Liverpool have got away with plenty. And more mails…

Date published: Tuesday 20th October 2020 9:12

Get your mails into theeditor@football365.com…

 

Convenient forgetfulness

I’ve resisted from mailing in but as you seem to want to continue to print emails from FC Amnesia supporters, then I guess I’ll chime in as well.

Here’s a simple yet inconvenient fact for the supporters of LFC. They’re a club has gotten away with plenty over the years and they’ve conveniently decided to forget those incidents. It happens to every club, yes, even yours. It’s just that your side hasn’t had near as many against you as every other side in the Premier League. So your point of view is how shall we say it, skewed.

Let’s not even start with the questionable VAR decisions that went for them last season. Any complaints then? Nope.

Let’s not even start with the Clattenberg derby. Anyone asking for that one to be replayed? Nope.

Kuyt’s two footer on Neville? Nope.

Gerrard’s two footer on Naysmith? Nope.

While we’re at it, maybe I can get a petition going to get the league to ban Son for as many games as Gomes was out. Heck, why don’t I petition UEFA to get the Villarreal match replayed due to Collina’s scandalous performance.

I can do this all day long but for the sake of the readers at F365, they get my drift.

I honestly don’t know what’s worse here. The hypocrisy on display from Liverpool supporters or the lack of self-awareness from Liverpool supporters in these regards.
TX Bill (Don’t you worry, Pickford will eventually find himself out of the team, but it won’t be because of the VVD tackle…oh sorry, “assault.”) EFC

 

Punishing Pickford

I think it’s quite understandable that Liverpool fans have been up in arms about the horrific injury that Virgil Van Dijk suffered at the hands of Jordan Pickford. No matter who your allegiance, if you are celebrating Van Dijk’s plight then your tribalism has gone too far – he’s always come across as a consummate professional, and to put it simply he is the best defender in the world right now. He’s been robbed of being a (the?) key player in a team looking to retain the title and that’s sickeningly disappointing for him and everyone at the club.

That being said… to Ryan C and all the other fans on social media demanding that Pickford is banned for as long as Van Dijk is out, that’s just simply ridiculous. This is not the first time someone has had to face time out caused by a rash challenge and it won’t be the last time – banning someone for the length of injury has never happened before and I can’t see this being the time to implement this rule now.

It would bring up so many questions – would teams stop brining an injured player back just to ensure a rival couldn’t have a key player to return, or what happens if it’s a career ender? For example the Luke Shaw injury vs PSV; would that unfortunate situation lead to Hector Moreno having to be suspended every time there was a setback leading from that challenge? It’s all too murky and too retrospective.

Pickford was reckless and out of control – there is absolutely no doubt it should have been a red and he should be banned for a good few games for such an out-of-control challenge. However, it was (to me) clearly an accident, he was trying to block a shot and if anything wasn’t thinking of Van Dijk but just trying his best to put a block in. It wasn’t like what Keane did to Haaland, which was punished for it being dangerous and deliberate – he was rightly handed an extended ban to reflect the intent.

It’s something which I think is actually massively under-refereed in football; challenges after a shot has happened. How many times do you see a player take a shot and then get nailed by the keeper (or a defender) who was trying to block the ball? It’s a very very common occurrence and until this is put under the spotlight these horror injuries will continue to happen.

To conclude, I do feel terrible for Van Dijk – he’s the most important (arguably) player for a team that I for one reason or another I prefer not to win, but Liverpool and certainly he doesn’t deserve this. I have myself had an ACL injury and look at Van Dijk and think it’s a long road back. I never recovered and still have chronic knee issues 15 years later. I mean I didn’t have the same support and focus on recovery but most of the time you’re never quite the same again after an injury of this severity (see Luke Shaw). I hope the big man goes prove me wrong, which would be typical of him.
John Jack (AFCW)


Top ten summer signings that currently look a bit pointless


…Lots of LFC fans suggesting in the mailbox that Pickford be banned until VVD recovers, and Richarlison be banned until Thiago recovers.
However I didn’t see any of these fans complaining when Joe Gomez came onto the pitch, considering how he broke Erik Tommy’s elbow in the preseason friendly vs Stuttgart with a solid shove off the pitch. He’s still out injured.
Pickford should have gotten sent off, but calls to set new weird retrospective punishments are just silly.
Max, EFC, London

 

…James H, Singapore described the Pickford/VVD tackle as a “rugby tackle”.

Definitely not – it’d be a straight red in Rugby too… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was banned in MMA!

Keepers get tremendous leeway to make terrible challenges that would see them walk elsewhere on the pitch. The fundamental issue is the unspoken rule that has always applied that to give a penalty the offence has to be that extra bit blatant than it would be somewhere else on the pitch because it doesn’t just need to be a foul, but a foul that “deserves” a penalty.

The thing is, tha same old thinking is blood boiling when we now have a climate where penalties that no ref would’ve dared to give pre-VAR are given so bloody easily under the new handball interpretation.

Finally, VVD was definitely off-side. But is it really right that they couldn’t look at the subsequent foul (which is what I understood the logic was)? That’s ridiculous. It wasn’t “violent conduct” in as much as I don’t think he set out to hurt the man, but it was outrageously reckless. He should not have stayed on the pitch…
Andy (MUFC)

 

…So, full disclosure, I e-mailed in not long after the derby had finished with a quite bitter, but in the moment not unusual reaction for a fan. Additional full disclosure I also e-mailed in at the start of the season saying many pundit’s reasons for not choosing Liverpool to retain the title were non-sensical, but I felt the fates, laws of averages on injuries catching up with us was most likely to derail us. So, er yeah fellow reds, it’s all on me, feel free to turn your current ire on this fate tempting bellend!

Anyway yes, the current ire, apologies to other football fans who are annoyed quite rightly by loons on here, Twitter (but they are, it must be stressed, no matter your desire to hate all things LFC, a small minority) or wherever demanding Pickford be banned until the next time Big Virg steps out in a first team game. I’m not even arsed he’s not got 3 games retrospectively, wouldn’t help Liverpool. I was just genuinely miffed in the moment and immediately post-match, as a clear as day decision (sorry unless you were in a bar in Greece, there are two sides to the debate and they both deserve equal footing, AS LOOK WHERE THAT HAS GOT THE WORLD) was mismanaged, and in the context of the game at the time of the incident had the correct decision been made i’m sure the statistical likelihood of a Liverpool win would have been in the high 90 per cents. This is all that genuinely stuck in my craw re: the game to be honest, the fact we should be level on points at the top as it stands, in what might turn out to be a very tight season.

Additional, additional disclosure I also replied to an Evertonian the other day as I felt he was very much on the selective use of information and ‘fake news’ tip regards incidents in the derby, and I felt confident in doing so as I have the old rewindable telly and honestly too much time on my hands. Speaking of fake news and the time we have on our hands, Dub Saul. A textbook beginning of ‘actually I don’t hate Liverpool because’, followed by various snide, unprovable digs from a busy man who would pre-emptively render any of our replies void if only he had a spare moment. What tackle are you talking about? Because you say ‘Also’ when mentioning the Mane / Tierney incident which implies this is an additional (yeah, I know, fkin vocabulary of Trump here) incident. And for what it’s worth Mane fended him off with an arm (recordable and rewindable TV) he didn’t elbow him, but whatever the colour of the card should’ve been in that incident the fact is it was debated and mentioned substantially across all social media at the time – so why, on the core issue of foul play by Pickford on Van Dijk should Liverpool fans ‘shut up’ in the immediate aftermath? One of reason’s the to and fro on this is spinning on is the frequent misrepresentation of the incident and match, allied to the constant irrelevant and inaccurate dredging up of things from the past.

I regard the claim that this ‘happens to every club at some stage’ as somewhat of a false comparison. That a vital, ‘star’ player picks up a serious, long term injury is not what has provoked the moans, we know that happens, it’s the manner in which it occurred and the fact that poor officiating (with the very recent advent of VAR at its centre) on it cost Liverpool a win in a derby and two points. If you ever have some spare time Dubbers perhaps you could let us know of the similar incidents to this that have happened to every other club? Oh, I followed your advice on using YouTube re: LFC savagery, but i’ll be honest I found any evidence to be inconclusive.

However! Speaking of misrepresentations, false comparisons and using YouTube, I did find a link that mailbox contributor Mark Meadowcroft and anybody who read his letter might be interested in.

You’re welcome.

Cheers,
Rob.

 

Mark Meadowcroft, what the f*ck are you smoking? I’ve just you tubed the TAA/Sane incident thinking that maybe I’d missed it or blocked from my memory this ‘pretty ropey challenge’ due to the horrific nature of the bone crunching, two footed, out of control, reckless career ender.

It’s here for anyone who can stomach it.

Obviously the above description of it is nonsense, much like Mark’s email. The two players were chasing a ball over the top and Sane tripped over his own feet and landed awkwardly. That’s it. That’s your ‘pretty ropey challenge’. That’s your (false) equivalence with what Pickford did on Saturday. Reaching much?
James Outram, Wirral

 

…I’ve been having a little think about the Merseyside derby and have organised my thoughts and why I’m annoyed by it all.

Everyone has decisions that go for and against them, in theory this should level itself out over time. That’s not what bothers me, it’s that David Coote (the VAR ref) has already demonstrated incompetence in the same circumstances. He failed to see Lo Celso’s stamp in the Spurs vs Chelsea game last season as a red card offence. But he’s actually getting worse because he reviewed that decision himself and decided it wasn’t a red card offence. Under the new rules he would’ve referred that decision to the on pitch referee who would’ve probably made the right call. This season he didn’t even suggest the Pickford challenge was worth a look.

He goes even further by managing to rule out the Mané goal at the end. This is properly astounding because it’s just not offside, no matter how you cut it. So ultimately it was inevitable that we would always lose VVD but the result wasn’t inevitable and we could’ve had 2 extra points.

It’s clear from these two calls plus the failure on the Lo Celso challenge that he is entirely ill equipped to review any decisions in football. It’s worse now because he’s either not learnt from last season where the PGMOL publicly admitted fault or he’s actively getting worse.

Pickford himself annoys me because he’s done this before. He’s so desperate to make an impact but actually is so frequently guilty of brain farts that ensure that he won’t be the keeper at any top club ever. I don’t think he did this intentionally, I think he did it because he’s stupid and unfortunately going unpunished doesn’t knock the stupidity out of people so I worry he might take another year away from another footballer.

Liverpool are still one of the best teams in the country and now we have a mentality that the refs are against us. I think we will be just fine as long as the centre backs we do have can stay fit.
Minty, LFC

 

…I’m a bit late to the party but wanted to give some (hopefully) more measured thoughts on the derby and VAR than if I had written in immediately following the game.

Firstly, on VAR, which couldn’t be more conspicuous if it was a literal elephant plonked halfway up the Park End. In reality my thoughts on VAR as a concept haven’t changed all that much. Football is a subjective game, which rules open to interpretation. Even the ones we’ve thought were relatively black-and-white, we’ve subsequently learned are incredibly hard to enforce as such (hands up who knew prior to last season’s commencement that offside was determined by any part of the body that could score a goal and not the grounded foot). Consequently, bringing in VAR was always going to lead to incorrect decisions being made, and some reversals of correct decisions. On the whole, these will balance out over the long term (probably over a season for most teams) so isn’t in and of itself worth getting worked up over. Everton will benefit from Saturday’s decisions, and suffer another day. But what VAR has introduced (as feared by many) is doubt in players’ minds which ruins the moment. While Jordan Henderson should’ve been able to safely celebrate his stoppage time derby winner (a huge moment), in the back of his mind he knew it was subject to possible review and overturning. Similarly, the game stops for a couple of minutes (as we saw with the Pickford penalty incident) and momentum can absolutely swing back in that time. It’s an unacceptable change to the way football is played for very minor increases in decision making accuracy.

I still strongly advocate for a challenge system. One challenge per team per half (reset if vindicated), so that players don’t “get lucky” with VAR decisions that they never imagined they’d benefit from (the Mane offside, possibly the van Dijk offside), but instead challenge obvious refereeing errors. In this way, referees may actually get more respect – if they’ve made a mistake and all 11 players in the affected team don’t notice it, it illustrates that they were probably right to miss it anyway. The challenge should be reviewed by the same referee at the monitor, so there is no need to use resource on Stockley Park. System is clear, transparent, and easy to implement, while clearing up howlers.

On the game itself, it’s hard to feel too angry at Everton. It was a proper derby. Yes, Richarlison’s tackle was absolutely awful, but we’ve seen some shockers down the years in the fixture from both teams. It’s the price we pay for the blood and thunder match with tackles flying that we so crave, and for adulating such high octane players as Richarlison, Robertson, Fabinho etc, some of those tackles will just go wrong. Pickford’s “challenge” is a bit less defensible, but we’ve come to expect at least one brain fart from him per big game at this point.

The biggest disappointment by far is not the result and how it was (not) achieved, but at the thought of losing van Dijk for the season. It’s hard not to feel for the guy, he’s worked his entire life to get to the top table, he may get 6 years in his career playing Champions League and international football, and has had one (15%) stolen from him just like that.

Other than that, what a game. Two contrasting styles, both good to watch, each of the 5 centre backs out there can be pleased with their afternoon’s work, and yet four goals still got conceded, due to three of the goals being top quality. Calvert-Lewin has the makings of being another Salah/Kane-esque one-season-wonder. James will be hated by fans of all other teams very shortly for his antics – the sign Everton has got a gem. The return fixture will be an absolute humdinger.
Alex

 

…I’m sure you are desperate to move on from this topic but I felt like replying to Rory, Thessaloniki.

Rory makes some good points in terms of how pundits and TV broadcasts help to guide the narrative or discussion on a point after a game and how if you watch the game with no input from this you can take away an entirely different perspective on things. Agree entirely – there have been a number of incidents over the years that have seemed to be blown up and entirely driven by TV and pundits focusing on them while others seem to not be discussed at all because they aren’t highlighted as much. It’s similar to how a player gets a certain reputation that sticks because it is all anyone talks about when that player is mentioned.

I also think that after many years of steadily improving in quality UK TV and radio punditry is now at a point where it is starting to slide back again largely because we (TV execs) seem to be pushing for confrontation and shouty opinions – see the overblown Carragher v Souness, Keane v Klopp, Sutton v anyone with a sensible opinion of recent weeks.

And yes, Rory is quite correct to point out that the Merseyside Derby has a history of terrible challenges that will be excused by whichever side of the divide the perpetrator is on as is unfortunately all too standard when it comes to tribal loyalties.

Where I can’t agree with Rory is in his comparison of Pickford to Son. I’m not sure anyone was demanding that we feel sorry for Son in comparison to Gomes who clearly suffered far more but Son had made a legitimate challenge for the ball that resulted in the slightest of trips which then led to an unbalanced Gomes’ studs getting caught in the turf and ultimately to a truly horrendous injury. Son was clearly distraught at the injury and the role he played in it but he bore no guilt for that injury and did not deserve the red card that he received for it – a case of a referee massively overreacting to the consequence of an injury rather than the challenge that led to it: further compounded by a truly ridiculous Premier League or PGMOL press release stating as such. There was nothing reckless or violent or endangering about Son’s challenge and it is a trip that 999 times out of a 1,000 would result in a free kick and no injury.

Pickford’s challenge (or assault if you don’t prefer) bears no comparison to this as jumping at an opponent at full speed and making contact with the full weight of your body at knee height wrapping both legs around that knee as you follow through is not a normal challenge to anyone other than a Mr Coote. The reason why almost uniformly across the UK football fans considered it a red card is because it is a red card. If Rory and the rest of the particular pub in Greece he frequented did not and if Rory was angry at Son for Gomes’ injury then perhaps fans need pundits to ‘guide’ their views appropriately more then he thinks.

Regards,
Lindsay, Dublin.

 

It was all a joke

So… that’s a no to the injury ban idea then?

I’ll call off the fan march down to the FA head office, cancel the team of high-powered lawyers, and drop Rick Parry, FSG and co a text to tell them we’re not going ahead with the petition for an official change to the suspension rules.

It appears I’ve made a grave mistake. Penning a satirical mail to a largely satirical website. How foolish of me.

Apparently, we have ‘lost our shit’, and are ‘crying out.’ I didn’t realise taking 3-minutes to tap up an email on my phone before bed could be met with such colourful descriptions.

It was, of course – a joke. Penned long before I’d awoken to see real pundits hilariously suggesting a similar course of action (have a go at Mark Bosnich, not me!)

Anyway, since this is a very serious website I’ll ensure to clarify in the future and remove any and all humour just to make sure. I’ll take a stab at this now in fact:

“I am sad about the derby result. I am an annoyed the VVD injury. I am using humour to ‘get over it,’ as Dub Saul so kindly suggested we all do.”

In fact, I think we should all endeavour to detach ourselves from feeling anything for the game at all. Injuries, red cards, goals conceded, anything you’re unhappy with in your teams latest match – we should all just get over it. Immediately. Preferably before the day or weekend is up. Don’t talk to anybody else about it. And certainly don’t pen a mail to your favourite website. Get out of your feelings.

Dammit! I’ve gone all sarcastic again. Somebody call the fun police!
Ryan C, LFC

 

Convenient forgetfulness

I’ve resisted from mailing in but as you seem to want to continue to print emails from FC Amnesia supporters, then I guess I’ll chime in as well.

Here’s a simple yet inconvenient fact for the supporters of LFC. They’re a club has gotten away with plenty over the years and they’ve conveniently decided to forget those incidents. It happens to every club, yes, even yours. It’s just that your side hasn’t had near as many against you as every other side in the Premier League. So your point of view is how shall we say it, skewed.

Let’s not even start with the questionable VAR decisions that went for them last season. Any complaints then? Nope.

Let’s not even start with the Clattenberg derby. Anyone asking for that one to be replayed? Nope.

Kuyt’s two footer on Neville? Nope.

Gerrard’s two footer on Naysmith? Nope.

While we’re at it, maybe I can get a petition going to get the league to ban Son for as many games as Gomes was out. Heck, why don’t I petition UEFA to get the Villarreal match replayed due to Collina’s scandalous performance.

I can do this all day long but for the sake of the readers at F365, they get my drift.

I honestly don’t know what’s worse here. The hypocrisy on display from Liverpool supporters or the lack of self-awareness from Liverpool supporters in these regards.
TX Bill (Don’t you worry, Pickford will eventually find himself out of the team, but it won’t be because of the VVD tackle…oh sorry, “assault.”) EFC

 


Big Midweek: PSG v Man Utd, Liverpool, Lampard, Partey


Order, order!

Having just seen Roman Saiss’ goal disallowed by VAR, I demand an explanation from the FA, a question raised in parliament by my local MP and temporary suspensions for all officials involved in the process.
John Collins, London

 

What is a referee?

We’re at the stage now where we have to have a review into what referees, VAR, and the FA are actually for. What is the referee for? They’re there to enforce the rules of the game to ensure that the sport is fair and the players are protected. What is VAR for? VAR is there to ensure that if the referee makes a mistake that it gets corrected during the game so the game isn’t unfairly affected by an incorrect decision. What is the FA for? The FA is there to ensure that the referees are fit for purpose and the process is working for the benefit of the sport.

Each and every step in the officiating process is derelict at the minute, each wholly concerned with protecting the other constituent parts to the detriment of the sport, the teams and the players with nobody to answer to.

The law for serious foul play is there to protect the careers of the players. If you launch yourself at a player’s knee with your feet off the ground you’re guilty of serious foul play. Intent or accident doesn’t matter, you should be dismissed for the benefit of the other players on the pitch because you have shown reckless disregard for the safety of those around you. You’ve endangered another player and you should not be allowed to get away with it because of the semantics of any process.

Michael Oliver got it wrong, he allowed a dangerous tackle to go unpunished.

VAR allowed a mistake to happen because it falls outside their remit to draw the referee’s attention to a decision that falls outside of their narrow band of responsibility.

The FA then compound the mistake by not reviewing an obvious mistake because it had been seen and they don’t re-referee matches.

The fact is that the system is there to enforce the rules. If the system can’t enforce the rules then the system is broken and those protecting that system should be hounded from the game. We shouldn’t be concerned with undermining a referee, if he’s wrong he NEEDS be undermined. The sport is not there to ensure the integrity of Michael Oliver or Mike Dean, it should be the opposite. Eventually it’ll get sorted when the Premier League breaks away from the FA entirely because football survives without the current FA, VAR and PGMOL but it doesn’t survive when players won’t sign for English clubs because they get assaulted during a game.
SC, Belfast

 

Frank knew

After all the rather funny and rather pathetic emails from Liverpool supporters about Pickford tackle on VVD, does anyone get the feeling Frank Lampard was correct when he gave the Liverpool bench (and now supporters) a mouthful about them “giving it the big one” cos they have just won one premier league. It was a bad tackle, these things happen. Mane should have been sent off against Arsenal for his elbow on Tierney but you dont see a torrent of emails about it.
Ken, Cork, Ireland

 

More changes

I love reading the Mailbox – a heady mixture of passion, insight, bias, and occasionally the bizarre, so with the bar set so high I have never really felt the need to literally( I think there is a pun in there somewhere) to join the party..till now. Now VAR is of course the joke that is making no – one laugh but in my opinion there is one subject that never seems to get an airing and as a recently retired civil servant I think I can feel the need for a few bullet points to highlight my own bug bear…so…:

Why oh why are the duration of football matches left in the hands of an individual who has to also watch out for foul play, injury feigning, abuse from players( and perhaps even fans again in the future), and administering the laws of the game whilst also showing common sense….The referee has enough to do in other words
If the timing of a football match was set in stone – say off the top of my head – 60 minutes of ” ball in play” – then there would be no point in feigning injury , wasting times at free kicks, arguing with referees …as the game will always last the same time whatever goes on when the ball is dead
I honestly can’t see any downside to this, the game would flow quicker , we could never moan about the lack of /too much time added on……and of course we need something else to vent our spleen on
Keep the wide range of letters going…love it
Phil (are brackets compulsory?) Liasides

 

…I was trying to glide over it all and not get drawn into VAR and referee debates, but was genuinely blown away by Rory O’Keefe’s view of those two tackles. They’re the sort of tackle which look awful in real time, because you can see the speed of the impact, and even worse when you look at a slow replay and see how high the contact was. Both should have been straight reds – I’ve genuinely not heard a single person say otherwise, and I know very few Liverpool fans. I think we can all agree that bans reflecting injury length are a bit OTT, except in your exceptional “Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes” category of tackles. I would agree with Giles’ point that the likes of Martial’s red are pretty trivial and don’t warrant the same punishment – a red card and a one game ban for those is definitely plenty, and it’s definitely a bit of a stretch to agree that it constitutes ‘violent conduct’ in any real sense of the words.

I would like to hear people’s thoughts on one other type of offence though, and the lack of any talk about it on Sat/Sun is probably indicative that I’m on my own. The shirt tug on Richarlison, or the rugby tackle on Gareth Bale both almost certainly stopped both from scoring. Both were fouls, but because both players stayed on their feet and managed to get a shot away (albeit significantly hindered by the foul), there was never any real question of a penalty for either. Should these be punishable with a penalty if they successfully prevent a goal? Does the current approach not dissuade strikers from staying on their feet, and encourage defenders to foul strikers just as they pull the trigger?

Thanks
Jamie

 

…Too many electrons have already been pointed at the VAR shambles and not enough on how VAR interacts with the rules of the game. So I am going after the International Football Association Board- the bastards:

On Offside:
The purpose of the rule is to ensure the attacking team do not have an undue advantage over the defence when crafting scoring opportunities. It therefore follows that any technological assistance should only be deployed where there is a clear and unambiguous case that a clear advantage has been missed by the referee. Sadio Mane with his back to goal, in line with the second to last defender in a photo still, as seen by the naked eye, is the dictionary definition of a case where there is no clear advantage. VAR should only be activated when there is a clear error or lapse – isnt that meant to be one of the principles for using VAR to begin with? I am soooooooooo confused. It should be a criminal offence to waste humanity’s time drawing nano margins between two lines. PRotip: IF VAR finds itself calculating nano margins using complex differential calculus it should just stop, go do some poor kids calculus homework to really be useful and let the ref’s decision stand, there’s a good chap.

On Handball:
The purpose of the rule is to ensure hands are not purposefully used to gain an advantage during play by outfield players. A ball smacking a players hand at pointblank range should only be a handball if that player’s hand is in an obviously unnatural position (ie a hand at or above neck level or well away from a player’s side that cannot be explained by natural body movement) and blocking a promising piece of attacking play. It should only count if any part of the ball touches below the shoulder. A blanket ban is ridiculous and gives defenders an unfair disadvantage.

On Fouls and Playing on After an Offside:
If play is not stopped by the officials then all actions of players while the ball is in play should still be subject to potential sanction – heck a player can be sent off for actions taken when the ball is not in play. If play is brought back to an earlier point because of a missed offside then the sanction should be to the player only, without a foul/penalty being given, since the earlier sanction would have stopped play before the incident. Translation: Pickford should have seen straight red with or without the offside and VAR should have spent more time on that than on drawing useless nano margins.

On Making Rules and Applying Technology
Finally, (and this may be the most popular rule proposal around these parts) no person can be a voting or decision taking member of the IFAB (or the Premier League Rule implementation overlords for that matter) unless they have played at least one full season of football (30 games minimum) at least at amateur level. If you haven’t grafted at the game personally, then you have no business making up or implementing rules whose impact and implications you have no way of practically conceiving. Any boffins out there who can confirm whether this rule is currently being breached by either the IFAB or the PL members? My instinct tells me it is.

Moral of the story/ TL/DR
To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: IFAB/PL you’ve spent so much time wondering whether you could that you didn’t stop to ask yourselves whether you should. The farce has been to replace unintentional human error that annoyed us no end with intentional human and technological negligence that annoys us even more because it is totally preventable. May genetically modified dinosaurs invade each and every one of your homes to teach you the dangers of technology first hand.
Miguel L (LFC’s mettle will now be mightily tested. Stay strong VVD you man mountain you!)

 

Villa’s 2019 window wasn’t a write-off after all

Top of W&L? Like actually the first mention?? Go home 2020, you’re drunk. Actually, don’t, please stay this crazy for a little while longer.
There is something I would like to discuss about the write up we got, and this is not a complaint, more of an observation that seems to have been made about us, namely we spent very poorly last summer.

Looking at our current starting 11, Targett, Mings, Konsa, Luiz and Trezeguet were all signed last summer, which doesn’t scream “terrible decisions”. Currently out injured we have Heaton and Wesley, who will both be more than serviceable back ups/alternative options, alongside Nakamba, Engels and Guilbert.

I know we spent a lot last year, but we had barely any players in the squad, so it was kind of necessary to add as many bodies as possible.

Lost in the mix was the fact we bought so many young players who were new to the league, it was always going to take time for them to settle and gel under a manager who was also new to this level.

We did sign some duds, but thats to be expected when you make that many purchases, but lets not think the entire window was a shambles.

Cheers
Nik AVFC (Cazoo must be laughing at how well their sponsorships have panned out so far!)

 

Bailly ruined

Can’t but not write in right after looking at the CL squad for United. Lindelof’s been consistently given one chance after another in-spite of numerous errors which have cost us dearly ever since last season. In fact him getting turned around on Sunday was what cost United the first goal. Had De Gea not made the wonder save, United would have been up against it and fact is they purely got lucky.
Fact is it was Ole’s lack of a defensive screen which exposed the United defense against a solid opposition like Spurs and the fallout of that game, lo and behold, costs who else but Bailly. Lindelof as per usual, gets to play the next game against a massively weaker opposition with McTominay and Fred acting as a screen and an obviously slow and ponderous defender is made to look much better than he is until he’s exposed again by the next proper team he faces.
Just heard that Bailly “has not travelled” and I’d like to know how he possibly could get injured when he didn’t play on Sunday in the first place. Training injuring? Maybe, but I think if there’s one player Ole’s ruined, it would be him. From what I had seen of Bailly except the Spurs game (remember him being an absolute monster against PSG a year back), he was going to be my CD for the future. Somehow it seems that this is now ruined which frankly makes me a little sick as I still consider this the last piece in the United jigsaw.
Enough said.
Saby MUFC

 

Cech out

I was reading the Six times injuries helped shape the Premier League title race and the only incident I can truly recall is Peter Cech’s injury and how it impacted Chelsea. Chelsea had an air of invincibility about them at that stage and as a United fan, I knew there was no beating them (both were level on points at that stage). But something about them changed after Cech’s injury. Something that cannot be defined in stats and numbers. They looked less assured, less confident, less Chelsea. The shakiness gave United hope and they eventually did beat Chelsea to the title (two years in a row).

We sometimes forget the impact leaders have on the individuals around them. It was not just about letting in goals. Even without him, Chelsea had a fair defensive record. They just looked a different unit without him. When he did return, it was not the same Peter Cech. Injuries like these change players and I sincerely hope that Van Dijk comes back as the same player.
Hassan.

 

PPV FFS

I know this is late but paying £14.95 per game to watch untelevised games is absolutely ridiculous.

To put it into perspective I pay AUD14.99 per month to watch EVERY premier league, champions league, europa league and international game as well as games from a few other leagues. $15 a month may not seem like a lot however most of my friends have lost jobs due to the pandemic and so paying an extra 15 a month to watch sport is not exactly high on their list of priorities which is why they use my account no questions asked.

The Premier League should be ashamed of themselves. When every country in Europe is going back into lockdown, sport is one of the few things we have going to keep our heads up. I live in Melbourne and have been in lockdown pretty much since March. The only thing I look forward to is watching sport on the weekends and / or midweek. To make that so unaffordable and profit of it is shameful.

Hopefully they see some sense and reduce the costs for people to support their teams.

And remember mental health is not a joke. Speak to someone if you need to. It’s a challenging time for all of us and I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns in the last few months. Hopefully it gets better for you guys going into winter.

Cheers
Rahil MUFC Melbourne

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