Monday, 14 December 2009

Glorious goals v Street-Wise ploys; "Nice" v Naughty

Saturday's match at Anfield with Liverpool at home to Arsenal ended with a win for the away team by 2 goals to 1. Arsenal's Arshavin struck like the proverbial cobra to provide one of those glorious goals that he and other people will remember because it was so economical in action and so far out of reach of goalkeeper Reina.

Of course, there should have been penalties, one in front of the referee when Gallas with the curious habit of tackling with his back-turned to both the direction of the ball and the opponent, unsurprisingly tripped a Liverpool player in the box. It would be interesting to know the referee's reason for letting it go. "Just clumsy," is surely not good enough particularly as it seemed to be Gallas's style of tackle. He did it on at least one other occasion.

I watched  Match of the Day on Sunday morning. The pundits were the two Alans: Shearer, a former forward, and Hansen, a former defender, and the defender it was who drew attention to an incident seemingly incidental to the footage of an Arsenal attack repulsed by Liverpool. "Did you notice Carragher's arm," he said. The video picks up the moment again as Arshavin and Carragher stand almost side by side facing the Arsenal goal some yards inside the Liverpool half. Carragher's arm is held out like an insect's feeler behind Arshavin's back. Its purpose, of course, was to act as an alarm signal if Arshavin suddenly turned to run past him - which he did as the attack began. "Street-wise," Hansen proudly pointed out, "Carragher has been around a long time!"

Another glorious goal this last weekend happened in the match Stoke v Wigan, result 2-2. The referee blew for a free-kick to Wigan for a foul on the left wing inside the Wigan half. "It could be Goal of the Season," said Hansen as the video showed Figueroa take the kick, a long ball over the penalty box - Sorensen out of his goal - and into the net. "Now watch," says smart Alan as the video restarts to illustrate his point. We see that just before the free-kick a Stoke player moves past the stationary ball. "Put your foot on it," says Hansen who went on to make it clear that the quick-witted and  'street-wise' player like himself  would have delayed the taking of the free-kick to allow his team-mates more time to get into position behind the ball. He would have done it simply by standing with his foot on the ball so that the kick could not be taken. We have all seen this done. The referee has to chase the offending player away with the threat of a yellow card or punish him immediately with one. In the latter case even more time can be taken up.

If this had happened Figueroa's glorious spontaneous goal that he will remember for the rest of his life would have been aborted. No chance of  making 'Goal of the Season'! But now it might.

Sorensen, by the way, saved a penalty from Rodallega to balance his account. It reminded me that I failed to turn up for the matches last week and did not report on other penalty saves. There were missed penalties from Arsenal's Fabregas, Tottenham's Defoe and, his first miss "since 2006" (commentator comment), Chelsea's Lampard.

For reports on the two matches mentioned please follow the links.,,12306~48595,00.html

1 comment:

  1. See this piece on 'diving' from The Guardian