Raging Reds flood the Mailbox after Kane’s captain’s reprieve

Date published: Monday 20th December 2021 9:24 - Editor F365

Tottenham captain Harry Kane talks to the referee during the 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

We have many mails on Liverpool’s feeling of injustice in the wake of the draw at Spurs, as well as missives on Eriksen, Everton, and Bielsa. Anything to add? Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com… 

 

English bias
Cards in the table I’m a Liverpool fan commenting the day after a contentious game. Keep that in mind.

Kane should have been a red card. It was over the ball, at full sprint and studs were showing. Had Robertson’s leg been on the floor instead of jumping there’s a reasonable chance it could have been a broken leg.

Last season we saw a goal keeper do a flying scissor kick at knee height which did cause serious damage to the player. In both instances the player escaped what should have been a very clear red card. And in both instances the offending players, were England players.

Now Andre gomes suffered a terrible injury from what looked like an accidental tackle from son. Son got a red card.

Going back further during a Liverpool United game Nani was given a pretty disgraceful studs up challenge from carragher which actually caused a bleeding gash on his leg. No red card.

I think English players definitely get a referee bias when involved in incidents with Non English players. English players are awarded penalties for some of the weakest challenges (looking at you Michael Owen) and they get away with bad challenges (as listed already) or dangerous play (Kane and his famous backing up trick)

I’m not sure why there is a bias (or even if there is one, not like I’m running a national study here) but it seems odd that Johnny foreigner gets told no pen where England players are given one. It seems odd that England players are given yellow cards where Johnny foreigner is shown red.

I do think premier League is the strongest league in the world. But I can’t say the same for its referees and VAR. I think German and Italian leagues have much better referees and more efficient and accurate use of VAR.

I think the refs should also have a league similar to the fair play league. This way not only can referees track their own performances the weakest ones can learn where their weaknesses are. It also makes things more transparent for everyone else because right now does anyone know what happens to a ref who performs badly? Or if there is some kind of investigation is it actually carried out?

The competitive nature of the referee fair play league will also motivate them to perform better, we can even give bonuses to the ones who hit the high places.

Might be a sh*t idea but is it worth a shot?
Lee

 

Raging Reds
What even is the point of VAR?

If I was that bad at my job, I’d get sacked.

Absolute joke.

And Kane’s claim that he “felt he got the ball” is infuriating. Yeah, you did mate. With your arm. After you went studs up through Robertson’s shin.

Absolutely awful officiating today.

It was probably a great game but I’m so furious with the refereeing today and the lack of accountability that it’s ruined it for me.

Chelsea being forced to play with half a squad out with Covid, we’ve got four first team players out with Covid – no doubt with more to come – and yet other clubs haven’t played for a fortnight. Is the Premier League remotely interested in having a level playing field?

A bit like a Tory government it seems to be one rule for them and another for everyone else.
Jon Cardy

 


16 Conclusions: Tottenham 2-2 Liverpool


 

…There was a discussion a few weeks/months ago on why Harry Kane is so hated because he doesn’t drink, nice to the media bla bla. The reason is how he conducts himself on a football pitch in the eyes of the opposition fans and the fact you know he gets away with stuff because he is saint harry.
Ryan, Liverpool

 

…I’m sure I speak for all fans of Spurs and Liverpool when I say that was the worst refereeing performance in some time from Paul Tierney. I feel like he got just about every major call wrong, knackering both teams pretty evenly.

Kane should be off, Jota should have a penalty, Robbo’s goal shouldn’t have stood and he shouldn’t have been sent off. VAR adding nothing but delay to proceedings.

Credit Spurs though, they played really well. They seem an obvious candidate for the top four on that showing.
Nick

 

…Is it time to start a conversation around whether VAR is having any discernable impact on the accuracy of refereeing? Or perhaps even a negative one?

Admittedly, we are cursed with – objectively and subjectively – the worst batch of officials for the last 30 years. But still, f*** me sideways MC.

Sure, have a chat around Robertson’s challenge. It was overly aggressive, went through the player and generally just wasn’t great. Bit harsh as a red, but I can – just – see why it was given as such.

Kane’s mistimed, aggressive, lunging, studs up, potential season ender – to have that waved away in the same game? What the honest f***. Congrats to Harry on his stellar performance so far this season, though. Top, top mediocrity Clive. Didn’t watch post match interviews, I’m presuming he swore on his children’s lives that he won the ball?

Refereeing in this country is now a laughing stock (see: lack of English refs at major tournaments). Not good enough, given the money and professional status they now receive. I was lucky to be at Anfield for the Newcastle match Thursday past, Mike Dean was terrible – genuinely just awful at the whole ‘applying the laws of the game impartially’ (also known as: his job). Paul Tierney made that shambles of a performance seem like prime Pierluigi Collina tonight.

Shame really, was a decent match. Congrats to Spurs and Conte, their game plan was spot on against an, admittedly weakened, Liverpool team. Well worth their point and could easily have taken all 3.

Awful that such an epic encounter was dominated by the ineptitude of Tierney and whoever the f*** the VAR was.
Spoons LFC

 

…In your 16 Conclusions: Spurs 2-2 Liverpool, you suggest at #13 that:

“Andy Robertson’s foul, in which he booted Emerson Royal in the back the leg as hard as he could just minutes after Spurs had drawn level again, was a definite red card, although we had to wait for this to be verified by the video assistant. The obvious parallel here is Harry Kane’s first half foul on Robertson, but two wrongs don’t make a right, and the failure to send an opposing off obviously earlier in the game shouldn’t be a determining factor over a tackle made much later on. Whether two wrongs make a right over this probably depends on whether you support Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur.”

In principle, of course 2 wrongs don’t make a right. But there’s another important principle at play: consistency in refereeing decisions. In a perfect world, we would have consistency in decisions through the entire season. But if we can’t achieve that, it is not unfair to, at least, maintain consistency within the same match. From that perspective, the VAR referees fell short.

I expect the VAR referees, having seen both Kane’s and Robertson’s tackles, to apply the same standard of review in deciding whether to send the on-field referee to the pitchside monitor. But it is quite clear that a different standard of review was applied.

Now, perhaps the VAR referees belatedly realised that they should have called for a review on Kane’s tackle, and then sought to make the right decision for Robertson’s tackle. But look at it from Robertson’s perspective. I imagine that upon seeing Kane get only a yellow for that tackle (on himself, no less!), he might have figured that it was game on, saw no need to dial down his intensity, and expected only a yellow for what he thought was a slightly-less-serious infraction. He was then punished for the VAR referees’ inconsistency.

Note that the on-field referee was consistent across these 2 on-field decisions, in that since Kane got a yellow for that tackle, it was fair to give Robertson a yellow. But once he was sent to the pitchside monitor, there was only one way the review could have ended.

So while I do not disagree with your conclusion, I suggest that the VAR referees should have, in the name of consistency, called for a review of (a) both decisions; or (b) neither decision.
K, LFC, Singapore (yes, I know that VAR stands for “video assistant referee”, so I have been using “video assistant referee referee” throughout my mail, but referring to the referees as “the VARs” is a bit odd, isn’t it?)

 

…It’s the inconsistency that drives you mad. Robertson deserved to be sent off, no problem there. He got frustrated, it happens. But if that’s a sending off, so is Kane’s. And Kane’s *was* a sending off, all day long, it was a clear and obvious error. The ref should have seen it and VAR sure as hell should have corrected it, it was 100% the worse challenge. Kane gets sent off there, it’s a different game entirely – just as we missed Robertson when he went off.

Kane could have, even should have, easily had a hat trick. But he shouldn’t have been on the pitch to do it. Mind you that’s the first time I’ve seen him look anything like his old self all season – Conte has got him up and running again. And not just Kane, Conte has even got Alli playing good football – it seems like for the first time in *years*. Spurs have a s***e squad, but they have an elite level coach. Back him with some money and he’ll do some damage next season. But Levy is going to Levy – backing Conte in the transfer market is far from guaranteed.

I actually have no problem with the draw, Spurs might even feel they deserved the win. But the referee’s performance sure didn’t hurt their cause. Jota absolutely should have had a penalty as well. Apparently he went looking for it according to the ref, which is absolute garbage. Paul Tierney shouldn’t be anywhere near another game of ours this season. It was a terrific game, it deserved officiating that matched it.

But unfortunately it was two points dropped, at a time when City don’t look like dropping any for quite a while. The three horse race of a month ago is now down to two, Chelsea are on a downward trend and only City have the squad to survive the ravages of Covid.

We will have a hell of a task to finish ahead of then, just as it is every year really. So if the referees don’t want to make our job even harder, that’d be much appreciated.
James, Liverpool ( now will come the 100 examples of refs and VAR favouring us – none of which are actually relevant to yesterday’s game even so )

 

…Signs the referee and VAR in the Liverpool game are both from Manchester:

– Disgraceful Kane challenge not reviewed by VAR.
– Stonewall penalty denied by ref and not reviewed by VAR
– Robertson sent off following review in challenge that posed little threat to opposition player’s safety.
– Keita gets elbowed in the head. Gets shown a yellow card for the trouble.

Tottenham had two weeks off to prepare for this game and we started without any of our first choice midfield or our first choice centre back and the best they could manage was cheating their way to a draw. Whilst the result is a draw but the gap between the two clubs is so stark right now. The only other team I’ve seen take such an aggressive approach all season to us was Everton and the inferiority complex there is obvious to all.

Liverpool did well to stand up against 13 men in the end. We were poor in myriad ways but it’s no great surprise when you’re missing four first choice players. Mané wasn’t amazing today and he’s a little concerning. He’s a lot less threatening running with the ball now and also a bit wasteful in possession. Robertson, other than scoring, left a bit to be desired too.

Alisson was man of the match but also dropped a fairly major clanger. It was a shame because he had such a great game and was a cert for MOTM before the 70th odd minute. He’s had a few shaky moments in the past few weeks and teams seem to be targeting him at corners more now.

Overall a draw away at Spurs isn’t a dreadful result in the circumstances. Kane won’t want to upset Pep when he comes up against them so increasingly it’s looking like Man City’s league to lose.
Minty, LFC

 

Klopp copying Fergie
Just watching the MOTD highlights and the outrage over the Liverpool decisions which weren’t given.

No focus on Winks getting kicked in the chest by Matip in the box then? And the Salah handball before the Robertson goal? No? Oh ok. That would’ve evened it out really if you looked at more than one side of the argument.

Roberson did a leg breaker last season on Tanganga but there was no outrage then either so let’s not pretend, at the very least, that Liverpool have been hard done by shall we? Mane (what an unbelievable player by the way) once smashed a pass into an armpit during a game and it was given. It blocked his important pass to a helicopter over the halfway line. Ho hum, least it wasn’t important – these things happen.

‘The fuss’ Klopp creates reminds me of when Fergie consistently complained about referees when at the same time no away team had scored a penalty at Old Trafford in 10 years. Referees have since spoken about the pressure they were put under by Fergie during those times and it clearly worked.
Dave (Conte is magic, we are looking like a team again), Winchester Spurs

 

…I did think about not sending in this mail as it’s the sort that is only going to draw derision or accusations of ‘paranoia’, but the broadcast media coverage and the narratives they push has such a huge impact into how events are accepted by the public and none more so than the Spurs v Liverpool game

From the outset, the preview, the punditry etc suggested that Liverpool just had to turn up. The result was simply a formality, as certain as death and taxes. So we’ve set the scene. Liverpool are playing and they’re going to win

We move to the game. We have two bad tackles in the game, one of which was given as a red card and one that wasn’t. Rather than discussing the two challenges themselves, 99% of all the coverage was about Kane’s.

Before anyone kicks off, I think it was probably a red card foul based on modern standards, but, I look at the build up and he’s looking at the ball, he’s sliding with one foot and the ball was nicked away from him AFTER he’d made the decision to slide for the ball. Robertson apparently said to Kane that he didn’t think it was a bad foul but had caught his foot. The intent wasn’t to hurt the player. That being said, he was late and had Robertson not jumped, he could have been seriously hurt.

I look at Robertson’s and can’t see any intent to play the ball. He just hacks straight through the player. Now I understand that he was punished for his foul but it feels like Sky are talking about Kane’s challenge being worse than Robertson’s, when in reality, he was simply under punished. Paul Tierney is getting pelters for being biased when he actually gave a booking for both challenges. It was VAR that didn’t upgrade Kane to a red.
Tierney clearly admitted his mistake with Robertson’s foul and gave the red

Both Jota and Dele went down in the box after being leaned on the back. I don’t personally think either was a penalty and neither were given, but yet because Liverpool were expected to win and haven’t, we’re discussing Jota’s one and not the Dele one. It was somehow a poor decision that only went against Liverpool.

The 2nd goal for Liverpool shouldn’t have been given. Salah caught the ball almost and Lloris was forced to make a lunge to paw it away. It rolls to TAA who rifled it across to Robertson. How is it a new phase of play when the new phase wouldn’t have happened the way it did had the handball been punished properly in the previous phase? Again we analyse the coverage and the punditry, and there’s no mention of how this decision affected the outcome of the game and yet the non red card of Kane ‘changed everything’

The sad thing about all this, and I’m aware I’m contributing to it in my own minor way, is that it was a brilliant game of football and all that is being talked about are a few decisions and the standard overwrought behaviour of Klopp, who usually shows patronising levels of hubris when his team has either hammered an opponent or won narrowly with a bit of luck, but once again showing how classless he can be when a single decision goes against him. There were so many good chances created by both teams but in my opinion, Spurs created the most clear cut ones and here we’re talking about Liverpool being ‘HELD’ because the reality of the game didn’t register with those covering it. It was simply Liverpool turning up to roll over an inconsequential opponent and it can only be cheating or poor decisions by officials stopping that Liverpool victory.

Pundits and broadcasters have to do better than this. Football fans aren’t thick, as much as people in other areas of society like to label us. We understand the game we all love and don’t need it dumbing down. Start talking about how great the game was rather than the performance of the referees. You see constantly on these ‘greatest PL games ever’ the Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle from 96. I personally think there have been a few better since but those were times when football was enjoyed and the refs were often anonymous contributors. I wish we could go back to that approach to covering football rather than demonising players for split second decisions, and for the love of God, show respect to both teams competing on the pitch. Liverpool didn’t fail win on Sunday because of decisions. They failed to win because Spurs were the better side and it would have been refreshing to hear that rather than pundits simply looking for reasons why their arrogant predictions didn’t play out as expected
RossH

 

Not a thriller
The spurs game just showed how weak Liverpool’s depth is without their usual midfield trio and VVD.

Winks was easily picking out the runs of Son and Kane behind Matip and Konate. Keita and Milner were just overrun and that’s not a pretty sight. Spurs could have easily scored 4 or 5 if it wasn’t for their poor finishing. (Thank God for Delle Alli, is he even a forward?)

Klopp should see this as a sign of things to come if Salah and Mane leave or injuries start piling up.

It was not a thriller but a chiller for me to see the second-best side in the league being clueless about where the next attack is coming from. Liverpool needs reinforcements with Covid, AFCON, injuries happening.

That was an ominous warning Jurgen!
Tejas (I hope AFCON gets cancelled)

 

Conte’s impact
Amazing what a change of manager can do? Same players as Nuno, not one transfer made, yet Conte has made Spurs outperform Liverpool. It’s the hardest match Liverpool have had all season and Spurs shoulda won that. Remember that the next time Arteta gets spanked 5-0 by Liverpool and you hear Arsenal’s low-standard fans claim “it’s a free hit against Liverpool”.
Stewie Griffin (Conte would have Arsenal in the top 3 given their squad/money spent, and they’d be way more competitive against the Big Three teams)

 

No winners
Think the winners and losers column should be replaced this week with just “losers”, those being the premier league, the officials & var. How can the premier league allow some teams to postpone & then reject others requests? Chelsea had 4 outfield players on the bench!!! Some shocking decisions from the onfield officials across the board, followed by the var getting involved in some whilst ignoring others. Var was supposed to bring consistency into the game, all it’s done is left the officials to let more go or not make decisions for themselves thinking that var will help if they get it wrong. Shocking weekend from all involved in running the game.
Marcel G, LFC.

 

Bielsa and parallels with Wenger
Please let’s not try to balance the amateurish performance that Leeds put in today. Jim beglin trying to suggest Bielsa has “too much integrity “ to use COVID as an escape took the biscuit for me. They have no cases (Arsenal have 2 btw). Does Jim know that you need actual evidence of infection to list players as having COVID? Silly me. Of course he doesn’t. He’s clueless on all matters.

Meanwhile his fellow commentator saying that Leeds young team could be excused their utter incompetence on account of age – while they were getting battered by a team aged 23 with all the goals scored by players under 22.

And why are Leeds so thread bare ? Because Bielsa has broken another squad. He’s driven them into the ground and deliberately not added bodies. The man has had a dozen jobs and done this every time.

Why can’t we just stop spinning reality? Arsenal are looking decent but still flawed. And Leeds are broken. Clinging on to a messiah of a coach that can’t organize a side off the ball, has lost his touch and been tumbled as a coach – and is now part of the problem despite the fans chanting his name.

At Arsenal we know a thing or two about that.
Johnno

 

Eriksen>Ozil
Obviously your Top buy of the last 20 transfer windows feature is subjective by nature and meant to provoke outrage and debate, but I couldn’t resist biting on the ridiculous suggestion that Mesut Ozil was a better signing than Christian Eriksen. The pure stats say Eriksen, with more goals and assists then Ozil in their PL tenures, but that also ignores the fact that Eriksen was a hard worker vital to the Pochettino press and Ozil was… less hard working. Throw in Eriksen made his team better, cost a fraction of what Ozil cost in both transfer fee and wages and was sold for more, and how is this even a debate? I’ll take the better, harder working, cheaper player if it’s all the same to you.
Phil, London

 

Everton ladder
So instead of us playing Leicester, I get to go to Nandos with my girlfriend, which moved our Christmas shopping schedule from Saturday to Sunday. Therefore I used the time to put together an Everton transfer ladder, like a maniac. I haven’t included any young players or anyone out on loan, as I think all of them need to be given a chance to prove themselves over a longer period. I also haven’t included the Scandinavian-player-that-we-don’t-talk-about-anymore-because-reasons.

This probably won’t get published because it’s the ravings of a madman and it’s longer than some chapters of the Bible, but here we are anyway.

The Everton Sell/Release/Keep ladder.

Alex Iwobi – I’m sure Iwobi is a nice bloke. But to present himself as a Premier League footballer is an absolute insult. He’s low end Championship AT BEST. Sell like the market is imploding. SELL
Cenk Tosun – Questionable politics aside, the lad has never made an impact and we could probably get some kind of fee from a Turkish club for him. SELL
Salomon Rondon – This won’t happen as he’s a Rafa signing, but the less said about his performances so far the better, aside from a decent showing in the derby and a flukey goal against Palace. Not good enough. RELEASE
Andy Lonergan – You forgot he played for us didn’t you? Well he does, and he’s holding a third choice keeper slot that could be given to a youngster. RELEASE
Mason Holgate – Some promising displays in his first couple of seasons mask a player who always carries an error in his back pocket, and a questionable temperament. Tailor made for a Burnley esque team. SELL
Lucas Digne – The arrival of Mykolenko has marked his card. Also hasn’t been good enough for several seasons. Reluctantly, and for a big fee, SELL
Seamus Coleman – The pain of typing this. He’s well past his best, and the legs have gone. For his own sake, and before he damages his legacy with a fan base who love him but are starting to tire of him, RELEASE
Jonjoe Kenny – Much more highly regarded in North Rhine-Westfalia than he is in North Liverpool. SELL
Jean Phillipe-Gbamin – Sicknote. Rafa doesn’t seem to be too impressed. Would like to see him get a shake but ultimately we need players who’ll be available. With regret, SELL
Tom Davies – I am insistent he could do a job for us under the right manager, INSISTENT. But he does very much strike me as a utility midfielder for a struggling Premier League side, which is what we are, but not what we want to be. The Scouse Pirlo is the last of the regretful SELLs
Ben Godfrey – Can be error prone but very versatile and leaves it all on the pitch. Hopefully a useful backup. KEEP
Andre Gomes – Looks renewed under Rafa and a player of his quality will always have something to add. For now, KEEP
Asmir Begovic – Backup, not a bad keeper. No great shakes. Easy decision. KEEP
Fabian Delph – Weird anti vax stuff aside, gives his all and still does a job. KEEP
Andros Townsend – Working hard to stay relevant. We love him. KEEP
Yerry Mina – I love this big lump and I think a lot of Everton fans have warmed to him as well. Good foil for the next on my list, so a solid KEEP
Big Mick Keane – I don’t care what anyone says, when this lad gets some confidence, he’s a rock. Yes we’ve had better centre backs and probably will do again. But for the time being, an emphatic KEEP
Allan – A top class midfielder in a decidedly non top class side. Getting on a bit, but no way the answer is anything but KEEP
Abdoulaye Doucoure – A Duracell bunny of a midfielder, he’s far too useful and talented not to KEEP
Jordan Pickford – England’s number 1. Arms might be a bit short, kicking might be wildly off cue, but he’s far from the worst problem we have at the club and could be a great keeper if he had a competent team in front of him. KEEP
Demarai Gray – This could be a Coleman-sized bargain if this lad continues his development. KEEP
Richarlison – When this lad leaves the club I’ll feel like I did as a young boy when Rooney joined United, absolutely gutted. He’s simply world class. KEEP
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Oh god keep him, please please keep him. KEEP
Phil Neville – What do you mean he retired years ago? LIFETIME CONTRACT
Joe (probably needs to reassess his life), EFC

Gray celebrates for Everton
Five conclusions
I know there was some football played yesterday, and I’ll get to that, but I just wanted to mention a few points on the whole Hayden/Liverpool thing.

Firstly, I noticed one or two mails questioning the sportsmanship of Liverpool and how they should have kicked the ball out to stop play. That is nonsense. Rules were introduced to remove this equation from the game, so the subjective nature of sportsmanship didn’t need to factor in. Regardless of how injured you think Issac Hayden was, it was not Liverpool’s job to do something, it was the referee’s. He should have stopped it, because a player was down holding their head. That is an injury that could be serious, and could require immediate attention, so failure to do so was on him. Not Liverpool. They played to the whistle, as is the right way to play.

Secondly, on Eddie Howe. He seriously has to answer as to why he allowed Hayden to remain on the pitch if he was “still dizzy a few minutes after the game”. To bemoan player safety and injustice, while callously ignoring it for quite a long time yourself after the incident is such buffoonery that I really hope this is not let slip by by our short attention spans. He should be reminded and hounded at every press conference until he admits he was overeggerating about the extent of the injury for something to complain about in a game he lost, or he made a mistake and will do better to monitor player welfare, starting with his own.

Thirdly, what to do about players overeggagerating their injuries in order to stop the game is simple; change the rules. If a player goes down injured which results in the referee being forced to stop the game specifically for this injury (i.e. non foul, dead ball etc.), the subsequent player has to be subbed off. No exceptions. And really, this shouldn’t be an issue. Whenever a referee does stop the game, it is usually because a player is so injured anyway that they are going to be subbed off and need immediate medical attention, or they “need attention” and conveniently stop a dangerous moment in a game. Doing this would remove this type of faking because players will not want to stop playing, and teams will not want to waste a sub or risk being brought down to 10 men by a phony injury. Furthermore, the concussion sub protocol should be introduced as a mandatory rule for head injuries. Don’t leave it as an option, just make it a rule, and again, this will benefit player welfare in the long run and finally bring football dragging and screaming into the 21st century when it comes to concussions.

Fourth(ly?) Not related to the above, but I do wonder if the reason player injuries and welfare has been so dogged recently is because when the pandemic broke out originally, the leagues weren’t canceled but rather postponed and then shoe-horned into a period, thus making the following season shorter, and having a knock-on effect to this season, and next season with the World Cup rearrangement to boot! World’s smallest violin, I know, but the manner in which the governing bodies disregard the players (and by proxy the non-playing staff) is absolutely abysmal.

And finally, on tonight’s game, as promised. What an assist by Odegaard. Such a beautifully weighted ball. As good as Neves’ the other night, if not better!
Neill, Ireland

It’s not bias
Ben Ford’s email made me chuckle. In his claim that the media are all conspiratorially biased in favour of Liverpool, all he did was expose the fact that all the bias lies with him.

Ben’s claim was that “Arsenal were rebuked for not putting the ball out of play; accused of poor sportsmanship by endless pundits. The ref was rebuked for not stopping play. VAR was rebuked for not disallowing the goal. All en masse.” That’s a lot of rebuking, I’m sure you’ll agree. He then goes on to use the constratsing reaction to the Liverpool game as cast iron proof that the media has their favoured team.

The problem with Ben’s claim is that none of it is true. Let’s just examine bit, by bit:

“Arsenal were rebuked for not putting the ball out of play; accused of poor sportsmanship by endless pundits.”

Were they? Where? Where are these “endless” pundits? I watched the game and I don’t remember this at all. My only recollection is Alan Shearer catigating De Gea for staying on the ground. I don’t remember anyone saying Arsenal were in the wrong. If they did, it certainly wasn’t unanimous. I wondered if my memory might be hazy, so I googled some match reports of the game. I couldn’t really find anything criticising Arsenal. Lots of people said it was bizarre or odd, but very little criticism of sportsmanship. Certainly not “endless” pundits.

“The ref was rebuked for not stopping play. VAR was rebuked for not disallowing the goal.”

Again, this just isn’t true. Pretty much everyone agreed that VAR made the right call. There was no reason to disallow the goal. The same for the ref. There was no foul, De Gea was “injured” by his own player, so why would the referee be criticised? Allow me to quote the Manchester Evening News, a publication hardly likely to favour Arsenal: “Martin Atkinson had no other option than to give Arsenal’s opening goal against Manchester United, according to former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg.”

It’s hardly a groundswell of opinion against the Gunners. If you actually look at the media coverage there is no difference between the reaction to the Arsenal or Liverpool goals, except in the minds of the tin-foil-hatted fans. And rightly so. It’s the referees job to stop the game if needed, not the players. In both situations the players went down too easily. They weren’t hurt and played the rest of the game no problem. They are the only ones who should be getting criticism following those goals.
Mike, LFC, London

 

What to do with all the games
The 22/23 season was always going to be a strange one, with a World Cup in the middle of it.
Hearing the interviews with Tuchel and Klopp yesterday, maybe the best thing to do, would be to let games be cancelled if needed, play into the Summer, give players a long break and then let the 22/23 season be a special one where teams one either play each other at home or away.
Yes, it will be unfair and not right, but that is the situation we find ourselves in and there is no chance that this season can be finalised by May anyway. Anyone believing that is at best very optimistic.
Andreas (no football over Christmas will be odd) Brussels

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