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.

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