep open a chance to catch Man U). Was that goal Chance? Or was it skill and talent? Let's just be pleased by the spirit that made Sandro take the shot, shall we?

In Sunday's match at the Emirates, Arsenal v Man U, with the result so important to the ranking of the top three with only three further matches to play in the Premier League this season, there was a handball from Vidic in the penalty area. It was seen at the time only by Van Persie, the Arsenal captain and the closest player to Vidic. The incident only became publicly clear later - on the video. But if the referee had seen this handball then he would have had to award a penalty to Arsenal and a red card to Vidic. As a result, Vidic would have missed the next three matches .....and the very next match for his team, Man U, is against Chelsea, who are in second place and only 3 points behind.

In other words sometimes one incidence of Chance has an effect substantially beyond the one match.

Of course, this particular incident is only one example of this type where the officials miss significant breaches of the rules simply because it is impossible for them to see incidents clearly from all angles like television cameras. The margin for error in the referees' work is part of the Chance that affects all matches.

Whether Vidic's handball is also Cheating need not concern us here. His arm action may have been involuntary.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

"Get your eyes chalked, ref!"

When I was a lad watching the village team (Kirklington Hill Home Guards FC) with other lads we used to shout at the referee, following the example of the adults also watching. No doubt following the custom of ages. (I wonder if the spectators shouted abuse at the referee (even if he was the Lord of the Manor) at the archery contests held in the Middle Ages)

I have to say though that our phrase was more a ritual than a phrase of abuse.

When the referee blew his whistle to award a free kick to the opposing team the phrase that I shouted and until recenty I believed that everyone else shouted was

"Get your eyes chalked, ref!" 

But it makes no kind of sense! Perhaps the adults were shouting CHECKED, not CHALKED. We were declaring that the referee had made a bad decision because he did not have good eyesight.

"Get your eyes checked, ref!" does make sense.

 But before I confess to having made an idiotic error all those years ago I would like to be sure that I had picked up the wrong word.

Does anyone recall shouting such a phrase? With CHALKED  or CHECKED?

The end

June, 2014

My own idea is that chalk may have been used to write symbols on a wall for people to check how well they could see in the days before the printed alphabetical wall chart. Maybe I was correct in shouting CHALKED.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The view at the bottom

As the season enters Gameweek 29 (Fantasy league terminology) the 20 teams (except Birmingham with 12) have 10 or 11 games left to play in the league. What is remarkable is that the teams currently in the relegation places, the bottom three, already have point totals which would have almost certainly saved them from relegation last season.

The situation is summarised in a useful piece of information gathering here by Jeremy Wilson on the Uk's Daily Telegraph website.

Hovering behind or above the Premier League there are still European tournament games to come plus FA cup matches at the quarter final stage. More information on what is still to come for football fans this coming week is right here on this great site. (The match times given here are for viewing in the Florida region of the USA)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Saturday Siesta

FA Clubs MapImage via Wikipedia
On Saturday afternoon I started to watch Stoke v Sunderland. Kieran Richardson scored early on to give Sunderland the lead. Then the ball went here and there without any pattern. I began to feel sleepy. I woke up an hour later to find that Stoke had won 3-2. I had missed 4 goals. 

Anxious not to miss anything else I did a bit of channel hopping and found a German channel showing Newcastle v Arsenal. The screen showed 12 minutes had gone but I could hardly believe the score: Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0! I had missed 3 more goals, and surely the match was over in substance. Toothless (allegedly) Newcastle with the feeling of the loss of Andrew Carroll on their backs would never recover.

Then Newcastle’s J.Barton kept showing up everywhere, taking the corners, free kicks, and falling down blithely anywhere reasonable between adding a biting tackle for good measure. One such caught Diaby’s legs. He showed his feelings by getting J. Barton by the back of the neck and pushing him to the ground. Along comes Newcastle-captain K. Nolan like a policeman in a comedy saying, ‘“Hello, hello, hello!”. The suspect Diaby promptly pushes him in the chest. A crowd gathers and the ref pulls out a red card. Exit Diaby; no doubt glad that he didn’t get his leg broken again in a tackle. In fact, Barton’s tackle looked clumsy more than dangerous but you felt that it came from a player willing to do whatever it takes for his team and his role as a villain (aka Man of the Match).

By now 4-0 in the lead, Arsenal are down to 10 men. Inspired by Barton’s insistence and his two penalties Newcastle go on to a unique (in the Premier League) four-goal recovery. Final score: 4-4. 

My personal score 7-6: asleep for 7 awake for 6.

The goals galore at the weekend delighted fans at grounds and football fantasy league players everywhere. There were 25 goals For and 16 Against; a total of 41 in eight matches, 5 per match barring fractions. And no fractures!

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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Did you hear the sounds of breaking glass ....

as huge snowballs of money struck the transfer window last night? A couple of strikers were involved. The biggest snowball broke the record for a player coming to a British club and was thrown by Chelsea at Liverpool for Torres for £50 million. It gave Liverpool some daft money to throw one of £35 mllion at Newcastle for Carroll which broke the record for the transfer of a British player. I hope those snowballs don't melt too quickly.

F. J. Torres, although 'fit' now, has had injury problems in both of the last two seasons and A.T. Carroll is currently injured. Torres is at least tried and tested as a top level striker. But Carroll is in his first season in the Premier League, with 11 goals from 19 matches.  Promising and exciting, but for £35 million - the things that can go wrong! A few weeks ago Carroll was living in Newcastle-captain Nolan's house. A kind of supervision by order of a magistrate before whom he had appeared.

As a Chelsea fan I am delirious with joy, or as I would normally put it - quite pleased. I cannot wait to see Torres net a rebound after Drogba hits the post (again), or see Torres turn and shoot from outside the box into the top left corner of the goal as he did for Liverpool against Chelsea earlier this season...before adding another goal for two of his few this season. And how many more will the Drogba score as spin-off from a new partner? The £50 million should spice things up at Stamford Bridge for least the rest of the season. Will it bring the Champions League success so expensively sought by the actual thrower of the £50 million snowball, the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich?

There are signs of wet snowballs already - I have just heard that Andrew Carroll did not really want to leave Newcastle.

Chelsea are at home to Liverpool on Sunday. Will Drogba, Anelka and Torres play? I can't wait to find out.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Fernando's Hideaway ....and other whimsy

The transfer window closes in a few hours. K. Dalglish (I don't know him well enough to call him 'Kenny') had just declared on Sky Sport TV News from a press conference that Fernando Torres (you don't have to know somebody well to use their given name) is staying at Anfield. Nobody will believe this as there is still time, isn't there?
Where is Torres now? Training at Liverpool or at a hotel in west London about to be the most expensive incoming player in the EPL?

The possibility of a Torres move to Chelsea almost overshadowed the FA cup matches at the weekend, especially on Sunday when we heard that Torres had put in written request to be transferred. There is a difference between a club asking a player to move on and a player making a request. The latter tells his squadmates that he thinks they are not good enough. So, if he is unable to leave, Torres could be in bad odour at training and in the dressing room until he does leave......presumably after the season ends.
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Monday, 24 January 2011

Lineslady Day

Wolves at home to Liverpool last Saturday - a lineslady showed up on my television. I hope she was on yours too. An announcer said something about her as the camera went to her side of the pitch as the match kicked off. Is she the first female assistant referee in the Premier League?  Or have I been missing something? The low-key presentation of this lady was fine with me. But what of the future? Will we be getting short skirts and halter tops. After all top class Football seems to be primarily show-business for some of the players.......Relax!.............

Sian Massey had a great match. Early on she flagged offside against Torres as a pass came through to him just as he had moved slightly too far forward. The replays showed she had got the decision spot on! Throughout the match her movement and speed of decision inspired confidence. I would love to see her refereeing in the Premier League as she surely will in time.

"Atones for his error" is more portentous than "makes up for his mistake" and is actually probably better in Saturday's circumstances than the more colloquial form. It was spoken in Man U v Birmingham when Ben Foster, the Brum's goalie kicked a backpass straight to Berbatov whose shot did not provide one of his 3 goals. Foster easily gathered it and cleared upfield. As he did so the commentator remarked, "Foster has atoned for his error'. These words gave the incident the seriousness it deserved better than 'he made up for his mistake' would have done. More sonorous therefore more serious?

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